Here we begin our journey into “the technical stuff” that has probably kept you from producing your podcast till now. I have consulted many people needing help in this area which is why I decided to create these posts.. SO let’s break this down niiice and simple like.
Note: If you are just starting your research into podcasting I recommend reading the first post in this Series: Developing the Perfect Podcast.
Whether we are doing a podcast with a remote guest or in person there are several ways to capture it. There is software that works to route audio within your computer to recording software, breakout cables for phones, as well as Usb Mixers and sound cards. There are hundreds of ways to capture your podcast but I am going to share a simple and versatile setup that I recommend to many people with little computer and technical abilities.
External Recorder – The external recorder is at the center of this setup. It’s where you will send and monitor the audio from your microphone and guest. I personally recommend the Zoom H4n Recorder but if that is too costly you can create another configuration to do the same thing using a cheap mixer with the output routed to your phone (or cheap recorder with 1/8″ mic jack) to capture the audio. Just pan one channel left and the other right on the mixer.
In the end our goal is a stereo recording with our guest on one side and our host on the other. This gives us the ability to edit each separately in post (Mono recording are fine for any vocals).
Microphone(s) – To keep it simple stick with a Cardioid mic at first. These are directional which eliminates background noise and do not require phantom power. I really like the Audio-Technica ATR2100 kit. This comes with a pretty versatile Cardioid microphone, an XLR cable, and a table stand with mic clip for Under $60! If you plan to have all remote guests buy one, in person guests buy two.
Cables – Using the External recorder setup we can easily do podcasts in person or with a remote guest. With both configurations we start with our headphones plugged into the recorder. Our goal is to get our audio to one side, guest audio on the other.
Remote Podcasts Setup
These are done over your phone or with a program on your computer (skype, Facetime, Google hangout, etc) any of these will work. Using a cell phone you will need a simple breakout cable to get the separate Headphone and Mic inputs like on your computer. Once you have that the setup below is the same for your phone or computer.
Guest Audio – We will pull this from our output/headphone jack and plug it directly into one side of our recorder. to do this you will need a simple 3.5 mm TRS (Comp/Phone side) to Male XLR (Recorder side). Make sure your guest is using anything but the built in mic on their computer. This can be the mic on their headphones or a mic similar to the Audio-Technica ATR2100.
Host Audio – Because we need to route our audio to both the recorder and the guest we need to split our audio. To do this we use an XLR Female to 2 Male XLR “Y” Cable. We then take our XLR cable (Comes with ATR2100 Kit) and route it from our Mic to the “Y” cable. One side of the “Y” cable will go to the recorder and the other to our guest. To route the other side to our guest we need a Female XLR to 3.5 mm cable; plugging the 3.5 mm TRS end into our PC Mic input. If we are using a phone with a breakout cable well need another basic XLR cable.
If you are not worried about the audio you send to your guest or you have a mac with a shared input/output go from your Mic to the recorder. You will then be using the built in mic on your PC or other mic if available plugged into your mic/input.
If you are talking to your guest using your PC you can capture other audio such as the intro music if you plan to talk over it. Keep in mind that this will share the same channel as the guest so there is no way to separate the two in post.
In Person Podcast Setup
For both Guest and Host audio we simply plug our microphones into our recorder via XLR cables. Everything you need for this (mics, cables, stands, etc) comes with the Audio-Technica ATR2100 kit. You will monitor your audio/recording the same however if you’d like to allow your guest to monitor as well buy a simple headphone splitter.
I hope that this was helpful. If you have any questions please ask in the comments below. I will answer them as best I can and will update these posts as needed.
Other posts in this series
1 of 3: Start Podcasting: Developing the Perfect Podcast for you