Webcams With Built-In Microphones
For casual audio (and video) recording, a webcam with a built-in mic is a great, dual-purpose solution for desktop Macintosh computers like the Mac mini or Mac Pro towers. These two Apple desktop models do not include a built-in microphone - nor an iSight webcam unless you purchase it with an Apple Cinema Display which includes one.
Most - but not all - Mac compatible external webcams include an internal mic. In general, midrange to high-end web cameras tend to have correspondingly higher quality microphone elements inside. Cheap import webcams and low-end models selling for $25 or less can have more hollow-sounding 'iffy' audio quality, and deliver sub-par image quality as well. It's worth paying up a bit to get good microphone frequency response and low-noise audio - plus a sharp video image as well.
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Premium Apple Compatible Webcams With Quality Microphones
Once you move out of the budget range of webcams, manufacturers strive to match the audio input quality to the better lenses and camera sensors inside. So, in the upper range of premium webcams, you'll find much better microphone sensitivity, wider frequency response, less background noise, hiss or hum. Especially in models from manufacturers like Logitech, Creative Labs and othes that have microphones with built-in noise cancellation, you'll hear less background noise and interference for an improved video and voice chatting experience. Sadly, alot of the $10-$20 imported cheap webcams for Mac I've tested over the years tend to have sub-par microphones that often sound thin and hollow compared to the microphone components used on better quality and name-brand webcams.
External Mac Webcams with Mic
Even if you own a Mac with a built in microphone and webcam - such as the iSight camera in a MacBook Pro, Air and Retina Display - you may still want the flexibility of an external Mac webcam for more versatility in your microphone placement and camera angles. Many cameras also deliver autofocus features or a better image than Apple's own iSight. It's also possible to bypass either your Mac's built in microphone or the mic in a webcam to use any external analog or USB microphone or headset of your choosing. Simply go to the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Sound -- and choose the audio input device you prefer from the Input section.
In Apple's Sound Preferences pane, you can also adjust the microphone's sensitivity and may optionally checkbox the 'Use Ambient Noise Reduction' option if available. You'll want to test the effects noise reduction with a sample video capture and see how it sounds. Especially if your Apple compatible web cam employs it's own audio noise reduction in the camera hardware - you may NOT want to reprocess the audio a second time by enabling noise reduction in System Prefs. In short, if your web camera's mic already does noise reduction, you probably don't want Apple's system software to over-process the microphone's audio a second time, so leave Ambient Noise Reduction off.
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