Many of the recent episodes on Rebuild have been recorded on-the-go, meaning I’m face to face with the guest in a remote location, rather than doing online with Skype.
tl;dr — here’s the list of the gears I use.
- ZOOM H5 — (Amazon.co.jp) (Amazon.com)
- 2x Shure Beta 57A — (Amazon.co.jp) (Amazon.com)
- BEHRINGER UCA202 (for streaming) — (Amazon.co.jp) (Amazon.com)
- 3.5mm miniplug to RCA cable
- headphones for monitoring I have an extra XLR capsule for ZOOM h5 called EXH-6, in case I need 3–4 people on the show.
The benefits of recording offline are basically the opposite of problems with remote recording, namely:
- You don’t need to think about the (poor) microphone setup of the guests
- No time-zone sync issues
No Skype related network issues The disadvantages are:
- You need to physically meet them in person
- You have to carry around the microphones and a mixer, which could be very heavy
- You have to find a room with a good sound isolation. Lots of office meeting rooms in Japan have glass walls, which makes it a terrible environment
- You and guests have to train a bit so that you won’t cross talk or interject too much
- You and guests have to learn a mic technique Japanese speakers tend to interject a bit too much during a regular conversation (called Ai-zuchi), and if you record a show with the other person in the same room, you cannot isolate individual tracks in the post, as much as you can with the remote recording with Double Ender.
Logic Pro X
Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world. Show off your…www.flickr.comI still try to isolate the tracks as much as possible with Logix Pro X’s “Split Silences” to minimize the echo and interjection. But it would be much easier if there’s no echo or crosstalk in the source to begin with.
Initially I was using ZOOM H5 as a USB interface for Logic X running on my MacBook Pro. It works pretty well, except sometimes it spins the fan of my laptop, and Logic X dropping the frame due to the high latency.
So I switched to recording directly on ZOOM H5 into its SD card storage. Nowadays SD cards are cheap, about $9 for 32GB, which can record 30 hours with 2 mono tracks.
I plug UCA202 to the line-out of Zoom H5, and connect it to the MacBook’s USB port, to stream live audio via Skype. This requires a bit of more explanation, but the basic setup can be found on my blog as well as Six Colors.
The guest and I both bring in our favorite earbuds or a headphone, and plug them to the monitor output of ZOOM and UCS202, so that we can monitor our voices. It is very important to monitor your voices especially with an offline recording.
If you or the guest sways away from the microphone while speaking (which happens a lot), you wouldn’t notice that without monitoring. If there’s a table buzzing because of computer noise, you wouldn’t hear it without monitoring.
When you notice them in the post production that’s too late. All you can do is to apply a strong limiter or compressor to reduce the dynamic range to make a heavily compressed audio. Always, always monitor your own voice, and learn a good mic technique.
If your show has a fixed list of co-hosts or recurring guests, spending money to have a stable Skype recording environment with double-ender makes the recording easy and flexible.
But if your show is more of an interview style, and you want to interview lots of people at a meetup or conferences, portable recorders such as Zoom and a few dynamic microphones are a good investment.