TPS 072 – FetHead In-line Microphone Preamp

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Do you have a microphone, mixer or recorder that requires you to turn up the gain settings really loud in order to get a good signal? The FetHead might just be your answer to bringing those gain levels back down and reducing the hiss and noise you’re getting in your podcast’s audio.

To be clear, the FetHead is not a device you need. If you’re looking at getting an in-line preamp it’s likely that you take your podcast production pretty serious and you are now fine tuning your production gear in order to get the absolute best quality possible.FetHead

On this episode I talk more about why and when you might use an in-line preamp like the FetHead and demonstrate what it can do for your podcast setup. You’ll hear two audio samples that were recorded in order to demonstrate the preamp’s ability to bring down gain levels thus reducing the amount of hiss caused by cheaper preamps on a lot of mixers and recorders.

Recently I had the opportunity through my job as a podcast producer to travel to Manchester, England to live stream a podcast that is part of my job’s podcast network. It was an amazing opportunity and I made sure to make the most of it. I arrived in England a couple days early so that I could visit London as well. I took the train south and met up with fellow podcaster Mike Russell of Music Radio Creative. We had a great time drinking ale and touring the city despite the snowy conditions.RayandMikeLindonPub

Thanks to Mike for showing me around his city and thanks to podcasting for providing friends all around the world. Before podcasting I would have never been able to call up a friend in another country and arrange a meetup. Now, after years of producing my own shows and interacting with listeners and other producers, I could repeat this story in countless countries accross the globe and that is an amazingly powerful statement about how cool podcasting is.London

Mike from called in and asked about integrating a standup desk into a your workspace/studio. I recommended and mentioned that I’ve actually looked into this as an option for my own studio and will likely be adding an Up Desk to my studio in the near future.

Ty from the Kauai Podcast called to ask about podcasting on Android devices. He mentioned that he was asked by a listener what to use for getting podcasts on a Droid and he wasn’t sure what to tell them. I recommended he check out BeyondPod and Pocketcasts.

Finally, a last minute update about FeedBurner. The delete option now includes a permanent redirection as opposed to just 30 days which is what it used to be. This makes it much easier to move your feed away from FeedBurner (to alleviate the concerns over their possible shutdown) and be sure that most if not all of your audience subscribed to the FeedBurner podcast feed will be moved over to your new RSS feed.

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. Thanks for the mention this week Ray! My boss here at work has one of these desks. Thought you might be interested in this. Maybe not the treadmill part but the desk is spacious.

  2. Ray,

    In regards to your listener who inquired about podcatcher options for Android I have a few suggestions. I have been an Android user for years now and have tried many different podcast apps. There are only two that I'd recommend at this point.

    There is an app called Podkicker which is a good free option. It has all the essential features.….

    Secondly, for those who are heavy podcast consumers, I'd recommend the paid app, Pocket Casts. It is very feature rich and in my experience is the best option available although it costs $4.…..

    Both apps support both audio and video. Hope this helps.


    • Awesome, JD. Thanks. I love Pocket Casts myself and that's great that there is good free option as well. I'll have to remember to return to this post when someone asks me. Or even better I'll try to remember to include your recommendation in the next episode. Feel free to send an mp3 with your Droid recommendations and make sure to mention your podcast if you do send one in.

  3. Mike Russell says:

    Amazing show Ray and thanks for the really cool mention. You did very well to brave the cold London weather on that day. I'm thankful we had the opportunity to meet and it certainly won't be the last time for sure!

  4. Concerning the standing desk, here is a picture of mine:

    I designed this desk myself and had it built locally for ~$150 including the 2 stools. I'm 5' 7" and the desktop is about 2 inches higher than my standing elbow height. I have had it for a year now and I love it. I stand >75% of the time and the stools bring me to the exact same level in relation to the desktop when I sit down.

    Now that I have proved the concept and tested the ergonomics, I plan to build a nicer and larger desk with the same height measurements.

    Concerning the Android podcast clients, I love Doggcatcher! In my opinion, it's primarily for power users though. There are lots of options to set it up exactly how you want it. My wife uses Pocketcasts(much simpler) and the discovery in this app has been pretty good for her.

    • Nice desk, Rob. Michael Hyatt also had one built after pricing the ones on the market. Question: Does the cute kid come with the desk?

  5. Hi Ray,

    My podcast player app of choice on Android is Beyondpod. One thing many people might not be aware of about the app is that the developers are currently beta testing an episode sync feature:

  6. I stand up when I record, but I have a free solution to the movable desk issue. It was "free" because I already had an adjustable height "desk" – an ironing board. That's right, an ironing board. My mic boom arm is clamped to it. Two laptops sit on the board, as well as my mixer, USB audio interface, and USB hub. On the other side of the ironing board I have some plastic bins stacked which support the second monitor, pre-amp, an LED lamp designed for music stands (!), digital audio recorder, and a speaker. It works!

  7. Great episode, Ray. I just purchased the Fethead. I love the idea of boosting the audio without turning up the gain. I have two dogs that lay right next to me on the floor and their subtle noises with their sniffles and tail wagging can show up in my audio. I have the Mackie mixer and the Heil PR40, but I did not invest in a compressor/limiter/gate yet. Thanks for the share.

  8. I've read numerous accounts of people picking up radio signals with their Fetheads and unstable performance.

  9. Hi ray,
    I just purchased a fethead for my podcast. I find that the boost in gain is great, though I'm unsure if should turn it down on my audio recorder (the Roland R-05) or adjust the gain on my mixer (Mackie Pro FX 8). Any advice ?

    • Hi Hubert, apologies for the long wait in reply, did you figure out the best setup for your Fethead? I'm still loving mine. I would say to try experimenting by using less gain on one or the other or even both and find the sweet spot. All gear is different. I would probably use less gain on my mixer first.

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