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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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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PQT – Audio File Size vs Quality

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When you compress/export your final edited version of your podcast into an .mp3TPS Podcast Quick Tips ID3_300x300 audio file you have a couple decisions to make. How big or small do you want the file to be versus how good do you want it to sound?

There are many factors that can lead to a final decision regarding your podcast file. Here are a few factors that I take into consideration when compressing my .mp3 for release into the RSS feed. [Read more…]

PQT – Recording with the Zoom H4n

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Looking around my studio, I counted almost ten different ways to record a podcast. Over the next few episode of Podcast Quick Tips, I’m going to be using each of these methods to demonstrate how you can produce a quality sounding podcast many different ways.

Recording with the H4n on-board mics about 7-10 inches from my mouth

First up is the Zoom H4n. This digital audio recorder is an amazing little piece of technology and really the only thing you need to record a podcast. You’ll hear how I use the on-board condenser microphones of the H4n to record this episode.

Coupled together with some post production, you can create some fantastic sounding audio. A little compression, a limiter, some EQ and a touch of noise removal can really improve the audio that comes off the Zoom. However, this device is powerful enough to produce a show without using any post production. It can even compress your raw audio file into the mp3 format for you.

I also talk about BlogWorld NYC 2012. I’ll be speaking on two different panels and co-teaching a two part class titled “Podcasting 101” along with Daniel from The Audacity to Podcast, Dave from The School of Podcasting’s Morning Announcements and Dan from Podcast Like a Radio DJ.

If you’re considering attending this year’s BlogWorld, which will have an incredible podcasting track, make sure to use my promo code: PodRay10 on checkout to save 10% off the price of your ticket. And, if you purchase by May 15, 2012 you’ll save an additional $100 off the price of a ticket.

If you’re going, make sure you let me know so we can meet in person!

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How To Disable Skype’s Auto Gain and Echo Cancellation Controls

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Your version of Skype might be doing a couple things with your audio that you don’t want it to. Here’s how to fix it.

To disable Skype’s auto gain control (AGC) for both Mac (5.6.0.143 and later) and PC versions, simply go into your Preferrences > Audio/Video and deselect the Automatic Microphone Control checkbox. [Read more…]

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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PQT – Disable Skype’s Auto Gain Control

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If you weren’t already aware, Skype is likely controlling your audio levels. As podcasters, we want to make sure we are in control of all our settings all of the time. This is how you can make sure Skype isn’t changing your audio quality.

Skype just released (03/06/12) a new version of it’s software for the Mac (version 5.6.0.143). In this release they placed a check-box (already found in the Windows version) for controlling Skype’s auto gain control (AGC). What AGC does is listen to the proximity of your voice to the microphone and adjust the volume as necessary so that the person on the other end can always hear you at a decent level. However, as podcasters, we don’t want anyone besides us deciding what our gain level should be and we certainly don’t want it to change during recording.

Now you can simply go into your preferences audio/video settings and uncheck the “Automatically Adjust Microphone Settings” box. Then go into your computer’s settings and set the level you want your mic to be.

When enabled, AGC will constantly adjust the level of your audio based on your relationship to the mic and whether or not you are speaking into it. During times of silence or if you move too far away from the mic, this can cause the “noise floor” to be raised higher thus producing an audible hiss. Disabling AGC will help to prevent unwanted noise.

Links mentioned in this episode
How to disable Skype’s AGC and EC with HTML code

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TPS Ep. 047 – Recording a Double-Ender Podcast

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When you want the absolute best quality recording from your remotely co-hosted podcast, you record a double-ender.

A double-ender is a type of recording where everyone on the podcast episode records their own audio. This allows for the cleanest sound possible, removing the unwanted noise problems you might get from such things as Skype or the telephone.

While this method does create more work for the editor (e.g. lining up clips, transferring files) you do end up with the best recording possible because everyone has recorded their microphones directly into their own software or recording device.

The basic workflow is as follows:
1. Everyone records their own audio (into Audacity or any other recording software or their own digital audio recorder).
2. Each person uploads their audio to a server so that the person doing the post production can gather all the audio files.
3. The editor lines up the audio tracks in an audio editor and does the normal post production (leveling, sweetening, etc.)
4. Export and finish the same way you would any other podcast episode (ID tags, show notes, etc).

In this episode I team up with Steve from NetcastStudio.com to record a double-ender podcast about recording double-ender podcasts. Listen as we describe the steps in detail and pay attention to the great sound quality we get from the process. It’s like we’re sitting in the same studio even though in reality I was on the East Coast and he is on the West.

Links mentioned in this episode
MicToob.com – A YouTube like site (user generated) dedicated to microphones (reviews, unboxings, demos, etc.)

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