Trevor’s advice is rock solid. You can go CRAZY with recording equipment, but a lot of it comes down to your goals. I also have the weird perspective of having had a brief career in audio engineering when I was a lot younger, so I learned a lot about how to suss out the best on a budget.
We don’t have a dedicated studio but we do have all of the gear available in one of our meeting rooms, which we’ve also given some light (but essentially invisible) acoustic treatment.
We decided to keep it simple and focus on people recording 1 or 2 people max (but the same setup would be easy to upgrade to 4x)
This Tascam 2x2 Audio Interface is $150 USD. It takes approx 60 seconds for any mere mortal to learn even if they’ve never used a piece of audio gear. The quality is very good for the price, you can get slightly better for more but not that much better without spending way more.
We got a pair of these Shure 87A’s and they are incredible. You want the super-cardioid style because they are VERY directional, basically only picking up the person directly in front of the microphone. This removes crosstalk of your people being picked up on each others’ microphones, and even more importantly, makes it so you don’t need an isolation booth to keep the outside world out of your audio. Good microphones make everything else easier. We’ve had ours for 3ish years now, there might be a newer option out there but I’m very very very happy with these microphones.
Basic XLR cables to go between the Tascam and the microphones are pretty cheap, you can get whatever Amazon recommends.
Since we use the room for things other than recording, we learned that the spring loaded boom stands are in the way the rest of the time…and frankly the cheaper ones fall apart quickly anyway. More recently we opted for tabletop microphone stands like these.
Get pop filters. Trust me.
This is a “nice to have” but a good idea: we got one of these headphone splitters so that at *least *the host could put on a pair of headphones on to listen in live and make sure the audio quality is good. Some guests like wearing studio headphones too. Many don’t (it’s weird AF to listen to yourself in real time as you talk and takes practice getting used to). I like having both options and for $7 yeah.
I also really like the ATR2100’s as a microphone to keep in my backpack for doing things like intros and ad reads, but for the studio I wanted something that would make editing easier and better mics will essentially always cut time/costs on the editing side.
That’s about it for audio gear. With this setup people can record directly into their own computers using Garage Band (mac only) or Audacity (cross platform) both of which are pretty easy to learn the basics on Youtube, or through a quick informational session as a newbie on the recording rig.
For the room itself, our room happens to be a strange shape (one wall is at a 45 degree of the rest) which is good for keeping the sound from bouncing around at right angles. Our floors are carpeted with basic FLOR carpet tiles, and ceilings have basic acoustical tiles in the grid. The big thing is to avoid or hide unnecessary flat/glossy surfaces cuz they are echo machines. We hung a curtain rod over our whiteboard so a curtain could be pulled to cover it. We also mounted some foam tiles behind 3 pieces of art, basically tucked inside the recess of the canvas. The art looks awesome and the panels help soak up some sound.
With the door closed on this room there’s a little bit of sound leakage if someone is being loud on either side, but those super-cardioid microphones don’t pick up anything unless you’re within a few inches of the mic.
**The best part about the podcasting setup is how it’s brought people together. **
We have members who know how to use the rigs, do basic editing, podcast promo/marketing, etc. This means newbies interested in creating a show can turn to each other for help. I know Trevor’s crew has a whole podcast network in place, which is something we’re definitely aspiring towards this year.
The other really cool thing is how it’s been a way to invite people who don’t come to work during the day to come and hang out, and introduce their podcast guests to Indy Hall.
We don’t charge for recording time right now, you just need to be a member. In a few cases we’ve started asking people to mention us in the show, especially if we know that their audience overlaps with ours.
In more than one case, a podcast has become someone’s “gateway drug” for getting more connected into our community. Plus it’s hella fun.
On Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 7:05 AM, Trevor Twining [email protected] wrote:
There’s no easy options here, just trade-offs. So you’re going to need to understand your intended use more.
Our first studio fit in a rubbermaid box and cost less than 500 Canadian dollars. We added things over time as people expressed interest. Now we have mobile kit and a studio kit. We just make the room available to our subscribers. No extra charge. First come, first served. Treating the room also made it better suited to hosting and participating in webinars, conferences, and video recording. So we also got a light kit, a green screen, and now we’re getting into more video work as well.
Add some versatility to your mic setup by going with the ATR 2100s. You’ll get a great-sounding mic that works in rooms with some noise, but can also just plug into a computer using USB. This makes it easy for someone using the studio solo to just hook up direct. https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATR2100-USB-Cardioid-Dynamic-Microphone/dp/B004QJOZS4/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1523530223&sr=1-1&keywords=atr2100
A mixer will make it easy for people just getting started to use the audio, but you’ll need an audio interface rather than a mixer if you want each mic to be on a separate track. A mixer will take each of those tracks and ‘mix’ it down to two stereo tracks, which then goes into the computer’s typical sound card. An audio interface takes each input and brings it directly into the computer. This means you can enhance each track independently. The trade-off is that it’s more complicated to edit the audio in some ways (more than we have time for here). The long and the short of it is that producers will all have different expectations, and you’ll need to be ready to cater to them and explain how your setup works so that they can decide if it’s suitable. We found that people with existing shows were already set in their ways about how they wanted their setup to operate. One way we moved past that at first was we targeted people who had no podcast experience and helped them get started. So our gear was the first gear they used.
Lastly, you’re going to get more bang for your buck by spending some of that budget on sound treating the room. How’s that set up?
Happy to assist further if I’m able.
On Monday, April 9, 2018 at 7:26:34 PM UTC-4, Craig Baute - Creative Density Coworking wrote:
I just had a coworking friend from Charlotte stop by and he mentioned how much their podcasting studio is adding energy to his space. So I talked around and I can feel some of the same excitment building in our community when I bring it up here.
So we are converting an interior office into a podcast studio. I want it to have professional equipment that is easy to use. This isn’t going to be the highest end but good for business to make quality podcasts that sound great. We are doing this for a few reasons:
- The community wants one - granted not many but three members would use it
- Offices aren’t exciting to me.
- Competition is high in Denver for offices so this interior one sits up 2 to 3 months out of the year and doesn’t pull in much money, $500, even when it is rented.
- It’s new way to get people to create is fun and is a driver to building a community
- Anytime you give your community a tool to create it builds an opportunity to bond over.
- It should bring in revenue than the office. I’m hoping for 50% higher.
I’m coming at this from a fairly naive perspective right now so I would love some feedback. Here is what I’m thinking. The podcasting studio will cost me around $700 in new furniture, purchased from IKEA. I’m looking into this equipment which will cost me about $1500.
4 of these mic set ups,
4 channel mixer
Does anyone have any experience with a podcasting studio, things to try, pitfalls to avoid, etc?
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