42 million Americans now listen to podcasts weekly (up 15% since last year). That’s five times more than go to the movies. Podcast creation and listening isn’t skyrocketing, but it’s accelerating. And it has been for the last five years. If you are interested in diving into the world of making your own podcast, but don’t know where to start when it comes to equipment, here are some things to look for.
Today you can find a recorder that performs just as well in the studio as it does in the field. And because most successful podcasts offer a healthy dose of both in studio interviews and field recordings per episode (This American Life, Serial, RadioLab) it’s definitely something you should consider. Most field recorders come with built in mics, but not all are created equally. See our list of best portable audio recorders.
Attention To Voice
Arguably the most dominant sound source in your podcast will be the human voice. Not every microphone is designed with the human voice in mind. Within the average human hearing spectrum (20Hz – 20kHz), A Female voice frequency range covers fairly up to 350 Hz to 17KHz and the Male voice covers a Frequency range of 100Hz to 8KHz.
Some microphones are designed to capture the entire hearing spectrum, where others excel at only capturing the human voice. In the world of broadcasting, the Electrovoice Re20 is the industry standard for recording voices. Odds are, you’ve seen it a million times before in television and movies.
It’s also important to understand the pick up pattern of a microphone. Think of a microphone’s pick up pattern like a large net that it casts out every time you hit record. Some mics cast a larger net than others, making them capable of capturing more sound sources than just your voice. This is not always ideal, sometimes you just want to capture your voice and no other background noise.
Thanks to some amazing smartphone apps, you can record professional sounding Podcasts straight from your phone. Apps like Anchor, Spreaker and even SoundCloud make it easier than ever to set up a mobile podcast studio wherever you go. But that doesn’t mean you should use the built in mic on your phone. You’ll want a mobile friendly microphone, something that is as portable as your phone is and offers easy editing tools at an affordable price. For this we recommend the Hooke Verse (www.hookeaudio.com) And here are some helpful tips for setting it up.
What’s cool about the Hooke Verse is the free recording app that comes with it. Inside the app you can utilize sound filters like “interview” and “stereoscoper” which will help you block out extraneous fan noise or hum during interviews. It’s seamless integration with Dropbox and Google Drive allow for easy uploading to the cloud, saving space on your actual phone when you’re out on a shoot.
Hooke Audio’s “3D Audio Filter Pack: Core” – An essential collection of sound filters for anyone joining the 3D Audio revolution.
Life comes at us fast, leaving not much time to set up the tripod or set levels. In today’s world of reporting, it’s important to have a recorder that can act as fast as you do. That’s why we feel a recorder integrated with your mobile phone is best. There’s a reason iPhone’s have the camera icon on the sleep screen, grabbing that moment by simply unlocking your phone and acting faster than others could be the difference maker.
Good With Wind
Simple, yet oh so treacherous. Wind noise can ruin your entire interview and second to mic clipping, there is no plug in or post production tool that can take it out. That’s why having an audio recorder with built in wind protection is a must.
Technology changes daily, causing us to change the way we both create and share stories constantly. Sometimes it feels impossible to keep up, but there are steps you can take to ensure your equipment is covered heading into the 21st century
- Make sure it works on mobile
- Make sure it can playback sound as well as record it (think listening to a take after you’ve created it)
- Make sure the battery can last an entire day without dying
- Make sure it performs indoors just as well as it does outdoors
- Make sure it’s portable
- Make sure it’s inspiring. This one is important. Just like paintbrushes, microphones are creation tools. Not every paintbrush produces the same results. Some artists prefer some brushes over others. The same goes for microphones.
Now go forth and record on!
And please, I am always looking for new podcast recommendations! Feel free to link your podcast in the comments below or leave me any feedback. I always love hearing from you!
From One Ear To Another,
Founder, Hooke Audio