creating the podcast
The team at The Dice Pool Podcast often get asked what equipment do we use on the show, mostly by people who are keen to become podcasters themselves. Realistically, you don't need to go to the extent that we have to make your podcast sound great. In fact you can produce a podcast very cheaply using free software. Unfortunately, software is only half the solution.
The two things that will make the world of difference to your production is broken up into two categories: equipment and sound engineering. Sound gear, specifically microphones, stands, pop-filters, and mixers is what we mean when we speak about equipment. The sound engineering, however, consists of the software you use and your ability to edit your podcast. That final point comes with nothing but practice an perseverance. Take the time to familiarise yourself with any software you use. There will need to be some trial and error.
But you're here to talk about how we do things, so lets go through the basics of where we record, how we record, and what recording equipment we use.
Where and How DO YOU Record?
The physical area that you record in is vitally important. A closed room with as few background noises as possible is best, sound proofing in the form of professional sound dampening foam or even just carpeted or blanket covered walls is even better. Flat surfaces, such as concrete and plaster walls. In our Australian studio - its actually just a spare bedroom in GM Hooly's house - GMs Hooly, Huzz, and Flano get together live to record. The simple rules are that empty space echoes, and flat surfaces cause bouncing.
Each host has their own microphone, and we have an additional microphone position that we use when a guest host, like when GM Mick pops in for a visit. In our San Diego studio, GM Kaitlin has the same microphone and a small mixer. She then calls Australia via Skype and we record her track via our Australian Studio laptop.
Each host is recorded on a separate track which allows us to adjust the volume should it be required, or remove a creaking chair or breathing the sensitive microphone’s pick up. GM Kaitlin sometime records her own track which is then synchronised to the track recorded via Skype. Unfortunately, we we have multiple guests, we do have to record on the same track as Kaitlin, but we are looking at ways of preventing that.
What Gear/software Do YOU Use?
Each of us, including GM Kaitlin, use a Audo-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone with Large Cylindrical Foam Windscreen Pop Filter, along with a Rode PSA1 Studio Boom Arm. We use good quality cables to connect each microphone to the in-studio mixer, a PreSonus StudioLive AR12 USB Mixer. It allows us to cover up to 14 channels, but we have never used more than 6 (Live Play Episodes). GM Kaitlin does have a PreSonus StudioLive AR8 USB Mixer which is a smaller mixer.
The software we use to record the podcast was provided at the time of purchase, specifically PreSonus Capture which is great for recording the tracks, but not good for mixing the track levels and manipulating the sound quality.
In our final step before production ends, and we release our episodes into the wild, we edit our recordings using a two tier approach. First GM Hooly edits the podcast in Adobe Audition with the files recorded in Capture. Once complete, we then send the full production through Auphonic. These final touches allow us to insert chapters and clear up any audio artefacts that we may have missed during post production.