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Snake Oil: PWOP's $500 Podcasting Kit
All I have to say is "Huh?"

A $500 "podcasting kit" lands PWOP smack dab into my Snake Oil category. I've produced almost 70 45-minute podcasts over the past year and a bit and I've spent...lemme see....maybe $200 in total. And started with the equipment I already had.

We've spent a lot of time looking for high-quality gear that is also compact and affordable. Note that you don't need a computer in order to record your voice. We've found that unless you dedicate a computer to recording, and don't mess with the settings in-between recordings, using a standalone system produces more consistent results. You don't want to finish a recording only to find out you had the "Mute Input" checkbox checked. We hear stories like this all the time.

I have exactly two settings that I need to check every time I make a show: the volume levels of my computer and the volume setting on my mic. I think most of us can keep track of that, no?

PWOPs list consists of a bunch of stuff that's nice to have, but certainly not required. It's also strangely bereft of any mixing software or audio editors. What are we supposed to do with our shiny new audio file, PWOPsters? I suspect you have an answer for that.

I've said it a bajillion times: download Audacity, get your hands on a $20 headset mic from your local Radio Shack and start talking. Save your $500 for your hosting fees.

4 Comments/Trackbacks

I have to comment. The kit we recommend is for mere mortals. You and I are geeks. I could record a podcast with audacity and the sound card in my laptop. That's not the point. Many of our customers don't know the first thing about audio or gear or recording, nor do they care. They want an easy process that yields consistent results. That's why we recommend the kit.

Thanks for the PR. :-)

Hey Carl,

Thanks for stopping by. I see what you're trying to get at, but quite honestly I don't see how your kit is easy. Almost anyone who is likely to be interested in podcasting has a computer and a mic sitting around. All they have to do is spend a few minutes downloading Audacity, click the big red 'record' button and they're in business.

Further, as I mentioned in my post, your kit doesn't even complete the process. Once the show is recorded with your $500 worth of hardware, what is a potential podcaster supposed to do with it? Where's the audio editor to put in intros and outros? How are they supposed to edit out gaffs and such? Seems to me you've left them stuck with an iRiver with an audio file on it.

So, in short, your kit is not only expensive but it is fundamentally flawed in that it can't complete the task it is designed for.

> Almost anyone who is likely to be interested in podcasting has a computer and a mic sitting around

Many of my customers are business people who simply want to interview their customers and other guests. They want to go somewhere with a microphone and do the interview. After that they need to hand the files over to us for publishing. When dealing with these people you need to simplify the system so that it is reliable and consistent. Requiring them to set volume levels on a laptop where they just installed Google Desktop and it's eating cpu cycles during a recording and creating clicks and cracks in the audio... is a bad idea.

I don't know Carl. I guess I just don't understand why you keep insisting that setting the volume level is too difficult for your clients yet you expect them lug around and hook up no less than seven (7) pieces of hardware of which one requires AC power.

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