Equipment

I’ve always wanted to share information on how we make the show, so here it is: all the equipment/software we use to record our show. Any questions or requests for clarification/more information are welcome via e-mail or the forums.

NOTE: As of the end of 2012, this page is a bit out of date.  I’ll be updating it in the new year.  Unless you’re reading this much later and it hasn’t been done.  In that case, I’ve forgotten.

Hosting

  • The podcast audio files are hosted by Libsyn.  Any podcaster that isn’t independently wealthy/famous should probably go with Libsyn.  Paying for the bandwidth (even for a small podcast) otherwise would be pretty cost-prohibitive.
  • The rest of the hosting (the main website, the forums, other miscellany) is through GoDaddy.
  • The website itself (the one you’re looking at right now) is run on the fantastic WordPress blogging engine.  We use the Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting Plugin for managing the RSS feed’s media enclosure on the site.

Audio Equipment

  • Mics are the unfortunately discontinued Plantronics GameCom Pro 1 USB mics.  I love the sound quality and the general toughness of them (I’ve stepped on the mics a few times, and we’re not entirely gentle with them sometimes).  The USB connection does pose a problem with recording, which I’ll get into with the recording software.
  • For recording software, we use Adobe Audition 3.  I had to buy this because it’s the only piece of software (that I could find, at least) that will record multiple sound cards at the same time.  The headsets we use create a new soundcard for each one that gets plugged in, so finding a piece of software that will record all that mess was rather vital.  On top of all that, Audition is a high-quality (albeit pricey) piece of software.
  • A computer with enough USB ports to wrangle all that mess.  I think the maximum number of people we can have on the show is seven right now (though that would be a complete nightmare to listen to).

Audio Settings

  • For the audio, after putting in all the music and additional sections, I normalize the entire episode to -1db.  I then compress the audio down into a 64000kb mono MP3.  Mono MP3s are perfect for podcasts that primarily feature a few people sitting around speaking, and most older video game music is low quality enough that it doesn’t get damaged by getting compressed that much.
  • To edit the ID3 tags on the episodes, I use MP3tag, which I can’t recommend enough for podcasters.  It makes ID3 tagging much, much easier.

Remote Audio Recording

  • We have the great fortune to be able to all be in the same room during recording.  However, when we’re not together (usually due to Northeastern Ohio weather), we all record using Skype (that’s also how we do voice mails).  Each host records their own mic output themselves using Audacity.  After recording, all the individually recorded tracks get edited together using Adobe Audition.
  • As a backup recording method over Skype for when things inevitably go badly, we use Pamela.  The quality is relatively good and it’s relatively cheap.

Video Equipment

  • The camera we use is a simple Flip Mino HD (the older 1hour version).  While it’s surely not film quality, the ability to shoot in 720p for a relatively cheap price was hard to resist.
  • We host the videos on YouTube, primarily because it’s free.  Also, it’s a pretty big site, so we know it won’t disappear overnight.
  • The editing is typically done through, oddly enough, Windows Live Movie Maker.  The newest version (at time of writing) is excellent for simple videos that don’t need much editing.  It also edits anything we shoot on our iPhones.

Video Settings

  • We records in native 720p (1080×720), 16:9, at 24fps.  All video posted use the same settings through the entire production pipeline.

Production Computers

  • My (Boston) computer is a self-built, 2.8GHz triple core AMD machine.  It has 4GB of RAM and an nVidia 9800 GTX video card.  I edit and produce the podcast on Windows 7 Ultimate.