In this section, I’m outlining some of the suggested basics for you if you’re just starting out in podcasting: your mic, your headphones and some sound treatment to make your audio sound its best at this stage of the game. (I’m going to assume you already have a computer or laptop.)
Grab the BLUE ICE Snowball microphone below (you can click through the image on the left side below to get more details and the full product description) and you could be recording your first episode in no time! This mic is USB plug-and-play and doesn’t require any special driver installation to your computer or laptop, so just plug it in and start recording! It even comes with a desktop stand so you can have your hands free, OR you can remove the mic from the desktop stand and attach it to any standard mic stand or boom arm. Great for PC or Mac users!
If you want to have your hands free and need a little more versatility, this Neewer Boom Scissor Arm stand lets you attach your mic and swivel it all around or up and down to adjust for different heights. Just clip it to your desk or table and you’re ready!
To prevent “plosives” from turning up in your audio, you might consider adding a pop-filter to your set up. These attach easily to mic boom arms (like in the image above) and work with just about any microphone when placed in front of it.
To be able to hear all the awesome audio you’re creating WHILE you’re recording or for playback and editing purposes, investing in some solid studio headphones is always a good idea. Click on the image of the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x below for more details on these starter headphones.
If you want your audio to sound more like studio quality, a little sound treatment in your recording space can go a long way! Use these sound treatment foam squares on everything from your walls to your desk surface to help eliminate echos and sound waves that bounce over hard surfaces. Click on the product pic below to get the full details.
Are you willing to spend a tad more for higher audio quality and a more polished sound?
Then this is the section for you!
In this section, I’m recommending a higher quality microphone and a plug-and-play audio interface for XLR mics. You can produce some really awesome audio with these two tools! I’d recommend grabbing the boom arm and some sound treatment from the “Getting Started” section above to complete this set up. Depending on your editing needs, I’ve included a recommendation for an upgrade to your headphones. Finally you’ll also find a recommendation for a shock mount that fits well with the mic recommended in this section.
The Audio-Technica ATR-2100 is a podcasting favorite because of its ability to switch from USB plug-and-play capability to a more studio quality XLR mic. This product pack comes with everything you need to get started: the mic, USB cable, XLR cable, mic stand clip and even a desktop stand! Click the image above to find out more or to watch the product demo.
Grab the windscreen/pop filter shown above that fits perfectly with your ATR-2100. I’d recommend grabbing the boom arm and sound treatment foam from the “Getting Started” section above to complete this set-up. To get a more studio quality sound, use the ATR-2100 with the audio interface shown below! What’s great about the Focusrite Scarlett-Solo is that it comes with a free copy of Pro Tools First (audio recording software)! Click the image below to get more details!
That being said, if you want to grab a fully loaded kit including the interface, a mic and great studio headphones, you can opt for the trio bundle shown below. One stop shop! This bundle also comes with a copy of Pro Tools First and a few other software goodies! Click the image below to find out more. Again, it’d be a good idea to get some of the sound treatment squares and the boom arm for your desk or table, shown in the “Getting Started” section above.
Depending on your needs and whether or not you’re editing your own podcast episodes with a fine-tooth comb, you might want to treat yourself to a pair of higher quality headphones. Not an essential, but a nice upgrade. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x model shown below offers studio-grade sound for the picky editor.
Now here’s an optional piece of equipment for your microphone, but one that I personally use and feel is more of an essential, no matter how serious you are about podcasting. A shock mount isolates most mics from physical vibration coming from your floor or work space and/or your mic stand. This is a major plus when you want really clean audio. You simply put your microphone through the hole in the shock mount and then attach that to your mic stand or mic boom arm. Easy peasy! Click on the image below for the one that I use currently on my boom arm.
Are you a serious podcaster who wants to up your game?
Then this is the section for you!
It goes without saying that you can produce a great podcast without all the bells and whistles you’ll see in this section, but if you’re really serious about podcasting long-term, or you’ve been doing it awhile and want to step up your game, here are just a few recommendations I’d make at this stage of the game.
Like anything else, there is a HUGE variety when it comes to equipment quality and pricing, and it won’t do you any good to buy the most expensive microphone on the market if your recording space echoes or is noisy, so be mindful of making improvements to your space along with upgrades to your equipment.
The Shure SM7B is a wildly popular mic with podcasters and musicians alike. With its cardioid pattern and rugged construction, this mic will last you a loooong time. You’ll still need an XLR cable, some headphones and an audio interface as suggested in the “Need more?” section to make it functional, but this particular model shown above comes with a high-quality windscreen so you won’t need a separate pop filter.
You’ll need a place to hang your mic, so consider grabbing a mic boom arm and the shock mount as shown in the “Getting Started” and “Need more?” sections above.
There are no shortage of audio interfaces or pre-amps on the market, so it’s really easy to go down the rabbit hole here and spend more than what you really need to. That being said, depending on whether or not you have guests on your show who will be in the same room as you when you record, you might want to consider moving from the Focusrite Scarlett Solo to an audio interface that has the capability of recording more than vocal at a time (with an additional mic of course). Check out the Focusrite Scarlett-2i4 Gen2 below. Like the one shown above, it plugs in by USB, but you can do so much more with it!
Podcasting on the go?
While nothing can compare to the sound quality you can get with a decent mic and some sound treatment in your recording space, what can you do if you need to record a podcast episode on the go, while travelling, or interviewing someone at an event where you don’t have access to your home studio?
Depending on what equipment you have already, most of the recording set-ups listed above are really quite portable and certainly fit in a carry-on bag or a suitcase, assuming that you have a laptop or other device to record with.
Below you’ll find some VERY handy tools that can help you record you podcast anywhere, anytime…if you don’t want to/can’t bring your regular equipment with you.
If you want to be ready to capture great audio no matter where you are, sometimes all you need is a decent lav mic and your smartphone! Most smartphones, whether iPhone or Android, have a pre-installed app to record audio (voice or sound), but the integrated mic in your smartphone is not necessarily the best quality for podcasting, nor does it have the correct directionality. You can fix this by grabbing a plug n’ play lav mic like the one shown below. Just plug it into your smartphone and start recording your own voice! You can even use it to record a guest’s voice by passing the tiny mic back and forth as opposed to clipping it to your shirt.
That being said, at just under $30 per lav mic, you can get two of them, and use a simple splitter like the one shown below to record both voices at the same time using two lav mics!
The same method can work just as easily with an iPad or tablet as well, if you don’t want to use your smartphone as the recording device. Depending on the app you’re using to record your audio, you can either edit your episode in the app, or export the audio recording to your preferred cloud storage and import it into your usual audio recording software for editing later.
If your home studio equipment doesn’t travel with you, you might consider having a back up “travel podcasting kit”, which you can use with your laptop to record, edit and produce your episode, all on the go! The kit shown below really gives you everything you need for this in a small package, which makes it ideal for travel, at events, or even when interviewing multiple people at once (extra mic required for an additional person). This impressive kit from Behringer comes with all kinds of goodies too. With a 5-input mixer and an included recording software, this is truly a podcast studio in a box for an affordable price!
If you’re really conscious about how your audio sounds when you record on the go in spaces that don’t have any sound treatment, in addition to your pop filter or windscreen on your mic, you may want some portable sound treatment to deal with room tone and echo. In this case, rather than sound treatment panels, you can opt for some spot treatment around your mic. A compact isolation shield like the one shown below is ideal for small spaces and can easily fold away when not in use. This is a handy tool to have in your regular recording space too, but can make a huge impact on the quality of your sound in spaces where you don’t have complete control of what’s in the environment (hotel room, conference room, etc.).
Are you new to podcasting?
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