Behind the Mic: Q&A with Matt Boudreau

Experience from one side of the music industry can greatly influence the work produced in another. Matt Boudreau knows this better than anyone. After years spent as a drummer for a variety of artists, Matt began his journey on “the other side of the glass.” He’s worked with a very diverse range of artists from Bruce Hornsby to Matchbox 20 to The Shins.

For the last few years, Matt has produced his own podcast, Working Class Audio, discussing his experiences in and around the music industry. Recently, he shared his insight with us about recording, his show, and the world of podcasting.

Matt Boudreau

Image © Working Class Audio

Audio-Technica: What inspired you to start the podcast?

Matt Boudreau: After getting my ass kicked in my last studio adventure during the last recession, I had to not only leave studio ownership, but more importantly I had to readjust my attitude towards business, money, family, and audio work. The podcast was a direct result of that. I wanted to not only share my experiences but also wanted to find out what everyone else did to make their world of audio work for them.

A-T: You’ve been working as a recording engineer for decades. How does your vast experience influence the recording process for the podcast?

Boudreau: My experience allows me to get the show done without thinking too much because the recording and editing are all second nature. It allows me to focus on the guest and not the gear or sound. I know what I want things to sound like and that experience allows me to make it happen fast. I have a basic template setup in my DAW and use the same gear every time. That said, I do experiment with different ways of processing the show in post production.

A-T: You’ve recorded over 100 episodes of the WCA podcast. Who has been your favorite guest and why?

Boudreau: I know it’s a cliché, but I don’t have a favorite. Each guest brings little nuggets of wisdom that really stay with the audience and me. No one guest is the “be all, end all” guest, however, each guest makes up such an incredible pool of knowledge so I guess you could say they are all my favorite!

A-T: What gear do you consider essential for podcasting?

Boudreau: You need a computer, DAW software, interface and microphone (or a USB microphone instead of microphone/interface) and either speakers or headphones. Finding a microphone that your voice sounds good on is key.

A-T: How does a podcasting microphone differ from one used in the recording studio?

Boudreau: With the exception of USB based mics, there isn’t really that much difference. Of course, certain mics are built, voiced and marketed for certain applications, but in my book, there are no rules. If a microphone sounds good on your voice then who is to say you can’t use it? That said, when A-T came out with the BP40 I was curious what it sounded like on my voice compared to an old standard. It turned out to be so much better than I expected.

Matt Boudreau

© Working Class Audio

A-T: What specifications should users look for when buying a microphone for podcasting/voice overs?

Boudreau: In my opinion, your environment helps determine whether you choose a dynamic or condenser microphone. I have my studio in a spare bedroom in my house, which is not completely soundproof from the outside world. Therefore I chose a dynamic microphone (the Audio-Technica BP40) since a condenser would be more sensitive to airplanes passing overhead, computer noise, or my 80-pound English bulldog snoring.   

A-T: What kind of advice would you give to any aspiring podcasters?

Boudreau: The first thing I would say is to make sure you are passionate about your podcasting idea. If you don’t care about the subject matter, it comes across. You lose interest and, eventually, your podcast dies a slow death. Secondly, I would teach yourself how to use your recording gear if you don’t know how. Depending on others to create your show can cause a bottleneck, which can prevent shows getting released on time. The third item is to make sure you set a schedule and stick to it. Audiences hate to get hooked on a show only to have it come out when the host feels the muse or has time. Treat your show like a radio or TV show that has a set schedule.

We’d like to thank Matt Boudreau for taking the time to share his knowledge with us. To learn more about the world of recording, be sure to check out his podcast, Working Class Audio.

[Images courtesy of Matt Boudreau and Working Class Audio]


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