A quality podcast requires quality equipment. ⭐
Investing in high quality equipment and equipping yourself (almost) like a pro is a must. If you don’t know where to start and what exactly to look for, this article is made for you. 🙂
What equipment is needed to record a podcast ?
- Mixing console
- Setup and Home Studio
- Video Camera (if you are doing a video podcast)
- Other important equipment
Which microphone to choose to record a podcast
The budget and the type of microphone you choose will not necessarily be the same if it’s your very first podcast or if it’s not your first try. 😃
The difference between cardioid and hypercardioid
With a mixer or a multi-track recorder, you won’t be using USB microphones, but XLR microphones. 🎙️ Some types of microphones are more suitable for voice recording, while others are better for recording instruments live or in the studio. But there are also microphones for other types of uses like capturing ambient sounds, for example. One of the first areas of microphone differentiation is directionality, it means the area that will be picked up by the microphone.
In a podcast with several speakers, cardioid and hypercardioid microphones are preferred, as it is preferable that the microphone of one speaker picks up as few sounds as possible from the other.
The difference between condenser and dynamic
Before choosing a specific model, you should decide between a “condenser” or “dynamic” microphone. Both types of microphones can be used for podcasting, but a few points of differentiation can make the difference. A dynamic microphone has the advantage of being less expensive, less sensitive and does not require a power supply.
However, you will have audio that’s not as warm as a condenser microphone would produce. The condenser microphone is more expensive, but it’s more precise. It requires a power supply that can be provided either by your mixer or by a phantom power supply (between $20 and $50). Choose this type of microphone if your recording room is well set up and has no echoes.
Microphones for small budgets
– Your smartphone’s microphone 📱
If you’re an independent podcaster and you don’t yet know where your podcast will take you, you can start in a “homemade” way with your smartphone’s microphone in a very quiet environment. It’s best to choose a closed room that’s arranged in such a way that the sound does not reverberate.
At Ausha, we love asking podcasters who host their podcasts on our platform to send us pictures of their home studios because these are always funny situations! Some of them record their podcast in their dressing rooms or closets, others under a blanket or in a room with lots of pillows to absorb the echo. 🛏️ Choosing a well soundproofed room with no reverberation is one of the most important things in having a quality audio. 📣
These days, all smartphones come with built-in voice recording apps that are already installed and are quite good. If you ever come across the only smartphone in the world without an app, you can easily download one.
– Lapel microphones 👔
If you have a little money to spend on a microphone, I advise you to invest in a lapel microphone with a jack plug. It’s very practical, and you can record your episodes directly from your phone or your computer. The good news is that you can easily find them everywhere and for only a few dozen euros.
You can find both wired and wireless lapel microphones. Depending on your use and your budget (wired microphones are often cheaper), all that’s left is to choose. At this stage, you won’t hear any real difference between the two.
– The T-Bone MB 85 Beta for $45 🎙️
If the Shure isn’t quite in your budget, T-Bone’s MB 85 Beta is a good alternative dynamic microphone. It’s a bit more sensitive to handling noise and doesn’t capture high notes as well as the Shure SM58 LC, but it’s not a bad place to start if you can’t or don’t want to spend too much for a mic.
– The Bird UM-1 for $50 🐦
If you want to get the best bang for your buck, the voice recording (convenient, since we’re interested in podcasting). It’s super easy to set up since it doesn’t have tons of bells and whistles. It’s sold with a shock mount and a storage pouch, but you’ll need to buy a stand and either a foam windscreen or pop filter (to reduce popping sounds when you say your “b’s” and “p’s”) separately.
– The Eagleton CM60 for $65 🦅
For something a bit less painful on the wallet than the Rode NT-1, try the Eagletone CM60. One of the nice things about this mic is that you can switch its directivity to fit your needs.
We recommend using the cardioid setting for recording your podcast, and the omnidirectional pattern for capturing environmental sounds. Eventually you’ll probably want to upgrade, but this mic is good for getting your feet wet in the podcasting world.
Microphones for bigger budgets 💰
Once your podcast is more established, we recommend investing in better audio equipment to offer more listening comfort to your listeners. There are several types you can choose and at various prices. It’s up to you to make your decision based on your work and your budget.
– The Shure SM58 for $100 🎙️
The Shure SM58 LC is an industry favorite and a solid investment. It is known for its sturdiness and for producing true voice recordings. Its durability guarantees years of use, which makes the price a little easier to digest..
– The Blue Yeti for $129 🐻
A bit pricier, but the Blue Yeti model also has a lot more features than the Bird UM1. Volume buttons, a gain control, and a headphone jack are all built into this mic.
Choose from four different pattern modes: stereo mode, which captures the most natural sound, cardioid mode, which produces a super clear voice recording, omnidirectional mode, which is great for recording sounds all around the mic, and bidirectional mode, which picks up sounds in front of and behind the mic. Plus, this model is the only THX-certified microphone in its price range.
– The Rode NT-1 for $249 🔊
This is one of the best microphones for podcasting out there; even if you might have to empty your pockets to get your hands on one, you won’t be disappointed because it truly does produce high-quality sound. It’s well built and captures warm, crystal clear sound. And its 10-year extended warranty is the icing on the cake!
– The Shure SM7B for $360 🚀
This is the microphone we use in the Ausha Studio. Sure, it’s true that its cost is quite expensive compared to the previous microphones, but the quality of sound you’ll get from it guarantees you won’t be your purchase.
When we think about buying a microphone, we often think first about the recording of our episodes and the listening comfort of our listeners (which makes sense), but you’ll find that your post-production work is a breeze with a mic like the Shure SM7B, since the sound you get is
perfect right out of the box.
A microphone for recording your episodes on site
– The Zoom H5 for $270
The Zoom H5 is super easy to use because you can manage everything directly from the device’s audio interface. We put this device in the portable category because it does everything that the Zoom R16 does (thanks to its 4 XLR inputs), but since it features a built-in stereo capsule you don’t even need to plug an up XLR microphone.
You can control the volume of each track separately using this device, and like the R16, you will end up with a multitrack recording. You can even control everything with a remote (sold separately). If you only plan to use the recorder for field interviews, you might want to consider the Zoom H1, which you can find for around $100.
Which recorder to use ?
Once you’ve chosen your microphone, you’ll need to define the way you want to record everything you’ll be saying.
Get started easily with your smartphone 📱
As mentioned above, today’s smartphones offer sufficient quality to start recording your podcast without investing in professional equipment. You can, for example, connect your stationary microphone or lapel microphone directly to your phone with a jack.
If at first sight (or first listening), you don’t hear a difference with recording on dedicated softwares, upgrading to more professional podcast equipment will become necessary if you want to offer your audience an extremely pleasant and comfortable listening experience.
Choose a digital recorder 🎛️
Some microphones (like the Zoom H5, which we just mentioned) have an integrated recorder. Simply insert an SD card, which you can then connect to your computer to edit your posts on your editing software.
You don’t need an extra recorder, just use the one that is built into the microphone. It’s very practical gear if you are doing a nomadic recording, like a street interview for example. But this is not the case for all microphones.
Choosing a computer 💻
The easiest and most obvious way for all podcasters is to connect your microphone directly to your computer. All you need to do is choose your recording software (which is often the same as for editing podcast episodes) like Audacity, Adobe Audition or Garage Band.
At Ausha, our favorite recording software is Reaper. It’s very easy to use and allows you to record on multiple tracks, making it easier to edit. Reaper has a free version that you can renew as many times as you wish.
To learn more about recording softwares for podcasts, go to the next lesson in the Ausha Academy.
But let’s dive into computers for a second. You can use a desktop for recording and editing your podcast, but with the power that laptops have these days, you don’t need to use a desktop. A laptop gives you a ton of flexibility in terms of where you record, but also where you edit. We know it is some nice to snuggle up on a couch when you edit your episode in Jan. or catch some rays outside in Aug.
Here are some of the top laptops for you to consider when choosing your gear:
– Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro
Did you know Samsung has launched its own podcast listening platform!? This bodes well for podcasters who like using this brand of gear. Hopefully they will make more and more podcast-oriented equipment!
But for now we can certainly be satisfied by their Galaxy Book 2 Pro as an excellent laptop for podcast production and editing.
There is a catch though. You need to get the traditional hard cover version of this model if you want a dedicated GPU. In other words, if you want to produce video podcasts. If this is not a priority for you, you will be just fine with the laptop/table hybrid touchscreen version.
This beauty starts at around $800. But as always: If you want more ump you are going to have to pony up a little bit more.
Yay: The battery life is 12 hours. That is excellent for a 2-and-1 model.
Not so yay: You have to be really careful when picking out the exact specifications you want because it is possible to get one of these that will not fully meet your needs.
– ASUS Vivobook
ASUS sells some very, very incredible laptops. Their PortArt Studiobook makes one drool. However one will stop drooling when ones looks at that price tag. It is over $2,000. But do not be sad. You do not that one for podcasting.
The ASUS Vivobook is all you need for podcasting. And it costs around $1,000. Whew.
This computer has the CPU and GPU you need to get your podcast looking great with minimal fuss. The working memory is a little low at 8GB, but that should not be a deal breaker.
Yay: Some people like to be able to open their laptop up all the way so it is all flat. If you are one of those people, you are in luck because this computer does that.
Con: The built-in camera is only 720p resolution. If you are doing anything with video you want at least 1080p. So you would have to buy a separate camera.
– MacBook Air M2 2022
Just when you think Apple cannot out do itself, it does it again. Welcome, MacBook Air M2. The 2022 model is the best Mac laptop yet. M2 is the name of the chip, or the “Central Processing Unit” otherwise known as the CPU.
The M2 is a newer version of… you guessed it… M1. The M2 is almost one and a half times faster than the M1, including activities like video editing. That is pretty impressive!
And it is super light, weighing in at 2.7 pounds (that is 1.24 kilograms for those of you on the metric system).
Now, of course, we do have to talk about the price. The basic model costs $1,200 on Apple’s website. If you want to add more storage or any other bells and whistles it will cost you more. Plus you may have to buy some adapters for those ports… we will get in to that in the “not so yay” section.
Yay: GarageBand. Who does not like to play around on GarageBand? And if you are a podcaster, there is even more reason to love it. All Macs come with GarageBand. It is a digital audio workstation (DAW) where you can create music, but also create podcast… and even podcast music!
Not so yay: Ugh, the ports situation. If you have non-Apple gear, get ready to buy all kinds of adapters. Apple does this do “encourage” you to buy Apple products.
– Dell XPS 13
This laptop won the best Windows laptop of the year in 2022. It won best overall laptop of 2023 by Digital Trends. And it is great for podcast production!
Dell generally offers relatively low-cost options and this laptop is not an exception. It only costs $945, which is really something when you realize everything it offers.
The XPS 13 base model has a 12th generation Intel processor chip, a separate and dedicated GPU, and 512GB of storage. Those are really good specs for a base model and of course you can always add on more features.
It can be hard to get your hands on this laptop. Because it is a great deal, people buy them out fast. So you will need to keep a close eye on the Dell website as well as its distributors to grab one when available.
Yay: Dell also offers practical accessories like webcams and mics. These work flawlessly with their laptops. And you can usually get some kind of good deal if you purchase all these together as a bundle or kit.
Not so yay: Be ready for a small screen. It is only 13 inches. That is basically as tiny as they come.
– Razer Book
If you have never heard of the Razer brand, you are not a gamer. This company is known for making gamer laptops with sleek design and a ton of power. Of course as a podcaster, you do not need all the power that a gamer does, even if you are doing full video editing for your episodes. That is why it is nice that they offer their Book model.
The Book model, unsurprisingly for Razer, has a super strong GPU and CPU. However, it only has 8GB RAM which is not great for when you have a lot of programs open, like say your recording software, your editing software, and your social media. You have to order the 16GB RAM version to really tap into the the laptops full capacity.
The model you want to get, the one with 16GB of RAM, costs around $1,600. That is a chunk of money. But it is worth it if you care about design and ergonomics. Again, since Razer is mostly a gamer company, they are good at making their users feel comfortable on a computer for hours on end.
Also, this computer has lots of great port options including different USBs. It also has a a built-in slot for your microSD memory card which is great for when you are recording to a stand alone recorder and/or mixer.
Yay: You know how Apple gives you GarageBand for free? Razer does the same thing… although only for one year. The digital audio workstation is called FL Studio Producer and it is definitely helpful for podcasting.
Not so yay: Reviews say this model can get pretty hot pretty quickly when working hard. You will probably want to purchase one of Razer’s cooling accessories if you are going to be doing heavy workloads.
– MSI Modern 15
MSI is another one of those companies who make absolutely incredible laptops for creators. So incredible, in fact, that you probably do not want their top-of-the-line creator series. It is called the Content Creation series and its Pro model costs around an eye-watering $4,000.
For those of us who do not have that kind of cash, they have plenty of other excellent options. For podcasting, even video podcasting, the Modern 15 is a great machine. It comes standard with 16GB of RAM as well as a 12th gen Intel, 10-core processor.
Especially when compared to the $4,000 Content Creator Pro, this Modern 15 seems pretty affordable at around $1,000.
Yay: Are you one of those folks who always seem to be dropping something? Or maybe you need to take you computer with you when you are producing episodes out in the field. Either way, you will be relieved to know that this laptop meets the military grade standard for durability and reliability. It can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’
Not so yay: It does not have a dedicated GPU card, although its GPU card is pretty powerful. Because of this, you will want to stay away from things like major motion graphics projects. But that should not be a problem if your goal is podcast production.
– Acer Aspire 5
You may know Acer for their affordable, though not super durable laptops. Well, throw that stereotype out of your head when it comes to their more advanced models like the Aspire 5.
This computer even beats out the next generation model, the Aspire 7, when it comes to podcasting needs. That probably makes more sense once you look at the price tag. The Aspire 7 costs around $700 while the Aspire 5 costs a little over $1,000.
What is the big difference? The Aspire 5 has 16GB RAM rather than just 8GB, meaning that you can have more software running at once without it slowing down. Also, the Aspire 5 has one of the newest processor chips out there.
Yay: Ever heard the phrase ‘your computer is only as good as your internet?’ Well if that is the case, this computer is very good. It has the capacity to fully utilize gigabit ethernet. This can save you hours of frustration when trying to download materials for your podcast, including cloud recordings, and when you are trying to upload your episodes to your hosting platform.
Not so yay: If you like to live life not tethered to a wall, this laptop may not be for you. It only has a battery life of seven hours which is definitely at the low end for modern laptops.
– HP Envy
Raise your hand if you thought HP only sold printers these days. Yes, that is a pretty common misconception. HP does in fact still make computers and they make a pretty good one for podcasting.
They call their Envy laptop, “the laptop for creators” and rightfully so. We all know that being a podcaster also sometimes means being a graphic designer, artist, and social media content machine. The Envy can help you with all of that.
Its success is mainly due to its high quality graphics card that has 4GB of dedicated space. Plus it has a full-sized, built-in SD card reader, meaning you can easily work with a ton of really high-quality audio even if it is not recorded straight to the laptop.
You may notice a trend that most of the laptops we are recommending cost around $1,000. That does seem to be the market price for the level of laptop needed for full on podcasting. This Envy model does come in slightly under the mark at $950.
Yay: If you thought HP only sold printers these days, it is really going to surprise you that it also a a decent HP Creator software. Obviously, their laptops work seamlessly with the content creator software, plus, a lot of the time, they will throw the software in for free when you purchase a computer. Be sure to ask!
Not so yay: HP has a bit of a reputation for their laptops getting pretty banged up either in transit of before they even leave the factory. Whether that reputation is warranted or not, it is always best to closely inspect you laptop and immediately send it back if it is damaged.
– Lenovo IdeaPad 5
Lenovo has been the go-to brand for many large organizations whose employees rely on laptops. They have a reputation for making high-quality, long-lasting products. Quite frankly, they have a few different models that could work great for podcasting.
However, there is one that is absolutely a stunner: The IdeaPad 5. This is a multimedia media work horse that will not let you down. This model has an advanced AMD processor chip, plus a 4GB NVIDIA graphics card. Not to mention, it feels like it has a port for everything.
It is pretty mind-blowing that this is one of the cheaper laptops we recommend. It costs around $930.
Yay: Eye strain is real. It can even derail a full podcast editing session. The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 is certified to only emit low levels of blue light, one of the main causes of eye strain.
Not so yay: This model’s fans are no joke, but that can also mean they get pretty loud. So just keep that in mind if you plan to have lots of software working on it at once.
– LG Ultra PC
When a laptop is out of stock, it is usually a good sign. And boy is this one hard to find. The LG Ultra PC has been out there awhile, but it keeps selling like hotcakes.
It has a high definition webcam for you to do your pre-production meetings or even on-camera video podcast interviews. Not only does it have dedicated GPU, but it has 16GB of RAM to really handle big recording and editing projects. It also has a 17 inch screen which is huge compared to many of its competitors.
Bet you cannot guess how much it costs… that is right, $1,000.
Yay: It has one of the longest battery lives in the business which is especially incredible given its huge screen.
Not so yay: Its charging cord has one of those heavy box like things in the middle. You know, the kind that weighs down the cord and sometimes trips people. Not the end of the world, but very annoying
Do you need a mixing console to record a podcast?
In reality, you can very easily do without a mixer to record podcasts. You can record a podcast with only a microphone, a computer, headphones and a well-soundproofed room. But if you want to take it a step further and go for an even better sound, a mixer console might be a good idea.
A mixing console is useful if you want to:
- Use an XLR microphone
- Record several tracks at once
- Not looking to do a lot of postproduction work
- Do live streaming
The advantage of using this equipment for your podcast is its great flexibility with live sound processing. Whereas a multi-track recorder offers few options, mixers are generally better equipped on for this.
However, you won’t be able to do multi-track recording with this setup. Your work file will contain only one track which mixes all the sounds captured during the recording. You’ll need to take the time to do your balances before the recording. 🔴
– The Yamaha MGU line from $259 to $929
You won’t regret investing in any of the gear in Yamaha’s MG series. Just be sure to pick one that comes with a USB port so that you can hook it up to your Mac/PC (all of the models that feature this have a “U” at the end of the product name). Since each channel has its own equalizer, you can make each track sound exactly how you want it to.
You can also easily mute different tracks during the recording using the mute button located next to each channel fader. Balance your inputs with the gain knob before recording and adjust the volume during the recording using your faders. This line also features lots of effects (like reverb and echo) that might come in handy if you want to play with the sound of your voice.
– The Zoom R16 for $400
A big quality of the R16 is that you can use it independently from your computer. It has a built-in audio interface that lets you manage your projects right from the control panel. It can record from up to 8 mics at a time and manage up to 16 tracks. All of your tracks are recorded and stored separately on the SD card. You can even record on the go, thanks to its back-up battery power and two built-in mics.
Unfortunately, only two inputs supply power, so you’ll need to buy phantom power supplies if you are using more than two non-self-powered mics. Some controls aren’t super intuitive, but once you get the hang of it you won’t want to work with anything else.
However, only 2 tracks are powered. You will have to invest in phantom power supplies if your setup is composed of more than two non self-powered microphones. Moreover, some of the manipulations are not exactly very intuitive, but once you get used to the beast, you won’t want to do without it.
– The Rodecaster (Rode) for $430
Most podcasters know Rode for their high-quality microphones. Well, be introduced to their new beauty: The Rodecaster. It is a mixer specifically made for podcasters.
Do podcasters love color? Rode must know they do because their board is a rainbow of knobs and faders.
It has an on-board sound pad made up of eight different, lit up color panels that you can program with your intro, interlude, and outro music, and even sound effects if that is your thing. The mixer even comes with cute and handy sound pad templates and cards to help you remember which pad is programmed with which sound.
Each channel has a color, with a button over a fader plus on/off buttons at the bottom to open or close a channel.
You can tell this is in the new generation of mixers because it has a touchscreen. The touchscreen is where you get the audio exactly how you want to (compressor, etc.)
This mixer is made for group podcast. It has four XLR inputs and four headphone ports. Plus it has stereo speaker outputs. It also has a USB input and a TRRS input. With these, you can literally plug in somebody who is remote and calling in by phone.
And we all know groups podcasts can get a little rowdy so the power cord screws into the board. That way it cannot just be pulled out when some gets too excited or trips over it during a bathroom break.
You also get firmware updates for years to come which you can access with the software that comes with the kit when you buy it.
This truly is a gift to the podcast world. Unfortunately, the gift is not free. It is about $430. But so worth it!
– The Podtrack P8 for $550
This mixer was made specifically for podcasters. Its interface is super helpful for those who are new to mixing.
Everything is color coordinated. Each channel has its own color and that color is also on its corresponding fader, headphone jack, volume knob, XLR input, and column on the touchscreen. This invaluable especially when you are first learning.
It has a feature called On Air Noise Reduction that automatically lowers the input of mics that are not in use at that moment. Little automatons like these are nice because they take things of the list of things you have to remember to do during the recording.
This mixer can handle a crowd. Not only does it have six XLR inputs, but you can add a remote interviewee by phone through the TRRS port or the Bluetooth connection.
Why wait to edit? You can do it right on this mixer. While everything is fresh in your mind, split, trim, and fade on the unit’s touchscreen.
This mixer can also handle a live streaming production. The mixer can function as an audio interface. This means you can plug it into your computer, open your live-streaming software, and just click on it as your audio source.
It really does not get any more tailored to podcasting than this.
– The Behringer Xenyx 1204USB – $190
If other mixers are out of your price range, take a look at this one.
It has six total channels, four of which provide phantom power needed for condenser microphones. Each channel has its own fader.
Besides the one fader for each channel, the rest of the board is knobs. This is partially why it is a cheaper options. Knobs can be hard to control with specificity. There are no touchscreens.
It also does not have a sound pad where you can pre-program music clips, etc.
This mixer also does not record anything on its own. You have to connect it to a recorder or a computer with a USB in order to record.
These shortcomings are not the end of the world. In fact, it is a great mixer given its price.
One quick note: You may be tempted to instead buy another one of Behringer’s kid called the PodcastStudioUSB. After all, it says podcast right there in the title. But we generally do not recommend that one. Its mixer is a Xenyx 502 which only has one microphone input and no phantom power. The kit is sold as ‘everything you need for podcasting’ and even includes a microphone and headphones. However, one, non-phantom power mic input probably is not everything you need for podcasting.
– The Allen & Heath ZEDi 10 – $330
This is solid kind of middle option for a mixer. It has four XLR inputs, plus something they call a “flexible routing feature” that allows you to integrate VoIP calls (think Skype) for remote guests.
Each input, including VoIP calls, is recorded as its own track which is super helpful if you want to further edit the audio or use it in future projects.
The only downsides are that basically everything is controlled by knobs, and the mixer does not do any recording on its own. It records straight to a computer through a USB card.
Overall, it is definitely a professional, reliable audio mixer.
What kind of setup do you want ?
The home studio of a solo podcaster 🏠
In this configuration, you will only need 3 elements: a USB microphone, a computer and headphones Then you just have to record what you capture via recording software. And with that, you’ll just have to record what you capture via your recording, you will have to add your jingles, sound effects or credits in post production during the editing stage. 🎛️
In general, a PC or Mac laptop has an active microphone by default. Please remember to change your “sound” to “external microphone”.
The advantage of this configuration is that it allows you to meet all the expectations of a solo podcast. For more comfort, you can invest in a small USB mixer to which you can connect, in addition to your microphone, a musical instrument or a sound launcher.
The portable studio 🏃
This setup works just like the setup we explained for roundtable podcasting with a digital recorder. The only difference is the digital recording device you should choose. Obviously, you’ll need one that is portable, so when shopping around you should take into account: size, built-in microphones, and battery power.
You won’t be able to connect very many microphones, and you won’t be able to hook up a laptop for sound effects, either. Nevertheless, this type of setup is very practical for small roundtable podcasts and field interviews.
The Home Studio for a podcast with several speakers 👧🧑👨🦱👨🦰
If you choose this path instead, you’ll need (at the very least): one microphone per host/guest, a USB soundboard, XLR cables, a Mac/PC equipped with a recording software, an SD card, a headphone amplifier, and one pair of headphones per guest/host. That is quite a bundle of gear!
One of the nice things about opting for this solution is that it’s much easier to mix in real time (live, if you will). Unlike multitrack recorders, which offer few options for mixing, soundboards usually give you quite a few controls.
However, multitrack recording is not possible with this type of setup; you will end up with a single-track project that combines all of the sound inputs used during the recording session. That means you’ll need to take the time to make sure your sound is balanced before you start recording.
Which headphones to choose for recording a podcast ?
The comfort of the headphones 🎧
Before worrying about the technical specifications of each headphone, pay particular attention to its comfort. Let’s face it: you’re going to spend a number of hours with this headphone gear on your ears recording, mixing and editing your episodes. So our friendly advice to you is don’t neglect comfort!
Depending on the size, type and brand of headphones, the weight will vary. Obviously, the heavier it is, the less comfortable it will be in the long run. You can also choose between headphones that completely cover your ears and others that simply sit on top. As you might imagine, the “fully covered ears” version is more comfortable in the long run. Additionally, headphones will do a better job of shielding you from ambient noise.
For the sake of your little ears👂, don’t use earphones, first because the sound feedback is not ideal, but also (and especially) because they’re not at all comfortable. I challenge you to spend more than three hours with earphones constantly in your ears. Your editing might be a bit painful at the end. 😫
Open-back or closed-back headphones ? 🤔
– open-back headphones 👐
This funny term simply means that some headphones allow air to pass through the earphones while others do not. If you choose “open-back” headphones, the advantage is that your sound will be more natural, since you’ll hear some ambient sounds. The sound quality you’ll hear in your headphones while recording or editing will be pretty close to what your audience will hear once your episode is published. On the other hand, the disadvantage of “open-back” headphones is that your insulation won’t be as good.
What you hear in your headphones (your voice or your guest’s voice, for example) is likely to be picked up by a very sensitive microphone and therefore may cause feedback. Also good to know: this type of headset, because it’s open and lets air pass through, is less durable since it’s more vulnerable to humidity.
– closed-back headphones 👏
If, on the other hand, you opt for “closed-back” headphones, leaks (or what is known in industry lingo as “sound bleeding”) will be considerably reduced. Since this type of headphones blocks out ambient sounds, you won’t need to worry about your microphone picking up both your recorded voice and your real voice.
However, keep in mind that the rendering may be less natural and certainly not as close to what your audience will actually hear. “Closed-back” headphones block sound so well that you won’t be bothered by surrounding sounds, making it easier to edit your episodes.
A wired or Bluetooth headphone?
It’s up to you! There’s no real difference in sound quality. 🤷♀️
A Bluetooth headphone may have a very slight delay between the time the voice is recorded and the time you hear it in the headphone. But this type of headphones can be quite handy, especially if you’re used to recording your podcast in different places. Wired headphones can save the day if your Bluetooth headphones runs out of batteries during a recording, for example. I can tell you from experience…
If you are doing a video podcast, that introduces another piece of equipment for your setup. In this section, we will walk you through three main types of cameras you may choose, along with their strengths and weakness.
Chances are you already have this piece of equipment for video podcasts. Smart phones and modern computers have a cameras built in to them. The question is, does this cut it in terms of what you are looking for.
– Free: Assuming you already have a smart phone or computer with one built it. Cannot get much more budget friendly that that!
– Easy to use: A lot of times you literally do not have to do anything at all. Not only is the camera hard wired into all the phones’ and computers’ inner workings, but often they automatically adjust while recording. They usually automatically adjust exposure, focus, and even tint.
– Built-in mic: Again, you probably do not need to do anything at all. The mic is hard wired into the phone or computer. No need to buy one.
– Easy to match guests: Even if your guest is a fellow podcaster, chances are they are also working with a built-in camera. We are a cheap and resourceful bunch! The upside is that you both will have the same look and quality as each other which can be nice aesthetically.
– Small data load: Since these built-in cameras typically record in a relatively low resolution, that means there is less data to store, download, or upload. Plus the recording file usually automatically saves itself to your computer or phone. No hassles with memory cards.
– Low quality: Automatic exposure, focus, and tint on built-in cameras can often get it wrong or even change back and forth multiple times in one recording. This can leave faces too dark or too bright and out of focus. The recording may look too pink or too green as well due to automatic tint adjustments.
Back in the very olden days (like a ten years ago) an external webcam was by far the most common option. Only some few expensive computers had built-in cameras.
While webcams are now less common, some of them are have much better technology than they used to. You may have had trouble finding one on the virtual shelves during the beginning of the pandemic, but there is more availability now.
Most webcams either attach on top of your computer screen or stand on the computer desk. Most are attached to the computer using a USB cable.
– Cheap: The price range for these types of cameras are about $20 to $150. The ones on the high end can be quite high-quality.
– Simple: Most of the time all you need to do is plug the camera into the computer and it is ready to go. Most live-streaming or recording software automatically recognizes the camera as a visual input.
– Remote Guest Friendly: If you want to guarantee that your guest’s video is going to meet a certain threshold of quality, then you need to provide them with film equipment. Webcams will hold up well even under even the roughest of mail handlers. Plus, if something does happen to one, it does not cost a fortune to replace. Webcams are also good for remote guests because they are simple to use. You will not need to write out long instructions or take a big chunk of your recording time trying to get the camera working. F
– Higher resolution options Lots of webcams now offer 4k resolution. It is basically standard for them now to be at least 1080p. Only the super cheapest ones will be as low as 720p.
– Not super high quality: While some of the higher end cameras in this category come with interfaces where you may be able to manually control aperture, focus, and tint, many of them do not. Even the best ones do not reach the level of control that a professional filming camera would.
– No microphone: While some webcams may have built-in microphones, many do not. Even if they do have one, the quality tends to be low. That means you need to independently figure out what you are going to do about audio.
– More data, more problems: More data is great except when it is not. Filming in 4k is going to produce much bigger files than filming in 720p. That means you are really going to think there were and how you are going to store the files. Also, more data might mean that your live stream struggles a bit more, if you have alive stream feature of your podcast.
Video Cameras (DSLR, Mirrorless, & Camcorder)
Honestly, you do not really have to worry about the technical differences between DSLR, Mirrorless, and Camcorder models. At least not at this point in the search. Just know that you are looking at nice cameras from Canon EOS, Panasonic, and Sony. In order to get the full value of these, you are going to have to really read the manual!
– Highest quality: These kind of cameras can do things like record shallow depth of field (where the person is in focus and their background is blurry). You can manually adjust every function so everything looks perfect.
– Integrated, high quality audio: Some cameras have a built-in mic, but we do not suggest depending on these for your audio. Instead look for an XLR input on the camera. Your can plug a really nice microphone in that way. Then the camera with record the image and the sound simultaneously.
– More editing functionality: Capturing more and better data during recording gives you a lot more options when it comes to the editing room. For example, there is a lot you can do in terms of coloring if your camera can shoot in “flat.” Also, with high resolution shots, you can push in on your framing, getting rid of any annoyances on the perimeter.
– Budget heavy: You will need to budget between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for these types of cameras and any needed accessories (batteries, stands, etc.)
– Not great for remote guests: You can ship these to remote guests, but you better make sure they are bought in enough to read your detailed instructions. It can be a bit of a burden so make sure they are up for it.
– Buggy for live-streaming: Some of these cameras, like the Canon EOS line, do have software to work well with live streaming. Others do not. Plus, higher resolution images can weigh down a stream. It certainly is not impossible, but it can be more buggy.
– Big data management: You are going to need to management SD memory cards, figure out large back-up options, and be very organized with files this big.
Other equipment needed to record a podcast
An anti-pop filter 🤭
For a perfect sound in your podcast, you’ll need to invest in a pop filter. It allows you to lessen the impact of “B”, “P” and “T” sounds and offers your audience a more comfortable listening experience. Pronouncing these letters produces, you produce a puff of air, and if you’re too close to the microphone at that moment, it will cause a blast that’s unpleasant to the ear.
Anti-pop filters are not expensive. You can find them starting at approximately $15. And then there’s the MacGyver version. You can simply use an old pair of tights and a metal hanger and place your homemade anti-pop filter in front of your microphone when recording your podcast.
Foam acoustic panels 🤫
If you are not lucky enough to record your podcast in a proper studio, you can invest in foam panels which allow you to improve the acoustics in your room and avoid echoes.
And if you’re on a tight budget, you can also build them yourself by collecting cardboard egg cases. Constructing panels with textured materials will keep the sound from bouncing around and will prevent you from picking up too much reverb.
XLR cables 🔌
An XLR cable is a cable that conducts both high-quality audio signals and electricity. They are the professional level audio cables you want to use to connect your microphone to your mixer.
Lots of times microphones and mixers include an XLR cable in the kit, but sometimes they do not. Plus, sometimes you need more for connecting other audio gear. You can never have too many of these around a studio (home or professional).
That’s it, now you have everything you need to make your choices. But it’s not over yet! Beyond hardware, you’ll now need to choose which software to use for recording and editing your podcasts. Don’t worry, we’re here to advise you, and that’ll happen in the next lesson. 👉