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Podcasting and Audio Production: Audio Recording Equipment

Resources available to get started with audio production and podcasting.

Audio Equipment

Regardless of how complex your podcast is going to be, you will need gear to record vocals. Some of the gear we have available for checkout from Media Services in Smith Library. Some of the gear you might already have (ie smartphone). The following is a breakdown of what gear is available and how to operate it.  

Available for Checkout

Each of the following items are available for checkout from Media Services on the 1st floor of Smith Library:

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Blue Snowball Mic: this is an easy-to-use plug-and-play USB mic that will work with any computer's audio recording software. Simply plug in the USB, open your audio recording software (Garageband, Audacity, Adobe Audition) select the Blue Snowball as your input device, and start recording! Some of our mics have a switch on the back that controls microphone pickup pattern and recording level. Setting 1 and 2 are both cardioid pickup patterns (good for 1 or 2 people), with setting 2 being the cardioid pattern for louder noises/music (it drops the decibels by 10). Setting 3 changes the microphone to an omnidirectional mic, good for 3+ podcasters if placed in the middle of a roundtable discussion. 

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Sony Audio Recorder: This is a tried-and-true audio recorder. While these digital audio recorders were initially added to our equipment offerings to allow students to more easily record lectures, we have since added lavalier microphones that are included with these recorders to make recording high-quality vocals much easier. The files from these recorders can be transferred to computer via an included USB cable or direct transfer from the included micro SD card.

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Tascam DR-40X Portable Audio Recorder: slightly larger than the other standalone audio recorders, the Tascam DR-40X is a fantastic field recorder for getting incredibly clear audio just about anywhere. This recorder is quite versatile, with incredibly sensitive built-in microphones on top and inputs for two XLR microphones on the bottom. It can record on four separate tracks as well. The recordings can be transferred to computer via the included USB cable or by transferring directly from the included SD card.

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Audio-Technica AT2005 USB/XLR Mic: This easy-to-use, plug-and-play microphone is the spiritual successor to the Blue Snowball. Simply plug into the USB port of any PC or Mac, open your audio recording software, select this mic as your input and you're ready to record! A very rugged and versatile microphone, it has both a USB and XLR connection, making it perfect for several different recording situations.

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Zoom H1N Portable Audio Recorder: The younger cousin of the Tascam DR-40X, this field recorder has many of the same perks as the Tascam without a few of the bells and whistles. Highly sensitive built-in microphones offer excellent vocal recording. Files can be transferred to computer via the included USB cable or directly from the included micro SD card.

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Rode Videomic Me: This small shotgun microphone plugs directly into the 3.5mm headphone jack on any smartphone to give crystal clear, unidirectional pickup when recording vocals. If your phone doesn't have a standard headphone jack, we have USB-C and Apple Lightning connector adaptors available as well. Use this microphone with the audio recording app of your choice and get amazing results.

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Miracle Sound Smartphone Lavalier Mic: This tiny lavalier microphone is great for picking up interview vocals when you're hoping for a nice, clear, rich sound. Because lavalier microphones usually rest on or near the chest of the person speaking, it picks up clear vocals coming from the speaker's mouth and the resonant sound waves that are produced in the chest when we talk. This winds up giving an interviewer/podcaster a deeper, richer vocal recording. 

Equipment You Might Already Have

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A Smartphone: In the past few years, the hardware built into smartphones is more than ample for recording high quality audio. With a few simple tips, you can be recording your podcast in no time. 

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A Computer: This could be pretty much any desktop or laptop computer. It doesn't matter if it's PC, Mac, Linux -- there are cross-platform audio editors that will work with any of these OS options. In terms of performance, you do not need a top-of-the-line supercomputer; most audio editors do not demand many hardware resources, so pretty much any computer from the last decade will do.