Microphones | Recording Devices | Software
When it comes to producing a great podcast, content will always be king. But capturing a quality recording shows that you really care about your message and your listeners. One of the most common questions new podcasters have is — “What kind of equipment do I need to record a quality podcast?” That’s a great question and we believe this guide is the key to get you going!
There are 4 MAIN CONSIDERATIONS when choosing podcast gear:
- Price — what is the best option for your budget? Will you need to purchase multiple microphones?
- Sound quality — all of the microphones in this guide sound good, but what’s best choice for you?
- Ease of use — some microphones listed are all-in-one units, meaning they need no additional gear to run. There are pros and cons to this convenience, which we will discuss.
- Portability — will you be recording in a permanent space or do you need something you can easily transport?
There are 3 microphones that I most often recommend to podcasters. I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each while weighing the 4 main considerations listed above.
OPTION 1: CHEAP & EASY
Audio Technica ATR2100 USB/XLR with Pop Filter & Headphones
Sound quality: Good
Ease of use: Easy! Plug & play USB, no additional interface required. Mac/Pac
Portability: Easily portable
This microphone is a great choice for the podcaster who wants a super affordable, plug & play USB, easily portable option for podcasting. It comes with a desk stand, USB cable microphone clip, windscreen and headphones — all for under $100. You may find that you don't like the desk stand and would prefer more mobility. In that case, simply purchase a boom stand.
While the ATR2100 is affordable and easy to use, it'll require more gear if there is more than one person on your podcast. You can certainly purchase additional mics, but you'll also need to purchase a recording interface (which I discuss in detail below).
OPTION 2: AFFORDABLE & FLEXIBLE
Blue YETI USB Microphone with Pop Filter & Headphones
Sound quality: Good
Ease of use: Easy! Plug & play USB, no additional interface required. Multiple polar patterns. Mac/PC
Portablity: Easily portable
This microphone is a great for the podcaster who wants a no-hassle, easy to transport and setup option for podcasting — but also wants the ability to record someone else without purchasing additional gear. This microphone has multiple polar patterns, including a bi-direction pattern. The bi-directional function means it records sound directly in front of the microphone and on the back side of the microphone as well. This is a wonderful feature for in-person interview. The key here is to make sure that you and the person you are interviewing are sitting close to the microphone and directly across from one another.
OPTION 3: Pricey but worth it
Price: $400 + extras
Sound quality: Excellent. Better proximity effect requiring little to no room treatment
Ease of use: Can position anywhere so you aren’t fixed to a tabletop location. However, not plug & play.
Portability: Not as easily portable because additional gear is required
Let's talk positives. This microphone sounds incredible. Some of the most iconic studio vocalists and radio broadcasters in history use this microphone. It also has a built in pop filter.
However, you sacrificing portability, ease of use and are looking at spending around $600 to get started. This includes the cost of addition gear:
A recording interface is a device you plug your microphone(s) into that is routed to the computer where you’ll be recording the audio. Before getting too deep here, it’s important to assess whether you even need a recording interface. For instance, you may primarily only be recording yourself and maybe one other person in front of you. In this case, the Blue Yeti in bi-directional mode would be a great option for you. The Yeti is an all-in-one mic that has a built-in interface, so you need read no further.
However, if you plan to use one or more of the Shure SM7b or another microphone, you’ll need to purchase a recording interface and some recording software (more on that below). The only notable difference between these two interfaces is the number of microphone inputs. Simply put — if you’ll be recording more than 2 people in the same room, opt for the Presonus Audiobox 44VSL and purchase additional microphones as well.
Tascam DR-40 Handheld Recorder
2 microphone inputs
Another option is the Tascam DR-40 handheld recorder. This is a great option for anyone who wants sort of a “set it and forget it” portable solution that doesn’t require a computer with recording software. While this recorder has 2 microphones built in, I highly suggest that you plug your microphone(s) into the XLR inputs on the bottom of the unit for best results. Again, there are only 2 microphone inputs — so it’s good for up to 2 people.
There’s a lot of great recording software out there — free and not-so-free, Mac or PC compatible. For Instance, Audacity is platform that podcasters love. It is free and compatible with both Mac and PC. This is a good option for anyone who isn’t concerned with recording interviews over Skype. Other recording platforms include Pro Tools, Garage Band, Logic, Cubase and Reaper. But here are my top 2 picks: