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Author Topic: Good USB mic for RPi?  (Read 848 times)

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DaOld Man

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Good USB mic for RPi?
« on: May 25, 2017, 06:21:41 am »
I searched for a topic discussing this (Its late so I didnt search real hard, sorry to say), but couldnt find what I need to know.
Also searched the web with not a lot results that worked like I want it to.

I am working on another Photobooth using the RPi.
The photobooth that also makes short videos
What is the best microphone for the Pi? The ones I have tried only pick up good if you are no more than a few inches from it. This needs to pick up good from a couple or three feet away.
On my last one I used a USB sound card thinggy with audio out and mic in. The desk microphone I used for it picked up fairly well, but not as good as I would like.
I would like to just use a mic that plugs into the USB port.

Any suggestions?

ark_ader

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 02:31:07 pm »
I just use a plantronics headset.  The mic works really well, as I use it with asterisk.  Sometimes we can over complicate our needs.  Best to KISS.   ;)
"I really do feel pity for those who go out of their way to perform a personal slight, than taking the effort in joining the conversation and creating some useful dialogue which would benefit the persons' perusal of this topic.  Yet where would we be without the persistant antagonist?"

DaOld Man

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2017, 09:27:31 am »
Thanks ark adder. How does the mic on your headset pick up from 2-4 feet away?
The mic im using right now picks up pretty good if you are just a few inches away from it, but from a distance of a few feet it is very low and hard to hear when you play it back.
Im building a photobooth that will have a "make a short video" option, so the mic needs to be clear from a few feet away.
I heard PS Eye was good, so I bought one (they are dirt cheap right now anyway), but couldnt get it to listen loud either.
I have exhausted a lot of time trying to find the answer on the web, by adjusting the alsa and arecord commands, etc.
Nothing I have found works.
I know it's probably something simple about the RPi settings, but Im about to give up.
RPi can be very user un-friendly at times.

yotsuya

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Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2017, 01:16:08 pm »
Thanks ark adder. How does the mic on your headset pick up from 2-4 feet away?
The mic im using right now picks up pretty good if you are just a few inches away from it, but from a distance of a few feet it is very low and hard to hear when you play it back.
Im building a photobooth that will have a "make a short video" option, so the mic needs to be clear from a few feet away.
I heard PS Eye was good, so I bought one (they are dirt cheap right now anyway), but couldnt get it to listen loud either.
I have exhausted a lot of time trying to find the answer on the web, by adjusting the alsa and arecord commands, etc.
Nothing I have found works.
I know it's probably something simple about the RPi settings, but Im about to give up.
RPi can be very user un-friendly at times.

It's not the Pi's fault, it's the type of mic you're using.

Try googling something like this: Audio-Technica ATR 4697 Microphone - Omni-Directional
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 01:18:31 pm by yotsuya »
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05SRT4

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2017, 04:48:47 pm »
Wouldn't a webcam, mic work for this? Something like a Logitech C920

DaOld Man

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2017, 05:48:16 pm »
yotsua: Thanks for your suggestion. But that mic didnt get many good reviews on amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATR-4697-Omnidirectional-Condenser-Microphone/dp/B002GR7INW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497821955&sr=8-1&keywords=audio-technica+atr4697

05SRT4: Thanks, but I did try a cheap webcam, same results, and the PS3 eye, same results.
That web cam looks promising, but 62 bucks, ouch!
If I knew for sure it would work Id splurge for it, (I already have the Pi camera, so the cam part of it would be wasted anyway.)

yotsuya

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 01:04:02 am »
yotsua: Thanks for your suggestion. But that mic didnt get many good reviews on amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATR-4697-Omnidirectional-Condenser-Microphone/dp/B002GR7INW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497821955&sr=8-1&keywords=audio-technica+atr4697

05SRT4: Thanks, but I did try a cheap webcam, same results, and the PS3 eye, same results.
That web cam looks promising, but 62 bucks, ouch!
If I knew for sure it would work Id splurge for it, (I already have the Pi camera, so the cam part of it would be wasted anyway.)

Well, its not so much that specific model, but the omnidirectional style of mic that you will need.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

DaOld Man

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 07:37:47 pm »
Thanks Yot,
I ordered one of those cheap usb sound card thingies that have a mic and a speaker jack.
Im probably shooting myself in the foot by going with the cheap stuff,  but I hate to sink a lot of money into something that I have no idea will work any better.
At least with this device I have the option of trying different "regular" mics.

If I find something that works like I want, I promise to post it here to maybe save someone else a lot of grief and money.


ark_ader

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2017, 04:05:44 pm »
Thanks Yot,
I ordered one of those cheap usb sound card thingies that have a mic and a speaker jack.
Im probably shooting myself in the foot by going with the cheap stuff,  but I hate to sink a lot of money into something that I have no idea will work any better.
At least with this device I have the option of trying different "regular" mics.

If I find something that works like I want, I promise to post it here to maybe save someone else a lot of grief and money.

Use a xbox 360 Kinect with a powered hub.  https://github.com/xxorde/librekinect
"I really do feel pity for those who go out of their way to perform a personal slight, than taking the effort in joining the conversation and creating some useful dialogue which would benefit the persons' perusal of this topic.  Yet where would we be without the persistant antagonist?"

DaOld Man

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2017, 09:56:08 am »
Update:
I got the USB sound card (cheap off ebay. HDE 7.1 sound system, I think).
I have mic from a pair of headphones plugged into it, and my desktop PC speakers.
The sound is much better, but not sure if it is good enough for a photobooth yet, may have to experiment with other mics till I get one I like.

I have been spending a LOT of time troubleshooting a problem I had in my photobooth python program.
It is set up so a user can select to make a photo or video.
If video is selected, video records while displaying on screen, and sound is recorded.
I merge the video and audio files using ffmpeg, into one .mkv video file
Then a review (with sound) is displayed so the user can see how it turned out.
I was having a problem playing the video file. Video showed but no sound.
I searched all over the net for a possible cause and tried about a ga-zillion things, nothing worked.
When played back on my windows pc, the video and audio both worked.
When played on the pi terminal, using mplayer, played good. (Im using mplayer to play the video in my python code.)
Just when I tried to play it from the photobooth program in the video review, no sound.

I finally noticed that the usb sound card has a green light that flashes when the card is being accessed.
Then I noticed the card began flashing as soon as my photobooth program started, and didnt stop flashing until I quit the program.
So after searching through my code, I found the card was being accessed by Pygame, a module I use to display screens in my photobooth program.
I wasnt intentionally accessing the sound with pygame, evidently it does it itself.

Man this could have saved many hours of work if I had just paid attention to the light on the sound card from the start. Oh well, you live you learn.
Anyway, to fix it it, I simply installed this command in my code:

pygame.mixer.quit()

Inserted after my first pygame.init() command.

Now back to my microphone trials!

(Note: RPi: thou are as fickle as a kept woman!)

DaOld Man

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 05:56:08 pm »
Another update:
Just picked up two Archer electret mike elements (PC mount Catalog # 270-090 or 270-0090).
Guy at radio shack knocked couple bucks off because judging from the packaging they had been around his store for a while.
Hooked one of them to a 3.5mm stereo audio plug I had laying around.
This mic picks up much better than the first usb mic I tried.
Even though I am using only one mic, the recorded sound plays back through both speakers, so Im thinking the input to the usb soundcard is probably mono.
May hook the other mic up the the other channel of the plug, just to see what happens with two mics picking up sound.

DaOld Man

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Re: Good USB mic for RPi?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 09:53:02 pm »
The Radio Shack electret mikes work pretty good.
Though they dont pick up small noises like a spy mic would, I think they will work for my photobooth project.
Probably dont need mics that will pick up a lot of background noise anyway. This could be annoying if using the photobooth at a party.
The mics were PC mount, so I soldered them to a audio cable and cleaned it up with some heat shrink tubing.
Here is a picture of the mics, and the USB sound card I bought.


  
 

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