If you’re just getting started building your web radio station, and are unsure of the equipment needed to get you moving on your journey or of how to run a radio station, then you have come to the right place. This guide will explain and demonstrate the specific equipment needed for you to get up and running.
This guide will, amongst other things, address the following terms discussed in detail further on:
- Broadcasting Software, i.e. software that can broadcast live and map to your choice of equipment,
- Microphones ranging from entry standard to more professional and high-end,
- Processors for microphones, specifically for the amplification as well as equalisation for a more stream-able quality of audio, and
- Broadcasting Desks or Audio systems that process and manage multiple channels.
Whether you have a Mac or PC does not really pose much of a difference in the set-up of your station, but it is important to bear in mind that there exists different types of broadcasting software that suit the different processors. Broadcasting Software are encoding programmes that take the audio on your computer and them transmit it out onto your web radio station. This software ranges from basic ones that only steam audio online, to more complex, high-end ones including management of media, gains, samplers, and mixing capabilities.
The most popular broadcasting software includes:
- BUTT (Windows, Mac, & Linux) – a free broadcaster with a multi-operating system;
- Virtual DJ Pro (Windows & Mac) – an audio mixing type of broadcaster;
- Winamp (Windows) – perhaps the oldest and one of the more popular broadcaster types for Windows;
- andNicecast (Mac) – easiest type of software that allows you to broadcast using your Mac and permits the use of iTunes.
Microphones and Headphones
If you are aiming for a basic set-up, the microphones Behringer B1 and Rode Podcaster are your best bet for microphones that sound high-end, yet do not break the bank. Behringer B1 encompasses a wide diaphragm that ensures good frequency responses for clear, crisp audio. Its downside is that, since it’s a condenser type of microphone, it cannot plug in directly to your processor and will require a more professional setup for phantom power provision.
Rode Podcaster is a more popular choice for voiceover artists and podcasters. It can be plugged directly into your computer and is a great choice for cancelling out any lurking background noise. To keep your microphone in its place and eliminate unnecessary vibrations, you will need to purchase a stand and shockmount for better audio quality.
Headphones also come in a variety to suit any budget, even a shoestring one. Sony stocks a good selection of relatively inexpensive headphones (such as the MDRZX310), which will typically also fold up with ease for travelling.
If you are after a more advanced type of set-up, you will typically require the following equipment:
- an Audio Interface – needed for the creation of phantom power which condensed microphones require to run, and can typically be plugged in to a microphone processor which gives better control over one’s voice;
- a Microphone Processor – a tool used by established, bigger radio stations to provide a grand and amplified feel to the audio quality, and to remove background noise, thus reducing the likelihood of bad signals;
- and a Broadcasting Desk – it is the main hub of a radio station, and consists of several input channels for the control of audio management, providing an array of mixing capabilities to suit a variety of microphones and devices.