Viewing entries tagged
podcast software

How to Record Anything That Makes Sound on Your Mac

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How to Record Anything That Makes Sound on Your Mac

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

This is the mantra of any Mac user, and the quest for drop dead simple podcasting applications has been a hobby of mine for almost a decade. Unfortunately, podcasting to date has been a relatively small market for software developers. So accomplishing seemingly simple audio tasks on our computers meant having to resort to overly robust and often complicated audio software and hardware configurations.

One such task would be recording audio - and I mean any audio.

 

Mac Podcasters’ Secret Weapon

For years, the majority of podcasts were created on Macs and listened to on Apple devices. The integration of podcasts in the 2006 update of iTunes, along with the likely intentional and misplaced association with the iPod, made podcasts appear to be a “Mac thing”. Set aside Apple’s typical usurping of technology and slapping their Zen-ness on to call it their own, this meant some of the best software for podcast recording was written by Mac developers, for Mac users.

Windows folks were stuck with a mishmash of kludge solutions to perform what, on the surface, seems like simple audio operations. For example, recording audio on your computer that is coming from your computer. Simple, right? As with most things Mac, yep.

 

 

Rogue Amoeba - Strange Name. Great Software.

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From the developer: "Rogue Amoeba Software is a privately-held software company, based in the USA with offices around the globe. Since 2002, we've been making tools for Mac OS X to assist you with all your audio needs. In that time we've delighted tens of thousands of users and received some of the highest honors in the industry.

Our product line includes the wildly popular home audio streamer Airfoil, our powerful Audio Hijack audio recorder, and our streamlined audio editor Fission."

Mac users and podcasters have known of this company for a long time. We’ve used Rogue Amoeba’s stellar lineup of easy-to-use applications for a variety of production tasks. Many of us can’t live without them. OK, back to recording audio from your Mac.

 

 

Enter Piezo - Charmingly Simple Audio Recording

From the developer: "Say “hello” to Piezo! Piezo makes it a snap to record audio on your Mac. In seconds, you'll be recording audio from any application or from audio inputs like microphones.

Piezo requires almost no configuration, and it's a blast to use. Simple and inexpensive - that's a winning combination.”

To say I love this little app is an understatement. The folks at Rogue Amoeba have made it not only easy to record audio from any source on your Mac, they’ve made it elegant and fun too! The interface couldn’t be clearer. Pull down the menu of sources to display what application audio you want to record, add a title, comment and select the audio quality, and press record!

This can be anything you desire from your USB microphone to Skype. You can even record audio from DVDs, websites, or Spotify if breaking some laws is your bent (though we don’t advise this, obviously).

Once recorded, you can click the magnifying glass in the title window to reveal your pristine audio recording in the finder. Love it.

 

Call Recording

Recording Skype audio is by far the most common need we address from podcast clients. In short, they are co-hosting or interviewing a guest on their podcast and want to record that conversation for use in their show. There are now (thank goodness) a variety of simple ways to do this. The most popular call recorder for Skype is the eCamm Recorder for Mac. However, what if you’re using another program like Zoom, or Google Hangouts, or Facetime, or…?

Granted, eCamm can handle some of these applications. But it certainly can’t handle them ALL. Piezo is as simple as selecting from the pulldown menu the application from which you want to record the audio, and pressing the big, red button. Boom!  It couldn’t get easier than that, and you can do it on the fly.

 

 

Try Before You Buy

Mac and iOS users are familiar with the App Store. I’m a big fan of this as a user largely because it both keeps my applications automatically updated, and also enables me to install them on up to 5 machines. Anyone who uses their Mac as a creative tool will appreciate the ability to install Logic Pro X on 5 production machines for $199. However, this isn’t always the best deal for software developers.

One, the App Store doesn’t have free trials. Boo. Two, Apple takes a hefty cut for having it positioned in the store, purchased, and delivered via their system. Granted, for many developers this is a fair deal. For smaller companies that I adore, such as Smile Software and Rogue Amoeba, to name a few, it’s better to go the old fashioned way and sell direct.

The point being, you can try ALL the Rogue Amoeba software before you commit to a purchase. So installing this and then deciding if it’s a good fit for your podcast workflow is a no-brainer.

 

 

Piezo Not Powerful Enough for You?

Fear not. Audio Hijack 3 is Mac audio capture on steroids! If you’re brave enough to check it out before my upcoming review, you can get a trial copy here!

In the coming weeks I’ll be demonstrating practical podcasting applications of other software from Rogue Amoeba, including Audio Hijack 3, Loopback, and Nicecast.


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Basic Podcast Recording and Editing in Audacity

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Basic Podcast Recording and Editing in Audacity

In this quick session, let’s look at basic audio recording into Audacity using our Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface. 

Advanced audio editing will be covered in future specializations, so stay tuned!

 

Recording and Editing

Hi, this is Corey from Podfly Academy. Hopefully, by now we feel comfortable enough with our physical equipment to start looking into the digital realm of audio recording. Today we're going to be focusing on a DAW, which stands for Digital Audio Workstation, called Audacity. There are a wide variety of these available on the market, but we're going to look at Audacity because it's simple, it's free, and it's compatible with all computer operating systems.

 

Recording Into Your Computer

We've taken a quick look at the physical setup required to get the audio from the microphone into your computer. The next step is now looking at how we're going to actually record that audio in the machine. Whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac, they both come with audio recording programs built-in.

However, for podcasting we usually want something a little bit more sophisticated, as we're going to need to edit that audio. Let’s take a look at one of the most popular programs for podcasters when they get started, because it's free. This is called Audacity.

 

Audacity

The program Audacity has been around for many years. It's a free program because it's something called open-source. That means anyone can develop, improve, and work on this program. Downloading it is as simple as going to audacity.sourceforge.net and get the Mac or Windows version.

 

Recording Audio

Now that I’ve installed Audacity on my computer, I want to select both the input and output that I'm going to be using. Notice at the top I can choose my input device. In my case, I'm using something called a Scarlett 212 USB interface. Your USB interface or microphone will appear in this menu after you've installed it. In this case, I'll click on Scarlett 2i2.

I'm also going to listen back to my audio through the headphone jack on my USB device. So in this case, I want to select the same device. To the right, I have the opportunity to select whether my input is going to be mono or stereo. If I have one microphone plugged in, I want to select mono. Above this there's a little microphone icon where I can select enable or start monitoring. Notice you see here now that I am able to see my input going into Audacity. We want to stay at the negative 12 db or just slightly above level, since we've adjusted our microphone gain before we opened Audacity, we have a great level going in.

The most important part is to make sure that level never clips. Another consideration is you don't want  your level to be too low. My levels going in right now look great and you want yours to look similar. Recording your voice now is as simple as clicking record.

As I record my voice, you can see that a wave form is appearing. This is a visual representation of audio. To stop the recording, I simply press stop.

 

Playback Audio

At any point I can playback any part of the audio I recorded. By clicking in the project where I'd like the playback to start and pressing the spacebar, you'll see that I can playback through the audio.

Now that we are successfully recording our voice into our DAW, it's time to look at manipulating that audio. Quite often we have ums, and ahs, and breaks, and mistakes that we want to edit. These are very simple functions within Audacity. The great news is a lot of these skills that we're learning today are transferable to other programs as well, whether you're using GarageBand or Adobe Audition or Logic Pro. Any of the DAW's have a very similar layout and a very similar set of commands. We'll be looking really in depth at these down the road in specializations, but today let's make a couple of quick edits in Audacity.

 

Deleting Audio

I'm going to do a simple read and I'm going to make an intentional mistake. This mistake I'm going to repeat and then edit out. I'm going to click record and start my take:

“I would like to welcome John Smith to the program today. Take Two. I would like to welcome John Smithe to the program today.”

I've mispronounced the name of my guest, I thought it was Smith, but it's actually Smithe. So now I need to get rid of or delete the audio where I've made a mistake. So let's go to the point where I made the mistake and have a listen. By pressing space bar, I can play the audio.

I obviously do not want to have my first take or where I said take two. This is now as simple as grabbing and highlighting the area and pressing the delete key. Now the audio is gone and I only have the take that I want.

“I would like to welcome John Smithe to the program today.”

 

Removing Mistakes

In some cases we make a mistake during the recording process or the interview. We needed to look up a piece of information or simply stumbled over our words. When you're recording, all you need to do is take a quick pause and start again.

I'm going to make a really simple mistake during my recording and then I'm going to edit it out.

“I think it's great that you're here today, ummmm....John Smith, I appreciate you coming in.”

Notice that I made an intentional mistake in the middle of the recording, where I forgot the guest's name. Editing this is quite simple. Again, I can listen to where that point is, highlight the area that I want removed, and click delete. Notice that mistake is now gone.

“I think it's great that you're here today…..John Smith, I appreciate you coming in.”

If I want to fine tune this edit, I can magnify in closer and make what we call a tighter edit.

“I think it's great that you're here today John Smith, I appreciate you coming in.”

 

Keyboard Shortcuts

As you become more comfortable with the editing process, there are a couple keyboard shortcuts that we recommend you learn. We noted during this processes hitting the space bar stopped and started the playback. Highlighting the audio and pressing the delete key obviously gets rid of audio. But sometimes we make an edit, and we listen to it and we don't want it. Undo is as easy on a Mac as hitting Command + Z or Control + Z on a PC. Another important keyboard command to remember is Control + S, or on a Mac, Command + S. This saves your audio and saves your work.

In many cases we do a long audio recording and our computer suddenly crashes. In these cases we can lose minutes or sometimes hours of audio recording and editing. Getting in the habit of every other edit you do, hitting Command + S or Control + S means that if your computer goes down, you've not lost your audio or your work.

 

Practice First!

Today we went over some of the most basic functions of getting a microphone connected to your computer, recording that audio, and doing some basic editing. We strongly recommend you spend some time before you even think about recording your first show getting familiar with your gear. Understanding how you to use your microphone can save you hours and hours of time editing down the road.
 

We've seen a lot of podcasters setup, record, and then find at the end the audio quality is not good enough for release. Doing a couple dummy episodes to get comfortable with the way that it works is not only going to help you with your voice training and help you with your recording, but it's going to ensure that you don't waste time every time you setup your microphone.

 

Conclusion

Some of these DAWs can seem a little bit complicated at first, but once we get comfortable with them we see the basic functionality of them as relatively easy to master. Some rookie mistakes tend to happen though when using these DAWs. We want to make sure that we definitely have the right microphone plugged in and that we have the right sound sources. We at Podfly have seen many times people recording their podcast and end up realizing that they were using their laptop microphone or something else. This can be a complete waste of audio and a terrible waste of time.

We strongly recommend that you create a checklist for the beginning of each and every show. Checking to see if your microphone is plugged in correctly, that you have the right input, and more. This checklist can save you hours of time and tons of headache. Look in the specializations down the road in creating these checklists and how to make sure you have the right equipment setup each and every time you record.

 




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Before You Record Your First Podcast – Basic Podcast Equipment Needs

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Before You Record Your First Podcast – Basic Podcast Equipment Needs

So you've decided you wanted to get into the podcasting world? Congratulations and welcome aboard! What you'll soon realize throughout your podcasting journey is that it is not only rewarding, but it's also an exciting way to expand your brand, get yourself out there, and connect with new people all over the world. You may have some questions about how to begin your podcast and in today's post we will be going over the necessary equipment and minimum requirements you will need in order to develop a highly successful and engaging podcast. Let's begin!

Computer Stuff

The most demanding thing your computer will have to go through when you're podcasting is recording and processing the audio. The good news is that almost every modern computer built in the last 3 years can do this without a problem. However, if you're running on something a bit older, you might run into some trouble. Below are just a few considerations you will need to make before jumping with both feet in.

Window And Mac Users

For PC users, a good rule of thumb is that if you can run Windows XP or Vista on your computer without any delays, then you're probably good to go on podcasting. If it runs Windows 7 or 8, then your system can most definitely handle the new audio load. The same would apply for older versions of Mac like the OS 9 or X – if you can run that without any trouble, then your system can most likely handle audio processing.

It can never hurt to upgrade your RAM, as that will greatly help reduce your audio processing load. A lot of the professional podcasters and audiophiles have between 8gb to 16gb of RAM, but most modern day computers come with a minimum of 2gb-4gb and that will be just fine for you and your podcast.

In terms of hard drive space, you could technically get away with 10gb, but if you plan on keeping each of the raw audio files you create, then consider making room in your hard drive for around 50gb to 100gb, if not more. This is a great start, but do keep in mind that if you're going to be podcasting for years to come, then you will have to purchase an extra hard drive for your new found profession.

Audio Software

Podcasters need to have some sort of recording software to help record their voice and the guests on the show. The three main ones that are used by a majority of the podcasting community are:

  • Audacity. This is free to use for both Mac and PC
  • Adobe Audition. If you already have Photoshop, then this should already be included.
  • GarageBand. This also should already be installed on your Mac.

To interview your guests who are not in the same city, state, or country as you, then the best way to connect is through Skype. It is recommended to create a separate Skype account for your show, because interviewing and adding different people regularly can really clutter up your personal account.

Microphones

Microphones are the most important part of a podcast. If you're serious about getting into podcasting and are ready to make the commitment for the long haul, then it is recommended that you spend a bit of money on a high quality microphone. Microphone prices are literally endless and you can spend over $500 in sound equipment if you're not careful. For someone who's starting out, you don't have to spend huge amounts of money in order to capture your voice and create a great sounding podcast.

The most commonly used microphones on the market today are the Blue Yeti USB or the Rode Podcaster. These microphones work incredibly well for podcasting and high quality audio work. These two are high investment with the Blue Yeti ranging between $80 to $100 dollars and the Rode Podcaster ranging from $200 to $250. If you're not ready to make such a commitment just yet, then you can use the mic you have now, knowing that the quality will be quite poor, or you can pick up a mid range microphone between $25 to $50 and it will be a slight improvement.

It is best to have the headphones and the microphone separated when you're doing podcast work. If you buy a headset that comes with a microphone, then there's a good chance the microphone will pick up breathing or your recording will have an increase in pitch when you over pounce the S's and the P's. By having these two separated, you can greatly reduce this.

And that's it! That's all you need before you start your very own podcast. If editing the audio intermediates you, then you be sure to check out what Podfly.net can offer you and maybe it's something you can outsource to us instead! All you have to do is worry about recording your show and you can leave the rest up to us! 

For more info about starting your own podcast, contact ayn@podfly.net.

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A Quick and Dirty Overview on Podcasting

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A Quick and Dirty Overview on Podcasting

A podcast is a popular digital medium mostly consisting of audio or videos files that are hosted online and can be accessed through free or paid subscription downloads or through an RSS feed. Podcasts are usually produced in a series and contain information about a certain theme and subject. However, as podcasting has become more popular over the years, individuals hosting a podcast often talk about diverse topics that vary from episode to episode and are not theme-centric.


What is So Appealing About A Podcast?

Standard TV and radio formats present a much more rigid system than what podcasting presents. Currently the model is that people choose a program or a network station and watch what is being played in the time-slot shown with no form of control or customization. People like to have control over the type of content they consume, which is why podcasting, Netflix, and TIVO are excellent examples of listening or watching content where ever you are and whenever you want.                                                                                        

Another thing that is appealing about a podcast is that TV and Radio are primarily designed to produce shows and music for mass consumption, which can often destroy the quality of a product. Podcasting is often designed for a specific audience in mind and it attracts those who want to understand or discover more about that topic – something not all traditional TV or radio stations can do because of its scale and the niche topics being too ambiguous to cover.


Podcasting – A Powerful Way To Communicate

People often produce a podcast because it's fun, entertaining, and exciting. You can reach a target audience that shares the same interests as you and even communicate to them on a bigger scale. This is especially effective for those who have their own business and a strong following that wants to know more about the person behind the mask. Podcasting is also a great way to go from an unknown face in the crowd to a well-known expert in the selected topic and to help develop a strong following. Podcasting is an excellent choice to make if you want to take your hobby to the next level and talk about what you love to people who also share the same passion as you.

 

Podcasting Made Easy

The great thing about podcasting is that it is very inexpensive to start your own podcast. All you will need is a microphone, a skype account to interview your guests, and sound recording and editing software. Programs like Audacity, which is free to use, has the ability to both record your sound and edit it. Apple iTunes makes it very easy to get your podcast out into the world and it is free to submit a podcast to them. If you rather leave the editing to the experts, Podfly.net helps take your podcast to the next level by adding a professional quality and finish to your show, which will make you stand out from the rest.

For more info about starting your own podcast, contact ayn@podfly.net.

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