Getting traction was not easy. There is a load of pre-recording details to consider when putting together a podcast. Equipment is a serious learning curve and a little scary if you don’t know what you are doing.
Equipment for three hosts was a totally different setup than for two and we had to re-consider everything we had done.
My name is Andrew Keefe and I am the co-host of The Music Challenge Podcast. A loose, nerdy music commentary podcast (that you can find anywhere) and we’re about 11 episodes deep. And this written series chronicles our first season.
From two to three
To recap part 3, The podcast was expanded into a 3 person panel as opposed to a two person panel. My friend, Robb, was entranced by the question and had already done years of thinking about how bands relate, who influenced who, who influenced him, and how it relates to society.
So, he was a natural and when given the chance to bring him on board- I couldn’t pass it up. He was one of us, and I felt we needed his authenticity. His passion and exuberance shows. This is ultimately important as all the action happens between the mouth of the speaker and the microphone.
Frankly, I felt as if we needed him on board. Thankfully, he was more than accepting.
Three is More Than Two
While the group I put together seemed like an all-star cast to me- three people have different equipment needs than two. This will get a little technical, but I’ll walk you through it. It’ll be okay.
Equipment manufacturers focus on single set-ups and double set-ups but there really is no equipment realm for a group of three mics in the beginner sub-category. And, of course, that equipment was pricier.
As it turns out, there are several ways to record a podcast and the pre-recording prep is essential to that. You can do it straight to tape and what you have is what you get without editing. Another way is to plug a mic straight (or multiple) into a special mixing board, the sound is manipulated, and is output to a recording device.
I, personally, was set on using GarageBand, the free recording and editing software provided free with any Macintosh. In this case- the sound from the microphones goes straight into my computer and is recorded and edited in GarageBand.
This method would give me the ability to manipulate all voices individually, record, edit in the same program, and it was free. Besides, I had been using GarageBand for quite some time. Familiarity has a lot to do with pre-recording. If you’re sure of a process- go for it. But, in the pre-recording phase, it is important to consider what are all of the different ways that you’ll be using to record. Will you be in the field? Will you be in a room with someone? Will you be recording by Zoom?
The Pre-Recording Equipment Acquisitions
I had a few pieces of random equipment like a USB microphone which worked okay by myself- but was a sub-par quality to a conventional microphone. If I wanted to attract audiophiles to my music commentary podcast with music- I needed the commentary to be of a suitable microphone to match the music.
Jed and I went on an equipment hunt. We bought three Samson Q2U microphones for $50 a piece. I knew how expensive microphones can get- and I felt for a value microphone they would work quite well. We also bought mountable, scissors stands too for the mics.
If I wanted to attract audiophiles to my music commentary podcast with music- I needed the commentary to be of equal sounding to the music. It had to sound good on car stereos.
The key piece of equipment was a preamp. It turns the sound signal into the computer language of one’s and zeros to in order to save the computer file. A preamp for two people could be less than a 100 bucks- but was 180 bucks for a 4 person preamp. It is where we all plug in our microphones. And where the biggest price crunch came in. Some cables and other smaller pieces had to be acquired
A Podcast Needs a Host Site
One more detail in the pre-recording phase which was moving us even closer to recording. In most cases, you need to pay a service to “host” your podcast. Basically, Its where your podcast lives after you have uploaded it to them.
Aggregate services like Apple (and hopefully others) transmit your home site to the user and it is downloaded to your computer. Something like that. I used Fireside FM as my host site after some research. Its 19 bucks a month.
The expenses were stacking up. It was 19 bucks. The benefits were a small website for the podcast with opportunities for “fan” interaction, my podcast would be hosted in about a dozen places, and a few more bells and whistles that are kind of neat. The service, though needing a lot of customized set-up, worked well for my aptitude (I run the website). But, I never conceived of the podcast not happening.
Are We Ready?
We had organized:
- A set crew,
- A greatly refined idea (this took weeks, but was exciting),
- Recording equipment,
- And a hosting site.
While facing many obstacles, we had solved a lot of problems already. And we hadn’t even scheduled the first recording session. That’s next!
Be sure to read the entire series of “My Podcast Adventures“.