Equipment for Podcasts and Hangouts
We love connecting with parents and guests all over the country- even all over the world! But it wouldn't be possible without the benefits of technology. So, we've decided to outline exactly what's required (and what's optional) for guests appearing on our podcasts and hangouts.
We want our podcasts and hangouts to sound and look as professional as possible. Here are some must-haves if you're interested in being part of our shows. If you don't have all these items, don't worry! There are still many other ways you can participate!
You'll need access to a desktop or laptop computer. At this time, the software we use to record does not allow access for tablets and smartphones. If you are recording a Google Hangout On-Air, then your computer must have a webcam. Most newer computers have a webcam build into them, but if you need one, this Logitech HD Pro Webcam works well.
- Google Chrome Browser
Our recording software works best when everyone participating in the conversation joins through the Google Chrome browser. Download it for free on Mac, Windows and Linux platforms.
- High Speed Internet
Your internet connection must be reliable with upload speeds of 2MB+. Be sure to test your current speed, preferably at the same time of day that you'll be recording. Keep in mind, if anyone is online or streaming audio/video, it will slow your speed significantly. An ethernet (hard-wired) connection is preferred over Wi-Fi whenever possible.
You'll need a pair of earbuds or headphones so you can hear the conversation better, and to reduce any voice delay (also known as latency). Earbuds that came with your mobile phone work great. If you need a pair of earbuds, consider these Panasonic Ergofit Earbuds.
If you're a regular guest on our shows, we encourage you to increase the overall quality of your recording. Here are the items we recommend. This is the same equipment used by all our hosts and producers. And the price tag for everything is about $50. Not bad for your own portable studio!
- Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone
There are two basic types of microphones: dynamic mics and condenser mics. In our opinion, condenser mics have less distortion, which means your voice sounds more like it does in person. The downside of condenser mics is they pick-up a lot of extra noise, so you'll need to record in a quiet environment. We tested more than 10 mics before choosing the Samson Go Mic. It sounds great, it's inexpensive and you can plug it into your computer through USB without downloading any extra software. Here are some other quality USB mics that plug right into your computer.
- Neewer Studio Microphone Wind Screen/Pop Filter
Condenser mics are very sensitive, so these pop filters are needed to block out any hard sounds, typically popping sounds that come from “P”s and “S” sounds. This pop filter attaches directly to the arm stand and acts as a barrier between you and the mic. While this pop filter should work fine, here's another filter that's a bit more heavy duty that's worked well for us in the past. HINT: As a temporary fix, you can also grab some tissues and wrap it around your mic with a rubberband or tape!
- Neewer Microphone Arm Stand
The Samson Go Mic can be clipped to your computer or laptop, but to get the best audio quality, the mic should always be within three inches of your mouth when talking. You probably don't want to hold a mic in front of your mouth while recording an episode, so this arm stand is a good substitute. The arm attaches to your table or desk and also provides a place to mount your pop filter.