Someone asked me how I do this podcast. Let me take a minute and describe the equipment that I use.
Original Setup (Episodes 1 and 2)
I started out with the microphone. The microphone that I use is a Radio Shack dynamic microphone. This cost around $42 with tax. This is a good sounding microphone. It comes with a 20′ cord with an XLR plug on one end that goes onto the microphone and a 1/4″ plug on the other end.
I bought an adapter to go from a 1/4″ plug from the microphone to a 1/8″ jack to go into the computer microphone jack.
I had an old Boom mike stand. you can pick these up for around $30. Mine has a cast iron base that I prefer over the three leg varieties. I have no real reason for the preference.
Audacity – Free software.
The microphone records directly into audacity and then I listen to the playback through normal speakers. Do not use headphones to monitor in this setup. There is a delay due to the computer and the software that will really drive you crazy.
I record the audio, save as an Audacity project so that I can edit until I’m happy with it. Then select all, normalize and compress using the default settings and save as a WAV file and then save as an MP3 file. I could probably eliminate the WAV file but it’s like a backup.
Current setup (Episode 3 on)
First enhancement – Pop Filter
I built a pop filter with an embroidery hoop, a couple of layers of black nylon stocking material and positioned it in place with a section of coat hanger and a hose clamp. Seems to work well for around a $5 investment.
Second enhancement – Digital recorder
I purchased a Tascam DR-07 off of eBay for around $60. This is a great little device. This unit allows a couple of things. First I have the ability to do interviews in the field. Second I can monitor exactly what is going in by plugging headphones into it. You could do this with earbuds, or since I had them already, you can use better headphones. I use ATH-M50 Monitor headphones. Again, I had them already.
The other benefit of recording directly into the digital recorder is that the noise floor, the electronic noise from the soundcard and general computer stuff, is much better. I run the recorder on batteries to eliminate any parasitic noise from the AC adapter and it really works great. Try recording “nothing”..no sound, voice, etc.. on your setup. No play it back in a set of headphones. There should be little to no noise, it should be “Black”. That’s what recording to the Tascam unit first gives me, a “Black” noise floor.
As things improve, I’ll let you know. Maybe it will help someone else get started.