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So, you’ve want to start a podcast, but don’t have much experience with audio production, not a whole lot of time up your sleeve to learn the ropes, and don’t have access to a professional podcasting setup. What do you do?
Firstly, don’t stress! Making a great podcast doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need is an idea (which you already have), a computer and a basic understanding of simple recording software, and a USB microphone.
The NT-USB Mini is an excellent podcasting microphone for beginners. It’s affordable, easy-to-use, and sounds incredible. Of course, there are other ways to record a podcast that give you more options and flexibility, such as using the RØDECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio, but if you just want something that is simple to set up and use and sounds great, it’s an ideal option. Let’s take a look at how to record a podcast the quick and easy way using the NT-USB Mini.
The NT-USB Mini is a compact, studio-quality USB microphone that offers crystal-clear recording direct to a computer. Because it’s a USB mic, you don’t need an audio interface to use it – simply plug the supplied USB-C cable into your laptop or desktop computer and you’re ready to record.
The NT-USB Mini features an on-board headphone output with a precision level control so you can listen to your audio, plus a zero-latency monitoring mode for eliminating distracting echo that can occur while recording (accessed by pressing the volume control). There’s an in-built pop filter for reducing plosives (those harsh ‘b’ and ‘p’ sounds that can plague a recording), and a unique magnetic desk stand that absorbs knocks and bumps from your desktop. If you want to use a studio arm like the RØDE PSA-1 or desk stand like the DS1 to mount your mic, this is easily detachable. The NT-USB Mini also features an integrated 360-degree swing mount for quick and easy positioning in any recording setup.
To record a quick podcast, the easiest way to do so is using QuickTime Player if you’re on a Mac or Voice Recorder if you’re using a PC. These programs both come pre-loaded onto every computer, meaning you don’t have to download additional software. Below we’ll be using QuickTime as an example.
Once you’ve opened the application, start a new audio recording (‘File’ > ‘New Audio Recording’). Plug in your NT-USB Mini, then click the arrow beside the record button, and select the mic as your input device. Plug your headphones into the back of the mic so you can monitor your audio listen back to your recordings. To hear yourself in your headphones you will need to activate zero-latency monitoring mode by pressing the headphone volume control.
Ok, you’re ready to go! Hit the red button to start recording. As long as you are roughly a foot away from the microphone with your mouth directed towards the front of it, you should hear yourself loud and clear. When you’re done, hit the stop button, then save your recording. You just made a podcast!
Now that you’ve recorded a podcast, you need to get it out there into the world so people can listen to it. To do this easily, Anchor is a great option. This is a super simple web-based tool that allows you to easily upload and publish your podcast to platforms such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts. It even features a simple audio recorder just like QuickTime so you can record and share your podcast all online. Head to Anchor’s website to find out how it works.
Whooshkaa is another great option. Their Private Podcasts platform is particularly useful if you need only to share your podcast with a select group of people, for example, students in a class you teach or employees in your business.
You’ve recorded your first podcast, now you probably want to start exploring more advanced things like editing, audio processing, and adding music and sound effects. To do this, you will need to move on from basic software like QuickTime and get familiar with a Digital Audio Workstation (or DAW for short). Don’t be daunted, software like GarageBand and Audacity is free and easy-to-use, and will provide you with all the tools you need to make incredible podcasts. Below we’ll be using GarageBand as an example.
To get started, open GarageBand (note this is only available on Mac; the software should already be available on your computer, but if you have deleted it, you can download it again for free from the App Store) and start a new session (‘File’ > ‘New'). You will be prompted to create an audio track – ensure that your NT-USB Mini is set as your input and output device in this window. Click ‘Create’.
You will now see an audio track titled ‘Audio 1’. Go to ‘Track’ > ‘Configure Track Header’ and tick the box next to ‘Record Enable’. Now you will see a red ‘R’ button on your track; click it to record enable your track. Now as you talk into the mic, you should see the green level meter on the track moving, indicating the software is receiving audio from your microphone. Now you are ready to record! Hit ‘R’ on your keyboard or the red record button in the top toolbar to start recording (you may need to turn the metronome off!). If you make a mistake, you can stop and resume recording at any time and edit later.
Using this kind of software, you can make precise edits to your podcast, adjust your levels, add effects and audio processing to your voice (find out more about this here), insert music and effects, add pre-recorded interviews and other audio, and more – the possibilities are endless. Spend some time getting to know your DAW and the editing options available to you – some simple tweaks and flourishes can make a huge impact on the way your podcast sounds.
But what if you’ve got a podcast that features two people? Good news! You can connect two NT-USB Minis to the same computer. However, this isn’t quite as simple as plugging two mics into your computer and hitting record. There are a few steps you need to take to get this to work.
To use two NT-USB Minis with a Mac, you need to create an aggregate device. To do this, connect your microphones and open ‘Audio MIDI Setup’ (the quickest way to find this is to use the search bar). Click the ‘+’ on the bottom left of the dialogue box and select ‘Create Aggregate Device’. Rename the new aggregate device ‘2x RØDE NT-USB Mini’ or something similar and select both RØDE NT-USB Minis from the list of devices. You have now created an aggregate device.
Next, create an empty project in GarageBand. Choose the ‘Microphone’ audio track type and open up ‘Preferences’ by clicking the arrow in the input section. Select ‘2 x RØDE NT-USB Mini’ as both the input and output device. Close ‘Preferences’ and click ‘Create’.
You will now have an audio track, however, you need another track for the second microphone. Click ‘Track’ in the toolbar, then click ‘New Track with Duplicate Settings’. Identify which microphone is allocated to which track then rename both tracks to avoid confusion.
Change the input for the first track to ‘1 (2x RØDE NT-USB Mini)’ and change the Input for the second track to ‘2 (2x RØDE NT-USB Mini)’. Go to ‘Track’ > ‘Configure Track Header’ and tick the box next to ‘Record Enable’. Record enable each track and hit ‘Record’. Both tracks should now be recording simultaneously.
This is explained in the video above. Click the links below to see a step-by-step guide with images on a Mac and on a PC.
See, creating a podcast doesn’t have to be complicated! Using an NT-USB Mini (or any other RØDE USB mic), some simple free recording software, you can be up and recording in no time. Find out more about the NT-USB Mini here and check out all of the podcasting RØDE tools RØDE has to offer here.