• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Connecting regular headset to XLR audio interface (Focusrite Scarlett)

Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
7
#1
TLDR; Can I use the Rode VXLR+ to connect my headset microphone to an XLR interface. If not, is are there other options?

I'm currently just using a fairly basic headset for my work from home. It has the regular (TTRS?) plug in one end that goes into the computer for both sound and microphone.

Now I want to improve sound quality, both in and out.

As I already have a Scarlett Focusrite, I would very much like to use it. That way I don't have to buy another box that does basically the same thing. I would also prefer to keep using my current headset as it is "good enough" for me right now.

So the question becomes - is there a decent way to connect my headset to the Focusrite Scarlett? I have the splitter from TTRS to 3.5 mm sound and microphone. Would something like the Rode VXLR+ do the job for the microphone?
 

AnalogSteph

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
1,385
Likes
1,245
Location
.de
#2
TL;DR: Basically yes... but is it worth it?

With a 3.5 mm TRRS (female) > 2x TRS (male) splitter, this should basically work (assuming the headset mic is of the analog variety). More contacts to potentially go wrong, of course.

That said, the money you would be spending on your adapter solution could also be put towards a decent, still inexpensive XLR mic setup:
You can get a Behringer XM8500 + cable + stand bundle for 33€, not a whole lot more than the VXLR+ would cost (maybe add a foam windscreen as you are likely to be very close to the mic, and choose a stand or arm according to your placement needs). This is likely to sound better than your average headset mic already... the XM8500's main downside is little rejection of handling noise since the capsule is not shock-mounted, but in stationary use it's pretty good and belies its price tag in terms of sound.
With slightly deeper pockets, you may be basing something around a budget condenser like Marantz Pro MPM1000, Superlux E205 or t.bone SC400 and start sounding downright fancy. (Note, I have found that you can easily place a condenser mic at an angle so it faces your mouth but you are talking past it, making a pop screen sort of redundant. I am (mis)using one to keep the mic stand from sagging these days. Oh, and the shock mount that comes with the SC400 is sort of debatable, some DIY initiative may be needed to make it actually do its job.)
Obviously, the sky is the limit - you could spend 150 for e.g. an AT2035 and it would still be worth it... about 300-400 is probably going to be the absolute maximum for most of us, not to mention that you really want an acoustically optimized space by this point.

The VXLR+ is mostly intended for situations where you already shelled out for a fancy video mic (maybe a shotgun) and would like to make use of that.
 
OP
C
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
7
Thread Starter #3
With slightly deeper pockets, you may be basing something around a budget condenser like Marantz Pro MPM1000, Superlux E205 or t.bone SC400...
Thanks for the info and advice. I am sorely tempted to go for a somewhat better mic now! (Trust this forum to always make you increase your budget :D )

One question about microphones though. Can I have one mounted somewhere on my desk and have people hear what I'm saying even if I lean back in my chair or otherwise change position a bit? How bad will traffic noise and similar be? I'm not talking perfect sound here, just not worse than using the 50 euro gaming headset.
 

AnalogSteph

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
1,385
Likes
1,245
Location
.de
#4
One question about microphones though. Can I have one mounted somewhere on my desk and have people hear what I'm saying even if I lean back in my chair or othe Thisrwise change position a bit? How bad will traffic noise and similar be? I'm not talking perfect sound here, just not worse than using the 50 euro gaming headset.
All very valid concerns that may complicate things a bit.

Mic placement on the desk itself generally is not ideal and not recommended. If possible, I would try to accommodate multiple positions via rotation of the mic stand or an articulating arm mounted to the desk... have a look at what's available. (As always, you get what you pay for. Cheapie arms tend to be short, flimsy and not very durable... I think the Tonor T20 is about the cheapest worth recommending.)
Dynamic vocal mics (like the XM8500) are generally placed at a very short distance from the mouth, maybe 5 cm or so. This plus their cardioid pattern tends to keep ambient noise at bay, and the increase in bass due to proximity effect is leveled out by a dropoff in their frequency response and an accentuated treble range. This also means they'll sound thin at distance.
Your typical cardioid large(-ish) diaphragm condenser would typically be spoken into from 10 to 30 cm or so, depending on room reverb levels, ambient noise levels (how much of a problem is traffic noise for you?) and how bassy you want to sound.
Those with a barely treated or noisy room who do not want to be glued to their dynamic vocal mic will often be opting for a broadcast dynamic mic suitable for larger, more condenser-like distances... unfortunately a Rode Procaster (169€) is about the cheapest I would recommend.
You can get a lavalier (clip-on) microphone with XLR, but you're generally talking >100€ there as well (e.g. AKG C417PP)... not popular enough a genre, I guess.
For a substantial distance (like ~1 m or even more), the go-to mic type would be a shotgun... but those generally are the most expensive of the bunch - the really good-sounding ones tend to cost 600-1000€, an AT897 at still >200 probably is near the absolute minimum, those below 100 generally sound bad for one reason or another.
 
OP
C
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
7
Thread Starter #6
Thanks for the in depth and for me very interesting info. Also great with some recommendations and examples for microphones for the different types. Much appreciated!

As I spend 4-6 hours a day in Video conferences these days, improving sound and picture really does interest me. But as I am using it over shaky internet with other participants using either just built in laptop camera + mic or at the very best a cheap gaming headset; I'm not sure how much sense it makes for me to get really good stuff. Although now you got me thinking it's probably just a matter of time...

But as we want to record a bit of music/song anyway might as well get one of the above mentioned mics and try it out for office use as well :)
 

LTig

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,156
Likes
4,985
Location
Europe
#7
One question about microphones though. Can I have one mounted somewhere on my desk and have people hear what I'm saying even if I lean back in my chair or otherwise change position a bit? How bad will traffic noise and similar be? I'm not talking perfect sound here, just not worse than using the 50 euro gaming headset.
I use a Beyer Dynamik MCE 86SII for Video conferences. This is a highly directive mic positioned about 50 cm away from my head. Due to this distance I can move quite a bit without loss of intelligibility, and the influence of the room on the sound is not too high (room is small and dry though). Once a conversation partner told me that I did sound like a news speaker.
 
Top Bottom