My podcasting “studio” has always been a home studio, a 12′ x 13′ bedroom that obviously wasn’t used as a bedroom. It started out as my wife’s sewing room, but she outgrew it and occupied a bigger space (which she needed to hold all her sewing equipment, fabric, and other supplies). Around 1999/2000 I took it and converted it into The Yellow Studio. I posted this podcast episode over at LeaningTowardWisdom.com to show people how I podcast (Version 1.0). My workflow has never changed, despite the major changes in equipment. I use a broadcast workflow, meaning I prepare, prepare, prepare, then I hit RECORD and go (incorporating a minimal amount of editing). The sound quality live is identical to recorded. That’s the advantage of hardware over software.
Around 2018 I made another major change by ditching my 20-year-old Heil Sound PR40 dynamic mics (two, pictured here), replacing them with large-diaphragm condenser mics. I don’t often recommend those to podcasters because most people don’t have a space that is acoustically suited for such mics. They pick up much more than dynamic mics. When they’re set up well, and proper mic technique is employed, they sound glorious though!
This is where I sat to produce my awesome podcasts through two versions of The Yellow Studio. 😉 I’m currently in version 3.1, but there aren’t any pictures (yet). Version 3.1 is a transition studio though because Lord willing, version 4.0 is coming soon! I’m in the process of putting 4.0 together.
I went from a good-sized rack of equipment to a single mixer. And I completely changed my microphones, too.
Here are some microphone ideas…because I’m always asked, “What can I get to improve my online audio without breaking the bank?”
One of the best USB mics is also very inexpensive – the Fefine K670.
If your budget can go up to $100 – I’m a fan of the Rode NT-USB Mini. The build and sound quality are excellent. It also has an excellent headphone amplifier so you can listen to exactly what’s going on in the recording (or live stream).
Rode now has a great pair of headphones coupled with a broadcast quality mic attached – Rode NTH100M. It’s less than $200 and ideal for most folks. I have one and love it.
Or, the Samson Technologies Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone. This mic is more friendly for most home environments. Dynamic mics won’t pick up every bit of background noise like condenser mics. This mic is widely used by podcasters and live streamers worldwide. You can plug this mic directly into your computer via the USB cord (included). You can also connect the mic to an audio interface via a more professional XLR cable.
A very inexpensive alternative might be a lapel mic with a USB connection. It’s infinitely better than the built-in mic on a computer, but you have to take care to place it just right for clear sound and to avoid clothing or your hands brushing up against it. The closer to your mouth – the better. Additionally, there can be noise generated from the cord if there’s excessive movement. But the cost is so inexpensive, it’s worth a shot!
Version 3.1 – Today’s version of The Yellow Studio
The focal point of The Yellow Studio Version 3.1 is a great desk. I’m currently using a Husky Workbench desk from Home Depot. It’s 52″ long and can be raised or lowered with a hand crank. It’s ideal for me. Version 4.0 will enjoy a larger one, 72″ wide. It has two drawers and the whole thing is on casters.
Inside The Yellow Studio (Version 3.1)
Apple Macbook Pro 2023 14″ M2 Pro with 32 GB RAM / 1TB Hard Drive and multiple Samsung T7 4TB SSD Drives
Multiple Monitors including a 29″ LG Widescreen as my main screen
The Recording Software (I’m on a Mac)
The Audio Plugin
I have others, but I never use them
The Boom Arms
The XLR Cables
The Field Recorder
The Field Microphones
Electro-Voice RE50B (two)
I use Zoom video conferencing for recording guest conversations (when I do them).
Additionally, I’ve got some cartoons, artwork, knick-knacks, and more, but right now they’re in The Yellow Studio 4.0. For example…
Version 4.0 of The Yellow Studio is in the assembling stage.
Here are a few key details (so far):
- The space is 12 x 12, a three-sided room off a master bedroom with 10-foot ceilings
- Two parallel walls have no windows or doors; the 3rd wall has large windows, which are covered by acoustic/thermal “blackout” curtains that are almost ceiling to floor (they’re yellow) 😉
- Beadboard has been installed and painted (white), about 4 feet high on all three walls
- All three walls, including the wall space around the windows, has toffee-colored acoustical fabric installed. The fabric doesn’t reflect sound. It’s very effective in dampening echo.
- There’s a 6 x 9-foot multi-colored rug for even more sound dampening (the room is acoustically better than versions 1 and 2 of The Yellow Studio; version 3.1 is gonna be hard to beat ’cause it’s a walk-in closet) 😉
- Two yellow chairs will be situated to create a new video recording space along one of the parallel walls
- The 72″ Husky Workbench, with 2 drawers will be on the opposite parallel wall. That’s where the Macbook Pro will reside with multiple wide-view monitors, the RodeCaster 2, power management, and external SSD hard drives. I’ll likely also keep the Elgato lights on that desk for Zoom coaching calls, etc.
- A Husky 48″ wide x 72″ tall red garage cabinet (with doors) will be on the wall with the yellow chairs. This cabinet will contain the knick-knacks and serve as the mic locker, along with miscellaneous cables, connectors, and other items necessary to keep The Yellow Studio operational.
- A small round table will be situated between the two yellow chairs
- The four Ballard Street prints will be hung on the wall behind the chairs…or the two photos I have (which I love)
I’m still in the figuring-it-out phase for video, including lighting. Since most of the video recording will be “from the field,” I’m leaning toward the new Insta360 ACE PRO (action camera). The Yellow Studio 4.0 is being designed to record audio or audio/video with one wall serving as the background (the wall where the yellow chairs will sit). I suspect multiple attempts will result in finding the sweet spot. But the field recording – being out and about – will be the most compelling because the local scenery is exceptional.
We plan to do some live podcasting, too (with an audience). Not sure how much live streaming I’ll do, but we’ll see. So far, this is how we plan to equip ourselves to do this:
- Insta360 ACE PRO action camera
- Rode Wireless PRO dual mic set up (for hosts or guests)
- Electro-Voice RE50B mics (2 for hosts, if guests are using the wireless mics – and I already have these!)
- Rode RodeCaster Duo Streaming Mixer (it’ll let us use two wireless mics, plus two XLR mics for a total of four)
Stay tuned. Use the contact page if you have any questions. I’m happy to answer them.