TPS Ep. 065 – Pro Mics into an H4n, Reducing Hiss, Hardware Processing, and Media Hosting

First order of business is Zune. It appears that links to my podcast and everyone else for that matter, are broken. That’s because is gone. This means that when you click your old link to Zune (if you had one on your site) you are now taken to

Zune is gone and so is your podcast listing on the web. Apparently the name Zune is no longer in play either. It’s podcast on Windows Mobile or something typically Microsoft (unfriendly).

Nowhere did I read that this was going to happen and I only found out because a listener, who I assume tried to use the link to subscribe, let me know it no longer worked. Thanks Microsoft.

So now what? Well, in my case, I’ve changed my link (see logo in upper right hand corner). The Zune logo is gone from my page and in it’s place is a link to the Blackberry app (it will due for now). So I guess if someone is looking for your show on Windows, you’ll have to send them to the Zune desktop client (who knows when that will die) or whatever other way people on Windows phone get podcasts. That too is a bit of a mystery at least from a native Microsoft standpoint.

The bottom line, change your broken link.

Kris Smith – My Menopause Fix – Kris asked what I thought the first five steps to starting a podcast should be? I sent Kris to my two most recent episodes on starting a podcast: Back to Podcasting Basics Part 1 and 2 for all the info on the elements that are most essential when starting a podcast. But to be more specific I’ve listed my first five steps:

  1. Decide on a topic – start broad and drill down, get as niche as possible and make sure you LOVE the topic (you’ll be talking about it A LOT).
  2. Pick a relevant, keyword rich show name. It’s OK to be a little boring here if it means people will know exactly what they’re getting before they read any further or even press play. This might be your only chance to get them to listen/subscribe.
  3. Pick a format (audio or video) and length (short 1-30 min. or long 30 minutes plus).
  4. Save some pennies for some decent gear. If you’re producing an audio only show get some quality gear from the start (ATR2100 is a great deal for a starting microphone). If you’re a video podcaster, shoot in HD. There are plenty of affordable HD cameras these days. And pay for some media file hosting (see my Libsyn link below for a free month or check out
  5. Get your own domain and website and install WordPress. This will allow you to maintain total control over your podcast which will become VERY important when you create your RSS feed.

John Morgan – Let’s Talk Metal Detecting and Treasure Hunting – John asked about plugging professional (XLR) microphones into a Zoom H4n.

The simple answer is yes. The Zoom H4n is an amazing piece of gear which is basically a podcast production studio in the palm of your hand. It will handle your professional connected (XLR) mics via two dual XLR-1/4″ jacks.

Uriyya – The Show Radio – Wants to know how to clean up hiss in your podcast audio.

The simple answer is to make sure it’s not there to start with. Record it clean. Taking some time to ensure that your recording environment is as audio friendly as possible will save you lots of headaches and greatly improve your final audio quality.

Record it clean and you can enhance it in post. If it’s noisy in the recording, you’ll only go backwards in post production. There are a few things you can do to help your audio such as noise removal however this should only be used as a last resort and can often do more damage than good.

Next, John writes in with a similar question and wants to know if a compressor/limiter/gate is a necessary purchase in order to help reduce background noise.

The good news is that you’ll save money by not having to purchase more gear. The compressor won’t do much to remove background noise while you’re speaking into a mic (only when you’re silent). Here are some steps to help improve your recording environment:

  • Use a good quality, dynamic mic (ATR2100 (listed above) at a minimum).
  • Move the mic/change it’s relation to noise producing elements
  • Change environments/move your studio (inside a closet or in your car if that’s all you have)
  • Sound dampening. Hang some blankets
  • Noise removal tools as a last resort. Don’t rely on post production to clean up your audio.

John also asks about using Amazon S3 for podcast media hosting. The bottom line is it’s not a good choice for podcasts for the simple reason that you have no idea how much traffic you’ll get each month. This means you never know how much it will cost you.

If your podcast goes viral, you’ll be left standing with a hefty bill. Pay for a dedicated podcast host such as Libsyn (built by podcasters for podcasters) and you’ll be ensured that no matter how popular your podcast gets, you’ll always pay one  low price.

Nick Conner – Speaking of Nick – Nick asks what kind of lens he should get for his DLSR video setup. I recommend a great start is to check out the gear page on this site to read more about why I chose the lenses I have for my DLSR video shooting.

Finally, Dr. Vibe – Vibe and Vegas Show, asks about Levelator. My best advice is to try it (see link below). It’s free and it might increase the quality of your audio.

Get a free month of Libsyn hosting with a new account!

Do you need a reliable host for your audio or video podcast? Consider moving your show to (my chosen host) and get your first month free when you use promo code: podcasthelper at checkout.

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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.

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