Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Boom! Shake the room // An update on the podcast studio setup

Published by Mr. C

Once upon a time in the comments, we were discussing the new Sidepodcast donations page, bouncing around ideas on what else we can do and how it can be improved. One of the suggestions was to offer more transparency in terms of things we purchase in order to improve the podcast. Transparency we can do.

I should say upfront that talking about these things feels somewhat self-obsessive, involves a touch too much navel-gazing and I must also add the caveat that we spend a disproportionate amount of time fussing over the most benign details before committing to anything. Two months ago, a whole 14 days were used up figuring out the most optimal way of routing audio cables around the office in order to reduce the live show set-up time. 14 days. Try and stay awake at the back there.

Hear, hear, loud and clear

The quality of a podcast might well be defined by the choice of microphone used. We both talk into Rode NT2000 diaphragm condenser microphones. We love the way they make us sound, but they're quite heavy and that weight can be a touch troublesome.

Christine live

During old live Debrief shows Christine used to spend the whole evening standing. The microphone stand she used was perfect for cradling heavy mics upright, as it's primarily designed for singers (who also tend to stand up). The new set-up though, has her sitting at desk with the mic extending across from one side. The net result of a heavy microphone attached to a boom extension, which itself is at a right angle to its own tripod legs means the damn thing falls over... frequently.

There isn't enough room to position the pairing anywhere else, so for the time being we twist our bodies awkwardly when entering or exiting the room, hoping not to send everything flying.

Nice action if you can get it

There is a solution to our woes and that's to use the correct stand in the first place. Radio stations regularly employ the use of a desk clamped scissor stand (sometimes known to posh people as an anglepoise arm). Predictably these are more expensive than the standard boom you're used to seeing on Top of the Pops (or High School Musical something or other), which is partly why we didn't invest in one in the first place. Instead, we chose to make Christine stand up all evening, once a week, for the best part of a year. We're good at this.

We don't know an awful lot about scissor stands, but we're in the process of learning. We do know that on his live podcast, Leo Laporte uses a number of PL-2T Heil booms and we can see from the video feed that they have a subtle and gentle springy action (surely the defining metric of a quality mic boom, no?).

Microphone scissor arm

The catchily named PL-2T is available in the UK for the princely sum of £114.95, which is considerably more than the £30 we spent on the current, mostly upright, pole. There are other models listed, at lower price ranges, but as yet it's hard to figure out how they compare.

The easiest thing to do would be to go for the model we know works, but DV247 have a cheaper model which might do the job just as well. I envisage a micro road trip occurring in our not to distant future, with the sole and explicit intention of... umm... feeling the leverage and spring action of multiple anglepoise arms. Details people!

I appreciate that none of this will likely be of interest to anyone, but it might give you a tiny insight as to why things seem to take forever around here. We can of course keep you up-to-date with our findings should you like to know more, and if you have any experience with such trivial important matters, please yell (anonymous comments are probably fine here).

Anyone still awake?