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10 Tips to Take Your Podcast to the Next Level

Leveling Up Your Podcast


Podcasting is one of the fastest growing mediums to enter the realm of media entertainment. According to Inside Radio, since 2015, the number of monthly podcast listeners has more than doubled, increasing 123%. If you’re new to the world of podcasting or looking to improve the quality of your productions, look no further. At MXL, we have a few tips and tricks up our sleeves that will have your audience thinking you’re a podcast pro!

1. Identify Your Goals
Determine the purpose of your podcast. What do you want the focus to be? What messages are you trying to convey? Perhaps your aim is to inspire, maybe it’s to educate, or maybe you’re just looking to spark a conversation with a community that shares your passion. It’s absolutely crucial to pinpoint who your target audience is in order to align the messaging with your goals. Whatever your objective is, remember to always come back to the purpose behind your show.

2. Choose A Format
Is your podcast going to be strictly an audio recording, or will there be a video component as well? Also, before you launch the podcast, it’s crucial to determine which platform to host your show on. Some top options are SimpleCast, Podbean, BuzzSprout, SoundCloud and Blubrry .

3. Sound Quality
We might be a bit biased, but nothing ruins a podcast quite like a muffled voice, coughing, your dog barking, or a noisy lawn mower that happens to pass by at the most inconvenient times (or is that just us?). We won’t crowd this post with microphone details (although we’d love nothing more), but check out our recent blog post on setting up a home recording studio to make sure you have the best mics and interface for the job. If you’re looking to enhance the audio-quality of your podcast, the MXL BCD-1 is a great choice. As an end-address dynamic microphone with warm, rich tones, the BCD-1 is designed to capture crystal-clear audio and is sure to take your podcast to the next level.

4. Editing
Good editing is key to making your podcast flow and keeping listeners engaged. By editing and cutting your podcast, you can increase how engaging the content is by removing unwanted noises and pauses (“Ums,” “Uhs” and moments of awkward silence), while also removing any unnecessary tangents you may have gotten caught up in. You want your content to flow while being concise and to the point, so it’s crucial to minimize the amount of fluff present in the recording. Some of our favorite editing tools include Pro Tools, Hindenberg, Audacity and Adobe Audition.

5. Planning
You might not want to wing it this time. It’s not necessary to script out every word, as this can be boring and lead to lost engagement. Instead, try listing out the main points you want to cover, and the order you’d like to speak about certain topics. If there are multiple people on your podcast, figure out who is going to say what. This will help to keep you focused in the moment and communicate more efficiently. Some of our favorite tools for content planning include Evernote, One Note, Google Docs or just old school pen and paper.

6. Guests
Featuring guests on your podcast is a great way to bring in another person’s perspective on a topic. Whether you bring them on to give their expert opinion or you’re going for more of a conversational vibe, guest speakers will help further drive your message. However, if you don’t prep your guests, they can potentially derail your podcast from its focus. Whether your guest is with you in person or virtually, it’s important to make sure the kinks are worked out prior to the recording or live stream. It’s helpful to get to know your guest and chat about key discussion points prior to the podcast, as well as familiarizing yourself with the technology involved in the production. This may include video conferencing platforms, microphones, headphones and more. The more comfortable a guest is, the better they’ll perform.

7. Branding
Your podcast is a business, and as for all businesses, branding is an essential element. It’s important to know what fits your podcast and to determine what is on-brand and what isn’t. If you have a show about food and you bring on a political guest, make sure you’re able to merge the two conversations—don’t leave your listeners trying to connect topics and relevance to your brand. Also, remember to make sure all of the content you post follows a consistent aesthetic. We typically turn to tools like Canva or Adobe Spark for this.

8. Digital Presence
To promote your podcast consistently, take the extra time to work on a logo and website, as well as increasing your social media presence across various platforms. When posting to social media, try linking back to your website as well as linking back to specific episodes. Not only will this increase your audience’s engagement on your social channels, but it also helps to bring additional eyes and ears to your show.

9. Scheduling
Timing is everything. Whether you’re planning a production schedule or your promotional content for social media, determine a schedule and stick to it. Decide how frequently you want to post to your social channels as well as how frequently you want to launch a new episode, and make sure to stay consistent. If you chose weekly podcasts, it might be best to stick to the same day—this will help your audience remember when to tune in, as opposed to a sporadic schedule.

10. Have Some Fun
Last but not least, enjoy yourself. If you’re not having fun with your podcast, then what’s the point? Choose topics that excite and interest you. If you’re not passionate about the conversations you’re having, the audience will pick up on this and disengage. To peak your audiences’ interest and keep them coming back for more content, be relatable, tell a joke (or two) and have fun with it.

Which Zoom License Is Best For You

Zooming in on Different License Options

This time last year, you may not have heard of Zoom, or maybe you turned to the platform once in a blue moon. However, if you’re like us, once the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Zoom became an everyday tool, not only for work but also to communicate with friends and family…from a distance. At this point, you’re probably a Zoom Pro and have likely even downloaded a series of backgrounds to go with your virtual conversations. But, how do you know if you’re utilizing the right Zoom license to best fit your workflow needs? Rest assured we have your back. We’re here to help you figure out which Zoom license is right for you.  

Zoom Options – Free or Paidfree and paid Zoom Licenses.

1) Non-Licensed Users

A Basic user is a user without a paid license. This user can host meetings with up to 100 participants, however, if three or more participants join, the meeting will time out after 40 minutes. Additionally, Basic users cannot utilize user and account add-ons such as a large meeting, webinar, or conference room connector. We recommend the Basic option for personal or social use. It’s a great way to keep in touch with your friends and family while we ride out the rest of this pandemic.

2) Licensed Users

A Licensed user is a paid account user who can host unlimited meetings on the public cloud. Compared to non-licensed users, paid licensed users have these additional features available:

  • Customize Personal Meeting ID.
  • Record to the Zoom cloud.
  • Assign an alternative host and allow others to schedule meetings.
  • Utilize account add-ons such as a conference room connector.
  • Be assigned user add-ons such as a large meeting, webinar, or personal audio conference.

There are three different options in regard to paid Zoom licenses. The first option is the Pro license, which is an ideal solution for small teams. With a meeting duration limit of 24 hours, Pro users have access to user management and admin feature controls. There is also an option to purchase up to nine hosts per account, whereas the Basic plan is restricted to one host per account.

Next up is the Business license, which is an ideal option for small to medium size businesses.  Where Basic and Pro are limited to 100 participants, the Business option includes 300 participants, which is a great option for webinar applications. Our favorite feature of the Business plan is the option for customization. You can add your company’s branding to your own customized page where attendees go to join a meeting. You can also create a branded email template to send customized invites to attendees as well as a unique URL (yourcompany.zoom.us).

Lastly, there’s the Enterprise license, which is ideal for large corporations and educational facilities. With unlimited cloud storage, Enterprise includes 500 participants, and for a step beyond, Enterprise Plus includes 1,000 participants. Enterprise users will be matched with a dedicated customer success manager to ensure your platform is always running smoothly. Additionally, this license option offers bundle discounts on Webinar and Zoom Rooms–which will bring us to our next point….

 


Zoom Rooms
Zoom Rooms License Overview

Aside from the fact that it sounds super cool, Zoom Rooms are smart conference rooms that make it easy to run or join video meetings with a tap of a button. With Zoom Rooms, users can seamlessly start a meeting, schedule a meeting and share content with attendees. A Zoom Room utilizes its own PC and hardware, allowing the platform to always be “online” and available to employees. Its native DSP audio processing offers reliable and high-quality audio to enhance the video conferencing experience. Our favorite features of Zoom Rooms include its HD video quality, one-touch to join, one-click wireless sharing capabilities and powerful meeting security to ensure disruption-free sessions.


Let’s Talk Audio
Lets Talk About Microphones

We know what you have to say is important, and we don’t want to miss a word. Combine Zoom’s cloud platform with a microphone best suited to fit your needs in order to enhance the audio quality of your meetings. At MXL, we have a range of UCC microphones that feature USB plug-and-play compatibility with any Mac or PC.

For your individual collaboration needs, our go-to mics are the MXL AC-404 and AC-44. For Zoom Rooms, in particular, check out the MXL AC-360-Z V2.

The AC-404 features a three-capsule design for 25-ft. audio pickup range in a 180° arc, and the AC-404-Z variant comes with an installation kit specific for Zoom Rooms. For a more hip aesthetic, the AC-404-LED  features eight preset color modes, offering a cool range of customizable options including white, yellow, red, green, blue, purple, magenta, and auto-blend. Perfect for limited space applications, such as your work from home setup, the AC-44 offers pristine audio quality in a compact design.

Designed for use in corporate communication settings, the AC-360-Z V2 is compatible with licensed Zoom Rooms software and features 360° of audio pickup for a 25-ft. range. MXL continues to work alongside the Zoom team and tailors its products to work seamlessly with Zoom’s DSP audio processing. This brand partnership also allows customers to take advantage of some exclusive Zoom features, including the upcoming Speaker Switch system. As daily Zoom users ourselves, we are more excited than ever to continue to grow our Zoom-compatible product line.

Need help selecting the best MXL microphone for your specific Zoom-ing needs? We’d be happy to help – reach out to us on any of our social media platforms or email sales@mxlmics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

MXL's Guide To Remote Work

A Guide to Working Remote and Building a Mobile Workspace

It seems like a lifetime ago when we could simply pop by our colleague’s cubicle to ask a question or brainstorm an idea (or you were just looking to chat). With many employees working from home for the foreseeable future, it is crucial to take advantage of the many tools and products available to help improve your remote workflow.

When we first went into lockdown, you likely found yourself transforming a corner of your home into an office space and acquainting yourself with a host of new digital communication platforms. It may have felt like a shock to the system at first, trust me – we get it, and we hope that you have overcome some of the initial hurdles of transitioning to remote work. However, if you’re looking at your makeshift (or nonexistent) workstation and thinking there might be some room for improvement, then you’re in the right place. Let’s take a closer look at how to build the ultimate mobile office to help you thrive while we ride out the rest of this pandemic.

The Remote Worker’s Digital Toolkit

  1. Communication – Let’s start with the basics—how are we going to effectively communicate now that we are no longer in the same room? Don’t worry, speaking with colleagues is still an easily achievable task, it might just take an extra keyboard stroke or mouse click, or two. Conversations that used to take place in person, whether an office meeting or water cooler talk  are now taking place virtually using a range of platforms that include Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and the list goes on. What used to be once-in-a-while tools are now a part of our everyday lives, and we’re okay with that.
  2. Collaboration – Now that your coworker is stationed 40 miles away from you, rather than 40 inches, you won’t be able to simply slide documents across their desk. However, digital services like Dropbox and Google Suite, allow you to seamlessly share your work with colleagues, but instead of moving from desk to desk, your work will move from screen to screen. Added bonus: you’ll save a tree or two.
  3. Task Management – From calendars to to-do lists, there are a ton of digital platforms available that will help you to stay organized while away from the workplace. Some of our favorites include Google Calendar, Trello and ToDoist. Also, to help you connect with clients or customers without double booking, it might be a good idea to download a scheduling platform. We prefer mobile apps including Square and Acuity Scheduling.

 

The Essential Gear


Now that you’re comfortable with all of your digital communication and collaboration platforms, let’s talk gear. Are you frustrated with blurry and echoey video chats? If so, we’re here to help. In addition to a desktop or laptop, there are just a few pieces of gear you’ll need to enhance your virtual communication while working remotely.  
 

  1. Cameras – We did not have much time to plan before going into lockdown, so we won’t blame you for having to resort to your laptop from 2010, which doesn’t have the best camera. But rest assured, there’s a way for you to be seen clearly without breaking the bank for a new computer—all you need is a new camera. Some of our favorite cameras that can be plugged into any computer by USB connection are the Marshall Electronics CV-610 and the Marshall CV503.
  2. Lighting – In addition to a high-quality camera, lighting plays an important role in capturing clear video. While working remotely, no longer confined to an office with florescent lighting, you might be in too dark of a space to be seen clearly during a video conference. Lighting is an easy fix, especially with the Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit. Compatible with both laptops and desktops, Lume Cube’s Panel Mini LED light provides soft and professional illumination with fully adjustable controls.
  3. Microphones – Now we can see you, but the audio isn’t great. At MXL, we understand how important it is to use something other than your computer’s built-in microphone if you want to be heard clearly. Our new AC-44 Conferencing Mic is the perfect solution for your mobile workstation kit. With a compact footprint, crystal clear speech intelligibility, and powered by a USB-C connection, the AC-44 offers a simple plug-and-play solution to enhancing your audio quality on a budget.

To learn more about the MXL AC-44 or for additional tips on how to improve your remote workstation, visit uc.mxlmics.com or feel free to contact us via our contact page or social media.

 

Amwell Enhances Audio Capabilities on its Telemedicine Carts With MXL’s AC-404

Amwell – C250 Telemedicine Cart

The telemedicine industry, and the product manufacturers that support virtual patient care, is experiencing a massive surge in demand amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Amwell, a leading telehealth solutions provider, rose to the challenge by continuing to equip clinicians and patients with the tools needed to continue conducting quality care visits, virtually. As the company searched for an enhanced microphone solution for its C250 Telemedicine Cart, it turned to MXL Microphones’ AC-404 USB-Powered Microphone, which offers pristine audio clarity. For this OEM application, a customized casing mount allows the AC-404 microphone to easily affix to Amwell’s C250 Carepoint via a magnetic connection, simplifying the setup process for users.

Replacing the microphones that previously sat on Amwell’s C250, MXL’s AC-404 is now the company’s primary microphone option for this cart. As a compact solution, the AC-404 meets Amwell’s requirement of integrating a microphone that seamlessly fits within the cart’s worksurface while still providing best-in-class audio performance in challenging acoustic environments. In addition to its small size, Amwell also chose MXL’s AC-404 for its sleek design, which aligns with the overall aesthetic of the C250 Telemedicine Cart.

C250 Telemedicine Cart

Supporting the Nation’s Top Docs

“The value of telehealth has never been clearer than it is today,” says Merrill Roller, Senior Product Manager, Connected Devices, Amwell. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of providers at the nation’s top hospital and health systems depend on telehealth carts to safely meet with patients and ensure that everyone in need of care could access it. Our C250 cart is unique in that it allows hospitals to connect to the Amwell provider network as well as to their own providers, offering access to thousands of specialists on demand. This has been especially critical during the pandemic, as it means that hospitals in geographies with higher patient traffic could leverage additional providers when needed to support the demand.”

Amwell’s C250 cart has consistently been one of the company’s most-loved and well-utilized Carepoints since it was first released. By adding the MXL AC-404 worksurface microphone as a standard accessory, and as telehealth continues to prove its value in the hospital setting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Amwell expects more organizations to turn to its C250 cart to gain access to thousands of virtual care providers across a wide variety of use cases.

The Value in Dependable Solutions

“Feedback from clients has been very strong,” adds Roller. “One client mentioned that the AC-404 with the C250 Carepoint performed better than any other audio solution they have used—even in their CT room, which proves to be a very challenging audio environment. When lives are at stake, the last thing you want to worry about is the reliability of technology, and thankfully, MXL’s AC-404 microphone has provided our clients with dependable audio capabilities, allowing clinicians to accurately assess and listen to patients in order to provide the best care and experience possible.”

Carlos Henriquez Playing Upright Bass

Jazz Bassist Carlos Henriquez Relies on the Revelation II When Recording From Home

Having been raised by a musical family, Carlos Henriquez was destined to find his passion for the performing arts. As a Juilliard Music Advancement Program (MAP) graduate with an impressive resume, Henriquez joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 1998. Over the past 22 years, Henriquez has been touring the world with the orchestra, having been featured on more than 25 albums. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the U.S. in March, Henriquez found himself attempting to record music from home for the first time. In need of a high-quality microphone to capture pristine recordings in his makeshift home studio, Henriquez turned to MXL Microphone’s REVELATION II tube microphone.

Carlos Henriquez holding the MXL Revelation II

Led by internationally acclaimed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra relies solely on acoustics, not using any amplification or monitors while on stage. With this style of recording, microphones are more important than ever. “For our performances, we solely rely on microphones, which are directed by our Acoustic Sound Engineer David Robinson and Audio Engineer Todd Whitelock,” says Henriquez. “When we first began working from home, I had nothing to offer in terms of sound other than my iPhone and laptop. I ended up capturing a couple of recordings on my iPhone, which Todd was able to work with. However, listening back, it was not the high-quality audio that we are accustomed to at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I knew I needed to do something about it.”

 Carlos Henriquez Playing Upright Bass

 

In his search for a quality microphone to integrate into his project studio, Henriquez turned to Whitelock for advice. “Knowing the importance of microphones for acoustic recordings, I asked Todd for a recommendation for my home setup, and he connected me with Trevor from MXL. After chatting with Trevor about my specific needs, he sent me the REVELATION II mic to test out. As soon as the microphone arrived at my house, I was immediately impressed. From the presentation of the package, to the case the REVELATION II comes in, I could tell this was going to be a solid mic.”

In addition to a high-quality microphone solution, Whitelock suggested Henriquez look into a few other pieces of essential gear such as speakers and a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). “With my new REVELATION II microphone incorporated into my project studio, the audio files I was capturing went up twofold in terms of clarity and quality—even Todd was amazed with how clear everything sounded. What really blew us away with the REVELATION II is the ability to change the polar patterns of the mic. We are seamlessly able to swap back and forth between figure eight, omnidirectional, and cardioid polar patterns. This has been extremely helpful, especially while working from home.”

A standout feature of the REVELATION II for Henriquez is its ability to capture an organic Jazz sound. “Sonically, the genre of jazz carries a lot of history and we often find that as technology advances, the historical sound ends up being altered. For Jazz at Lincoln Center, we have been blown away by the true and organic sound that the REVELATION II captures. With MXL, what you hear is what you get, and the mics do a beautiful job of capturing the true jazz sound that we idolize.”

Henriquez also finds the budget-friendly price tag and plug-and-play capabilities of the REVELATION II microphone to be beneficial for project studio recordings. “You could spend thousands of dollars on antique microphone solutions, but then you also have to spend thousands of dollars on the equipment needed to run them. MXL microphones are designed for users to be able to simply plug in and you’re ready to go! This makes it extremely convenient for a musician to record at home and obtain the same sound quality of expensive antique microphones in a professional studio.”

In addition to MXL’s product offerings, Henriquez is also a huge fan of the brand. “I’m in love with MXL as a company. I would tell my friends and colleagues, if you go online and search the reviews for MXL’s microphones, you’re going to see the overwhelming, and well-deserved, positive feedback from the industry. It’s also been really amazing to see how MXL has been able to unite musicians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by providing high-quality and affordable solutions that we can use at home, thus keeping us together musically. With the REVELATION II, I’ve been able to record tracks for other artists and it’s been a really helpful solution and has also been a lot of fun. This is a crucial time in history as we start to find out how companies’ products have a value in bringing people together, and MXL clearly goes above and beyond for its customers. I look forward to continuing to rely on MXL microphones in the years to come.”

How to setup a home studio

How to setup a home recording studio with MXL – even during a quarantine

Once limited to individuals with excess funds and loads of space, recording and mixing music at home is more accessible today than ever. With a few essential pieces of gear and a couple of inches of desk space, you can create your home studio without breaking the bank.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, many individuals found themselves in a position where they had to record/mix tracks at home for the first time. If you didn’t already have a home studio set up, you might have attempted to record music with your phone or laptop microphone, and you may have been disappointed with the audio quality of your tracks. However, we’re fortunate to be living in a time where it’s possible to create a high-quality home recording studio on a budget.  

The Gear You’ll Need

Keep it simple – you only need a few essential pieces of equipment to create a fully functioning, project recording studio in the comfort of your own home:

It All Starts With the Microphone…  

If you want your vocals/instrumentals to sound like they were recorded in a professional studio, microphone selection is everything. This goes back to the phone/laptop recordings you might have attempted when we first went into lockdown – not great, right? If the vocals or instrumentals being captured don’t sound clear and natural at the source, you’re starting off on the wrong foot. The good news: MXL is here to help. With a range of high-quality, affordable, plug-and-play microphone solutions, MXL’s offerings will help you take your music, sound and creativity to the next level.

If You Need a Microphone

You’ve come to the right place. It’s hard to choose favorites, so we won’t, but some of our top-selling microphones for a wide range of recording applications include the MXL 770 and 990 Condenser Microphones. These are a great starting point when building your microphone collection. When choosing a microphone for your project studio or home workspace, it’s also important to keep versatility in mind. Choose a microphone that works well for a range of sounds, including vocals, instrumentals and more, to maximize your investment. Additionally, no matter which microphone you choose for your project studio, it’s also a good idea to invest in a pop filter and quality shockmount.

To get the essential gear you need in an all-in-one package, check out our microphone bundles, which offer recording flexibility and increased performance. With various options to choose from, including the MXL 770 and 990 complete bundles and the 770X multi-pattern condenser microphone package, these special offers provide the perfect combination of quality, flexibility, and value for any project recording studio. To provide our customers with all the essentials, each of these bundles comes with a shockmount, pop filter and 20 ft. balanced XLR cable.  

home studio with mxl 990

If You Already Have a Microphone

Already in love with your current mic, but can’t plug it into your computer? We have a solution – the MXL USB Mic Mate® Pro is a versatile and convenient microphone adapter that effectively converts your existing mic into a USB microphone, so you don’t have to buy a new mic to use at home. Simply plug it in and instantly start recording without having to install any special drivers.

Beyond the Microphone

After you have selected a microphone, you want to think about how you will get your sound into the computer. An audio interface takes your microphone or instrument analog signal and converts that audio to a digital signal. Some of our favorites include the Focusrite Scarlett, EVO Audio and Universal Audio (UA) Arrow.
Audient Evo Audio Interface
Once you have an interface selected, you’ll need a DAW to record into. There are many types of DAWs on the market – some are free (i.e. Garage Band and Audacity) and some are quite expensive. We suggest doing some research to find the one that best fits your recording needs. Some popular options include Pro Tools, Logic and Ableton.

Headphones or Speakers, or Both

Depending on your audio interface, you will have control of headphones and/or studio monitors. If you’re in a large space where noise is not an issue, a larger pair of studio monitors may be your best bet. If you’re in a small, shared apartment, you may have to stick to headphones only. Either way, there are a range of options on the market.

Some headphone we like:
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
AIAIAI
Sony MDR-7506

In terms of studio monitors, our favorites include:
KRK ROKIT G4
IK Multimedia iLoud
Barefoot Footprint02s


And don’t forget about cables! We are a bit biased, but we prefer Mogami. Learn more about them here.

Need help choosing the best MXL microphone solution for your specific home studio recording needs? Please visit www.mxlmics.com for additional information, or give us a shout at sales@mxlmics.com and one of our team members can help you with your audio needs.

AC-404 Feature

When Clarity Matters, The AC-404 is a Reliable Part of Indico Systems Evidence Recording Systems

Indico Systems is globally changing the way industries record and mobilize digital evidence recordings in a secure, efficient and productive manner.

Through innovative software development, Indico has digitalized processes and procedures to improve the performance of recording suspect, witness and victim interviews, as well as interrogations and court sessions. Hundreds of customers around the world, including police forces, children’s safe houses, courts, military, hospitals, audit firms and the United Nations rely on the company’s solutions to provide accurate records of their operations. To capture pristine audio recordings, the company turns to MXL Microphones’ AC-404 USB-Powered Microphone.

To deliver Indico’s solution to users around the world, the company installs their ‘Recorder’ software onto a laptop, which gets packed into a portable case along with USB cameras and MXL’s AC-404 USB-Powered Microphone, for a truly plug-and-play solution. “When looking for camera and microphone solutions to integrate with our software, we knew USB-powered devices were the way to go, this way there are no additional power sources needed,” says Stig Knutsen, CEO of Indio Systems. “You simply plug your camera and microphone into the laptop, which has the ‘Recorder’ software previously installed, and you’re ready to go.”

When searching for a USB-powered microphone, choosing MXL’s AC-404 was a no-brainer for Knutsen due to its high voice intelligibility.

“When recording audio files such as interrogations and interviews to be used as evidence in court rooms, it is extremely important to capture crystal-clear, unfiltered sound. We tested out several USB microphones, but other manufacturer’s solutions could not compare to the high-quality audio of the MXL AC-404. Other mics’ recordings were much lower, and a lot more muffled. Once we heard the MXL mic, we immediately knew that was the mic for us.”

Indico Systems Portable Recorder System

Another benefit of MXL’s AC-404 USB-Powered mic for Indico Systems is its range of audio pickup. “Our customers are often surprised that they only need one microphone to capture the interview recording,” says Knutsen. “The AC-404 does an amazing job of capturing multiple sources of audio without an issue. Even if the interviewee gets up and starts walking around while talking, we can rely on the AC-404 to pick up an even and clear sound throughout the process. Whether the person is speaking right next to the microphone or on the other side of the room, the recordings always sound great.”

For Indico Systems, it is crucial that they provide their customers with an extremely reliable and durable microphone solution. “We have over 2,000 MXL AC-404 mics, and we are constantly packing, unpacking, and shipping them around the globe, so rigidity was also super important to us when choosing a microphone,” adds Knutsen. “The durable all-metal construction of the AC-404 has helped to ensure that when our customers unpack their kit, they are receiving a microphone in perfect condition. The MXL AC-404 is a solid microphone, and it always works. We are looking forward to trying out other solutions that MXL has to offer!”

The AC-404 captures crystal clear speech intelligibility for a variety of applications with easy plug-and-play USB connectivity and a low-profile design. Three microphone capsules in a surface-mount boundary form deliver a 180-degree pickup pattern with a 25′ range, making it ideal for conference rooms, courtrooms, connected classrooms and more. Designed to simply rest on any flat surface, the AC-404 is now available in white and black and its discrete and convenient design makes it the perfect solution for everyday use.

Learn more about Indico Systems here

Learn more about MXL’s AC-404 and other solutions here

Cooper Surles and Ross Stripling of the Big Swing Podcast

“The Big Swing” finds success podcasting with the MXL BCD-1

Breaking down barriers between athletes and fans, Ross Stripling and Cooper Surles launched “The Big Swing” podcast in January 2019 to discuss everything from sports to pop culture to finance, with a focus on all things baseball. When the co-hosts were looking to deploy a high-quality microphone solution to capture crystal-clear audio for their podcast, they found exactly what they were searching for with MXL MicrophonesBCD-1 Live Broadcast Dynamic Microphone.

“In our first few months of podcasting, audio was the biggest challenge for us,” says Stripling. “Once we were able to deploy the MXL mics and put them in front of each speaker, our audio went up twofold – the sound quality of MXL’s BCD-1 is incomparable to the previous solution we were using.”

The Big Swing Podcast with Justin Turner, Cooper Surles and Ross Stripling
(Pictured left to right): Cooper Surles, Los Angeles Dodgers’ Pitcher Ross Stripling and Los Angeles Dodgers’
Third Baseman Justin Turner

For Surles and Stripling, it is also important to have a portable and durable microphone solution as they travel from place to place recording “The Big Swing” podcast remotely. “When we travel, I keep the mics in my carry on, which gets thrown around a great deal, and while my luggage takes a real beating, the MXL mics remain in perfect working condition no matter what,” says Stripling. “They’re definitely durable and they’ve been exactly what we need.”

Additionally, as Stripling and Surles have no prior experience with professional audio equipment, it was crucial that they deploy a truly plug-and-play microphone solution for “The Big Swing” podcast. “When we first launched, we struggled a little bit to figure out some of the other hardware we were using, but with MXL’s BCD-1 mics, they’ve been so easy to work with,” says Surles. “We pulled them out of the box, plugged them in and they worked like a charm from the start.”

Surles and Stripling have become fans of MXL as a brand, finding their customer service to be extremely helpful and dependable. “It’s clear that MXL puts an emphasis on the creators and the people using their mics,” says Stripling. “They are available to us whenever we need additional equipment or have any questions about how we can use their product more efficiently. It’s been a huge help to have this relationship with MXL and we look forward to continuing to rely on the BCD-1 for all of our podcasting needs.”

MXL’s BCD-1 is an end-address dynamic microphone with warm, rich tones designed to make vocals stand out in any recording or live performance application. With a tuned grill that eliminates internal reflections and a built-in shock mount that prevents unwanted noise, the BCD-1 is an ideal solution for capturing crystal-clear audio in a variety of settings. Additionally, its built-in swivel mount allows for perfect positioning when combined with the optional MXL BCD-Stand.

Be sure to tune into The Big Swing Podcast!

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WFH – How to improve your audio when working from home

In these bizarre times in our world, many of us find ourselves relying on our computers for communication. Like anything in technology, there are hurdles and difficulties. The camera is too dark, too bright, choppy connection, audio is fuzzy.

Here at MXL, we want to share information to help you improve your audio when working from home or just catching up with friends and family over a video conference.

Common issue/question:

Why does the microphone on my laptop or computer sound so bad and echoey?

At MXL, we often get customers looking for an upgrade in their web conferencing experience. We constantly hear things like “the sound is always so echoey” or “everyone sounds so far away.” We even had a customer ask, “Do computer manufacturers just not care about good audio?”

There are many reasons why users have these kinds of experiences, and we’ll try not to bore you with too many details. Typically the microphone in a computer is there to pick up audio; that is it. It’s a function and less about the quality of that function. This is similar to a steak from a sketchy roadside diner vs. the best cut of meat you have ever had from your favorite steak house.

In addition to microphone quality and steaks, the main issue with built-in microphones has to do with physics and something called Critical Distance. In a simplified form, Critical Distance is the distance at which the reflections and reverberations of a direct sound, equal or exceed the volume of the direct sound from the sound source.

Example: When you start to hear more of your voice bouncing off the walls in your office than direct sound, this is what can make it sound like someone is in a bathroom when they are on a web chat.

In a 10×10 room (bedroom or office), the critical distance of a sound to a source can be as short as 9.6″.

Unless you are sitting with your face pressed against your computer screen, you are likely more than 9.6″ from the microphone. Your computer microphone is going to be picking up as much if not more indirect sound (the echoey bathroom sound) than the direct sound.

How do we solve this? Get the microphone closer to you by using an external USB microphone.

MXL AC-404The AC404 is a USB boundary microphone. A boundary microphone uses a flat surface to avoid acoustic issues and enhance the audio (this is an oversimplified explanation). Using an external microphone also allows you to place a microphone right in front of you instead of far away at the top of your laptop screen.

In addition to those benefits in a mic like the AC404, we are using high-quality capsules, components, and circuitry, all tuned for the human voice to enhance clear communication.

For all of these reasons, many people already use external microphones or headsets for web conferencing for work or just catching up.

The MXL AC404 is plug and play with pretty much any computer capable of running a video conference. Adding an external USB microphone to your workspace should be hassle-free, and you’ll impress everyone with your improved audio quality.

MXL offers a few versions of the AC404; the differences are primarily cosmetic. Here is some info about them below:

 MXL AC404 – The base model AC404 mic

MXL AC404 White – The base model AC404 mic in white

MXL AC404 LED – LED version of the AC404. You can change the LED color with a dial under the base. Very cool for gaming.

MXL AC404Z – AC404 for Zoom applications, and it comes with a few accessories that integrators and installers prefer.

If you arent using one already, an external microphone can significantly improve the audio quality of your voice on web conferences, recordings, and presentations. Be sure to check out the AC404 and some of our other products.

MXL Greetings From California – Available Now!

MXL Microphones Pays Homage To Classic West Coast Styles

Greetings From California

The limited-edition Greetings From California Microphone Series Features Restyled Versions of MXL’s top-selling Condenser Microphones: the MXL 770, MXL 990 and MXL Tempo USB microphone.

For a limited time, alternate versions of the MXL 770 will be offered in Sky Blue and Vintage White, the MXL 990 in Coral and Surf Green, and the MXL Tempo, a USB-powered condenser microphone, in Surf Green.

“The new Greetings From California series microphones are a classic west coast take on MXL’s top-selling microphones,” states Trevor Fedele, Director of Sales at MXL Microphones. “We drew from California beach and surf culture to reimagine these microphones as if they accompanied musicians and artists on a trek down the historic Highway 1.”

MXL Tempo Surf Lifestyle Image 1

The new Greetings From California microphone series will debut in the MXL booth at the upcoming NAMM 2020 Show at the Anaheim Convention Center, Jan. 16-19, exhibiting at Booth #14302.

Contact your local MXL Dealer for more info.  Dealer Locator