Using the Podcasting Studio

This is a guide for using CEU's podcasting studio. Available as both a .pdf and webpage

how_to_use_the_podcasting_studio.pdf

Turn everything on

Computer: turn on the computer and use your CEU details to log in.

Open Audacity: the icon is on the Desktop

Behringer Mixer : turn the ‘POWER ON’ switch NOT the Phantom Power

ZOOM H5 digital recorder: pull the button down and hold it a second or so.

Once it turns on there is a screen relating to the USB interface. You don’t need it. Please press the menu button on the right hand side of the recorder to exit this screen.

MIXER SETUP

  • The two Rode Procasters are left permanently plugged into the mixer, on line 1 and 2.

  • Additional mics can be added to channels 3 and 4 with XRL inputs and the remaining channels with 1/4" inputs.

  • Channel 5/6 is reserved for the computer input. This is useful if you are going to use Skype or another VOIP

  • Channel 7/8 is reserved for additional sounds/music input. This might be useful if you want to play your guests music or sound effects during the podcast making, otherwise we would recommend adding in music/effects during the editing.

MIXER SETUP for SKYPE

Some additional requirements for making a Skype recording in the studio:

  • Make sure your mic and your guest(s)’ mics are plugged in, check mic volumes, and make sure the “Main” buttons are pushed on ALL the channels you are using.

  • On channel 5/6 the sound from Skype will come in, so you will be able to hear your guest. If the call is very quiet push the ‘level’ button for a boost.

  • On channel 7/8 you can plug in any device where you have “sounds” stored (phone, laptop etc). You will use this if you want to play music, sounds etc to your guests (including Skype). Adjust the volume accordingly.

  • The AUX 1 controls (dark red buttons) are allowing the sound to go in and out of the mixer, so you can control what your Skype guest hears. You want them to hear you, your studio guests and the “extra sound”, so the AUX controls are opened on channel 1, 2 and 7/8. They are OFF on channel 5/6 because you do not want them to hear themselves.

Checklist when using the mixer

  1. Make sure that for each channel that you are using you have pushed the ‘main’ button down (this means it will be going into the main mix)

  2. Check the buttons you won’t be touching
    The mute button should be off
    The equalisation and pan knobs should be at at 12 o’clock (straight down the middle)
    The effect and aux knobs should be all the way to the left
    The compressor should be at about 3 o’clock

Check and adjust your levels

  1. Use your ears to check whether everyone sounds the same level

  2. Use your eyes to check volume unit (VU) meter in 3 places
    i) the mixer
    ii) the digital recorder (ideally voices should be generally hitting around -6)
    iii) Audacity

  3. If people are at different levels adjust the channels accordingly. You can adjust 2 things
    i) gain (this ‘amplifies’ the sound coming into the mixer)
    ii) volume (this increases the level going out)

You might want to think of gain as ‘sensibility’. Once a recording has started you will probably not want to change it, whereas you might with volume. We usually leave gain set to about ¾ and we would suggest you leave it there most of the time.

Important - if you increase the volume or the gain too much then you will increase the noise floor so much then you will get a horrible hiss on your recording.

iii) you can also change the recording volume level on the digital recorder and Audacity. For the digital recorder we usually leave it set just a little below 3. This works well for most voice recordings.

Start recording

  1. Press the record button in Audacity

  2. Press the record button on the digital recorder

Important - we record on both in case one crashes. We think that the digital recorder sounds better than the computer so use that one for editing unless there is an issue.

Finish recording

  1. Press the stop button on Audacity and save (not export) the file.

  2. Press the stop button on the digital recorder (it is saved automatically).

Listen back to your recording

  1. To listen back to the recording from the computer either input the computer sound by putting channel 5/6 into the main mix (press the Main button) or plug the headphones into the computer. Make sure you plug the cable that was already there back in once you’re finished.

  2. Plug your headphones into the digital recorder

Export/Transfer

  1. Export the Audio from Audacity as a wav file (check our guide if you don’t know how to do this).

  2. Press Menu on the right side of the recorder, scroll down to USB and select this, then choose the option ‘SD card reader’. The device will then appear on the computer as an SD card called ‘H5’. Open it and go to Stereo : Folder 1. Your file is there, copy it as you would any other file.

Recording tips

  1. Position yourself and your guests comfortably for using the mics

  2. Have people sit so they can breath and see you in the eye

  3. Position the mics by moving the stands (don’t touch the mics). The stands can swing and also be bent up and down. If you are using the Rode Procasters, the sound is best if you get in really tight to the mic (no further away that 5 cm).