Gear From Simple to Complex and Back!

This is a topic I’ve delved into before and it has been on my mind lately. As some of you may know I’ve been on the move since the 9th of April this year from the Blue Mountains, NSW to New Zealand, USA, East Cork, Ireland, UK, West Cork, Ireland, USA, Kerry, Ireland, Sydney, Old Bar, Sydney, NSW and finally Highclere, Tasmania. It has been a year of learning and of culling down to the bare minimum. This has applied to “stuff” as well as attitudes.

The podcasting gear was looking like it might become an issue before we left. I was considering all kinds of additions. Boom arms and spoffles, soundproof panels and a whole wish list of goodies. The looming trip nipped all this in the bud. I was and am again using an old lab stand as a mic holder when I need to have the mic high as in google Hangouts. I like to have the mic in the top right corner of that image. I can speak to this at the right angle while still maintaining eye contact with the camera.

For audio production I use three options: 1, hand held; 2, mini tripod and 3, the lab stand.  That being said, number 2 option is the usual one I use.

I have managed to fit all that I need, including rechargeable batteries into a pencil case. See first pic.

This fits into a 20 litre backpack which takes my 11.6 inch laptop. All this is ideal for carry on luggage, if I’m or you are travelling. When unpacked you can see from pic 2 how much was fitted into the pencil case.

The key component is, of course, the Zoom H2n digital audio recorder. This works as a direct to drive mic for things like Hangouts or can be a direct feed into an editor like Audacity or GarageBand. Equally it can serve as a stand alone device. I usually use it as a stand alone. That way I have a copy of the audio on the SD card if the laptop file becomes corrupted or I just want to restart the editing process.

The other advantage of the Zoom is that it was designed for journalists to use in the field. There are a plethora of settings that allow for this option. That way I don’t need a super soundproofed studio. Some simple ideas like speaking towards heavy curtains to absorb the sound and stop echo or bounce. I had to record under bed clothes for this effect on a couple of occasions.

We have been in our current location for two weeks. I have yet to set up as I would like so my recordings are still a little echoie but I know that, warn my listeners and improve with each episode. It’s about knowing your gear, your location and respecting your listeners.

Takeaways

  • What do you really need?
  • Think about the reason you buy gear.
  • I like to travel light ~ by necessity then by choice.
  • If you are going to go big, do so with purpose.

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