TPS097: Cheap Gear, Advertising and Being Niche

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On this fairly opinionated episode, I discuss my thoughts on “cheap” gear, advertising rates, audience numbers and who your podcast’s intro should serve.

“Cheap” Podcast Gear

Cheap gear is not the same as affordable gear. One I have a problem with, the other I do not.

Gear that is made poorly and creates issues like noise that shouldn’t be there, is cheap gear. That is the kind of ATR2100gear you want to avoid. Affordable gear, is something that works well at a budget friendly price. And that kind of gear I recommend often.

The best example of gear that is budget friendly yet performs at a professional level would be the ATR2100 microphone. I love this mic., because it’s less than $60 and the sound it produces can compete with microphones that are five times as much. It’s built well but it’s not perfect. I have seen the USB connection go back but the good news is it has a lifetime warranty so there is little risk to getting this microphone. This is a great piece of gear that a beginning podcaster can buy and instantly have the capability to produce professional level audio.  [Read more…]

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 Audio Interface Review and Demo

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Why did I buy the Focusrite?

I bought the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4* (2i4 on B&H | 2i4 on Amazon) after my beloved Griffin iMic died on me after a few years of hearty service. The iMic is a simple, small audio interface that accepts both line and mic. level sources with a 3.5mm connector and it does its job really well. So why not just buy another one? I was going to but I’m a gear junky so upgrading is common place.

The iMic is a little pricey for what it does ($35-$40) but again it’s well worth it. The price of the iMic led me to see what I could get if I invested a little more and I’ve been wanting to try the Focusrite series of audio interfaces for a very long time. This was my chance and a better justification for finally getting one. If I tripled my investment in a new iMic (give or take), I could get a lot more capability and power from the 2i4.

First Impressions and Test

In the audio (above) you heard my very first recordings using the 2i4. I plugged in my ATR2100 and recorded using Adobe Audition. The first same is raw (as recorded) and the second was lightly processed and loudness normalized. [Read more…]

TPS 075: Podcasting Hurdles – Getting Past Common Barries to Starting a Podcast

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What were the largest hurdles you had to overcome when starting a podcast?

TPS_300x300

Starting anything can be tough. The first sentence of a school paper, an about page on your blog, show notes for your podcast episode, these are all hard things to start but once you do you’re off and running.

A podcast is no different. Once you get past that initial barrier, whatever that happens to be in your case, then you gain momentum and the next thing you know you’re on episode twenty. [Read more…]

Purchased: Triton Audio FetHead

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I ordered a Triton Audio FetHead in-line preamp and it’s here. So what does it do?

You can click the above link for specs but the short of it is, it provides +20db of “ultra clean gain.”

Why would you want this? The simple answer is cleaner audio at higher levels.fethead

If you follow my microphone for podcasting advice, you’re likely using a dynamic microphone (Heil PR40, Shure SM58, ATR2100, etc). Often, these mics need a lot of gain in order to achieve proper audio levels which means cranking the preamp (gain knob) on your mixer or recorder close to its max. In general, I like to keep any preamp I’m using below 70% of full when possible. (Audio sample below). [Read more…]

PQT – Focus Your Podcast’s Budget

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Podcast Quick Tips Most podcasts are a hobby endeavor which usually means budgets for gear, websites, software and everything else involved in making a podcast is limited. When deciding where to put your money first, focus on the elements of your podcast that are most likely to affect the overall quality of your show.

The best place to start is your microphone. This is likely the single largest factor in getting a good sounding podcast. The best budget microphone on the market, as of the date of this post (02/15/13), is the ATR2100 from Audio Technica.

For less than $50 U.S., you get a dynamic mic (best for the typical podcast studio) that produces excellent audio quality (on par with the infamous HEiL PR40) and plugs directly into your computer via USB. [Read more…]

TPS Ep. 062 – Listening for Problems in Your Podcast’s Audio and My Rack Gear Compressor

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Have you ever speaker tested your podcast? Have you done it lately?

Speaker testing your podcast means listening to your show the way your audience does, on many different devices.Your audience listens to your show in their car, on their mp3 player, on their computer and on many other devices and in countless environments.

To hear your podcast the way your listeners do, put your podcast on these devices and listen in these spots to get a better idea of what your podcast audio sounds like to everyone else. It might sound great through your finely tuned headphones in the edit but does that translate to these devices and places? [Read more…]

TPS Ep. 060 – Starting Your First Podcast: A First Time Podcaster’s Experience

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From blogger to podcaster, Jeff Yin shares his experience of starting his very first podcast.

Jeff attended Blogworld NYC 2012 as a blogger and quickly learned he’d make a great podcaster after attending several of the podcasting track sessions including Podcasting 101 which I was a part of. One month later, Jeff had taken some basic gear he already owned and started his first podcast, Entrepreneurs with Day Jobs.

Find out the process he took to starting his new show and how a small budget, a little advice and some informed choices led to the start of a great sounding podcast. [Read more…]

TPS Ep. 057 – The Benefits of Using a Mixer

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Adding a mixer to your podcast studio will allow your productions to grow along with your show.

As you get further along in your podcasting venture, you’ll likely want to add in more capabilities such asdesktop rack mount Skype hosts and guests, more in-studio microphones, and built in capabilities for backing up recordings to avoid loss of your audio. Having a mixer in your studio allows you to easily add in these and many more features as your skills and productions progress over time.

On this episode I explain the many ways a mixer allows you to easily expand your studio’s capabilities and what features you might want to look for when choosing your first mixer or upgrading your old one.

TPS Ep. 056 – SXSW, Archiving Your Podcast, and Powerpress 3.0

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Fresh off my return from SXSW, I share my experiences from the conference and a couple panels I saw that led me to bigger ideas about my podcast, sharing and your show’s legacy.

One of the speakers I sat in on was Jason Scott from the Internet Archive. He talked about curating the culture of the web and capturing it for future generations. So what happens to your podcast when you’re gone? I discuss thisSXSW Interactive 2012 logo and suggest that you might want to backup your episodes to Archive.org. You’re creating great content that when viewed from a far in context with other shows produced during the same time, can lead to a bigger picture of what was happening in a particular time in our history. Save it.

I discuss a new episode of Podcast Quick Tips where I take a look at Skype’s new release which includes an option (for Mac users) to disable auto gain control. Windows users already have this in their version of Skype. Don’t let Skype control your microphone. Now you can easily disable this setting for times when you are using Skype to record a podcast.

Check out ThePodcastersStudio.Tumblr.com. Yet another way I’m using the content I create here to generate small amounts of income. The site is a collection of mobile photography of podcasting gear that I come into contact with, connected to affiliate links. This might be another revenue stream for your podcast. Anytime you are creating content that promotes other’s products, try and incorporate affiliate links. It adds no extra cost to your audience and it could help you offset the costs of producing your show.

Custom title tags are a way to help you write blog posts for humans and robots. I discuss how you can create catchy titles while still maintaining good SEO for the likes of Google, Bing, etc.

Finally, I take a look at PowerPress 3.0, the podcasting plugin for WordPress created by Blubrry.com. Once again they have added some great features that you are likely able to add into your podcasting site’s backend to help improve how your show is delivered to your community. Don’t miss the great resources I list for helping you work your way through the newest version of the plugin.

Links mention in this episode:
Jonathan Stark – The guy who gave the Internet free coffee
Archive.org – for free podcast hosting or archiving
How to disable Skype’s AGC and EC with HTML code
All in one SEO pack – plugin for WordPress
The School of Podcasting’s Morning Announcements – Feedburner Vs PowerPress – An interview with Mike Dell, part of the PowerPress tech support team
The Audacity to Podcast Episode 72 – How to Setup PowerPress 3.0 with video walkthrough

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