Booth in a Box
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 12:31 AM
So, I get asked all the time, "how do you get your sound so clean?” "You must have all this expensive studio set up.” "I can’t afford to do that." Well I can tell you it’s much easier than you think. And you can start where you are and grow into it. You don’t have to wait until you have all the most expensive stuff. If you have a voice and you have something to say, say it. With that said, here’s how I got going.
Some years ago, I had a friend who ran a company that created fully produced script reads for Screenwriters to add an easy companion to their pitch packages, complete with actors and music. I’d done a few voiceover jobs for them, and the best advice I got from him was if you can’t afford to soundproof a room, just sound proof your mic! Epiphany! I built a mini sound booth around my microphone and it sounds nearly as good as the professional sound I record in studio sessions, right on my desk.
I bought a solid middle of the road microphone, The Snowball Blue USB Mic, and I also invested in a Pop-filter. This filter is crucial to getting that clean studio sound as it minimizes the vocal pops and hisses that can spike your audio.
Then I got a plastic storage container that was not too big, just a couple inches bigger than the microphone. And eventually this collapsable fabric bin to save space.
You line the box with Soundproofing acoustic tiles, you can get a pack of dozen 12x12inch tiles for around $20. For this set up you only need 4 or 5 tiles, but I wanted to have extra on hand in case I need to build another one, or I want to put some on a back wall.
Put your mic in the box and the filter in front and viola sound proof booth in a box! (I removed the filter so you can see how the mic fits in the box. I then mounted the filter to the desk in front of the whole contraption)
Since I was also creating the graphics video version of each episode. I recorded my audio directly into Final Cut Pro X. But I have also used Garage band which is free for Mac users, and another really great program that I’ve used at the Don LaFontaine Voice Over Lab is Twisted Wave. It’s reasonably priced with a super easy interface. It is a Mac based program, but they do also offer a subscription web-based service for PC users. It’s the easiest audio interface I’ve dealt with. Just hit record and go.
Now you got your MP3’s, you can upload your content for free on YouTube, of course, but for podcasting you want to have an RSS feed available for podcasting apps, so your listeners can find and listen to your show on their smartphones. You have to have your content hosted somewhere. I know it is possible to host your own, but after a while, after you do a ton of episodes it gets to be a lot to handle for the less technically savvy, like us. We use an external host. Just like using a service like Godaddy to host our websites, we have a hosting plan at HipCast.com for our Podcasting files. Its monthly rate was doable, and we can host as many podcasts as we want. Right now, we have two shows, and are working on a third (Coming Soon!) All I have to do is upload my audio file, descriptions, images and through our Hip Cast account the RSS feed is sent out to iTunes, Stitcher, Tune In Radio and several other podcast networks, it provides analytics on how many downloads and streams you have for each episode. And I can put the feed directly onto the Good Morning Antioch Website, for people who like to listen from their computers.
**UPDATE* So there is a new podcasting platform out there called Anchor.fm, It’s free to set up and produce your show. I personally don’t use it yet, but I have several friends who have successfully launched shows using Anchor and they love it. Your show will publish on all the major listening platforms and even have revenue generating ads from day one. It’s been a pain trying to move my already running shows, but I will probably use anchor if I produce something new.
The biggest advice I can give is consistency is key. You have to put out content on a fairly regular schedule, to keep your listeners interested. I know that is easier said than done, but with how easy and affordable it’s become to create your own content, the barriers are falling away.