So you may be thinking about podcast equipment and feeling overwhelmed.
It’s natural! I was totally too.
Luckily I have a few podcast pro buddies, namely Dominick (my partner in crime here at Podtent) and our company’s lead producer Gregg. I picked their brains and got them to spill the beans on their best podcast equipment recommendations.
So let’s get to the analysis!
Podcast Equipment First Question: What’s your budget?
From $11.99 to several thousands of dollars, you can start anywhere in terms of equipment for your new podcast…
How to decide?
Ultimately, podcast equipment selection is an extension of the tone of the show. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get you thinking:
- Will you be recording live interviews at conferences? If so, will they be on the fly while walking around or standing? Will they be done at a desk or table?
- Will your interviews all be done via Skype?
- Will the location you use to record those change from your office to your home?
Two Examples and the Podcast Equipment Selected
Case Study Example 1
IMA Leader is mainly an interview-style podcast. The host (our very own Dominick Sirianni) normally records his episodes in Skype and uses the same room in his house so there isn’t a lot of movement of equipment.
Occasionally, he does interviews from conferences where he needs to be working a room and recording conversations with people.
Therefore, Dom uses a Procaster microphone that feeds via an XLR cable into a Behringer USB mixing board. The output of the board feeds into Dom’s HP i7 laptop where he records in Skype. Dom also has a Zoom H4n that he uses for live conference interviews.
The output of the board feeds into Dom’s HP i7 laptop where he records in Skype. Dom also has a Zoom H4n that he uses for live conference interviews.
(see more below for photos and links)
Case Study Example 2
My own show, Copy That Pops is a dynamic show with an international flavor because I am currently living abroad in Europe. My “work from anywhere” style permeates all aspects of the show.
I may record an episode at “home” in Germany and later that week do a show from Spain.
At this time, I rarely interview people face to face focusing instead on connecting with guests from around the world on my laptop: a MacBook Pro loaded with Skype and Adobe Audition. I prefer light-weight, durable, and mobile-ready tools.
I prefer light-weight, durable, and mobile-ready tools.
Our Podcast Equipment Recommendations: A Spectrum of Options
Very Low (not recommended):
$11.99 will get you started…on a very bad path.
Here is the Logitech Stereo Headset H110 on Amazon.
Why don’t we recommend this?
While this level of product may be just fine in terms of the headset (listening) piece, it does not have a high enough quality microphone to give your show the level of professionalism in sound you desire.
It is also less durable and more prone to sound cutting with use.
Very High (not recommended):
$1,599 will bury you financially and in complexity.
Here is an ‘everything you’d ever need and then some’ package including a Mixing Board, Digital Recorder, Shock Mount, and Heavy Duty Mic Boom Arm w/ C-Clamp.
Why don’t we recommend this?
This level of sophistication is more for those who have a real passion to make podcasting and sound alteration their full-time passion or job. It is more than is needed and will likely overwhelm and complicate.
But it is a great set of products if you decide to go all out. More info here: http://podcastanswerman.com/equipment/
Just Right: Option 1
$42.00 will get you off to a solid start
If you’re a start small and grow person and want as much flexibility as possible, start with a quality USB headset/microphone combo like the one below. Laura loves this headset because she is currently living and traveling throughout Europe and wants something light and mobile.
Here’s a Sennheiser headset that integrates for PC and Mac via USB on Amazon.
It’ll run you under $45 and give you ultimate flexibility. All you need is a laptop with an internet connection and this headset can make you a podcaster.
Just Right: Option 2
$119.00 will get you moving toward pro without breaking the bank
If you want something a little more substantial the Blue Yeti is the industry standard when it comes to entry-level microphones. Probably half of all real podcasts (not the ones that only do three episodes and quit), are recorded using Blue Yeti microphones.
The Blue Yeti sits on a table so it’s not as versatile as a headset microphone.
It still plugs into the USB port on a computer so it’s not as complicated as a standalone microphone – like what Dom uses.
Dom actually has one of these as his backup mic.
Note: The Blue Yeti also needs a pop filter windscreen so make sure you get one that’s bundled in or order one separately. It helps cut out those “puffs” when you say the letter “p” and other annoying-to-the-listeners sounds.
One More Podcasting Piece to Mention!
$259.99 will get you on the road for tradeshows, conventions, and more
One of the most rewarding parts of your podcasting journey is going to be the interviews you do at conferences and other places “on the road.” While you can use your phone for these impromptu interviews, we recommend something different: the H4n Zoom Bundle
A mobile recorder is an important second investment.
Not right away, but wait until you have a small conference where you can test out both the equipment and get comfortable interviewing people face to face.
You want to have this the conference before the conference where you make a splash.
See Dominick pictured to the right interviewing an attendee live at the Internet Marketing Associations’ #IMPACT15 in Las Vegas.
Note: You can get this cheaper on Amazon separate from the bundle. We just think what they throw in is a nice ‘set’ to get you off and running.
Recommended Podcast Equipment Cost Summary
Lower Recommendation – $42 for a quality USB headset
Higher Recommendation – $119 for a Blue Yeti plus $17.95 for a windscreen
Later for conferences – $259.99 for an H4n or similar handheld digital recorder
No matter what you choose, we will be there to help you get it set-up and using it like a pro! Need help? Just ask!