For many years, I’ve held off doing a Skype podcast because I felt it wasn’t worth the effort.
The audio-quality usually is junk. If you have more than two hosts it can be very difficult with timing and knowing when to speak. There are so many Skype podcasts out there that just sound absurdly bad. You probably already listen to them. Like, two dudes use their iPhone earbuds, plug them into their Mac, record in Garageband and then post it to iTunes. Who wants that? On what planet is that acceptable? Get out of here with that.
With Paperkeg taking a break due to scheduling being nigh impossible, we wanted to goof around a bit in our off time. I’d be moving to another state, there would be more kids in our families, and we’d have no time to shedule a locally recorded show.
Turns out you don’t need to be Dan Benjamin to do a high quality Skype podcast.
With the return of Paperkeg, episode #076 was recorded entirely remotely. Oh, #73.1 was recorded remotely, too. The whole thing.
How can this be done you say? Well, I’ll tell you. I won’t go into ways where you can make it sound moderately better, I’ll tell you how to do it if you want it to sound like The Flap and Paperkeg. There may be easier ways of doing things, but this is the way we do things.
It will cost you between $50-$120 to get into the game. Fair warning. And yes, I know there are USB microphones out there around the same price as what I’m going to describe for you. I just didn’t go that route. This route allows you to also do a local show if you need to down the line.
First of all, I don’t use Skype. Skype is dogshit. We use Google Hangout.
Every host has his own mixer at his place, a microphone, headphones, and his Mac. There you go, that’s pretty much it for one person. Total cost if you already have headphones and a computer, around $75-120.
I mentioned that we use Google Hangout to chat, but we do NOT record that audio. I repeat, we do NOT record Google Hangout audio. We record the audio that we get locally on our own mixers sitting next to us.
My XLR microphone goes into my Behringer mixer. My mixer’s Main Output is a Behringer USB Sound Card which is plugged into my Mac’s USB port. I record that audio using Garageband which is set to record the USB input. I turn on Monitoring in Garageband so I can hear myself. Google Hangout’s Audio In is set to my USB Sound Card. And finally, my headphones are just plugged into my Macbook as usual.
Here is the clipped version, Mixer > USB > Mac > Garageband, Google Hangout. If you were only planning on needing a mixer for your Mic only, this one is $35.
If you sound confused about that or think what I’ve described is too hard, maybe you shouldn’t be podcasting.
Dale’s set-up is just like what I’ve described. Everyone records their own audio at their own computer. Once we’re done, we upload other’s Garageband-exported audio. We jiggle them around in a Garageband project and make sure everyone is sync’d up. Snip out the beginning and end, and we have a show.
Now, it can be very difficult to get the hang of NOT talking over each other. Google Hangout is beneficial for this as you can see each other if you have a web-cam. (Most Macs have this installed.)
I had one goal in writing this: less shitty sounding podcasts. It’s very easy to just sit in front of your Mac, using your external microphone, record you and your buddy yapping about something and call it a day. But why not put some effort into it? Why not WANT to have the show sound like it was recorded locally on good equipment?
I’m really proud of Paperkeg and feel slighted when others put out an inferior product and don’t bother to try to make it something more.
Be arrogant in thinking you can do it better, bro.
– with love, @slim.