Solo Podcast Setup for Under $1,000
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.
Audio Interface: Scarlett Solo
I have personally used the 2i2 for a long time, and it’s a great unit. If you don’t need more than one input, then the Solo is the best solution. It’ll record in up to 24-bit audio and up to 192 kHz. Way more than you’ll ever need for a podcast recording session. There’s not a ton to say on this unit other than to let you know it does its job well, and it’s worth getting if you want to use any XLR microphone. Also, it’s worth an FYI to let you know to use the monitor button on the unit and don’t rely on the software monitoring. The latency is bad at almost any speed and you’ll find yourself getting lost in your own words quickly. If you can’t find the Scarlett (thanks, supply chains), the Onyx makes a good alternative as well.
Audio Processing: DBX 286s
I have to take some time to explain this one. This is a rather obtrusive piece of hardware, so why should you have it? Simply put, you get a piece of gear that will boost your mic gain and also has a built-in compressor, de-esser, and noise gate/expander. It does introduce a tiny bit of line noise, but if you manage the equipment correctly, it should be minimal. This is where you can set yourself apart on Zoom calls, online recordings, and live streams. Since there is hardware doing the work, it doesn’t eat up any memory on your computer, and it gives you a great live sound since the audio is processed in real-time.
The other advantage is your audio will be pre-edited (to a degree), which will save you (or your producer’s) time in post getting the audio cleaned up. The only drawback to this unit is you really need to make sure it’s set properly. Here’s a great video on how to set it up. One word of caution to podcasters with kids recording from home: there are tons of nobs… so if you have small children, make sure this is out of their reach or you’ll find yourself constantly re-adjusting the positions.
Podcast Gear Pricing Sheet
|RE320||Microphone for podcasting. This comes in a bundle with a pop filter, XLR Cable, and shock mount.||1||$350.00||$350.00|
|Pop Filter||Pop filter for the microphone to reduce plosives (popping p’s)||1||(RE320 Bundle)|
|Shock Mount||Shock mount to reduce noise from table bumps and vibrations||1||(RE320 Bundle)|
|Rode PSA1||Sturdy microphone arm. Note: NOT Sold on Amazon||1||$99.00||$99.00|
|Scarlett Solo||Audio Interface for use with your computer||1||$120.00||$120.00|
|DBX 286s (Optional)||A gain booster, compressor, expander/gate, and effects rack all in one||1||$255.00||$255.00|
|1/4″ to XLR Male Cable||Cable to connect DBX 286s to Scarlett Solo||1||$56.00||$56.00|
|Audio Technica ATH-M50x||1||$150.00||$150.00|
Total without DBX
Total with DBX
- RE320 Podcast Kit – $350
- Microphone for podcasting. This comes in a bundle with a pop filter, XLR Cable, and shock mount
- 1/4″ XLR Male Cable x1 – $56
- Rode PSA1 – $99
- Sturdy microphone arm. Note: NOT Sold on Amazon
- Audio Interface + Hardware
- Scarlett Solo – $120
- Audio Interface for use with your computer
- (Optional) DBX 286s – $255
- A gain booster, compressor, expander/gate, and effects rack all in one
- Scarlett Solo – $120
- Audio Technica ATH-M50x – $150
- Great headphones for monitoring & editing audio
Total Price without DBX: $880
Total Price with DBX: $1,030
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