Keeper Dan wrote:I agree with EddyPo. You're going to see better reliability with using a portable recorder.
Here are a few that would serve you pretty well for around the table type recording-
Tascam DR-05 Portable Handheld Digital Recorder Bundle
Nice, inexpensive stereo recorder.
TASCAM iM2 Channel Portable Digital Recorder
If you have an iOS device, this plugs in and makes your phone/tablet into a recorder. File size may be an issue here though.
Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder
Here's a mono-channel recorder that's a little smaller than the Tascam.
If you'd really prefer going straight to a laptop or netbook, then this might suit your needs-
Samson Go Mic Compact USB Microphone
I hear good things about the Blue Yeti brand too.
Here's a quick definition so you know what you're looking at with mics.
Condenser mics are designed to pick up all the sound around it. This is more appropriate for setting one mic in the center of the table so everyone is heard by it.
Dynamic mics are designed to only pick up the sounds coming from the one focused end. This is what you want for studio recording like a podcast. A Condenser mic in a closed room will pick up every echo and bump in the room, while a dynamic mic will ignore most of that stuff.
Thanks Keeper Dan & EddyPo, all the past work done for school dealing with small animation projects using recorded audio was just with a headset microphone for the project but never tried to record anything larger than just my voice. I'll look around for some of the digital external recorders as they sound quite good & seems better than going with that over using a smaller laptop microphone.