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CAGcast Production FAQ, Q&A, & Podcasting Tips


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#1 CheapyD

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 02:05 PM

I got a lot of emails asking just how the CAGcast is produced so I've decided to put together this post, which is a work in progress. Updated 7/2013

Since all of us are in different locations, we talk to each other over Skype.
We both record our own voices locally, direct from our microphones (rather than through Skype) using the following hardware and software:

Hardware

UPDATE: Everyone switched to a Shure PG42 USB on a RODE PSA 1 Mic Arm in November/December 2012.  This setup is appropriate for a 1 person per location podcast.

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Old info

CheapyD (and Shipwreck)
I use the Samson CO3U USB microphone. I purchased the podcast pack because it comes with a shock-mount and stand. It also comes with a hard travel case, but the thing is so fucking big, I don't think I will ever use it. Cakewalk Sonar LE is included too, but I haven't bothered to figure out how to use it. I've also added a pop-filter as the mic is pretty sensitive. The nice thing about using a high-quality USB mic is that it doesn't require the use of an external mixing board. I liked this setup so much, I got one for the Shipwrecks. I record and edit on a 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo iMac with 3GB RAM. One of the great things about the iMac is that it runs almost completely silent. Many PCs have noisy fans (like Wombat's) and this can be pretty annoying when it gets picked up by the mic.

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Wombat
As of CAGcast #133, Wombat is using a Macbook and a Zoom H2 USB Mic/Flash Recorder.
As of CAGcast #152, Wombat is using a Samson G Track USB Mic.
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Old setup[spoiler]Wombat uses a 12 year old pro studio mic (model unknown) connected to his PC via a Yamaha 10/2 G Mixing Board (model discontinued).
He records on a p.o.s. Windows PC.

Yamaha 10/2 G Mixing Board
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Software & Production

I use 3 pieces of software for the CAGcast production

Audacity (PC/Mac - Free) Everyone on the CAGcast records directly from their mics into Audacity and exports the audio as a 128Kbps MP3 file. It's also used to produce (edit) the show.

Levelator (PC/Mac - Free) Automatically levels the audio. Great for podcasts.

Audio Hijack Pro (Mac - $32) This is optional, but I use it to record audio from YouTube and others for the CAGcast intros and outros.


How to produce a decent sounding Podcast

  • First, put on a pair of headphones and plug them into your PC/Mac.
  • Using Audacity, line up the vocal tracks and make sure they stay in-sync throughout the entire show. It usually only requires one or two small adjustments if everyone is recording on the same (type of) equipment.
  • Run the Noise Reduction
  • filter to remove background noise from all 3 tracks.
  • Adjust the gain on each of the tracks (watch the meter at the top to avoid clipping) so the sound is uniform.
  • Export the file to WAV format.
  • Import the WAV file into Levelator. Levelator will automatically level the audio, and spit you back another WAV file.
  • Import your newly leveled WAV file into Audacity. Now you can add an intro, outro, or any other audio to your show. Make sure you save your work often. Audacity will auto-backup (check your settings), but its always good to be careful.
  • When finished, export your file. Select the MP3 format and click the options button to select 80kbps. After you have you file, you can use iTunes or other programs to add data (title, artists, artwork) to your MP3 file.
  • The CAGcast is hosted at Libsyn.







    Equipment Recomendations
    If you are just starting out (with no audience) and money is tight, there is really no reason to invest hundreds of dollars in a podcasting setup. I'd recommend using Audacity (free) for your recording and editing duties and making due with a current mic if you already own one (and its not completely awful). If you are able to build an audience, you can then decide if its worth investing in a better microphone, in which case I definitely recommend the Samson line of USB condensor mics. The prices on these are consistently falling so keep on 'em.
    Also, check out the Zoom H2 USB Mic/Flash Recorder. It's about $135 now and functions as a hand held recordable as well as a USB mic. It's a pretty impressive device.


    Hosting
    The CAGcast and CAG Foreplay podcasts are hosted at Libsyn. Their $12/month plan should be fine for your standard 1 x week audio podcast.


    General Podcast Tips
    1) Prepare: Write up an outline of the topics you want to cover, and the order you want to cover them in. This is not a script, but a road map of the show. Jot down brief notes so you don't forget key points.
    2) Energize: If you don't sound interested, your audience won't be interested either. Keep those energy levels high.
    3) Produce: Use the above guide to make your show sound good!

    Good luck!


#2 VanillaGorilla

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 07:28 PM

I find it easier just to use a radio station to record my (dead) podcast. :lol:

I give you guys a lot of credit for spending so much money to put on a podcast. I personally don't listen, but still, :applause:
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#3 ratzombie

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 10:04 AM

I like how you have all this fancy equipment, where as Wombat is 'casting like a hobo.

#4 VanillaGorilla

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 12:14 AM

I like how you have all this fancy equipment, where as Wombat is 'casting like a hobo.

"I am called Ham, because I enjoy Ham radio!"
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#5 E*Master

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 04:36 AM

I use a PVC 175 Vestax DJ mixer from my decks to regulate the audio:
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You can buy this thing off ebay for cheap

Sony F-v220 Mic
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10 bucks off ebay and soudnforge to record

But most of all it's my soundcard that does the audio processing:
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#6 jakehoss

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 04:42 PM

Good Thread Cheapy. wombat is on mad podcast hobo jones.
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#7 mik

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 05:24 PM

We use this:

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That's right--we're that high-tech.

#8 olster2

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 08:11 PM

yea thanks but I cant seem tp get it working. Can you give a step to step guid on how to record over skype?:bouncy:

#9 CheapyD

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:49 AM

yea thanks but I cant seem tp get it working. Can you give a step to step guid on how to record over skype?:bouncy:

You each record yourselves locally from your microphones. Skype is only the means for you two to talk to each other. It has nothing to do with the recording process.

#10 E*Master

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 03:56 PM

You can actually record conversations in skype using a program called pamela. Not sure what the audio quality is like tho.

#11 olster2

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 08:07 PM

You each record yourselves locally from your microphones. Skype is only the means for you two to talk to each other. It has nothing to do with the recording process.

aaaaaa that makes sence lol how silly of me :) thanks it works fine now :D BIG UP CHEAPY

#12 aerotive

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 04:02 PM

The local recording goes a long way towards improving sound quality. I listen to several other supposedly professional podcasts that just use the raw Skype recording. Which is fine until, almost invariably, Skype craps out.

#13 usickenme

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 06:40 PM

Cheapy-

Have you ever used Garageband to record the cast? I use it for my podcast. They have premade podcast settings and some decent sound effects.

(speak of other podcasts how about giving a shout-out to the CAGs who do their own shows?)

#14 CheapyD

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 01:11 AM

Cheapy-

Have you ever used Garageband to record the cast? I use it for my podcast. They have premade podcast settings and some decent sound effects.

(speak of other podcasts how about giving a shout-out to the CAGs who do their own shows?)


I've tried Garageband, but I like Audacity better. IMHO, Audacity has better effects, including a crucial one that Garageband is missing, Noise Reduction. Wombat's PC has a very noisy fan. Since, I got an iMac, I no longer need to use NR on my audio.

I've been using Leveller lately to try and equalize the audio levels. I think it has been helping.

#15 mik

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 06:19 AM

Whatever you're doing is working, because the CAGcast is always one of the cleanest-sounding podcasts I listen to.

#16 Simon D I

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 07:36 AM

I agree with Mik; when I first started listening to Podcasts, I download a shitload of gaming ones at once, but the one that caught my ear at first was the CAGcast because it was actually well-recorded, and didn't make my ears bleed like a lot of other p.o.s.-casts!

So keep up the good work!

#17 dastly75

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 07:55 AM

Hey what do ya know, I have the Samson CO3U mic as well. I don't podcast though.

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#18 weevles

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 08:04 AM

Agreed that the audio quality of the CAGcast is among the best I've heard. Thanks for the thread--it's always cool to get a behind-the-scenes look at things I'm interested in.

#19 QforQ

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 07:51 AM

We use this:

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That's right--we're that high-tech.

We bought one of those last summer when I was at a convention and we wanted to do interviews on the fly for a radio station I run. The audio quality is very good (recorded through a Shure mic that was plugged into the recorder) and it was really easy to get the sound files off the little recorder. I recommend it, though I haven't used it a TON since then. Hoping to usre it more this year.

#20 Kuroi Kaze

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 05:29 PM

I, much like Cheapy, have found Audacity + Noise Reduction + Local Recording + Skype to be a good method for doing podcasts.

I don't have the fancy mic but I think we're doing okay.

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#21 Darkside Hazuki

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 05:43 PM

I'll recommend the Snowball USB mic from Blue. I've used it for recording vocals and sound effects (through Garageband) in a very noisy environment, and it performs like a champ. And it's less than a hundred bones.

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#22 Simon D I

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 07:18 PM

I'll recommend the Snowball USB mic from Blue. I've used it for recording vocals and sound effects (through Garageband) in a very noisy environment, and it performs like a champ. And it's less than a hundred bones.

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Wow, that actually looks like something I may need...so if you have it in the middle of a table, with people all around it, will it pick everyone up equally?

#23 ratzombie

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 02:32 AM

Anyone test out the quality of the Rock Band mic yet? :D

Might be just right for a budding podcast.

#24 Simon D I

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 05:18 PM

Anyone test out the quality of the Rock Band mic yet? :D

Might be just right for a budding podcast.


Yes, actually! That's what I use (at the moment) on my show!

It's great for 1-2 people, but if you have a 3rd person (like I just did) it's hard for it to pick them up from that angle.

Also, if you're having a loud, infuriated rant ( like I just did ), the high sound levels will sound pretty nasty.

But for a good, clean, unidirectional mic, definitely use the Rock Band one! :bouncy:

#25 woodcan

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 10:22 PM

Yes, actually! That's what I use (at the moment) on my show!

It's great for 1-2 people, but if you have a 3rd person (like I just did) it's hard for it to pick them up from that angle.

Also, if you're having a loud, infuriated rant ( like I just did ), the high sound levels will sound pretty nasty.

But for a good, clean, unidirectional mic, definitely use the Rock Band one! :bouncy:


I have to say your podcast sounds pretty damn good for using the RockBand mic. Occasionally on the past few episodes there's been this low-volume electronic voice double occasionally that I wonder if it is a hardware or software issue.
Spoiler

#26 t3disciple

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 12:54 AM

Great thread,

With the wealth of info I know the CAGs have I thought I would throw this out.

Does anyone know where I can get some Public Domain/royalty free video game sound effects or music from old tv shows and cartoons. I have been googleing and all I can find is really weak homemade sound and sound effects. Any Ideas
?

Disciple

#27 Simon D I

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 05:01 AM

Great thread,

With the wealth of info I know the CAGs have I thought I would throw this out.

Does anyone know where I can get some Public Domain/royalty free video game sound effects or music from old tv shows and cartoons. I have been googleing and all I can find is really weak homemade sound and sound effects. Any Ideas
?

Disciple


Hmmm, man, I was just researching for ya for a few minutes...and I can't find anything that doesn't cost some kind of fee. I mean, you can obviously go to Limewire or something like that, but in terms of an organized directory of royalty-free sound effects, I don't know if there is one :(

Anyways, let us know if you find something!


P.S., Thanks, Woodcan, for the kind words :)
I think that was SKYNET that was producing horrible background noise on the show!:bomb:


And Disciple, what's the name of your podcast?

#28 t3disciple

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 04:54 AM

We are still in the pre production phase so we have not nailed down a name yet. We have all the software and hardware needed to do a cast and i am editing an intro now. Lot's of work but lots of fun. It is going to be a video game podcast. We are a Christian gaming team kinda like Hardcore Christian(they obviously have been around alot longer than we have) we will also be concentrating on that aspect of our lives too.

I remember in one of the past CAG casts Cheapy mentioned where he got some of the cool soundclips, I wish I remembered what episode. I have been downloading them and listening but have not found it yet, It was in the past 3 or 4 months if memory serves.

#29 Simon D I

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 07:15 PM

We are still in the pre production phase so we have not nailed down a name yet. We have all the software and hardware needed to do a cast and i am editing an intro now. Lot's of work but lots of fun. It is going to be a video game podcast. We are a Christian gaming team kinda like Hardcore Christian(they obviously have been around alot longer than we have) we will also be concentrating on that aspect of our lives too.

I remember in one of the past CAG casts Cheapy mentioned where he got some of the cool soundclips, I wish I remembered what episode. I have been downloading them and listening but have not found it yet, It was in the past 3 or 4 months if memory serves.



Hey, bro, any luck with a sounc clip directory yet? Any updates on your 'cast? I'd like to hear it, dude!

#30 Simon D I

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 12:01 PM

We use this:

Posted Image

That's right--we're that high-tech.


Hey, bro. How much does something like this go for? I'm planning on going to PAX and any other convention I can hit up, and this would be perfect!