Equipment and workflow for Recording Podcast Help Desk – PHD015

This is show # 15 for April 18th, 2014 – Podcast Workflow at PHD

Today I am answering a question from Mark.

Mark Writes:
“I am just thinking of starting a podcast and would really like to hear what goes into the production of your podcast. What software, hardware and workflow do you use?”
I am going to answer your question step by step. I start out a few days before I record with an idea of what I’m going to cover in the next episode (most of the time). I begin by creating a document in Google Drive with the show name/number. I then paste in any questions I have received relating to that topic. This will be the basis of my Show Notes for the episode. I don’t really use it as a script. Just sort of an outline (which is mostly good enough for shownotes).

As far as equipment I use, I record mainly into my computer. I have a 27” iMac with Adobe Audition. I have a Mackie 1202VLZ3 mixer, Audiocom Pro XL Compressor, Limiter Gate. Hooked into that is my Heil Pr40 mic on a boom. To hook that to the computer, I use a griffen iMic for the Aux channel (the sound effects if I want to go live to the harddrive) and I use the line input on the mac from the mixer’s output. I also plug the second output (the tape out) on the mixer to my Roland R-05 digital recorder. I use that as a backup recording. As a lot of people will tell you, you shouldn't rely on your computer because if you do, you will, someday, lose a recording. If it’s just you, that isn’t so bad, but if you are recording an interview, you may not be able to re-do it. I would say 90% of the time, I don’t need the backup recording and I delete it after the episode is released.

Here is where I do things one of two ways… I can, and sometimes do, record live to the hard drive. This is an old podcasting term for recording as if the show was a live radio show. Putting in the intros and other sounds in as you go so that when you hit stop, you are done. Very limited post-edit needed. The way I get the intros in is via that griffen iMic hooked to the mixer on another channel. I use a program called SoundBoard (for Mac) that I can load up my spots, music and whatever. It plays out the iMic and into the channel on my mixer and gets recorded on the computer and the recorder.

The other way I do it (and this is most of the time) is record segments. Then in post edit, put in the intros, outros, ad spots and other things in post-edit. Either way is good and I have it setup both ways.

In setting up the compressor, limiter, gate, I only use the Gate portion. This is the reason you don’t hear anything when I’m not talking (or playing a track from the Soundboard program). It cuts the mic off at a certain level. It keeps the room noise off the recording when I’m not talking. This works well in a moderately noisy room, but will not sound right if there is too much noise in the room.
Recording levels are also something you should watch for. I record at -12 to -6 db peaks. Then when I process the file, I add a little compression to the finished file and boost up the level to -3 on the peaks. This is the level that most radio stations (other than NPR) use for voice. The music on music stations sometimes pushes -0 on the peaks.

I edit (if needed) in Audition. You can use Audacity (a free cross platform audio editor) and encode my mp3 at 96khz @ 44100hz sample rate. (not quite CD quality which is 128khz). This keeps the file smaller and I don’t think anyone is going to notice on a voice only file. You can even go as low as 64 if you are tight on space for hosting.

Once I have the file done, I take it into iTunes to write the ID3 tags. I made a playlist called “edit” and I drag it right in there. Right click on the file in itunes and select Get Info. I fill in the “info” tab and the “Artwork” tab (uploading my image to the file)

Once I close the window, I am done and I upload and post the episode in wordpress using powerpress.

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