I am new to podcasting. I generally record in the same location, occasionally I will go to someone’s home. I have 2 condensers and 2 dynamic microphones. The room I record in is carpeted but I also have a hardwood room available if I decide to transition to that environment. I know this question has a lot of variable but would you use dynamic or condenser mics for podcasts? Which environment would be best to record in- carpeted or hardwood floor? Would you recommend and audio mixer or interface? I am looking to have good sound quality. My podcast is conversation based. I do not add in any drops, clips, or other audio/video content.
The acoustic environment shouldn’t have much affect on what microphone you use. In either case you generally want a directional mic so it mostly picks-up sound from the direction of your mouth while reducing noise from other directions.
A hardwood floor is usually not ideal for a studio, unless you are playing music and you want some reverberation… Even then small-room reverb usually doesn’t sound that good and you are often better-off with a dead studio and a reverb effect…
A temporary roll-up carpet or rug might be helpful.
Condensers tend to be more sensitive so they pick-up more background noise, but they also pick-up more signal so when you adjust the volume, you’re back to where you started.
Some interfaces don’t have enough gain for a dynamic mic.
Condensers also tend to emphasize the high frequencies, compared to a dynamic (or ribbon) ant that boosts the “T” and “S” sounds so it can help with clarity and intelligibility. (But you can also adjust that with EQ.)
Recording studios use condensers for almost everything, but there are a couple of dynamic mics that are super-popular for broadcast and podcast. I see a lot of SM7B mics (dynamic) in podcasts but I think most people use a Cloudlifter to boost the weak signal.
For a couple of microphones a USB mixer can double as both and there isn’t much cost difference. For more mics a mixer can also work but you may need someone to “work the mixer”. Most “little USB mixers” only put-out stereo to the USB port even if the mixer has multiple inputs you so can’t mix in post-production.
A mixer also allows for direct zero-latency monitoring (where the monitoring doesn’t go through the computer). Some interfaces have the same feature.
If you aren’t going to do a lot of post-production adjustment that will mostly depend on you and your guests keeping a relatively-constant signal level and a relatively-constant distance from the mic. In “pro” environment there would be an engineer watching and adjusting the levels but it still helps if the performers are skilled.
I see equipment suppliers including a CloudLifter as part of the package almost without asking. Too many customers came back later and said the microphone was too quiet.
There are some tricks with a CloudLifter. It takes phantom power from the mixer or interface to work, so if your mixer or interface doesn’t supply 48 volts, that’s the end of the Lifter and the SM7.
There is a YouTuber who has very well thought-out visuals and his presentation on-camera is excellent. However he sounds like he’s recording in his bathroom or his mum’s kitchen and I can’t watch it.
There was a presentation where some kids reproduced a news set. It was pitch-perfect with good lighting and colors. They were fine until one of them spoke. Kitchen/Bathroom sound.
How? How do you produce your work now? Are you happy with the results?
I don’t have the part numbers immediately to hand, but people make lavalier (chest) microphones with recorders in a little belt or hip-pack.
At the end of the session, you pull the sound tracks from each belt pack and mix your brains out. No cables, no computer problems, and if you do it right, almost no echoes or room reverb.
If you have the opportunity to record out of the house, your recording studio will fit in a brown paper bag.
If you have a quiet, echo (reverb)-free room, it doesn’t matter which microphone you have. I have produced some good quality tracks with my phone in my garage. The garage is messy and so has no echoes. Record after dark and there’s little or no traffic noise.
The original owners of this house had a kid that played drums, so one bedroom is soundproofed. I can crank out good sound tracks on my Zoom H1n, my iPhone, or my tiny Olympus sound (not voice) recorders.
If you wander through the forum postings, you find a lot of them have computer problems, not performer or microphone problems. Recording on the computer is not for the easily frightened.