The Podcasting Gear Show

Revealing the Equipment Podcasters Use and How They Use It

The Podcasting Gear Show - Revealing the Equipment Podcasters Use and How They Use It

017 – The Podcasting Gear Show – Being Blue Isn’t All Bad – Bob DeGrande from the Dexter Cast Discusses the Blue Nessie Microphone

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartI am glad when my truths and understandings are challenged. When my assumptions, based on my limited experience, are reworked.  Like many podcasters, when I started podcasting, I began with using the onboard microphone to my computer.  Then I graduated to the Blue Snowball Microphone. Because of my less than favorable experience with the Blue Snowball Microphone, I swore off all condenser microphones and all products from the Blue company. I’m so glad that I was proven wrong.

My enlightenment started when one of my co-host for the Sci-fi Diner Podcast showed up at a convention with a Blue Yeti. When she plugged it into the mixing board, I was amazed at how crystal clear and beautiful it sounded.  Then Bob DeGrande from the Dexter Cast came on the Podcasting Gear Show and talked about the Blue NESSIE Microphone. In a lot of ways, he and my co-host for the Sci-fi Diner helped redeem my perception of the microphones that Blue puts out.

“Designed to combat the most common pitfalls of recording, Blue NESSIE Microphone automatically adapts to whatever you’re recording, applying professional studio processing combined with a built-in pop filter and internal shockmount, to produce expertly finished sound, without the need for additional mixing or editing. Just as the latest point-and-shoot cameras will reduce redeye and automatically adjust focus and exposure for improved photos, Blue NESSIE Microphone professionally enhances audio so that you get polished music demos, podcasts, interviews, YouTube broadcasts and more, instantly!”

If you’d like to try out the Blue NESSIE Microphone for yourself, you can do so by clicking here. If you are ready use the Blue Nessie Microphone, please let me know what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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016 – The Podcasting Gear Show – You Don’t Need To Mix Minus Skype Calls – Rob Walch from The Feed Discusses An Alternative Skype Setup

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartIn A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain wrote, “she…knew more than one way to skin a cat.” This phrase might seem gruesome to our modern sensibilities, but the essence of it rings true, especially when podcasters talk about recording Skype calls when co-hosting or conducting interviews.

It seems that you can’t go a week without hearing some way or someone talk about alternatives to recording Skype on your computer. Many of podcasters rely on recording Skype using using programs are plug-ins, appliactaions, and programs that work with the Skype program. Audio Hijack Pro, which we talked about in this show, is one such program. While many podcast is find such programs to be satisfactory, the reality is that such programs can be very CPU intensive. Not only do you have Skype running in the background, but you’ve also have GarageBand, Audacity, or Adobe Audition. And then you have the program using the capture the call. This can use a lot of system resources and becomes a real big problem when fans kick it in on your computer. There are many ways around this.

Rob Walch, from the 411 Podcast, Today In iOS Podcast, and The Feed Podcast as well as a representative for Libsyn.com, a  really well-known podcast file hosting service, talks about his Skype set up and how you can record Skype calls without ever recording on your computer. While there are many alternatives to the equipment he uses to complete such a feat, it is the way it is set up that is important to note.

I’ve included a diagram below of his detup that he graciously said I could share on this website. I encourage you to listen to the show. Let me know what you think of this set up. Do you use a similar setup? My setup is quite similar to Rob’s although I use different equipment to accomplish the same purpose.

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The Podcasting Gear Show App

So the Podcasting Gear Show is now available in a App. The links to download it are below:

Here is the description:

This is the most convenient way to access The Zogpod Collective on your phone. With this app you are always connected to the latest episodes from the Podcasting Gear Show, The Dune Saga Podcast, The SciFi Diner Podcast, and Haiti In Focus Podcast. You can also star your favorite episodes and save them to a list so you can easily enjoy them over and over! This app is complete access to The Zogpod Collective and all its podcasts; if you’re a fan of the shows, you won’t want to be without it!

This app contains the following additional features:

* Streaming access to play episodes from anywhere
* Always updated with the latest episodes- and an archived back catalog
* Playback resume (when interrupted by a call or other distraction)
* Access to exclusive extras like PDFs, wallpapers, and bonus content
* Quick access to all the contact methods for the show like call, email, web, Facebook, and Twitter

Thank you for purchasing this app and supporting the show!

Itunes:

The Zogpod Collective on Amazon

Google

015 – The Podcasting Gear Show – An Alternative to Skype and Hangouts – Cristopher Jones from The Ready Room Podcast Discusses Co-hosting and Recording Interviews Via GoToMeeting

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartPodcasters are a varied breed.  There are those who don’t mind talking for a half an hour or an hour by themselves on a show.  They do it week after week, show after show, and think nothing of it. I laud them.  I don’t think I could ever do it.

I love the Dune Saga Podcast and the SciFi Diner Podcast because I have co-hosts and do not have to rely on just myself to carry the conversation.  And one of the many reasons I love this show, the Podcasting Gear Show, is because I get to connect with many of you, and the interviews help carry the conversation.  Plus, my gear experience is limited to what I know and what I have encountered on my podcasting journey.  I learn so much for all of you and feel more connected to the podcasting community as a whole.

I have always recorded my interviews and co-hosts using Skype.  In the past year, I experimented with live streaming my podcasts using Google Hangouts.  For us, that worked as good as, perhaps better than Skype at times. But Christopher Jones from Trek.fm provides an alternate solution with way more functionally.

He uses GoToMeeting from Citrix to record his podcasts and loves the ease of use factor as well as its awesome capabilities. As the Citrix site states: “Citrix GoToMeeting makes it simple and cost-effective to meet online with colleagues and customers. Best of all, meeting participants can share their webcams in high definition, so you can enjoy more personal interactions – without needing a complicated setup. You can meet from anywhere on any device – no training needed. Start a meeting and share your screen, video and audio with just a click. Show your screen, share your webcam and speak your mind. GoToMeeting integrates everything – VoIP, telephone, HD video – for a clear and professional web conference. It’s the next best thing to sitting at the same table. Your online meetings are always a tap away with GoToMeeting for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone. Join or start sessions easily on the go and see the presenter’s desktop right on your mobile device.”

Clearly it is a viable, perhaps underused alternative, when podcasting. Are you using GoToMeeting to record your podcasts? Have you used it before and then decided not to? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please e-mail me at podcastingguru@gmail.com.

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014 – The Podcasting Gear Show – Get Action – Use Your iPad To Control Your Audio Editting Process – Cristopher Jones from Trek.fm Discusses How The Actions App Speeds Up Post Production Process

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartThis past weekend I watched David Lynch’s movie “Dune” on the big screen. One part that particularly stands out is the “thumper”, a device that repetitively beats the ground in a rhythmic pattern. The protagonists of the movie use it to call these huge sandworms that they ride.

In podcasting, especially here on the Podcasting Gear Show, my repetitive thumper is time efficiency in podcasting.  How can a podcaster put out the best product in the least amount of time?  This show is a continuation of that beating drum.

Christopher Jones from the Ready Room Podcast joins me again to talk about an app that he uses to streamline and more efficiently edit his podcasts in Adobe Audition. The Actions App, which is available on the iPad, allows you to control your most used functions in your editing software at the click of a button on your iPad. You no longer have to drop a menu to carry out normalization of some other function you are trying to carry out. Instead, you simply click a button on your iPad and it is done.

And the Actions App is not just for adito editing.  You can use it with e-mail, photo editing, and many more applications.

Want to try it out for yourself? Listen to the show and find out how you can win one of three codes to download the Actions App for free.

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013 – The Podcasting Gear Show – The Ultimate Editing Software – Cristopher Jones from Trek.fm Discusses Adobe Audition

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartRecording has certain adages that have become well known over the past decade of podcasting.  One of these rules is that for every minute of recording, you can expect to spend 3 to 4 minutes editing, creating show notes, and promoting your show.  While for newer podcasters this might take more time and more seasoned podcasters it might take less, anything we can do to make out editing more enjoyable is bonus.

My editing software journey started with four track cassette recorder in the early 1990s.  I eventually moved onto to Logic Pro.  Because I had a Mac, when I started podcasting I began using Garageband.  It was simple, intuitive, and did most of the things I wanted to do.  But in the fall of 2013, Apple decided it would no longer support the exporting of files from Garageband as an mp3s (They recently reversed this decision.)  I made the jump to Adobe Audition and have never looked back.

Christopher Jones from Trek FM and the Ready Room, like many other podcasters, swear by Adobe Audition.  What sells him on it is that Adobe allows an editor to see the wave form, to voice matching (voice leveling), and much more. What many podcasters accomplish with multiple programs, Adobe Audition does all in one program.

Adobe Audition is not perfect.  You’ll hear us discuss some of those in the show.  If you use Adobe Audition, let me know why you use it.  If you have considered using it and decided not to,  let me know that as well.

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012 – The Podcasting Gear Show – XLR or USB Microphone: You Don’t Have To Choose – John Wilkerson From The Wired Homeschool Podcast Talks About The Audio Technica ATR 2100 Microphone

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartI started out podcasting with the USB Blue Snowball microphone, something I would never recommend knowing what I know now.  I can still remember sitting in my classroom and podcasting behind the big white orb in front of me.  Some of you know what I am talking about.  I made the decision through a series of events to start podcasting without recording directly into my computer.  When I did this, my Snowball became obsolete.  In most cases you can’t plug a USB microphone into a regular mixing board.

If the Audio-Technica ATR2100 would have been around when I started podcasting, I could’ve saved myself a little bit of expense, plus I would have sounded a little bit better. I would not have had to buy a completely new microphone when switching from a USB recording setup to an XLR recording setup.  The Audio-Technica ATR2100 hooks up to both a USB port and an XLR port making it the ultimate versatile microphone. And perfect for the portable studio.

John Wilkerson from The Wired Homeschool Podcast is back with me this week to talk about how he uses the Audio-Technica ATR2100 Microphone
for his portable studio.  He uses it as an XLR microphone in my studio and you can clearly hear how awesome it sounds. And the price is right.

If you want to find out more about the Audio-Technica ATR2100 and perhaps pick one up for your self, you can do so here.
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The Best Bit Rate For Podcasting

Bitrate, as the name implies, describes the rate at which bits are transferred from one location to another. In other words, it measures how much data is transmitted in a given amount of time. Bitrate is commonly measured in bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). For example, a DSL connection may be able to download data at 768 kbps, while a Firewire 800 connection can transfer data up to 800 Mbps.

My daughter, a 12 year old fifth grader, just got into vinyl.  Its my fault.  The English department I work for was tossing a perfectly good record player, so I brought it home, and she, upon hearing and seeing it, commandeered it.  I grabbed my dad’s country western, gospel, and sixties LPs I had stashed in the attic and picked up a copy of the Go Gos at a local flea market; she’s had the beat ever since.

I have a radio DJ friend who only buys vinyl with the sheer belief that the sound heard from vinyl is more pure and more pristine.   And compared to current digital counterparts, he’s right.  And most of us don’t care.

Typical Bit Rates

So how does this translate for podcasting?  And what does this mean for podcasters?  Podcasters are really concerned about two things when it comes to bit rate: the sound quality and the file size. These are the things that matter at least to me.

The higher the bit rate, the better quality the sound.  This might make a podcaster be tempted to go for the highest quality mp3 possible.  Who doesn’t want to sound good?  But there is  a catch.  High quality come with a price; in this case the price is in file size.  And file size matters for two reasons.

First, larger file sizes take longer for a listener to download.  That means it is using more of their bandwidth and taking them longer to get to your content. Not a good thing.  That means it is also taking longer for you to upload the file to your file hosting service. For those of us with time poverty in our lives, this is time we do not have.

Second, most of us pay a podcast hosting service like Libsyn or Podbean to host our media files.  We pay for a certain amount of virtual storage space for our mp3 files.  The larger our files, the quicker our hosting space will be used up and the more we will pay to host our files.  Not good for the economically minded podcasters.

The thing you must ask yourself is what listeners really care about and what they are willing to tolerate when it comes to bit rate. This really depends on what type of podcast you are running.

If you are releasing a music podcast, most listeners will be ok with a 128 kbps. It is a  tolerable quality for music that most listeners have gotten used to from burning their own Cds. If you create an hour long podcast of music, that will take up about 56 MBs of space.  If you truly want to release near CD quality music in your podcast, you’ll be exporting your files at around 320 kbps, using 141 mBs of space for an hour long podcast.  That’s a heck of big podcast and a heck of a big download. That seems a bit overkill.

A majority of podcasts, however, are spoken word podcasts and need only 64 kbps to produce a good sounding podcast.  That only use 28 MBs for an hour long podcast.  Most listeners as they are traveling on their commute, running along the road, or mowing their lawn will not know a difference.

So when thinking of bit rate, consider file size, the quality of file you’re ok with, and your audience expectations. For more information of bit rate, please visit here. 

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011 – The Podcasting Gear Show – Portable Podcasting With Ease – John Wilkerson From The Wired Homeschool Podcast Talks About The Bossjock Studio App

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartThere are three things that every podcaster is looking for when it comes to equipment in their studio.  For one, they want quality. Nothing screams amateur like poorly recorded audio, especially when it is the fault of the equipment. The second thing they are looking for is affordability without sacrificing that quality. So if we can use the tools we already have, then dollars remain in our bank accounts and podcasters, and their wives, remain happy. And lastly, many podcasters are looking for some portability.  Yes, we like our studios, but we also like the ability to take our studios out and about for a bit.

Bossjock Studio answers this need.  John Wilkerson from the Wired Homeschool Podcast literally dropped by my studio the other week to chat about how this app has transformed his podcasting. He already owned an iPad and an Audio-Technica ATR2100. He purchased a Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit and walah he had his studio.  Now granted if you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, this studio setup will get pricey.  And you do need a USB microphone.  But barring those hurdles, it is possible, as John demonstrated in the Wired Homeschool Podcast to put out quality content with simplicity.

Podcast ready with no need for post production, Bossjock allows a podcaster to record a podcast while triggering intros/outros, bumpers and background music all on-the-fly. It allows you to encodes to all your favorite formats – mp3, m4a, wav, aiff and then export the files to FTP, Dropbox, Soundcloud, iTunes, Wifi, iTunes Share, AudioCopy and Email.  It even works with the  iRig PRE that Troy Heinritz talked about the other week.  It is seriously worth the $9.99 price tag.

If you already using Bossjock Studio, I would love to know how you are using it.  Drop me a voicemail using the Speakpipe widget to the right.

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Shure’s Secret To Sure Success

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartWhen I took the stage as the the lead vocalist and guitarist for the folk rock band I fronted in the late nineties, my go to microphone was Shure’s SM58. 90% of the bands that played the local scene had them. Why? Because we could spit on them incessantly, accidently drop them on and off the stage, back a Mack truck over them, and they would still perform and deliver great sound. And because of their durability and quality, my Shure SM58s still have a place in my studio. But after 15 years of using them, I discovered a secret about the Shure SM58 that I perhaps intuitively knew, but never really thought about.

The Shure SM58 has an internal shock mount.

Almost every other microphone I know (and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know all of them) has an external shock mount.  Take my Heil PR40 for example.  When I bought it, it came with an external shock mount. No bands I knew ever used shockmounts for the SM58.  Now I know why.

The Shure uses a pneumatic shock mount, or as it is sometimes called a pumping shockmount. Shure is not so concerned with side to side movement since the diaphragm moves with the microphone; they are more concerned with handling noise, stand vibrations, and in and out movement. The diaphragm mount actually pumps like a piston to absorb the vibrations. This eliminates a majority of extrinsic noise.

This is really great for the podcasting studio and for the traveling podcaster. The internal shockmount not only reduces the mic handling noise, but also means there is one less piece of equipment to lug around.

I want to say thanks to listener Todd Combs for pointing this out to me. I have have included a video below that discusses this more fully. They are focussed on Shure’s SM57, but the same holds true for the SM58.

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