1 Reply Latest reply: Dec 19, 2009 2:18 AM by Roger Wilmut1
budakhan Level 3 Level 3 (940 points)
Hi, I'm sure that this question has been asked numerous time but I cannot find the specific answers that I need.
I'm looking at starting up a podcast and I have some technical questions about equipment. Most of the time, I will be having two hosts in the same location working off the same computer. What I would like is to have a setup where one host will have a headset and a separate microphone and an audio mixer that controls the whole setup. The other host will have a headset and separate microphone also. On some podcasts, I would like the option of also having a remote gues who would have their own headset and mic and would be contributing to the show through Skype.
Here's my specific questions:
What kind of mixer would work in this scenario? Is there such a thing as a USB audio board that would take all of these sources and put them into the software (garageband) as well as output audio to the headphones? Or is there an adapter that I could use to plug the mixing board into my Macbook?

Will Garage band accept the audio from both mics, the sound from the computer (in case I want to play an audio clip on the computer) as well as the Skype call? If not Garageband, then what other software should I use?

Roger Wilmut1, I've seen your links to bullets and bones but I need more input than just a link to a site that doesn't answer these specific questions. Any help from you would be appreciated however as you seem knowledgeable about this topic.

I'll probably have some followup questions too but this would be a great start. Thanks in advance everyone.

2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (69,565 points)
    There's a wide range of mixers available. You could look at the Alesis range: most of these come with a USB output as well as an audio one. You can plug the audio output of a mixer into the line input of your Mac (assuming it has one, a few don't) or the Alesis USB output goes straight into your Mac and will be recognized by any recording software straightaway (and indeed this should apply with any mixer with a USB output: check that it says that it does so in the specs).

    On the whole I wouldn't recommend using headsets: these are really designed for communications use. For the best results I would suggest either one microphone which you share, or two separate cardiod ones, and then separate headphones for monitoring. You will want to connect the headphones to the mixer's monitoring output, not the computer output.

    If you really want to use headsets you should make sure that they will be compatible with the mixer. At the least you will need coversion jacks as these usually use 3.5mm and the mixer will probably use 1/4 in jacks or phono plugs (RCA jacks).

    You might find it easier to record initially into a separate program such as Amadeus Pro: this will record from the mixer and you should not enable 'playthrough'. Then you would be able to play files off the computer (or have Skype running) - you would connect the computer's audio output to the mixer and bring it in that way. (If you enable playthrough you will bring the mixer's output back into the mix and you will wish you hadn't).

    However you can record this way into Garageband, though you may not be able to record and play inserts from GB at the same time. However for editing you will find GB a bit clumsy - Amadeus would be much better for cleaning up fluffs. GB is good for adding inserts or mixing in post-production.

    With this sort of setup Skype should work OK. However if you use the mixer output as the input to Skype the other end may have problems with echo - you will have to experiment to find the best way of dealing with this.