Mic

Don't let the lack of a recording studio stop you from creating a professional podcast. Surprisingly, some of most successful shows are composed in regular spaces such as garages, basements, and conference rooms. Podcasting can be extremely simple. With minimal tech ingenuity you could be recording in hours. Let's take a look at the essential components of podcast production.

Podcasting requires a bit of experimentation. Each organization will go through a range of equipment and software to define what works best.

Microphones

Microphone setup will vary depending upon your recording space. Most computers are designed with built-in microphones that offer less-than-desirable sound quality. Instead, a more professional option would be an external USB microphone. The USB feature allows easy plugin compatibility with computers and recording equipment. This allows you  to avoid the hassle of matching cables and audio jack adaptors with your computer. In addition, the polar pattern design is an added feature on external mics that will help produce high sound quality. There are three basic styles of mics: cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. When selecting a mic it should offer omnidirectional design.

omnidirectional microphone

Image: MicrophoneGeeks 

As MicrophoneGeeks outlines, omnidirectional Pattern benefits include:

  • Recording a group of people simultaneously.
  • Recording interviews:  both the interviewer and interviewee would be equally heard. Moreover, you can also easily pass the mic without having to worry about it picking angles.
  • When you want an experience of being there: an omni mic can capture all the sounds naturally occurring in the environment with good accuracy.
  • Recording a choir or orchestra: can produce great results for rooms with great acoustics.
  • Outdoor usage: omni microphones are less affected by the wind noises.

Mixer

If your show will use multiple microphones, a mixer will be required. Mixers allow more than one mic to be recorded simultaneously. Another benefit of a mixer is being able to make live adjustments to sound quality. All mics aren't created equally, and the same goes for voices. A mixer will give you the ability to lower the volume of a loud talker and increase the levels of a soft speaker. Making live changes will save time during post show editing. When shopping for a mixer, target a device similar to the Yamaha AG06. It features an amplifier, multi channel inputs, sound condensers, and downloadable software.

yamaha mixer

 Image: yamaha

Acoustic Treatment

For those that will be producing in confined spaces with acoustic issues there are panels that will aid in capturing vocals. Foam inlays are an excellent solution to avoid echoing or other background noise, and no extensive installation is necessary. Auralex DeskMAX panels for desktops and cubicles are helpful to create studio-quality sound isolation.

Foam panels

Image: Auralex 

Software

As mentioned earlier, some mixers include downloadable software. There are also a lot of free programs available. The drawback with using free software are the limited add-ons. Companies lock plugins and charge fees to unlock additional features. To avoid the headache, you may want to purchase the upgrades or a more inclusive software that provides the features you need - but always make sure to research and read reviews before purchasing. Here are a few highly rated options for you to explore:

Podcast Hosting

Hosting is necessary for playback speed and performance. Many use a podcast to increase site traffic. The last thing you want is a visitor to become annoyed with lagging load speeds. This goes for page upload performance and podcast download times on mobile devices.  If you plan to regularly upload podcasts onto your organization’s website, it may slow down the load time of pages over time. Some websites have hosting packages that can handle the size of podcast files while others do not. A notable host for podcasters is Libsyn in combination with Blubrry for wordpress sites. Blubrry is a plugin that streams all of your podcast in an internet radio format.

Recording your first session will generally require some trial and error. As you learn more about the process it may be beneficial to consult with a sound engineer. Also, don’t forget to solicit feedback from listeners as you perfect your production skills.

To learn more about podcasts and if they are right for you, check out our post: “Power of the Podcast: A Look at the Numbers.”

 

Chris Poindexter is a digital marketing consultant fusing text and design to generate growth. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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