LearnThink Vitamin Radio: Learning from feedback


writes on January 22, 2010

Just a quick post to say thank you to everyone who checked out our new podcast yesterday. We are really pleased with the positive feedback and helpful hints and tips you left in the comments and on Twitter.

In terms of content it seems the mix of topics appealed and a lot of you found the length about right. What we definitely need to improve on is the sound quality and our mic techniques. It turns out a lot of you had difficulty hearing the show and we will do all we can to improve that for episode two.

What we learned thanks to your help

  • Pop shields are essential – these will be purchased
  • Mic technique is critical – I was perhaps too close whilst others dipped in and out. We often referred to our laptops for items which caused us to move away from the mic whilst still talking. Answer could be a bigger table.
  • Exporting to mp3 – Bit rate is important. I have delved deeper into the settings and will export further episodes at a higher rate.
  • iTunes doesn’t update that quickly – Although people could find the show in the iTunes podcast directory episode one wasn’t appearing. It was in the RSS feed but was not in iTunes. It is there now.
  • Use an external RSS feed provider – This would solve the problem of having your iTunes feed aligned to a blog post. Currently publishing the podcast feed through WordPress means that I have to make a post live in order to populate the feed. Moving to an external host would solve this, allow us to check the show is in iTunes and then post the show notes later.
  • Shownotes and transcript – They are coming, as is a full transcript. We intend on using Casting Words but are open to suggestions.
  • Direct link to audio file – This was an omission. Jeremy Keith commented that this would be useful for those who “Huff Duff“. This will be there on future posts.

Hints and tips

I would love to do a post on here regarding podcasting. If you have any hints and tips you would like to share, be it about software, recording techniques, ideas for kit then please pop a comment in below. I will collate them and publish with full credits if we get enough.

Competition update

All ten Crush It books have now been claimed. I will be notifying winners next week. What competition? Listen to the very end of the podcast and it will all make sense.


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0 Responses to “Think Vitamin Radio: Learning from feedback”

  1. Hardware or software compression will do wonders. You should apply a compressor to each individual track and probably also EQ to increase the clarity of each voice. If you have a lot of background noise, put a noise gate before the compressor with a high enough threshold to keep the background from distracting and triggering the compressor.

    Using a good radio microphone (e.g. a Shure SM-7) would help as well, but that can start to add up really quickly.

    Finally, you should put some kind of stereo bus compressor on your master channel (or some “mastering” plugin) to get the overall levels up to what is considered normal in relation to other recorded audio.

    Nick covers a lot of the other things I would suggest as well, but yes. Get some reading in on basic home recording and it’ll go miles towards improving the technical side of the presentation.

  2. I think just slapping a limiter on the master bus as previously suggested would have helped a lot, since the level was really low. Also, since you’re using a large-diaphragm mic–which should be quite sensitive–you could increase the distance from the mic in order to lessen the changes in loudness when moving in front of it. It will pick up more room sound this way, but depending on the room characteristics this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can also try switching phases on single mics and see if it improves the overall sound. Experimentation is key, have fun! –Cheers

  3. This is really good article. just check out this too for more info regarding same article.. watch weeds free…
    In my opinion you should focus on less subjects, but go deeper on them.


  4. Surprisingly, I have not seen much about post processing being discussed yet (maybe I missed it). What are you using to edit?

    For Doctype and other shows I’ve worked on, I usually use Pro Tools with an Mbox 2. My process basically goes like this:

    1. Set levels before recording.
    2. Record each voice to a separate track.
    3. For each track, run noise reduction. I use Amadeus Pro for this, which is another app. It’s much cheaper than noise reduction plug-ins for Pro Tools and it works great.
    4. Apply a compression filter to each track, being careful not to over compress voices. This will help level out particularly loud sounds in a person’s voice, making it easier to listen to.
    5. Equalize each track. Cut any stray frequencies or hissing noises, and then boost the frequencies that help articulate the tonality. I find that the core of most peoples’ voices is in the 2.5-3.5Khz range. I’ll usually add in a little bass, too (if you don’t use a pop filter, adding bass will emphasize plosives).
    6. When someone is speaking, cut out the other tracks. This will reduce noise/hiss and, if the mics are close together, it will reduce echo (the speed of sound is actually very slow, and can noticeably hit each mic at different times if you’re not careful). I’ve seen other people cut out echo by inverting the waveform of the other tracks and applying fancy filters, but this doesn’t always sound good.

    Here are some links:

    How to Use a Parametric Equalizer – via Tuts+

    Digidesign (for Pro Tools)

    Amadeus Pro (Mac OS X only)

  5. I’m involved in radio as well as web development, and a top tip for mic distancing is you should be about a fists distance away from the mic. Also set your mic levels before recording to ensure you don’t over do it on the gain/volume.

    On a mic front, unless you already have purchased, I would recommend a mixer like the Behringer XENYX 1204FX with phantom power for the mics, and some good quality condenser mics like SE Electronics, Shure, or Behringer.


    • Cheers for the info Matt. We are in fact using a Xenyx 1204FX, along with Behringer C-1 condenser mics.

      The guidelines were to try to stay about 4-6 inches away from the mic, but this does of course take a bit of time to get fully used to. As already mentioned, pop filters were something we wanted from the beginning and will hopefully have for episode 2, plus I’d really like to play with and test compression / gate settings for future episodes.

      • The pop filters will also help you with your distance from the microphone since you can position the filter 4-inches away from the mic and tell your talent to remain comfortably close to the filter, which will usually end up being about two inches for most people. It is lot easier for people to approximate comfortable than it is to tell them a numeric distance.

        You might want to check out the technique section of Sound on Sound magazine: http://www.soundonsound.com/articles/Technique.php. There are some great articles on compression and microphone techniques in there will help you refine your skills as you venture more into podcasting.

      • Glad I could help.

        Personally at the studio we use a mic processor (and an ex-bbc mic processor for the presenters mic) in-line between the mics and the mixer, and a Behringer MDX2600 (Expander/Gate/Compressor/Peak Limiter) signal processor on the final output of the mixer for the internet stream, which folds back into the PC via an M-Audio Delta 66 for the streaming software, and its a little more complex for the FM output from the desk.

        In my own studio I use a 4 way mic processor as well, but my MDX2600 is used on the mixer output, before coming back into the PC for Adobe Audition 3 to do its thing.

        Adobe Audition 3 has a great VST plug-in called “The Multiband Compressor” which is only visible when you enable DX Effects. It basically saves me having to use multiple effects as I use to in the older versions. Use the broadcast pre-set and disable “Brickwall limiter” to get a good effect, but watch the output gain doesn’t peak. Running a preview should give you a good idea of a suitable level.

        Sorry I’ve seemed to have gone off on one there, little passionate about audio.

  6. Shownotes and transcript would be very useful, at least for me

  7. hey! I seemed you guys tried to put too much content in 20 minutes. Everytime I focused on another thing I felt like I’d missed a lot of the program, although it was only 30s. In my opinion you should focus on less subjects, but go deeper on them. other than that, it’s a great initiative and I’ll be here to listen to every podcast! cheers

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