Podcasters are the New Zinester

I love the idea of podcasting it reminds me of the zines we used to make in the 90s. The goal was a free and democratic exchange of ideas and information. All you needed was an idea, paper, and access to a photocopier.

I think podcasts are the audio equivalent. You don’t need a lot to make a podcast- no matter what the experts tell you. At this point there are people making shows with little more than their cell phone and the anchor app. All you really need is a smart phone and an idea.

Since I’m old and think we should own our content (I’ve gone on many own-your-content tangents on the show.) I wondered what is the cheapest way to record clear audio and clean it up on a phone then push it out to a self hosted site? I’ve also been having a lengthy convo with a friend who wants to start a show.

For RSVP we’ve got nice mics and use audacity. Audacity is free, it doesn’t get much cheaper than free. Audacity doesn’t have a droid version. So I looked for a bunch of free apps or low cost. I tested a bunch I recorded a bunch of sounds and audio. IN a bunch of rooms of my house. and I ended up liking AudioLab- it does a lot of the stuff that Audacity does but right on my phone, and best of all it lets me layer audio, and join clips. That means I can create a little intro bit and reuse it again and again. Awesome. I had to rebuild the sounds for Manuscripting Pod from scratch. Also the built in voice recorder on my phone (Samsung) worked great as well. Output was in MP4 for some silly reason. AudioLab also let me output in a couple of different formats, including WAV and MP3. Sweet.

Then I looked at mics. I tested my phone’s mic, surprisingly decent sounding. Then I tested out a bunch of mics on headsets that came with phones. I had an old HTC set that sounds amazing. My Samsung headset was okay. The Beats cable I bought to go with my Skullcandy Hesh headset sounds great too. I tested out a little lav mic I had for my old camcorder and it was pretty low sounding. I picked up a little tiny condenser mic (Amazon Basic rip off of a Rode) which sounds the best of them all. The key is that you really need to be in a quiet place, without echos.

If I had used the mics I had on hand I’d have spent nothing over and above the cost of my phone (a lot) and the 99cent purchase of AudioLab. (I may spend more on the app later, since I really love it and it’s a great item.) Since I’m just reviving my old podcast, I’m not out a fee for the domain or hosting. That might be the next level of examination- free or low cost hosting platforms where you still own your content.

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