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.