Welcome to Ghost Rider Investigations Sunday, August 18 2019 @ 03:37 pm UTC

GRI Broadcast Studio Evolution: Early 2010 report

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Articles The GRI broadcast studios continue to evolve. I write these articles to help benefit others who do podcasting or, as I do, use BlogTalkRadio with Skype to host their shows.

In the last article, I described how I was using a cell phone to dial into the show and then dialed into the show via Skype on the broadcast computer as a call-in. That Skype computer is specially tuned to handle broadcast of Skype from the lessons learned from a great tutorial on the subject:

http://www.digitalpodcast.com/podcastnews/2007/12/25/how-to-record-a-podcast-using-skype/

This single article made it possible for us to change the entire way we did broadcast on BlogTalkRadio. Between that and the acquisition of a Belkin Desktop Skype phone, we experienced a complete revolution in the way we do our shows.

We recently made some changes in our dial in process as our lessons learned have gone forward. The current process for dialing in and setting up the show is as follows:
  1. Dial in on the Belkin Desktop phone. Mute the phone and turn down the volume. Place the handset on a towel to muffle any noise.
  2. On Blogtalkradio, mute the host mic for good measure (via the switchboard).
  3. Dial in from the broadcast computer.
  4. Answer the call in via the switchboard.
  5. Showtime T-1 minute, turn down the mixer input for mic and go into audio isolation and let the show start.
  6. Away we go!
The Studios

Our two-studio setup is very mature now and we alternate studios depending on what we want to do. I refer to the studios as "A" and "B".

Studio "A" is used for our primary show studio and is set up for in-studio guest interviews and podcasting work. It is soundproofed fairly well and has a very custom setup for our microphone work. We use a Shure SM7B studio grade microphone tied into a Behringer 1002 mixer and USB connection to the broadcast computer to tie the entire system together.

Studio "A" has the following compliment of gear:

  • Behringer 1002 Xenyx Premium 10-Input 2-Bus Mixer with Xenyx Mic Preamps And British Eqs
  • Shure SM7B Dynamic Vocal Microphone (primary)
  • Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone (alternate for guests)
  • Belkin F1PP010EN-SK Desktop Internet Phone for Skype
  • Behringer UCA202 U-Control Audio Interface
  • ART Tube MP Studio V3 Microphone Preamp and Limiter with Presets
  • Windows based broadcast computer

The ART tube MP preamp does a great job boosting the SM7B audio levels to a point where we can really drive the inputs properly. I've had to engineer this solution over time and was nearly ready to give up on the ART preamp until the purchase of the Behringer 1002 which balanced things out nicely. It is now a very acceptable setup and very enjoyable to do shows with!

Studio "B" is used as the EVP-live-broadcast system with our paranormal research work done from here on Thursdays. It also doubles as the emergency studio in case we have issues with Studio "A". As we have a lot of trees over studio "A" at the moment, I'm not too eager to be in "A" during storms, so "B" is the better place to be when we need to do shows during serious snow or rain storms.

Studio "B" has the following compliment of gear:
  • Behringer 502 5-Input Mixer
  • Radio Shack #32-2057 3 input mixer w/equalizer(for alternate mic input)
  • Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone (primary)
  • Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone (alternate for guests)
  • Belkin F1PP010EN-SK Desktop Internet Phone for Skype
  • Behringer UCA202 U-Control Audio Interface
  • Windows based broadcast computer
Support systems

Netbook computer for call management in studio B
Laptop computer for call management in studio A

Software

Audacity (latest version)
Sony Acid Music Studio 7
Winamp

Books

Broadcast voice techniques are best learned by practice practice and practice. I am often complimented on my "radio voice" and believe me, I've practiced to get that. One book that helped a lot was the following:

Broadcast Voice Handbook, 4th Edition: How to Polish Your On-Air Delivery (Hardcover)

It is expensive, but a good reference on HOW to use your voice and develop it for broadcast work. I'm still no professional, but am getting there! There are many good books on voiceover work and voice acting that I also have picked up along the way and it makes sense to study them often and keep listening to other experienced voice actors and learn from them. You are never too old to quit learning.

Final thoughts

It's been a journey! I'll never be done with the studio, but I'm enjoying it very much and will keep you up to date with how we are doing as things evolve.

The lessons we've learned to date revolve around the fact that dual-Skype dial-in on a single high-speed network line is possible. This realization has saved us having to use the cell phone to dial in and we've experienced no dropped calls yet when using the Belkin Skype dedicated desktop phone to host the call.

The other item is to never quit searching for improved broadcast quality. By doing the needed work to improve studio quality you will really get to know your gear and be able to configure it on a moment's notice when special requirements rear their head unexpectedly.

Finally, learning to use the Skype metrics reports to track what is happening with your broadcast computer is essential for success. Learn to watch what your network is doing and make sure to tune it as needed to insure you can get the most out of your Skype dial-in connection(s).

Feel free to write in to share your stories or ideas about broadcasting over the internet!