Audio media has been an necessary a part of our lives ever since the first information reporters crackled their method into houses in 1920. For some time, it was assumed that visible media after which the web could be the loss of life of audio-only leisure, nevertheless it turned out that this obit was untimely.
Podcasting has introduced new reputation to audio. From guide readings to investigative reporting to political opinion to interviews to theatrical productions, podcasts provide a variety of leisure and knowledge.
And what’s even higher: podcasting is a artistic type accessible to anybody who has a pc, a microphone, and an web connection. We spoke to Andrew Marino, audio engineer and producer at The Verge, to seek out out what he recommends for many who wish to do this out as properly.
What follows are Andrew’s ideas about podcasting and the instruments he prefers to make use of.
What you want
There have been quite a lot of other ways folks have developed podcasts, since quite a lot of them begin out at completely different ranges. At its coronary heart, it’s an impartial DIY media platform, though extra lately it has been co-opted by bigger media firms coming from radio backgrounds.
What it’s good to begin with is a microphone and an audio interface (a approach to file your audio immediately into your pc). Once your podcast is recorded, you’ll then want a digital audio workstation (DAW), which is the software program you’ll use to edit, combine, and export your podcast. You also needs to have some information of microphone tech, recording, modifying, and mixing to make your present sound its finest.
You principally desire a microphone with a cardioid polar pattern. This means it’s a directional microphone that focuses on choosing up what’s immediately in entrance of it (your voice) and makes an attempt to reject all the pieces else (the remainder of the sound of the world).
The digital-to-analog converter (DAC) constructed into USB mics is often not so good as a standalone audio interface, in order an expert, I are likely to steer clear of USB mics after I can. It additionally limits you to at least one enter, whereas a extra skilled microphone isn’t connected to a DAC, permitting you to plug it into any microphone enter, from a USB interface to a sound board at a stay venue.
I’ve an Electro-Voice RE20; there’s additionally the RE27. It’s a typical dynamic microphone — it just about carried over from radio to podcasting. It’s finest for voice recording. I went to high school for music, so we used it lots for recording a drum set, however when you go into any radio studio, you’ll see both an RE27 or a Shure SM7B. A whole lot of podcasters use the SM7B, nevertheless it requires a preamplifier (like this one) for optimum sign degree. The RE20 and RE27 don’t essentially want that.
When I’m out in the area, I’ll use a shotgun microphone: a protracted condenser that may choose up sources from farther away. Lots of people use a big condenser mic for narration or vocals in songs and music, nevertheless it ought to solely be utilized in a managed setting like a studio.
We’ve been giving our podcasters at Vox Media who file exterior of our studios a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface. It’s fairly reasonably priced and sturdy, with a steel casing. This USB interface gives two microphone inputs in addition to outputs for displays; you possibly can plug any analog mic into it. There are tons that do this, however the Focusrite has worth for the high quality.
The subsequent step after recording your podcast is the modifying part. Even the most minimal podcast requires some modifying to take out pointless house, add music, steadiness ranges, and repair every other mishaps in the recording course of. To do that, most individuals use software program known as digital utility workspaces or DAWs.
There are many DAWs you should use to edit your podcast; in actual fact, you will have used a DAW to file your podcast. I nonetheless generally use a free, open-source software program known as Audacity to do fast audio edits, and it’s highly regarded amongst DIY podcasters.
Audacity was the first software program that I used after I received into modifying as a result of it’s free and it’s very versatile. It has many built-in results and controls that you should use simply by downloading it, resembling change pitch, compression, equalization (EQ), and multitrack modifying. It’s not as versatile as different software program, however you possibly can nonetheless edit an entire podcast with it.
But whereas some DAWs are free, the ones you pay for have a tendency to supply extra detailed modifying instruments and better-sounding results. I’m able to work sooner, extra effectively, and am extra versatile after I’m utilizing a extra skilled DAW like Avid Pro Tools or Adobe Audition.
I take advantage of Avid Pro Tools for recording, however for modifying, I principally use Adobe Audition. In my expertise utilizing each DAWs, the workflow is quicker for importing and mixing clips, and modifying is considerably extra environment friendly. Pro Tools is predicated extra on an analog system for music and most well-liked amongst a majority of my colleagues, however for long-form podcasting, I’m going to make use of Audition.
I’d additionally advocate utilizing some audio software program plug-ins to assist with the mixing course of. A giant a part of podcast mixing is adjusting and controlling the ranges of everybody’s microphones. The firm Waves gives some reasonably priced bundles and particular person plug-ins for dynamic compression, equalization, reverb, just about any form of modulation you need.
Something I’ve been utilizing lots this 12 months is iZotope’s RX 7 audio restore software program (they’re as much as version RX 8 now). Since everybody — together with the hosts on our exhibits — are recording at house, it’s generally exhausting to regulate the audio setting remotely. I do quite a lot of “de-noising” to take out air con noise, avenue noise, and so forth. I additionally use “de-plosive” (watch your “P”s) and “de-clipping” (watch your ranges), which have introduced the high quality of the recordings as much as our requirements.
For the most half, podcasts might be distributed by the magical world of an RSS feed. It’s an older tech in web phrases, however one among the few mediums that also actually takes benefit of the open net, which is why I like it. When a listener makes use of a podcast app, that app normally grabs the feed out of your RSS, which comprises audio recordsdata out of your present in addition to different knowledge like your title, album artwork, description, and so forth.
For my personal podcast, I arrange an Amazon S3 server and edit the feed by an RSS editor known as Feeder, which is fairly bare-bones. I selected this just because it was the least expensive choice. You’re paying for server house, so when you’re beginning a podcast and also you don’t have quite a lot of listeners, you’re paying nearly nothing to host the podcast. However, you must be a bit technical savvy and it’s not robotically safe. Podcast platforms like Spotify and Apple advocate your internet hosting server help SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), which lets you generate an HTTPS RSS feed.
If you need one thing extra user-friendly, there are different companies that function servers for podcast RSS feeds and allow you to merely add your audio and related data; your podcasts will probably be printed to the numerous podcast platforms. They additionally provide companies like analytics and monetization. Some in style internet hosting companies embrace PodBean, Spreaker, Anchor, and Libsyn.
Don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by the remainder of the trade. Podcasting remains to be in its infancy and was meant for the folks. Anyone could make a present and that’s fantastic! Make your present about what you wish to make it about and don’t fear about attempting to sound like different exhibits. It’s a splendidly artistic medium and you must make the most of it.