So I'm starting a podcast.
October 10, 2006 10:51 PM   Subscribe

So I'm starting a podcast.

I'm beginning a podcast and I want to do put on the most professional show... but with a limited budget.

I own a new-er Toshiba computer with most of the bells-n-whistles. What recording software should I use? Do I need to download software? I want to insert snipets of songs from my iTunes list.

...basically anything I need to know will help.
posted by bamassippi to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hard to go wrong with Audacity for recording and editing. Free, open source, has all of the bells and whistles you'll need while still remaining fairly simple to understand and use. (Which is good because the documentation does leave a little to be desired.)
posted by Dreama at 11:24 PM on October 10, 2006

I second Audacity. You'll also want to get a Pre-amp. You should be able to get something reasonable for about $80, and get a microphone. You can't go wrong with a Shure SM-58.

After that you're golden. You can do good quality voice recordings and mix in song snippets - although, you'll want to look into the legality of using copyright material.
posted by fcain at 11:35 PM on October 10, 2006

If you're using a laptop, you're going to want a USB device for audio in. I use a Codemasters USB microphone adapter that was actually released as a PS2 accessory. A cow-orker using an all-in one USB headphone and mic set.

The amount of noise you get from on-board audio makes recording anything you care about out of the question.

And yeah, I third Audacity.
posted by krisjohn at 11:56 PM on October 10, 2006

Totally agree on the Audacity recommendations, and I've found it really easy to set up friends for podcasting by getting them TypePad accounts where you can just upload an MP3 and it does the rest automatically. It automatically does the right thing with the recording that you save from Audacity, it's less than five bucks a month, nad you can have your own domain name (like for the podcast.

(I do work for the company that makes TypePad, but I'd use it regardless.)
posted by anildash at 12:04 AM on October 11, 2006

T a l k S l o w l y, and don't say "um". Enunciate and project. And talk more slowly.
posted by orthogonality at 12:35 AM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

The use of a pop-filter and light compression will help things along as well. Some inexpensive pre-amps will have a compressor built in. It won't be the best but it will be a good start.
posted by chillmost at 6:03 AM on October 11, 2006

Be careful with the 'snippets of songs' bit. I can't think offhand of any major legal action being taken against a podcaster for including copyrighted music in their show in whole, let alone 'snippets,' but it's better to be safe than sorry. There's a huge volume of 'podsafe' music by independent artists that deserve an audience, so why not eschew the 'big five' and their overpromoted, substandard acts and spice up your show with musicians that not only allow, but appreciate the exposure?

Oh, and while you can fiddle with bitrates for file sizes (64kbps mono for voice, 128kbps stereo for music seems to be the norm), watch out for sample rates. You should always use 44.1Hz, unless you want some web-based Flash players to make you sound like a chipmunk.

Of course, recording the show is barely a third of the picture. You'll need an RSS feed with enclosures so folks can subscribe (WordPress is the best, simplest, free tool for this) and a media host that won't balk at your moving large files (Hipcast and Libsyn are popular paid services, and you can go with IA/OurMedia for free if you don't mind some delays in file availability and slower transfers).

There's lots of good 'starting a podcast' advice out there, from books to wikis to mailing lists (the 'podcasters' list at Yahoo! Groups is very active). Good luck! I've been podcasting for over a year, and love it.
posted by pzarquon at 11:27 AM on October 11, 2006

I like as a podcasting host-- great prices and good server uptime & speed.
posted by LGCNo6 at 11:14 PM on October 11, 2006

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