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Podcasting Equipment

Let's be honest: unless you're a toddler perusing their way around the Sam Ash website, you've absolutely listened to a podcast at some point or another in your life. If not, you've heard of them and understand the impact they鈥檝e had on pop culture. Bringing elements of debate, conversation and topical interaction to the table, podcasts have become a regular listening staple for folks around the globe. Between sports, politics, music and an endless count of discussion-based folds in our society, there is a podcast out there for anyone and everyone.

Interested in starting one of your own? You'd be surprised at how easy it is to get the ball rolling. As long as you know your gear, and how it works, you'll be on your way to podcast stardom.

Microphone Madness

One of the most important pieces in any audio puzzle, a microphone is vital to the quality and clarity of your voice. A preference for many in the podcasting world is condenser microphones, designed to receive power from an external source. Because podcasters often embrace a do-it-yourself mentality with minimal gear, condenser microphones can be useful for USB connectivity or plugging straight into a mixer. They also offer wide frequency response and high sensitivity, ideal for those working in a recording or broadcast setting. A dynamic microphone, conversely, is geared more towards a live performance with extraneous sounds and excessive volume.

You may see phrases like "large diaphragm" and "pencil" in reference to certain condenser microphones on the market. For podcast purposes, large diaphragm is the key phrase to remember. These types of microphones are your best bet for a deep tone and for enhancing the warm qualities of the human voice. Pencil mics would be much better suited for recording, say, a piano from an overhead angle.

As you decide on the best option for your rig, keep these notes in mind. Maximizing your sound starts at the most basic level: choosing the right mic. Samson, Blue Microphones and Audio Technica will give you some quality choices.

Audio Interface Aficionado

Of course, having a microphone without anything to operate it with is like having a sports car without a pair of keys. Audio interfaces have a crucial role in the recording process, as they allow your computer and audio to interact and become one. By taking an analog signal from a microphone and converting it to a digital signal on a computer, you're able to track your recording process and have a feasible piece of audio to work with. That digital audio will then move to speakers or monitors, absorbing the digital information and converting it back to an audio signal. We call this whole process A/D and D/A conversion.

For the sake of podcasts, you won't necessarily need a robust audio interface to get the job done. Connectivity to a computer or mobile device is particularly helpful, though. Keep your eye out for interfaces that possess USB or Thunderbolt connectivity. This way, you鈥檒l have the flexibility of controlling your recording session via laptop, without having to move a muscle. Simply plug in your condenser mic and get to work. Many brands out there like Focusrite and Rode offer bundles including but not limited to an interface, software, headphones and pop filters. This may be a good option if you're looking to integrate any gear you'll need at a great value.

Additional Accessories

While this may be your meat and potatoes for podcast production gear, you're more than welcome to dive a little deeper and explore the whole menu for ways to enhance your recording experience.

Pop filters, for example, are designed to prevent harsh consonants from being a part of your vocal recording session. No one wants to hear shrill S's or popping P's; they're unpleasant to the listener and, if nothing else, very distracting. Simply latch one around your microphone, adjust the mesh filter so it creates a barrier between your mouth and the microphone, and you're set.

Don't neglect your potential need for critical listening! If your gas station earbuds aren't getting it done, you owe yourself an upgrade 鈥搚our ears will thank you. The right pair of headphones will put you in the driver's seat towards a wider listening atmosphere and a bigger frequency range. See if Shure, AKG or beyerdynamic can satisfy your craving for professional-grade headphones.

Feel like a true podcasting legend with a boom arm added to your setup. Meant for convenient flexibility during the mic placement process, you'll have the freedom to move and adjust the arm both vertically and horizontally. Most can be clamped to a table or surface, so you'll be free to focus on producing an award-winning podcast featuring you venting about your terrible fantasy football team.

The last thing you should have to worry about is the quality or efficiency of your gear. Need a few more pointers for professional-sounding podcasts? Give us a call at 1-800-4SAMASH (1-800-472-6274) or speak to one of our audio experts online today.