After weeks of deliberating on whether or not I should start a podcast, followed by weeks of debating on the equipment I should purchase, I finally make the leap and clicked the “Buy Now” button on Amazon.
I made some major changes from my original plan for this studio. The most obvious one is that instead of having a four-person setup from the beginning I’ll be doing a three person show. If I get to the point that I find myself having four people on regularly, I can easily add another mic, stand and headphone for around $150. Not a big deal. I might even get a better setup for that fourth seat and use it for myself.
In keeping with the podcasting guides I’ll share my reasoning for each of the major items.
From the start this was the mixer I knew I wanted. It’s got everything I could possibly need.
- 4 XLR mic inputs
- 4 compressors
- Digital effects processor
- Sturdy build
- Great knobs and sliders
- USB input/output
So many other podcasts use this mixer and recommend it over the Yamaha and Mackie competition due to the extra features and quality components plus the lower cost. I feel totally comfortable with this purchase and feel like any other decision would have been a mistake. Either I’d be regretting the cost or lamenting the missing features.
Digital Audio Recorder
There was not even a moment I thought I should replace my trusty Zoom H1N recorder. It’s not included in my bottom line below because it’s something I’ve owned for ages. This guy has never failed me and as a backup audio recorder out from the mixer, I don’t see us divorcing any time soon. Bonus? I can use it as an extra microphone in a pinch.
This was the biggest change for me. Like major. I really wanted to go with the famously great and affordable condenser microphone from Audio-Technica, the AT2035. Not only does it just look divine, it also provides the lovely sound of a high-quality condenser microphone at a fraction of the cost of many others.
The thing is, my recording space isn’t totally silent. My giant wine fridge is pretty quiet but I had legitimate concerns that you’d hear the compressor when it kicked on. Dynamic microphones, generally, don’t have these sorts of problems with room noise. Plus it’s hot here and I might need to turn on a fan every once-in-a-while.
Beyond room noise issues, I chose the Audio-Technica ATR2100 over the AT2005. You might remember me sharing with you that these are funcationally identical microphones and that the 2100 used to be $40 and the 2005 $150 but the prices had gotten all wonky and now the 2005 was cheaper? Ok, that’s still true. It’s $7 cheaper and comes with a case.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that the ATR2100 comes with a lifetime warranty instead of just a 1 year warranty. So I paid $21 more and got a lifetime warranty on the three microphones.
It was during the creation of my “Professional Podcast Studio Guide” that I came to the realization that the awesome AKG K 240 headphones were no longer $150 and instead about half that price.
Originally my top headphone choice was the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x but these days it costs way more than the AKG and for no real good reason. Another plus is the AKG is semi-open which will be cooler on the head and are more comfortable. Yay, all wins here!
I was almost going to upgrade from this headphone amplifier to the PreSonus HP4. It’s a full Benjamin more than the Behringer HA400 and in my mind, not worth it in this application. If I was doing more music production then for sure, I’d upgrade. But this is spoken word work, not a Grammy contender.
I was originally recommending a scissor arm microphone stand or a ProLine MS112. But since I’ve switched to no shock mount (more on that later) and I worried the ProLine desk stand (which has no vibration reducing capabilities) wouldn’t cut it.
So we’re going with the scissor arm stand and since my mics are no longer the heavy condensers I was looking at earlier I won’t have to worry about weight being an issue.
Shock-mounts & Pop-filters
No shock mount. I know, that’s shocking! Here’s what made me change my mind. During my debate of which microphone to get I discovered The Audacity to Podcast blog. It’s written by Daniel J. Lewis and he seems like a solid dude. Great video reviews and blog.
He brought up how little handling noise the Audio-Technica ATR2001 microphone picks up versus something like the Heil PR40. I watched his recordings with this mic on and noticed he didn’t use any pop filter with them and that it sounded just wonderful. He did go with the foam windscreen though so I’ve included that.
The scissor arm mic stand should absorb any desk vibrations or movement noises and the windscreen should take care of most plosives. Most important with is mic placement. There will be some trial and error before I’m totally set but in the meantime I can save around $50 per mic.
I needed a dual Female XLR to 1/8″ stereo converter cable to connect my mixer to the Zoom H1n recorder. I also needed a 1/4″ patch cable to connect the headphone output from the mixer to the headphone amplifier. The microphones come with XLR cables to the mixer and the mixer comes with a USB cable so I’m good there.
Custom Podcasting Setup
|AKG K 240
|Wild-us Suspension Stand
|Foam Windscreens (5)
|XLR to 1/8
Everything should arrive in two shipments. The first arrives this Friday and the second (microphones and mixer) arrive on Saturday. So it might mean I miss out on part of the San Diego Pride celebration but that’s just how it is I guess!
In the end I managed to cut the price of my podcasting studio in half when compared to my original designs and in the end I think it will be a better setup because of it. Now to get a show in mind and some people to join me!