For those participating in the Serious Compacts podcasts...

Amin Sabet

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 3, 2010
124
In time, I hope that many of our members will participate in the podcast, either as a discussant, a co-host/interviewer, or as an interviewee. Since some of the technical questions are bound to come up again and again, I thought I'd make a thread here to review some of the information and address any questions.

A podcast is basically a web show that people can subscribe to using iTunes or another service of their choice (I use Doggcatcher on my Android phone). There are video podcasts and audio podcasts. Ours is audio only (for now).

We make our audio podcasts by recording conference calls on Skype (www.skype.com), which is free. For members who don't or can't use Skype (very slow internet connection or no microphone), we can connect the Skype call to your landline telephone, but the audio quality of a regular phone is inferior to that of a decent microphone plugged into Skype.

Skype is easy to download, install, and use. You can test the audio quality of your microphone by downloading Skype and making a free "Test call". Some computers have pretty decent sounding built-in mics (my dad's iMac mic sounds remarkably good), but you will get even better sound using a dedicated USB microphone.

Regardless of whether you use the built-in mic or a USB mic, you'll need to listen to the conversation using headphones (any headphones will do) rather than the speakers on your computer, because the speakers will pick up everyone's voice and introduce an echo.

I do the recording of the Skype call on my home computer and do some light editing (automatically remove long pauses and static) in Audacity.

You can subscribe to the SeriousCompacts podcast using the links below:
Subscribe in iTunes
Subscribe in another podcast client


If you're interested in doing a lot of Skype, I highly recommend this $30 Plantronics headset which sounds great and is all you need to hear and be heard clearly.

If you really enjoy podcasting and want to take things to the next level, here are some recommended microphones based on budget:

For ~$90, you can get the Blue Yeti microphone, which sounds fantastic. The Yeti has four pickup settings: stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. If you are recording yourself for the podcast, use the cardioid setting.

For around $220, you can get an even better podcasting mic, the Rode Podcaster. That mic is probably overkill if you're being recorded via Skype but it's a terrific mic if you're making your own recordings.

I don't think the Rode comes with a stand, so you would need something
like this: Amazon.com: On Stage DS7200B Adjustable Desk Microphone Stand, Black: Musical Instruments

To get the most out of either of the above microphones (Blue Yeti or Rode Podcaster), I
highly recommend a pop filter like one of these:
Amazon.com: Blue Microphones The Pop Universal Pop Filter: Musical Instruments
Amazon.com: Nady MPF-6 6-Inch Clamp On Microphone Pop Filter: Musical Instruments

A more complicated option which gives you greater flexibility is to use a traditional XLR microphone in conjunction with a separate
interface that boosts the signal, converts it to digital, and has a USB (or Firewire) out to go to the computer. Here is an example of one such interface: http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Track-Audio-Interface-Tools/dp/B005CTJMF8/ref=sr_1_4?s=musical-instruments&rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1326407862&sr=1-4

As of February 18, 2012, I use the following equipment to record:
Here's a look at the corner of our basement where I do the recording (My previous microphone is shown instead of the Heil):

 

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stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
Oh jeez Amin, there seems to be more kit required here than for me to take a decent photo :blush: Do we really need another GAS outlet? How about if I just pop a 60min cassette in the post to you - you record questions and I dub over the answers :wink:

All TIC mate, great initiative. I'll see what's already available on my laptop
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
Oh jeez Amin, there seems to be more kit required here than for me to take a decent photo :blush: Do we really need another GAS outlet? How about if I just pop a 60min cassette in the post to you - you record questions and I dub over the answers :wink:

All TIC mate, great initiative. I'll see what's already available on my laptop
*smiling remembering playing with my cassettes*
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 3, 2010
124
Oh jeez Amin, there seems to be more kit required here than for me to take a decent photo :blush: Do we really need another GAS outlet? How about if I just pop a 60min cassette in the post to you - you record questions and I dub over the answers :wink:

All TIC mate, great initiative. I'll see what's already available on my laptop
LOL. I don't mean for anyone to get those expensive mics - just passing along the info that I obsessively researched.
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
*smiling remembering playing with my cassettes*
I'm with you brother. And I could use the same one's to record tunes off the radio and load cool games onto my Commodore Vic-20 :thumbup: Funny how we talk about digital images files having filmic noise but never that our CDs (are we still even using these nowadays?) don't have a cassettish noise. Oh how I miss it!
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
124
SoCal
Bob
My recommendation is do not look into acquiring recording equipment it just leads to GAS:rolleyes:, I thought I would get into doing some field recording to add to the photo experience , too many mics and recorders latter:eek:, I have still not found the time to fully put it all to use:confused:
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
My recommendation is do not look into acquiring recording equipment it just leads to GAS:rolleyes:, I thought I would get into doing so field recording to add to the photo experience , too many mics and recorders latter:eek:, I have still not found the time to fully put it all to use:confused:
Thanks for affirming my greatest fear Bob...camera equipment is bad enough!

Found a MIC jack on my laptop...so I'm set! If I'm called upon for any podcasts duties then I might employ the old kiddy trick..plug my headphones in the MIC jack! Used to work a treat. :thumbup: Oh and the fidelity was simply gorgeous...:laugh1:
 

Armanius

Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
123
Houston, Texas
Jack
I'm with you brother. And I could use the same one's to record tunes off the radio and load cool games onto my Commodore Vic-20 :thumbup: Funny how we talk about digital images files having filmic noise but never that our CDs (are we still even using these nowadays?) don't have a cassettish noise. Oh how I miss it!
Vic-20??? Wow ... I used to lust after one of those when I was in elementary school in Brazil. That was the ulimate computer. Alas I never had one. We had some other weird brand that my old man got when he was in UK for a business trip. And I do recall recording programming on a cassette tape. And then finding out that none of the game I was programming (while following a magazine) actually recorded on the tape!!

In the late 80's and early 90's, I used the cassettes to make "custom tapes" of music to give to friends. And special friends. :love:
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
124
SoCal
Bob
one of these days I am sure I will use my gear more often, but at the moment I have sitting in cases a number of mikes from Audio-Technica , Beyerdynamic, Rode, Shure, Sennheiser, recorders and a usb pre from Zoom, Marantz and Sound Devices, midi keyboard plus software all of this was for field recording as well as recording my bad guitar playing. Probably a good thing I avoid recording the noises that I make on a guitar:eek:
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 3, 2010
124
one of these days I am sure I will use my gear more often, but at the moment I have sitting in cases a number of mikes from Audio-Technica , Beyerdynamic, Rode, Shure, Sennheiser, recorders and a usb pre from Zoom, Marantz and Sound Devices...
:yahoo:
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 3, 2010
124
I added a picture to the first post of the thread to show what my "studio" looks like :).
 
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BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
Aha, so that is how, in part, you achieve that soft and mellow sound... You are too young to have known Alison Steele Alison Steele - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on the radio... She was known as The Nightbird and had a beautiful, sultry voice. She was wonderful to listen to. I think you might be channeling her, of course in a very manly way.:wink:

Next we need a self portrait with you and your Plantronics headset on at on Skype.:biggrin:
 

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