Sunday, May 28, 2006

FindSounds - Search the Web for Sounds

FindSounds - Search the Web for Sounds: "Welcome to, a free site where you can search the Web for sound effects and musical instrument samples."

Someone at the eLearning Institute Workshop asked me about finding free sound clips online. The FindSounds search engine should do the trick.

Podsafe music (usually with a Creative Commons copyright that allows playing on podcasts) can be found at:
Historic audio clips that are in the public domain and free to use, can be found at:
AND - At the Creative Commons website ( you can find useable Music, Speaches, Graphic Images, Videos, Textbooks, Lesson Plans, and more...

Monday, May 22, 2006

My Podcasting Steps

These are the steps that I go through to record and post my podcasts. This is a post-processing intensive approach. Using programs like Castblaster, other podcasters produce more of a traditional "radio" show without any post-processing.
  1. Prepare Intro, Outro, Transitions, Sponsors (optional)
    1. Text
    2. Voice overs
    3. Music
    4. Sponsor ads
    5. Other supplemental audio (music, copied audio, recordings)
      1. Creative Commons copyright

  2. Prepare Material
    1. Lecture Notes
    2. Contemporary Events
      1. Email Lists
      2. RSS Readers
      3. Blog This (Firefox extension)
      4. Google Notebook

  3. Set Audio Levels
    1. Volume
    2. Equalizer (on mixer)
    3. (Compression, Gate and other, if available)

  4. Set Recording Rate
    1. 22050Hz sample rate and 32-bit float format (in Audacity)

  5. Record and Save Podcast

  6. Post Processing in Audacity
    1. Leveler
    2. Normalize
    3. Compression
    4. Leveler
    5. Amplify

  7. Import, Adjust and Mix Intro and Outro Music
  8. Create ID3 Tags
  9. Export as MP3 File
    1. requires lame encoder for Audacity

  10. Upload to server
      1. Check Download Statistics
  11. Create Blog Entry

My Current Podcasting Setup

This is my current home podcasting set up:

The computer is an old 300 MGhz PC with a 10GB hard drive that is on load from my department. It does not record well (drops words) and I am planning to replace it soon! [The vertical white stick thing is an antenna booster for the wireless Internet card that I installed on the computer.]

There are two mice on the table. The sliver mouse is the Thanko Silent Mouse ($35 from I bought is because I got tired of editing out mouse clicks from my podcasts. Works great.

The microphone is an Audio-Technica AT 2020 ($85 on eBay). The microphone requires a 48v phantom power supply.

I think I paid about $25 for the mic stand and about $15 for the pop screen at Arizona Music Pro.

Just below the microphone in the photo below is a Tapco Mix 60 mixer, which also provides phantom power to the microphone ($60). A "balanced" (3 plug) microphone cable connects the Tapco mixer to the AT 2020 microphone. only use one of the inputs, although you can have four to six (depending on the configuration).

The gray and black rectangular box next to the lap is the Edirol UA-1EX. I originally bought this for my laptop, based on comments that laptops have lousy sound cards. However, I found this it resolved the "latency" problem that I had with Audacity (the audio recording and editing freeware program that I use). Latency is the delay between when you speak and when the sound is received in the headphones. I could not use headphones while podcasting until I got the Edirol UA-1EX.

There is a line splitter coming out of the "phones" jack of the Tapco mixer. One line goes into the Edirol, and the other can be connected to an mp3 recorder to create a backup recording. I use an iRiver IFP 890. I only do a backup when recording interviews.

A very simple headset ($1 at the Dollar Tree) is connected to the Edirol so I can monitor the sound as I am recording it.

- iRiver 890 mp3 player/recorder - for backups and sound seeing audio ($45 on eBay)
- SP-TFB-2 - In-Ear Binaural Microphones
and sound seeing audio (, $69)
- Logitec 250 USB Noise-canceling Headset (used on laptop when traveling)
- Tapco Squeez SQ2compressor ($99 - resulted in a great improvement to my sound! - the gate feature pretty much removed the dog and minor house noises)
- Zoom H4 Recorder ($299 - bought for a research project, but also used for podcasting)
- MacMini and an old LCD monitor - replaced the ancient PC in the photo - nice and quiet, and small

The Microphone is connected to the Mixer usine the Balanced audio cable. An unbalanced cable goes from the headphone jack on the Mixer to the Line In jack on the Edirol external audio interface. The Edirol has a USB wire coming out of it that plugs into the computer. I have a split attached to the headphone jack on the Edirol, to which I have the headphones and the iRiver attached.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mighty Seek - Home Podcast Setup

Photos of one person's home podcasting equipment (click title above)