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Expert Podcasting Practices For Dummies® by Terra, Evo, Morris, Tee

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Chapter 18. Setting Acceptable Sound Levels

In This Practice

  • Understanding gain staging

  • Using an external preamp

  • Avoiding distortion

Recording studios and broadcast facilities have rack after rack of equipment, all designed to change, alter, and enhance audio for presentation to the public. Chances are, you don't have access to that kind of equipment — and you might not know what to do with it if you did. One of the great things about podcasting is that you don't need that kind of facility to create a show. All you need is a computer and a decent microphone that can connect to your computer. The headset microphone you use for chatting with your video game's strike team probably won't work, but plenty of other low‐cost options will.

No matter what equipment you use, however, you need to make sure that you get the proper volume levels for your recording. Levels that are too low could allow static and other noise into the recording, and your listeners will be forced to crank their volume knobs in order to hear anything at all (providing a rude awakening when the normal volume recording up next blasts them out of the room like a Schwarzenegger stunt). Crank it up too much, and it's going to sound distorted no matter what you do to it later. It's impossible to fix that kind of a problem during mixing. The best practice is to record at the right level the first time.

Controlling Volume: All the Gains in Stages

The first step in getting good sound levels is understanding gain‐staging. Between ...

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