Something I get asked a lot from our community is about our setup for recording. We've recorded everything from video game footage to live action video and we've mixed the various audios together in real time which cuts down on mistakes and editing a lot. So without further delay, here is our setup:
Brett and I have very different volumes and ranges in our voices. Where Brett can go very high in his tones, I go much lower. You might notice that in our videos we sound great together though. The secret is that we use a mixer to resolve our issues in sound. With a mixer we can bring up or lower our high / mid / low tones per microphone in real time while we are recording. This helps us do effects in real time, but more importantly it helps us both sound clear and not get drowned out by the other. There are two huge other benefits to using the mixer, one is that we can hear ourselves in real time, and the other is that we can mix the audio coming from the computer with our voices in real time.
Hearing ourselves in real time allows for us to be able to tell how we both sound in the moment and allows for us to better know when the other person is talking or has something they want to say via audio cues. This combined with the built in compressor also allows for us to stabilize our volumes so even when talking quiet the mixer will raise our volume at the hardware level (not via software which is better when avoiding distortion). The other beauty of hearing ourselves is that we can immediately hear what the viewer is going to hear since the game is also mixed into what we hear in our headphones.
By mixing the audio from the computer into the mixer (even though the mixer goes back into the computer). We can set the volume for the game or podcast in real time. This is greatly helpful when people have different mic volumes in podcasts when they call in, or if the game has a weird moment where it is too loud or quiet. All can be fixed by just a turn of the knob!
I want to make sure to stress that buying an expensive mic does not mean you will get better audio. Even with a super expensive mic you can sound like you are in a tin can! I selected to go with shotgun mics because I also shoot live action video so they can serve multiple purposes than just recording podcasts or gameplay; that being said, I really love these mics.
So when it comes to good sounding audio, the first thing you need to do is fix the space you are recording in. If there are a lot of hard surfaces (walls, hardwood floors, tables, etc.) then the sound will bounce around in the room you are in and sound awful. You need to "deaden" up your space by putting things in the room that will "trap" the sound. For the most part, acoustic foam is worthless unless you line the entire room with it, you will see better results with acoustic panels. We actually have 6 acoustic panels we use to record with and they trap the vocal audio really well. These panels are expensive to purchase so instead I went to my local hardware store and purchased all the materials I needed to create mine which turned out to be about $20 each in the end because I already had the tools to put them together. If you want an example of how to make your mic sound really good. Try recording your voice with your current mic in a hallway or bathroom. Then take the same mic and go into your car and record. The inside of a car has tons of cloth and really traps the sound so you can see a huge difference just doing that.
This is the best capture card I've ever used and it is well worth getting this Pro version that gets installed into your desktop computer. We use to use the portable version and it worked great, but I've since given it to Monica so that she can stream her gameplay. I liked the portable one so I thought I would give the pro version a shot and I really do like having it just built into the recording computer. There isn't really much to say about this device, but all of our stuff (when pared with the switches) are easy to plug into the device and just press buttons to swap between without having to worry about plugging and unplugging things.
One of the nightmares of our channel is that we record on a huge range of devices new and old, because of this we need to support old technology and be able to make our recording lives easier at the same time. With the RCA switch, we can plug in all of our RCA consoles and then just press a button to switch between them based on what we want to use. We never have to unplug or plug in anything again, just press a button and swap to the device.
The real magic of never having to worry about plugs is when you make all the plugs turn into 1 type of plug. With this we can take the RCA out from the RCA switch and turn it into HDMI. From here we just plug the HDMI from this box into the HDMI switch and just forget about the plugs forever.
This is the main hub for all the consoles, including the RCA consoles as discussed above. From here, we just take the out HDMI cable and plug it into the Elgato in the computer. Since this switch also operates on a button, we never have to plug or unplug any of the HDMI devices, just press a button to switch to it.
Sometimes we do live action videos, which you guys may be seeing more of in the future. To do this we need a good portable audio recording device to mix the audio together and save multiple versions to avoid distorted audio. This device is great, just check out some YouTube videos for it and you'll see how great it is. This device supports both a standard headphone jack plug for mics as well as 2 separate track XLR inputs (which our shotgun mics use) which also includes Phantom power for when the mic batteries die!
I may come back here and update this post if I think of anything to add or that I missed. However, feel free to drop into the community and ask us about our setup or any other questions you may have!