PSA – How We Record and Release Our Podcast

We get questioned a lot about what software etc that we use to record and release the podcast, so here you go:

Hardware:
Mac Pro w/ Dual 4x Core Intel Nehelem Procs
32Gb RAM
OS X
(I also can record on my Macbook Pro, same software and recording hardware if I do)

Recording Hardware:
Shure SM58 Dynamic Micophone
Sony Studio Headset
M-Audio Firewire “Firewire 410” interface

Software:
# Ubercaster (http://www.pleasantsoftware.com/ubercaster/)
– Allows me to have sound files queued for use live. Also will record the Skype conversation. Has editing functionality as well, and also allows for mutiple discrete inputs which is great if you have any USB devices. It has tons of tools and compressor options as well. Unfortunately, it looks like you can’t purchase it right now. Also, it’s only available for Mac.

# Josh uses Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) to record, and also, I edited the podcast for the first Year and a half in Audacity, and it’s completely FREE! It’s not “pretty” but it’s very capable if you have patience. Audactity is WAY better on PC than Mac by the way. Also, he uses a mic/headset to record with very nice results.

# Output from Audacity uncompressed (.wav for Windows, .aiff for Mac) then use PRX Tools (http://www.prx.org/tools-and-resources/prx-tools) to convert the file to .mp2 format (uncompressed .mp3) This reduces the file size to about 1/10th of the original, and it’s completely lossless. Then I use Audacity to export the .mp2 to an .aiff file.

# I take the .aiff file into Ubercaster and create a new track for it. I then line it up visually with the Skype track so that the conversation is timed correctly. Then I mute the Skype track, and output to a single Mono .aiff (you don’t need stereo for a podcast.)

# Then I take that .aiff and process it in Levelator (http://www.conversationsnetwork.org/levelator) It’s free, but I highly suggest donating if you use it. It levels all of your audio, and even applies audio compression. In other words, it’s badass!

# The output .aiff file then goes into Garageband, which comes free with any Mac, and that’s where I do my final editing. This is where I add the opening music, cut any gaps or alternate takes, add the break music, and add teh comedy clip. I export the .mp3 using Medium VBR at 56kb.

# I open the resulting .mp3 in iTunes. Right-click on the file and choose “Get Info” to edit the Details info. This is where I add teh episode details, synopsis, “lyrics”, and our logo image file that’s sized to iTunes specs.

# Then I upload the file to our podcast file host. Get the link etc.

# I use FeedForAll (http://www.feedforall.com/) to edit, validate, upload, and maintain our RSS Feed XML file. It costs a bit of cash, but is WELL worth it. Available for Windows and Mac

So what you see here is how WE do it, but there are many ways. It really all depends on what you’re most comfortable with. You may not use a Mac, and quite frankly, there’s no specific reason to do so, it’s just what I choose to use because of the software that I like. If it’s just two people in the same room, you could easily get away with a couple of microphones w/XLR mic cables and a Tascam personal recorder (like the Tascam DR-40 that I used at E3) to record the entire podcast. Also, from a quality standpoint, again, that’s all your preference. Make the podcast about what YOU want to talk about and not about what you think that people want to hear.

One last thing, if you’re thinking of starting a gaming podcast simply because you think that companies will send you free games, you might want to re-think your strategy. It took over a year before we got our first review copy, and when a company sends one to you, they expect a tangible review. They’ll stop sending anything, and stop answering your emails if nothing is ever posted.

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  • Great read Glenn I always wondered what you guys used and how you did it. Sounds like a lot of work goes into a quality pod cast! Thanks for your hard work every week to get us all our gaming information fixes!

  • Thx for the deets. I appreciate how well produced the cast is… I’m not constantly jockeying the volume, which is a very good thing. Quick question, why run Levelator before the final edit instead of after… Does it not play well with the differences between music and voice?

    • More of a workflow thing than anything else. Also, I apply a couple of filters/effects in Garageband, and running that audio through Levelator doesn’t sound as good to me.

  • fireponrome

    only 32 gigs of ram? 😉