I get a lot of emails from people asking about podcasting. The questions are usually something similar to:
“How do I get started podcasting?”
“What equipment do you use to record RED Podcast?”
Below are two different hardware options — one for beginners and one listing what I use to record RED Podcast. Below the hardware lists are links to the software we use, which will work with either setup.
Don’t have a clue about how to use this stuff? Check out School of Podcasting for a low-cost training option.
The Basic Hardware Setup – Use This If You’re Just Getting Started
If you have a computer, this is the only piece of hardware you need to get started podcasting. It's a solid and flexible mic that will grow with you. It has both USB and XLR connection options which allow you to plug it straight into your computer or use a standard mixer or digital audio interface. There is also a built-in headphone jack, which makes recording interviews with Skype a breeze.
My primary mic is an Audio Technica BP40 Large-Diaphragm Dynamic Broadcast Microphone. The studio is also equipped with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone (pictured) for use by guests. Because the Audio-Technica ATR2100 is small and somewhat indestructible, I have a second one for use away from the studio.
The Audio-Technica ATR2100 is a good mic to have, regardless of your budget, because the dual-output options make it a great “utility mic.” In the studio, I use its XLR output going into a Mackie 1202VLZ4 mixer. Away from the studio, I use it's USB output and go directly into a computer.
If you have a computer already, this is the only piece of hardware you need to start a podcast.
This thing is cheap. It’s made in China and comes to you in a package marked with broken English. Still, it’s a solid piece of equipment for the price and works well as both a shock mount and pop filter.
Will it last for years? Probably not. If your setup is stationary though and you’re not moving everything around a lot, you’ll get good use out of these.
This is optional, if you use the CISNO Studio Condenser Mic Microphone Shock Mount With Metal Wind Screen Pop Filter Mask Shield For Recording, but for $5 or so, why not?
It fits the Audio-Technica ATR2100 perfectly and will help you to reduce pops and clicks, as well as protect your microphone from damage.
If you want a good sound from your mic, it needs to be just a couple of inches from your mouth. The best way to help this happen is with a great mic stand.
The RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm is a solid stand that has two attachment options — you can drill a hole in your desk or table (this is what we did) or use an included clamp.
Do you have to have this? No. The Audio-Technica ATR2100 comes with a tiny tripod stand that works just fine, but do know if you go that route you’re going to have to lean over a lot if you mount it on your desk.
Don’t want to spend $100 for a mic stand? Don’t want to mount something on your desk? On Stage Stands MS7701B Tripod Boom Microphone Stand is a $25 alternative that might be a good option for you.
Don’t be intimidated by the number of knobs and buttons — you only need to use about five of them. There is also a great video on YouTube which shows you how to set it up for podcasting.
At most, RED Podcast only has two people in the studio, so this mixer could be seen as overkill. However, it’s the baseline mixer for another advanced feature I need to take the signal to a compressor/gate (see below).
This is a solid piece of equipment that will last for years and, like a lot of cheaper mixers, won’t need to be replaced due to limited features.
This is an processing unit that will give your voice a “radio” sound.
This piece of equipment basically does two things for you…
1. It boosts quiet moments in your podcast so it’s easier for listeners to hear you in common listening situations such as while driving a car or listening via headphones while exercising.
2. The “noise gate” effect cuts down on breathing and background noises. Because these unwanted elements never hit your recording, you’ll save time editing.
The downside of the Mackie 1202VLZ4 12-Channel Compact Mixer or any other non-USB mixer is that you can’t directly connect it to your computer.
The Lexicon Alpha Desktop Recording Studio solves this problem.
Note that if you have a USB mixer, you don’t need this piece of hardware.
It’s nice to have a backup recording in the event something happens to your primary recorder. If you’re recording directly into a computer, something like TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder works great. You simply run an extra cable from your Mackie 1202VLZ4 12-Channel Compact Mixer and you’re good to go.
The TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder is also an excellent portable recorder. If you’re planning on doing a lot of interviews with people who can’t come to your studio or aren’t available via Skype, this is a good piece of equipment to have.
Cables And Accessories
The TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder works on batteries, but it’s nice to be able to plug it in a wall outlet. The whole point of this thing is to make sure you don’t lose a great recording and you’re going to feel like an idiot if your backup recorder dies from lack of battery power.
You’ll need to order one set of these for every person you have in your studio. In order words, if you have a co-hosted podcast, like RED Podcast, you’ll need two. If you have three people, you’ll need three, etc. The Behringer Multicom PRO-XL MDX4600 can handle up to four people.
This is a basic stand for rack-mounted equipment such as the Behringer Multicom PRO-XL MDX4600. You don’t need this stand, but it’s nice to have if you have limited space. The Mackie 1202VLZ4 12-Channel Compact Mixer fits nicely at the base, so you can have everything in once place and not take up a ton of room.
This recording software is free and it’s amazing. I like it so much that I continue to use it for podcasting even though I have “better” options like ProTools.
Audacity is simple enough that you can learn the basics within an hour or two, but complex and powerful enough that you can take it as far as you want to go.
This is post-processing software that will clean up your audio files and make you sound great. It you have more than one host or are doing an interview, it make sure your levels are balanced. If you have background noise, it will reduce it.
The best way to interview people remotely. If both sides have a good mic, such as Audio-Technica ATR2100, your recording will sound great.
Skype doesn’t have a built-in recording option, so use one of these options to get everything on tape.