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A Journey of a Thousand Miles...
headphones.gifOne of the hardest things about many things in life is overcoming inertia and just plain old getting started. When writing about podcasting I have so much information to get out that sometimes it's all just a jumble in my head. Trying to organize all that data so I can just get moving can be a challenge.

However, it seems supremely logical to me to start out with some basics. Regardless of whether you're here because you want to gets some tips on how to podcast for your business or if you're here because you want to turn your podcast into a business, there are some fundmental things that your're going to need and do.

One of the things that you're going to need is a headset with a microphone.

You may be inclined to think that those speakers that came bundled with your computer will work just fine and therefore you only need a microphone, but that's not true. You need the headset so
you can hear yourself as you record the show, but the speakers cannot. If you're speaking into the microphone and that noise is coming out of your speakers it will go back into your microphone and then come out of the speakers and then....well, you get the point. You'll discover the concept of 'feedback' very early in your podcasting career. Even if you're the type of person that doesn't want or need to hear yourself while you record, the time will come when you'll want to do an interview and then you're going to have to have your speakers on to hear the other party. I've been on calls with people who don't have headsets. Not only is it very disconcerting, it makes the interview sound pretty poor.

Before you rush out to buy the top of the line headphones, let me give you some advice. I think I mentioned somewhere that there are a lot of people and companies out there that will gladly help you spend your money in the pursuit of podcasting. The headset is probably the biggest snake-oil in the industry. There's no shortage of websites offering to help you set up your podcast for "under $300". I just recorded my 51st podcast and we use $30 headsets. In a year, we've broken one set, so three sets at $30 each puts us under $100 for all of them. Spend as much as you want, but realize that you don't have to spend as much as some would have you believe.

There are two things you want in a headset, though.
  1. Little fuzzy thing on the microphone. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you will as soon as you start looking at microphones. The little fuzzy thing on the microphone will help diffuse some of the air that you'll undoubtably end up breathing into it while you learn to perfect your microphone technique. It helps eliminate the pops and esses (onomatopoeia, anyone?) and generally makes your voice a little richer. As time progresses, you will perfect your microphone technique and may not need the little fuzzy thing anymore, but in the beginning it is your friend.
  2. Two headphones. This may sound obvious, but there are a lot of microphone headsets out there with only a single headphone. You need a proper two-earphone headset for two reasons. First, you're going to be recording and importing clips in stereo. It's nice if you have the ability to hear all the nuances of those clips and you're going to need two earpieces to do that. Second, two earpieces sufficiently alientate you from your surroundings that you'll be "in the zone". A single earppiece can let in enough ambient noise from around the house that you may get distracted and that will come through in the show.
There you have it. Grab $30, go get a headset with a mic and we'll meet back here tomorrow for some tips on how to use that microphone to your best advantage.

3 Comments/Trackbacks

» Podcasting Microphone Technique: Don't Pop Those Esses! from BizPodcasting
If you've ever listened to a podcast or two, you'll likely have been exposed to both good and poor microphone technique.Poor microphone technique is signalled by hissing S noises and startling POPs. A low-quality microphone can be blamed for some... [Read More]



» Snake Oil Crossing. from BizPodcasting
I don't make any secret of how I feel about the so-called podcasting production suites, or podcast-ready microphones. They're all snake-oil. All of them. We're somewhere around our 60th show and I think we may have spent $100 in total... [Read More]

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