Evo’s “Not F***ing Around With My Podcast” Equipment Buying Guide
This list of podcast equipment for professional podcasting was inspired by this tweet:
So, now you know the genesis. Let’s get to the meat!
"Why this list of podcasting equipment, Evo?"
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to buying recording equipment for your podcast. Budgets, recording environments, other equipment you already have… It’s a bit of a process that’s unique to each show.
But I’ve done lots of podcast studio setups and have some recommendations to get amazing sound for your show if you have a reasonable budget.
Everything you see here is podcast equipment I use myself and recommend to my clients. All links are affiliate links, often with great return policies if the gear you buy just isn’t right for you.
Let’s start with your ears.
Yes, the first piece of equipment I’m recommending is a great pair of headphones. Studio-quality monitors, to call them by the proper name. (Trendy headphones peddled by musicians aren’t great for podcasting, so leave the “Beats” at home.) I’ve had three pairs of these cans, and I love them. They’re not terribly expensive, either.
- If you have plans of conducing in-person, sit-down conversations with another person (or persons), I suggest buying a pair for your guest(s) as well. In which case you’ll need a headphone amplifier and connecting cable to let your guests hear how they (and you) sound.
Now, let's make your ears love you even more.
I can't stress enough how important it is to have sound-treatment in your recording environment. Those thin little bumpy things you can buy for $1 a panel are worthless. And the expensive bumpy things that aren't worthless look like, well... they look like bumpy things on the wall.
Audimute panels eat sound reflections like magic and look great hanging on your wall. I have six (6) 2' x 4' panels in my studio (which doubles as a guest room as well as office) and they look great! Plus they make the room the quietest place in my home.
Now that you've treated your room and can monitor how great it sounds, we need to get you recording on something other than your noisy laptop.
I use this device as my primary recording unit. It’s super portable and extends nicely to handle a variety of mic inputs. Very low noise floor (EIN -120 dBu or less) and records to a little SD card (I recommend buying a couple good ones). Though it is portable, mine rarely leaves my desk and serves as as the interface between my SM7B mic and my studio computer (a Mac Mini, if you're curious what I use).
Oh, and if you're sure you never want a portable setup, consider getting a MOTU M2 2x2, an SSL 2, or an Audient EVO 4 interface instead. All three are are quite clean, I'm told by audio engineers with opinions I trust.
Next, you’re ready for a great sounding microphone that makes you sound great. In reality, choosing the right mic for your voice takes some tweaking. Tweaking we can't do in this non-interactive environment, so let's just pick a solid one, shall we?
For in-studio recording, the SM7B is an excellent mid-priced microphone that delivers outstanding quality. You’ll need a desk stand or boom to hold it (no, it doesn’t come with either), an XLR mic cable (6' , 10', or longer), and any other accessories (like pop filters) you might want. Keep in mind that all of this depends on your environment.
- You might need multiple of these if you plan on conducting in-person, sit-down sessions in-studio.
Oh, and this mic is big and needs a bit more gain than the H6 can put out. So you really, really need this next bit too.
This little connector (it’s really a preamp) is made of magic and really makes a big mic like the SM7B purr like a kitten when attached to the Zoom H6. Do you have to have it? No. However, it makes a big difference to the overall tone you’ll get from the SM7B. I have two, and I don’t know how I managed without them.
Those are the items I use day in and day out. But they're not the only tools in my arsenal. So I'll keep going in case you find yourself needing something beyond an amazing studio setup.
If you travel a lot (like I do), the SM58 is a fantastic and nearly indestructible microphone. It’s hand-held, but you can attach it to a desk stand or boom easily. I’ve heard they’ve stopped shipping them with a foam wind cover (also called a “condom”), so check to see if you need to order one. And you’ll need to buy an XLR cable to connect it to the Zoom H6. If you are doing live interviews, get two.
- Using SM58s for your in-studio guest is a cheap(er) way to outfit your studio. I still recommend the host use something like the SM7B, as it’s a superior mic. But it’s acceptable to keep some SM58s on hand for add-on guests.
But before you buy that, do you really want your guest holding a mic in their hand? No, you don't.
If you’re doing a lot of remote interviews and want to be hands-free, get two of these great little lavaliere mics. They should come with the cables necessary to plug them right into the Zoom H6.
- The difference between an on-location conversation recorded on lavaliere vs a recorder set in between participants is legion. Listeners are becoming accustomed to quality audio recordings. Lavs win hands down over ambient room recording.
Feeling overwhelmed? Well, there are other options.
If your heart is set on a headset/mic combo, ignore all the ones you’ll find at your local big-box store. They’re built for gaming and phone calls instead of professional voice recording. Those that you see the sports announcers wearing are quite expensive, but the BPHS1 is a decent choice. It has an XLR output, so it plugs directly into the Zoom H6. Or you can buy a MOTU M2 2X2 USB interface to connect this mic (or any XLR mic) and your computer’s USB port.
(Disclaimer: I've used this equipment, but I do not own either. However, both are solid choices.)
For simplicity and acceptable sound quality, the Q2U is a great little piece of kit. It has an XLR input as well as USB, which makes me like it a lot more than USB-only mics. The kit contains the mic, a cheap desk stand, an XLR and a USB cable, so it’s ready to go out of the box. You’ll need a pop filter, because you probably need one with all microphones.
But there are many paths to a great sounding podcast.
No, you don’t need all of these. Heck, you don’t need any of these specifically. The greatest equipment in the world won’t save a crappy, hastily-assembled show. You’d think that fantastic equipment would cover up gaffs. In practice, it’s just the opposite. So before you buy anything, make sure you’re willing to invest the time, energy, and effort to make a great show. (And when you’re all-in on that, come back and buy all this great stuff!)