Hi and welcome to Learn How To Podcast – Part 2. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can read about my podcast journey, right from the start right here.
Lets kick off right from where we left off then.
In part 1, I was still accumulating the equipment required to launch a podcast. I have already said that one of my main aims was to make my podcast sound professional. One of the ways to do this is to purchase high quality equipment – and my main aim was to secure a Heil PR40 Microphone.
Great news – I managed to secure a used one, which was advertised as in great condition, from eBay for just £200 ($300). By again going for something used, I have saved myself quite a bit of money. A new Heil PR40 would have set me back £270 ($400), so I have saved quite a bit with some shrewd searching on eBay.
I also spent a little more time researching the ‘boom spring arm’ and ‘shockmount’. The boom arm is basically a flexible arm that you can fix to your desktop or wall, allowing you to suspend the mic in front of you, move the mic around and position it how you want. The shockmount is something that goes around the actual microphone, and prevents any knocks, bangs or shocks coming through the mic as noise pollution. This is connected to the boom arm.
To my astonishment, I simply couldn’t find either of these items for less than £200 ($300) combined. I did mention this in Part 1 but it was only a cursory check on the prices of these items at that point, and I believed I would be able to source them far cheaper with a little additional research. But absolutely not – these prices were about the same no matter where I checked. Granted, for such a price they would have been the official Heil products to go with the microphone, but still – I would need to spend the same what I had spent on the actual mic, for the stand and shockmount?
If you have read my Income Report for August, you are probably thinking ‘so what’s the problem, you made nearly $850 last month just on your blog alone, you CAN afford to buy this stuff if you want to’. And yes, you would be quite right in thinking this.
BUT, for me (I am putting on a tin hat, and shifting awkwardly before I say this), these two items are non essential. They are luxury items that I may want, but probably don’t need. My thinking is simple: these two items are essentially bits of plastic and aluminium, and will surely not have any noticeable difference to the audio quality of my podcast, than if I went for let’s say, a 3rd party alternative that only cost £35 ($50).
Well, I thought I would test my theory out. So, I did go and buy a 3rd party manufactured boom spring arm and shockmount for the princely sum of just $50. (I am happy for anyone to explain exactly why I should have spent an additional $250 buying the ‘official’ Heil versions of these items – drop me your comment in the comments section below).
The package came and I quickly and easily assembled the mic and boom arm together, and attached it to my desk. Unfortunately, the shockmount did not fit the mic – instead, I just used the supplied Heil clip that came with the mic, to attach to the end of the boom arm. But now I have an awesome mic setup on my office desk, that I can swing around, raise and lower, and twist and turn to match my needs. Even better, I can fold it right down and out of the way when not in use, keeping my office space neat and clutter free.
My First Sound Test
So, time to test things out!
With my mixer plugged into the mains, my Heil PR40 plugged into the mixer and suspended in mid air (sort of!), and my Sony earphones plugged in, I really felt like I was sat in a recording studio or at a radio station ready to read the news!
With an equal amount of excitement and apprehension, I grabbed the mic and swung it in front of my mouth, ready to hear what this mic/mixer combo could do for the quality of my future YouTube videos and podcasts…
Although the mixer was lighting up, I couldn’t hear my voice through my headphones. Then I noticed a switch that was set to ’0′. A little twist of this and I simply could not believe what I was hearing.
My voice sounded crystal clear. It sounded powerful. It even had an air of authority to it. In fact, even without touching any of the controls and dials on the mixer, to me, my voice sounded almost professional like.
I have come from recording my first video course by recording it through the built in mic on my iMac. I then went and purchased a USB headset which improved the quality slightly. I then went and purchased the Blue Yeti which again raised the bar. But the Heil PR40 – it completely blows all of them away.
It is safe to say that I am super, super delighted with my purchase, and right now, my outlay looks like a very shrewd investment indeed.
My To Do List
I still have a HUGE amount of work to do before I get this part of the Smart Income Detective Blog off the ground and launch this podcast. My aim is still to get my first podcast available for download by November 1st.
Here is a quick rundown of what is on my to do list:
+ Continue with the content outlines for the first 10 podcasts
+ Purchase a Limiter/Gate – this helps keep audible levels at the same level
+ Record a few YouTube Videos using my new mic setup and use this as practice
+ Outsource intro/outro music for the podcast
+ Outsource the graphics for the podcast cover (for use in iTunes store)
+ Investigate hosting needs for my podcast (e.g Libsyn)
+ Record and edit 3 podcasts
+ Release to iTunes store!
+ Write post, email subscribers promoting the new podcast!
There’s still a few more things I need to do that I have probably missed off this list, but these are the main things I need to do. As you can see, it is not a quick or straightforward process – still a lot to do, and a lot of research still to complete to make this happen.
My Secret Weapon…Revealed!
Well actually, I have a few ‘Secret Weapons’, but for now, I am only going to reveal one of them. I have been thinking a lot about how I could make my podcasts slightly different to the norm. Just something that gave the podcast a unique selling point, or something that would get people talking. And this is the first thing I came up with.
I love music. It has always been part of my life, as I am sure it has always been part of yours. In the last couple of years, it has taken a far greater role in my life. I listen to music every single day, and it has the ability to do multiple things, like calm me down, pump me up, think, realise that things are not so bad, remember times gone by and a lot more.
So here is my idea. In EVERY single podcast I produce, I am going to insert a line of of lyrics from a song I like. So, during a podcast, at a random but relevant point, I will say maybe a sentence or two of a lyric, which will have come directly from a song.
I won’t be telling you what the song is and I won’t be pointing out that I am in fact quoting a lyric from a song. But that’s what (I hope) is going to make things interesting, and a little bit different from all other podcasts.
If a listener does pick up on the lyrics, and realises what song the lyrics are from, all they will have to do is be the first person to tell me the name of the song, through the comments section on the blog post related to the podcast, and they will win a prize.
Prizes will range from products I talk about on the SID blog, to gift certificates and vouchers.
What will make it extremely hard is the fact that I have absolutely no genre preference – I like songs from U2, Pete Heller, Simply Red, Coldplay, Pink, The Eagles, Lightning Seeds, Robert Sanchez…in other words, if I like the song, I like the song (Yep, I am not one of those shallow snobs who dismiss a song because the artist is Rhianna or Emilie Sande, who try and be different when really, they are just the same as everyone else).
Obviously, it is just a bit of fun, and adds something extra to the podcast that some of you may be interested in playing. I would love to hear your opinions on this – drop me a comment at the bottom of this post!
Where Am I Right Now?
To recap then, so far I have purchased the bulk of equipment needed to start a podcast. My purchased items so far have been:
A Mackie 802 Mixer – $120
A Roland Edirol R09 Digital Recorder $150
A Heil PR40 Microphone – $300
A boom arm for the microphone – $50
As mentioned above, I would also like to purchase a limiter/gate, which connects to the Mackie mixer and keeps the sound levels equal throughout a recording.
I also need to keep working through my to-do list (as above). I am still a good way away from actually recording my first podcast, but I am determined to do things correctly, right off the bat. Although I have given myself a November 1st target, this is flexible, as I do have a lot on this month. It is also getting nearer to Christmas, and with that will come an intense workload from my main business on eBay.
Remember guys, this blog is run part time. I try and give it at least 4-5 hours per week, but sometimes it just isn’t possible due to my other commitments, so whether I meet my deadline or not – only time will tell. But I do definitely want my first few podcasts available to download before the turn of another new year.
Thanks for your support so far – Part 1 of this series of posts really drew some attention to the blog, and I had a lot of emails and a few comments offering help with this, and wishing me luck. I really appreciate it – thank you.
Please ensure you are subscribed to my email list, and I will notify you as soon as my first podcast is available. One idea I do have is to give my first episode to my loyal subscribers first – and then take any feedback you have before releasing it on platforms like iTunes. So make sure you have signed up in the below box.
Until next time then…
All the best,