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The Problematic Sound of Two Drunk Guys On A Couch

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by Vince Wylde, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. Vince Wylde

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    Now, let me start with this: Two Drunks guys on a couch can be funny, but it's been done to death and Itunes alone is littered with shows like this. So what's my problem with this format? Perhaps first, I should define what "Two Drunk Guys on a Couch" is.

    Two guys, in the "Man Cave", one Snowball USB mic, no intro, no production, and a lot of discussion that's very disconnected. Literally thousands of these shows out there. Now, suppose you are the quintessential "Two Drunk Guys Doing A Show" format but you don't want to sound like it. This can help you be taken, well, more seriously.

    First piece of gear is the mic. Yeah, the Snowball USB Mic is great for a video conference because it makes the sound sharper and more clear, but it's also designed to pick up 5 people around a video monitor. You don't want this. Trust me. "But Vince, I don't have $500 to drop on a mic." No problem, I'm going to throw a few ideas at you that work better. This will apply to singular hosts, and teams. So bear with me.

    First, the Mic Setup. For a team, doing two USB Mics is problematic because you run into issues getting a program to recognize both mics. So let's cut to the chase and do the "Cheapo Depot" setup. You don't need a 16 channel mixer for this, nor do you need a pair of 200$ microphones. When I started doing this, I used a basic setup and it sounded killer. First the mic:
    E825S.jpg
    This is a Senheiser E825S. While not as cheap as it's USB Counterparts, it has a solid sound, pretty dynamic sound, and is durable as all hell. Sadly, it's been discontinued, and at 88 Bucks a piece, a two mic setup might freak you out. So here's a much cheaper option with sound equal to that of a Shure SM58 without the hefty price tag. The BEHRINGER ULTRAVOICE XM8500. 20$ each. Attach an XLR Cable to minimize background hiss, and you've got a great pair of mics for a two host show.


    Tip: They sell 3 packs of these for around 40$.

    Next: How do you get two mics into one computer? There are two ways, the less common is a Desktop with a Stereo Audio Input. I recommend first and foremost, a basic audio mixer. My Choice (and I have had this Mixer since 2004) is the Berhinger Eurorack UB802.
    Mixer.jpg
    Clocks in at about 65$. Considering mine has lasted 16 years, this bad boy is well worth the investment to get two hosts rolling. And you can buy it here:


    Note that for a PC with stereo input you require the Split RCA to Male 1/4 Plug to get the sound into your soundcard. Mixer.jpg

    "Well, I have a laptop. This won't work." Don't worry, I've got you covered. Since this is the more common setup - especially if you want any kind of mobility - plugging in is a bit more of a challenge. That's why there's this:
    USB Controller.jpg

    This is the Berhinger UCA202 USB Interface Controller. It enables you to plug your mixer into your USB Port. And it works great. For $30.00, it's a great investment.


    Now, I know for some, there's a stigmata around Berhinger. However, I've been using 2 of the 3 items listed here for 16 years and I've never had a single problem with any of it. I've replaced computers more frequently than this equipment. Whatever problems they once had they seem to have overcome around 2004.

    Assuming you get the 3 mic pack and not a single mic, you'll pay a grand total of 135$ for all 3 items. And now, you don't sound like two drunk guys on a couch with a Snowball USB Mic. All you need now is a Solid Intro theme, and boom! You sound less like thousands of other shows who can't be arsed to invest in solid gear.

    Single Host:

    You're much easier. All you need is a USB Mic, and I recommend two. The Samson CO1U (this is what I use).
    C01U_stand-display.jpg

    I've had this MIC since 2008 and it works great. Nice warm sound, and the newer model comes with a headphone jack built into the mic for headphone monitoring. You can purchase this mic for around 65$ and it comes with Cakewalk Sonar which is a great little multi-track program for those fed-up with the limitations of audacity. It is not dynamic, however which means ambient interference is possible - especially in a rather empty room.


    If you want more dynamic, and I'm talking close to an Electrovoice (the mic used by 90% of the radio stations out there), may I suggest the Rode Podcaster:
    Rode.jpg
    This mic is big on sound but without the 500$ electrovoice price tag. It clocks in at about 229$. And, monitoring with headphones is possible since there is a headphone jack built in to the mic itself.


    There it is. Your "how to" guide on sounding more polished and professional on a budget. Next time I'll bring you an article on the importance of production and having a decent intro to your show - this alone will help you rise above a lot of other shows that haven't taken this small, but important step.

    NOTE: As of right now, there's an error on the forum and my links aren't linking (some DNS Can't Be Resolved Error). But if you open a tab and paste the names of each of the items I've talked about you'll get an immediate hit. Hopefully Adam can correct this problem.
     
    #1 Vince Wylde, Sep 8, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
  2. Adam

    Building an Empire Admin Global Mod

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    Error fixed and this is an awesome tip-riddled post! I can appreciate anyone trying to reach out to the podcasting community and not just saying "Get Better!", but actually saying "Here is what you need". You don't need thousands of dollars to sound amazing. You just need good advice like the above. I started with only a couple hundred bucks and it got the job done.
     
  3. Daniel

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    So I finally got a mixer along with a bunch of other equipment.

    My problem is that I don't know how to use the mixer. I got it set up and have recorded on it, but I'm not sure how to get the best sound. I just experiemented with the knobs until it sounded fine.

    Are they any resources that you know of that will help me become proficient?
     

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