What equipment is in the recording studio?
Our 4-person studio is a Wenger SoundLok sound-isolation room, which is outfitted with:
- 4 Shure SM7B Vocal Microphones
- 4 Sennheiser HD 280 PRO headphones
- Cloudlifter CL-4 Mic Activator
- A dedicated phone line for a remote host or guest, through a Telos digital hybrid telephone interface
- Support for a remote host or guest via Skype
- Allen & Heath Qu-16 digital mixing board (for operation by an engineer)
- Allen & Heath Qu-Pad for in-studio control of the QU-16
- Genelec 8010A monitors for accurate mixing and mastering
- Multitrack recording directly to Hindenburg, Pro Tools, Audition, or GarageBand
- Full multitrack backup recording to a dedicated hard drive
- Talkback to all hosts and guests from the control room
- 27" Intel i5 iMac with multiple DAW options for mixing and post-production work
Do I need an engineer for my recording session?
An engineer is not required to use the studio at the Podcast Garage. A staff member will always be available to start and finish your session. This includes a sound check, starting the recording, and transferring your files. If you are new to recording, we can also help you with good microphone practices.
However, an engineer or producer can be very helpful if you have other needs during the recording session. Please call us and we can help you determine your needs. The Podcast Garage does not have an engineer on staff. If you do need an engineer, we are happy to provide information on how to hire an independent engineer.
If I'm an audio novice, can I still use the studio?
Of course! A Podcast Garage staff member will always be on hand to make sure your recording goes smoothly. We assume you will know how to do some basic editing of the audio files you leave with in order to finish your project. Most recordings will need some editing, adjusting of levels, mixing, and mastering to be ready for distribution. The system does multitrack recording, so you would need to, at the very least, know how to mix all the separate tracks down into a single MP3 file if you are planning on posting it as a podcast.
If you are unfamiliar with audio editing and digital audio software we recommend that you take some time prior to reserving studio time to learn basic editing skills in a program like Hindenburg, Reaper, or Audacity. YouTube, Lynda.com, and many other website have great resources to learn the basics of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering with those applications. Hindenburg has an entire library of video tutorials covering a wide array of topics. The Podcast Garage staff will not be able to available for introductory tutorials or to help with using the software we provide access to during your reservation.
How long should I book my session for?
How much time you need in the studio is going to vary from one person to the next, and based on the kind of recording you're doing. Be aware the there will often be another recording session immediately after yours, so you should expect to be out of the studio no later than the time when your reservation ends. The Garage staff schedule will often be flexible, and we may be able to get your sessions started a few minutes early, but not always. If you have a reservation for 2 PM, please be prepared to sit tight until 2 PM for a staff member to get things set up. Please refrain from using the control room or studio prior to the start of your session without first checking with a staff member.
As a point of reference, if you are conducting a 30 minute interview, book time to include several minutes of setup (sound check, etc) and some time after the interview ends to collect your files. Booking 30 minutes of studio time for a 30 minute interview likely will mean we'll have to cut you off early to keep things on schedule. If you think you'll need extra time, check with someone on the Garage staff prior to starting your session.
Will you edit my podcast once I'm done recording?
The Podcast Garage does not currently offer any editing, producing, or distribution services. We are happy to point you in the right direction, whether it be help finding a local freelance editor, or resources on how to get started with getting a podcast online. The PRX Podcast Garage is primarily a DIY facility, so please be aware that other than getting your recording studio started and finished, the staff generally won't be available to help with other aspects of your show.
Reserving the studio also gives you access to our editing bay, which includes various editing software like Hindenburg, Adobe Audition, Reaper, and more. While we don't provide editing services, you can use the editing bay to mix and master your show during your reserved time.
There are a number of services that will do basic editing for podcasts, which you can find online. If you do a Google search for podcast editing service you may find a service that finds your needs.
How does my audio get recorded during the session?
In the studio, every individual channel (i.e. each microphone, Skype, the telephone, etc), will be recorded to a computer using standard digital audio software, and to a second hard drive as a backup. Both will record a separate WAV file for each channel, so if you have four people in the studio and one person on Skype and you record for an hour, that session will result in five hour-long WAV files. The PC-based recording is always done at 48,000 Hz and 32 bit.
What happens to my audio at the end of the session?
In the 4-person studio, we will transfer the multitrack recording files to a hard drive or USB drive that you provide. Please make sure you leave the Podcast Garage with all your files! You are encouraged to back up your files as soon as you can to ensure you don't lose any important data. We keep session files for several days in case of emergencies, but beyond that we won't be able to help you recover any files.
We will not resample or do any conversions of the audio files before transferring them to your drive. If you need the files in a different format, sample rate, or bit depth, you should plan to do that conversion on your own.
We use SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 drives at the Garage, so if you're looking for a good drive to buy that's the one we recommend.
If you are scheduling a tape sync for someone else and won't be present in the studio at the time of the recording, please make sure you have arranged a method of receiving the files with a member of the Podcast Garage staff before the session.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
If you need to pay for your session you will need to have a major credit card with you.
For the 4-person studio you will need to bring a hard drive or USB drive that has enough empty space to transfer multitrack WAV files from your session.
Please note: if you don't have a USB device to take your files away with, one will be provided, and the cost of the drive will be added to the total price of your session. Each drive costs under $5.
How do I pay for my time in the studio?
Before leaving you will pay for your recording session with a credit card through Square. You will need to pay for any time you reserved, even if you finish early. If you exceeded your reserved time you will also be charged for the overage at $1 per minute. Exceeding the reserved time slot is at the discretion of the Podcast Garage staff and only possible if the schedule allows.
What if I need to cancel or reschedule my session?
If you need to cancel or reschedule, please do so more than 24 hours before your session. Otherwise, we will charge you for the session that you originally scheduled as it prevents someone else from booking during that time.
Can people remotely participate in recording sessions?
The 4-person studio supports remote participation through a standard telephone line and Skype. It is possible to include multiple remote participants through either method (i.e. three people on a single Skype call), but all mix-minus Skype audio will be recording to a single track.
If you plan on utilizing either the telephone or Skype please make a note when you make your reservation. For telephone, you will need to provide us with a a phone number to call directly from our studio telephone line. For Skype, you will need to ask your participants to add the studio on Skype - our username is prxpodcastgarage.
Can I bring my own equipment to use in the studios?
We generally don't allow people to bring their own equipment, like replacement microphones. If you do have needs that require specific equipment that is not currently available at the Podcast Garage, please give us a call and we can discuss some options. Without prior permission, connecting, disconnecting, or moving any equipment is strictly prohibited.
Is food or drink allowed in the studios?
No food or drink is allowed inside the studios except for water in a resealable bottle.
Is there parking at the Podcast Garage?
The PRX Podcast Garage is attached to a large parking lot that generally has plenty of available space. Occasionally, when there are sporting events at the adjacent fields, parking in the lot is limited. If the lot is not available, there is unmetered 2-hour street parking on Western Ave until 6 PM, and unmetered parking after 6 PM.
What if it snows?
In the case of snow or other inclement weather, we may decide to close the studio for the day. If so, we will call and alert anyone with a session and reschedule with them as soon as possible. We will also put a special announcement at the top of our website.