In-Person Podcast for Under $2,000
Microphone: ElectroVoice RE320
If you’re looking for a higher-end microphone, but you’re not ready to drop the big bucks just yet, this is the mic I recommend. It’s got a solid, sound, and in some ways, it’s easier to use than most other dynamic mics. Like most every mic in the RE range, it has these special coils on the side of the mic that actively combat what we know as the proximity effect. They call this technology “Variable D,” and you can get a solid explanation of it here.
The proximity effect is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The closer to the mic you are, the louder you are. As noted briefly with the mics above, both of them have “sweet spots” for where you’ll sound the best and prevent the most noise rejection. For vocals in music or voice acting, this is sometimes vital to creating a character or song, but for spoken word podcasts and interview-style shows, this isn’t necessary.
The alternative here is the Shure SM7B or the Rode Procaster. Both of which are great choices. They just don’t have quite the crisp, clear sound that the RE320 does, in my opinion. The Shure is also notoriously gain hungry, which means you’ll be spending another $100+ on a gain booster to even get the thing to work.
Headphones: Audio Technica M50X
If you’re looking to up your game and get some higher-end headphones, look no further than these babies. They are great and can become really compact for travel. They’ve got great frequency response (up to 28 kHz), and a solid bass, which is great for personal enjoyment. These are my on-site headphones to this day, and I really like them. Aside from the warm fuzzies, again, there are PLENTY of headphones at this price point you could purchase. There’s even one pair that I consider the “pro” set below that is just as good. In all honesty, for podcast production, this is the line where you go from studio-quality gear into the realm of Audiophile. As noted in the buying guide, as long as you avoid heavily colored (think “ENHANCED BASS” marketing callouts on the box) and Bluetooth headphones, you’ll be in a good place here.
Recorder: Zoom H6
There are plenty of recorders in this range that are great options, but this is the unit I most passionately recommend. In fact, I would venture to say this unit is the last thing you’ll ever need for podcasting unless you just have to upgrade to a fancier-looking soundboard. If you’re recording in person, there is nothing as powerful and compact. You can record for hours on just four AA batteries, and it has the ability to record an onboard mic, which can be swapped out with a phenomenal mid-side shotgun mic, or even more XLR inputs. You can even record 5.1 surround sound with it. Not that you’ll need that for a podcast, mind you, but the option is there.
The biggest downside is that you’ll need to split out audio to separate a separate headphone splitter. Fortunately, Zoom makes a great one to pair with their recorders. This isn’t that hard, but by the time you’re done setting up, you’ll have a ton of cables all over the place. This setup ends up looking like you have an octopus splayed out across the table. It’s not very good-looking if you’re doing video podcasting or want some great PR shots, but it gets the job done, and if you don’t need video, it’s great. The Zoom H8 (its successor) took this octopus look a step further and just made it look even more like a creature on the table.
The H6 also has some solid preamps. I’ve noticed that most mics that other recorders have trouble powering do swimmingly on the H6. This is especially true of the ElectroVoice mics and Shure SM58s. This is a cost-saver in the long run as you won’t need to jump into getting a Cloudlifter or similar gain booster from the start, so just keep that in mind.
All that said, I sometimes find myself doubting where to place this unit. Yes, there are soundboards at this price range that would be just as good. The Zoom P8 comes to mind… and the Rodecaster Pro, too… but I still feel like that belongs in the “Pro” since it’s got Pro in the name, right? It’s also almost twice as much as the H6. If you’re going for the “I’m a podcaster” look, then the L8 is definitely more your style, but the H6 does the job and it does it well. This was my first “upgrade” from using a basic handheld recorder, actually, and I only (resentfully) put it aside for the Rodecaster Pro, which, as you’ll learn, I have a longstanding love/hate relationship with.
Podcast Gear Pricing Sheet
|RE320||Microphone for podcasting. This comes in a bundle with a pop filter, XLR Cable, and shock mount.||2||$350.00||$700.00|
|Rode PSA1||Sturdy microphone arm. Note: NOT Sold on Amazon||2||$99.00||$198.00|
|Zoom H6||Recorder that can handle up to 4 XLR inputs & additional microphone accessories. Great for audio and video production.||1||$330.00||$330.00|
This headphone splitter allows you to split off headphones to everyone who will be recording.
|Stereo Aux Cable||
This cable is to connect the Zoom H6 with the ZHA-4
|SanDisk 128GB SD Card||You don’t need a huge SD card when recording, and this will be more than enough for the Zoom H6.||1||$34.00||$34.00|
|Audio Technica ATH-M50x||Headphones for monitoring the recording.||2||$150.00||$300.00|
- RE320 Podcast Kit x2 – $700
- Microphone for podcasting. This comes in a bundle with a pop filter, XLR Cable, and shock mount
- Rode PSA1 x2 – $198
- Sturdy microphone arm. Note: NOT Sold on Amazon
- Zoom H6 – $330
- Recorder that can handle up to 4 XLR inputs & additional microphone accessories. Great for audio and video production.
- Zoom ZHA-4 – $80
- This headphone splitter allows you to split off headphones to everyone who will be recording.
- Stereo Aux Cable – $8
- This connects the Zoom H6 & ZHA-4
- SanDisk 128GB SD Card – $34
- You don’t need a huge SD card when recording, and this will be more than enough for the Zoom H6.
- Audio Technica ATH-M50x x2 – $300
- Great headphones for monitoring & editing audio
Total Price: $1,650
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