Case Study: My Podcast Setup

In the last episode, we looked at everything you need to get up and running with your podcast. In this episode, we’re going to look at a case study: my own podcasting setup. Listen to the episode.

Show Notes

Transcript

Hey everybody and welcome to Creator Toolkit, the podcast about building stuff on the web. I’m Joe Casabona and today we’re going to talk about my podcast setup. Now it’s gone through several changes over the last few years, but we’re going to cover 2 iterations: the first one, and the most recent one. Let’s get started!

My First Podcast Setup

When I first started podcasting in earnest, it was a pretty simple operations. My “first first” podcasting mic was the Samson Meteor USB Mic. It was very affordable and served me well for my short-lived TIL podcast. But when I started How I Built It, I upgraded to the Blue Yeti. I loved that mic and it was great – especially after I learned how to use the controls on the back of it.

As far as hardware goes, that’s basically it. I eventually got a pop filter and a boom arm, like I talked about in the last episode. But for the most part, it was just me and my Yeti.

Recording

Now, when it came to recording, I was using 2 pieces of software:

  • Skype + eCamm Recorder for recording the interviews
  • GarageBand for editing

When I first started, I was editing myself, though I’ve since hired an editor. I’d record the whole interview through eCamm Recorder, and ask my guest to record their side of the audio locally. Then I’d get both tracks and combine them to do the editing in GarageBand.

Publishing

I still use the same tools for publish today as I did when I started:

  • Libsyn for audio hosting
  • WordPress for my website

The only big change was in hosting. I was on SiteGround, which I was very happy with, but it was shared hosting. When the show grew to a certain size, the site was crashing the server. So I moved it to Liquid Web, around the same time them because a sponsor.

That’s really it for my first setup. Now let’s look at today’s

My Current Podcasting Setup

Like I said earlier, in recent years my podcast setup has gone through regular transformations – new mic here, new interface there. In 2018, it got the most complicated, with a long list of equipment to get things just right.

I’ve since simplified quite a bit, which has made my voice sound more natural, and reduce the possibility of white noise from other gear or long XLR cables.

My mic is the Shure SM7B, which I’ve wanted ever since I heard about it. I thought I could get away with the cheaper Rode Procaster, but in the end, the SM7B is better for my voice – it sounds more natural, less muddy (or muffled/deep).

That goes into a Cloudlifter CL-1. See the SM7B is a power hungry monster. Because of that, it needs extra gain (or power) to get good volume from the mic. Even with my interface (which I’ll talk about next), it could still use some clean, extra power. The Cloudlifter provides that.

The last link in the chain before my computer is the UA Arrow, an incredibly powerful preamp, equalizer, and interface. To be honest, at the time of this recording, I just got it, and I’m still learning the ropes. But I love it because it reduced my setup from 4 machines, many plugs, and many cables, to a single device with 1 Thunderbolt cable, and 1 XLR cable.

It also emulates in software dozens of real-life machines through UAD Plugins. So I can pick any setup I can imagine to make my voice sound exactly the way I want. SO far I love it – I’ve got it dialed in the way I’d like for now, but that may change in the future. (It also helps that my friend Shawn helped me set it up).

Next Steps

Honestly, I’m not sure what my next step in hardware would be. I’m very happy with what I have, and can’t imagine changing it any time soon.

The only changes I might make are buying this preamp UAD plugin I’m trying out, as well as one with a noise gate. I’m also working on my mic technique!

Recoding

My recording setup today is virtually the same. I’m back on a Mac (after a short stint with a PC as my production machine), so I’m using Garageband to record and edit these episodes.

For How I Built It, I’m using Zoom to record the calls, Quicktime to record my audio, and grabbing the local audio from my guest. The only major difference is I’ve hired an editor, and he’s fantastic.

Build Up Slowly

The beauty of this is twofold:

  1. You do not need my setup to sound good. I just happen to be obsessive about it.
  2. You can build up to this slowly.

I went from the Yeti, to a cheap XLR and Focusrite Scarlett Solo, to an Apogee Duet and Expensive Preamp, to the Arrow. If you want to get an XLR, you can spend $200 and get a great setup.

Besides, room acoustics and mic technique will help just as much as hardware. But perhaps that’s for a different episode.

For all of the show notes, head over to creatortoolkit.com/111/. If you liked this episode, please share it!

My question for you is: What’s your recording setup (or if you’re just getting started, what’s your next purchase). Let me know: joe@casabona.org or on Twitter @jcasabona.

Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, get out there and build something.

Originally published on Creator Toolkit

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