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Summary:

I’ve got a friend who teaches at a University. He told me they’re talking about getting Macs for the department, with the intent of creating podcasts that their classes can download for notes and such. But he wasn’t sure what the best setup may be for […]

I’ve got a friend who teaches at a University. He told me they’re talking about getting Macs for the department, with the intent of creating podcasts that their classes can download for notes and such. But he wasn’t sure what the best setup may be for this situation.

Here at The Apple Blog, we’ve considered dropping Podcasts on the general public, but clearly have yet to take that dive. So I’d love to hear some feedback on your podcasting setups. I’m looking for solutions that are relatively simple, but with a balance of features for growth. And I don’t know the budget that would be available, so let’s hear feasible examples please. The solutions should probably include microphone input hardware and such as well.

I know the latest iteration of Garage Band has a lot of Podcasting capability built in, so that is probably a no-brainer – but I really don’t know the ins and outs, so there’s likely better software available. Thanks in advance for the input!

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  1. I have not yet used Garage Band 06, but I used to do a podcast some time ago and used GarageBand05 for everything. I used a mic to record the vocal track, then mixed in intro and outro music as needed and then exported the whole thing to an mp3. The latest version is supposed to make the process even easier.

  2. I think iLife might be all they need. There are a couple tools out there, but I haven’t used them.

    M-Audio makes a podcasting studio bundle with a high quality mic, amp/DAC, and some software. Also there is an app from Potion Factory that purports to make podcasting even easier.

    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/PodcastFactory-main.html
    http://www.potionfactory.com/podcastmaker/

  3. For my podcasts, I use Audacity to record. We have a Behringer UB804 (?) mixer from MusiciansFriend.com, two mics. The mixer plugs into the audio-in jack on our iMac G5. In this regard, Garageband doesn’t see two users, so that isn’t a big plus for us. For telephone interviews, we use GizmoProject. It all works like a champ.

    I’ve had good luck with Audio Hijack Pro doing the recording as well, but then edit the file in Audacity.

  4. I would think that for a Professor to record during lecture a bluetooth headset (like the handsfree cell phone ones) would work very well. That way you can walk around and play on the white board w/o having to worry about cords or cables. I’ve found that these headsets give you a “good enough” mic without going high price.

  5. http://www.podcast411.com/mixer.pdf

    Here is my setup. It is optimized for recording Skype Interviews and also just recording directly into the computer.

  6. Theres is a complete solution from apple called iTunes U or itunes university which is free . Stanford and some other at US and some in Canada are using this solution and it comes with complete life cycle of developing the podcast until the publishing. you can look it up in apple.com and stanford.edu and get more info. We tried to to the same at Ryerson in Toronto but it failed because of some political issues. If you have more questions don’t hesitate to email m e.

  7. Ken Cieszykowski Wednesday, December 6, 2006

    My University (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee) went all Mac a while ago. For basic podcasting needs, we use GarageBand — it is the simplest and most powerful thing that amateurs can use. It can be taught super quick, and is cost effective (as it comes with all Macs).

    As for inputs, we have a couple studio quality mics that are hooked up to a mixer, which is in turn hooked up to the Line in. The microphone cost a few hundred dollars (a decent one can be had for around a hundred dollars), but I’m not too sure how much mixers cost. Ours has about 8 different inputs for minidisc/cart/mic1/mic2/mic3/tape/CD, etc.

    Our equipment was purchased a few years ago, so quality may have improved or price may have gone down… but you can get something that sounds damn near professional quality for a couple hundred dollars.

    … shameless plug, but our classes PodCast is PantherCast, found on iTunes or http://panthercast.blogspot.com

  8. Take a look at this pretty cool Podcasting suite. It works actually pretty good altough it is still beta. Very promising.

    http://www.ubercaster.com/

  9. Unfortunately, our education system is notoriously strapped for cash. For them to purchase a bucketload of audio hardware to start out with is ridiculous.

    If they are doing a simple one-person podcast, then they certainly could start out using the stock Mac software (assuming their edu machines come with iLife) and a built-in mic. It’s not the best quality, no, but it will work as a start.

    If they would like to invest a little bit of money, the first thing I would purchase is a quality USB microphone (maybe the Blue Snowball?) and still use GarageBand as their recording software.

    If they want to invest a little more money for a better quality sound, then I think a stripped down version of what Rob Walch (see comment above) has would work well: a quality mic, a USB Audio Interface, and maybe a small mixer like the Behringer UB 802. This will allow them the ability to expand to more than one microphone.

    My approach to recommending equipment to new podcasters is to first evaulate what they want to do and give them three options – simple to more complex. Nothing above is really that complex but it can be if you have to justify costs versus return. There is no one size fits all podcasting rig.

  10. Garageband, Blue Snowball mike, Feeder.
    Colleagues struggling to use Audacity have mostly given up.

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