This is a step-by-step guide to setting up a professional quality podcast recording studio for 2 people.
Here is how it looks to use the system. You can hear the end result of this podcast here.
Complete step-by-step tutorial at the bottom of this page
Podcast Recording Studio Equipment Checklist:
Here is what you’ll need.
- 2 x Audio Technica ATR-2100 Microphone (These come with XLR Cables & Mic Stand)
- Scarlet 2i2 Mixer (This comes with the USB cable needed to plug into your laptop)
- Pop Filter
This equipment will cost less than $300 but add 10x quality compared to a regular Apple headphone recording system.
NOTE: If you know it’s just going to be you speaking, you don’t need the Scarlet 2i2 Audio Interface. It’s perfectly fine to use the Audio Technica as a USB. The Scarlet just makes it sound a little better
- Macbook Pro (This is the best computer in the land)
- Beats by Dr. Dre (These headphones just feel and sound really cool)
Should I Invest in a Podcast Recording Studio?
If you’re serious about creating a podcast that people want to listen to, quality recording equipment is a no brainer.
In my experience (after producing well over 200 podcast episodes) quality is a huge differentiator from shows that are successful and those that aren’t.
If you’ve come this far, you’re going to be investing a significant amount of time into your show. Quality should be high on your priority list. Especially since it’s so inexpensive.
With all the time you spend recording, producing and publishing; the investment will pay-off many times over.
Podcast Recording Studio Software:
How to Set Up Your Podcast Recording Studio:
Podcasting Hardware Instructions
The goal of this tutorial is to describe exactly how to create high-quality recordings. We’ll go through unpacking your equipment, plugging it all together, getting the free recording software and making your first recording.
I take an Audio Technica ATR 2100 out of the box and explore everything that comes with the microphone. First a mic stand in 2 pieces that you get to screw together. Then we examine the XLR cable which plugs the microphone to the mixer (Scarlett 2i2.) The box also has a microphone and the USB cable in case you don’t want to work with a mixer like the Scarlett 2i2.
We plug the XLR cable into the Scarlett 2i2 and the microphone to show how the microphone connects to the mixer. So you actually get to watch me build my podcast recording studio right in front of your eyes.
Next we plug the mixer into the computer using a USB port which connects to the back of the mixer and the USB port of the MacBook (or whatever computer you have).
I go over a quick little breakdown of how to set the knobs, switches and dials on the mixer. There aren’t a lot there, but walking through this short video will help avoid confusion in the future. I even show best practices for where the knobs should be set to make a quality podcast recording.
Podcasting Recording Studio Software Instructions
After that, we get Audacity onto our computers as it’s an inexpensive and simple solution for making your podcast recordings on your own or with a live guest in the room. Of course, I’m a fan of simplicity. If you want to get some complex recording software, go for it. But don’t come whining to me when you fail to record because you don’t want to wait 10 minutes for your recording software to upload.
I believe that simplicity is important for creators. When you get your flow state going, you don’t want to stop and fall down a rabbit hole of audio-geek complexity.
While Audacity is loading up I do a quick demonstration of recording sound quality with, and without the mixer. Listen to the difference in the recording between the poor iPhone recording, the good USB microphone recording and finally the great mixer recording.
After breaking down sound quality, we dive back into Audacity and I describe how to set each setting to record from the proper source. Also how to select where to have the recordings play back while you’re recording.
Finally, I show how to make a split two channel recording and make it a mono track so it sounds professional. Sometimes people make the mistake of publishing L Channel audio and their shows sound rookie. You don’t have to worry about that because in the tutorial I teach you how to avoid this.
Finally, I show how to export your recording so it’s high quality and ready to be shared with your podcast producer or with us.
Special Note: When plugging your microphone into your mixer, use the far left XLR jack. I don’t know why, but it seems that the far left one is the one to use.
Transcript of the Podcast Equipment Video:
Hey everybody, this is a podcasting recording studio tutorial. Today, we are going to show exactly how to take the recording equipment and set it up. Then we will record a podcast and share it with our producer using Dropbox.
First off, you have your Audio Technica 2100 microphone. I’m going to set this up so you can watch this podcast recording studio come together now. Here we have a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 mixer. This one works great for two channels when you’re live recording. Here we have a XLR cable. This is what the microphone looks like when it’s all set up, so right now we’re going to set up the microphone and plug it into the computer so you can see exactly how to have, how to set up a really nice recording studio.
Unboxing Podcast Recording Studio Equipment
So, I’m just going to open this up. Audio Technica box up, right now. So these things come with as you can see right here, this is the mic stand. Screw the mic stand on like that, then stand it up, this will make it so you can operate it, with it from your desk.
Explaining Podcast Recording Equipment
This is the XLR cable. This is the microphone. And this is the USB plug, so you really can just use this microphone with just a USB stick but if you really want the really high quality, you can go with the XLR cable. So after you’re done with the box, and then as you’re setting it up, if you want to set it up with the XLR cable, you just untie the cable. This end goes in here, so that’ll click, it’s on, and then this one goes into the mixer.
Explaining the Pop Filter
You also want to get a pop filter. I got the colorful ones, so you can go with like, pink or blue or whatever, but most people will go with black, I think that that, um. But these actually will make a big difference in your recording quality.
For these you just want to stretch them, pull them over as tight as you can, and then once they’re on, oh jeez, they don’t come off. There you go.
Setting up the Microphone and the Audio Interface
So, to set it up, the Scarlett comes with the USB connector. You plug the USB connector, which is this one right here, into the back of the USB connector, and then you plug the thing into your computer. You’ll see this, when the lights on, let me explain real quick what all these are.
These are the gains so when you’re recording you want to make sure generally putting these at about like three quarters, you can see, I don’t know if you can see it on the video, but the little nods are about pointing towards me, they’re like this, so you want to turn them at about three quarters. But with these, what you do want to do, is make it so that your audio average is in between like five and seven-five. The instrument ones don’t matter. This button, you want to make sure that this button is pushed in. This is what feeds power to the microphone.
The monitor is unimportant unless you’re, you know, connecting to speakers. And then this is your headphone volume, so you can plug into here with the headphone jack, if you need, if you want to use your headphones from the mixer, you can just plug one of these in. Then these will go to a headphone. And then you want to have, you can get one of these, all of this stuff is listed in the blog post that’s linked underneath. But you can connect headphones into here, and then this will go into the headphone jack right there. And that’s it. Once you plug it in, we’ll go into the software, and I’ll explain that in the video right now.
So I’m just going to show you guys quick and easy how to get recording with your podcast recording studio quickly. There’s various different softwares to use, but there’s a free one called Audacity. If you just Google Audacity, you’ll find that it’s the first one that comes up, audacity.sourceforge.net. If you go there, you’ll be able to download it. Bam, it’s very simple, it’s very inexpensive. And I like it because it’s such a simple program to use. I’ve already got it downloaded, so once you download it, you can just open it up like this.
How Important is the Audio Interface for Podcasting
While Audacity is opening up, I’d like to just talk a little bit about the difference in quality between using the mixer, and using the USB. Right now, I’m actually using the USB connector to record this, right now. What you’re hearing is the USB. And in just a moment, I’m going to switch over to the XLR cable, powered by the mixer, so that you can get an idea of the difference in the way that it sounds.
If you haven’t noticed, right now I’m using the Scarlett 2i2, as well as the ATR 2100, so this is actually the way that it’s supposed to sound, when it’s really nice. But anyway, once you get Audacity open, you want to make sure that you look at, that you find the record icon right there, and click this one and then go down to 2i2. Once that one’s built in, you can select either the built in, or you can use the Scarlett as the external one as well. Right now I simply have my headphones plugged into the computer, so I’m just using the built in audio to playback for myself.
Once you’re done with that, once you’ve selected the proper driver, you want to hit the record button. Now you will see that it’s recording. The way that it records is on a two channel mixer, so that the top recording you can see here, is my voice, and as it goes along… if there was another person speaking into the other microphone, then the bottom one down here, the bottom track would be accepting that. I’ve just stopped the recording.
Listening to your Podcast Recording
Now if you’re listening to this with a stereo set of headphones, you’ll be able to hear that this one will play only in one ear. [One ear demo] As it goes along, if there was another person speaking into—Now, so the way that you address that issue to make it so that it plays in both ears equally is first off, you click the little tab here, and then you go split stereo track, and then you want to make this one mono. And now when you play through…
“As it goes along, if there was another person sp—“ You see that it does it like that.
Exporting your Podcast Recording
Say this is your final track, and this is your first podcast, and you want to share it with somebody, you go to File, Export. Now I recommend exporting in .aiff file or in .wav files if you’re using a PC. So I’m going to export this one to the desktop. Then you’ll see that it’ll actually pop up right here once it’s done exporting. Record button, and now you can see that it’s record– You can share this one with your podcast producer or you can use that as a, as the raw materials to make your own show. And that’s how you do it. It’s really not rocket science once you see this video.
Go Ahead and Make Your Own
And now if you’re ready to rock, you want to make sure the microphone’s turned on, which is this switch here. And then you can see, right here, it turns green because it’s picking up my voice. At this point, I’ve got my podcast recording studio ready to rock!
If I turn the gain all the way up, you see that right now it’s peaking. So you want to make sure that the gain is down a little, and then when the gain is down, that’ll show that the audio’s not peaky. So you can get the best recordings possible. And that’s everything, that’s how you set up your own little podcast recording studio.
This has been a Freedom Podcasting production. For more information, go to freedompodcasting.com.
I Hope this Helped You Set Up Your Podcast Recording Studio
If you have any questions or would like to add something to improve this process for the next podcaster, leave a comment below.
I’ve created a super high quality, step-by-step process for creating a podcast. I’m offering a substantial discount to people who read this page carefully. The reason for the discount is that you’re more likely to be a success story and produce a great show. You’re taking the time to read this, that tells me that you’re more dedicated than most. I can’t wait to listen to your podcast.
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Post updated: March 18th, 2017