August 1, 2014
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The making of a podcast (part 3): Fixing the audio Podcasts

Last time, I explained why I wanted the capability to record telephone conversations for “Dateline: RIT – The Podcast” newsmaker segments, and why I preferred the phone’s lower audio quality (compared with studio quality) for those segments. But I wanted good telephone audio (not necessarily an oxymoron). The solution for improving audio quality, for phone as well as studio recordings, was twofold.

Experimenting with a variety of hardware configurations and “fixing” the audio in GarageBand resulted in modestly better audio quality—but it still wasn’t to my satisfaction. An alternative for studio segments was to record them in the Tom Barker Studio, in the Teaching and Learning Technology Lab in Wallace Library. (My voice segments for episode one were recorded there and they were squeaky clean.) Long term, however, it wouldn’t have been convenient or practical—plus, I still had the challenge of enhancing telephone audio quality.

The solution to the dilemma of poor studio audio quality came with the addition of a key piece of hardware: a Marantz PMD660 portable digital recorder. I had already zeroed in on a Marantz digital recorder—and considered a few models—because I knew from my radio news reporting days that they have great features and are real workhorses. I researched and found a great deal on a package that included the recorder, a Compact Flash memory card, a microphone and mic stand, audio cable, headphones and a carrying case (all of which were needed). I subsequently upgraded to a one-gigabyte memory card, which enables about three hours of recording time (significantly more than the existing card allowed). The recorder features two XLR microphone input jacks (for higher quality recording), line in/out jacks and, best of all, a USB port.

In-studio audio quality was significantly improved using the Marantz. Plus, the recorder is ideal for field reporting. Last week, for the first time, I ventured with it outside the office to record RIT Libraries’ “Meet the Authors” forum featuring Dr. Sam McQuade, a cybercrime and cyber-ethics expert in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, for a possible future podcast.

The last piece of the puzzle—the solution to poor telephone audio quality—next time.

  1. The making of a
    Nov 22

    [...] Next time, I’ll share my solutions. For now, beginning with this blog post, I’ll regularly present brief highlights of “Dateline: RIT – The Podcast” whenever a new episode becomes available. [...]

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