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Podcasting question

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Toot, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. Toot

    Toot Guest

    Hey guys. I'm starting an old time improvisational radio-style podcast (think The Lone Ranger, or The Shadow) with some friends who are improv actors and other such loony characters. I need some recording tips and suggestions. If you don't have direct experience, that's ok... feel free to improvise. :)

    First off, I'm a recovering gear whore. Most of my stuff has been sold off over the years. What I still have left-over from my gear collection days seems to be:

    A bunch of cables (XLR, 1/4", RCA, etc);
    TASCAM US428;
    Shure SM58 along with a couple other random dynamic mics;
    Rolls +48V phantom power supply
    A single-channel preamp.

    The goal is to get that old time radio sound.. I mean, that's what takes it from being "just another podcast with people talking" to being, "Yeah.. I remember listening to stuff like that..."

    I have no set budget here except "low".I'm not trying to "wow" anyone with the recording quality, but I am trying to present something that is pleasing to the ears and is very reminiscent of the old time radio shows. If there's some background hiss because my pre-amps aren't the best, that's ok... most preamps in the 30's weren't that good either. My total budget will be around $400. It could double, but if I could get something close to what I wanted for half that amount, I wouldn't feel compelled to "spend up". Basically, I'm deliberately sort of looking for low-end

    So I had a few questions for your great minds out there...

    1a. I'm wondering about the low-$$ chinese ribbon mics. Would this be a good application for them?
    1b. If I go with ribbon mics, what kind of reasonable/low cost preamp would you recommend for them?
    1c. Anybody think I could get by plugging them straight into the US428's preamp?
    1d. Does anyone know where I can hear some spoken-word examples of any of the low-cost ribbon mics in action? Best I could find is a guy on youtube testing the VR88 against an ADK, both in the $300 price range, which may be more than I want to spend on the mic(s) alone for this project. But I do like the idea of using a ribbon mic for that authentic smooth tone for this project.

    2a. I'll probably start with about 5-6 people including myself, so I'm thinking I can get away with just 2 mics which are capable of a figure-8 pattern. For my application, I'm thinking they should probably be identical models to give some consistency to the sound quality.
    2b. Would anyone say the mics shouldn't be, or need not be, identical?
    2c. Is two mics enough? Bear in mind, we're not singing in a group, it'd be improv.. so people could sort of take turns, although you also want to give people the opportunity to move around a bit...

    3. Would anybody dare suggest that I just go for one single omni directional mic and have everyone in a big circle? My only concern with that is that is I'm not really sure people/voice-actors would really be able to "riff" on the microphone if they're too close to each other... and the circle might get tight with 6 people... and I could easily imagine "guests" coming by regularly to join in. I'm thinking it could get crowded fast. What do you think?

    4. Does anybody genuinely think I'd be happy just using a couple of dynamic mics straight into the board? I'm thinking I could do a little better than that with the above options, but maybe it wouldn't be a bad way to get started... still though, I think it will just sound "wrong".... If anyone wants to convince me otherwise, I'd be all ears.

    5. Anybody have any recording suggestions or tips about how to get that "sound" that I'm looking for? So far, my list includes
    "talk slowly" because spoken words in the early shows are much slower than we're accustomed to today,
    "don't hump the mic" because the recordings tend to be somewhat flat and the acting rather cardboard-like (another reason there to use the ribbon mics maybe?)
    and that's about all I've come up with so far... any more ideas about getting the sound would be greatly appreciated...

    Or any other advice or suggestions about anything else would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. Toot

    Toot Guest

    Was that too verbose?

    Simply put, does anybody have any ideas about how to go about replicating that "old time radio" sound?

    Any advice on how to physically set up to record 5-6 spoken parts in the same session would also be great.

    And any advice on reasonably/low-priced mics would be appreciated as well.

    Thanks in advance.

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