Wondering what podcast equipment you should use for recording?
It's a question we get asked all the time at Podcast Services Australia!
If you go online and you research "podcast equipment", you will find a million different articles and videos sharing a million different options. It can get really overwhelming when you've got so many options!
So I'm sharing with you the equipment setup I use for my own podcast. We also use this equipment in our courses, and the kits we hire out to our clients as well.
The first thing you need is a microphone, and there are many many different types of microphones. Some are super cheap and they range from $50 all the way up to hundreds and hundreds of dollars. The one we recommend is a Swamp D USB mic. UPDATE: This one is also really good (not an affiliate link).
This is a dynamic microphone. A dynamic mic which means that it's directional. The best way to use it is for when you're speaking directly into the mic, and it cancels out a lot of the surrounding sound. So, when I speak directly into it, it's really clear. If I start speaking off to the side, or over the top, it's not as clear.
So, these mics are beautiful for getting that really crisp sound. I use these mics if I'm in a conference and I'm going around interviewing people. You still get the beautiful background buzz of the conference without it overwhelming the sound, and you get that really crisp sound of whoever it is that you're speaking with.
These mics are also fantastic because they have a USB. We can plug them into your computer, as well as plugging them into a digital recorder. This is great because it means that you can use it for both your laptop and with a digital recorder with that analog input.
The only issue I have is that the stand they come with, is actually a bit too low for a desktop. You may need to purchase additional desktop stands from Amazon - these are quite inexpensive. I bought mine for $40-50 for four.
2. Digital Recorder
This is what I am recording the audio for this video into, right here. It's a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder.
It's easy to use, and you can plug two microphones into it. So, you can see I've got one plugged in here, but if I wanted to plug this one in, I could plug that in too and it also comes with a built-in mic.
The mic on top is a condenser mic which means that it picks up sound from all around, and what this is great for is for recording ambient sounds.
So, if you want to go outside and record nature sounds or city soundscapes, that works really well too. Or if you don't have two microphones, you can pop this mic in on the table between you and your interviewee and it'll record both of you as well.
Now, when you do use a condenser mic like this and you're recording more than one person, the challenge is - it's difficult to edit each person's audio individually because it all gets recorded onto the same track. Whereas, if you use one microphone per person, that will be recorded in two separate tracks and then you have more control over editing those.
Can't I just plug a mic into my laptop?
Yes, you can do that. I know many people do. We don't recommend doing that because laptops can crash, certain recording programs can crash, and I have found in my experience that a digital recorder like this is very very reliable. It's very robust, and the quality that you get is top-notch.
They vary in price but check them out online to them to see what the best deal that you can get. But we love this setup because as you can see, it's really simple. It's really portable. You don't need a massive mixing desk or anything like that. All you need is a couple of these XLR cables to plug the mic into your Zoom and you're good to go.
Still unsure what equipment is right for you? Want to try before you buy? We hire out podcast equipment kits and send them all around Australia, as well as offer training and coaching on how to get the most from the equipment. Contact us to learn more about how we can support you with your podcast project!