Occasionally I'm asked for recommendations of the tools and equipment I use.
Home-working workstation #
- Klim Chroma Gaming Keyboard UK layout - £21
- When I was working in an open-plan office, my colleagues were easily able to tell when I was writing an email on the "standard" HP keyboard, and I was often asked if I was angry with it! Now working from home, sharing an office space with my wife, I thought that a quieter keyboard would be appropriate. It does have garish backlit keys (which I've turned off), and that means that the keycaps are quite faint, encouraging good typing habits.
- Logitech K120 - £8
- I happily used this before upgrading to the Klim keyboard above. It's an excellent keyboard, although noticeably louder when typing.
Laptop stand #
- Kensington Laptop Stand - £14
- This is such a simple solution - a well-made piece of plastic, adjustable to multiple heights, meaning that I didn't need to buy a second monitor in order to have the screen at the right height.
- Dell UltraSharp U2412M monitor - 1920x1200 resolution - £205
- I'm quite "old-school", and if I have to work with widescreen monitors with a 1920x1080 resolution, miss the extra 120 pixels at the bottom of the screen. I'd much rather have a single 1920x1200 monitor, next to a laptop on a stand, than a pair of 1920x1080 monitors.
Docking station #
- Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station for Windows - £79
- If you have a laptop with USB 3.0, then I highly recommend this, as it means only a single cable to plug in, to get access to keyboard, mouse, webcam, speakers, and especially, monitor.
Audio equipment #
USB audio #
- Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone - £55 - it was this review on YouTube from Christopher Randall that convinced me.
XLR audio #
- Zoom H5 Portable Recorder - £195
- Behringer XM8500 Ultravoice Dynamic Microphone - £16
- Samson SAMD5 Desktop Microphone Stand - £14
- No Bull XLR to XLR cable - £8
- In a range of length and colours, so that you can easily tell channel 1 from channel 2.
Audio - what I didn't buy #
- Inline pre-amp. This YouTube video - Do you really need a Cloudlifter or FetHead kept me from nerding out and buying additional equipment. I had started to read blogs which were suggesting a filter - either the the Cloudlifter - £269 which adds 25dB, or the Triton FetHead - £66 which adds 22dB.
- How good is the pre-amp in your audio recorder? (He compares the -130dBu reduction of the Fethead with the -120.5dBu on the Zoom H5)
- He then compares the much more expensive Shure SM7B - £379. Because of their sensitivities (-59 dBV/PA for the SM7B vs -50 dBV/Pa for the XM8500), we learn:
- SM7B required a gain setting on the Zoom of 7.0
- XM8500 required a gain setting on the Zoom of 5.5
- He helpfully summarises in non-technical language:
the electrical signal coming out of the XM8500 will be about 9 decibels higher in amplitude out of the SM7B. This way, you do not have to use as much amplication with the XM8500 as you do with the SM7B, and thus can get a lower noise floor.