The Studio is Live

After tons of research, contemplation, internal fights over whether I was crazy or not and lots of consultation with my “production engineerCody I finally made my podcasting studio decisions. Even more, I acted on them.

Doctor Who Podcast Studio

That’s the studio as it is today, Tardis and all. In fact, when I posted an earlier version of this image on Facebook, almost the only thing people could focus on was my giant Tardis in the background. No joke I had half a dozen people ask me if I had an actual Tardis in my apartment. Of course the answer was yes. Yes, I have a real Tardis in my apartment.

To be honest, I’m just happy that I have so many awesomely nerdy friends who knew what a Tardis is. Whovians unite!

I wrote in a previous post about the items I was purchasing to build out my studio. What you see above is a little different due to some hiccups in the process and some lessons learned.

But it’s better than the original studio and still under budget! The big differences?

  • Added a Audio-Technica AT-2035 condenser mic as my main mic
  • As a result I have an extra Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB as mic #4
  • Added a call-in system that allows iPhone/iPad FaceTime/Skype calls
  • Built a custom microphone stand mount for the scissor arm mic stands

I have to give major thanks to Cody (@codyrodriguez on Twitter) for all his help troubleshooting issues encountered along the way and for providing me with the confidence that I was making the right decisions as I chose components. In the end all my major decisions were spot on. Thank goodness.

Had my budget allowed for some splurges the first thing I would have done is upgrade the scissor arm stands. These guys are great and do the job, don’t get me wrong. Problem is their springs are loud and unless your careful, adjusting their position during a show can get noisy. But they were around $85 cheaper than the RODE or Heil stands.

I’ll share the really cool way I’m pulling in calls from an iPhone/iPad. It’s so dead simple once it’s been done but it took some careful consideration. This will be a post of its own maybe tomorrow. I do want to share with you though that if you go about building your studio to allow guests to call in, do yourself a favor and prioritize FaceTime/Skype calls over cellphone calls. The sound quality difference is dramatic.

So the next steps is choosing a podcasting host. I’m currently debating Libsyn vs Blubrry though I’m leaning towards the prior. I’m also interested in a service called Auphonic. Never heard of it? Me either until a few days ago. Here’s what they say they do:

  • We analyze your audio and do whatever is necessary to achieve a professional quality
  • Intelligent leveler: balances levels between speakers, music and speech – no compressor knowledge required
  • Loudness normalization to new broadcast standards: EBU R128, ATSC A/85, true peak limiter and more
  • Audio restoration: automatic noise and hum reduction, filtering of disturbing low frequencies
  • Optimal encoding and metadata management: MP3, Opus, AAC/MP4, Ogg Vorbis, ALAC, FLAC, etc.
  • Chapter marks (titles, URLs, images) for MP4, ID3 (MP3) and Vorbis Comment
  • Support for video input and output
  • Automatic content deployment via Dropbox, FTP, SFTP, HTTP, Google Drive, WebDAV, Amazon S3, YouTube, SoundCloud, Libsyn, Blubrry and Archive.org
  • Complete Web API to integrate the Auphonic web service into your workflows and apps
  • Auphonic leveler batch processor to compute our algorithms offline on Mac and Windows desktops
  • iPhone and Android apps with on-board recorder

I’m not sure I will actually need their services since my production quality is already so high but it’s an interesting and affordable solution for those who might have issues. I’ve been really pleased with the sound quality I’m able to pull from my setup. It sounds every bit as good as any other podcast I’ve heard. Perhaps with the exception of RadioLab. Their production quality is off the charts. Blows my mind each and every episode.

I’m already thinking about how I may incorporate video to my podcasting studio… I might be crazy… In the meantime I’ll be working to figure out how my show(s) will work. Between hosting, naming, theming, scheduling, etc etc. So many people have come out of the woodwork wanting to join me on this venture. It makes it even that much more exciting!

Thanks for tagging along in this journey. I’ll do my best to make it worth your while.

8 thoughts on “The Studio is Live

  1. Thanks for the equipment buying guides. Although I’ll probably never set up a podcast studio, I’m a huge podcast listener/fan, and I’ve learned a lot from your posts. I’ve noticed that lots of podcasts will occasionally devolve in to a discussion of podcasting itself (podcasts about podcasts). At least now, after reading your guides, I can follow with the discussions a bit better.

    The studio looks fantastic (Tardis and all!), except for one vitally important detail: the chairs! You’ve gotta get some Herman Miller action going there :).

    Looking forward to subscribing to your show(s). Judging from your blog, it’s obvious you’ll be great.

  2. iTod haha thanks so much for your comment! I’d love nicer chairs but my studio is also the guest bedroom so space is a little tight! Next place will have a dedicated room for this sort of stuff for sure.

    Glad you found the process of choosing the equipment helpful and interesting. I didn’t realize a lot of what would  be needed behind the scenes until I helped build a $150k internet broadcast studio. That is what got me wanting to have one of my own! 

    I came back from the LA Podcast Festival this weekend wanting to go big with this. Rent a commercial space to turn into a local podcast production site for other San Diegans. If I ever go down this road you can be sure that I’ll report on it here.

    I’m also excited about the review opportunities each of these purchases will provide me. Just gotta get down and start doing them! I’ve been so pleasantly surprised at the quality, and have made a few changes already.

  3. I would love to hear/read about your call-in setup. I looked around the site for the continued details, but couldn’t find it.

  4. I would love to hear/read about your call-in setup. I looked around the site for the continued details, but couldn’t find it.

  5. Christian Lee the call-in setup is actually quite simple. I use a headset jack adapter to split the headphone jack on my iPhone/iPad/MacBook Pro into mic in and headphone out. Then those are routed into the mixer through a 1/8 mono to 1/4 mono adapter cable. The setup will differ for each mixing board and how many inputs you’re using but it works flawlessly for me. I can have four mics in studio and two people calling in. 

    One thing worth noting… True phone calls over cellular sound horrible. If you can get someone to Skype or FaceTime audio in, you’ll have DRAMATICALLY better sound quality.

  6. Hi, I see you have a mixer for your podcast, we are setting up our own where I work, how exactly does it work??

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