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The Gear You Need to Create a Podcast

Lesson 3 of 10

Why Buy an Audio Recorder?

Ray Ortega

The Gear You Need to Create a Podcast

Ray Ortega

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Lesson Info

3. Why Buy an Audio Recorder?


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:07:56
3 Why Buy an Audio Recorder? Duration:06:11
4 When Would You Buy a Mixer? Duration:05:14
5 What's an Audio Interface? Duration:02:59
7 How to Monitor Your Audio Duration:03:52
8 Optional Accessories Duration:12:10
9 Putting It All Together Duration:06:27
10 Q&A Duration:11:42

Lesson Info

Why Buy an Audio Recorder?

That's a lot of options of stuff to talk into. We actually need to capture that sound or we need to route it somewhere, so audio recorders. Actually, you know what one of the most important pieces of gear is? Water. (audience laughs) Because if you hear my voice right now, there's a lot of stickiness going on, so I tried to build sipping water into my presentation as gear, but it is, and we'll talk about that more tomorrow. But audio recorders are my favorite way to record. This is, I've mentioned in the beginning how not everyone records on computers. I generally don't. We have this one which we'll see. This is a Zoom H6, we have different levels of this, which we'll see, but this thing is a beautiful little device and all of them in the line, and they capture the sound while being super portable, so I really enjoy going into audio recorder, but for several reasons. That thing has no fans. My computer, I sit in front of a giant iMac. What happens when you start recording? Fans go craz...

y. I also have a newer MacBook, has no fans, so there is options for that, but again, you're paying more at that point. Also I'm not tied to a computer. If I decide that I need to leave the house 'cause roommates showed up and they're loud, I can go out into my car, record in my car. It's not the best place, but actually it's pretty quiet and there's not a lot of reverb in there. It has a boxy sound, but maybe your significant other doesn't want all your gear out on the desk. Maybe your recording space is in your living space, easy to clean up and put away. Or maybe you go out in the field. Out in the field, that sounds way too technical. Maybe you leave your house to go to a conference, and you record podcasts, super easy to bring that along. And again, it's hardware versus software. You'll hear this all the time. I don't record on software 'cause it crashes. You can screw up a recording on a hardware recorder just as easy as software can crash. However, I've had software go bad on me more times than I've had hardware go bad on me. Most of the time hardware goes bad on you, it's user error. Software can be finicky. I had a hard drive come out and it just shut down my whole recording, and I, well, I didn't lose it for a very specific reason. I also had a hardware recorder recording at the same time, so you will hear me talk a lot about redundancy. I'm huge on having backup, so if you record long enough you will lose a recording but not if you have a way to back it up, and this, you don't need this big one for that. We'll get into smaller options for primary backup only. And the hardware controls, again, if you saw, these have dials on them, so the Zoom H6, what I just showed you, I can reach down and adjust my level very easily, so this sort of spans the level, different entry level from around, around a couple hundred to a few hundred dollars, and you'll notice all of these have, they have the XLR input, so that connection I talked about, the cable that locks in. There's two on the bottom of that H4n Pro. With this one I would say watch out, only because there is an H4n, not a Pro version, you do not want that one. I'll show an example of why. But this is entry level, it sounds great, but what are you getting as you move up the range here? You're getting more channels if you're in the Zoom H6. There's four, as opposed to two, but these are expandable, so the Zoom H5 in the middle, I think is probably the perfect one for a lot of people. I talk about that gain, these do a great job of powering these low power dynamic mics without introducing too much noise into your recording. But those capsules on the top, they come off, and so if you decide I need six, I can add two more, I can add two more to make this four. So that middle one, again, is sort of the Goldilocks solution. It works out really well if you want to do a recorder and a microphone. They're also multi-channel, which means every input that we plug into it records to its own track, which is very important for post-production, and we'll talk about it later. This I have on here, it's a newer item. I said that these USB microphones of this specific version were one of the cooler things to come out in podcasting in the last few years. This is my new favorite thing that's come out. It's a recorder but it's really pro level recording at a consumer price. Now it's double the Zoom H6, so this is not for most people, but I mean, if budget was sub-thousand, I would be, I would put you on this and an XLR mic of your choice, it's gonna power all of them. One of the things that makes it pro is it has more of that gain to give. It can power more of those professional microphones. Even the amplifier that comes out of the headphones is cleaner, which is important. If you're monitoring your audio and you hear a hissing sound, is it coming from my headphone, amplifier, or is that my microphone? It's important to know the difference, so sometimes that can be a challenge. Sometimes they'll, a lesser one will cheap out on the headphone amp. Actually I have a really expensive one that cheaped out on the headphone amp, but this one is great that way too. It has limiters, I almost call this one foolproof, so it's got a type of limiter. A lot of these have limiters in them, but they're digital, they can still be clipped. This has analog. This is made by a company that makes all like Hollywood recordings. Any time you see a sound person, they have that thing around their neck and they're doing this, it's usually into a sound device. This is their entry level into the consumer market, and again, you can, this has three channels in it, so three of those XLRs, and again, it's almost foolproof. Usually if you record too low, that's a problem. You're gonna have to bring it up, you're gonna get a lot of noise. If you record too loud, it clips. This sort of protects against both those things, and the best part about this is that it is a recorder and an interface, so those Zooms that I showed, the H6, the H5, you can plug your professional microphones into that and it'll actually go on your computer, but you have to choose do I want it to be the recorder or the interface? This one, it lets you interface to your computer, so say maybe you're recording someone on Skype and you record on here, so you've got the redundancy. So I have one on my host at work. She uses this, and she doesn't really want to deal with the tech, so it's not too difficult as well, so plugs it in, records on the recording, Skype software, records on here. I never have to worry about getting a track that I can actually use in post-production. So very cool device, not for everyone. But what you generally don't get in recorders, compared to a mixer, is an abundance of routing options.

Class Description

You can’t create a podcast if you don’t have the proper gear. But knowing what you need and figuring out the best equipment to buy isn’t always easy. Fortunately, Ray Ortega is here to show you the way.

Ray is not only a professional producer, he hosts his own shows, “The Podcasters’ Studio” and “Podcasters’ Roundtable,” which are dedicated to helping people start, improve, and profit from their own podcasts. Ray will guide you through the process of deciding what gear you need and how to set up your studio so you can create a high-quality podcast that people will want to listen to.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Set up your podcasting studio.
  • Purchase the right microphones, recorders, mixers, headphones, and more.
  • Use audio interfaces.
  • Record on a computer and record guests remotely.
  • Figure out what accessories and outboard gear you need.


Colin Keil

Thanks Ray, Great gig, simple and very informative a very good place to start, for someone like me who is considering adding Podcasting and looking for a place to start..

Ara Fitzgerald

Thank you. A helpful introduction!