Tuesday, April 3, 2012...9:00 am

Podcasting week #2: which equipment should I use?

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In the second of a series of podcasting guides from former Granta editorial director and freelance multimedia content producer George Miller, we’re looking at the equipment he uses. Key tip: don’t fetishise your kit.

2. A guide to equipment 

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Microphone
Audio Technica £100 level microphone

Main audio recorder
Marantz PMD661 digital recorder
On the advice of a BBC sound recordist, George bought a Marantz 660. He’s upgrading to the Marantz 661, which is smaller and more portable, and can be mounted on a camera, but is waiting to become completely familiar with using it

Backup audio recorder
Sony PCM-M10 digital audio recorderIf you are doing this seriously, it’s worth having a backup machine. This is overkill for most everyday circumstances, but if you are interviewing someone who is only in the country for a few days, you don’t want to risk glitches with your main recorder.

  • Sony PCM-M10
    – the little brother of the £2,000 Sony flagship digital recorder
  • good built-in microphone
  • excellent battery life
  • takes micro SD cards, giving 8 hours recording.

Don’t fetishise the kit
A well-handled piece of cheaper equipment will give better results than poorly used top-end kit. But you get what you pay for Recording on a cheap, MP3-only machine. [NB: the terrible background aircraft noise here is a key illustration of the point. I am not yet a competent sound recordist…]

How much does it all cost?

  • Microphone: £75-100
  • Recorder: around £100 (more professional machines go up to £400-600)
  • Software: free to a few hundred dollars
  • Headphones: £30
  • Consumables: batteries and memory cards
  • Shop around: check eBay for bargains
  • TOTAL: £200-300 to start with

Portability can be key
How are you travelling to your interviews? Sometimes weight and foldability are the deciding factors for purchase.

[NB: some links are affiliate links. For all the good it’ll do me]

Next: preparing for the interview

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