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podcast tips

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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Podfly Academy - Lesson 1 of 10

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Podfly Academy - Lesson 1 of 10

In early 2014, we were approached to create an online podcasting course. Podfly was about 6 months old at the time, and any new opportunity to develop our brand was welcomed. We at Podfly also identified a need to help new podcasters lay a foundation of basic knowledge for many unfamiliar with the medium. So, the notion of creating an online program in concert with planning lessons that could lay the groundwork for our clients seemed like a natural win-win.

With that, we embarked on recording a 10 lesson series of foundational videos and specializations that we are happy to offer you, free of charge.

Each series’ syllabus leads to live sessions, deep dives into advanced aspects of podcasting, and best practices from experienced podcasters. We hope you are able to gather some base knowledge of podcasting and we would love to hear back from you!


Podfly Academy - Lesson 1 of 10

Lesson 1 of 10 Podfly Academy's Foundation Course is a 10-Step series of classes bundled into a core curriculum. These provide a requisite study for those who want to learn the basics of podcasting. Graduates from the program can advance to the Specializations and Master Class sessions.


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How to be a Great Podcast Guest

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How to be a Great Podcast Guest

You've agreed to be a guest on a podcast to maybe discuss a little bit about what you're currently doing, to share an expert opinion, or just to have fun. You might be wondering what are some of the things you can do to make your interview absolutely amazing and today we'll cover a few tips on how you can be seen as someone who knows what you're talking about even if you don't! 

The Simple, Basic Stuff

It's been mentioned before in another blog post, but it's so, so important to have your phone on silent. There are many times were audio editors are unable to edit out the ringing or the 'silent' buzzing your phone might generate when it's on the table next to you. If it's loud enough, what you're saying can be muffled and your host's audience won't understand you or could miss a very valid point you're trying to make. Put your phone far away from the table and unplug any house phones in the room to completely avoid that.

Always have water near you! You get thirsty when you're nervous and talking - no matter how long the interview is!

Throw your pets out! 

Do a microphone test before you get on the call to hear yourself and see how good you really sound on the phone. It doesn't matter if you have a high-end microphone like the pros do or a cheap headset, adjust your microphone accordingly so that you are coming in loud and clear. 

The Less Intuitive Stuff 

Keep smiling even if they can't see you. For example, whenever you're own the phone with a customer service agent and even though you can't physically see them, you hear them and your mind generates an image of who that person is. If they sound nice, you think of a nice looking person who probably exhibits certain traits of what a nice person should have, like they save puppies off the street and hug children for no reason. 

Obviously, the opposite is true if the person you're talking to sounds miserable. When you smile, you automatically sound happy, more approachable, and nice, which people love to listen to. Don't be the guy that sounds like he kicks puppies for no reason. 

Do a bit of research on the host. It doesn't matter if you're a long time listener or just heard about he/she last night. When you take a bit of time to understand who that person is and what their real message is, you can better serve the host and his/her audience. The better you can cater to them specifically, the more likely they will go out of their way to contact you or purchase some of your products or services. 

When a host wants you to talk about an upcoming event you're hosting or a new book you're launching, try not to sell too hard. There's a fine balance to this and it can be difficult to master, but to give you some tips: The reason why you're on the show is to be informative and through that expertise, the audience will seek you out for more information. If you're a guest that only talks about the cool things that you're doing, it can be hard to relate to. Think about how the host's listeners can benefit from your product or the lessons that they can learn from you instead. This is a much more effective sell than the head-on approach. 

Optional:

Do you really want everyone to be on your good side? Compliment the host during the introduction. You can say things like, “I've listened to a couple of your shows and you really bring out a good message.” or “I really love listening to how you talk to people, which is why I'm so happy to be on the show today.” It can be something in that vein, but as long as it's true and sounds genuine, the host will be happy to have you back. If they ask you a great question during the middle of the show, be sure to let them know. 

Address the listeners or the audiences. This can be hard to remember because when you're doing a non-live show, it's just you and the host. Things like, “I'm sure your listeners can relate to this...”, “Your listeners might have some questions about..”, or even, “To all your listeners who might have..” are great ways to address the people listening to you. 

If you're still feeling a bit nervous, most podcasters prepare a list of questions to ask you before hand. You can ask them for an outline of what they plan to cover so that you can prepare and not feel like you're stumbling over your words. However, the reason why a host asked you on the show in the first place is because he or she wants you to talk about the things you know, so there should really be no reason to worry or feel like you're going to mess up. 

The final tip of this post is to send your host a small thank you note for being on the show. This can go a long way and it really stands out. Almost no guest does this. After the interview when everything is fresh, send a quick 5 minute email thanking them for inviting you on and to follow up with any links you might have talked about on the show. It's a great gesture, especially from the host's perspective because they're always the ones saying the thank yous! 

 

About Podfly

Podfly works hard to make sure our client's podcasts sound beautiful, high-end, and great. We edit your podcast to make it sound like smooth-listening for anybody who is a fan of your show or your brand. We have a staff of professional audio engineers who have been on or worked in the radio industry for several years and have the insider tips to making your show sound professional. Feel free to contact Ayn@podfly.com for more information or any of our other staff members! 

Until next time,
Ayn. 

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