My podcasting rig is easy: Two microphones, a Tascam recorder, two XLR cables. I’ve upgraded issues a bit prior to now yr — improved the mics, purchased some foam windscreens and acquired a pair of tabletop, foldable mic stands. However the precept is similar: take nothing I can’t match right into a laptop computer sleeve.
It’s served me fairly properly within the 5 years I’ve been doing my present. Whereas pals had been constructing soundproof posting studios of their houses, I went with a rig I may take with me. It’s lots simpler to ask somebody to be in your present when you’re capable of go to them.
Right here’s an image I took of comic Hannibal Buress after recording an upcoming episode in my lodge room in Lagos, Nigeria. That’s my setup proper there. It’s sitting atop my rolling baggage, which is turned the wrong way up on a small lodge espresso desk. Improvisation is essential.
There are trade-offs, in fact. Sound is an enormous one. The mics themselves are fairly crisp, however ambient noise is a matter. I’ve recorded a bunch of those in cafes, bars and eating places. I inform myself it’s a part of the allure. And, in fact, with a Tascam, you don’t have the identical kind of refined management you get with a board.
Maybe I’ve at all times secretly fantasized about what a house studio may seem like. Price has at all times been an element, in fact. These items add up like loopy. Additionally, the barrier of entry is needlessly advanced. A handful of corporations have seemed to capitalize on the more and more worthwhile world of non-professional podcasts. Blue has produced some fairly compelling USB-based stuff. For many who wish to report a number of company in the identical room, nonetheless, issues begin to get a lot trickier.
I jumped on the probability to check out the Rodecaster Professional. From the seems of it, it simply may be the best product to assist residence podcasters scratch that itch. The product is actually a six-channel soundboard with self-contained manufacturing capabilities. The concept is to only report the whole lot dwell to a single observe that may be uploaded on to your podcast server of selection.
That features the whole lot from dwell mixing to an octet of sound pads you should use to set off music beds and sound results. Higher but, you possibly can patch individuals in remotely by connecting a smartphone by way of hardwire or Bluetooth.
It’s a very beautiful piece of . I confirmed it to some people throughout setup, and everybody was impressed by the look of the factor, from the professional knobs to the brightly illuminated sound pads with customizable colours.
There’s a small touchscreen show on the prime of the board that serves each as a technique to gauge ranges and navigate numerous settings. Basically it serves as a technique to bypass the pc solely, when you’ve completed the setup course of. The Rodecaster operates on the same precept as a lot of anchor.fm’s choices, giving customers the trail of least resistance to bringing a podcast to life.
It’s an admirable aim, particularly on the planet of podcasting, the place content material democratization is meant to be a tenet. And positively setup is painless, as far as mixing boards go. I needed to fine-tune and troubleshoot just a few issues to get it up and operating, however inside an hour or two, the whole lot was completely arrange and operating.
The draw back to that degree of simplicity, nonetheless, is that it removes the flexibility to fine-tune some key components of the method. Probably the most obtrusive omission is multi-track recording. Positive, you possibly can report 4 individuals on mics and a fifth on a telephone name, but it surely all information to the identical observe. That’s tremendous and dandy if you would like one thing fast and soiled (as, granted, some podcasters do), however I’m a proponent of enhancing.
In the event you’re making an attempt to make it sound skilled, you’re going to wish to reduce it down. Whilst somebody whose podcast typically runs in extra of an hour, I nonetheless discover I spend rather more time chopping the present up in Audacity than I do truly recording. It sucks, however that’s what it’s essential do if you would like it to sound half first rate.
Even when you’re not enhancing for content material, at the least reduce the “uhms” and “ahs” and all of these bits the place everybody talks over one another. That’s a hell of lots simpler to do while you’re working with a number of tracks. I notice not everybody feels that means, however the choice can be good.
Setup principally consists of unboxing and plugging in cables. Rode despatched up a deluxe version in a large backpack that additionally included a pair of its Podcaster microphones and enormous, heavy stands. You’ll have to undergo a few screens to arrange odds and ends like time and date and to pair it to your telephone, when you plan to go that route.
I tethered the board to my laptop computer throughout setup, with a view to customise the sounds. It comes preloaded by default with applause, laughter, a rimshot and the like — it’s the Morning Zoo Crew bundle. I tossed in an intro and outro music and a few customized results for good measure (Reggaeton air horn and Nelson from The Simpsons, naturally).
There’s a complete of 512MB of storage, so you possibly can add longer tracks as properly, associating them by dropping them onto the corresponding pads on the desktop app. Verify the degrees, pop in a microSD card for recording and also you’re off to the races.
I’ll admit that I bumped into a few hiccups with issues like telephone audio by the board. Additionally, the rear headphone jacks require an adapter if you would like everybody to listen to themselves and the sound results. Looks like an odd selection, given the novice audience. Particularly for the reason that entrance cans use an ordinary jack dimension.
Unique Content material information its weekly episode on Fridays, so the timing labored out completely to check the factor out. Anthony and I arrange mics throughout the desk from one another and we beamed Jordan in by way of telephone.
I hit report, tapped the intro music and we had been off. Considerably annoyingly, the buttons can solely set off the sounds, however not flip them off. That’s nice for one thing just like the air horn (for ironic comedic impact solely, I swear), however much less nice with music. You’ll wish to edit that all the way down to the size you want it, in any other case you’ll find yourself potting down the fader, successfully shedding that channel till it’s completed taking part in. The power to see how a lot time is remaining on every observe would have been a pleasant contact, but it surely’s not essential right here.
As soon as the whole lot was up and operating, we didn’t run into any points for the hour and alter we spent recording (apart from me using the sound impact board a bit too arduous, maybe). We completed recording, popped out the cardboard and transferred the information. Growth, podcast.
The sound high quality on the Rode mics is basically terrific — borderline studio-quality stuff. The episode will likely be up in just a few days, so you possibly can choose for your self. The sound on Jordan’s telephone connection isn’t nice, however you possibly can’t actually fault Rode for the poor state of cellphone name high quality nowadays.
The Rodecaster Professional does precisely what’s says on the field — and does most of it fairly properly. As somebody who operated a board again in my radio days, I received again into the swing of issues virtually instantly. I’d forgotten how a lot I’d loved going by these motions within the intervening years. And the flexibility to really do a present head to head brings a degree of power and understanding you lose when relegated to Skype.
Backside line: $600 for the board alone goes to be prohibitively costly for a lot of novice podcasters. However for a choose few seeking to begin down the trail to critical podcasting, this may actually hit the candy spot and up your sport with the press of a button.