Podcast Recording 101 | Equipment You Need and Best Audio Practices

From our favorite pieces of audio gear to best tips to ensure a quality recording, here is our guide to help you get started. 

The gear you need, simplified

The gear included in this list are some of our favorite pieces of equipment, used by us and our clients, so you can rest assured knowing that each piece produces quality results. In the list below, you’ll find everything from USB microphones to reverb dampeners.

***None of these items are sponsored, they’re simply items we love.***

Simple dynamic USB microphones

The AKG Lyra is a great microphone that is straightforward and easy to use.

This Audio-Technica microphone is great for recording voices and won’t pick up unwanted sounds in the surrounding space.

Samson Technologies this microphone pack with podcasting specifically in mind. It includes a windscreen and only captures noise coming from the front of the microphone, rather than the sides.

The Shure SM58 is a great basic microphone that’s compatible with many attachments.

Dynamic microphones that need additional gear

The Shure MV7X is a popular podcasting mic because it’s fantastic for cutting out background noise.

This Rode PodMic balances sound with ease, producing sharp and concise vocals.

The Rode Tripod Mini is perfect for setting up your mic on a table or desk and takes up minimal space. Additionally, another stand to consider is the Rode PSA1. It is larger so plan your tabletop accordingly.

This 10ft Pro Co Mic Cable is easy to use and highly durable.

We recommend this Focusrite Scarlett Solo Audio Interface for your audio monitoring needs. If you’re looking for something simpler, try the Apogee Duet 3, which is great for on-the-go recordings.  

Pop filters

You can’t go wrong with a classic foam ball windscreen to reduce wind interference.

This metal screen is an advanced pop filter that works better than the typical fabric filter. In addition to its ease of use, it can be washed between recording sessions.

Handheld recorders with multiple mic inputs

This Zoom H5 Portable Recorder is great for podcasters who travel for recordings. If you find yourself moving around a lot or wishing you had recording equipment on hand for that incredible conversation you’re having, this is for you. 

Similarly to the H5, the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder is perfect for podcasters on-the-go. It mounts directly to a DSLR camera for capturing crisp audio and visuals.

The Tascam DR-05X is a popular option for its lower price and ability to clearly capture every detail.

Reverb dampeners

We suggest to all of our clients to use some sort of reverb dampener. This could simply mean hanging up blankets on the walls and windows to dampen echo and unwanted outside sound. If you’re going for more of a designer feel, check out the links below for curated looks.

The TRUE NORTH Acoustic Panels can be set up in a cool, checkerboard design or however you’d like, given their customizability.

These panels are similar to TRUE NORTH but are slightly more expensive and slightly higher in quality.

Here’s another quality foam option for that alternating, checkerboard look.

This egg crate foam is sure to capture unwanted noise before it ever hits your mic.

These Primacoustic London Panels are minimalistic and modern and can be purchased in a variety of colors to match your studio’s aesthetic. 

To hang up reverb dampeners, you’ll need some adhesive so they stick to the wall and don’t fall off mid-recording. We suggest using square double-sided foam adhesives or this heavy duty double-sided tape.

Podcast recording best practices

Having great audio equipment, such as those listed above, can only do so much for your show. In order to produce the best, highest quality sound, podcast hosts and guests need to follow these steps. Being in the industry for quite some time has taught us what it takes from the human side of things to boost audio quality. 

If you are recording with a guest speaker, brief them on this list below ahead of time so they know what to do and what to avoid before recording. Here are some additional tips for preparing guests for a podcast interview.

  • Mouth distance from the microphone should be about 5-6 inches. If you’re too far away, it will be difficult to hear your voice clearly. 

  • Avoid fiddling with your mic or other noisy objects while you record as this will cause noisy artifacts to show up in the interview, which are hard to remove if they happen while someone is speaking. If you need to adjust the mic, try to do it while no one is speaking or test it beforehand.

  • Always remember your memory card if you’re using a Rodecaster. You don’t want to make the mistake of recording an entire episode only to realize nothing was actually recorded on the memory card.

  • Remember to press record on your Rodecaster or any other audio interfaces before starting.

  • Record in a quiet place away from noisy appliances/air systems. 

  • Try to use a chair that isn’t squeaky.

  • Close windows and doors to avoid outside sounds. 

  • Speak normally and with confidence. Listeners pick up on anxiety and nerves. Recording can be stressful, especially for newbies to podcasting, but the more you do it, the easier it is to sound natural:

-Don’t whisper

-Don’t shout

-Always remember to enunciate 

  • If you hear reverberation/echo in the room where you record, you can hang up acoustic foam on flat/reflective surfaces, or blankets/clothes to prevent sound from bouncing off the walls. Carpeted rooms are ideal and furniture, especially with padding, can help too. 

  • Recording in a small space like a closet is a good way to reduce room echo/reverberation if your options are limited.

  • Make sure you are hydrated before recording to avoid excess mouthy noises. It can help to keep a drink nearby for when your mouth starts getting dry.

  • Double check that all wires are plugged in all the way to avoid excessive background noise.

  • Do not turn your head away from the mic. Keep mouth aimed at mic head to avoid audio dropouts. If you have to turn your head to see your guest or text from which you’re reading, try to move your whole body to revolve around the mic in a way that keeps your mouth aimed at the microphone head. It may take a few recording sessions to develop this habit. Notify your guests about this so they can avoid the same issue. 

We hope this list helps you as you start your podcasting journey. Happy recording!

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