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

The Podcasting Gear Show Special Edition: Discussing Gear, Changing Names, and Podcasting Goodness With Dave Jackson

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartThis week I appeared on Dave Jackson’s “School of Podcasting” podcast to talk about my podcasting gear, The Podcasting Gear Show, and the things to consider when changing a show name.

The interview starts around 13:54, but I would encourage you to listen to the whole show as Dave Jackson is always chocked full of goodness when it comes to podcasting tips and thoughts.

He gave me permission to share this feed with you.

Enjoy.

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What Does Condenser Microphone Mean?

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartOne Listener asked “What does the word “condenser” in condenser microphones mean?”

Another form of this question that often comes up is “what is the difference between condenser and dynamic microphones?”  Since I chatted with Scott Roche about his CAD GXL2200 Cardioid Condenser Microphone, I’ll address what a condenser is this week and then the dynamic the next.

The terms dynamic and condenser really refer to the method in which the microphone generates an electrical signal. How it takes your sound wave and converts it into a signal.

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In a condenser mic,  the diaphragm is a very thin plastic film (see diagram above), coated on one side with gold or nickel, and mounted very close to a conductive stationary back plate (again see diagram above). A voltage is applied to the diaphragm by an external power supply (battery or phantom power). The diaphragm and back plate, separated by a small volume of air, form an electrical component called a capacitor (or condenser). The capacitance, or space between these two plates, varies as the freely suspended diaphragm is displaced by the sound wave. As it does so, the electrical charge that it induces in the back plate changes proportionally. The fluctuating voltage on the back plate is therefore an electrical representation of the diaphragm motion.

Because the diaphragm of the condenser is not loaded down with the mass of a coil like the dynamic microphone is, it can respond very quickly to transients, which are the sounds at the beginning of the sound wave form. Many podcasters like condensers because of the authentic sound they provide.  (Thanks to Crown for portions of this write up.)

If you have a term you would like me to address on the show, please e-mail me podcastingguru@gmail.com

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When To Rename A Podcast

thepodcastinggearshowalbumartWhy I Renamed Inside The Studio Of The Podcaster To The Podcasting Gear Show.

Initially when I was conceptualizing and planning this show, I wanted to call it Inside the Podcaster’s Studio; you know like, James Lipton’s Inside the Actors Studio show.  I ran it by a great friend of mine Wayne Henderson from Media Voice Overs Dot Com.  He told me that Ray Ortega had a show called “The Podcasters Studio” and suggested changing it.  We played with it, and I settled on Inside the Studio of the Podcaster, a bit long for a podcast name, but it had the same intent as the original thought.

Last, week Dave Jackson called me out on his School of Podcasting Show, ribbing me that the title was STILL too similar.  I could have taken offense at that, but when someone who has been podcasting as long as Dave has says something, I need to step back and consider it.

And you know what?  He was right.  It still was too similar to Ray Ortega’s show.  My content was different, more niche, but title was too similar.

Hence, the Podcasting Gear Show was born.  I did my homework this time.  No one in iTunes has a title like this one.  For you listeners, nothing changes.  The URL is the same, the feed is the same; its just a name change.  Besides, now there is absolutely no question what the show is about.

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005 – Inside the Studio of the Podcaster – Ben DeBono from the SciFi Christian Podcast Discusses Sound Byte

Insidethestrudioofthepodcasteralbumart2This week I chatted with Ben DeBono from the SciFi Christian Podcast. I first ran into Ben when the SciFi Christian feuded with the SciFi Diner Podcast, but we decided to “bury the hatchet“, let bygones be bygones, and talk about another program that you can use to help streamline your show.  I referred to podcasters suffering from a time poverty in an article I wrote for Podcaster News. This program is another way you can combat this issue that plagues podcasters.

When I first started podcasting, I would record my shows and then add in my intro, outro, sound clips and promos in post production, but Sound Byte changed all that.  What Sound Byte allows me to do is to load my intro, outro, promos, listener feedback, etc into the program.  I hook up my iPhone, which is how I use SoundByte, to my mixer. When I am recording, I just hit the appropriate sound at the appropriate time, and my sound is recorded right onto my main tracks.  I can even fade the sound out so I can speak over it.  It seriously could not be easier. It is also available for the PC, the Mac, and the iPad. Sorry, no Android device yet.

This program seriously knocks at least 15 minutes off my post production time. That is another fifteen minutes I can be connecting to my listeners or writing blog posts.

If you are already using SoundByte, let me know how it has helped you in your podcasting.  If you are not, listen to the show. I have some ways you can get it for free.

I’ll post a tutorial on how I use Sound Byte in the upcoming days.

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004 – Inside the Studio of the Podcast – Georg Holzmann from Auphonic.com Discusses How Auphonic Streamlines Podcasting

Insidethestrudioofthepodcasteralbumart2Last week I had the privilege of chatting with Doug Payton from the Consider This! Podcast regarding his use of Auphonic.  This week I spoke with Georg Holzmann, the creator and brains behind Auphonic.

The one thing that continues to impress me about Auphonic is how it streamlines the podcasting post-production experience. We podcasters know that planning and recording a show almost seems easy compared to everything that needs to be thought about in post-production.  If editing down a show was not a job in itself, we need to pay attention to leveling tracks, normalization, files size and format, and meta-tagging. Doing this manually each week takes time, time quite frankly that I as a podcaster producer just do not have.  In comes Auphonic.com.

With a free account, I can have all the above done in one pass.  And here’s the thing. I can save my work as  preset so that each week when I release a new podcast, all I have to do is load the preset.  Auphonic loads all my meta-data (tags, show art, licenses, show description, etc.), remembers in what formats and bit rate I want to export the audio file, hooks up to my Libsyn, YouTube, and Soundcloud accounts, and remembers that I want normalization and adaptive leveling done. Auphonic will even throw in a preloaded intro and outro if I don’t want to mess with inserting that each week. All I have to do in the preset is load my new raw file. In a click of the button, the work is done. Well, your files needs to be uploaded first.

When everything is finished, I can listen to the finished episode online.  If something doesn’t sound quite right, I can go back in and edit the episode. For a new podcaster, it really couldn’t be simpler.

And for those of you who produce your own videos, it will handle video too!

Let me know what you think. Are you using Auphonic?  Something else? What do you use to tag your podcasts?

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Term of the week: Compression

Compression can be confusing to first time podcasters. Here’s  the situation:

Possibly the single greatest challenge facing the podcaster is finding the right balance of audio. On the face of it, the task should be simple: I adjust the channel faders until I hear everything in the right proportion. My voice, audio intros, and guests are all theoretically coming through the headphones at the right, equal level.

But my voice fluctuates.  It rises and falls in intensity and pitch; at times it is louder and at other times more quiet.

If I push the level up so that the quieter moment are able to be heard more clearly, then rest of the vocal will suddenly become to loud.  No single setting gives a good balance because the difference between the highest and lowest signal levels (what is called the ‘dynamic range’) is too large.

Compressors remedy this by reducing the audio track’s dynamic range: compression reduces the level differences between the loud and soft words. The compressor does this by turning down (or ‘compressing’) the louder signals so that they match the quieter signals more closely — and all it needs from me is an indication of which signals I think are too loud.

There is a discussion about wether to use hardware or digital compression, but that is a discussion for another time.

 

003 – Inside the Studio of the Podcast – Doug Payton from the Consider This! Podcast Talks Leveling with Auphonic and the Lame Encoder

Insidethestrudioofthepodcasteralbumart2Doug Payton, from the Consider This! Podcast, joined me once again to talk about Auphonic, an online audio leveling/normalization app that he has been using for the past couple of months. You can hear his thoughts about Auphonic by listening to the show. We also diverge a bit to discuss the Lame Encoder, which the downloadable Auphonic app uses.

Up until I talked with Doug, I had always used Levelator, which was good for what it does. It normalized my audio so that all hosts and guests were speaking at the same level.  But when I tried Auphonic, I realized I had been using the Dodge Omni of leveling instead of the BMW.

Auphonic allows me to grab my .wav files and convert them into a myriade of formats.  If I didn’t do my own editing and blending of my intros and endings, it would do that as well. It will also do all my tagging and metadata (album art, copyright, etc).  I can create a preset of this so that each week, I can just load my preset and not have to retype anything. And one more bonus for me.  When I run my SciFi Diner Podcast files through Auphonic, I can export them from Auphonic in various files types and sizes all at the same time.  I release a slightly higher quality file in the SciFi Diner feed and share a smaller file with the network that the SciFi Diner Podcast is a part of.

Really, take some time to check Auphonic out.  In the long run, it will save you time, something that most of us have in short supply.

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Podcasting Recording Terms and Concepts

Insidethestrudioofthepodcasteralbumart2One of my listeners wrote in and suggested a new segment for the show, and I loved the item. This idea wouldn’t add too much to the over all length of the show (my goal is 20 minutes) and seems to fit the overall premise of the show.

Each week starting episode 4, I will review and briefly explain a recording concept or term.  What do things like compression or high pass filters mean?  Hopefully it will help you, and me for that matter, better understand our recording editing programs.

Please e-mail me at podcastingguru@gmail.com if you have any terms you would particularly like me to address.  You can also post them on the Facebook fan page at facebook.com/podcastingguru.

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002 – Inside the Studio of the Podcaster – Doug Payton from the Consider This! Podcast Talks Audio Editing with Gold Wave

Insidethestrudioofthepodcasteralbumart2Doug Payton, from the Consider This! Podcast, joined me to talk about Gold Wave, an audio editing program he has been using for years. You can hear his thoughts on Gold Wave by listening to the show.  If you listen the whole way through, I can explain how you can obtain a free Gold Wave license.

In my pre-podcasting days in the early 2000′s, I cut my teeth on audio editing through Emagic’s Logic Silver.  When I was first introduced to podcasting in 2008, I favored GarageBand because it was simpler, quick, and played nicely with iTunes. Plus I had begun doing all my audio editing on my MacBook. Due to recent updates in GarageBand, I have decided to move on from Apple’s editing software.

If I had a PC, GoldWave would be one of my top replacements for GarageBand. Its look is cleaner and nicer than that of Audacity, a free software you can use that is great for what it is.  But for $20 dollars a year or $60 dollars for a lifetime of updates, you get a lot more than Audacity offers.

For podcasters who record straight into their machines, GoldWave provides many options, including voice activated recording. While there is a small learning curve, it is fairly easy to use and has a customizable interface.  It can auto level your podcast and export it in any format you desire.  It contains 140+ effect presets and audio effects.  You can do batch processing. Cutting, fading, trimming, crossfade, and ducking are all easily done. You can even filter out the hum or hiss that was bugging you.

I encourage you to check it out the GoldWave website, explore all the features, and, if your working on a PC and looking for good, reliable audio software, download it.  And let me know your thoughts!

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PS. Here is a brief introduction to GoldWave.  I claim no rights to this.

Special Edition of Inside the Studio of the Podcaster – Tips and Tricks About Interviewing Guests on Your Podcast

Insidethestrudioofthepodcasteralbumart2So Thursday I appeared on John Mierau’s Serving Worlds Podcast to discuss the art of interviewing guests on a podcast….I appeared with Brad Beaulieu of SpeculateSF, Roche of Dead Robots Society, John Mierau from Serving Worlds, and Dave Robison of the Roundtable Podcast. If your looking for interviewing tips and tricks from all sorts podcasters, then please check it out.

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001 – Inside the Studio of the Podcast – An Introduction to the Show and Your Host

Insidethestrudioofthepodcasteralbumart2Welcome to the inaugural episode of the show. In this episode I talk about the premise for the show, share how you can be a guest podcaster on the show, hint at upcoming episodes, and tease you with some upcoming future give-aways.

I also share my podcasting journey, which actually begins in 1993 way before podcasting began, my recording background, and how I encountered podcasting. I share clips from my early days of podcasting and bring you up-to-date by talking about my current podcasts.

Keep podcasting,
Stay learning,
and keep listening.

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