Yesterday’s interview with Alca Miklasova was amazing and full of insights for writers & creators in general. Among other topics, we talked about the process of podcast making…and since people start asking me how I do mine, here’s my recipe.

Alca, Thanks for being the trigger to this article, I hope it’ll be of use!

Preambule

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How to make a podcast with household items

In this article, I’ll write about
what you need to make a podcast,
why you need it and
how it looks like once it’s installed.

I’ll also give some explanations on the various items involved.

Ready?

What you’ll need

  • general
    • a quiet place
    • a good internet connection
    • a chair
  • recording
  • editing
    • an audio editing software (like Ableton, Reaper or Audacity)
  • sharing the podcast

Why do you need all that?

The microphone records your voice.

You need A QUIET PLACE so that the microphone only records your voice.

You need headphones so you can hear your guest without the microphone recording him/her.

The computer runs Firefox which runs Zencastr.

Zencastr let you record your voice and the voice of your guest.

The Audio editing software lets you correct Zencastr audio drift

The good internet connection limits audio drift & other tech issues.

You sit on the chair and you put the microphone and all the material on the cabinet (I guess a table can do too, but I’m a cabinet guy).

Once you’re done recording, Anchor let you bring the podcast to listeners.

What does it look like IRL?

“But Arnaud, your setup on the video is different than what you describe in  the article! How dare you?”

First of, #yolo.
Then thank you for pointing that out.

I use an audio interface in addition to the microphone I describe because I’m a music producer and I need it for other use.

If I was just doing podcast (and voice over work), I’d use a blue yeti, which actually combine the microphone with the audio interface.

I control one pc from another one for logistic reasons. If I could do otherwise I would but I miss the square meters.

The message is : don’t wait for the Illusory Ideal Setup® to be complete to do your podcast. Do it now with whatever material you can.

Improve later.

Explanation on the above elements

a quiet place

It doesn’t need to be absolutely silent, but the less noise around you, the less you’ll have to work on the podcast edit.
I managed to record several episodes with a 1.5 yo in the flat, timing it with night or nap time.

microphone orientation can make up for not-ideal conditions

The only free space in my flat was in the entrance. To avoid picking up the sounds of the people entering and leaving the building, I orientate the microphone away from the door and I record close to the mic (which adds bass to my voice as an added-bonus).

a good internet connection

You’re probably going to change your internet provider for recording a podcast (and if you do, chapeau bas!) but there are a few things you can do to improve it.

  • close all the other programs on the computer you use (especially torrent, antivirus, sync software)
  • close all the other tabs in the browser you’re using
  • put all the other devices you can on airplane mode
  • ask people who live with you to do the same (or record when they’re not at home or asleep)

a chair

pick something comfortable that doesn’t make too much sound when you move.
But again, don’t spend days finding the perfect chair, start your podcast already 🙂

Firefox

Zencastr requires you to use Firefox or Chrome.
I chose Ff for ethical reasons but was surprised at how efficient it was.
Whichever you choose be sure to keep it up-to-date before each episode recording.

ZenCastr

I looked around for remote-recording solution and this is the best I found.
It’s not perfect (#audiodrift) but it does the job and the free tier lets you do a lot.

I tried Anchor (which I recommend to distribute) for recording but had a very bad experience with their ‘record with friends’ feature, so I don’t recommend it. (it might change in the future)

a microphone

If you plan on doing some music as well, consider buying a cardioid microphone AND an audio interface (also called external sound card).

If you just want to do podcast & voice over, buy a usb microphone like the Blue Yeti.
I use a pop filter because I had one already but it’s not a necessity.

recording without microphone?

To compare the sound quality of an usb microphone and a basic laptop microphone, listen to ep2 vs ep3: David uses an equivalent to the Yeti and Alca uses the default laptop mic.

You’ll here that the default mic sounds ok (so again, start your podcast with what you have!!! ). You’ll also hear that the usb mic brings a much clearer sound.

a cabinet

I like the cabinet because I can setup the mic to just the right height for me. Also putting the mic in a drawer full of scarves help absorb some of the reverb.

cabinets are so cool.

a pair of headphones

The key aspect of headphones you’re looking at here, is their ability to prevent the sound you hear to go into the microphone.
This gives you a cleaner signal to edit later.

an audio editing software (like ableton, reaper or audacity)

the audio editing software lets you:

  • add music at the beginning & end of your podcast (but you can also do it in Anchor)
  • correct the audio drift
  • correct the audio imbalance (if one of the participant is louder or more quiet than the other)
  • clean the signal (remove the uh uh)
  • edit some parts out. This is important because your guest should be confident that he/she won’t be misrepresented. So you need to have the option to remove a part of the conversation if the guest asks.

Anchor

Not great to record through mobile.
Very nice to distribute the podcast.
No limit of time, of upload.
Free.
You can distribute to iTunes, Spotify and more

It seems too good to be true.

I uploaded the first episode on soundcloud. It’s ok but it eats the time limit of the free tier pretty quickly.
I guess if you have a premium account that can be solution too.

Start your podcast already!

The bottom line is that you gotta start it asap and improve the production value with time.

One technique I’m using is that I upload the first six episodes of the PeaCreaPod only on PeacefulCreativity.com

It gives me time to then come back to them, edit, add music, add intro etc. without pressure.

By the 7th episode when I finally start getting on iTunes etc. I had time to gain experience and improve the production value to a satisfactory level.

Guys, I hope this was of some help. As usual I’m interested in your comments and even more in listening to your podcast!

Peace!

Arnaud

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