pod: Now building a basic podcast Studio 2024

Well, we’ve had good luck with our entry-level podcast setup and then building an entry-level studio for group conversations. These have worked well, particularly after fixing the various OBS filters.

But the main issues with the setup are:

  1. Rode NT-1A. It is a great microphone, but it requires quite a bit of signal processing to get “radio sound”.
  2. Shure VP-83F. This is a nice shotgun microphone for “running and gunning,” but I can see why Podcasters use desktop or boom microphones for their interviews

So we need another setup that works in a different room since I’m tired of just using microphones from the Brio that sound terrible, so asking Lucas and Jeff from Sweetwater (he’s great!), here is what we came up with:

  1. Shure SM7dB. This is a variant of the storied SM7B that has an inline pre-amplifier from Cloud Microphones in it as it needs a relatively high gain. I don’t think it matters that much if you are putting into a Universal Audio Volt 2. Since this is a dynamic microphone, you need this. Also right now there is a double stack discount you can get with 10% off from Merrill Lynch Signature Rewards and then 1% from PayPal Rewards as well, so that is nice. Using PayPal on this site did require me to turn off the Ghostery blocker, so beware of that. I actually consider the Rode NT1 signature which is much cheaper and about to come out, but the Shure is such a classic, I wanted to try it. This microphone unlike the NT1-A is flatter. Compared with the NT-1A, it has a built-in pop filter and also built-in isolation, so that is really a nice addition, you don’t need the case nor the pop filter of the NT1A.
  2. Universal Audio Volt 2. We have a Focus Scarlett 2i2 which is a great Audio interface, but the Universal Audio also has various plug-ins and things and Calvin has one as does Lucas. In the old days we would get one that would run the plug-ins on the machine, but these days, Apple Silicon is so fast it’s not clear it is needed. And this is also party to a 10% off for up to $500 with a Chase United Mileage card of all things.
  3. Rode PSA1+ Microphone Boom. I already have one of the older PSA1 and it is a dream. Very solid with dual arms. The main thing to do is to make sure to point the microphone the right way! Normally it is $129, but at the Walmart marketplace, you can get it for $99 for the older PSA. The main difference is that it has improved springs and a better cable loop system. Candidly, I’m not sure it is worth the additional price but it has a protective sleeve and mic clips that suspend it in mid-air which ends up reducing self noise as you move it around. You can get this from Walmart with a 1 point/dollar on Rakuten discount and it ships from Adorama which is a great supplier, plus there is a 15% off on Walmart purchases available on Merrill Lynch Signature Rewards and you can get a PayPal incremental if you use it, the problem with Walmart is that they don’t throw up a payment selection with PayPal, so you have to make sure you have the right default card with PayPal *before* you buy. Also, if you don’t use PayPayl, you get Walmart Cash as a bonus.
  4. Monoprice XLR Cable. Yes, you do need to buy a cable for $10 or so, Walmart has a good deal about this.

I’ll report when all this arrives, the big open issue is that I haven’t figured out the right set of headphones. I’m going to use the very decent Shure SRH-440 for now. The main issue is that it is uncomfortable for a long period because as a closed-back headphone, it gets hot. The sound even with Soundsource seems a little thin in the bass region, but that’s probably just a function of this being a basic monitor set for audio recording. It works fine for things like podcast monitoring or Zoom calls.

2 responses to “pod: Now building a basic podcast Studio 2024”

  1. poleguy Avatar

    @rich what was the audible difference in sound in your recordings between the NT1A forwards vs backwards? Can you describe it? Can you even tell?

    In a chamber it would have dropped the signal by 16 dB if backwards. But in a resonant space it might not matter nearly so much.

    1. rich Avatar

      OK, I’ve been using the (new to me WordPress to Mastodon) publishing system, so apologies if this doesn’t work, but I’ll also direct post. Here are the sound differences I found backward to forward. This is a condenser microphone with a tight cardiod pattern and it is a relatively quiet and non-resonant room

      1. The volume was definitely much, much lower, I’m not sure it was 16dB but definitely significant probably at least 8dB, but I didn’t have my SPL handy. https://www.shure.com/en-US/performance-production/louder/microphone-directionality-polar-pattern-basics
      2. The actual frequency response was very different, there was significant falloff in the treble and also in the bass, it sounded much more “thin”. I had not expected this and it is not documented, but it makes some sense that the frequency response would change with a cardiod pattern. When I turned it around, the sound was much, much richer. Although the theory says there should be more high frequency rolloff, I think the mid rolloff was the most significant at least for me and in OBS, I had no less than a 5dB boost to try to fix this. But when I turned it around, flat was great. I also boosted the input gain alot more. My Focusrite Scarlett doesn’t really have measurements on it, but I moved from an amplification at 3 o’clock back to more like 2’oclock.

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