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Old Apr 11, 2012, 07:48 PM   #1
TheKnifeFight
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Need Podcast recording advice (equipment)

I'm looking to start a podcast that will have 3 hosts that will sit in the same room. I'm trying to figure out a cost effective way to have good quality audio as I'm not sure if the project will actually gain traction.

My initial thought was to buy 3 USB microphones ($20-30 range a piece) and run a custom setting through the midi program into garageband. However, this option limits portability and I can't use audio recording equipment for much else aside from this podcast (I also shoot video projects as a hobby)

My second thought is to grab an audio recorder (zoom h4n, tascam d40) and buy some xlr mics to plug into the unit. My problem here is that I don't think I can get 3 microphones to work this way. Can a recorder support 2 simultaneous xlr mics? What does the exported files look like? Do they get their own channels?

Can someone lend a helping hand, I'm running in circles here.

P.S.
I will be doing the editing in garageband regardless of which method.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 08:25 PM   #2
WRP
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If you go with the zoom you can use the 4 channel function run 2 xlr mics and use the onboard one as your third mic. Just a thought.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 08:41 PM   #3
SchwartzSound
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You certainly have a lot of options here.

+1 the Zoom H4n, 4-channel mode would probably be the most economical/reliable way to get more than 2 channels at a time. The 4-channel mode records two stereo files simultaneously, one using the built-in mics and one using both of the external mic inputs. While the zoom records a stereo signal, a single microphone only needs one channel. So really what is happening is one mic signal gets recorded to the left channel and the other to the right channel. Then, after recording, in your editing software just separate the left and right channels of the recording into two mono tracks. I almost always hijack a stereo feed of a recording device to capture two mono signals this way.

If you wanted to use 3 of the same mics for better consistency, you could go for a 4-channel recorder like the Roland R-44 or the Sound Devices 744, but those come with a bigger price tag, though they would serve you well for any of your video shoots down the road. Alternatively you could get a USB/FireWire audio interface with 3 or 4 mic inputs for much cheaper, but that wouldn't be as portable.

If you don't need the 3 signals to be separate channels, you could also use a cheaper analog mixer with several mic inputs, and just record the stereo mix output. Or use a USB integrated mixer like the Mackie ProFX8 (http://www.mackie.com/products/profx8/) to record a stereo mix of multiple channels. The catch is you don't have as much editing flexibility later on for the individual voices.
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Last edited by SchwartzSound; Apr 11, 2012 at 08:55 PM.
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Old Apr 13, 2012, 02:20 PM   #4
TheKnifeFight
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I ended up buying a Tascam DR-40 which is about $100 cheaper than the h4n and has similar features although it's more bare bones.

Thank you for the advice guys/gals. I appreciate it. Wish me luck!
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 10:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKnifeFight View Post
I ended up buying a Tascam DR-40 which is about $100 cheaper than the h4n and has similar features although it's more bare bones.

Thank you for the advice guys/gals. I appreciate it. Wish me luck!
Did the tascam dr-40 allow you to record the three mics onto different tracks?
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 10:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKnifeFight View Post
I'm looking to start a podcast that will have 3 hosts that will sit in the same room. I'm trying to figure out a cost effective way to have good quality audio as I'm not sure if the project will actually gain traction.

My initial thought was to buy 3 USB microphones ($20-30 range a piece) and run a custom setting through the midi program into garageband. However, this option limits portability and I can't use audio recording equipment for much else aside from this podcast (I also shoot video projects as a hobby)

My second thought is to grab an audio recorder (zoom h4n, tascam d40) and buy some xlr mics to plug into the unit. My problem here is that I don't think I can get 3 microphones to work this way. Can a recorder support 2 simultaneous xlr mics? What does the exported files look like? Do they get their own channels?

Can someone lend a helping hand, I'm running in circles here.

P.S.
I will be doing the editing in garageband regardless of which method.
This is about the best podcasting equipment article I've read. I'm doing something similar as you and I've researched it quite a bit. Start with this article I guarantee you'll find the information useful.

EDIT: I didn't realize you already made your purchase but still read the article I linked to.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:00 PM   #7
TheKnifeFight
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Originally Posted by ieani View Post
Did the tascam dr-40 allow you to record the three mics onto different tracks?
No, it gives to two different tracks.

1 track is stereo (that's the built in mics), 1 track is the L/R XLR mic inputs. So basically I've got to get the other two people using the XLR mics to be roughly the same db level. You can control the XLR L/R independently in the device before recording (not after).

I've also spliced another XLR mic into one of the L or R channels for a total of 4 people talking (1 person on stereo track, 2 on L, 1 on R). It's not perfect but it works on a budget.
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