Recommending Podcast Equipment
As some of you know, I host the eXchanging Eternal Truths podcast. Since the launch, I've had several people contact me and say they've felt led to start something but didn't know where to begin with equipment or hosting. I never charge for my time on equipment research or recommendations simply because I think it's important to share knowledge when we can. So, to that end, let's jump in and talk podcasting!
Some of my recommendations for podcasting equipment may vary if you’ve got some of the equipment already. I have some churches that may already have microphones and mixers, but I'm putting info here as if you're starting from scratch, just like I did.
It also depends on where you want to record and if you wish to do audio or video podcasts. Currently, I’m doing audio-only since I have camera-shy guests. You can record in pretty much any quiet room, although I try to make sure it’s one with carpet or rugs (as opposed to an empty dining room or empty sanctuary that sometimes produces echoes.) It also depends on whether you're doing a 1-2 person podcast or you plan on having a group of 3-4 people sitting around talking.
All the links are to Amazon and are affiliate links, so I may get a little bit in return if you purchase them. The prices I listed are valid when I pulled the info but may fluctuate. You can always shop for better prices elsewhere.
MIXER: 2-Person - Tascam US-42B MiNiSTUDIO Creator USB Audio Interface (US42B), for Podcasting, Control Software, EZ Mode - $79. This unit is what I have for our 2-person podcast. I’ve found that Tascam brand equipment is reliable and easy to use.
4-Person - Tascam Mixcast 4 Podcast Studio Mixer Station with built-in 14-track Recorder / USB Audio Interface, Streaming, Bluetooth - $380. If I was upgrading to a more extensive setup, this is what I would go for! But honestly, I’m really happy with my 2-person setup. It’s much easier to run and deal with.
4-Person Bundle - https://amzn.to/3PimkVm $800.00. The Amazon bundle includes the mixer station and four condenser mics with mini-stands, shock mounts, and four sets of headphones. I don’t know anything about those microphones, but I question the balance of the shock mount and the mic on those tiny stands.
MICROPHONES: Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone, Black - $58. You'll need 2-4, depending on how many people are on your podcast. Technically, any cardioid dynamic microphone will do as long as you have the mic cables to run to your mixer. This is the brand I have, and I’ve found their sound quality to be amazing! They come with mini-stands and all the cables needed. All our in-person interview podcasts so far have been recorded with them. (Remote guests will do something else, but I’ll share that later...) I haven’t seen that shock mounts are necessary at this point because I’m not picking up a lot of vibration in the recordings. That may also be because I make adjustments during the recording to avoid that sort of thing. I did invest in inexpensive foam coverings. It's worth it to help with any sibilance issues without having to go with a full-sized pop filter.
HEADPHONES: Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black - $49. These are the same headphones I use for voice-over recording and editing, so I have two pairs. I keep one attached to my VoiceOver computer and one I carry for video monitoring or podcast recording. Some people like everyone to have their own headphones, which works great, too.
VIDEO CAMERA: This one is REALLY subjective. Some people use DSLRs that have good video capabilities, some use specific video cameras (you can get a cheap one from Amazon for less than $200, but they’re no-name units), or some people use their phone cameras or laptop cameras. It depends on what you’re trying to do and how you want it to look. I might suggest a DSLR if you already have one or something inexpensive that is a dedicated camera. Both of those options will use a memory card to hold your recordings instead of storing them on your phone, which can cause issues if the recordings run too long. Obviously, if you plan on doing audio-only, you don't have to worry about this.
LIGHTING: This is another area that's only relevant if you plan on doing video podcasts. There are two options here, and most of it is dependent on how you do your video recording. If you’re using a small unit like your phone, your room is already well-lit, and you have space on your desk, you can go with a desktop model like this one:
Ring Light Computer for Video Conferencing Zoom Meeting, Desk Ring Light for Laptop, Desktop Lighting with Stand and Phone Holder - $28.
However, if you’re doing a full camera setup and have the space, I would recommend a full-sized light like this one:
NEEWER Ring Light Kit: 18"/48cm Outer 55W 5600K Dimmable LED Ring Light, Light Stand, Carrying Bag - $89. This is the light I have and use when I’m doing online group studies, presentations, or appearances (like when I'm on my friend's internet TV program.)
RECORDING/EDITING SOFTWARE: I use Mac computers only. There are programs on PC as well, I'm just not as familiar with them. For audio, I would recommend Audacity as a free audio editor. But if you use Macs, GarageBand works brilliantly for recording and editing audio! Best of all, it’s free! For video editing (which can do audio as well without having to separate the audio/video tracks), I use Final Cut Pro. It’s $199 in the App Store but includes lifetime updates and can be installed across multiple Mac computers. I have it on my desktop and laptop. Essentially, it’s a step up from iMovie and gives many more editing options.
PROGRAM AND EPISODE ART: I created these myself in Canva. It’s an online free program that you can use to create graphics. They do have a pro version that I use because I have multiple clients I create graphics for, and I also use it for all my devotional promo images and Scripture graphics that I post to social media.
HOSTING: Several companies will charge you for hosting, but I’ve found that Spotify does not! So, I have an account on Spotify where I upload the episodes. Then, you can link to other companies such as Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and more!
REMOTE GUESTS: If you want guests on your show who aren’t based nearby, Spotify has a podcasters app that lets you record to their cloud using your phone. The sound quality in the tests I’ve run is still good, although it picks up much more background noise. You must be Elmer Fudd - “werry, werry, qwiet!”
I hope these suggestions help you with any podcasting you choose to do. If we can help with the logistics or give you a helping hand with promotion, contact us today at email@example.com for your FREE 20-minute consultation.