Gadget Show Off: My Presentation and Recording Equipment for Surface Pro 4

OK, it’s Friday night, I feel like writing something on this blog. But after couple of glasses of wine, and I don’t really want to write anything technical that requires too much brain power. So I picked an easy topic for tonight. I have been using a Creative Sound Blaster Bluetooth Pre-Amp and a lapel microphone to record my in-person community presentations. Based on my experience, the recording quality from that device is very average. Last weekend, after I recorded my presentation at Global Azure Bootcamp, I have decided to ditch it and look for a better solution. Over the last few days, I spent some time looking for a new Bluetooth microphone to replace the sound blaster device.

For those who know me well, I can be seen as a gadget man. I like playing with gadgets. after few days of research, I ended up with a Sony ECM-AW4 Bluetooth microphone from eBay. In order to test it, I connected all required equipment on my Surface Pro 4, and created a dummy presentation on this very same topic (My presentation and recording equipments for Surface 4), then presented using these equipments and recorded it using Camtasia. You can watch the recording on YouTube:

To summarise, I am using the following devices during the presentation:

1. Sony Bluetooth Microphone ECM-AW4 (http://www.sony.com.au/product/ecm-aw4)

Sony Mic

Although this device is designed for digital cameras and camcorders, it works with your smart phones and computers. There are some noticeable features:

  • range support up to 50 metres
  • supports external lapel microphones
  • supports headphones – for private communication between the camera man (via the receiver mic) and the person in the camera (via the headphone connected to the Bluetooth mic). this communication is not recorded / passed to the recording device.
  • comes with a wind screen to be used to cover the microphone when shooting outside in a windy condition
  • comes with an arm band which allows you to attach the mic on your arm.

 

2. Audio-Technica AT9903 lapel microphone (http://audio-technica.com.au/products/at9903/)

mic

I’m connecting this mic to the Sony Bluetooth mic only because I have already got it. I’ve also tried using the Bluetooth mic without this external lapel mic, the quality is also pretty good.

3. Creative Sound Blaster Play!2 USB Sound Card (http://au.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-play-2)

sound card

I had to purchase this USB sound card for my Surface Pro 4 because the 3.5mm audio jack on my Surface does not support microphones. I also have a Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 ultrabook, unfortunately, it is the same case on the Yoga Pro laptop. So no matter which computer do I use for the presentation, I will have to get a USB sound card. Therefore I bought this one because I have been using Creative Sound Blaster external sound cards for many years (right now I have 2 on my desk for 2 NUCs that I’m using as my day-to-day PCs), and this one is very compact – just like a USB dongle.

4. Logitech R800 Presenter (http://business.logitech.com/en-us/product/professional-presenter-r800-business)

presenter

In my opinion, this is a must-have device for all your presentations. It is certainly very popular as I’ve seen many of my MVP friends using the very same device.

5. USB 3 Hub

USB hub

Because Surface Pro 4 only has one USB port and I need to connect both the presenter receiver and the Bluetooth Microphone Receiver to it, I have to use a USB hub. I’ve got this Inateck USB 3 Hub with GB Ethernet adapter few years ago for my old Surface Pro 2. It’s good that it still works without having to install any drivers on Surface Pro 4 running Windows 10.

So, I know many of my MVP friends present in many user group meetings, not sure if anyone has come up with other solutions for recording these in-person presentations. I’m pretty happy with this setup I came up with. Overall, it’s very compact, I don’t need to carry too many additional devices with me. If you are looking to achieve something similar, I hope you find this post and the YouTube video useful.

overall1

overall2

On the other hand, the recording quality is not as good as my setup on my desktop (Intel NUC) for webinars, but it can be a topic for another day:

desktop mic

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