podcast technology

For those of you who have listened to the crimsonian podcast since episode one, thank you. And not just thank you for taking time out of your day to listen, but for tolerating the lack of professional sound quality. When we started this endevor, it was just to have a creative outlet and to partake in the awesome world of podcasting. We really didn’t think anyone would listen, so we decided to wing it. I had absolutely no idea what technology was needed or how to make it possible, but as with most things in life, you just got to throw yourself in and figure it out.

Through the process of trial and error (and consultation with my husband, Taylor), I believe we have FINALLY reached our goal of sounding somewhat professional, without making a significant investment. Yay! But given the hassle, I thought I would share what worked for us, so you aspiring podcasters can learn from the error of my ways.

I started with just a MacBook Pro and a USB microphone I borrowed from Taylor’s company. One microphone, directly into the machine worked ok, but Laurie and I had to be pretty close and any movements would put one of us out of the range of good quality. So it was uncomfortable and didn’t sound professional. The bare minimum of being able to hear us was met, but it just wasn’t good enough. We needed another microphone.

We then learned that Mac’s wont recgonize two microphones…at least not when using Audacity or Adobe Audition. So we proceeded to buy 2 AUX microphones, XLR cables and an audio box. The thought was that the audio box would allow for two microphones to be recgonized as one by the machine. But this too failed. You could barely hear either microphone, and when troubleshooting we learned that we may have needed a power booster for our audio box. We went on to buy the USB power hub, but that rendered no improvements.

In this time, we had an unique opportunity to interview a good friend who was coming to town for a wedding. So with our shitty set up, we proceeded to interview them, which was a big mistake. The interview is so impactful, but the quality really takes away from the content. I could hit myself when I think about this…ugh technology.

Out of frustration, and after returning hundreds of dollars worth of equipment, I decided to go to Radio Shack (yes, they still exist somehow) and I bought the best USB microphone they carried, the Blue Yeti. I came home, hooked it and my borrowed USB mic up to the USB power hub and sure enough, it still didn’t freaking work. I was done, I hadn’t won any battles and the war was looking over. I was defeated, and quite honestly, over it.

Lucky for me, Taylor still had some fight in him. While I was out with a friend, he took it upon himself to solve the unsolvable. And with another small investment in Garage Band, he did it! Thank fucking God, cause I was seriously over the whole situation.

So Episode 3 will be the first episode with our new “professional” set up. We have 2 USB mics, hooked into a USB hub, which is then hooked into my MacBook Pro. Garage Band recgonizes both microphones and me and Laurie no longer have to huddle up close to provide our commentary and we sound much better. We still have a lot to learn about the world of podcasting, and we are working hard to figure it out and improve each episode, and can’t thank you enough for hanging in there with us!