How I do podcasts on my Mac

Someone emailed me a long time ago thinking this might be a good post. I’m a little tardy, but maybe it will help.

On Tuesday night, I attended a session on podcasting as a member of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. Since I’ve been doing my podcast for about 1.5 years, I wondered if I would learn anything new. Ha! There’s always something to learn! My voice sessions with Maggie prove this.

We were in a REAL sound studio with a REAL producer. Complete with all the wall buffers (I don’t even know what you call those giant foam things) and walls that had been built especially for high-quality sound. There were three rooms–each with a different sound quality, depending on the type of recording that was needed.

SonyzoomI learned about this very cool product. It’s a Sony Samson Zoom H4 recorder that records in MP3 format and fits in a men’s shirt pocket (it looks much bigger in this photo, I think)
. Let me just say that this is very, very valuable. Many recorders record in WAV or other type files and you have to convert them in order for them to play on iTunes or to burn them to a disk. This Zoom H4 has hookups for two microphones,  so you can record an interview  with noise all around you, but no one will hear anything outside of what is spoken into the mic. Very high quality. And I’m told you can get it at Costco for about $300. Also recommended: Audix OM-2 microphone.

This system is great for portability! When you want to record a workshop or even an impromptu interview. I use my 80 GB video iPod for recording while I’m away. I just attach the XtremeMac Micromemo to the bottom. It has a mic on it, but you can also add a lapel mic. The quality is great. Then I plug it into my Mac and it imports it into iTunes (I export to GarageBand and mess with it).

Most days–like today–I record directly into my computer. And my system is far less sophisticated than the one I saw on Tuesday. Don’t ask  how I came to the setup I use because there wasn’t really a rhyme or reason. I had GarageBand, a Mac, iTunes, and I read somewhere about my cheap mic. Anyhoo . .  .

I record into GarageBand using a very inexpensive Logitech mic, which plugs into my USB port. I’ve gotten pretty good at messing around in GarageBand and learning the easiest ways to edit things. After I think it’s good enough (it will never be perfect), I export it to iTunes and compress it along the way. The new version of GarageBand can compress the files a lot more, which is great for lots of podcasts.

In iTunes, I can convert the file to an MP3 file with one click of the finger. The only thing left after that is to upload it to the Web, post it to iTunes, and then tell everyone about it on the blog.

One thing I learned from Maggie: Stand up, smile, and use your hands while you’re recording. Act natural–like you’re really talking to someone and not just speaking into a mic. Because of the equipment I’m currently using, this is difficult (standing up), so I still sit, but I’m much more animated.

One thing I learned from visiting the studio this week: I probably shouldn’t be recording on my steel desk! I added the piece of fabric that I usually have only in the winter. Hope it helps buffer.

One thing I learned from experience: I always record my podcast before sending out the newsletter. There are inevitably tweaks to be made to the newsletter content after I’ve rehearsed it out loud.

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