Here are some of the tools that I use to produce my podcasts and videocasts. The gear I use is just a small but important part of my workflow. In reality, gear isn’t the “cure-all” to create good content that has value to people consuming it. Most of us will never need gear that costs tens of thousands of dollars to make our projects or productions sound good or professional. High-end gear would be great to have but may not be as essential to get points across. With that in mind, here is a general rundown of the gear I use in my office / studio. Yes, I know. There are people on the Internet who would spend countless numbers of hours and days to prove that one piece of gear is better than another. Don’t get caught putting too much of your creative time concerned with these types of issues. Remember to keep what you create in the range of acceptable and accessible. Allow your content to lead your program not your gear.
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My primary microphone is the Rode Procaster. There are currently three in the studio. This mic is a dynamic microphone made of all-metal construction.This XLR microphone can compete with other microphones that cost hundreds of dollars more. I have this mic mounted on a Rode PSM1 shock mount and although the mic has a build-in pop-filter, I use a Rode WS2 windscreen. There isn’t a “Magic Microphone” that can be the master of all sounds and voices. I just feel that this mic is good for my voice and helps me do what I need to do very well.
I also use an Audio-Technica AT4040 cardioid condenser microphones for guests. I'm in a quiet studio recording environment. Also, because many of my guests have a hard time staying in a locked position when speaking and the AT4040' s polar pattern, I use this mic to anticipate my guests movements. This isn't a mic that I would suggest podcasters normally use. However, it works well in my controlled environment.
When I am at home, and sometimes on the road, I use an Audio-Technica ATR2100USB / XLR cardioid dynamic microphone. This is a durable “low-cost” mic that adds a big punch with low noise to any announcer’s voice. The mic also has a headphone jack to monitor the sound going into the mic. The frequency response is smooth. The cardioid pattern helps reduce undesired noise while improving isolation of desired sources.
For portable in-field recording I mainly use Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx dynamic headset microphones. The headset is light and allows for hands-free operation for adjusting recording levels and live stream switching. The headset keeps noise low and the hypercardiod pattern focuses on it sound source while at the same time rejecting background sounds.
The next thing I use to help me record is the Behringer Xenyx X1622USB 16-Channel Mixer. It has “British Style” 3-Band EQs and effects. It’s an easy mixer to use. The Xenyx preamps are very clean and quiet and the mixer supplies 4 phantom powered XLR inputs. This mixer also allows for the use of an external audio compressor / limiter gate via audio channel inserts on its rear panel.
Connected to my Behringer 16-Channel mixer is a Behringer MDX4600 Multicom Pro-XL 4 Channel compressor / limiter and peak limiter. It plugs-in my mixer to tame the voice levels in recordings as well as keeping low level noise from getting into recordings. This device also aides in eliminating the effects of plosives in speech from announcers. This device works wonders to control the low-level sounds entering microphones from everything from heavy breathers to motorcycles racing down the street.
I use the Behringer Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 24-Bit / 96 KHZ Equalizer, Analyzer, Feedback Destroyer and Processor mainly to send audio my my Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio video switcher. However, I am finding this device to be great at "seeing" the waveform of my audio outputs and assist me in finding problems with my audio. It has saved many recordings. This is NOT a device most will even need but it works well in my situation.
Mainly for portable field recordings I use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2 generation audio interface. This twin input USB bus powered interface can fit in a small hand-sized bag. It has reliable low noise microphone preamps and can record at 24-Bit / 192 kHz with low latency.
Sometimes, when I have to record away from my office / studio, I use a Xenix Q802USB 8-channel mixer. This is a “low-cost” mixer that is super easy to use but with a lot less features of its big brothers. Its 2 state Xenyx preamps produce very low noise and the “British Style” 3-Band EQs do their jobs well. This mixer is primarily for producing simple mixer recordings that don’t need too much compression or limiting.
When primarily recording audio, I create backups of each recorded audio track. In this case, I use a Tascam DR-70D 4-Channel Audio Recorder. I can use this to record audio from any audio or video device I have and this includes most DLSR cameras around.
When I record I use a Behringer AMP800 Headphone Amplifier to feed 4 independent connections. The amp has very clean output and it can be cascaded to another AMP800 via connections on its rear. LED lights makes it easy to adjust levels quickly.
I use a Behringer Shark FBQ100 Feedback Destroyer and Processor when I'm operating away from the office / studio much like the Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496. I use it mostly as a microphone preamp, compressor, noise gate and limiter.
I use a Teradek VidiU. It allows me to stream HD video (1920x1080) directly to places like YouTube and Ustream. The VidiU allows me to even stream via 3G & 4G. Video is feed to this device via HDMI and SDI cables.
When doing productions that require video recording, switching or streaming, we use a simple Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio video switcher. We control this switcher with software via a network connection. We can control this device from a PC, Mac or iOS device.
Video recorded, switched or streamed by the Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio is displayed on a Blackmagic Design SmartView Duo monitor. This monitor can also be controlled via a network connection from a PC, Mac or iOS device.
When recording audio and video for live broadcast, I use a Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Studio to record to SSDs. This is used in case of the many recording mishaps than may arise at any point of production. It may be an overkill for producing podcasts, but it’s surely needed for video recordings and backups.