Augie’s Podcasting HowTo

MXL MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with ShockmountHere’s a quick tour through my podcasting gear to show you what’s hooked up to what, what I’m using, and how it all works together.

If you have any questions, ask away in the comments below.

It all begins with the microphone. I use a condenser mic called the MXL XL 90. It’s pretty standard podcaster fare. It’s a relatively cheap condenser mic at under $100 and gives you a pretty good sound. It doesn’t have a power supply, so you need to add something else into your chain to give it the juice. As pictured, it’s safely surrounded by a shockmount, and is fronted by a windscreen that I don’t have a link or a picture for right now. Everything is standing on a desktop pole, basically, which supports it all with a heavy enough base that nothing tips over.

BEHRINGER XENYX 802 MIXER 8-INPUT 2-BUSThe power supply for the mic comes from the sound mixer. I use the Behringer Eurorack 802b. Yes, it’s overkill in that it supports four mics, but the 2 mic mixer doesn’t have the Phantom Power which I need to power the microphone. As it happens, they don’t make the mixer anymore. It’s been replaced with a new line of very similar devices called “Xenyx.” You can get one of those for less than $60 at Amazon today with free shipping.

RNC1773 compressorThat hooks into the compressor, which helps to even out the sound. It’s the magic box that brings low noises up and high noises down. (I wish I could get it to ignore my breathing sounds. ::sigh:: ) I picked up a well-respected and easy-to-use one off eBay that’s made by FMR Audio: the Really Nice Compressor 1773. The RNC1773 runs $199, but I got it for a little less than that. It’s always tempting to overcompress the sound with it, but I’m learning to have a feather touch.

The thing has room for three mic inputs. If you only have one, though, you can run it through all three compressors. The problem with that is that it eats up the sound, leaving very little volume. You have to up the gain and that risks screwing up the sound, so I skip that. But I’m also a completely untrained sound engineer. I might fiddle with that again soon.

Griffin Technology iMic USB External Sound CardAll of that is plugged into my Power Mac via a Griffin iMic (pictured right).

I use GarageBand to record and edit the podcast, with iTunes to help pack the MP3 full of metadata. Sometime, I even play with the handiest single purpose sound app around: The Levelator. That evens out the volume levels across your program to take out any spikes or low spots. It’s not quite a condenser, but it’s close. It works best for panel discussions and interviews.

Just to MacGeek out for a second: I use Panic’s Transmit FTP program to upload the files to the server.

The RSS feed file is edited manually in Microsoft Word, but I’m thinking of bringing that over to TextMate, a wonderful word processor that is amazing with all sorts of program coding.

And that’s that. If you’re curious about the settings on any of the above, just ask. Otherwise, I won’t bore you all with the details.