Spending some time with podcasting and recording

So, I did a thing. I’ve been posting all over social media about my little recording setup and starting a whole bunch of new projects. So, what exactly does it all mean? Well, to break it down, I’ve been toying with the idea of recording for almost two years now. Recording what? Audio and video that directly feeds into my computer. Not to be confused with location video or sound.

To elaborate, I decided to start my own podcast. While it is still in the process of taking identity, I’ve always wanted the experience of doing a podcast.

Previously, I have worked to produce another podcast, which was pitched to me from a friend and colleague. While he did the talking with his co-host, I was behind the scenes, monitoring the audio being recorded and the equipment that was being used.

It was a pretty basic setup. Let’s start with the hardware. I purchased two USB microphones that were designed for audio recording from a desk setup. I believed that this would be a simple process. Of course, I was wrong. These mics were not designed for simultaneous multitrack recording. At that point, I had to do my research to understand the components of multitrack recording.

I concluded that I needed a mixer that could distinguish and separate the mics that we were recording on. It turns out that USB mics can’t be easily integrated with such a setup. I went the cheap route and I was paying for it. Go figure.

So, I had to create a workaround where my computer’s sound hardware could separate the lines going directly to the computer’s board. It was crude. Very crude. And certain reverb issues would arise in this setup. At certain times, the issues would get so bad that I would have to stop the podcast recording to correct them.

Each host had their designated USB microphone. I would record audio through a multitrack session created in Adobe Audition. Alternatively, I used Audacity for simpler recording sessions. They both work just fine for what I needed to accomplish.

As I mentioned, I had to go into the properties to manually assign instructions to each of the two microphones so that Audition could detect each mic separately to record on their designated track. I don’t quite remember the process, but there are instructions that I found on Google. Good ol’ Google.

After a handful of episodes, I had to take the back seat with this initial podcast. The hosts chose to record their own episodes with their own equipment while I focused on more pressing matters at the time. I swore I would return to active podcasting… but then life happened. As it always does.

Besides the podcast, I tested some video capturing via software that I found online, overlaying those captures with audio that I would record on the microphone. I never published any of my tests, but I was able to confirm that it was possible with my setup.

I was capturing mainly video games via unique screen capture programs and recording my audio commentary in either Audition or Audacity. I wanted to attempt a “Let’s Play” series, figuring out how to put my own spin on it as I went along. None of those old videos every surfaced and I ended up having to shelve the project and put the idea on the back-burner. Again, life happened.

It was around this time that I decided to revisit some of these old concepts and interests. I recently had the chance to record the first episode of my new podcast, Decipher the Media. While it is still a work in progress, I’m taking what I know from previous experiences to improve on my knowledge of recording.

The first episode had a lot of help from Brandon Keenan (a guest on the episode) and KVT Productions, improving the production value beyond my expectations. The setup we used would be ideal for recording and broadcasting sessions. While I plan to get there in quality, I want to focus on building the foundation of recording.

The first thing I did was remove the USB mics entirely from my setup. They were
causing too many issues with recording and were over-complicating multitrack sessions. Instead, I re-purposed some older location sound gear for my recording needs.

I learned that my Zoom H4n has the ability to split audio lines, which can then be fed into the computer on separate tracks. The H4n supports two tracks, which is just shy of what I need for podcasting. I’m hoping to have at least two guests on the podcast at all times, meaning I’ll eventually need a mixer that can support simultaneous recording of three mics.

For now, I plan to rely on recording sound for an entire room until I can purchase a mixer with more mic inputs than I currently have. I’ll do some tests to see how it comes out in an enclosed setting.

Which brings me to the next part. Given that my current living situation has a lot of extra space, I decided to put some of it to good use. Located on the second floor, I cleared out a small room that was once my office. I grew to despise using that room as my office, so I moved it. Why? I really don’t have a good answer, but the space did give me an idea.

I’ve always wanted to convert a room like this into a small “recording studio”. While resources (and space) were always limited in the past, I figured that timing and space provided me with the opportunity to give this little project a shot.

First, I had to clean all of the extra junk and furniture out of the room. With the wood paneling, sound was definitely going to be an issue. To combat this, I’ll need get some sound
proofing tarps or foam to cover sections of the wall, minimizing any reverb for audio recording.

For furniture, I was just thinking of a simple setup. I would place a small workstation at one corner of the room. Following that, I could also have a table and chairs set up specifically for my podcasting needs.

I’ve also considered turning the room into a very small film/photography studio. Granted, this would be very difficult given the dimensions, but it would be perfect for certain smaller projects. I’ll be posting some updates once the room is complete. There will also be some podcast updates coming to Cipher Eye Media very soon, if you guys are interested.

Until next time!

Cheers,
Steven

Author: Steven E. Croner

Hey, everyone. How are you? I’m doing pretty well. My name is Steven. I’ve been living in Pittsburgh for a few years now. What sort of projects have I been working on, you ask? Well, I’ve assisted with several indie film productions in that time, mostly directly behind the camera or working with camera operations. It has been pretty fun. I’ve also been working on several other projects individually. This website is a collection of those projects that I do on in my spare time. Please click on the links above to learn about some of the work that I do in digital media and writing. I hope you enjoy my collection, which is a combination of old, archived work and new content I am compelled to share with you. Please feel free to interact, engage, and help me make some friends and colleagues in the creative media communities!

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