By | October 25, 2007
Hey everybody, itâ€™s been a long time since Iâ€™ve done a regular show and I actually miss it! Weâ€™ve been for several weeks now, going through setting up a new domain and getting it ready for podcasting, and by the way, if you try to go to the site that I used in the demo, it no longer looks anything like what the demos have because Iâ€™m going to be doing something a little different with that site and after I got the training done, I went back in and redid the site with Joomla, itâ€™s a little more robust than WordPress, but itâ€™s a lot trickier to get setup, anyhow, the site is different now. This week Iâ€™m gonna get to a question that was posted kinda in the middle of that series about phone recording, and I didnâ€™t have much time to deal with it at that point but itâ€™s a great topic, so stay tuned and Iâ€™ll be right back.
Alright, Paul posted a comment about recording phone conversations, and again Paul, I apologize for this taking so long but I wanted to really deal with it and I didnâ€™t want to break up the domain setup so I had to wait until that was over. But Paulâ€™s question was â€œI used to do interviews over the telephone but now I am having a lot of trouble getting good quality. I am using a Toneport UX2, JK Audio Quick Tap and Cool Edit Pro 2.1. I only use the guest side of the interview and I have noticed that the line quality has been very poor. I am wondering if in the day of VOIP if it is practical to depend on the telephone for broadcast quality production.â€
One thing I want to mention here first is that more and more phone companies are trying to use voice over IP so that they can compete with companies like Vonage and that can give you some pretty bad phone quality, that doesnâ€™t have to do with the audio equipment, but just keep it in mind if you start hearing garbled audio.
As far as the audio equipment though, Paul is using a little box that you can pick up for $40 to $60 that you plug in between your telephone and handset. It gives you an 1/8â€ mono output that is a mix of both sides of the conversation. Now that is not the way I recommend you record because you can separate the voices and most of the time, youâ€™ll have people talking over top of one another and you wonâ€™t be able to do anything about it.
JK Audio does have some better options, but of course youâ€™re talking more money. The thing is though, and what Iâ€™m gonna be thinking about is the audio quality, especially of the host. For some reason, and I hear a lot of podcasts like this where they use a QuickTap or something and do the whole interview, but for some reason, it doesnâ€™t sound right if the host is on the phone too, and thatâ€™s essentially what you get with this type of setup.
Before I get into other options, I mentioned briefly in my reply to Paul that you can use Skype to do recording and a lot of times, it sounds absolutely great. Now sometimes, it sounds bad, sometimes you get dropped all together, but most of the time, you get a good quality recording. The best part is, you get to use the same mic that you do your podcasts with, so you, as the host, sound fine. If your guest sounds like theyâ€™re on the phone, thatâ€™s kinda normal, but it gets even better. If they have a PC and a decent mic, they can sound just like theyâ€™re in the studio with you and that, of course, is the preferred scenario. There are plugin applications you can get for Skype, but you really donâ€™t have to use them, Iâ€™ve setup Audition where one track is my mic, and another track is what comes over the speakers, which is the guest, and it records great, and Iâ€™ve got fantastic separation, especially if you use headphones during the conversation.
Now, that aside, JK Audio has a couple of great upgrades from a QuickTap thatâ€™ll let you have that â€˜radio station talk-show qualityâ€™ audio. One is the Inline Patch Telephone Hybrid. It gives you the separation of voices, and you can even mix sound bytes in for the caller to hear. Thatâ€™s gonna set you back about $230, but itâ€™s a good step up just for the fact that it gives you separation. It doesnâ€™t let you use your mic though, you still have to use the phone, so what I would do is use the phone, but still talk into your mic and record everything. That way, you can scrape your telephone version of your voice, and use the mic version, together with the telephone version of the caller, itâ€™ll sound totally studio.
The other option, which is even more of an upgrade, and yes, much more expensive, is the Digital Telephone Hybrid, this is called the InnKeeper. It gives you an XLR input for your mic, and an XLR output for your callerâ€™s audio. You also get a couple of other input and output options so thereâ€™s a lot more flexibility as far as how you get your audio into the call, and how you get it out.
The InnKeeper ainâ€™t cheap though, youâ€™re probably gonna spend about $460 for it, but if audio quality is tops on your list, thatâ€™s the way to go, believe it or not, if youâ€™ve ever been in a radio station, theyâ€™ve got even more expensive equipment costing thousands of dollars, just for working with the telephone.
OK, so that is it for phones, letâ€™s take a break and weâ€™ll be right back.
Welcome back everyone, Iâ€™ve just got some news that I want to talk about that I found on ITWeb that basically has Glen Verran saying that podcasting is pretty much for amateurs and isnâ€™t profitable from a financial perspective. Glen hosted Podcamp and Iâ€™m a little disappointed that this would be his take on where podcasting is going but let me just start by hitting some of the highlights of the article.
Glenn and his wife host the ZAShow which is not listed in iTunes and I find that pretty interesting but I had a listen to the show and besides an extremely long introduction, the show sounds pretty good from a quality stand point.
I guess his biggest point about making money with a podcast is that once you bring finances onto the table, like with advertisers or sponsors, then youâ€™re bound to producing content on a regular basis, and with his show being self-produced, they can put out content whenever they feel like it. He does pretty good though, it looks like from what I saw they post about once a week, but I think the point here is being missed and that is that thereâ€™s a big difference between someone who is podcasting for fun, and somebody who is podcasting for profit, whether that is an individual or a company.
And I think that you have to realize that some people, and some companies, are using podcasting very seriously as a way to reach others and itâ€™s working, the thing is, for it to be used effectively, you have to do it on a higher level than just having somebody plug a mic into a computer and talk about last monthâ€™s company picnic, I mean youâ€™ve got to put more into it than that.
One thing that was said in the article, by Dave Duarte, was that itâ€™s getting a lot tougher to grab the attention of an audience, and that I would say is very true today. There is so much out there on the Net, so many podcasts, people just have this blank look on their faces and believe me, it is tough to get to the top of the pack. You canâ€™t just have a great podcast, youâ€™ve got to use tactics for getting traffic, youâ€™ve got to get yourself in front of the audience, and THEN hit them with a great show. Theyâ€™re not gonna keep coming back week after week and month after month, if your content isnâ€™t fresh and if that content doesnâ€™t give them something.
Thereâ€™s a lot of podcasts out there though that do this very thing and they do it very well. The key is to find your niche market, find something that really provokes people and draws them, then provide that content to them at a very high quality.
I hear the music, and that means this weekâ€™s show is over. Iâ€™m your host, Ken Walker, if youâ€™ve got anything youâ€™d like to hear on the show, a topic for us to discuss, or just a question, post a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, happy podcasting.