I love listening to people talk about recording and making music. Because I'm more of a home recording hobbyist, I don't get the opportunity to engage in this sort of conversation as often as I'd like. Thankfully I can satisfy my craving by listening to the various podcasts devoted to music creation and recording.
For those who aren't familiar with the world of podcasts, they are essentially radio, and sometimes video, talk shows that are available for listening online. They can be produced and hosted for almost no cost and are available for free via iTunes and other sites for listening on a computer, iPod, or mobile phone. A look at the iTunes store will reveal an endless variety of free podcasts about anything and everything. Including, of course, recording.
Because of the ease of producing and publishing podcasts, many are started with good intentions but never really make it off the ground. I've heard that most podcasts don't make it beyond ten episodes. However, as we'll see below, there are some notable exceptions to this. Sonic Talk, as of this writing, just celebrated their 200th podcast and several other shows are hovering around the 100-episode mark. And just because podcasts can be produced cheaply, that doesn't mean that they're cheap and only made by home recording geeks. Several are enhanced by pictorial and graphic content. Ronan's Recording Show is actually a video podcast. Also, some of the podcast regulars have worked on records that EVERYBODY has heard. These folks' insights and stories make for great listening.
Here's a rundown on currently available podcasts about music making and recording:
Inside Home Recording
Inside Home Recording is a monthly podcast aimed at recording enthusiasts ranging from beginners to professional musicians. Vancouver, Canada-based hosts Derek K. Miller and Dave Chick keep IHR friendly, conversational, low-key, and intelligent. According to the IHR website, "both Derek and Dave are professional musicians involved in performing, teaching, producing, and recording music. Together, they provide a wealth of expertise, information, variety, and entertainment." Episodes feature music and recording industry news, educational segments, gear reviews, updates on what Derek and Dave have been up to, and more.
IHR has been on the internet since 2005, making it the longest-running podcast on home and project studio recording. As of this writing there have been 85 IHR episodes. Unfortunately, IHR's future is in doubt because co-host Derek K. Miller is suffering from terminal cancer and doesn't expect to make it beyond 2011. However, he's promised to carry on as long as possible and IHR has survived changes in leadership before. He will be missed tremendously, though. Go to www.insidehomerecording.com for more.
The Home Recording Show
The Home Recording Show first appeared in July of 2008 and a new episode has appeared on an almost weekly basis since then. To date there are over 100 episodes available. L.A.-based small-studio owner Ryan Canestro hosts HRS and Vancouver's Jon Tidey and San Francisco's Jesse Zollar co-host. Each weekly show usually consists of the three co-hosts each taking on a recording-related topic and then taking comments and questions from the other hosts at the end of their segment. HRS has covered a wide variety of topics from recording various musical instruments, to building your own pre-amps, to how to get one's hearing tested. Its irreverent tone makes it feel like you're getting together with your recording buddies for tech talk over beers. Check out HRS's website at www.homerecordingshow.com
Sonic Talk is a UK-Based music tech discussion podcast hosted by Nick Batt. Each week Nick is joined by a variety of regular guests including, but not limited to, software developer Dave Spiers, Nile Rogers' right hand man Rich Hilton, and Duran Duran collaborator Mark Tinley. Listeners can expect very intelligent discussion about music technology (especially if it has to do with synthesizers), current musical events, gear, recording, methodology, plus lots of opinions and storytelling.
Sonic Talk has been on the 'net since 2006 and over 200 weekly episodes have been produced since then. Go to www.sonicstate.com/sonictalk.
Ronan's Recording Show
Ronan C. Muphy hosts Ronan's Recording Show, the one video podcast in our list. Ronan has been doing his show since March 2009 and has produced twenty-six episodes to date. Unlike the above shows, RRS is just Ronan, so there won't be any conversation or banter unless he's interviewing someone.
RRS features interviews (including one with the editor and publisher of a certain creative music recording magazine), music production tips ("recording vocals without headphones", "dealing with out of tune things in the mix", "drum programming tips"), recording studio tours (Village Recorders, Sound City Studios), and much more.
Ronan is a very likeable, enthusiastic guy and an excellent teacher. The video format goes a long way toward helping to clarify his points. See http://ronansrecordingshow.com/ for more details.
Sessions With Slau
Subtitled, "Behind the Scenes in a Recording Studio," Sessions with Slau goes behind the scenes at BeSharp, Slau's New York City recording studio. In each podcast, SWS basically covers whatever is on Slau's mind. In any given episode he may perform a mic shootout, talk about a recent session, or analyze multi-track session tapes of a famous recording. Each (infrequent) episode is pretty much totally Slau, which is fine, as he is a warm, friendly, and entertaining host. See: http://sessionswithslau.com/
I discovered AudioNowcast when I read somewhere that it could be the American version of Sonic Talk, which turned out to be an apt comparison. ANC has been around since early 2006 and 98 episodes have been produced so far. Often these go well over an hour in length. Here's the description from ANC's website: "The AudioNowcast is a pro audio podcast that covers all aspects of audio in the music, recording, film & television industries. Topics include: song writing & music marketing; recording & mixing; location sound, sound design & sound editing. Our panel is made up of industry professionals who share their insights, stories and tips."
ANC is definitely not a one-man show. Any given podcast may have 4-8 guests, all sharing opinions. Fortunately, host Mike Rodriguez never lets things get out of hand. Panelists include Diego Stocco, Rob Arbittier, Andrew Scheps, Martin Page, Scott Gershin, Bobby Summerfield, Forrest Robinson, Bill Burgess, and Bobby Owsinski. Go to http://nowcastnetwork.com/NowcastNetwork/nfblog/ for more information.
The Project Studio Network
For a couple of years PSN led the recording podcast world. Every week listeners would download the latest PSN to hear the latest industry news, tweak the stupid knob, find out about "Freeeeeeee... (the best word in the English language!)" plug-ins, and keep up with the comings and goings at the PSN Towers. Hosts Big Al Wagner and Mike Bolan were and are incredibly charismatic and enthusiastic and a new PSN was something to really look forward to.
Then, in March 2008, they hit episode #99 and wanted to do big things for #100. They asked for listeners to give them two weeks to put together that hundredth episode. Listeners waited. And waited. And waited. Until November. Citing health issues, family, career, and other distractions, PSN made that 100th episode, but, sadly, is now chugging along at about one podcast a year. That's okay, though. PSN is still great fun and you still get great stuff, including a fantastic and revealing interview with Todd Rundgren in episode #102.
One great thing about podcasting is that old episodes are usually available long after their publishing date. PSN's website has excellent show notes and links for every one of their hundred-plus shows. All episodes of PSN are available on the PSN website as well as on iTunes. http://www.projectstudionetwork.com/
The Home Made Hit Show
The HMHS an online outlet for all of this material these other podcasts helped teach us how to record. Founded by Tony Butterworth in November 2005 and joined by Dave Criddle in 2008, the HMHS has, for 210 episodes, played songs recorded by folks at home. They usually play around 4 songs per week, talk about what they liked about the songs, and have discussions on songwriting and recording techniques. Keep in mind, though, that the HMHS is not really a recording show. Its focus is more on songwriting and simply providing an outlet for those of us who find ourselves writing and recording at home.
As of this writing Tony is taking a hiatus. Hopefully soon he and Dave will be rested up and back to play more of our home-made hits. See http://show.homemadehitshow.com/.
Sounds Good is an excellent instructional podcast out of The Netherlands by Hens Zimmerman that's been running since October 2006 (2006 evidently was a good year to start a podcast!). Hens seems to publish on his own schedule; it's been over a year since his last episode, an interesting look at how the Beatles influenced modern recording.
What makes Sounds Good great, besides Hens' digitized voice, is that he'll pick a topic for an episode and dig pretty deep into it. It's an enhanced podcast, so Hens provides relevant visuals and screenshots to go with his audio examples. Previous topics have included how distortion works, compression, EQ, and "Shortcuts to sounding better."
Hens' website is at http://henszimmerman.com, and the Sounds Good! Podcast can be found on iTunes.
Corner House Studio Podcasts
Craig Sowby runs Corner House Studio and thus Corner House Studio Podcasts. Sowby is also the man behind www.myonlinedrummer.com. According to the Podcast Description on iTunes, "Corner House Studio hosts bi-weekly discussions about audio recording, mixing, mastering, etc. Every month an artist will be featured and we will discuss their recording process."
At present time there are thirteen episodes available covering a range of topics including mastering, recording acoustic guitar, drum recording, and virtual instruments. Go to www.cornerhousestudio.com for more information.
Home Studio Corner
At first I was surprised that I didn't know about the Home Studio Corner podcast before now. It's creator, Joe Gilder, seems to have a lot of things going on and is providing a lot of good information through his blog. In looking for the Home Studio Corner podcast on iTunes, though, I see that there are only 10 episodes available, and those were produced between April and October of 2010.
According to the descriptions, it looks like Joe is doing some interesting stuff here — episodes cover multi-band compression, distorted vocals, DI Boxes, and more. Joe is also a very prolific blogger — go to http://www.homestudiocorner.com/ for more information.
Another new podcast on the scene, this one by "Kendal and Daniel." According to the iTunes Podcast Descriptions, RL is "A podcast about home recording, pro audio, instruments, bands, music, life, love, and tube amps. We have open discussion about topics and encourage listener questions like no other! Professionals and amateurs are welcome!" Episodes cover "Starting a Project Studio" (a 3-parter covering computers, DAW software, interfaces, room treatment, monitors, mics, preamps, etc.), "SM 57 Shootout", "Problems In The Studio", "Workflow", and more.
Between November 2009 and November 2010 Kendal and Daniel have put out ten podcast episodes. Hopefully we'll be hearing more from them soon. http://recordinglounge.blogspot.com/