Rick here, back once again to talk to you about gear and recording!
Now to start this off let me just say that I spend a lot of time listening to us. Probably more time than anyone else ever will. There’s obviously when I’m editing, and first and second passes, but of course the first time I listen to us is when we are actually recording our episodes. It’s important that we monitor the sound we are producing, as the best way to put out a good episode is to have a good raw recording. I once heard it said that recording audio without headphones on is like filming a movie without looking in the camera. You can do it, but I won’t be pretty.
Now I’m not talking headphones this month (maybe next time), what I’m going to talk about is having a good headphone amp. Hey Rick, what’s a headphone amp? Well I’m glad I asked that for you!
A headphone amp (or amplifier) provides additional power to any headphones plugged into it. This added power makes the audio clearer and lets you hear higher detail, both very useful if you’re trying to determine if something is getting picked up on the mics. In addition some headphones need more power than others to get close to true sound from them, but we can talk about that more in another post.
Now if you are a solo podcast getting a headphone amp isn’t a big deal as you just need a single channel, and there are loads of options available to you! If you have two, three, or even four people it’s still not that difficult to find an amp with enough channels, but for most actual play podcasts you are talking about five or six people needing to hear and monitor themselves. That’s when things get complicated because you need to find a 6-channel option, so you need to turn to a bigger alternative.
Our Christmas gift from all of you (thank you by the way!) is pictured above, the PreSonus HP60. It has six individual headphone amps, each of which provide additional power to our headphones, and it works as a headphone mixer allowing every person to adjust their incoming volumes independently. We all hear things differently and this allows each of us to fine-tune the volume to what we are most comfortable with. An added bonus to the HP60 being a headphone mixer as well is that it comes with two audio inputs, so we can listen to our mics in one input and Syrinscape in the other, and control the volume for each input by individual person! I know that probably doesn’t sound too exciting to you, but it’s a big deal to me after years of hearing:
Me: “Alright, lets roll for initiative!”
Rachel: “Hey babe, can you turn Syrinscape down? It’s a little loud.”
Jordan: “Really, cause I can barely hear it?”
Jessica: “That’s because you’re going deaf.”
Jordan (not hearing her): “Wait, what?”
So in short this is a major quality of life improvement for the Pod and should help us deliver better quality shows to y’all in the future! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little dive into audio gear, and if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below!
As always you are amazing, and we couldn’t do this without you.