Podcast Tech Specs

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Someone recently asked me what my recording setup consisted of. I thought it was a good time to share my experience with purchasing and setting up my first podcasting rig…

When I started preparing for my first podcast my first thoughts were, what kind of microphone do I use, and what program should I record in? I quickly found out that in order to have my podcast up and running, and to prevent issues from coming up later, there were a few more big questions that needed answering. What I’ve prepared is a “this or that” list that covers a few of the things you should think about if you have any notion of one day starting a podcast. These lists or columns can be found all over the web, so I will try and give you as detailed info as possible as to why I made the choices I did, and what solid alternatives I came across. I’ll break everything down into one of three categories Hosting, Equipment, and Publishing.

Hosting…

This should be the first thing you think about when you start planning a podcast. It’s really important to know where you will be hosting your podcast, and maybe more importantly how you want to deliver it to your audience. A few of the questions you should be asking are…

  1. Will you be hosting your podcast as part of a blog?
  2. Do you plan on publishing to iTunes and/or other podcast directories?

If you already have a blog then your half way to publishing your first podcast. What heavily plays into question #2 is whether or not you use a service like Feedburner. Feedburner or similar services act as a sort of filter. They take your feed and pass it thru another feed before publishing. This gives you the ability to track your podcasts stats as well as the ability to change hosting easily since your published feed will stay the same if you move the hosted files.

After doing some research on Libsyn, a very popular podcast hosting service, I decided that since I already use HostGator for my site hosting it made the most sense to just publish the files there. Also, I decided not to use FeedBurner because word on the web is that they will not be around for much longer. They are owned by Google and have not received much in the way of support. Signs point to the service being discontinued in the near future. If you want more info on that I suggest searching the web. It’s littered with articles saying the same thing. This does leave me with the slight chance of headache later if I decide to switch hosting and move old podcasts to a new location. I just cant justify spending more money each month on a better hosting solution for a podcast that isn’t monetized.

Equipment…

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Xenyx 302USB

There is no limit to how much money you can spend to get your podcast to sounding great. However, I believe that for around $100 dollars you can be equipped to deliver a consistent and professional sounding podcast. There are two main components to look at here, recording equipment and editing software.

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Yeah, thats little Darth Vader keepin’ the empire in check!

When it comes to the recording equipment things can add up fast. I fully endorse the use of a mixer when recording. It gives you the ability to do some “fine tuning” before the recording and editing phases. As long as you are running one microphone, a great mixer can be found for around $50 bucks. I would suggest the Xenyx 302USB as an awesome starting point. From there, the sky truly is the limit. As for a microphone, there is no need for a $300 dollar condenser mic (at least, not yet…). What you want to look for here, and what I settled on, is a good solid Dynamic mic. I found the market on these very skewed. Shure is big name in microphones, but the price comes with the name. I found a very warm and clean sound in a Behringer XM8500 (around $25). Throw in some XLR cables and a nice mic stand and you’ve got yourself rig to be proud of. One last thing, buy a pop filter. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars, just buy a pop filter. One can be had for around $12-$15 bucks. If your being budget minded than at very least craft a homemade one out of pantyhose and a wood ring. All in all, you will be in the $100 to $115 range.

As for Editing software, don’t over think it. Audacity is great freeware, and it will work just fine. If your a Mac user, than don’t discredit GarageBand. I use this, and I love it. After a few test recordings and some practice you’ll be ready to publish.

Publishing…

You’re finished your first podcast and you’re ready to share it with the world. Where ever you publish your podcast, you’ll want to share your RSS Feed with followers so they can see and download you newest episodes. However, you’re going to want it to be a breeze for anyone to be able to find your podcast and to be able to easily grab new episodes. There are a couple great directories out there. The biggest being the iTunes Store. If you use WordPress there are some plugins out there to streamline the process of making your podcast iTunes/directory friendly. Same goes for SquareSpace (however its already built in there). Wherever you publish make sure that you have followed the guidelines. Publish it in as many places as you feel comfortable with, and start telling people where to find it.

 

Here is The GeekyFaucet Podcast setup…

  • Host (me) is Recorded on a Behringer XM8500 Microphone with co-hosts and/or guests “Skyped” in to the mixer.
  • Mixer Xenyx 302USB is connected to computer via USB for recording.
  • Edited in GarageBand and compressed to a 128 MP3 for publishing.
  • Hosted through our WordPress site and configured with the PowerPress Plugin

 

I hope this helps with anyone out there that is looking for some start up info on podcasting. I offer this extra bit of advice. Try not to over think the whole process. Get a sound your happy with and start having fun with podcasting.

 

 

 

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