PROTIPS FOR SUPER PODCASTERS
Yes, use them, and turn off your speakers.
There is going to be some lag in these conversations, but keep your cool: if everyone talks at once, wait for the confusion to clear up and pick up at the beginning of what you were saying. The confusion will be removed in post, but if you are tripping over yourself to spit out your statement that will be a little harder to fix and harder for the audience to follow in general, you know?
Mics and Stuff:
In an ideal world everyone would have a microphone of reasonable quality suited for this type of thing, but none of us are made of money either. A headset will work well for this and provides reasonably good audio quality.
One thing you will want to be very careful about is mic placement. If you place the mic right in the path of your where you breathe, you are going to get a lot of breath noises and plosives (also called “p” pops, the burst of air that forms when you make a “p” or “t” sound usually). This results in the diaphragm of the mic becoming overloaded by the pressure of your breath, creating unpleasant white noise.
I would recommend at least positioning the mic slightly off-axis from your mouths, so that it’s still pointed at the source of sound (your mouth) but well out of the path of your breathing.
If you are using something like a headset this might take some manipulating to get the balance right, but it’s really important. If you are unsure of where NOT to place the mic, place your hand right in front of your face and says some words that begin with 'P" and “T”, and you’ll feel where this zone is. Also, let out a deep exhale and take note of where that breath travels as well. You’ll likely end up placing the mic either to the sides or above your mouth. again, remember to tilt the mic towards your mouth!
Volume is really important on this thing since everyone is sharing an audio file. So get a feel for how loud you are by asking the other participants. You should be able to change your gain setting within Ventrilo.
Additionally, if you have a PC or a Mac (get one lol) and are going directly into the sound card, open up the sound preferences and check the recording sensitivity of the mic (if you are using an external audio interface though, it might have a physical gain control). If the gain is set too high you will be distorting, but too low is no good either. you basically want to be as loud as reasonably possible without distorting at your loudest moments.