Podcasting Microphones and Gear

Everything You Need to Record a Podcast

If you count yourself among the legions of aspiring podcasters getting ready to create your first episode, there are a lot of questions to ask. You have to think about the format, topic, research, and distribution. At an even more basic level, you need to think about how you're actually going to get your words recorded.

The guide below aims to tackle that first consideration, highlighting some cost-friendly solutions that can help you achieve pro-level broadcast audio without having to invest in a ton of fancy equipment. Take a look at our video below to watch Joe showcase the sorts of audio you can achieve with different podcasting setups, and scroll through our guide to see our gear recommendations based on which recording option you choose.

Watch Joe Shadid break down what you need to record a podcast the easiest way possible.

Ways to Record

Smartphone Microphones

One of the most basic ways to get high-quality audio that you can then edit into a podcast comes in the form of microphones made specifically for mobile devices. For iPhone users, the Shure Motiv mv88 mic plugs right into your phone and will drastically improve audio quality over your device's built-in microphone.

With a mobile mic like this, you can also record to your phone on the fly, and then export the audio for further editing on a computer after the fact.

Excellent Mobile Microphones

USB Microphones

A USB microphone is a microphone that connects to a computer directly via a USB port. These plug-and-play devices have been used by some the biggest names in the podcast world. Welcome to Night Vale, for instance, has been entirely recorded on a single USB mic for its whole run.

If you’re planning on just recording one voice, a decent USB mic and some recording software is all you need to get started. To record, just connect your USB microphone to your computer and fire up any piece of recording software. For Mac users, GarageBand should already be installed on your system. For PC users, Audacity is a reliable and simple free option as well. In your software you should be able to locate the USB mic and set it as the input device on a track. Then all you need to do is hit record and go from there.

Plug-and-Play USB Mics

Non-USB Broadcast Microphones + Audio Interface

If your podcast is likely to include more than one person in conversation, you're going to need to pick up more than one microphone. While you can simply pick up a second USB mic, a more flexible solution comes in the form of an audio interface which plugs into your computer and acts as the intermediary device between your mics and computer.

Audio Interfaces

Similar to the USB mic, you’ll be able to select the inputs of your interface in your recording software and add them to separate tracks. Your interface will give you separate control over volume and monitoring, which makes your entire operation a bit more professional and versatile. You can also use virtually any microphone with an audio interface, so you will have a ton of options to work with.

Broadcast Microphones

Portable Recorders

Perhaps a stationary setup doesn't suit the kind of the field recording you plan to do for your podcast. For your needs, a portable recorder like the Zoom H4n Pro or H6 are convenient, best-of-both-worlds options that can work in a number of different situations.

With these sorts of devices, you can record high-quality audio directly to SD memory cards or use them as audio interfaces and record to your computer. These come with decent mics built into the recorder, but also have XLR inputs so you can use higher-end mics as well. Recorders of this sort are also commonly used with on-location video shooting, so if you have any aspirations to add a YouTube channel to your empire, you might end up getting a lot of use out of a portable recorder.

Portable Recorders

Accessories and Other Extras

Cables, Mic Stands, and Pop Filters

There are a variety of extra accessories and odds and ends that you'll need up to pick up to make sure that all of your gear will work together to record your podcast. Some are optional but encouraged, like pop shields, which are noise protection filters placed in front of a microphone to help quell popping noises associated with P and B sounds.

Others will be mandatory, like XLR cables for connecting your (non-USB) microphones to your audio interface, if that's how you choose to record your show. You may also want to invest in a couple of tabletop mic stands for convenience, especially if the mics that you use don't include them as a design feature or an add-on.

Soundproofing

One last practice to keep in mind when getting into podcast recording is that of basic soundproofing. No matter what setup you use, you can drastically improve your sound by making sure the room you’re in isn’t too big or echoey. When recording voice-overs, an easy way to fix this is by just going into a closet filled with clothes or setting up a few pillows or an old mattress around your microphone as you record.

There's a lot more to explore with this topic which we'll save for another video, but for now, even just having a basic awareness of how much echo and space is getting into your audio can help guide you as you start to record your podcast. Below, we've collected a few pieces of soundproofing gear to help you get started.

Learn More About Recording

Now that you have all of the gear you need to record your podcast, you might be left wondering how to use it. Here on Reverb, we have a variety of useful guides and articles full of tips and tricks for how to get the best out of your recording gear. Scroll through the article below, and "see more" to be taken directly to Reverb News to learn more.

Read More on Reverb News