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What's In a PodCast - Part 1

Well, lots of mistakes. Here's a good example of one: Friday Oct 5 mistake.

I decided to go the budget route to get started and see if this is interesting. So, if you like the podcasts, send a note to the webmaster at sqlservercentral.com and I'll see if I can get a little more investment from Red Gate. I'll probably buy a few things myself, but this recording stuff gets expensive quick.

I'll describe some of the equipment I used, but basically it's a mic, Audacity, and my rumbling, stumbling voice. In case you want to see how it goes, here's a shot (courtesy of my daughter) of my desk, the sound editing in progress and big Diet Pepsi by my side.

I had a logitech desktop microphone that plugs into a sound card, but I really couldn't get good sound from it. The audio was too low, hard to understand, so while I'd bought it years ago, the $15 investment was wasted money.

I bought a Shure C608 with a line level (1/8") plug that plugged into my Dell desktop, but it had some scratchiness and low volume levels, so I decided this was a bad idea as well. This setup looks close to what I got for $50. I added a desktop stand to bring this up to about $65.

I decided one more try here since I'd heard a pre-amp makes a difference. The microphone had an XLR plug, so I went to the audio shop and spent $100 on an M-Audio FastTrack USB device. This can take a line level plug, like a guitar, or a microphone XLR plug. I got the single plug version instead of the double for $200. If I need to upgrade, I will. One hint here, upgrade the drivers. I almost took this back until I did that.

I'd like to reduce the rumbling and scratching in my voice. I'll try this on the Mac, but I think I might invest in the Blue Snowball Mic. It was recommended on GeekBrief and they do a great job. For $150, I'd be at the place I am now, but I'd have a shock mount as well.

I did buy a pop filter, which is basically a screen. It helps suppress the "S" and "P" harshness in your voice. It was about $30 and worth it.

So far I'm using Audacity, recommended on a number of Podcast sites. It works well, it's easy to use and I can put together multiple tracks.

However, on my XP SP2 system, with 2GB of RAM and an AMD 3800 processor, it flakes on the second or third track sometimes. So I end up recording the short parts (intro, music credit, etc.) and saving those off as MP3 files. Then I record the long editorial and add everything else in. Not sure what's wrong here.

I'm likely to upgrade to better software at some point since the flakiness really bothers me.

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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