Recording With MacAdmins

Greetings, Starfighter! You’ve been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada.

Pardon. Wrong script.

Hello and welcome to the MacAdmins Podcast! We’re so glad you’re joining us for an episode, and we look forward to chatting with you. This guide is here to help you get ready to record with us, so you sound great, and so we can all work together seamlessly.

Recording Basics

We record every individual audio feed for MacAdmins. This makes everyone sound crisp and clear, and makes the listening experience pleasant for our listeners. While we’ll use Google Hangouts to coordinate and talk live (more on that in a minute), we record separately for maximum quality.

You Will Need a Mic

If you’ve got a USB Microphone of any kind (like the Blue Snowball, or an XLR Mic with a USB Interface (like the Blue Icicle), those will be perfect for recording. If you have an Apple EarPods Headset with Microphone, that will work in a pinch. If you find yourself completely without a way to record, let us know ASAP and we can make arrangements for you.

And Headphones

You will also need headphones of some kind. Microphones are sensitive, and if you’re playing your audio back over external speakers, your microphone will pick it up. Please use headphones, even a basic set of EarPods or el-cheapo headphones are just what the doctor ordered. If you use Apple EarPods Headset with Microphone or any other headset with a button toggle on the cord, please don’t scratch your face or beard or fiddle with the remote as this creates very loud percussive noise in the recording. Our editor and mixing engineer thank you.

And A Place To Talk

The most important part is you being comfortable. Have a place where you feel at home, where you are not too hot or too cold, where you can be still for an hour.

Room tone is something we can correct for, but it’s nice not to have to. A medium-sized room with good carpet is a welcome studio. Hardwood floors are fine, but a nice rug will tie the whole room together and dampen your echo. If you’ve got any kind of room noise (e.g., air conditioning/heating, fans, fridges, microwaves) in your space, maybe turn that off for the hour we’ll be together or pick a quieter place. Road noise happens, but it’s always better if you can close the drapes to soak up the sound.

In addition, isolating the microphone’s mount, or computer if that’s the mic source, from the table you’re sitting at (e.g. a mic/computer stand, large book, thick fabric) to minimize thumps and thuds when typing on your keyboard, placing your drink down, or hand movements on the table.

A Good Internet Connection

We use Google Hangouts to do our live coordination, and we’ll make sure that you get access to that on the day of the recording. Hangouts is a bit bandwidth hungry, so we tend to recommend somewhere with business-grade Internet access with at least 10Mbps down and 5Mbps up. To test your connection, visit Speedtest.net and check things out.

A Way To Record

We recommend Audacity for recording locally. You can get it for free from their website. You can set the correct input easily in the top menu bar next to Core Audio, and select your source. We’re always happy to troubleshoot your recording setup, just let us know! Plan on 350MB of free disk space to record your audio.

Audacity Settings

We would love it if you could record in Mono, with a sample rate of 44.1Khz, with a 16-bit sample rate. These settings are in Preferences > Quality:

Mono and Source

Sample Rate and Format

When it comes to setting the correct volume, snap or click your fingers the same distance from the mic that your mouth would be during recording. The aim of the game is to make sure the meter doesn’t go “in the red” when you’re making the loudest noise you think you’ll make. You want to see a finger click reach the -6dB make on average. See this GIF for an example:

Microphone recording volume click-test

When the recording done, use File > Export Audio to save your track in AIFF or WAV at 44.100KHz at 16 bits and upload it back to Google Drive.

If You Want a Failsafe For Recording

We recommend using your iPhone’s Voice Memos app to start a backup recording just in case something goes wrong. It is also recommended that your iPhone be in Airplane Mode as sometimes the cellular radio in your iPhone may add interference noise to your recording. If you need to leave your phone on, please move it at least 3 feet (1 meter) from your microphone.

Coordination

We Use Google Apps For Show Notes

We are happy to share the notes document from the get-go! Just let us know what your Google Apps email is, and we’ll send you an invite. Don’t have a Google Apps account? It’s free, and you can sign up at Gmail.com. You don’t need to use the account ever again if you don’t want to.

We Use Hangouts To Talk

It’s an easy coordination method, and we’ll put up the Hangouts URL about 30 minutes before we start gathering. You don’t need to use the camera on your machine if you don’t want to! Sometimes it’s easier to avoid cross-talk when they’re in use, though.

Tell Us About Yourself!

Let us know how you’d like to be referred to, your preferred pronouns, your job title (if you want it used or abstained from being used), your employer (if you want it used or abstained from being used), and any social media or projects you’d like us to mention during the podcast. If you’ve got a book coming out, or a new piece of software that you want to promote, let us know and we’ll help. We generally link to a guest’s twitter account, and to a webpage of their choosing and we’re happy to do that.

After the Fact

We’re happy to edit things out if you mentioned something that was against NDA, or something that needs to be retracted. Please tell us within 24 hours of recording if something needs to not be mentioned in the show and we’ll do our best to excise it.

If you want us to link somthing in the show notes, please let us know, and we’ll make sure that it goes in.