Updated: Mar 18, 2021
Creating your perfect podcast studio is tricky, especially with the amount of equipment available on the market. When creating a podcast studio, podcasters need to research a variety of options from content to systems and structure, but the podcast equipment is the one key element that brings everything together. For new podcasters wanting to share their message, finding a starting point could be the hardest part. It takes some trial and error before finding equipment that fits your specific needs best.
Lindsey Dinneen: Photo Credit Helen Ransom with Faces You Love Photography.
Glen Munoz: Please Credit Natasha Eng -https://iamnatasha.com/
That being said, we asked seven experts from different industries including podcasting, who know equipment very well, what their “must haves” are to set up your perfect podcast studio. We learned which products work best together to create a studio that can help podcasters be the most successful and reach the world waiting to hear them. And yes, it is perfectly fine to use several different brands. Here is the best equipment our expert friends recommend and the advice they share when setting up a studio:
What is the best camera available to podcasters?
Lindsey Dinneen, Creator and Host of the Artfully Told Podcast says the Canon XC15 4K Video Camera has been excellent. The physical zoom is much better than on a phone. This is an easy to use camera, with plenty of options and professional settings. My next addition will be a Black Magic Pocket Cinema. It uses the same memory cards as the XC15 so I don't have to reinvest in cards/readers.
Ming Chen, Owner and Celebrity Podcaster of A Shared Universe PodcaStudio says he recommends the Logitech Brio. It is great for live-streaming, content creation and video conferences/Zoom. Not only is it small but easy to adjust and has a high-quality picture. It has hands down the best webcam out there.
What about purchasing an audio interface?
Chris Daniel, Founder and Musician of Incite Music, told us the best interface for podcasting is the TC-Helicon GoXLR. These include programmable buttons, built-in FX, and snap back to position faders. It is super easy to use for someone that has little background knowledge in audio production but with enough features for a serious user as well. The XLR and 3.5mm jacks mean there is a variety of microphone types that can be used with it.
Glen Muñoz, Owner and Executive Producer at Pod Pro Audio – a podcast production and distribution company, shared - If you plan to only record yourself, then you’ll be able to get by with a USB mic plugged directly into your computer - in which case, you won’t need for an audio interface. Assuming - however - the in-person, one-on-one, interview-style format, you’ll need an audio interface to get multiple signals (microphones) into your computer and to your recording software. We recommend the FocusRite Scarlett 2i2 (approx. $160). Iconnects via USB and provides you with two channels of input, 48v phantom power to power XLR condenser mics, 1/4” headphone jack out and left/right 1/4” outputs.
Ming Chen, from A Shared Universe PodcaStudio, says anyone looking to create sounding podcasts, highly recommends the Zoom H6 recorder. It is a small portable recorder that doubles as a small mixing board and can be used anywhere at any time.
What microphone is best?
Alan Seales, CTO of Broadway Podcast Network and Google's Talks at Google said an easy, low-cost entry point into the world of USB microphones is the Yeti Blue condenser mic. No audio interface required, and easy to use. Just make sure you're positioning it correctly! If you have a little more room in your budget, look at the AT2020 XLR mic (which also comes in a USB version). One of the best mics out there is the Sure SM7B, which is used in most high-end radio studios.
David Ciccarelli, Founder and CEO of Voices.com says there are many factors to consider when purchasing a microphone, such as your budget, the sound you are trying to achieve and the space you will be recording in that can be helpful in choosing the right microphone.
How important are headphones?
Alan Seales, CTO of Broadway Podcast Network and Google’s Talks at Google answers with one word - Extremely! Always use headphones. I repeat, always use headphones! Even with the best mic and acoustically treated room, a lack of headphones can mess up your entire recording. Remember that your microphone can pick up any and all sounds being played from your computer speakers -- that's where your system's built-in echo cancellation comes into play, otherwise you'd hear audio feedback. The best, most powerful systems can accidentally record an echo for a variety of reasons, including running too many applications on your system at the same time you're recording or even a sluggish internet connection. The best scenario is one where your mic cannot hear what you hear. It is also worth noting that if using Bluetooth headphones, make sure they're completely charged before every single recording session -- wired headphones are always preferred.
Glen Muñoz, of Pod Pro Audio adds that you’ll want to be able to listen back to your recordings to ensure they are free of unwanted sounds as well as free of any distortion (which occurs when the recording levels are too high). This can easily be done with a set of over-the-ear headphones with a 1/4” male jack. We like the Sony MDR 7506 Professional Closed Back Headphones (approx. $100). If two people will want to simultaneously hear the playback, pick up a 1/4” headphones splitter (for a few bucks) and a second set of headphones.
Is there a system that can cover all of my podcasting needs?
Thomas Covington, CEO of DJ Who Wedding and Events Entertainment, said, for a solo podcasting experience, some could grab the Marantz Turret Broadcast Video Streaming System. This is a perfect all-in-one light, camera, and microphone system that sit on a table top for 1 person stream. Through streaming software, the host can add in other participants in remote locations. If the podcaster does not need a microphone, or if they choose to use a separate microphone, they can purchase the Murantz Pro AVS. For the ones who want to create a high-end experience and receive calls like a radio broadcast, they should choose the Rodecaster pro. Along with the Bluetooth ability, this system connects 4 professional 1/4 in jack headphones and XLR microphones. It also consists of 8 color coded midi pads that can be banked for expansion.
Any other advice when it comes to purchasing equipment for a studio?
David Ciccarelli, Founder and CEO of Voices.com shared a valuable piece of advice for those looking to be successful in the podcast industry. The most important aspect of a good sounding recording is actually your room. Recording in a room with high ceilings, windows and at a desk with a glass top will sound like you're recording from a swimming pool. This natural reverberation will make it hard for your listeners to hear and understand you that'll be a distraction for each episode. The smaller the room the better. If your podcast includes both audio and a video recording for YouTube, consider the set behind you and add some wall treatments to reduce sound reflections.
Michelle La Franca is the Select Podcast Guests Marketing and Social Media Intern. She is currently a Senior at Adrian College.