As you may have noticed from our last few podcasts, we have stepped up our audio quality. That’s right, we’re taking things to the next level!
The first few episodes of the podcast we just used a Macbook Pro with three of us around a circular table and decided to see how things turned out. It was OK, but you could barely hear Mario since he was furthest away from the speaker. It wasn’t until after that we looked up exactly where the microphone was located on the MacBook Pro(useful information to have right?). You wouldn’t just ski down an unmarked trail not knowing what was on the other side would you? Apparently we would. We ski like we podcast, with reckless abandon.
For podcast number 3 we procured an actual microphone, a Blue Snowball USB! It definitely sounded better. The microphone did a great job when you were speaking into it within 2-3 inches. The problem for us was that there were two or three of us trying to share this microphone made us look like we were in Poison music video.
We decided to stop messing around and embrace the professionalism we want to project and give you, dear listener, the quality that you deserve. I did some research and just went to Amazon with guns (aka credit card) a blazin’! Here’s a list of the new gear that we purchased:
Mixer – How we connect the microphones and adjust audio levels: Behringer XENYX 1202 Mixer
Interface – connects mixer via USB to computer and allows us to monitor the sound levels using headphones: Behringer UCA202 Audio Interface
Microphones – our melodic voices go in: Behringer ULTRAVOICE XM1800S Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphones
Microphone Stands – That which holds the microphones, so we can use both hands: Hamilton Nu-Era Tabletop Mic Stand
On the software tip we’ve been OK the whole time. As an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, I had access to Adobe Audition. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to use it, but I was able to find a few tutorials and hack my way through it. One of the valuable lessons that I learned a few episodes in was to record the podcast as a single track, then create a multi-layer session adding in our intro and ending music at the end, then exporting it all out as a single mp3 file.
Much like the use of our software, having a Mac, I already had GarageBand installed, so I was able to play with that a bit, layer in a few sounds and come up with the soon to be famous ditty. I enjoyed the process so much, I’m thinking about turning it into a full-length song. Unfortunately, that’s about 97th on my list of things do to, so it may have to wait.
One thing we noticed after the first week is that these new microphones pick up EVERYTHING including neighbors, air conditioners and your pals taking sips of the weekly flavor. We’re now more cognizant of these things and will do our best to minimize the amount of extra noise that we make, thus providing the best audio experience for you, dear listener.
We’re pretty happy with the way things are sounding now, but the next thing we’re going to get are some windscreens for the mics. The ideal long term scenario is to have a dedicated studio set-up, preferably at our first official High Falutin Ski Bum house, but that’s a long-term goal and still a bit down the road. If we can keep putting out valuable content and you, dear listener, can keep listening, maybe we can make this happen!