Podcasters: Equipment set up recommendations

17 replies
If you podcast, mind if you share some equipment set up recommendations

What kind of equipment would I need?

Also, how do you prevent background noise or static?

For video podcasters, what kind of video editing is required?

I'm getting into podcasting using Facebook as my publishing platform and while my videos are being shared a lot and is getting tons of engagement, I think the production value of my vids could use some work. Niche targeting can only go so far and I think I've hit my ceiling without boosting quality.

I'd appreciate any help or feedback
#equipment #podcasters #recommendations #set
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    I forgot to mention that currently, the only equipment I'm using is my Galaxy Tab and a phone microphone

    So far, it's been good enough to get thousands of engagements and lots of shares on FB but my recent stats have shown a plateau

    I think I've hit my ceiling with this equipment set up.

    I'd appreciate any recommendations re microphone, video cam, etc. Also, does it make sense to put some barrier (I've seen pantyhose used in the past) in front of the mic to avoid 'pops'?

    Thanks in advance
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    A good mic is the most important thing you'll need..

    I use Blue Yeti.. but there are other options.

    A professional mic will eliminate most of the background noise.

    For video, I use a Canon 700D DSLR Camera, Rode VMPR VideoMic Pro, Softbox Lighting Kit, Camtasia Screen Capture Software and Sony Vegas.

    You won't need most of that stuff, but good lighting is important.
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  • Profile picture of the author salegurus
    Like MM said a good mike is essential. There are some very good USB mics available and the BY is a perennial favorite.

    With a USB mic you can record to your pc directly using a DAW (digital audio workstation) And a good choice is Audacity and its free.

    BUT.....

    Every podacaster will agree that a dynamic xlr mic is the best way to go. A dynamic mic cuts out a lot of the background noise and is best for "home studios".
    An xlr mic does require a bigger budget because you would also need a usb interface or small usb mixer to plug into your pc but its well worth it in the long run.

    The most popular entry level dynamic xlr is probably the Audio Technica 2100/2005 excellent sound for only about $60...
    A decent usb interface will run you about $80...
    And again Audacity is free or garage band if you use a MAC...

    This is only the tip of the iceberg, There is much more info you can find on Google and Youtube .....

    Good Luck
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    • Profile picture of the author writeaway
      Originally Posted by salegurus View Post

      Like MM said a good mike is essential. There are some very good USB mics available and the BY is a perennial favorite.

      With a USB mic you can record to your pc directly using a DAW (digital audio workstation) And a good choice is Audacity and its free.

      BUT.....

      Every podacaster will agree that a dynamic xlr mic is the best way to go. A dynamic mic cuts out a lot of the background noise and is best for "home studios".
      An xlr mic does require a bigger budget because you would also need a usb interface or small usb mixer to plug into your pc but its well worth it in the long run.

      The most popular entry level dynamic xlr is probably the Audio Technica 2100/2005 excellent sound for only about $60...
      A decent usb interface will run you about $80...
      And again Audacity is free or garage band if you use a MAC...

      This is only the tip of the iceberg, There is much more info you can find on Google and Youtube .....

      Good Luck
      I bought a blue yeti but it has a hollow 'echo chamber' sound to it.

      I'll check out the XLR mic you mentioned. If I pay $100 to $200, will I get better quality?
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  • Profile picture of the author lacraiger
    I use a Tascam DR-05 which is portable and can record anytime anywhere without setting up. It beats having to carry my Yeti and laptop around. The audio quality isn't far off either.

    For video I recommend getting a DJI Osmo mobile and an iPhone 6 with at least 64gb.
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  • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
    Banned
    I'm on a Mac.

    Shure SM7B

    Rogue Amoeba's Audio Hijack Pro

    Behringer XENYX 1202 Mixer

    Off-site: Tascam DR-44WL

    Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author gasman
    I've got everything under the sun to use to record with, spent a lot of money, and in the end what sounds best is $50 usb mics I got off amazon and I use audacity to edit. Turned out simple and cheap actually sounds better. In the future you may look into getting something elaborate, but i'd hold off.
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    • Profile picture of the author writeaway
      Originally Posted by gasman View Post

      I've got everything under the sun to use to record with, spent a lot of money, and in the end what sounds best is $50 usb mics I got off amazon and I use audacity to edit. Turned out simple and cheap actually sounds better. In the future you may look into getting something elaborate, but i'd hold off.
      Well, my situation is I just want to use a solid mic and record with mymp3mp3 software

      Pretty basic. Once my income from podcasting reaches a certain level, I'll level up to studio quality stuff
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
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      Originally Posted by gasman View Post

      Turned out simple and cheap actually sounds better.
      Might I suggest an auditory examination or at the minimum, a good ear flush. If 'cheap' actually 'sounded better,' there wouldn't be a market for high-end audio equipment such as microphones that can cost thousands of dollars.

      Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

        Might I suggest an auditory examination or at the minimum, a good ear flush. If 'cheap' actually 'sounded better,' there wouldn't be a market for high-end audio equipment such as microphones that can cost thousands of dollars.

        Frank
        Rather than the lavage, better to spend some time learning how to use higher end equipment.

        It's kind of like carving tools. In the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, you get art. In the hands of someone who doesn't, you get sometimes bloody kindling.

        Unless one is willing to climb the learning curve on high end equipment, cheap and simple (meaning 'dumbed down so even Cousin Lester can use it') may indeed yield superior results.
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        • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
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          Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

          Rather than the lavage, better to spend some time learning how to use higher end equipment.

          It's kind of like carving tools. In the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, you get art. In the hands of someone who doesn't, you get sometimes bloody kindling.

          Unless one is willing to climb the learning curve on high end equipment, cheap and simple (meaning 'dumbed down so even Cousin Lester can use it') may indeed yield superior results.
          There's no trick to employing a good microphone and no learning curve. Plug it in and go. Same with most recording equipment. Press record - you're done.

          Most of the 'art and science' is produced after the fact where editing and processing, which can have a steep learning curve, is employed.

          The comment was ridiculous on its face. Defending it is almost as bad. :-)

          Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author gasman
        Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

        Might I suggest an auditory examination or at the minimum, a good ear flush. If 'cheap' actually 'sounded better,' there wouldn't be a market for high-end audio equipment such as microphones that can cost thousands of dollars.

        Frank
        My point was there is no need to spend a bunch of money, especially when you're not making any.
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        • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
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          Originally Posted by gasman View Post

          My point was there is no need to spend a bunch of money, especially when you're not making any.
          While I am an extremely multi-talented individual, mind reading is not one of my strongpoints.

          Generally, I take words at face value as it's the most commonly recognized form of effective communication. No one ever misconstrues my words. Trust me on this. :-)

          Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

    There's no trick to employing a good microphone and no learning curve. Plug it in and go. Same with most recording equipment. Press record - you're done.

    Most of the 'art and science' is produced after the fact where editing and processing, which can have a steep learning curve, is employed.

    The comment was ridiculous on its face. Defending it is almost as bad. :-)

    Frank
    No argument here. My comments were aimed at the post-recording process and the software used for it.

    Now that I'm aware of your psychic limitations, I'll be more specific in the future...
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  • Profile picture of the author aseltz
    Static is nearly always a signal chain issue, bad mic, bad cables, bad a/d converters, or bad settings.

    The rest of the issues are technique.

    I use a AKG Perception 420 microphone feeding into a Yamaha MG102c mixer that connects to my computer. This setup cost me around $400 if memory serves, but it is not necessarily better than others recommended already. I just prefer it.

    I've never been a fan of USB mics. The connector doesn't lock and they are not very flexible if you do any recording besides a single input direct to a computer. Mine gets used in other contexts. Plus, the mixer allows me to add compression and basic EQ during the recording which saves a step later.

    As far as technique is concerned:

    1) Quiet the room. Turn off fans, close doors and windows, hang blankets over walls and hard surfaces to absorb echos (some people build a mini sound booth around their mic.)
    2) Get the mic as close as possible so the desired sound (your voice) is the most powerful sound.
    3) Use a pop screen or foam wind cover to plosive sounds from sending a burst of air directly into the mic.
    4) Set your recording levels properly. The weaker the signal you record, the more noise you get later when you try to boost it during editing. Set the levels as high as possible while leaving a little headroom so that a loud sound doesn't peak and cause distortion (the compressor on my mixer helps with this.) The displays on most recorders shows green, yellow, and red as the sounds hitting the mic get louder. You want to set your inputs so that the loudest sounds just hit the red.

    If you use a setup like mine you will have a couple places to adjust the levels. There is the input gain, the the volume setting on the input channel, and the master volume for the mixer. Once the sound signal hits the computer, you have one more level setting in your recording software.

    You want the strongest signal without distortion at every stage to get the best sound out of your gear.

    If you use a USB mic, you usually just have to set levels in your recording software.

    That should be enough to get you the results you are looking for.

    Andrew
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    • Profile picture of the author writeaway
      Originally Posted by aseltz View Post

      Static is nearly always a signal chain issue, bad mic, bad cables, bad a/d converters, or bad settings.

      The rest of the issues are technique.

      I use a AKG Perception 420 microphone feeding into a Yamaha MG102c mixer that connects to my computer. This setup cost me around $400 if memory serves, but it is not necessarily better than others recommended already. I just prefer it.

      I've never been a fan of USB mics. The connector doesn't lock and they are not very flexible if you do any recording besides a single input direct to a computer. Mine gets used in other contexts. Plus, the mixer allows me to add compression and basic EQ during the recording which saves a step later.

      As far as technique is concerned:

      1) Quiet the room. Turn off fans, close doors and windows, hang blankets over walls and hard surfaces to absorb echos (some people build a mini sound booth around their mic.)
      2) Get the mic as close as possible so the desired sound (your voice) is the most powerful sound.
      3) Use a pop screen or foam wind cover to plosive sounds from sending a burst of air directly into the mic.
      4) Set your recording levels properly. The weaker the signal you record, the more noise you get later when you try to boost it during editing. Set the levels as high as possible while leaving a little headroom so that a loud sound doesn't peak and cause distortion (the compressor on my mixer helps with this.) The displays on most recorders shows green, yellow, and red as the sounds hitting the mic get louder. You want to set your inputs so that the loudest sounds just hit the red.

      If you use a setup like mine you will have a couple places to adjust the levels. There is the input gain, the the volume setting on the input channel, and the master volume for the mixer. Once the sound signal hits the computer, you have one more level setting in your recording software.

      You want the strongest signal without distortion at every stage to get the best sound out of your gear.

      If you use a USB mic, you usually just have to set levels in your recording software.

      That should be enough to get you the results you are looking for.

      Andrew
      Thank you for this very thorough answer. Much appreciated!
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    I highly suggest you go watch youtube videos.

    I don't know what your budget is.

    A blue yeti should work well. Maybe your not using it or setting it up right.

    I currently have a blue yeti but thinking of upgrading to XLR.

    My tentative plan is...

    DBX 286S (Mic Preamp / Processor)

    Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Generation) USB interface

    For a mic, I'm leaning toward an Electrovoice RE320 Package (save like $140)
    Which you get the Mic w/Pop Filter, Broadcast Microphone cable & Shockmount

    All together it's about $700.
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