On this page, I’ll list my podcast gear as some folks have inquired about what I use for recording, producing my shows. Remember this is what I use and does not reflect what everyone must or should use. My suggestion is to do a lot of research and use what your budget will allow.
Lets take a look at the pre-amp first.
Pre-Amp: DBX 286s
DBX has been manufacturing quality audio equipment for a long time and after a lot of research, I chose the DBX 286s Microphone Audio Processor.
This is a single channel strip processor that includes a;
Enhancer (EQ or base and treble) simply dial in the sound you like.
I’ve tried several outboard compressors with noise gates and this unit has the best one by far and works great. For a “pro-sumer” piece of gear at a modest price around $199.00 you simply would be pressed to find a better unit than the DBX 286s.
Microphone: Sennheiser MK4 Carotid Condenser
The MK4 has a gold plated, large diaphragm that produces good lows and an enhanced mid-range that is very clear and has a great sound. It is a studio condenser microphone that sounds great on spoken word as well as studio vocals and instruments.
Podcasters generally use “dynamic” microphones and I usually suggest that dynamics are used and that’s because they are usually quieter and pick up less room and ambient noise. Personally I have a dozen or so microphones and out of all of them, this MK4 has the cleanest sound for me as I have a very “muddy” sounding mid range to my voice which is also “nasally” at times.
The Sennheiser provides me with I think a better sound simply because it helps with those muddy mids that sound terrible as they are unclear and cannot be understood well. As far as dynamics go, I prefer the Electrovoice RE20 and/or the Shure SM7b which are professional broadcast mics and you really can’t go wrong with either one. Normally if I’m using a dynamic, it’s the RE20 like in the photo example at the top of this post.
Mixing Board: Yamaha MG12XU
The MG12XU is a great mixer with a superb single headphone amp and great sounding pre-amps built in. I have found it to be extremely quiet and the USB interface is silent, something I had trouble with when I was using a Mackie Pro FX12 mixer during audio playback.
While overkill for a single podcaster, it allows me to mix in additional music, jingles and effects on the fly before going into the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for recording. The only drawback on this unit is that it has no inserts and that is important for most podcast applications.
Yamaha does have models with inserts, my purchase was simply hind sight on my part, but I have utilized a work around for my purposes.
Outboard Digital Recorder: Roland R05
There are many digital recorders out there that provide a lot more features than the Roland R05, however for my use, it suits my needs well.
A smaller unit that’s either battery powered or AC adapter powered will provide excellent audio recordings saved on a SD card that can be imported into a DAW for mastering. There are no XLR inputs on this unit, only 1.5 mm jack inputs so an XLR microphone cannot be used with it remotely. I simply use it to record the audio via a 1.5 mm cable mostly as a backup in case my DAW software crashed during recording.
Audacity is a free download as a digital audio workstation that has a simple user interface that works great for podcasting. It has a fairly easy learning curve and works great for almost everyone.
For my podcast, there isn’t a lot of music but there is some. This is an area that a lot of podcasters shy away from, why? because there can be some legal ramifications if you use copyrighted music in your show. Too much information is involved to go into that here, but what I would suggest is that you use either your very on works of music or use “royalty free music” which is generally music clips in which you pay for the right to use it in your shows. Bear in mind that you do not own the music, you are simply paying for a license to use it.
You can find many places on the web that sells music “packs” for use in podcasting, just make sure you read and understand the license that accompanies the music you buy to make sure it can be used in podcasts.
So there you are, pretty much sums up what I use for producing my shows. Got other ideas? share them in the comments and let us know what you use and no matter what your budget is, there’s a way for you to get out there and be heard, don’t let your budget keep you from getting your show off the ground, you can always upgrade as you go to get that perfect sound your looking for. Until then, happy podcasting!