Need gear advice for home recording? Want to maximise your podcast’s reach? Don’t know how to record remotely? These and many other questions might go through your head when thinking about starting your first podcast. So we took to social media to find out what you want to know and enlisted the help of two of our podcast veterans, Jono Pech from Puttin in Work, and Brendan White from Atebit for a podcast Q&A to answer all your questions and more!
it can be really important to help your guests sum up what they are trying to say
Any tips to paint the picture for all the listeners?
Jono Pech: In an interview or story-telling podcast, it can be really important to help your guests sum up what they are trying to say if it isn’t completely clear. So, as you get more experienced with interviewing and podcasting, it’s just about helping them get to that succinct point.
If you were to start podcasting again from the beginning, what would you do differently knowing what you know now?
Jono Pech: I don’t think I would do a whole lot different. I would probably get some better equipment earlier. But you can only do what you can do with the amount you are willing to invest at that time. So just do your research, know what you are getting into, understand how software and platforms work.
When recording on Zoom with two people talking at the same time, the sound can be warped as if there was a bad internet connection. How can I avoid this?
Audio-Technica’s Matt: Recording our own file locally, worked well in the past when Brendan and I did a podcast via Zoom. That way, if there are any issues during the Zoom recording, we can edit it in post using the locally recorded audio file. The audience will not notice any difference.
What is your favourite budget producing software for podcasts?
Brendan White: Audacity 100 per cent! It’s freely available for Windows and Mac with tons of free plug-ins, a great community, and forum support. Also, it’s very intuitive, easy to pick up and use. You can’t go wrong starting out with that.
Long intros and ads at the beginning of a podcast – to do or not to do?
Jono Pech: If you are talking about music, I’d prefer something that is 15 seconds or less. I tend to skip very long tracks unless they’re absolute bangers. To add, definitely drop your ads into the middle of your recording, where people won’t skip it and are already paying attention.
Listeners will stick around for your opinion and personality. So just have fun with it
Is it better to go broad with your content and appeal to as many as possible or to keep it tight, focussed and specialised to get hard-core followers?
Brendan White: I don’t think it should matter. Good content is good content. Listeners will stick around for your opinion and personality. So just have fun with it and make sure you’re enjoying yourself. You want to be covering something you are passionate about. Broad or narrow shouldn’t matter ultimately.
What are the best strategies/platforms for social media promotion?
Jono Pech: If you can cut together a highlight clip with subtitles of your show, I think that’s the best way to drive engagement and give people a taste of what your podcast is about. As far as platforms go, Twitter is the best one to catch new audiences, people who are not already listening.
A good microphone is a strong foundation. But how important is the room’s acoustic? Any tips for the optimal setup?
Audio-Technica’s Matt: Room acoustic is super important depending on the type of microphone. Instead of worrying about your entire room for vocal recording, only pad out the area around the microphone. That way, your voice isn’t reflecting off of any hard surfaces, and it’s only getting picked up by your mic.
Over the last six years, have you felt that you’ve evolved as the hardware (mics, mixers, etc.) has become more accessible?
Brendan White: 100 per cent! As the equipment and the internet have gotten better, so has our audio quality. The microphones and our mixing consoles have improved. Additionally, things like Zoom have really made it easy to connect with people seamlessly, so it looks like Ally is in the same room even though she is on the other side of the country.
Thinking back – you’ve decided to do your first ever podcast. What was your setup, and what would you change from that first time?
Jono Pech: “Super Terrific Happy Hour” was the name of the first of the first podcast I did – 80 episodes recorded on an iRig mic that was plugged into my iPhone. Everyone was sitting around it on the table. It wasn’t the best, but no one ever complained because the editing software did all the heavy lifting.
Is the AT2020USB+ the best microphone to use for podcasting remotely? Should we mix our own audio pre-recording and synchronise it afterwards?
Audio-Technica’s Matt: The great thing about the AT2020USB+ is that you don’t need any extra hardware or software. It’s a plug-and-play microphone. My best advice is to edit everything in post, but make sure your levels are correct before recording. That way, it isn’t too much of a hassle afterwards.
Who is the best distribution service for your podcast?
Brendan White: We most recently migrated to captivate.fm. It’s a great platform and has only been in the market for a couple of years. The prices are really competitive. You can post multiple shows there for a fixed price. The platform comes with great support, interface, and dashboard. Captivate.fm – give it a look!
Padding behind the mic and to the sides will stop those rebounds from happening.
How much soundproofing and soft furnishings are required when recording at home with a proper microphone?
Audio-Technica’s Matt: The amount of soundproofing depends on the external noise and your room. Instead of worrying about the entire room, create a little bubble around your microphone. Padding behind the mic and to the sides will stop those rebounds from happening.
Networking is king! Don’t be afraid to reach out to other podcasters, fans, potential guests and co-hosts.
What are some tips for taking your podcast to the next level?
Brendan White: Networking is king! Don’t be afraid to reach out to other podcasters, fans, potential guests and co-hosts. The worst they’re going to say is “no”. Get out there. Share not only your content but other people’s content because a rising tide raises many ships.
Do you find that the lockdown has increased engagement in your podcast?
Jono Pech: I haven’t really noticed engagement going up. I think there are so many more people podcasting now. Whether it is us from the independent scene, people starting their first show, or celebrities that think, “Oh, I’m outta work, so I’m going to start a podcast. Easy money.”
How does the quality of the USB mic compare to the XLR version?
Audio-Technica’s Matt: It depends on the interface itself. If you look at an interface worth around $100 that bridges the price difference between XLR and USB mic, then there is barely any noticeable difference. But, on the other hand, if you’ve got a high-end interface, you’ll definitely notice a slight increase in quality.
If you have any additional technical questions feel free to slide into our DM’s and we’ll be happy to answer them! As for our special guests, you can find Jono and Brendan on Twitter, as well as Jono’s podcast Puttin’ In Work and the entire Atebit collective. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions to help make this such a fun Q&A, and in the words of our buddy Brendan, “Stay Hungry”.