Louisville, KY — Resonate Recordings has carved a niche for itself in the podcast industry since launching in 2014 by providing post-production services to all comers, from Fortune 100 companies to anyone with a microphone and a story to tell. “We’re committed to the highest possible audio quality for podcasting, and raising the bar and standards as much as we can in that space,” says company co-founder, president and CEO Jacob Bozarth.
In early 2019, media observers reported that there were over 700,000 podcast titles available. One year later, Spotify announced that it has that many just on its platform alone. With no end in sight to the torrent of content being produced, Resonate has quickly built a list of more than 600 clients, from hobbyists to corporations to professional podcasters, reports Bozarth.
“We work with anybody and everybody that creates podcasts,” he says. “I think one of the beautiful things about podcasting is that there’s so much freedom to make it your own and let your voice be heard.”
Bozarth was inspired to start Resonate Recordings as an avid fan of podcasts. “Selfishly, I wanted to help some shows that I enjoyed listening to sound better—because the reality is that no matter how good your content is, if the quality is poor, then people are not going to listen.”
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Walk into Resonate Recordings’ Louisville offices and you’ll likely see the company’s 20 audio engineers—and there are almost as many contractors working remotely—editing and mixing on the house-standard setup of Avid Pro Tools, a Universal Audio interface and headphones. “We stepped up our headphone game in the last year and a half with the Audeze LCD-X,” he reports.
“Our entire team, including myself, have some sort of a professional audio background, whether it’s a degree or experience working in the field,” says Bozarth, who graduated from MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN. “We’ve been able to pull a few employees who came out of that program, and one of our lead engineers still lives there.”
A Range of Services
At one end of the scale, Resonate’s post services can be as basic as cleaning up the dialogue track before mixing and mastering. “We use iZotope’s RX suite for all our restoration,” says lead mixing engineer Pat Kicklighter, who favors RME’s ADI-2 interface for his setup.
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“We have an engineer with a background in film who recommended Cedar DNS,” adds Bozarth. “It’s a pricey plug-in, but it outperforms the Waves Denoiser and even iZotope.”
Beyond that, says Kicklighter, “It’s up to each engineer for dynamic control and EQ.” Lately, he says, he’s been getting into Acoustica Audio’s unique emulations. “I’m always looking for a better plug-in.”
At the other end of the scale, there are clients for whom Resonate provides sound design, music and even Foley effects. “We have some library music we pull for several clients and we have a couple of composers we work with who will do custom scoring,” says Bozarth. “We have some prerecorded Foley and we just purchased a pretty big Pro Sound Effects library.”
Whatever the level of involvement, he says, “We’re primarily focused on the levels. That’s a big thing, because, as a listener, it can be annoying to have to adjust the volume.”
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Resonate offers more than just audio post-production services, however. Mid-2019, Black Mountain Media, co-founded by Bozarth, partnered with podcaster Tenderfoot TV to produce Culpable. “It was an investigative true-crime podcast that hit number one in all of Apple podcasts, so it was a very successful show” he says. “We recorded everything in-house. We built a vocal booth and ran into Pro Tools through Heritage Audio Neve-clone preamps.”
The partnership dated back to 2018, when Resonate post-produced Tenderfoot’s hit show Up and Vanished, which has racked up over 300 million downloads. Bozarth’s wife was an associate producer on Culpable, inspiring Resonate to also begin offering producer services. “Our audio engineers are not going to take creative decisions and edit content, but if clients hire us for our producer services, we work alongside them and get to know their content to be able to make those types of suggestions.”
Taking to heart the adage that a rising tide lifts all boats, Resonate’s team disseminates podcasting tips and techniques, including gear recommendations. “I realized there was a lot of content out there with people recommending microphones—but they haven’t tried them out. There’s a lot of bad information out there,” he says. “We don’t want people to buy things that aren’t going to work well for them.”
The educational initiative aims to provide resources to Resonate’s clients as well as help the larger podcasting audience, he says. “Equipment is the first piece for most people starting a podcast. The podcasting industry has really exploded over the last couple of years, so I wanted to put our team’s voices out there and let other people benefit from their expertise, knowledge and skill sets.”
Resonate owns a variety of mics. “We’ve done comparisons and shootouts,” says Bozarth. For interview-style podcasts, “We usually recommend an Electro-Voice RE20 or RE320. We also use several Neumann tube mics, a Lauten Audio Eden and some Shure SM7Bs. For Culpable, we used the Mojave Audio MA-200. I prefer that warm tube sound.”
Resonate Recordings also partnered with Story, an entrepreneur service provider and incubator, to build and outfit a podcast studio at the organization’s Louisville location. “We sponsored it and purchased all the equipment and set everything up. Now people in the Louisville area can record, and we can provide an engineer for them.”
Through it all, Bozarth is first and foremost a podcast fan. “We have a lot of clients whose content we enjoy listening to as well as working on it,” he says.
“There are no regulations or guidelines. That’s one of the cool things about how flexible the medium is. You can tailor your message to serve your audience well.”
Resonate Recordings • www.resonaterecordings.com