How the Roadtreking Podcast Gets to You: My Mobile Studio

The Roadtreking RV Podcast now has a mobile studio: Our Roadtrek Class B RV.

Forgive me if this is too technical. If it is, just pass on by. I'm writing this and showing the accompanying video by request, from some of my Roadtreking RV Podcast listeners and from several other podcasters, who wanted to see how I do my podcast shows on the road and what equipment I use.

With few exceptions, I've been able to duplicate all the essential gear I have in my fully-featured home studio in Michigan, but in an way that portable enough that I can set it up and take it down in a matter of minutes, without skimping on sound quality.

You can see in the accompanying video how I did it, setting up everything on a table at the back of the motorhome.

The heart of the mobile setup is my mixer. At home, I use the Mackie 1402 VLZ4, a 14-channel mixer with six high-quality Onyx mic preamps. In the RV, I opted for the slightly less robust, but very compact Mackie 802 VLZ4 mixer, with eight channels. That's more than enough inputs for me while on the road.

The mixer interfaces with my MacBook Pro 15-inch Apple laptop , grabbing audio through the SoundByte software “cart machine,” that plays my produced intros and outros, theme music, selected audio clips and pre-recorded interviews. It's the same sort of way radio stations play jingles, commercials and these days, most music. Line up the sound in a “cart” — so named from back in the day when audio was recorded on tape cartridges — then just click the mouse to play it through the mixer on-demand on the podcast.

For microphones, I opted to use the audio-technica BPHS1 Broadcast Stereo Headset with Dynamic Boom Mic.  I have an extra headset for when I do interviews or Jennifer co-hosts. At home, I use Heil PR40 studio mics with boom arm attachments, shock mounts, and special screens to lessen pops and breath noise. But in the Roadtrek, the headsets take up less space and seem to screen out outside noise a little better. I chose the headsets on the advice of  John and Kathy Huggins, full-time RVers who do the Living the RV Dream Podcast out of their Class A motorhome. They use the same headsets for their noise filtering and as soon as I got mine, I realized I had used the same headset myself while doing remote reports from political conventions, breaking news and sporting events as a TV reporter. I think they'll work out just fine.

Everything that comes out of the computer and the mixer connects to my Roland R05 digital audio recorder. I record the podcast in its entirety on the Roland, then pop the SD card, put it in the card reader on the side of my MacBook Pro and then do final editing and sound tweaking and balancing on the Adobe Audition audio editing program. Cliff Ravenscraft, the Podcast Answer Man, recommended the Roland, which, besides use in my home and now mobile sudios, I also use out in the field doing interviews.

The mobile studio fits just fine on a floor table, set up between the sofa at the rear of our RV. When I'm done, everything unplugs and stores on an overhead cabinet. It takes less then five minutes to get everything connected and running.

The only issue so far is the noise of the inverter fan in my Roadtrek. I may have to move everything up front and use a front table to get away from the noise. Those broadcast mics are very sensitive. I will also try lessening the fan noise by stuffing some pillows around the area at the back driver's side where the inverter is located,

So there you go. The show must go on. No matter where I go.

And with my little mobile studio,  I am indeed good to go.

 

 

There are

3 comments

  1. Um, this is AWESOME!

    My wife and I are planning a 6 month road trip in 2015.

    I’ve been looking for a setup that will work well on the road without taking up too much space.

    The most helpful tip I learned from your post is the headset/mic combo.
    We use big boom stands at home and I didn’t want to bring those on the road.

    Thanks for the ideas!
    Maybe we will bump into each other out there on the road.

    -Derek

  2. Thanks Mike. We do an 8 week road trip in a fifth wheel every year and this year I muddled through my show with a set-up I was not happy with. I have the identical studio equipment as you have so it’s not practical to bring that. Like Derek I found the information on the headset most useful and will be picking one of those up. We’re planning on a year-long trip in 2016 so knowing this will work is one thing off the planning list.