Finding the Simplest Possible Setup, for Quick and Easy Podcasting

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There’s a lot to be said for simplicity. Especially when it comes to podcasting. If you want to get episodes out on a regular basis then, without a doubt, simplicity is key to that. 

This applies to equipment more than anything else. There’s a big danger, if you’re a gadget geek like me, that you can get lost down a very expensive and very complicated audio-gear rabbit hole...

I want to share with you three different setups that offer the simplest, quickest ways to podcast. That means when you sit down to record, you can record immediately. You won’t spend half an hour figuring out the mic settings, or the software setup, or why there’s a weird buzz in your headphones. You can just plug in and play. And that is how we build a loyal audience. By showing up every week and putting our all into the content…NOT the equipment.

 

How Do You Podcast?

First off, let’s look at your format. This is the deciding factor in which of the three setups you should choose. By format I really mean two things: 

 

1.     Who’s on your show?

2.     How do you record?

 

Take number 1 first, because... well, it’s number 1, isn’t it? Is it just you on the show? Or do you have a co-host? Do you also have interviewees? The number of people on your show, both hosts and guests, is a factor. 

Then, number 2. This applies only if you have someone else on the show. How do you record them? Will they be in the same room as you (in-person), or will they be online?

Once you've answered those questions, it should be easy to choose the right setup below. 

 

1. The Simplest Setup for One Person

If it’s just you, that makes things simple. We just need one mic, and a quick way to record it. 

For me, this comes down to the piece of kit we always have in our pocket: a smartphone. I could talk to you all day about how great the Zoom H5 recorder is. And it is. But, it’s an extra thing we have to carry around. And a new thing to learn. 

Instead, your smartphone is easy, familiar and, often, very powerful. 

The only thing they're not top notch on, is recording quality. For that we need an external microphone, and my favourite smartphone mic is the Rode Smartlav+ (see some comparisons here). This is a lavalier mic (a small tie-clip device that clips onto your shirt) and it plugs into any smartphone. Then, when you fire up your recorder app, it’ll draw audio from the Smartlav rather than your phone microphone. Much better.

Finally, how to record? Well, every smartphone that I know of has a dictation or a voice recording app as standard. Use that! Don’t bother with fancy external applications that offer bells and whistles. We’re going for simplicity here. The default iOS and Android ‘voice recorder’ apps work perfectly and make it really easy to share the file to Dropbox or to email it to yourself. 

 

2. The Simplest Setup for 2 People, IN-PERSON

The great thing is, the 1 person setup above is easily expanded for 2, especially if they’re in-person. All you need is the Rode SC6 adapter and a second Smartlav+. The SC6 adapter is a great little gadget that lets you plug two microphones into one smartphone. As an added bonus, you can also plug a set of headphones in to monitor the recording.

Once that’s set up, you can take a seat across from your co-host or your guest, pin on a mic each, and start chatting. The quality of the conversation is brilliant!

The only downside is that you have to sit still, since you're tied together by a few cables. That's fine for a half-hour conversation, but what about some quick on-the-go soundbites? Perhaps you want to move around an event and grab short conversations with other attendees. In that case, you want a handheld USB mic, like the Samson Q2U.

Just like the Smartlavs, you’ll be using your smartphone, because it’s simple! You’ll need a USB conversion cable for your phone - whether it’s USB to iPhone or USB to Android - but with one of them in place, you can plug the Samson Q2U right into your phone. Recording is then carried out with the same type of dictation app. 

 

3. The Simplest Setup for 2 (or more) People, ONLINE

Now that we’re online, the options change a little. This is because we need to record a call via the internet. It's still familiar, though: the recording software changes, but the mics stay the same. 

The most common method, and a really simple one, is to get hold of a good quality USB microphone - like the Samson Q2U I mentioned before - and record a Skype call.

If your guest has a Skype account already, this is pretty simple, but you are at the whim of the Skype gods. Call quality can be… ahem… variable. 

The alternative is a tool like Zencastr, of course. It works perfectly with a USB mic like the Samson Q2U, and it’ll get great quality audio from both sides of the conversation. Plus, it adds a few elements of simplicity to your workflow, like an easy link for your guest to jump onto the call. 

 

What About Editing?

Of course, if we’re going simple, it’s worth a quick chat around editing. For me, the simplest method is to record a show as if I'm doing it live. I'll act as if I'm going out on Facebook Live right there and then, so there’s no takebacks. Any mistakes I make are just laughed about, corrected and breezed past.

This approach means there's no editing afterwards. No post production, as the audio pros call it. It’s a much quicker publishing workflow, since all you need to do is make sure the volumes and the sound quality are polished up. And best of all, Zencastr can do a lot of that for you with it’s post-production tools.

Or, if you do need to do a bit of editing - there are a few mistakes or tangents that just can’t stay - then there’s always Audacity. Audacity is a free audio editor that can do just about everything you need. It’s reasonably easy to learn and pretty quick to work with.

If you want to make it even simpler, though, then you might want to take a look at Alitu. That's our tool designed to make audio editing and publishing as simple a process as possible.

You simply upload your recording - from your phone, from Zencastr, from Facebook live, or elsewhere - and then Alitu helps you with the rest. We have really easy tools to let you clip mistakes, cut out silence and split up clips. Then you can piece together your episode with the builder, bringing in listener clips, adverts, FX, etc, before publishing right to your media host. It can even add your theme music automatically during the export. 

 

Start as Simple as Possible

I’ve talked through some of the simplest setups possible here, so it’s just down to you, now, to get started.

 

Remember, the rule - keep it simple.

 

Don’t be sucked into a fancy equipment setup, thinking that a shiny mic and a digital recorder will somehow gain you listeners. It’s not about the mic or the editing. It’s about you and your message. Save time on setup and spend it on planning, practice and delivery instead.

Regular, engaging content beats pristine audio quality every day of the week.

 


About the author: Colin Gray is a podcaster, a speaker and a PhD in education. He and The Podcast Host team create podcasts on everything from mountain biking to space exploration. They teach how it’s done in the Podcast Host Academy and provide the tools to do it with Alitu, the Podcast Maker. 

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Posted on November 27, 2017 .

Ideas on the Future of Podcasts

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When Apple announced support for podcasts in iTunes, the movement of podcasting was christened and blessed, but it still had a ways to go. Early podcasts were mostly split between two categories: the standard “two dudes talking” podcast and re-uploads of NPR shows. While the most popular podcasts still fall into these categories, it was the podcasts that would follow that would innovate within the medium and let podcasts grow into their own right.

The biggest shift, by far, has been the rise of podcasts that justify the need to BE podcasts. You probably think of a handful, but the biggest by far is Serial. It was a show that grew alongside its audience. Both Sarah Koenig and the more than 5 million people who downloaded Serial every week had no real clue where the case of Adnan Sayed would end up and, when Serial did conclude its first season, I imagine she was just as disappointed as we were with the dead ends it left us on. Serial could have never been put to air for several reasons: it’s episode lengths varied wildly, the subject matter was too taboo, and it didn't end cleanly. That last reason is why TV never would have taken it either; networks like conclusions and nicely wrapped packages, Serial had none of those things. It’s spinoff show, S-Town, also told an intriguing story, but also would have never carried enough weight to justify a TV or Radio presence.

Critical Mass

Serial brought with it an unprecedented awareness of podcasts which can probably be directly linked to the success of the handful of independent podcast networks that would be started in its wake. These networks give support to shows that probably would have been lost to ambiguity in a pre-Serial world: improvisational “Shark Tank” spoofs, people arguing for hours about video games and comics, women talking about the experience of being Black, female, and single in New York, all of these podcasts have found audiences of varying size because of the strength of their networks, while not having to deal with the overwhelming stress that comes with a film or TV deal from a more mainstream media network.

Another large presence in podcasts is, oddly enough, YouTube creators. Personally, my favorite shows come from people who found initial success on YouTube, and they bring with them even more people who mostly consume their content online. Depending on the creator, their podcast will exist either alongside or separately from their channel. Some creators, film critics in particular, use their podcasts to discuss further what they said in a 4-10 minute movie review. Others merely use their podcast to talk about things that do not fit in with the “brand” of their channel. My favorite podcast, Hello Internet, is run by two huge education Youtubers: CGP Grey and Brady Haran. They use their show to talk about media, culture, and the world at large. While the podcast is entirely different from the carefully curated content that makes it to their YouTube channels, it is nonetheless entertaining. I expect more YouTubers to enter the podcast space as the promise of more loyal advertisers and a YouTube algorithm that favors longer videos both become stronger influences in their lives, and I’m excited to see what ideas they bring to podcasting.

What’s Next?

Podcasts are still a growing medium, and everything looks as if it is at a tipping point. Brands and creators are still after the NEXT medium, and podcasts certainly have the potential to be that medium. Podcast listeners engage with advertisers at a much higher rate than any other medium, and they are much more loyal to the shows they follow as well. Brands looking to start projects as podcasts may find relief not having to compete in busy time slots, or higher budgets. Anyone with a half-decent editing skills, a good idea, and a microphone can make a podcast worth listening to. There is, however, one big hurdle for podcasts that I have yet to see a solution for. There is no real way to discover new podcasts related to the ones I listen to. In other words, there isn't yet a “Netflix for podcasts.” To build such an application would require a bot capable of listening to every podcast in the iTunes catalogue, transcribing keywords, and sorting it into the relevant genres. Then, it would need to determine which shows are actually good before recommending it to a user. Such a bot would be expensive to build and run, but it would finally give podcasts the same ease of discovery that Netflix and YouTube have pioneered, and give podcasters the tool they've needed to expand their audience. 

About the Author

Samuel Polay is a blogger and podcaster from Atlanta, GA currently living in Austin, Texas. His site, Culture Vacuum, and its accompanying podcast (also called Culture vacuum) focuses on the world of entertainment and movies diving deeper into why some stories matter and why others don’t. He also hosts the improv based podcast Unwatchable with his two best friends from high-school and the interview podcast Camper Berries with his best friend from Summer camp.

Posted on November 19, 2017 .

Finding your big WHY—Podcasters share why they got into podcasting

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Are you thinking about starting a podcast?

If so, why?

Don’t get me wrong, there are many good reasons to start a podcast. I just want you to be clear going in. I believe the most crucial first step when starting a podcast is to work out WHY you’re doing it.

Want to be famous and top the charts? That’s a legitimate goal. And if that is your goal you should go after it: Research your audience, find the right content and format for them, and then promote, promote, promote!

But topping the charts is only one of the reasons you might start a podcast, and sometimes a focus on widespread popularity can get in the way of you successfully achieving your purpose.

This is why being clear on your purpose is so important, it sets the strategy for everything else you do around your podcast.

I talked to some podcasters about why they do what they do and have compiled a list of top reasons below. I hope you find them inspirational and help you clarify your big WHY.

 

To raise the profile of my business, or raise my profile and credibility as an expert.

Nathan Chan, Founder of Foundr magazine and podcast told me “it's an extremely efficient way to produce engaging content for our brand and grow our audience. From a business building perspective, the level of trust that is built if someone spends 30-40 mins listening to you speaking is incredible!”

This is a very common purpose and totally legitimate. For this one, the more listeners you have the better you'll do, however, focusing on the ‘right’ audience will be the most important thing.

In his book 1,000 True Fans, Kevin Kelly talks about the importance of finding your niche and catering for them at the expense of everyone else.

Aim to make a podcast that everyone will love and you’ll deliver a podcast that no-one will love.

 

For science!

Having a podcast can be a great way to research a topic and explore other’s experiences, perspectives and wisdom and share that with the world.

This is the primary purpose for my podcast, to research technical leader’s journeys, their failures, triumphs, and leadership lessons. I use their insights and quotes as part of leadership training through my business, and I’m writing a book to bring their collected wisdom together.

Mel Telecican of The Customer Centric Show agrees “I'm enormously curious about how other people do things and getting insight and knowledge into what are the best practices right now. I’m an educator, so by nature I like to facilitate learning and understanding for other people and a podcast is a great way to do that at scale”

 

To raise awareness of an issue and progress the conversation (e.g. around a disease, human rights or social issue).

This could be your sole purpose for starting a podcast, or a secondary one: To raise awareness and deepen the discussion of a cause you’re passionate about. Perhaps you believe in progressing gender equality issues, or you want to empower young people in a certain field, or certain way.

For example, as a secondary goal for my podcast I want to raise awareness around the challenges faced by women in the technology industries and the opportunities and benefits for women and the industry itself by getting more women involved.

 

To create a community.

Sean D’Souza of The Three Month Vacation has a focus on stories, people and community. He started out with commercial goals in mind, but over time what’s kept him going is sharing stories and the community that’s grown around this podcast. He told me “I don’t believe you have to struggle, but I don’t believe you have to be always growing your income and client list too”.

 

To be able to start conversations and relationships with people I wouldn't usually be able to access.

Jordan Harbinger who’s podcast The Art of Charm is one of the top 50 podcasts on iTunes told me “I love the conversations and the access and the network. I also really like being a positive influence on a huge amount of people.”

Having a podcast can be a great way to get a ‘foot in the door’, make contact and start a conversation with people you wouldn’t usually be able to talk to.

Which may sound a little nefarious on face value, but it doesn’t have to be. Especially if this is just one of your reasons for podcasting. Once you’re having the conversation, this is where your other goals and integrity can shine through.

Jordan focuses his conversations on helping people improve their lives rather than trivial gossip or grandstanding, and this comes through very clearly in his episodes.

Starting a new relationship is then just a pleasant by-product.

 

To build my confidence in public speaking and presenting.

This one is self-explanatory, and it works. I can vouch for that personally. It was never my main goal, but as a natural introvert I’m very happy with this as a side-effect.

It’s said most people fear public speaking more than death. And podcasting is very public. It can feel quite intimidating speaking into a microphone and getting no audience response back, just more silence to fill, stretching out in front of you.

But the more you do it, the easier it gets. And surprisingly, the comfort and confidence you gain speaking in this way rolls over into speaking in front of groups of people.

 

You might just enjoy talking to people and creating content.

Ronsley Vaz of Bond Appetit podcast and founder of We Are Podcast conference does what he does “because I love meeting new people and having great conversations.”

An easy goal to meet, and it’s not necessary to be top of the charts to do it. However, Ronsley’s podcast is listened to tens of thousands of listeners every week, so the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

If you have the right audience and you’re adding value for them, then doing what you love means you bring the dedication and passion to it to keep them coming back for more.

 

What about you?

Hopefully this article has given you a lot to think about. What’s your big WHY for podcasting?

It could be one of these, or something different again. In the end, it doesn’t necessarily matter what your purpose is, as long as you’re clear about it.

Podcasting can take effort and commitment. It’s your big WHY that will sustain you through the tough times, and ultimately lets you know what ‘success’ looks like for you.

 

 


About the author

Andrew Ramsden is a speaker, trainer, coach and podcast host specialising in productivity, creativity and strategy. He has a particular passion for leadership development, helping people level-up and unleash the great leader within. You can reach him at andrewramsden.me

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Posted on October 25, 2017 .

Grow your Podcast: Tried & tested tips.

There are a lot of posts, influencers and gurus promising you they can grow your podcast and monetize it in no-time. However, those that have been podcasting awhile know that it can be a slow burn and that getting over a couple of hundred listens an episode means that you’re doing better than most!

This post isn’t offering to make your podcast an overnight success. It’s not offering to make you millions with a podcast sponsor in a month. (We’ve seen these promises elsewhere!) This post is a collection of the tried and tested methods we’ve used to grow podcasts for little or no budget!

The first tip is simple however, it’s surprising how often podcasters don’t think of it...Make sure your podcast is everywhere, on all platforms. Break down all barriers for entry so that you are on every platform that a listener could find you. If you meet someone and tell them about the show, and they say “Oh yes, I have the SoundCloud app, are you on there?”, you should always be able to say yes. It can take a little bit of time to make sure your RSS feed is plugged into every platform, and to upload it to a couple of locations each time, but it is worth it in the long run!

Our second tip is a strange one for someone trying to push audio, but it is forced upon us by social media algorithms. It’s a fact. Facebook loves video! Video on social media platforms like Facebook outperforms text and image posts by a very large margin.

So how do you leverage video for audio, but on a tight budget? You can cut an audio clip of your podcast, something that really grabs attention, then take your episode or podcast artwork and use an online tool (like ours) to create an animated waveform over the episode artwork. Upload this to Facebook and it’ll perform better than your regular posts. For best results, use the auto-caption feature on FB video to add written captions to your clip.

Our third tip is to let your podcast guests help you market your show. After an interview, ask your guest to tweet the podcast to their following. Maybe they’ll even put it out to their mailing list. After all, you probably pushed their latest book or product on the pod, so why wouldn’t they want to get more coverage of that?!

Just remember a few things when asking guests to promote your show:

1.) They don’t have to. (It’s your show; not theirs.)

2.)  Make it easy for them: Write out some example tweets or even use ‘Click to Tweet’links so that they don’t even have to copy/paste into Twitter.

3.)  Don’t be upset if they don’t immediately promote the show. Even if it takes a couple of weeks, it will get a second wave of listeners when they do.

One final tool that is very simple but has been becoming more and more successful of late: Instagram! Make a piece of episode-specific artwork and post it on Instagram then go live on Instagram stories to talk about what was in the episode, show your personality as the host, and don’t forget to update that bio link with each episodes URL. IG is an interactive platform that portrays personality brilliantly, so what better way can you get someone to find you and your podcast!


About the author:

This blog post was adapted from Abrupt Audio’s Super Duper Podcast Promo Checklist. Chris Huskins founded Abrupt Audio to help podcasters grow their audience. Abrupt Audio is based in the UK and can be found at abruptaudio.com.

Posted on October 10, 2017 .

How to Effectively Podcast for Your Business

The 5 Critical Elements That Lead to Engagement & Conversion.


Podcasting can be a powerful part of a content marketing strategy. It can be a great way to connect with and convert customers. However, all too often marketers get caught up in the thrill of podcasting and forget their goals. Flash forward a few months and suddenly they're looking at return on their investment of time and money and coming up empty-handed.

If this is you (or if you want to avoid this being you), here are the 5 things you should make sure you do in each and every episode of your podcast

 

1. Talk to Your Ideal Client

This is the BIGGEST mistake podcasters make - they forget that their podcast is for their listener, not themselves (psst, it's time to check your ego!) When creating a podcast to help promote a business, brand or service, you need to know who you’re targeting. If you don’t, you better figure it out! Who is that ideal client (some call them your avatar)? You need to be crafting your content around their needs. And, always speak to them directly so they know this show is for THEM.

2. Manage Guests Carefully

This relates to the first point (you can pretty much expect all of my points to be about being listener-centric). Most importantly, your guests should be chosen based on the value they bring to your potential customers (not just because they asked or were recommended through a publicity service). Know this - they have an ulterior motive for being on your show (shock...I know). They’re either the most selfless human on the face of the earth or they have something to promote. So, make sure you keep them on track. Agree ahead of time what will be discussed and then keep the conversation flowing in that direction. If you're recording your sessions on Zencastr, you can always go back later and edit out any part where they got away from you (thanks to separate track recording). Remember it’s your show (which is for your audience) and your 'guest' should act like one.

3. Give Mad Value

You've heard this before. It’s not a suggestion. You should be asking yourself each episode: Did I give my audience huge value? You need to really check in on this. Make sure your podcast isn't just you talking, it's you delivering the goods. Every time. You never want to take your listener (AKA potential customer) for granted, and wasting their time is taking them for granted! Deliver the goods they came for. The best self-filter is to keep asking yourself, “Will my listener care about this?” If the answer is yes, you’re golden.

4. Deliver a Takeaway

You might be thinking, 'Hey, didn't we just cover this? Isn't giving mad value the same as delivering a takeaway?'. Good thinking...but it's more than that. You want to make sure your listener remembers all of that good value, right?  So, pack it up all nice-like, put a bow on it and send them off with it at the end of your show. By recapping the most essential parts of the podcast into an easy-to-digest 'takeaway', you're taking care of your listener AND helping them to get the most out of the value you just dropped on them. Think of it as a parting gift that they'll have to remember your podcast by - as in, they'll remember how useful/intelligent/caring/insightful you are well after the podcast is over. Oh, and they'll be much more inclined to take the action you call for at the end of the show - which leads me to...

5. Don't Forget the CTA

It never ceases to amaze me how many of my clients forget to tell their listener what to do at the end of their podcast. They've gone through all of this effort in making a podcast, proving their worth and superiority and then they say, 'k, bye' and leave their potential client hanging. After all of this effort, don't you think it makes sense to tell your listener how to take the next step in, ahem, hiring you or buying your stuff? If you are using your podcast as a marketing tool, you absolutely must take care of your listener right to the very end by telling them what to do next. Now, it doesn't always have to be 'buy my stuff,' but it should be the next step on their journey with you - whether that is subscribing, joining a Facebook group or downloading a freebie. If they like you, they'll take that step. If they aren't sure, they might wait until next time but one thing is for sure - if you don't tell them what the next step is, they won't take it.


If you're using your podcast to grow your business or brand, you need to make sure you keep your listener in mind constantly, manage your guests, give made value (put a bow on it at the end) and don't leave them hanging without a call to action (CTA). If you can do this consistently, you'll be well on your way to having an engaging podcast that converts listeners into fans and fans into customers.


About the author:

Tim Wohlberg is a podcast performance coach with over 25 years of broadcasting experience. He helps podcasters gain mic confidence, sound more like a pro and convert more listeners into customers. Grab his free “Engaging Podcast Blueprint” at www.podcastperformancecoach.com/blueprint

Posted on September 22, 2017 and filed under Business.

Zencastr 1.0 Has Launched With Great New Features

I'm very exited to have reached this milestone with all of your help.  While in beta Zencastr was tested by over 10,000 users who recorded 30,000+ hours of podcasts!  Thanks so much to all of you who helped with this effort.  It gave me a lot of information to work with to help track down bugs and improve performance.

This has confirmed to me that there is increasing demand for a product like this and it's time to double down.  The plan has always been to charge for Zencastr's services once the beta was over but I also wanted to add some extra features to make it even more useful and timesaving for you.

So Whats New? 

Live Editing Soundboard

At the top of the recording page you will now see a soundboard.  This allows you to Inject your intro, outro, advertisement, or other sound bite into your show in real-time as you record.  You can trigger the sounds by clicking the button or by using the 1 - 9 keys on your keyboard.  You can customize these sounds to be whatever you want.  You can even add .mp4 video files and playback the audio from them.

The goal is to save you as much time as possible while making the quality of your shows better than ever.  Using this tool you can potentially skip postproduction editing entirely.  You can loop the audio if you have a loopable music track and it automatically fades out when you are done and click to stop.  You can also adjust the volume on the fly using the volume meter across the top of each sound.  

The audio played will be sent through the voip channel so you and your guests can hear it together.

I'm excited to see how you guys use this and how it can be improved. 

 

Live Monitoring 

You can now enable microphone monitoring to hear yourself in the mix in real-time so you can adjust levels accordingly and guarantee the best possible result.  This is helpful in making sure your levels sound good against the levels on your soundboard samples.

Multi-track Postproductions

Many of you were interested in the automatic postproduction feature but also wanted to be able to edit the files in mult-track afterwards.  Now there is an advanced option for postproductions where you can opt to receive separate wav outputs for further editing after the audio enhancements have been applied.

Powerful User Cards

Along with the volume meter, you can now see what microphone a guest has selected.  Now you can be confident that they haven't accidentally selected the wrong microphone.  Additionally, you will see a warning if the guest is low on disk space.  You can hover over this to see exactly how much space they have left.

Can can also mute and raise/lower hands from the user card.

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Hang Up Call

A much requested feature.  Now you can turn off the VoIP call while you are waiting for the uploads to finish.  No more awkward moments listening to each other go about your day.

 

Full Redesign 

Zencastr now has a beautiful minimal theme.  The UI/UX has been combed over with a fine-tooth comb to make the experience as intuitive and polished as possible for you and your guests.

Performance Optimizations

Many optimizations have been made to allow Zencastr to run smoothly on new and older hardware alike.

Much More

There are countless new enhancements and refinements that make Zencastr a simple yet powerful tool.

 

Pricing

Hobbyist Tier - FREE

  • 8 hours per month of recording time
  • Up to two guests per show (3 total)
  • Record in high quality MP3 format
  • Pay-per-use automatic postproductions

Professional Tier - $20 per month

  • Unlimited recordings per month
  • Unlimited guests per show
  • Live editing soundboard
  • Record in lossless 16-bit 44.1kHz WAV format
  • 10 hours per month of automatic postproduction time

Network / Enterprise Tier - Coming Soon

  • Manage multiple hosts and podcasts under one account
  • Consolidated billing and cloud drive
  • Advertiser Matching / Dynamic Ads

 

Just The Beginning

The move to paid plans will give me the fuel I need to bring on some help and build out the next phase.  There is some great stuff coming soon.  What would you like to see next?

Posted on November 20, 2016 .

Configurable Postproductions, Optional WAV Recordings, and More Reliable VoIP

Hey Friends,

I've got a few updates and bug fixes for you this week.

Configurable Postproductions

I've added the ability to configure the enhancements that are applied to your postproductions.  When you create a postproduction you will now see an 'Advanced Options' button below the tracks.  The default settings are generally pretty good so you don't need to worry about changing these unless you know what you are doing.

  • Loudness Target - This is the target volume for the tracks.
  • Leveler - Adjusts the volume of the tracks so they are all the same.  Also normalizes the volume within the tracks so you don't have quiet and loud segments.
  • Noise Gate - This will remove background noise when the speaker on the track is silent
  • Cross Gate - When it detects a speaker on one track, it will duck the volume of the others.

Optional WAV Recordings

Many of you requested to make the WAV recordings optional since they take a fair amount of time to upload after the recording is finished.  Simple enough to do.  I have now added a setting on the dashboard that lets you opt in/out of wav recordings.  The default is off so make sure you turn this feature on if you do want to record in WAV.  You will find the setting just below the cloud drive information.

More Reliable VoIP

Without getting too technical, the built-in VoIP was unable to operate if you or your guests were in large, complex networks that are common at office spaces and universities.  A few of you ran into issues with this.  I have now set up another server that will help Zencastr's VoIP connect even in these circumstances. If you have contacted me about this in the past, please let me know if this has resolved the problem or if there is some more work that needs to be done here.

Thank You

Thanks for all the feedback, well-wishes, and support you guys give me.  It is great to see so many people finding value in the project and invested in it's success.  I hope to add a lot of great features in the future.  Please keep the feedback coming in.

Until next time.

Posted on January 25, 2016 .

Record Now in Lossless 16-bit 44.1 kHz WAV

Hey Guys,

You've been asking for it since day one and it's finally ready.  In addition to the regular MP3 recordings, you will now have a lossless WAV file for each participant.  Yay!

How it Works

Your audio will now be recorded to MP3 and WAV simultaneously.   During the recording, the MP3 audio will be uploaded in chunks to your cloud drive as a backup.  This ensures that you always have a backup of the audio incase of a computer crash or power outage.  At the end of the recording, the WAV audio will then be uploaded in full to your cloud drive.

When the recording is over you will see your MP3's finish uploading and then the WAV uploads will begin like this:

Postproductions With WAV

Naturally, you will want to be able to use your WAV files as the input tracks for your postproductions.  When you initiate an Automatic Postproduction you will now be able to select what tracks to use.

NOTE:  You only want to select one track per guest.

This will be particularly helpful for podcast producers who monitor the recording but may want to exclude their own track from the postproduction.

Upcoming

In the near future you will also be able to configure the settings for the postproduction enhancements.  These settings will include noise suppression, loudness target, cross gating, and more.  I'm also working on making it so that the host will be able to easily see what microphone each guest has selected.

Countdown to End of BETA

Support for WAV is one if the final features that will drop before Zencastr moves out of Beta ( for real this time ) and into a paid plan model.  I'm still working out the details but in general, there will be two tiers.  $10/mo for the Basic plan and $20/mo for the Pro plan.  There will be no limit on the number of recordings or guests in either plan.  The differentiator between the Basic and Pro plan will be the number of Postproduction hours allotted per month and the access to lossless WAV recording.

Thank You For Your Continued Support!

Thank you for your support in testing and providing feedback so far.  Zencastr couldn't have made it this far without you.  As a lot of you know, Zencastr has been a side project for me along side my day job.  I'm hoping to make this my full-time gig and really take Zencastr to the next level.  Your continued support as a paid member would be very much appreciated and enable me to focus all my time on the project.

What Should I Build Next?

Have any features you're dying for?  Let me know in the comments.

Posted on January 17, 2016 .