I am here to help you get your podcast started. With over 8 years of experience in the podcast field I am able to help you find your voice.
You can also schedule time with me as a podcast coach. Just fill out the form here
I got a message from a friend who said he had a program die on him. He was trying to figure out why the podcast software was not working (it wouldn’t render) but asked me if there was other software he could use in the interim to get a podcast out.
I knew he did video as well, so I just suggested “why not use the video software?” He agreed and successfully got his podcast out. He then found the problem with his audio software (bad .dll) and didn’t miss any deadline.
I started thinking about this: which is the best software to use in a pinch? Adobe? Sony? iMovie? So I started creating podcasts in the video programs to see what happens.
Especially if you decide to create audio versions of video podcasts. I do this all the time with iPad365, TWIGG and Geek Smack! It only takes a couple minutes more and can bring me just as much traffic as a video version.
Adobe Premiere Pro to Record a Podcast
I pulled up my Adobe Premiere Pro 5.5 to attempt a podcast. It was easily done – simply remove all video tracks and you have an audio editor. Make sure you set an audio source, arm the track for record and podcast! You can also bring in your audio files from another recorder (like an H6 or other digital recorder).
Pros: You can record and mix, splice audio and apply effects to the files (like compression, EQ and more). You can also run this software on a Mac or PC.
Cons: Adobe software is (at times) hard to navigate through. The process to arm and record is fragmented, as the video shows. Worst part – you cannot do anything while the recording – playback is happening. If you wanted to move a file or splice content, the playback stops.
Sony Movie Studio to Record a Podcast
Next up is Sony Movie Studio for podcasting. The interface is very similar to their Music Studio and Acid software. Once again you have to set your audio sources or bring in audio files from a recorder.
Pros: The interface is exactly the same. You can put effects on the file, on the track AND on the Master so you can get a great sound with whatever recording you have. The software also allows you to edit while it’s playing – move and splice tracks together, then go back to the spot to hear what it sounds like.
You can also set up an MP3 profile in the render area — complete with simple ID3 tags. When I put together iPad365, I can render the audio right from the program to post.
Movie Studio is also sub $100 software.
Cons: The software is for PC only. Sony only has one piece of software for Mac based systems (Sound Forge).
iMovie for Audio Podcasts?
I have tried to do one, but iMovie is not made for creating MP3 files. In fact, there is no way to turn it into an MP3 directly. Best practice is to import the file into Garageband, Audcity, Adobe Audition or another program to create a MP3, OGG or another format.
There is no real advantage to using video editing software for podcasts. This is just a “If it happens” situation. However, you could also set up a camera and record video at the same time, then convert to MP4 and MP3.
Is there another video creation software I should consider? If so, let me know!
Over on Geekazine I talked about the Monoprice 615808 mixing console. This is a sub – $100 8-channel mixer that is small enough to be portable and good for any home podcaster. The mixer has an auxilary output that will turn channel 5/6 or 7/8 into an effects channel.
The Monoprice 615808 mixer also has phantom power to +48 for any microphone that needs it. I used my MXL FR-351 microphone to capture some room recordings to it. With a compressor/gate, you can get some really good results.
I also talked about the USB port in the mixer – it’s only meant for playback. This mixer is an analog recording device and does not do multi-track recording. If that doesn’t concern you then this mixer is perfect for a small desk podcast.
In podcasting, most people just plug in a microphone and start recording. While the end result is good with you, others might notice differences. “Audiophiles” are people with a finely-tuned ears. They can hear imperfections you might not be able to.
The biggest complaint of audiophiles is the sound of the audio after it gets compressed even to 128 kbps. Recording a show in the highest quality helps when you finalize your podcast. We’re going to look at how you can record your RAW files at high quality so you can make the best sounding show possible.
The Difference Between 16 bit and 24 bit
The best way to think of it is to visualize. I used the iconic character Mario for this example. An 8 bit audio signal is like a NES Mario. With 16 bit audio, you can get 65,536 possible levels to that audio, therefore you will capture more frequencies and have a better looking Mario. With 24 bit you can get over 16 million levels in your audio – giving you more options in post-production.
A CDs sample rate is 44.1 kHz (or 44,100 samples per second). With 24 bit you can push audio up to 96,000 samples per second.
Now here’s reality – When you mix down, its going to most likely be CD quality – 128 kbps at 44.1 kHz or even 96 or 64 kbps at 44.1 kHz. If you do the latter, capturing sound at 96,000 samples per second is even more important because the mp3 compressor has more to work with.
It’s not that you cannot get great quality in a 16-bit recording. In Rob Greenlee’s “My Digital Life”, he replayed a conversation he had with Mark Ramsey from 2005. In listening to the podcast, I was impressed with the high quality of that .wav file.
Great Case Scenarios for Recording in 24-bit
In my show – Day in Tech History – I recorded 365 days of tech history, updating only the days that have new news for the next year. By recording the daily .wav files at 24-bit/96,000, I can re-visit those files and put them into the updated podcast file without the quality sounding too much different.
How to Record in 24-Bit
Recording in 24-bit needs as much of a Hardware requirement as software. Certain USB microphones and sound cards may not be able to record above 16-bit. Even though some might have a 24-bit option, your hardware specifications limit the end result.
specs include 18Hz – 18,000 kHz range, 600 ohms balanced and an output level of -53.9dB at 1,000 Hz. This makes for a great recording mic, in-turn a great recording.
Windows: Choose your Recording devices. Select the device and go into properties. On the Advanced tab is where you can change format. If your sound device can do 24-bit, the drop-down menu will contain the option.
Mac: From the desktop, choose Go -> Utilities then find Audio MIDI Setup. Select your audio source and choose it’s bit rate.
Wait – What About 32-bit Recording? Is there 64-bit Recording, too?
That is certainly an option and gives you even more audio to work with. However there are two reasons why you might not want to use this: 1. It takes up a lot of space and resource on your computer to record and store. 2. There are limitations for 32-bit audio – Some recording devices can only record up to 2 GB in 32-bit audio.
Another codec is RF64 – which is 64-bit multi-channel recording. If you are recording 5.1 surround or multiple track (up to 18 channels), this codec is what you need. There is a 4GB limit on 64-bit wav. So it might be overkill if you are recording your own show.
One thing to note: A good sounding show is more than just the bit rate. Good hardware that puts out quality audio is just as important. For example: While Rob Greenlee’s 2005 audio sounded great in 16-bit, he also had spent a lot of money on the hardware to record it on. Whether you record in 16 or 24 bit for longevity is your choice. That is, unless you are recording a podcast focusing audiophiles. At that point you better have the best quality possible…
I have been using Sony products for podcasting ever since I started. The price is right ($50-100), it works better than Audacity and I have many options for expansion and creating templates. Best yet – I’ve been using this product for over 10 years to not only make podcasts, but also record music tracks for podcasts and other needs.
Back in May, I created a how-to video on using Sony Acid 9.0. This first video introduces you to Sony Acid and how you can use it to build a podcast. It’s part of a series, which I spent the summer putting together. Now its time to release the first part of this series for free to you!
Of course, the series is part of a personal course. If you would like to know more, please contact me on how you can get one-on-one time for your podcast!
There are a lot of podcasts out there where the hosts are not in the same room. Some are not even in the same state or even country. “Skyping in a podcast” is one way to have guests and hosts on a show. There are also other great options for audio and video podcasts that could improve quality.
With my show This Week in Google Glass, co-host Luke Wallace is in Texas while I’m in Wisconsin. Every week we connect up and record with minimal issue. Especially nowadays when there are multiple ways to connect and communicate. Here are some options for you to get guests or even get quality audio/video from a streaming host.
Before You Podcast:
Check the Bandwith for Podcasting
Before we get into this, make sure you have enough bandwidth to stream audio or video. Audio only services require less bandwidth – Video connections work best if your Internet upload is 1.5 MB or greater. Video also gets trickier – higher bandwidth can mean multiple causes for failure. Also, don’t download or upload anything else while you are hosting or being a host / guest. If the kids are watching TV, you might want to ask them not to use streaming services like Netflix or Hulu during the show. Stay away from the Hotel bandwidth unless you know it’s reliable. Hotels nowadays have upgraded their networks to give you a better experience, but it could once again depend on who in the hotel is on Netflix or who is trying to Skype or Facetime call their loved ones.
Close Programs that Could Cause Conflict
Make sure you’ve turned off any services on your computer that could conflict and slow your network. Close apps in the toolbar, system tray and more. For a Mac, command-tab and close out programs. Services like Dropbox should also be closed – especially if you share a dropbox with another user.
Don’t Move too Much!
Sounds weird, right? The more you move in your video, the more bandwidth it takes. With a static background, the video doesn’t have to “redraw” that area – only the areas of movement. So if you have an active background, you might want to move somewhere else.
Your Mixer for the Podcast – Mix-Minus
One reason why I like my Alesis MultiMix8 is because of the Mix-minus option. I can bring all microphone and auxiliary audio (like the Skype audio) into the board and each has their own outputs. With an active gate and compressor on the channels, we all can hear each other without any squelches, squeals or background noise. With that said, let’s look at some of the ways we can connect and create podcasts.
The “Everyone Records” Method
Some podcasts used to do this technique – which you can still do but it will take some time to sync things up. Simply put – everyone records their own audio or video. Since the connections of some streaming hosts could be diminished (bandwidth issues or program restrictions), recording at everyone’s computer creates multiple files in which one person would gather and turn into a higher-quality show. To do this, you need to start with a marker. One way to do that is have everyone count from 5 to 1, then clap your hands.
5… 4… 3… 2… 1… CLAP!
This becomes the audio guide for the person splicing it all together. They align the tracks and then remove the guide.
This has been the most popular way to get a host or guest on a show. Since Skype is also a One-on-One service for the most part, people have made multiple-Skype machines to bring in different guests. Most popular is Leo Laporte’s Skyposaurus. His 4-computer Skype machine allowed him to bring guests on from all over the country. I don’t believe the Skypasaurus is still around since the move into the Brickhouse a couple years back. The crew does move TVs into place to bring others into a conversation – and they do use Skype as a medium from time to time. Here is TWiT’s config of the Skypeasaurus. You definitely don’t need to make a multi-Skype machine to bring in guests nowadays. It does make for a good showpiece.
Skype Ducking Issue
One problem podcasters experience with Skype is a “Ducking” issue. Basically, when you speak over them, their audio will lower – or duck under your audio. IAIB has an article how to fix ducking.
Google Hangout Podcasting
Since the introduction to Google Hangouts (and the even important Hangouts Live option), people have created podcasts and YouTube videos through this medium. Everyone jumps into a hangout and someone hits record. You can have up to 10 people in one hangout and you can even record it all straight to YouTube. Luke Wallace joins me on TWIGG through a Hangout. When we have other guests, they will also join us via that option.
Problems with Podcasting via Google Hangout
Some downfalls include Hangout VBR (Variable Bit Rate) which means the quality can get really bad for a few seconds if network problems. It’s very rare that you get dropped connections, though. Also, if you are constantly switching between guests, Google will have a ramp-up video quality. This means the first second or two can look really pixelated or blurry. Once the video stabilizes, the quality comes through. The audio is still CD quality unless you have the “Studio” option. This makes the hangout prioritize the audio for a CD quality sound.
Facetime for Podcasts
While only an Apple product, you can easily use Facetime for podcasts in audio or video. with the right software you can send to any audio or video recording software for improved quality. Only issue is Facetime’s portrait video frame.
Webcam Recording Software
If you have a Logitech Camera, you can download Logitech Vid HD. This software will allow one-on-one calls. You contact via win
Other Connection Services
If you are doing audio only and don’t want to mix sound too much, then Free Conference Call HD might be a good answer. *9 will allow for you to record the call, or just record it using your own audio software.
TWiT used Vidyo at first while at the brickhouse, but had connection problems. I have talked to Vidyo a couple times and really like thier features for web conferencing. Keep in mind – this is a paid service.
Another paid service I have used is called Watchitoo. They do cater to higher-end broadcast companies to bring in guests, but they are also a conference meeting company.
My friend Andy McCaskey uses Zoom for his video conferences. They have a free account that allows up to 25 people into a 40 minute meeting. However you can also have unlimited meetings. The Business version is pretty low-priced for a SMB.
With that said, I do have to also talk about Citrix GoToMeeting with HD faces. It can be perfect for anyone doing a screencast podcast. You can record straight from the program, then download and post-process. We have done that with our TechPodcasts Roundtables.
There are many other options out there for conferencing, one-on-one interviews and more. I have seen people create podcasts using shoe-string options, setting up IP camera connections to control their own settings and more. What do you use
When you are recording content, you might need to control the vocalist a little – get them away from the microphone or control what are called vocal plosives. A pop filter is one way to do it. Creating one is pretty easy and can be complete once you come back from the craft store. I show you how you can make your own pop filter for podcasting.
What is a Vocal Plosive?
Say “Bubba”. Now Say “Pappa”. Two more words – “Sassafras” and “Changling”.
These are plosive words. when you say them, the B, P, S or Ch sounds will peak into a microphone. When something peaks, it can cause the capsule (or ribbon) to push to its extreme. When that happens, you get clipping.
The best way to remove a plosive is to disperse the sound. Think of it like hitting a wall. On the other side, you have a muffled sound. Put holes in the wall and you can hear the sound better. Make a lot of holes in the wall and sound will pass through, but in a whole bunch of directions.
The wall takes the brunt of the plosives and sends the sound to the microphone.
Difference between Windscreen and Pop Filter
A windscreen is a piece of foam that will try to slow down all sound. It is porous, so sound will pass to the microphone. It works best for keeping wind noise off the mic (just like the DeadCat I talked about.)
Like I said before, a pop filter only wants to disperse sound so it doesn’t hit the microphone as hard. It also keeps you at a distance from the microphone.
The Old Pop Filter
You might have seen instructional videos taking a pair of nylons and wrapping around a bent coat hanger. This type of pop filter is nice, but not porous enough. By just putting the sock on, you are technically making 2 pop filters and can lose some high frequencies by doing it.
How to Make a Pop Filter
If someone in the family does needlepoint, you might already have what you need for a pop filter.
6 inch needlepoint hoop
8 inch square of nylon needlepoint material OR
8 inch square of metal screen door material
Clamp for pop filter to a stand
Keep in mind, metal actually works better than nylon. The stiffer the material, the better. The nylon needlepoint material is a great mid-road item. Best part with this is you could change out the material for different types of results.
Simply put the nylon material into the hoop and close it up. Make sure the nylon is taut – pull on the side if it bubbles. Then tighten the screw.
For a clamp, I used a T-brace from a hardware store and a clamp I bought last year. The end result is this:
The pop filter cost me around $10. The clamp was more expensive, but I already had it. Questions? Let me know!
When I consult podcasters that want to use 2 or mor microphones for podcasting, I recommend a mixer like the Alesis MultiMix 8. Sometimes the podcaster doesn’t want to deal with anything more than what a USB mic has to offer. So they ask if you can connect more than one USB mic to your computer to record.
The answer is you can with a little bit of work at the beginning
How USB Microphones Work
Normally by plugging in a USB microphone you are turning that sound device into the primary. The secondary or tertiary sound source is not the default, but can be used.
16 bit vs 24 bit sound card
I covered this in the article on Cheap microphones vs. expensive. The important part is when you use multiple USB mics they all need to be at the same bitrate as the others. Its not that you cannot try using different rates but that could cause problems in the recordings. Its best to have all USB microphones at the same bitrate (most USB mic are at 16 bit but higher end ones can bump up to 24 bit).
It also depends on the computer. 24 bit mics use more resource because they are collecting more data. If you put 2-3 USB microphones into the mix, the computer might have problems keeping up or one mic might show latency over the other.
One thing to point out: Right now I am saying “Microphone” but a USB device can also be a mixer – like the M-Audio or Edirol mixers I talked about in an earlier post. The original soundcard can also be incorporated into this process.
Which Audio Programs Can Use Multiple USB Microphones?
Even though you can connect microphones, you might not be able to use them on your program. It seems that any program that can do a multitrack record are able to record multiple USB mics. Each mic will end up taking a single channel. If you have a stereo mix then one mic will be on the left channel and one on the right.
Garageband, Adobe Audition, Audacity, Sony Acid, Cubase are some of the programs that will let you set up multiple track recording.
How to Set Up Multiple Mics for Use in Podcast – Mac
Keep in mind, this is Mac OS X Mountain Lion. Earlier versions settings will be slightly different. Open up the Audio MIDI Setup (In Go > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup). You will see your input and output devices.
Plug in your USB mic and you will see it show up in this panel. The microphone can take up more than one input and output channel. That is how USB mixers will work – they could take 3-4 channels (or more) for input and output. You can then multi-record.
Here is where the magic comes in:
On the bottom left – choose the + - then Create Aggregate Device (this may be in the preferences if you have an older version of OS X). A Blue plus will show up. when you select that device, you will get checkboxes on the right. Choose all your mics you want to use.
You can setup input and output devices. Keep in mind – the maximum number of input/output devices for USB is 127 (this is the limitation of the USB bus). I would guess you could go past that if you used Firewire or Thunderbolt audio devices. I am guessing 127 USB mics will take up too much resources and freeze your computer.
Drift Correction – What is it?
If the two sound devices have different sample rates, then you check drift correction so they align properly. Since most USB microphones work on the same rates, the boxes should be unchecked. If the box is checked once you add the device, make sure of its sample rate and try to match with your other devices.
How to Set Up Multiple Mics for Use in Podcast – Windows
Windows does not have a direct option. There is some software out there that will allow you to use 2 or more audio devices as one. Virtual Audio Cable is software by Eugene Muzychenko. The software is $25 (with a free trial). You can use it with multiple software including Audacity and Adobe Audition.
Can I Setup Multiple USB Mics on an iPad-iPhone-iPod?
Lets put it this way – there is a 5 in 1 connector for iPad out there. This shows iPad has the ability to run more than one device at one time through the lightning port. However, the software would have to recognize there is more than one audio channel for this to work.
There is a solution out there – the Alesis IO Mix is a 4 channel audio mixer for iPad. You can connect up to 4 channels to record.
Out of all the options, Mac is the best to use multiple USB microphones. However, if you are planning to record more than two voices at one time, it might be better to get a mixer (usually around $100). The USB out in most mixers will allow you to record multiple separate tracks or record as one track.
If you have a podcast where you use two or more mics, then might use a mixer. Recently I have been asked on the Podcasters Community about certain types of mixers. I have suggested the one that I actually have used for over 5 years now. Their latest one I might have to get for their upgrades.
DBX 166xs Compressor - To level out your sound, make louder noises softer, softer noises louder and gate out extra background noise.
ART 351 – 31 Band EQ - 31 band EQ shapes a sound better than any 3-4 dial system can. You can even take out the 80 Hz pops and 5 kHz hiss without taking out all the high end and low end.
HOSA Cables - HOSA is my choice for patch cables. They are inexpensive and can be picked up almost anywhere. HOSA also has all the adapters you can think of.
Within my podcast rig, I have the mixer go out to the compressor, pass through the EQ and come back into the mixer. It’s called “daisy-chaining” the effects and works well to shape sound.
Overall of the MultiMix 8 USB FX
There are a few things I would like to see. The biggest is to have the first 4 channels with all the same knobs, buttons and inserts. The foot switch is a great addition for a musicians’ use. The podcaster doesn’t need all the effects on the board – but its fun to experiment. Still, the effect interface needs to be easier to use for quick switch-overs.
I think the best price of this MultiMix 8 USB FX is the price. At $119, many podcasters can afford this board.
While I was at CES last week I got to catch the Behringer iStudio iPad mixing console. This is a dock that you insert an iPad into and turn it into a small recording unit for music or even podcasting.Also known as the iS202, the device has 2 mic inputs (which can also accept a instrument cable), effects and foot switch controls, Line-in and MIDI with USB midi in and out. The iPad slips in the top of the iStudio where you can load up your favorite software.
Pre-Order the Behringer iStudio iS202
iStudio in Podcasting
Connect up the mics and you can have a portable interview studio. Use it to record audio or to even pass it through to another source for video or streaming.
iStudio as a Video Output
Another cool thing you can do with the iS202 is run your video through the output to connect to a better stereo system. That way you don’t have to listen to the small speaker on the side.
Release Dates of the iStudio IS202
Problem is the device is a couple months late to market. Part of the problem is the change in connectors of the iPad – from 30 pin to 9 pin. When it does get released, the iStudio will cost $199 for the 30 pin or 9 pin versions.
Vocal exercises – you hear about them in acting and how some radio and TV personalities do it before a broadcast. But do you as a podcaster warm up your vocal chords?
It’s important to do so – not only to have your mouth and throat loose but also to make you feel more confident in your show. It’s like warming up before a 5k race – you don’t start cold and you feel like you are just slipping into the vocals.
Open your mouth slightly and say “AAAAHHH” for as long as you can. This does two things: 1 it shows you how much breath you have in your system and 2. it warms up your chords with a slight vibrating tone.
This also helps you with breathing. It also makes you aware of if you are “hissing” your S. Follow this by repeating the tongue twister “Sally Sells Seashells by the Seashore”. Try to numb the “s” sound when you repeat the twister.
8. Pop, Pop, Bop
Same thing, you are testing your “P” sound so you don’t pop the microphone. Repeat “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers”. Try to mute the “P” in the phrase. Also try to do the opposite – doing something extreme might give you an idea of how to counter it.
7. Ha Ha Ha
This is another breathing exercise. It helps you talk from your abdomen. Be prominent when you say “HA HA HA”. Put your hand on your stomach to feel where that is coming from and replicate it with your speech.
6. DOOOOOWWWWWNNNNN and UUUUUP
This exercise helps you with your mannerisms. When you say down, let the tone of your voice go down. When you say up, let your tone go up.
5. They’re Their There
Not only do you need to know which one to use but also understand there is a right way to say it and wrong. Put each one in a sentence and notice how you pronounce the word. Here are three sentences you can read aloud:
Where is their room?
There have been differences
They’re going to be late
4. Recite the Alphabet
This exercise is about pace. The idea is to say each letter in the exact same amount of time. Sometimes we group things together and rush the words. In the alphabet, we might say “ABCD” really fast, then take a pause to catch our breath to recite “EFG”.
A good helper is to take your hand and move it up and down like a conductor would. When your hand hits the bottom, recite the next letter. Recite a couple times with a brisk pace, then a slow pace.
3. Whisper the words out
Take a sentence and whisper it out. See how quiet your voice can go. Then repeat the sentence in a normal voice. You can even use a bold voice the third time. Once again, you are testing extremes to stay on track.
2. Boo-bie Boo-bie Boo-bie
This is a fun exercise. Say the word but be extreme with your mouth. Keep repeating the word until you cannot any longer. It strengthens your mouth muscles and is also a breathing exercise.
1. Tell a Joke
Find a joke you can tell right before you go on. Don’t switch jokes – tell the same one again and again. The idea is to master the joke and all it’s little nuances. After a few months you can feel free to change things up if you feel confident you have worked out the joke perfectly.
It might also make you laugh which is always a good way to start with a show.