The working from home thread: tips and advice

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  • Ordered
    Ta!

  • Yep...bought something very similar off Amazon and it makes a huge difference tucking the laptop(s) behind the side of the monitor!

  • am i the only one who wants to have a conference call with @Velocio just to see and hear how he sounds/looks?

    I've had one and I can report that it is all very good. Lighting/camera is great but what struck me most was the sound quality, can't really describe it but it just seemed to be completely "distraction free".

    I'm currently working on an update to my WFH setup as I'll be starting work again in November, current shopping list includes:

    • Elgato Key Light (my existing Ikea Tertial with 4000K bulb makes do for now but I'd like more control)
    • Probably a Mini Stream Deck for: on/off, brightness +/-, colour temp +/-, and the 6th button for mute
    • Elgato Wave 1 Mic and mic arm
    • Possible Logitech C920 HD cam

    Plus a new keyboard (a wired Filco Majestouch 2 TKL Ninja with Cherry MX Silent Red), will keep my existing wireless Majestouch for my personal laptop.

  • This tiny Bluetooth 50+50 W amplifier for £18 off Ebay plus 1991's hottest bookshelf speakers Wharfedale Diamond IV and an old mobile phone = budget streaming excellence

    It's even called Nobsound

  • I did the same for my dad, same spakers too. He was very pleased

  • What are people using to hang headphones from their desk (that doesn't require screwing things in)?

  • Did someone mention a company that does mail order nice cuts of wood cut to size? For a desktop.

    Was discussing in pub last night and neither of us could remember. Am I making it up?

  • cutwrights.com do cutting of various sheet materials

  • Thanks!

  • Can you recommend a budget audio interface and mic I could use?

    Interested in improving the quality of work calls from my end. Currently using a headset but it's not great in a presentational sense

  • Depends on the budget. You can get an Elgato Wave 1 for £90 or so.

    (Mine is still on order as Scan are awaiting a delivery of the Elgato Key Light I've ordered.)

  • ^ I'd second that one.

  • Out of curiosity how to you prevent any feedback between the speakers and mic?

    Is it just placement?

  • tl;dr Type of mic and positioning. Buy a dynamic cardioid mic.

    First look for polar patterns.

    Attached is the polar pattern for the mic I have, a Shure SM7B. The vocalist (you) is at zero degrees (the bottom), and the polar pattern shows how it lets sound in... mostly from "in front of the mic" and very little from the side and nothing from the back.

    With that in mind, positioning of the mic. Basically... within a couple of inches of your mouth. It's closer than you'll initially find comfortable.

    Once you have those two things you know where to put the speakers. For me it's behind the mic, approx 150' in each direction... which is great as that means either side of my display. But for some microphones that have a Figure 8 / North and South polar pattern (i.e. great for interviews where a person sits each side of a desk) the speakers should be more at the side than behind.

    My mic does not pic up my speakers at all, even though the speakers are set to a natural volume as if the person were clearly talking and close. However... if I wear open back headphones my mic does pic that up... even though they only leak a modest amount they do so right in front of the mic.

    So polar patterns are what you want to look for, and it's typically the type of mic that dictates that.

    Note that for the Elgato Wave that was recommended, this also has a heart shaped polar pattern which focuses on the vocalist / you. Unfortunately Elgato are crappy in the one respect that they don't publish that, but the more technical reviews do show it: https://www.soundguys.com/elgato-wave3-r­eview-34439/

    The heart shaped pattern is typically called Cardioid, and you can read about polar patterns here: https://chrissoundlab.com/what-is-a-card­ioid-microphone/ . This does illustrate a point though, something like a conference call microphone initially sounds like it's the right choice for home working. However it's usually omnidirectional and it's a bad choice for home working as it picks up echoes, speakers, stuff in the next room. Cardioid / heart shaped polar patterns are best, and isolate your voice so long as you are close to the mic and also make speaker placement easy.


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  • thanks @Velocio and @Greenbank

    any suggestions for an audio interface? It needs to be something where the hardware is doing the work - I can't install anything on my laptop for security reasons.

    Right now I use a switchable USB hub to avoid having to move my peripherals around when i switch between work laptop and home PC, so something USB would be ideal i think

  • Can you do USB-C or not?
    Is your microphone an XLR cabled one or not?

    If you can do USB-C and you have an XLR mic... then any of these are great (ranked in order of greatness).

  • Absolutely love all this stuff but get myself in a muddle working out how I'm going to cable it all up! Got a personal desktop, work laptop, some powered speakers, microphone and a laptop dock. Would love a proper audio interface, but my brain, it hurts.

  • I have one of these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behringer-UMC22­-Computer-Audio-Interface/dp/B00FFIGZF6
    Cheap, but does phantom power and works pretty well actually. Is regular USB rather than USB-C

  • I've used this cheap-ass one for running mixer input/output to PC:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behringer-UCA20­2-U-Control-low-latency-Interface/dp/B00­0KW2YEI/

    I think it's still kicking around here and you can have it if you want to try it out @gillies

  • no usb c on current switching hub but could be convinced to switch that. Mic is tbd but the elgato wave 1 seems reasonably priced.

  • That's a lovely offer . Would something like this work for my purposes @Velocio ?

  • Fucksake. It's not where it's supposed to be. Missus might've ebayed it in the Great Cull of '21.
    I've asked her but she on some team building shit it in a wood somewhere. If I can find it you can have it.

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The working from home thread: tips and advice

Posted by Avatar for andyp @andyp

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