Samson Meteor Mic

How to Record Podcasts on Your iPad

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When we started this crazy podcast thing, we had bulky microphones, big computers and clunky software. Times have changed. Now, we have iPads and all the means to record a podcast with it.

My iPad Podcast – Hotel Walkthrough

Whenever I go on a trip, I do a hotel walkthrough. Before it was a lot of work. Now, I can pick up my iPad and walk around a hotel taking video and mixing it down to upload.

I purchased iMovie for iOS which allows me to create video, mix together and even put music behind. I can do a hotel walk-through in a matter of minutes. It gives me time to focus on the reason why I am in the hotel – to find the hot tub!

Microphones for iPad

You can use many different types of microphone for your iPad. You can even use the built-in microphone (as I do in the walk-through). A lot of people use the iPhone headphones to record. They work well and most times give you a great sound.

USB Microphones

Samson Meteor Mic

Samson Meteor Mic

With a 30-pin to USB adaptor, you can connect a few USB microphones to your iPad. Blue Microphone Spark is a great example. It is a higher quality microphone, sits on the table and looks professional. Samson has the Meteor Mic which is priced right and looks good.

4-Pole Converter

The 4-pole converter is a device that plugs into your headphone jack and lets you use a 1/8″ or XLR microphone. You might still need phantom power on the mic. It also works if you want to plug the iPad into a mixer.

Podcasting Software for iPad

I talked about using web-based Spreaker software on your iPad. That is an easy way to do it. It’s also dependent on your internet connection. You can get Garage Band for iPad, as well as Justin.tv or Ustream apps. With GarageBand, you can add music and other effects.

With a little bit of ingenuity, you can create podcasts right from your iPad. It might not be the best sounding or looking shows. If people are watching and listening, it could be worth it. No bulky mixers or computers anymore.

Podcast on Garageband for iPad

It is possible to create a podcast using the iPad app put out by Apple. You can edit your recording or add music and effects to your podcast then turn around and upload it to iCloud or send it to your Mac to finalize and put up on your servers. You can even record bits and pieces, then send it to another program like iMovie if you want to turn to video.


Video Podcasts: YouTube Capture – uStream Record – iMovie – Hangouts on Air – iENG

Google just put out an app called YouTube Capture where you can create video then upload straight to their servers. iMovie will let you mix down then send to YouTube or your iCloud account.

A couple months ago on my iPad365 show I talked about iENG - an app that lets you collect video from your iPhone or iPad to send to an FTP site so someone can edit later.

uStream will allow you to stream live video to viewers. You can choose to record the stream for later playback or download so you can put it into an editor. The iPad (or other iOS device) could be propped so you can get a more stabilized video. Using the 4-pole converter (mentioned above) you can get decent audio while recording in a noisy room.

Hangouts on Air not only allow you to get an interview recorded but also give you a panel that can ask questions or add comments to your show. This is really dependent on how your Internet connection is but can really be fun and add a newer level of interview style to your podcast.

There are other stream and video recording options that can be used. Check with the app store and see what new programs are popping up. The most important idea is that you can always get an interview recorded and you can definitely record a podcast when you are not at home. It might not be in the ideal situation and the audio might not be perfect. Still you can get that hard-hitting podcast or keep your podcast schedule so you can build audience.

Xi3

10 Questions to ask during Podcast Interviews when Stumped

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Demibooks

I interviewed Demibooks at TechCrunch Disrupt 2011

Interviewing a person for your podcast is exciting and fun. It gives your show a bit of variety because people are hearing from a different source. Some people do one-on-one interviews on-site, while others interview via Skype or by phone. You want to do it but get concerned you cannot keep up with the questions. Part is a listening game, another part is to make sure the interviewee doesn’t run away with the segment.

You need questions to keep them on track. But what if you don’t know what to ask them? What if they give you a “train wreck” answer?

Reporters have this problem all the time. Being able to turn an interview into an interesting conversation is key. Especially since they bounce from one interview to the next. In order for them to keep on track, reporters have questions they can pull out of their back pocket. This is what we are going to look at – how you can utilize these questions to make the interview exciting and informative.

10. Have the interviewee explain it in their own words.

It’s easy for you to explain who the interviewee is. It’s better if they tell you in their own words. This is a great “ice breaker” question because you can give them something they should be able to answer comfortably. They take the floor and therefore feel more confident in their interview.

9. Can You Expound on… (Listen for Keywords)

Part of the interview process means to listen as well. You should listen to the whole conversation; sometimes distractions do happen. As a one-person crew, I have to make sure the camera is still running, nobody crosses through the shot, and how the audio levels look. From time to time, I miss a bit of the interview.

Listening for keywords can help. You can have them go into more detail about that part. Example: If you are talking politics and they say, “Bipartisan support,” you can have them talk more about what that is. Depending on your audience, you might even have them explain the basis of the term.

8. Who, What, When, Where, Why, How

Xi3

I interview Xi3 at CES 2012

If you ever get stumped, the 6 basic questions are great to fall back on. Who are you? What is the event we are talking about? When does it happen? Where do people go? Why did you create this opportunity, How do people do this?

These keys will keep you going and pass through to a more in-depth question.

7. Name a… (or What is your…)

This question allows for a bit of a break for you. Example: They are talking about golf and go over something that doesn’t have a follow-up question. You could then say,”Let’s switch gears. Name a favorite golfer of yours,” or, “Which hole on this golf course is your favorite.” It also gives the interviewee a bit of a break in the hard questions.

If you barrage someone with hard questions, throwing an easy one (known as a “softball question”) can relax the interviewee and also give the listener/viewer a little break.

6. I Hear People are saying… What do You Think?

Bringing in public opinion can make a viewer or listener think they are personally part of an interview. In some cases they could agree with you. Other cases they start yelling at the podcast. Either way, it invokes emotion to your audience.

It also brings information to your interview the interviewee may or may not have known before. The response could also spark emotion.

That is why investigative reporters use it. “Public opinion says that you are not doing your job. How do you respond to that?”

Remember: What ever you bring up has to be supported by fact. You cannot just say “I hear people say you eat ice cream everyday,” especially if the interviewee is lactose-intolerant. That makes you look bad and the audience may write you off as a interviewer.

5. Congratulations. How did…

If the interviewee says something like “I stopped smoking two years ago,” give them a word of encouragement and ask a question (if appropriate). A great response is, “Congratulations. How did you do it?” or “Congratulations. How have you been handling it?”

4. Injecting a similar story to re-direct a question.

This is a great way to move a conversation in a different direction. Example: They could be talking about a Ford Mustang. You might say, “I remember driving my first Mustang. It got away from me a little. I accidentally drifted the car while turning a corner. Speaking of which, how important are high performance tires on a car like that?”

3. What can people expect…

This question brings the audience in again. The interviewee is also put on a spot to speak directly to the audience. Example: If you are talking iPhones to an Apple representative, ask, “What can people expect the next iPhone to have?”

2. Two Part Questions

Don’t be hesitant to put a little more on the table. Just remember the questions you asked. For example: You might be talking about a new store opening. You can ask “How have the employees been handling the influx of new customers and do you think that influx will continue?”

There are times you can get some great answers. Other times, they may forget to answer both because the one answer takes longer. You can then re-direct to the second question, or move on if you found a good keyword to work another question.

Become a Blogger

I get interviewed by Become a Blogger

1. Take and Keep Control. If you Cannot, then Stop and ask again.

You might not think this is a question but I assure you – it can be the best one. If you feel the interview is out of control and are not getting answers; stop and bring them in a direction of the interview. Sometimes you can stop them to interject a sponsor. If you don’t have a sponsor for your podcast, remind people of what you are talking about. Example: “That is great. Once again, this is ….. and we are talking about… Let’s get back to the point…”

You are highlighting the guest unless they are avoiding the real questions.

If it’s getting completely out of control, then just say “Look, I know you want to talk about …. The viewers (listeners) really want to know more about…. So let me re-ask this question.”

A little bit of hard reporting can really get you over on the listeners / viewers.

Some other points of Interviewing

For me, this is the biggest one I have to personally avoid. Try not to crack a joke when in-between questions (unless it’s that type of interview). It’s good to inject a little bit of humor. At the wrong time it could rub the interviewee the wrong way; the audience could also get offended. Be personable and positive when the interview is just that.

If you are there to get the “hard truth,” then it’s best to look the part. Happy and smiling is not that part. If you get offended by a question, tell them that. It may piss the interviewee off a bit. It may get your audience going.

You control the interview – it’s important to remember the interview needs to be redirected from time to time. That is why these questions are so important.

EdirolUA-4fx

Cool Garage Sale Podcast Purchases Edirol, M-Audio

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I love to garage sale. You never know what you can get for a great discount. Yesterday was a perfect example. I walked up to a box that said, “Everything in this box, $20″. What I saw on top made the purchase worth it.

EdirolUA-4fx

Edirol UA-4fx Podcast Mixing Module

Edirol UA-4fx Vocal mic/instrument to USB

This first item is the Edirol UA-4fx vocal/instrument mixer. It has some great features to it. You can plug a microphone or instrument into this mixer and record in 24-bit. The mixer has an effects mode and even a tube simulator for great audio control.  Set to master to record your podcast: include noise suppression in this program. Playback mode allows you to hear what you just recorded through the headphone jack.

I was testing this out and it was going way past my expectations. I plugged in a ribbon microphone (which needs phantom power) and it worked! Line in and Line out jacks allow you to bring in other items – maybe an iPod full of music. Edirol also has a digital audio in and out to connect up to your TV or stereo system.

The Edirol UA-4fx is discontinued and does not have an updated model. Roland (Edirol’s parent company) offers the Roland Tri-Capture and Roland Quad-Capture, which can give you 4 inputs for recording. There are no internal effects, but both give you 24-bit 192kHz recordings.

This older Edirol is still a great find. I see eBay purchases around $65 for this older device.

M-Audio FastTrack

M-Audio FastTrack mic or instrument interface

M-Audio FastTrack

Although the M-Audio FastTrack didn’t have as many features as the Edirol, I could see using this device in a compact podcast mode. FastTrack is made for those musicians that want to practice guitar licks or do quick recording of vocals.

One thing to remember: This is the older version of the FastTrackThe newer version supports phantom powered microphones and has more options included. So while this FastTrack is good, the newer one works a lot better.

The updated FastTrack is $120 in stores. This older model sells for $30 on ebay.


Not a bad find for a portable podcast studio. One more notable item in the $20 garage sale box was an ATI All-in-Wonder USB TV tuner for PC. Ultimately, this $20 box could net me over $150 in resale value. However, I am going to use these pieces for portable podcast studio equipment.

Audio of Both Edirol UA-4fx and M-Audio FastTrack Below

I put together a quick MP3 testing out the microphone and instrument features of both.

Photos of Edirol UA-4fx and M-Audio FastTrack

podcast-music

Free Podcast Music: Boogie Singer

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podcast-music

Royalty Free Podcast Music

Last year, I composed this Royalty Free track for Podcasters and Video Podcasters. The intro is called “Boogie Singer” and was created for our trip to CES 2012. It includes intro music, and lead-in music for a show.

You can use these tracks in your podcast shows without repercussion. I ask you link back to either www.geekazine.com or www.howtorecordpodcasts.com on your sites and the theme title with @geekazine or @RecordAPodcast in your credits.

If you would like to use these tracks outside of podcasting (commercial film or TV), you must get written permission. Contact me to find out how.

audio clipping

Audio Clipping: What is It? How to Prevent Clipping in Podcast

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If you’ve ever recorded something, and pushed the volume on the recording, you might have heard the clip of the microphone. If it’s bad enough, you might end up re-recording your whole show. Sometimes, you don’t have that opportunity. So let’s work on not clipping the microphone.

What is Audio Clipping?

audio clipping

A Soundwave with Audio Clipping. Notice how the top of the wave is flat.

Basically, the way a microphone works is by having a moving piece in the microphone. When you speak, that piece vibrates and turns sound into an electric signal. If you speak too loud, the core of the microphone is pushed all the way so it cannot vibrate. Therefore, it cannot translate the signal.

Because of this, you might get a distorted sound. Sometimes (if the sound is really loud), the signal will cut straight out.

Audio Clipping Example is below so you can hear what it sounds like. 

Can I fix Audio Clipping?

Even though there are some programs that say you can, you might not like the end result. Some of those programs rely on the fact that some sort of signal is still moving through the microphone. In that case, the software tries to take out the bad sounds and level out the rest. The end result might just be an uneven sound.

Other software will either remove the clip, or replace it with other parts of the audio – masking the original sound. Once again, this does not make a quality recording. If you cannot re-record the audio, these are your best bets.

How to Prevent Audio Clipping?

The best way to do so is to understand the limits of your microphone. If a microphone says it can record signals up to 120 db (for example), then don’t record over that.

You don’t have to have a loud sound to clip a microphone. Try this:  Cup your microphone with your hands. Get up to the mic real close and speak. You will find the microphone is more active than if you didn’t put your hands around it. That is because you are enclosing the sound so it doesn’t pass out of the mic.

Being a good distance away from the microphone helps. For most mics, I would suggest 6 inches separation of mic to mouth. I talked about this on Watch your Distance on the Microphone.

Speak Slower

How far away from your microphone are you?

Will a Pop Filter Help?

Yes, but you can still clip the mic with a pop filter on. It really depends on how much volume is coming into the mic.

Should I Get Another Microphone, then?

If you record from the microphone you got with your computer, you might find yourself clipping a lot. The better constructed the microphone is, the more it can handle louder and harsher sounds.

Older Microphones

If you own a microphone with over 5 years of use (especially if you use it in noisier environments, or don’t store properly), your might want to think about replacing it. There are microphones that do work for years with proper care. Eventually, the vibrating part might start to wear down.

A good example is an SM-58 microphone. Think of the mic like a speaker. When you talk in, you push that speaker down. If the paper on that speaker rips, you get a buzz sound.

In some microphones, you can get a replacement capsule. When the mic starts to sound off, just open up the mic and switch it out. If you have a $100 microphone, it’s better just to buy a new $100 microphone.


In all, even though some programs try to help reduce the clip, the better thing to do is re-record your podcast if clipping occurs. Make sure you have a microphone that can handle what you are doing. Don’t cup the mic, for that could cause unwanted clipping. Finally, take good care of your microphone so it doesn’t break from wear.

Have a question on Clipping? Ask the question at HTRP!

at2020_2

Podcast Microphone: Audio-Technica AT2020

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If you want another low-cost microphone for podcasting, Audio-Technica makes the  AT2020 microphone. This is a cost effective condenser microphone for vocals and some instrument capture. And the black finish does make the microphone look cool.

About Condenser microphones

The condenser microphone is a great one to have in podcasting. These microphones have a greater frequency, and can reproduce the speed of the voice (called “transient response”). These microphones are more sensitive to loud sounds.

Most condenser mics require whats called “phantom power”. Basically a source as to power the microphone (whereas a standard SM 58 does not need external power). However, the handling of the frequencies, your voice can sound a lot crisper with a condenser microphone.

Audio-Technica AT2020

audio-technica AT2020

audio-technica AT2020

This is a simple studio microphone that is ususally placed a few inches away from your mouth. Adding a pop filter also can help keep you from getting too close to the microphone. Adding a shock mount to the microphone can also keep other noises low, like if you use the same table to tap your fingers on.

The AT202 has a 16mm low-mass diaphragm, and features a cardioid polar pattern. This will keep room noise down while anything close to the mic will get heard.

The AT2020 also has a wide frequency response (20Hz to 20kHz) and dynamic range for 124 db. That means your going to have to be loud for this mic to clip out.

How to position the AT2020

This is a microphone you talk through the side. There is a front side and back. Usually, the Audio-Technica logo will show you which side is the front. Otherwise, talk into it. Find the side that is more active to talk into.

You can tilt the microphone to catch more vocals. Talking in the top of it might leave you frustrated.

Is there a USB version of the AT2020?

AT2020 USB

AT2020 USB

Yes! There is! Along with a small tri-pod, this might be the perfect combination when you podcast from the road. The USB version has the same specifications as the XLR version.

Overall – Audio Technica AT2020

Although I don’t own one myself, I have had many opportunities to use them. In recording a podcast, this microphone does well for the voice. The price for this microphone can mean a startup podcaster could get a 2-3 mic system for $300 and have quality.

iTunes submit

Podcast 101: Submitting Your Podcast to iTunes [How to]

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If you are brand new to podcasting, you know one thing – your show has to be on iTunes. It’s not difficult, you just have to know how to do it. I’ll show you how.

Check Your Feeds First

Before you submit your podcast to iTunes, you want to make sure your feed is valid. Otherwise, Apple will reject it. W3c can validate your feed. If your feed is not valid, it will let you know so you can make the proper fixes.

Your feed can be valid and still have some issues to it. It’s just a question of what the issue is. For instance, I have a extra piece of code that W3C doesn’t accept, but it’s a valid RSS addition. 3rd party additions (like with plugins for WordPress sites) can do this. Once again, the feed may be totally valid.

Dedicated Podcast RSS Feed – Don’t post other items to it.

This is important. If your website is to have other types of posts, then you want to set up a separate RSS feed for your podcast. If Apple sees too many “non podcast” posts in your feed, they might take it down (yes, I have had iTunes removal emails).

This is the same for other Podcatchers out there.

If you want a plugin that will create a podcast feed for you (and do an awesome job in putting in all iTunes code), check out PowerPress,

Also, make sure all email is correct in the settings. This is where you get confirmation and iTunes link to promote.

Submit your Podcast to iTunes

To submit to iTunes, you first need to download the iTunes player and register an account. There is no other way to do that. Once that is done, you can start the process.

  1. Go to the iTunes store. On the menu bar, choose “Podcasts”

    iTunes Store

    From the iTunes store, choose “Podcasts”

  2. From the Podcasts Window, on the right, choose option to “Submit A Podcast”

    iTunes Submit

    In the Podcasts window of iTunes, choose “Submit a Podcast”

  3. From this page, enter in the RSS feed to your podcast.

    iTunes submit

    Enter in RSS feed at iTunes Submit Podcast window

  4. If the feed is invalid, you might have to re-enter.
  5. You will receive email that a podcast is successfully submitted and under review.
  6. When it’s accepted, you will receive another email. In this email, you will see your iTunes link. Something you might want to make note of to promote.

Here’s a Tip: Why not set up a schedule to promote your iTunes feed. Post the link to Twitter and Facebook from time-to-time.

Check Your iTunes Feed from Time to Time

Nothing is stopping you from subscribing to your own feed. You should do that so you can keep track if your feed is updating in iTunes. You can also visit it via webpage. Here are my podcasts:

Wait, I Can Have More Than One Feed?

If it’s different shows or different variants, then yes! For example, Geek Smack! runs in audio and video formats. I have a feed for video and a feed for audio. You just have to submit each feed separately.

Don’t submit the same podcast on different feeds. That can confuse people looking for your show. Not to mention Apple might take down both feeds.


With some work, you can get your feed automating and downloading into people’s iTunes directories. They might even give you some feedback on the iTunes page. That could increase your listeners/viewers even more…

podcast-music

Free Podcast Music: SXSW

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podcast-music

Royalty Free Podcast Music

When I went out to SXSW this year, I wrote this intro. It brought a twang to the videos and did me well for the interviews I captured.

This is the first of a few tracks I will be creating for How to Record Podcasts. These tracks are Royalty Free for Podcasters and Video Podcasters. That means you can use these tracks in your shows without repercussion.

If you would like to use these tracks outside of podcasting (commercial film or TV), you must get written permission.

soundboards

Creating a Soundboard for Your Podcast

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If you were a DJ in the 80′s you had to deal with this system of 8-track looking cassettes in a carousel. Someone would record a soundbyte on the cassette and put it in the rack. When it was time, you pulled the cassette out and prepped it for use. Whether an intro, news soundbyte, special effect, or other sound, everything would revolve around that carousel.

Fidelipac

A Fidelipac was a cartridge used in radio to record 30 or 60 second commercials, soundbytes and more. (image: Wikipedia)

Things have changed from that time. Now, you can get a soundboard together via iPad or computer. Collecting sounds can be done though use of a digital recorder, or going through a website to pay and download your favorites.

Why Use a Soundboard

Some experts say that changing it up a bit during a longer podcast can keep people listening. For example, putting some music behind your vocals could break up the monotany. After all, if you record a 30 minute show, you don’t want the majority of people to drop out at the 22 minute mark.

A soundboard brings a change. It could be as simple as a “bing” at the end of a paragraph, or  as complex as a top 40 morning show call ID.


Soundboard.com

soundboard.com

soundboard.com to get your sounds from the online community

I’ve been playing with this web-based soundboard. It’s called Soundboard.com. You register, create a board, then either upload bites or pull soundbites from another board. Some of the boards start at $4.99. Other boards are free.

One thing you want to watch is copyright. For example, there is a Ron Burgandy sound board. If you use sounds from movies, TV shows or other copyright files, you could get in trouble. There is a point of fair use, just know where those boundaries are.

I have also found this website to sometimes lag. You have to wait a couple seconds for the bite to load. That could mess up your pace.


SoundByte Sound Board

soundbyte

Soundbyte Sound board

For a while, I was using this sound board. It’s called SoundByte by Black Cat Systems. It’s install software that lets you put soundbites into carts. Some options include a “Talk” button, where the sound will act as a ducking unit – lowering the volume so you can talk over the sound. It also has a fade out option as so you don’t have an abrupt ending.

You can set up multiple sounds and have them at your fingertips. Their Soundbyte iOS app lets you use your iPad or iPhone as a soundboard.


Soundboard for Mac – Ambrosia Software

Soundboard-Ambrosia

Soundboard for Mac by Ambrosia Software

I haven’t played with this software, but I have heard some great stuff about it. Soundboard for Mac is by Ambrosia software. It has added features of overlapping sounds, pitch bends, speed up or slow down the audio clip, and adding other effects. You can even add plugins to improve the sound bites.

The only downfall is it’s only developed for Mac. However. there is also an iOS Soundboard app for $19.99. You can dedicate an iPod or iPad to your soundbites, this might be a great program to own.


Is there a Video bite board out there?

Not that I have seen. There are video aggregation programs that hold your favorite videos, but nothing that will put bites in a carousel like the soundbites.

There are pro DJ software bundles out there, that will let you have fun with music videos and cue video bites.

I suppose software like Wirecast and VidPro can also be considered as video bite boards. There is YouTube DJ mixer software out there, but once again, you can get into copyright issues if you use it.


When using a Soundboard, it could take a little bit of time to get used to it. Remembering you have a sound byte or a quote you can use from time to time could change the pace of your podcast, and even break up the monotony.

What programs do you use? Are you going to add bites to your podcast? Let me know by commenting below!