Tech Tips: Podcasting 101 1

Trying to decide what would be the best topics for our newsletters and blog posts, we surveyed our mailing list (I am a statistician, after all), asking people to pick from one of four choices why they follow 7 Generation Games on social media, read our newsletters, etc.

  1. Education
  2. Start-up/tech
  3. Parenting
  4. Gaming

Well, our responses split pretty evenly among all four categories! Since we aim to please, Maria started the Parenting Like I Know What I’m Doing blog. You should check it out, to quote her daughter, “It’s hilarifying”.

We’ll also be doing two weekly newsletters, Lessons Learned and Tech Tips. I have a lot of tech topics I want to talk about and so do our other developers. You can expect the tech tips to range from an aerial view to detailed code, depending on who is writing that week. As always, we love to hear your feedback.


You need to consider two aspects – content and tech. Since this is the tech tips, you know which one I’m going to talk about today.

If you’re serious, you need to consider investing in some hardware. Fortunately, we had a very experienced friend to guide us on what to buy and we ended up with our whole set up for around $700 not counting the rolling desk, computer and software, which we already owned.

Trust me, it was worth it. The difference between recording with Garageband and a head-set from Wal-Mart and the set-up we purchased was night and day.

Here is what we purchased, and no one paid me diddly-squat to mention their products.

  • GLS Audio Vocal Microphone ES-58 –  $30 each
  • ART HeadAMP4 Eight Output Stereo Headphone Amplifier- $65
  • 2 microphone mounts – $8 each
  • 2 pop filters  (that’s the round thing in front of the microphone) – $7 each
  • PreSonus Audiobox 44VSL  USB 2.0 Audio Interface – – $250
  • 2 headphones – $60 each

Then there were various cables, surge protector, clips, etc. that added up to another $140 or so.

Total cost, with tax, around $700.

mikes, box, headphones

When set up, it looks like this. It’s just coincidence that everything is black. You can see that it doesn’t take up a lot of space.

What does it do and why did we buy it?

The most important thing was the two microphones, and I think we’ll be very soon buying a third.

Maria and I speak at somewhat different volume, which you’d know if you have ever met us. She is the quieter one. If you have two microphones, you can lower the volume on one or the other so your co-hosts, or hosts and guest are at the same level.

Prior to starting this podcast, I spoke to many people I knew in the entertainment industry and their advice was all over the map, but they all agreed on one thing – buy a mike. The microphone, screen, cable, stand and clips probably added up to around $70 total per mike.

Since your computer probably only has one mike input, you’ll need an audio box to allow you to have 2-4 mikes. It may be that you could have a podcast where you just talk, with no guests and no co-hosts, so you don’t need a box, and you only need one mike and one headset – but, honestly, are you really all that interesting?

Your computer probably only has one headphone jack, too, so you probably need a way for two or more people – you, your co-host, your guest and your audio engineer – to listen to the podcast as it is recorded.

Random observation: Some people, like Maria and I, like to hear themselves where other people don’t want the headphones. They don’t want to know what they sound like on the recording.

Setting up, you want to have the microphones opposite one another to minimize the voice of one speaker being picked up in the other person’s mike.

The rolling desk is useful for us because, like most start-ups, we’re cramped for space, so we can move into whatever office is available at the moment and record on either end of the desk, or easily move all of our equipment on to the desk or table in whatever room we find ourselves in.

We use a MacBook Pro for recording just because it was what we already had, and do our sound editing on either a MacBook Pro or an iMac, again, because it happened to be what was in the office.

So, that’s it. If you already have a computer, you can pull together all of the hardware you need  to do a reasonably good (in my not-so-humble opinion) podcast for around $700. We ordered everything off Amazon because Dennis likes Amazon and he gets free shipping, but nothing here is a particular specialty item that you couldn’t pick up lots of places.

So, that’s our set up.

More coming up on:

  • Software
  • Uploading podcasts
  • Content
    • Not sounding like an idiot (hint: editing)
    • Wrangling all of your friends and family to be on your podcast

If you’ve been listening to our podcasts, you know we just released an update to Forgotten Trail – math, social studies and gaming. Buy it for yourself for under $5, give as a gift or sponsor a child or school.

Boy walking in rain

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