The U on iTunes U - Hardware

Before you start creating content for iTunes U, you'll want to select the recording hardware that is appropriate for your needs & environment. You may be doing all your recording from the classroom, office, studio, or you may need to be more mobile. Consider what type of podcasting, like audio-only, enhanced or video, you'd plan on doing as you read through this list of hardware recommendations.

Depending on your needs, the nature of your project, and if you are a student, staff or faulty member, you can check out, use, or rent hardware on campus from departments like Instructional Media Services, Marriott Library Knowledge Commons, Technology Assisted Curriculum Center and others.

Audio Hardware:

M-Audio Classroom StudioMulti-Person Studio

If you plan to have two or more people participating in your podcast, like an interview or round-table discussion, this option might be for you. You get two studio-quality microphones, USB computer audio interface/preamp, microphone cables, and recording software.

M-Audio Classroom Studio ˜ $260
Desktop Microphone Stand ˜ $10

Samson Audio Studio Condenser MicSingle-Person Studio

This setup offers studeo-quality recording with a minimum of equipment. The single microphone plugs directly into your computer's USB port, and the spider mount will reduce any noise caused by vibrations.

Samson USB Condenser Mic ˜ $79
Samson Audio Spider Mount ˜ $30
Desktop Microphone Stand ˜ $10

Plantronics USB HeadsetBasic

This microphone/stereo headset is a very affordable solution for situations where pro-quality isn't necessary, and you just need something basic for your personal podcasting needs. This headset is also useful if you're conducting interviews via online audio chat or using iChat, Marratech, or Adobe Connect, etc.

Note, the Marriott Library Knowledge Commons, TACC and others have USB headsets with mic's for checkout.

Plantronics USB Headset with Mic ˜ $45

Gemini WirelessWireless

If you need to move around while you're recording, like lecturing or giving a presentation, this solution provides quality, mobility, and hands-free operation. Just plug the base into your computer, clip the microphone on your shirt, drop the transmitter in your pocket, and you're ready to go.

Note, the Marriott Library Knowledge Commons, TACC and others have wireless setups, so, you might contact the them before purchasing a wireless setup.

Gemini UX16L Wireless Lavalier System ˜ $90

MicroMemo iPod Digital RecorderMobile

The following options are small and doesn't require a computer, which makes them ideal for working in the field, whether you want to capture a conversation on-the-fly at a remote location.

Note, the IMS, Marriott Library Knowledge Commons and others have mobile audio hardware, so, you might contact the them before purchasing a mobile setup.

Zoom H4 ˜ $300
Olympus DS-30 Digital Voice Recorder ˜ $150
MicroMemo ˜ $40 (iPod Accessory)

Video Hardware:

In regards to video equipment for creating video podcasts, you should primarily focus on the audio first, then the video. No matter how good your camera is, no matter how pretty you are, no matter how great your script, it’s the audio that will make or break your video podcast.

When selecting a video camera, look for one that offers professional sound capabilities. Usually, this means working with a camera that either has XLR mic inputs or that can be easily modified to accept XLR mic inputs via an adapter.

Shotgun Mounted Microphone
If you can’t afford a video camera with XLR audio inputs and don’t want to make your own, try to find a video camera that offers a shotgun mounted microphone. Depending on the distance from your camera to subject and the level of ambient noise, you may be able to get an acceptable quality audio track using this method.

Monitor Sound via Headphone Jack
Make sure your video camera offers a way to separately monitor the audio coming into the camera via a headphone jack. Believe it or not, many of the lower-end camcorders and digital video cameras don’t have headphone jacks. You really need to be able to listen to the sound you’re recording onto your video camera.

16-bit, 44.1 kHz Sound
Make sure that you buy a video camera capable of recording 16-bit, 44.1 kHz sound. Some of the low-end cameras capture sound at 12-bits. Some offer a choice between 12-bits and 16-bits. If you’re buying a camera that offers a choice, set it at 16-bits and forget it.

Logitech QuickcamLow-End
On the low-end, you could use built-in camera's like Apple's iSight external camera's you can attach to the USB or Firewire port of your computer like the Logitech QuickCam. You can get camera's that are built for a desktop or portable, depending on your needs.

Logitech QuickCam ˜ $50-100

Note, IMS, TACC and others have video equipment available for checkout. The Marriott Library Knowledge Commons has video equipment that can be used in the lab.