Step 3 (pt. 7): Creating Your Products: Studio
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Avish: Fred, let’s talk a little bit, when it comes to audio, about some of the equipment and things you’ll need. So first off, how does a person create their own studio in their house or office if they want to?
Fred: Well, it’s funny, because earlier today I just got off the phone with a group, with a lady who’s a sales person for a company called Whisper Room, whisperroom.com. And Whisper Room makes these kinds of pod-like studios that they will deliver unassembled to your house and you can put them up right in your house. That is sort of the cream of the crop. You get broadcast quality, you’re blocking out all the sounds, a great environment, but they do cost between 3 to 6 to 7 thousand dollars, depending on what size of one you want. So a cheaper and easier way to do is, is to, as opposed to all of the politically correct folks who want people to come out of the closet, I suggest you go into the closet.
You go into your closet and because the closet usually has lots of clothes hanging, and that will serve as sort of a buffering agent. Because sound is a series of waves and when sounds hit walls, like they’re hitting actually in this room now a little bit, they tend to bounce a little bit. And so what you want to do is to try to find an area in your house where you can deaden that sound, both on the floor and on the walls and on the ceiling, if at all possible. So, if you can’t find a room to do that, you may want to hang a couple of light blankets around, so that you just don’t have as much bouncing of these sound waves.
Avish: What does the bouncing do? Why is that a problem?
Fred: Well the bouncing actually just creates sort of a little bit of an echo sound that happens on the recording and we’re trying to avoid that and eliminate that as much as possible. So what happens is that the sound is only heard by the microphone once, instead of once when you’re speaking into it and the second time on a very, very short delay, when it’s getting bounced off the wall and going back into the microphone. So we’re trying to avoid that issue, and that’s how we want to do it.
Avish: Okay, so if you’re hardcore and have a lot of money, you can use whisperroom.com; otherwise, you can create your own by going into a closet with lots of clothes, maybe hanging some blankets.
Fred: Yeah, and by the way, if you go to whisperroom.com, make sure and use my name because apparently if they hear my name they give you some kind of a spiff of some sort, I don’t know what it is.
Avish: Oh, very nice.
Fred: They send me a monkey or something.
Avish: Okay, so let’s say you’ve got your room set up properly, how about the audio equipment? Let’s say you’re really starting out and you don’t have a lot of money, what’s the bare minimum you need to get started?
Fred: Well, the bare minimum you need to get started is to take your existing computer in there. It usually has an internal mike and has a program like Garage Band that we’ve talked about before; or Audacity, and just record directly onto your computer. That would be the lowest level and certainly a good way to get started.
Avish: Okay, so if you’re ready to go one level higher, what’s the first thing you should invest in for better quality?
Fred: The first thing you need to invest in for better quality is a good quality mike because most of the digital recorders these days are fairly decent. But the quality of the mike, now the problem here is you don’t want your mike to be too high quality. Now that sounds sort of like an oxymoron, but if your mike is too high quality, it actually might pick up a lot of sounds you don’t want it to pick up.
So you want a good mike but not an amazing mike. There are microphones that go for around 75 or 100 bucks that are plenty sufficient. Some of them are USBs, you can plug them right into your computer and you can use that way. But don’t spend a ton of money. Get a good—there’s a Sure P51 mike that I’m familiar with, but again, usually for something around 100 dollars, you can get a microphone that will be very, very good quality for what you need, but if you spend like 600 dollars on what’s called a rode mike, r-o-d-e, it actually is so sensitive that it picks up stuff that I don’t want it to pick up.
Avish: That makes sense. Do you—now, you know for somebody who’s never bought a piece of audio equipment before, there’s so many options. Do you have any recommendations or any guidelines for what people should look for?
Fred: I do. I have the guideline which is to talk to my friends at B and H Photo, bhphoto.com. Unfortunately, they don’t give me monkeys when I refer them.
Avish: But you just like them.
Fred: Yeah, I like them. And what you do is you ask to speak to someone in their consumer audio department and then you just tell the person what you’re doing and what your budget is and they will hook you up with what you need. Those are good people over there and they give out good information and advice. I highly recommend them.
Avish: Okay, so next up, now that you’ve got, you may need a few mikes, depending on what you’re doing, or just one to start; now next up is, if you’re recording an event, you don’t record or you don’t always record on your computer, right? You actually use a device?
Fred: Yeah I do and in fact the same device that I record into at a seminar, I also use that for interviews that I do and I use the Marantz—and they have a later version of this I think—but I use the Marantz; it’s either PMD 660 or PMD 670. And again, if you buy these, go to bhphoto.com and that’s the place where you want to get them. And the beauty of those is that they have removable SD cards. Not SD cards, but flash memory cards, combat flash cards, and it makes it so that you can store a lot of information in a very small space. It’s very transportable, it’s almost indestructible and it’s a good medium to record audio on to.
Avish: Okay, and so at what point do you think someone should go out and get one of these Marantz 660s or 670s?
Fred: Once they’ve made enough money from the sale of their audio products and other information products, where they say to themselves, you know what? I’m going to be using this microphone and this recording device at least once a week. And if they’re making money and using it once a week, you should probably go out and do it. You may want to do it before then, but that’s sort of the latest step. So if you’re making money and recording an audio product at least every couple of weeks or every month, you should definitely consider it. But if you’re doing once a week and you’re making some money, you know, by once a week, you must have one of these.
Avish: Okay, that makes sense. So what about software? I know we talked about you’ll be fine with just Garage Band or just Audacity, which are both free, is there a point where you’re going to want to invest in some audio software?
Fred: You know at least not for me and not for most people in information products. Information marketing and selling info products is primarily about delivering the content and unless you’re dealing with a real high-end, highfalutin’ corporate audience, what you can do yourself with the systems we’ve described here is more than sufficient. Occasionally you might need something more, but for the most part, probably not.
Avish: Oh, interesting. That’s good to know, because I know there are a lot of products you can buy. Alright and now, we’ve been talking a lot about Web Marketing Magic is uploading your MP3s into that system. So what about physical products? I know obviously you want downloadable, but is it worth still creating physical audios?
Fred: Aye, aye, aye! I’m sad you brought this up because I’ve got a guy that ordered something from me about a month and a half ago. And I still haven’t fulfilled the order because on my website, and I made up an excuse and frankly I just, I felt really bad because he ordered the physical product and what I’ve done is, I’ve made it so that my physical products usually cost about 3 times more than my digital products, trying to encourage people not to order the physical product. Well evidently he didn’t get the memo.
So I still need to produce this physical product, which part of the reason, some of this material you and I are doing, he ordered the program on information marketing. So I was sort of waiting for us to get most of this done and I think that after we record this section, I’m going to take everything that we’ve recorded so far and send him the physical recording of this program, which will be in MP3 form. And again, so when you create a physical product in terms of audio, you have two basic formats that you’re going to be recording it in, either the standard sort of CD audio or you’re going to be recording an MP3 audio. Now most players these days can play both but it’s sort of a good idea to be able to be ready, and again, I think this is changing because over the next couple of years, I think physical products are going away completely. So you may have to do it for some of the hardcore people who still want the physical products, but eh, not for very much longer.
Avish: How should people deal with physical products? Do you just use your computer CD ROM burner? Or what do you do to fill a physical order?
Fred: Well, it really will depend, in this case, giving the fact that I’m producing a once-off; I’m going to use my computer. But normally I don’t. I only use my computer to create the original and then I take it into my office and I have a CD ROM and a DVD duplicator that I’ve gotten, I got them on eBay as a matter of fact, and use this machine that does a 1 to 5 duplication; so I put one in and it spits out 5 once completed duplicated either CDs or DVDs.
So there’s either do it on your computer, there’s doing it using a duplicating machine like the one I described and there’s also sending it to what’s called a duplication and fulfillment house, which will make copies and even package and send out the materials directly to your customers. The only problem is if you’ve got fairly low volume, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. If your volume is high, go for it.
Avish: Now are you still recommending Kunaki for this sort of thing?
Fred: Yeah, well the thing is Kunakii is a great site, again it’s PC only, so if you’ve got a Mac you’re kind of screwed but if you have a friend who can upload it for you on a PC, you’re fine. So Kunaki is kunaki.com. Now if you want something that’s got a little more personal touch and attention to it, you can also go to speakerfulfillmentservices.com.
Avish: Okay and those are duplication places that will handle your duplication and fulfillment?
Fred: Yeah, they do duplication, packaging or all three: duplication, packaging and fulfillment, which means sending it to the people as well.
Avish: Alright so for someone who’s maybe newer to this and starting out, do you have a recommendation for which approach they should start with?
Fred: Yeah, I mean I really don’t think that anyone starting out should be doing anything other than digital products. I think that getting into this whole thing of using Kunaki or Speaker Fulfillment Services to do physical products, just don’t do it. It’s too much of a hassle.
Avish: Okay, thanks Fred.
Fred: You got it.
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