Mackie 402VLZ4 Mixer

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The Mackie 402VLZ ultra-compact mixer* is an excellent audio mixer for first time podcasters. “Built like a tank” the 402 is encased in steel with quality feeling knobs, sealed to prevent dust from invading the insides of the mixer. The first thing you’ll notice when you pull this mixer from the box is how well it’s built and its small size. This thing feels like a road warrior, built to be taken with you when necessary.

 

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Behringer Xenyx Q802USB Mixer Overview

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The Behringer Q802USB mixer* is a great choice if you are looking for a mixer that can handle most podcasting applications for less than $100.

A good preamp is where a good mixer starts. The Q802USB has Behringer’s Xenyx preamps and they perform very well in this mixer. With plus 60DB of gain, the preamps in this mixer are enough to power most dynamic microphones including the Heil PR40 and the ATR2100, two of my microphones that require the most gain. Even at the top range of this preamp, I was able to get clean audio.


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How to Setup Any Mixer – Gain Staging without PFL or Solo Buttons

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For many podcasters, mixers do not include Pre Fader Listen (PFL) or Solo buttons which are commonly used on more expensive mixers for properly setting audio levels.

 

Gain staging is the process of setting proper audio levels through your entire audio chain. On a mixer this starts with the gain knob (located at the top of each channel strip) which controls the sensitivity of your microphone or input and finishes at the output, your main mix. [Read more…]

Aspen Mics HQ-S Stereo Lavalier Microphone

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Aspen Mics* has a new series of lavalier microphones called HQ (High Quality). I first saw these mics tweeted out by @cheesycam who often reviews lower priced gear for DSLR video shooters. For a mic called HQ, these mics had an interesting price point around $50 but what made that attractive was their quality. Upon first listen, the mics seem to produce nice clean audio without having to run your recorders preamp at full gain.

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Webcam Lighting Setup

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One of the biggest ways to make your Google Hangout or any other type of video look its best is to make sure you have good lighting. Really any lighting that you put a little effort into will do wonders. The key is to get adequate amounts of light in front of your face so the audience can easily see you and the camera will look it’s best.

You can accomplish this with any lights you have in the house, office or wherever you are broadcasting from. Often I just use a nice large window (see below) with plenty of daylight coming in. This looks wonderful but can be hard to control. When the clouds pass in front of the sun, your lighting will change dramatically. While I love the look of natural light, the best way to ensure you have consistent, great looking light is by using lights that you control.

Lighting setup for HOA

In the image below you’ll see a more advanced lighting setup that I recently used on my G+ HOA based show, Podcasters’ Roundtable. [Read more…]

How to Setup a Mix Minus for Recording Skype

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If you need to setup a mix-minus to record Skype for your podcast, this tutorial will show you the gear* you’ll need and how to connect it all together.

Below is a complete photo walkthrough of the mix-minus setup demonstrated in the video above.

The basic concept of a mix-minus is to input multiple sources of audio into an audio mixer (your microphone, sound cart, phone messages, Skype, etc.) then send that audio back out to Skype, minus (without) the Skype caller’s voice.

This setup is achieved by using an auxiliary output to selectively send certain audio out of the mixer. If you send all the audio that is in the mixer, back to Skype, then the person on the other side will hear a feedback loop of their own voice. So we need to exclude (minus) Skype’s audio (the person’s voice) from going back into Skype.

Depending on your mixer’s manufacture, the auxiliary output may be labeled Aux, FX or Mon Send. They’ll all work as auxiliary outputs in this setup.
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Recording Skype with No Mixer or Software

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Recording a Skype interview can be a tricky process. There are “easy” ways to do this with software like Audio Hijack Pro for Mac and Pamela for Windows but they can still be hard to setup and of course anytime you’re using software you are at risk of it crashing and losing the entire interview. My other complaint about using software is that it’s not as easy to monitor the audio that you are recording to ensure that everything sounds right throughout the recording.

Here’s a very specific setup that while it uses a particular piece gear (ATR2100 or AT2005)* it gives you lots of flexibility with the final audio file(s) as well as a more reliable system for capturing your Skype interviews and achieving latency free monitoring.

In the video I say that you have to have an ATR2100 style microphone. For this exact setup that is true however you can achieve a Skype recording with your audio recorder with any XLR connected microphone (see section below).

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Podcaster’s Pilgrimage – My Visit to the TWiT Studios

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If you live in Northern California or are ever visiting and you’re a podcaster, I highly recommend you make the “podcaster’s pilgrimage” to the TWiT Brick House in Petaluma, California. The best part is that anyone can walk right in and see the studio for themselves. Here’s the experience through my eyes and lens.twit-logo

Following a week in Las Vegas, Nevada where I attended and spoke at New Media Expo, my friends and fellow podcasters Mike and Izabela Russell were taking an extended vacation which included a visit to San Francisco. At first, I was planning to show them wine country in the Napa Valley, a great California experience but then it hit me, what’s in wine country and specifically tailored for podcasters? TWiT! [Read more…]

Soundation Adds Audio Recording and Editing to G+ Hangouts and Hangouts On-Air

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UPDATE: Soundation is limited to a ten minute record time which essentially makes this unusable for podcasting. I’m talking with the devs to see if there is a solution moving forward for podcasters. Stay tuned.

Soundation is a new Add-on for Hangouts and Hangouts On-Air that lets you record audio inside a Hangout. Why is that so cool? Cause you can produce a high quality podcast with separate channels of audio for post production all inside the wonderful UI of Hangouts/HOA.soundation

It’s essentially an easy system for doing double-ender recordings with anyone in a Hangout!

BOTTOM LINE: This workflow is not for the average podcaster but for those who are trying to get the top quality productions, G+ now gives you the ability to produce a high quality, fully featured podcast (720p video, .wav audio, all live-streamed) wow.

I might sound a little more excited than reasonable but that’s because this is something I’ve been wanting to see for awhile now; so much so that I almost had it created on my own. I’m excited someone built it and built it well.

Here’s my walkthrough video showing how I will use this for the production of one of my shows, Podcasters’ Roundtable.

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