When I first heard about podcasting almost three years ago, I immediately knew I wanted to do it. When I once learned how I decided to have a small scale in-home recording studio to record my podcasts. With the help of my webmaster, my techguru, I was able to quite easily assemble everything I needed to record. She could shop and get my affordable equipment and all equipment was user friendly.
Now if you think youre thinking Well, she could do that, shes probably in technology, youd be very wrong. I am a baby boomer woman and when I was in college computers took the size of a large climate-controlled room and you had to make a keyboard to program the computer. Personal computers came along and the most technical thing I could do until I learned about podcasting, Word documents and open emails were created. But I learned and if I could learn, you can also.
So what is required in this simple in-home recording set? Actually, not much required. I have 7 parts of equipment. I have my laptop (of course you can use your computer), a studios microphone, a microphone with desktop microphone, a pop-up monitor, a converter, a microphone mixer (to boost the sound) and an Y adapter cable (to connect the mixer to the converter ). Thats all.
I am using an Audio-Technica Pro Series Vocal Microphone (PRO 31 QTR). A wide membrane condenser microphone is recommended for voice-overs, but I find that my 2.09 inch (53.1 mm) head diameter gives me good sound for my podcasts and CD recordings. This microphone comes with the cable and a tripod clamp.
The microphone drive I use is a desktop model and comes from a standing stand. I use a metal pop screen from NADY but there are many to choose from that can pinch your microphone position. Pop screens cut down on the explosive or wind noise we make when we say certain letters.
My microphone mixer is from Radio Shack and is a stereo 4-channel mixer. It uses a 9 volt battery.
My converter is from Behringer (FCA202). Its compact and really high quality for money. It comes complete with FireWire audio interface.
All my equipment has been beautiful for over two years, so I have not yet replaced any of it. Model numbers have probably changed.
The microphone receives the sound that is sent to the mixer which sends it to the converter via a Y adapter cable. The converter is where the magic hands - takes your voice that is in an analog signal and converts it to a digital signal it sends via FireWire to the laptop and the recording program.
Now comes the software division. You need a program for recording and editing audio. I have always used Audacity; It is open source and is therefore free. (There may be a license fee for Audacity in some countries.) The software can be downloaded from the Audacity website. There are other programs that are fee-based like SONY Sound Forge.
You also need a program to export the audio file you create in your recorder to MP3 or WAV. The LAME recorder does this for you; It is also open source and can be downloaded for free. (There may be a license fee for LAME in some countries.) Only Google in the LAME encoder and it will take you to the site. Note that it does not work in all recording programs, but it works with Audacity.
I convert both to MP3 and WAV, with the WAV files if Im burning a CD in my recording.
You may say that this is a lot ... why do not I register over the phone and use an application like Audio Acrobat? You can but the quality of the sound is nowhere near the quality of the setting I recommend. My recordings always sound like I was recording a studio (except when I do phone interviews).
The quality of the audio is important when you offer long sounds ... especially if you register for a study program or send your lessons or telecom via MP3 download. After a while, the sound and scratchy sound of phone recordings will die on your listeners ear. Why not go with the highest quality you can for your audience?