TPS 070 – Show intros, Zoom H4n and the Top Podcast Directories

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I recently spoke on the topic of podcasting at Social Media Week D.C. (#SMWDC) and it presented some great opportunities to use gear that I don’t always use and speak to people face to face instead of from behind the mic. This of course led to some insights that are perfect for podcasters.

Public speaking introduces an added element of excitement, nervousness and adrenaline that you might also experience the first few times you sit down to a microphone to record your podcast. In each scenario it’s a good idea to remind yourself to slow down. Even after recording hundreds of podcasts episodes, I still find myself having to slow down when speaking in public.ZoomH4n

When you slow down you give your mind a chance to catch up with your mouth. Talking too fast is often the reason we insert the “ums” and “ahs” in between our words. We just don’t give our brain the chance to think of the next word and so we insert anything in the empty space because we feel awkward leaving just silence. But as any parent knows, silence can be golden.

When you slow down you’ll use less placeholders, creating breathing room for yourself and your audience and you’ll also save lots of time in the editing process because spaces are easy to see, tighten up or get rid of because they display as flat waveforms (lines) in your editor.

I recorded the audio for this talk via wireless mics and the Zoom H4n. The H4n has some unique abilities that give it some advantages over recorders with less features such as the Roland and cheaper Zoom and Tascam models. Primarily the Zoom H4n lets you plug in professional microphones via two XLR inputs and record four track audio.

Recording separate tracks allowed me to use the Zoom’s on-board mics to capture the audience’s questions while separating my audio on it’s own track. This has huge advantages in quality and flexibility in post production.

Also discussed on this episode are the top five podcasting directories where I think you should submit your podcast first. See the blog post for more information but in order of appearance (according to my stats) the top five are:

  1. iTunes
  2. Zune
  3. Miro
  4. Blackberry
  5. Stitcher

I covered a lot of topics on this episode so please take a listen and learn more about my experiences with Keynote, Screenflow, pop filters and more.

Orlando sent in an mp3 file to the show to ask about my Mackie ProFX 12 mixer. He wanted to know if I was having an issue with USB connection. The answer is yes. It appears there is a known issue with this line of mixers that introduces some buzz via the USB on some models. My particulare mixer happens to suffer from this.

The mixer is a great mixer for the price and the features you get. However, if you are buying a mixer to record into your computer via USB I would consider another mixer as I have heard that this has been an issue for other ProFX owners.

But if you looking for a mixer with great pre-amps, insert channels, lots of inputs, real faders, two aux sends, etc, this is potentially a great buy and it’s working great in my studio. I don’t record into the computer and if I do I use the analog inputs to get audio into the computer for things like Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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About Ray Ortega

Full-time podcast producer and host of The Podcasters' Studio and Podcasters' Roundtable, I enjoy sharing my ten years of experience making podcasts to help others improve or start their own show.


  1. I am really coming to love using my digital recorder – the TASCAM DR=40 – in solo podcasting situations. That particular models does have two XLR inputs, and gets a great sound. These gadget are soooo useful for many situations. Now if I can just remember to put a pop shield in my mobile bag…

  2. I think I need free Gear consulting. I did an interview and it could have gone better.

  3. Ray,
    It worth upgrading from the H2 to the H4N? I left the comment on FB when you posted it but I am thinking it fell through the cracks.

  4. I have a ProFX 12 and can also confirm the high pitched buzz when I connected it to my Mac to send the audio out to live stream. Won't be doing it again, I will use my RCA/tape out in future.

  5. I know Audioboo ( is not a podcatcher as such, but as a language teacher I use it for very short audio clips and then link to them from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

    I was surprised to get an email from Audioboo last week telling me one audio fiie had been listen to over 1,000 times! Not only is this service free, it's a great way to get short audio clips to your audience when you don't want to put out a whole podcast episode.

    Soundcloud ( has a similar free service.

  6. I have used my H4N indoors with great success. However I tried using my H4N to record an outdoor marching band competition over the weekend.

    • Outdoors definitely throws a more difficulty into the situation. You have to deal with the elements and in a situation like a large band outdoors, it might be more difficult to capture that with a single mic.

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