Friday, 10 April 2015

Podcasting Equipment to Buy

 So you want to make some Podcasts but are unsure about what equipment you need to buy.  Let's start by looking at what you should not use:

Those headset and mics that you can buy for voip, even if they are usb and have the name of a top German headphone manufacturer on them.

The DJ microphone you bought from Maplin (Radio Shack) and also the more expensive one you bought for your stand-up comedy routine.

So what do you need, first of all a quiet room.  If you are planning on having live 'studio' guests then a living room with carpet, curtains (Drapes) and soft furnishing is a pretty good place to start.  Failing that a spare bedroom, complete with bed and carpets is another suitable room.

If you are planning on going solo, then a walk-in closet or cupboard under the stairs (think Harry Potter but with a microphone)  it's where I am recording this right now. Download the audio version here.

You need a computer, great if you have a macbook air or pro, particularly if you have one with a Solid State hard drive. If not, you need to either keep the computer away from where you are recording or look at buying a recording device like a Zoom h4.

You need an interface to get the sound into your computer.  You can use a usb microphone like a Blue Yeti they are pretty good at what they do and will allow you to plonk the mic down and then you and your guests can sit around it.  The results are OK but not professional.

If you look at any radio studio, anywhere in the world, you will notice that they individually mic up each guest and the host.  If you want your content to shine, you will need to do the same.

The good news is that it will not cost you thousands of pounds to do this.  A good quality microphone like the Rode NT1-A with pop-shield and mic lead is £145 with free delivery.  You need an interface to get the microphone to be recognised by the computer.  A Focusrite 2i2 is £99 this will enable you to use two microphones and plug a pair of headphones in.

Speaking of headphones go for professional closed-ear flat-response types.  A pair of Beyer DT231 are £28.

So you have your quiet, soft room, your microphone(s) and headphones.  An audio interface to plug into your computer.  Finally you need software to make your podcasts.

I use Adobe Audition, it is professional industry-standard software but will cost you around £329.00 to buy two licences or you have to got the cloud route and pay about £15 a month for the software on its own or £50 for the whole suite (Photoshop, Premiere Pro etc)

If you ow a p.c. try Sony Sound Forge 10, if you own a Mac try Amadeus Pro.  Both are a lot cheaper, but offer a lot less.

Free - you can use Garage Band - the software that comes with your mac, or Audacity a reasonable piece of free software, but still can't do some of the more clever things the professional software is capable of.

Quiet, soft room
Pay £145 for a microphone
Buy and audio interface
But some professional flat-response headphones
Get some decent software

Total Outlay if you were going to have two microphones and less the cost of a p.c. or mac.

About £450.00

You can put together something a lot cheaper than that, but if you want to sound professional, you have to splash a little bit of cash.

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