I have never discussed what my podcasting setup comprises of with my readers, so I figured now is as good a time as any. A couple of years ago when I first embarked on this journey, I began with the now venerable Blue Yeti USB condenser microphone. This mic is extremely popular and for good reason, it’s inexpensive and sounds decent. USB mics are great for people who are just getting into recording and don’t want to spend a lot of money. USB mics don’t require an external pre-amp which can quickly escalate your budget already tight budget.
The last few months I began researching gear because I wanted to splurge a bit on a more professional setup. As a musician and being someone who has taken audio engineering courses, my knowledge is reasonable, but I haven’t bought audio gear in a number of years and quickly realized I’d have to consult some other people who have been keeping up with hardware and are professionals doing this for a living.
If you listen to podcasts and are either podcasting yourself or have been thinking about getting into that space, it’s likely that you’re aware of who Dan Benjamin is of the massively successful 5by5 podcasting network. Last year Dan created a dedicated website to help new and would be podcasters who want to know what kind of equipment to get and he’s done a fantastic job of currating products ranging from entry-level to advanced. This is the best resource for anyone either thinking about podcasting or who needs to revisit their existing configuration. Head over to podcastmethod.co for more information.
Mics and pre-amps
Before I broach the topic of hardware, at the bottom of this article you will find a list of products I’m using and where you can buy them. I didn’t want to distract from the discussion by including those in the main piece. For now, please carry on.
My current mic of choice is a Shure PG42 (the XLR version) which is hooked up to a Focusrite 2i2 pre-amp. Both the Shure and Focusrite products are quite impressive and you get a lot of value for little money. There are cheaper pre-amps like the 2-channel M-Audio M-Track, but the Focusite is only a little more expensive, sounds better, and has front mounted XLR jacks which I feel are more ergonomic than the top-mounted jacks of the M-Audio. I have my Shure mic mounted to an adjustable Rode boom arm with a basic pop filter attached. For my voice I get fantastic results and I’ve noticed that I sound noticeably better than other people I’ve podcasted with that use a USB Rode Podcaster mic.
Like mics and pre-amps, headphones are an incredibly personal choice. Whilst one person may like one particular make and model for its punchy bass response, another may find it too boomy. I don’t really want to get into the nuances of headphone quality, but purely for purpose of studio reference monitors, I really like my KNS8440 by KRK. The KRK headphones are not as popular as some of the AKG and Sennheiser choices, but they have a good history of making quality studio reference speakers. These KRK headphones are inexpensive and are under $200. The frequency response is quite neutral with good midrange and not overly harsh highs. I recommend these KRK headphones over the Sony MDR7506 for three reasons: They sound better, have a detachable cable, and have inline volume control. For my personal music tastes, I also find the KRK headphones great for rock, metal, and acoustic guitar.
Below I have included Amazon affiliate links for the gear I use (US/Canada variants). Any purchases you make will directly support my writing and is sincerely appreciated.
- Shure PG42 mic (XLR): Amazon US or Amazon CA
- Focusrite 2i2 USB pre-amp: Amazon US or Amazon CA
- Rode PSA1 boom arm: Amazon US or Amazon CA
- Adjustable pop filter: Amazon US or Amazon CA
- KRK KNS8400 studio headphones: Amazon US or Amazon CA
If you have any questions about podcasting, feel free to drop me a line.