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How to Start a Podcast: Technical Specs

How to Start a Podcast: Technical Specs

As you are aware I am a Full Sail Grad from the Recording Arts Program from 2006 – 2007. I was fortunate enough to have parents that wanted to give their all to send me to college and family that invested themselves in seeing me succeed. Some of them are no longer with me and I am dedicating this blog post to them – Thank you Uncle Ralph.

I quickly fell in love with Podcast as it was a quick way to mix many passions of mine. Music, audio, radio, production, and my own creativity. I also fell in love with microphones and my mother noticed this, so she gifted me one of the best and most used microphones in the industry: the Shure SM57.

Little by little I learned of the many different microphones, dynamic, condensers, ribbon and their patterns: omni-directional, bi-directional, cardioid, hyper-cardioid.

Later I learned that just like every single person has their own unique voice, timbre, there is an ideal application or microphone in this case for the purpose which will be used. See if I will be singing in a live environment, a club, I will be playing guitar as well, and the genre of music is Rock, please give me a Shure SM58 or a Shure Super 55, mainly because my voice is rough and raw. But if I am singing a ballad I will ask for the Beta SM58A Supercardioid. Each microphone has a different use for a different purpose and voice.

In the case of podcast and recording audio in digital format or mainly computers, a lot of people tend to use and recommend microphones that connect directly to USB ports. In my very own personal AND PROFESSIONAL opinion I am against USB microphones. The reason is simple: the converters are not good and the decay in quality is too much, losing the audio dynamics that is precious when editing audio or that makes the sound quality rich.

Microphones

Here is a list of the best microphones that I recommend and the uses for.

Zoom H1N

I have used Zoom devices since 2002. From Guitar Distortion pedals, microphones, tuners, multi effects, and so on. Zoom is a great company when it comes to quality and has always delivered mainly in microphones. I owned a Zoom H4 in 2006 while in Full Sail and loved it.

My mentor bought this H1n and it is a great compact and amazing portable recorder that can help a podcaster that wants to record anywhere and simply dump that into the computer and send it to the audio editor or to their own digital audio workstation (DAW) so they can work on the file and make make their own episode.

Journalist, podcaster, author, you are interviewing another person, or just yourself, this little recorder works wonders and records in stereo because of the two microphones in it. This bundle brings everything you need. I recommend using the headphones as reference and mainly those type of headphones and not the ones from like a cellphone as you need to lear to reduce the sound from outside and listen to what is being captured from the microphone itself so you know what will the listener hear in your final product as you can reduce but you can not remove from audio, that only works in sci-fi and spy movies…or with Jack Bauer.

Something important here, this is not designed to be used used WITH your computer. This is a field recorded. If you are an on the go, always on the move person starting out or don’t want to have a lot of hassle, this is a good solution. If you will be interviewing people across the internet, read along, many more suggestions your way.

Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

This microphone is taking the podcasting, music, and radio world by storm. It is one of the best microphones I have experience and seen so far. Friends who are recording their records have used it for vocals, acoustic guitars, percussion, some plena drums, and choir vocals, and the results have been amazing. By the way, a shout out to great talented friends from Baba Gris, mainly Carlos Dimas who referred me to this microphone and blew me away!

The beautiful thing about this microphone is that it’s already made for consumer, prosumer or profesional applications. You want to use this for a hobby. Good! You want to make this podcast and take it to another level. You are set. So you will be doing the podcast and will be recording a record or was asked to record at another podcast, radio show, interview? Bring your microphone and shine bright!

One of the simple but big things it has that comes with which to me is important is the windscreen. In most cases, people don’t think too much of the windscreen, but it is a big deal for individuals such as myself that over pronounce the “s” or the “p” because being bilingual. Accents and enunciations, dictations and slurs can be reduced thanks to pop-up stoppers and windscreens as well as the breathings. So that in itself is a big one.

This microphone picks up 50 – 20khz. We listen from 20 – 20kHz the more range the better the microphone. Of course, the voice pitch doesn’t cover that but it is good that it covers a wide range because it picks up details in our timbre that makes us sound nice, rich, full. Could you imagine Barry White sounding like Alvin & The Chipmunks? If he was only given a microphone that was 8k – 20khz, that would’ve been the result. These ranges are the same thing we do when we get in the car and we go to the settings of the radio and we turn up the bass and the treble. Hence why this microphone is really great and an amazing deal for this price. 10 years ago, a microphone like this, would’ve been over $1,200 and still not have all the feature it has.

As my ultimate nail in the coffin to prove my point, this the microphone Joe Rogan uses. I think that, in itself, says enough.

Audio Technica 2020

Audio Technica is one of my favorite companies when it comes to making solid products at affordable prices while respecting the customer’s pocket, needs and wants. Their microphones and headphones are great and can be used for a variety of things. Guitar, voice, piano, bass, backing vocals, live performance, and yes, podcast!

This bundle brings you everything you need if you have your own little desk and corner. As I mentioned, I always recommend while recording you get used to using the headphones, not earphones, and certainly do not use Bluetooth, creates latency, Beats headphones or any noise cancelling headphones as these tend to alter what you hear.

This microphone states 20-20kHz, it’s cardioid, and it is a condenser microphone. Dynamic microphones are great for live environment, i.e. performances just like my first example, but for recording such as podcasting or radio, condensers are the best. At this price, it is an excellent starting point.

Rodes Procaster Dynamic

I know I just said Condensers are better than Dynamic, and for the most part, it is true, but there is always that one microphone that comes along to surprise everyone and sets a standard. That is the case for Rodes Procaster.

The radio industry used Rodes microphones and you can actually see in many movies the RE20 as the usual microphone for Disc Jockeys. But in this iteration, the Procraster Dynamic is a solid Dynamic microphone that will give you a full, rich sound, and as it says: “tailored-for-voice frequency response.” What these last means is that it is for voice and not for every application. So if you are set that this is the only thing you will be using for, and you are the next Don Lafontaine, you can feel confident this is a great microphone.

Mini Home Studio

“But Mikel, how do I plug in my microphone to the computer? Is there an adapter? You said USB microphones are no good. I saw an XLR to USB cable and the reviews were…okay =/. “

First thing is first: Those cables are no bueno. Now here is the piece of equipment that I personally recommend as I have used it in many occasions for simple and professionals things whether it’s been recording vocals, transmitting a radio show from Caimito San Juan, Puerto Rico across the internet to the broadcast it to the radio in Puerto Rico and the state of Florida, record a 12 string guitar, record a synthesizer, or even my own podcast show Rock ‘n’ Block.

This USB audio interface comes with a lot of free software such as a free version of ProTools, the world leading DAW, even though its a simple version you are able to scale up at any point in time if you want. If you are in a PC or a MAC you are able to download this software and record, edit and Bounce, which is the term for Publish, Save, Export in the Audio Recording world, and use the audio file for your podcast.

You have two inputs. You are able to use line inputs, such as guitar line, or XLR which are the balanced inputs, and these are the best kind. They also have the 48V phantom power, which is mainly used for condenser microphones. You have the option to plug in a pair of headphones, which in this bundle it comes with a pair of headphones, not the best but some, and you can monitor them independently from the computer right from the interface, which is the best option.

Back in 2007 I paid $249.99 for the Mbox Mini 2. In all honesty, looking back now, it was not worth it. This is much better as the pre-amps in this audio interface, another subject for another blog post, are pretty decent and provide a nice warm sound for your recordings, mainly when it comes to vocals.

Going Live

How do I get the thing on iTunes? On Spotify? On the Google Podcast? On that platform that nobody cares but helps SEO…I think?

Random guys in some SEO Facebook Group

In the past, you almost needed rocket science to start a Podcast. A website, know about RSS/XML. Have a hosting. Then the domain. Then submitting manually to iTunes and creating the feeds and such. Add the fact that you needed, artwork, music, and the whole nine yards.

In today’s world, I recommend one place that enables you to do it the most simple and straight-forward way possible. Anchor.fm. All you need is your email, the idea, and that’s it. You can record right from the app, or upload the audio from your computer to the webpage, or using your mobile device. You can also use the application to interview other people. Your listeners can use the app to leave voice messages and participate in your podcast.

They have the option to submit your podcast to iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast, and many other platforms. This is great because without doing so much you can be in the major ones and now since the Google Home Hub is taking the household by storm, people can tune in to your podcast as part as their routines as I do with some of my favorite shows while enjoying my morning coffee.

They have royalty-free music, images for those who just want to get started with their content and build things as they go along and you can even schedule the episodes for later times so they are released as you understand they are better. All these, free.

Heck, I would value this at $9.99/month for some extra services and still think it’s a great service.

Usually once you publish the episode it will take a couple of days for the episodes and podcasts to be submitted to the other platforms. Be patient. In the meantime, continue creating content, and sharing it to social media and other places.

I hope this How to Guide is helpful. If you have any question, leave a comment or you can go on twitter and reach out to me. I’ll help the best I can. If you’d like a mentoring session, feel free to book some time.

See you all in the blockchain!

Mikel

National Electric Guitar Day

National Electric Guitar Day

The electric guitar has been the one key instrument to influence people, genres and industries.

The electric guitars allowed companies to create amplifiers which in turn allowed live performances to be louder and reach more people in a single location.

This created tours, managers, live sessions and inspired genres such as blues, jazz, funk, rock and roll.

Les Paul was inspired to see if he could record his guitar over again. So he created the multi-track. This impacted the music industry by allowing multi-track recording, and audio engineering and audio consoles became the thing that now people were working so hard to create. The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Jimi Hendrix pushed the limits and boundaries of the available tracks in the consoles and the walls of sounds they could create.

The electric guitar inspired many to create riffs, sounds, noises, orchestras, bands, solo acts, guitar solos, and video games!

So on November 27th, join me celebrate #NationalElectricGuitarDay and listen to this week’s episode of Rock ‘n’ Block

Also, please leave a review and like the podcast in iTunes.

The new Alpha for Mikel

The new Alpha for Mikel

Every day it presents itself with new opportunities and chances to make things that propel us as individuals, to move beyond the comfort zones. Success is not something that is mailed to you, lands in your favor, or is just given as a git with a nice bow. Success is built. 

But the success in 2018 is very different from the one I thought it was back in 2010. Success is no longer a going solo thing. Success is actually achieve with an audience, a community, a tribe of people talking, engaging and inspiring. 

It is always inspirational to see people come together and share their experience as we would do when invited to dinner and someone would bring a casserole, the dessert, and entré, or the side. 

For a while I have been looking for the right moment to begin a couple of projects that I have been postponing for a greater part of the last decade. But I realized it is time to make things happen and it’s best to do so right now. 

Mikel Media is that. I have many passions, many dreams and interest to just conform to one thing only. I want to write music, but I also want to play and record it. I love technology but I also want to promote and talk about it. Love attending to concert and live events but I also get a kick of producing them. Mikel Media allows me to have a Portfolio Life from Jeff Goins. 

Also, now I can manage through Mikel Media, other aspects that interest me, such as my book and future band. 

Join me in the journey of this new tribe. Whether small, big, medium, the amount of people will enjoy the ride and will benefit from everyone in it.

See you all in the blockchain. 

Mikel

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