Welcome to part two of our podcast series. Podcasts have become a crucial part of blogging and, because we blog about blogging, we will be sharing what we know.
In the first part, we discussed what you need to know about podcasting. Today, I will be discussing how to record that story. For this you will need a number of things.
Basically any PC or Mac will do. This does not need to be a great computer but you need to make sure it can handle all the software you will need. It must have enough USB ports for your equipment.
If possible, and if you have the money, you can buy high-end motherboards that have integrated isolated input components for improved quality control.
Failing that, you’ll need long enough 3.5mm audio cables, or if you are using a USB microphone, then you will need USB cables.
Now, I say any computer but something with 4-8 cores (Go AMD for price) and a graphics card (GPU) from the last 4 years is what I’m thinking about.
This will help you edit your audio files, and if you want to turn them into videos you will need a GPU to help encode these into videos.
It is possible to use a mobile phone or tablet, but it’s a real headache and the quality is usually low as a result of poor manufacturing standards in the industry.
A reasonable computer like this
will work just fine.
Of course you can use an iMac if you want.
This can go two ways. You can buy a large radio style mic for the table and hope for the best.
Mostly this will be fine, but it is better to have a microphone for each person speaking. Rhode makes great audio equipment for this purpose but it does come at a cost.
However, in some cases you can buy a three mic audio set-up that records directly to a SD card (Like you have in a camera or your phone).
This is good if you don’t want a complicated computer set-up interfering with your talking. However, it will complicate your life in editing as you will need to have a way to get this recording onto your PC and perhaps even change the format to suit your software.
If you record straight to the software you don’t have to worry about this. Also you’ll know if everything is alright. You’ll know if you are recording, have power and that it sounds alright.
An easy work around are lapel mics like news anchor use. You can hook two or three to the same jack and everyone gets their own little mic to speak into for a tenth of the price.
This is ideal.
However, this might be more affordable.
3. Editing software
Audacity is free software for audio recording and editing. I use it to record to and to convert my files into MP3s. You can copy cut and paste your audio on it, but I prefer using Adobe for that.
Audacity works on Mac and PC and is really easy to use. Just go to their site to download it.
The Adobe suite is a tool that will cost you, but if you are willing to give it a try it is free to use for 30 days. Get it here.
The Optional Extras
These are known as the nice-to-haves.
1. De-noiser/Filters/Audio Interface
You might have an annoying buzzing sound in the background of your recordings. This is due to some sort of electronic interference. It could be from any number of things. For example, I need to record in the dark because my lights create a very bad interference feedback effect. But it could be your internet router or a radio.
So check this before you buy expensive microphone filters or resort to clever but time consuming post processing software tricks. If this continues to be a problem you might need to resort to expensive equipment and recording devices. Or even do your podcast somewhere else.
Bear in mind that most DACs will do this job as well.
2. Multi-channel DAC
A Digital to Analog Converter is what makes your computer understand music. Your PC already has this built in. But, it’s probably very basic.
With a multi-channel DAC you can filter the sound coming from a computer or going into it. And you can record multiple tracks at the same time giving your audio a more real in the room sound.
Here is a cheaper option. I like the dials because it give you tactile control. And you can record music with it.
3. 10 ft. cables
5m, 10-15ft cables give you the slack to move your mics and headphones around to suit your needs. Just don’t coil them or let them cross over each other. This could affect sound quality.
4. Pop Filter
You’ve all seen these. They are the dish shaped mesh screens that you see musicians singing into. They help with that odd pop sound that sometimes happens with loud sounds. They also keep spit off your equipment.
Check them out here.
You may want to listen to the audio of the show while recording to see how it’s going. Maybe you want to listen to an audio clip but don’t want your listeners to hear it? Then you’ll need a pair.
Sennheiser is considered the best common brand. These are some of their more reasonably priced models.
6. Mic Stands
Hopefully your mics come with these. If not, you may want something more professional-looking than a pile of books.
There are a variety of them out there and you’ll have to know which kind you want, so do you research before you buy one.
This is a Tripod Stand.
This is an articulated arm.
These two are for those who have the funds or are entering a professional stage.
1. Sound booth
You might want to build a room that is sound proofed. This will allow you to record regardless of the weather outside or the noise of the street. It should also be echo proofed. This will improve your sound quality.
To do this you will need to seal off an area. Perhaps your garage? You will need to block off any flow of air through the room. Often air conditioners are necessary for air circulation if you do this.
Then you will need to apply a noise cancelling compound like foam to the walls of this space. There is custom-shaped foam designed for the best effect, but any reasonably thick foam will work.
A carpet floor is advised and any flat surface should be covered in material to prevent an echo.
2. Mixing Board
This is entering the realm of a small radio station. A mixing board will require a level of commitment financial and training-wise that is really not essential to a podcast experience. But it will provide the ultimate real-time control for a host who is obsessed with audio quality and effects.
You don’t need it. It is really just a time waster unless you already have a command of audio equipment. I guarantee something will go wrong every time you add a new piece of technology to your set up. With a soundboard it can go wrong every time you touch a dial.
I hope this helps you decide what you do and don’t need for your podcasting.
Look out for our next post on editing your podcast.
P.S. If you want to learn how to blog, sign up for our online course.
by Christopher Luke Dean (Official Podcast Listener for Writers Write)
Christopher writes and facilitates for Writers Write. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisLukeDean
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