What I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Buying Podcast Equipment
In preparing for my new podcast I researched what type of equipment I needed. I did a lot of recording 15 years ago, but I haven't kept up with what's new in the recording world. Unfortunately some of the advice out there is not so great, and I spent money on equipment I'm not going to use. Here's what I learned...
1. Do NOT buy a Condenser microphone
I have no idea why this is so prevalent among podcast blogs. Yes, condensers are made for recording and sound great, but only if you're in a controlled environment. Unless you have no windows in your office and have carpeted the walls, you're going to hear EVERYTHING. Cars driving by outside, your shirt rubbing against your chair, the hum of any electronic device with a fan, everything. The amount of time you'll spend trying to get the noise out is simply not worth it, buy a dynamic mic.
The downside of dynamic microphones is that it's hard to find one that's affordable and made for broadcasting. I have a Shure SM7, which is the standard in broadcasting but also very expensive. The Rode Procaster is a little cheaper, but still sounds very nice. Personally, I think you'd be better off using a stage mic like an SM58 than a condenser. The only downside is you will have to be a little closer to the mic.
And of course, always look for used gear first. You can find great deals on used recording equipment.
2. Do NOT buy a mixer
Trust me, I understand the allure of a nice Mackie with faders and all kinds of cool stuff (in fact I bought one). But the reality is that everything is done on the computer now, and it's so much easier. Buy an audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett. Basically you plug all of your mics into this box, and plug the box into the USB port of your computer. Then you can record as many separate channels as the device supports. With the unit I bought I can record 8 simultaneous tracks, overkill for a podcast, but cool technology none-the-less.