I can’t believe I am back to figuring out podcasting setups. When I started podcasting over a year ago with the From the Basement series, we had a great setup going. It was essentially a Radio Shack 7 Band DJ Mixer, a couple of PowerBooks, and a couple of microphones. What was great about it was how easy it was to setup and use — because we were using a mixer and a dedicated recording machine all the mixes could happen without issue. If you wanted to play iTunes, use iChat and Skype to talk to remote guests, and record the people in the room it wasn’t a challenge. The big issue was that it was a big setup — and forget about moving it around to do podcasts anywhere but From the Basement.
I recently got a new Samson C01U USB microphone and have tried a couple of times to get a decent podcast going with it. It is a great mic, but I haven’t been able to get my whole mix thing going. My big goal is to not use a bunch of goofy system settings to make it happen … I just want to be able to turn on my Mac, plug in my mic, open an application, and start recording … I don’t want to use SoundFlower or anything else — simple is the solution I am after. If this is going to make it to the classroom, it has to be easy. At any rate, here is a sample podcast that sort of talks about this post and some of the history and thinking behind it all.
This morning I am sitting down at my G5 and Samson to run some tests. I thought I’d report my findings here. The software and hardware I am using are as follows:
- PowerMac G5 DP 2 GHz with 1 GB SDRAM (I gotta get more memory)
- Samson C01U USB Microphone
- Samson C01U software applet
- Audio Hijack Pro
- iChat AV
What I want to do is have the mic and the additional software produce a single mix that is of good quality. The screen shot below shows the setup in action. You’ll notice that the Samson C01U software has the gain set to +26dB and that input on the Sound control panel is set to just above half. These are settings that I seem to have to play with quite a bit, but this seems to yield good results. In AHP, I have the microphone set to be hijacked and in the Effects pane I’ve added the “Application Mixer” effect for both iTunes and iChat … those are then turned to “Hijacker on” mode. You can then start recording and the audio from each of the external applications are mixed in with the audio coming from the microphone (my voice). I haven’t tried it yet, but I assume you could add as many applications you want by adding more Application Mixer effects. We’ll have to play with that as well.