Audio media has been an necessary a part of our lives ever because the first information reporters crackled their means into houses in 1920. For some time, it was assumed that visible media and then the web can be the loss of life of audio-only leisure, but it surely turned out that this obit was untimely.
Podcasting has introduced new reputation to audio. From ebook readings to investigative reporting to political opinion to interviews to theatrical productions, podcasts provide a variety of leisure and data.
And what’s even higher: podcasting is a artistic kind 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 search out out what he recommends for many who need to do that out as effectively.
What follows are Andrew’s ideas about podcasting and the instruments he prefers to make use of.
What you want
There have been loads of alternative ways individuals have developed podcasts, since loads of them begin out at totally different ranges. At its coronary heart, it’s an impartial DIY media platform, though extra just lately it has been co-opted by bigger media firms coming from radio backgrounds.
What it’s worthwhile to begin with is a microphone and an audio interface (a strategy to report your audio instantly 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 data of microphone tech, recording, modifying, and mixing to make your present sound its greatest.
You principally desire a microphone with a cardioid polar sample. This means it’s a directional microphone that focuses on choosing up what’s instantly in entrance of it (your voice) and makes an attempt to reject every little thing else (the remainder of the sound of the world).
The digital-to-analog converter (DAC) constructed into USB mics is often inferior to a standalone audio interface, in order knowledgeable, I are likely to steer clear of USB mics once 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 greatest for voice recording. I went to high school for music, so we used it so much for recording a drum set, however when you go into any radio studio, you’ll see both an RE27 or a Shure SM7B. Plenty of podcasters use the SM7B, but it surely requires a preamplifier (like this one) for optimum sign stage. The RE20 and RE27 don’t essentially want that.
When I’m out within the subject, 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, but it surely ought to solely be used in a managed surroundings like a studio.
We’ve been giving our podcasters at Vox Media who report outdoors of our studios a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface. It’s fairly reasonably priced and sturdy, with a metallic casing. This USB interface provides two microphone inputs in addition to outputs for displays; you may plug any analog mic into it. There are tons that try this, however the Focusrite has a superb worth for the standard.
The subsequent step after recording your podcast is the modifying part. Even probably the most minimal podcast requires some modifying to take out pointless house, add music, stability ranges, and repair another mishaps within 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 report your podcast. I nonetheless typically use a free, open-source software program known as Audacity to do fast audio edits, and it’s extremely popular amongst DIY podcasters.
Audacity was the primary software program that I used once I obtained 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, reminiscent of change pitch, compression, equalization (EQ), and multitrack modifying. It’s not as versatile as different software program, however you may nonetheless edit a complete podcast with it.
But whereas some DAWs are free, those you pay for have a tendency to supply extra detailed modifying instruments and better-sounding results. I’m able to work quicker, extra effectively, and am extra versatile once I’m utilizing a extra skilled DAW like Avid Pro Tools or Adobe Audition.
I exploit 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 relies extra on an analog system for music and most popular amongst a majority of my colleagues, however for long-form podcasting, I’m going to make use of Audition.
I’d additionally suggest utilizing some audio software program plug-ins to assist with the blending course of. An enormous a part of podcast mixing is adjusting and controlling the degrees of everybody’s microphones. The firm Waves provides some reasonably priced bundles and particular person plug-ins for dynamic compression, equalization, reverb, just about any kind of modulation you need.
Something I’ve been utilizing so much this yr is iZotope’s RX 7 audio restore software program (they’re as much as model RX 8 now). Since everybody — together with the hosts on our exhibits — are recording at dwelling, it’s typically arduous to regulate the audio surroundings remotely. I do loads of “de-noising” to take out air-con noise, road noise, and so on. I additionally use “de-plosive” (watch your “P”s) and “de-clipping” (watch your ranges), which have introduced the standard of the recordings as much as our requirements.
For probably the most half, podcasts will be distributed by means of the magical world of an RSS feed. It’s an older tech in web phrases, however one of many 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 accommodates audio information out of your present in addition to different information like your title, album artwork, description, and so on.
For my private podcast, I arrange an Amazon S3 server and edit the feed by means of an RSS editor known as Feeder, which is fairly bare-bones. I selected this just because it was the most affordable possibility. You’re paying for server house, so when you’re beginning a podcast and you don’t have loads of listeners, you’re paying nearly nothing to host the podcast. However, you must be slightly technical savvy and it’s not routinely safe. Podcast platforms like Spotify and Apple suggest your internet hosting server assist 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 shall be printed to the varied podcast platforms. They additionally provide companies like analytics and monetization. Some widespread 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 individuals. Anyone could make a present and that’s great! Make your present about what you need to make it about and don’t fear about making an attempt to sound like different exhibits. It’s a splendidly artistic medium and it’s best to benefit from it.