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podcasting guide for the best podcast recording setups

The Best Podcasting Guide of the Different Podcast Recording Setups

Are you ready to dive into the world of podcasting, but overwhelmed by the myriad podcast recording setups available? Setting up a podcast recording space can be a fun and creative process, but it can also be confusing if you’re not sure where to start. The world of podcast recording setups is diverse and exciting, offering a wide array of options to suit your needs. But how do you know what the right setup for you is? In this podcasting guide, we’ll navigate through various podcast recording setups, providing examples of equipment and setup tips, helping you find the perfect configuration for your unique podcasting journey.

Whether you’re on a tight budget or ready to invest in high-quality gear, there’s a podcasting solution for everyone.

Let our podcasting guide help you find the podcast recording setup that’s right for you!

The Podcasting Guide Featuring the Different Podcast Recording Setups Podcasters Can Use

1. The USB Mic Setup

podcast recording setups

First up in our podcasting guide for all the different podcast recording setups we have the USB mic setup. This podcast recording setup is perfect for the solo podcasters, beginners, or those on a budget.

This recording setup is a great choice because it still provides excellent sound quality without breaking the bank.

All you need for this setup is a USB microphone (obviously) along with a laptop, headphones (your AirPods or plug-in earphones are great options) (If you do go the plug-in route, just beware of any noise created by the cables rubbing on your shirt!) and a recording software.

Take a look at some of the top options.

  • USB Microphone: Two examples of good-quality USB microphones are the Audio-Technica ATR2100a dynamic microphone that offers excellent sound quality without breaking the bank or the Rode NT-USB Mini Condenser Microphone.
  • Headphones: A comfortable pair of closed-back headphones for monitoring.
  • Recording Software: Free options like Audacity or GarageBand for Mac users.
  • Extra Accessories: Not a necessity, but a pop filter can be a great addition to your set-up to help improve your audio quality.

Though “basic” in setup, the USB podcast recording setup is ideal for solo creators, or beginner podcasters, as this setup offers simplicity and affordability while maintaining excellent audio quality.

2. The XLR Mic Setup

podcasting guide: xld podcast mics

Next up in our podcasting guide for the best podcast recording setups, we have the XLR mic setup. For those just starting out, opting for the above USB microphone setup can be a more straightforward choice. USB microphones conveniently plug directly into your computer or any device with a USB port, making the setup process a breeze.

But if you’re a bit more tech-savvy, or you’re needing a bit more of a heavy-duty podcast setup game, you want to look at an XLR mic set-up. XLR microphones can’t plug into a laptop, they need an external power source, typically an audio interface. While this entails a more advanced configuration, it offers greater recording control and the flexibility to incorporate multiple microphones which you can record via different channels. You can obviously use this for a solo podcast, but this setup is the one you want if you’re interviewing guests or have a co-host.

For this setup, you’ll need:

  • XLR Microphone: Some popular options when it comes to XLR microphones are the Shure SM7B, a favorite among professional podcasters for its warm, rich sound, or the Rode PodMic, and the Rode Procaster.
  • An XLR Cable: As we stated, XLR mics don’t plug into a laptop like USB mics, they need and XLR cable.
  • An Audio Interface or Mixer with XLR inputs: Popular options when it comes to audio interfaces are the Focusrite Scarlett 2I2, which delivers high-quality audio conversion and connectivity or the M-Audio AIR 192|6And a popular, user-friendly mixer is the RØDECaster Pro.
  • Headphones: Again, your favorite earphones are still great options, but you could also level up with the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, they’re closed-back headphones that offer excellent sound isolation.
  • Software: Again, Audacity or GarageBand are still viable options, but, if you’re looking to up your editing game, you can try Adobe Audition.
  • Extra Accessories: Along with a pop filter, you could also add a shock mount or stand to your set-up. These help reduce vibrations and handling noise.

The XLR podcast recording setup will ensure clear and professional-sounding podcast recordings, particularly if you’re hosting interviews or sharing the mic (metaphorically, of course, always use separate mics!) with a co-host.

This actually brings us to the next podcast mic setup…

3. The Interview Setup

We hinted at a key tip for whenever you’re not the only person on the podcast. Always use separate mics! Why? Because you want to record both parties on separate tracks. This is key for maintaining control over the editing process. When you have two separate tracks, you can edit independently, edit out when guests talk over each other, and even adjust the volumes of each speaker to equalize your recordings.

So, now let’s take at what our podcasting guide says about the setup you need for an interview podcast. (Note: this is the equipment for in-person interviews, we’ll cover remote recordings in Point Number 5.)

The basics of this set is the XLR setup, times two.

  • Microphones: XLR mics for both the host and the guest. Remember, the key to quality recordings is control. Separate mics and separate recording tracks for each participant are key parts of that control.
  • XLR Cables: You’ll need two cables for this setup! Both mics need to be plugged into the mixer or audio interface.
  • Audio Interface or Mixer with XLR inputs: See above for top picks.
  • Headphones: Arm yourself with your trusty earphones or headphones, and be sure to provide a pair for your guest.
  • Recording Software: For interviews, you may want to consider collaborative software like Zencastr or SquadCast by Descript. You can use this software to record each participant on a different track.
  • Accessories: You could also add shock mounts and pop filters for both microphones to your interview setup.

This interview podcast recording setup is perfect for podcasters with regular co-hosts or guests. Ensuring that you have two mics that can be recorded on separate tracks ensures crystal-clear conversations every time you hit “record”. This will allow your valuable content and amazing banter to shine all the brighter.

4. The Multiple Host Setup

What happens if you have more than one co-host, or more than one guest? Don’t worry!

There’s a podcasting recording setup for that! The multiple host setup! And our podcasting guide will help set you up for podcasting success if this is your show’s format!

This setup is simple – just multiply your interview setup for however many hosts or guests will be joining you.

Again, remember that the key thing is that you want each participant to have their own mic.

Say it with me, “Separate tracks!”

Here are our top recommendations for multiple host podcast recording setups:

  • Microphones: XLR mics for both the host and the guest. Remember, you want control! And that means mics for each guest.
  • XLR Cables: You’ll need one for each participant.
  • Audio Interface or Mixer with XLR inputs: See above for top picks. For this setup, you’ll need an audio interface/mixer that has input capabilities for all your participants.
  • Headphones: Ideal for everyone to have their own pair.
  • Recording Software: Again, you’ll need software capable of recording a separate track for a number of different participants. See above for options.
  • Additional Setup Tips: This tip is applicable for all the podcast recording set-ups, but is especially important for whenever there’s a large number of people joining in on an episode. A key to quality recordings is a sound-conducive recording space. When it’s just you as the host, this is fairly easy to do. You could easily just pull an Ira Glass and record from the comfort of your closet. But the more people you have on the recording, the harder this becomes. You need a space big enough to accommodate all the people, but not too large that you end up with pesky echoes on your recordings. So what do you do? You make sure the room is carpeted, has curtains, and plenty of furniture to absorb the sound effectively.

5. The Remote Recording Setup

Next up in our podcasting guide of the best podcast recording setups we have possibly the most used setup, the remote recording setup. We’re in the digital golden age. We can connect with family, friends, and colleagues from all over the world with ease. And with all this technological advancement, we’re also able to connect and metaphorically share the mic with guests and co-hosts no matter where in the world they might be.

But while we’re all familiar with platforms like Zoom, Skype and Google Meet, these are not the best tools to use to record a podcast. Sure, you can use these to record your podcast remotely, but your episode quality will be compromised! Rather, check out our recommendations for the best remote podcast recording setups.

  • Microphones: Here, you’re still going to want to use a good quality mic. Please NOT the mic on your laptop! Yes, it will work, but it will not give you that crystal clear audio you’re after. Pick one of the USB mics mentioned above for ease-of-use, and then – pay attention, now, this is important – where possible, you want to set your guest or co-host up with a similar setup. 
  • Headphones: Any or all of the above options mentioned will work here.
  • Remote Recording Software: Pick your web-based platform for recording remote interviews. Some top options are Iris, Squadcast or Zencastr.

This setup is perfect for podcasters who collaborate with co-hosts or guests from different locations, as this setup ensures a smooth remote recording experience.

Related read: How To Successfully Record Your Podcast Remotely

6. The Studio Setup

Now, let’s step this podcasting guide into high-gear with the Studio Setup. These podcast recording setups are for podcasters looking to invest in quality gear and create a professional studio environment. You’re looking to create high-quality episodes, either for your business or your side hustle. 

  • Microphone: For this setup, only the best will do. Our personal favorite when it comes to microphones is the Shure SM7BRemember, this is an XLR mic, so you’ll need XLR cables, as well as a mixer/audio interface.
  • Headphones: Again, technically your blue-tooth earphones will do the job nicely, but if you’re really looking to hone in on the cleanest raw audio possible, you can invest in top-notch noise-isolating headphones to help you monitor your audio levels and background noise. A good option for this job is the Audio Technica M40x headphones.
  • Pop-filter: For this setup, you’re looking to pull out all the stops to help you capture that crystal clear, rich, raw audio. So you should add equipment like a pop-filter to your “standard” podcast setup.
  • Sound proofing: Remember, your aim is high-quality audio. The way professional studios are able to guarantee this is by creating a space that is primed for recording. So line those walls with sound-proofing material! Or, you could make or purchase a portable recording booth/isolation box that will also get the job done well!
  • Editing Software: To bring that high-quality audio home, you want editing software capable of doing some serious heavy-lifting. Adobe Audition is used by many a professional audio editor. But you can find other options on this post, too: An Overview of the Best Podcast Editing Software.

This setup is for serious podcasters or professionals who demand the best audio quality and are willing to invest accordingly.

It’s the setup for those looking to turn their podcast into either their full-time occupation, or something they’re seriously looking at turning into a significant stream of income.

Of course, it could also be the setup you pick because you’re really into podcasting. It’s definitely not exclusively for the “pros”!

7. The Video Podcast Setup

And finally, the last offering in our podcasting guide for podcast recording setups, we have the video podcast setup.

This is the perfect setup for podcasters looking to engage their audience visually while maintaining excellent audio quality, this setup combines the best of both worlds.

  • Microphones and Headphones: You’re still going to want your quality mic for this setup. A quality microphone is still an integral part of a video podcast, and your headphones will also prove useful in your video adventures. And if your usual podcast recording setup features an XLR microphone, an audio interface and a sound mixer, you’ll be able to get that amazing sound quality you’re used to on your video podcasts.
  • Cameras: You’ll also (obviously) need a high-definition cameras for video recording. The choice of camera really depends on your available resources. The cameras on the latest smartphones can really give exceptional quality, but depending on what type of video podcast you’re wanting to launch, investing in a DSLR camera may be the way to go. 
  • A Tripod or Camera Stand: A tripod or camera stand is a very necessary piece of equipment to help you produce professional-looking videos. Besides helping you record steady footage, a tripod or stand makes it easy to get the best shot as they put the control of the setup firmly in your hands.
  • Video Editing Software: High-end video editing software for post-production.
  • Lighting: When it comes to a video content, lighting is important! Proper lighting equipment will seriously enhance your video quality. Ring lights are a great option for quality lighting. They also range in price points, so perfect for any budget.
  • Backdrop: A well-designed backdrop or studio set for visual appeal. This is video – it needs to look really good!

Even if you’re not quite looking to launch a full-blown video podcast, adding video to your podcast content is still a great idea! Video is a really effective way to garner engagement online, especially on social media platforms, or through YouTube. Check out this post for 10 Ways to Incorporate Video with Your Podcast.

Love the look of video podcast recording setups? Want to add video to your podcast offering? We can help! Check out all the video production services we offer here!

Our Final Takeaway on Podcast Recording Setups:

Your choice of podcast recording setups should align with your podcasting goals, budget, and technical expertise. Whether you’re podcasting solo, collaborating with others, or going on-location, there’s a setup that suits your needs. And our podcasting guide aims to equip you with all the knowledge you need to find the setup that’s right for you.

But remember that while having quality equipment for recording your podcast is important, quality content plays a pivotal role in overall podcast success. So, use our podcasting guide to choose a setup that matches your needs and budget, and don’t forget to focus on creating value-dense content and honing your podcasting skills.

Related read: The Top 10 Skills Every Successful Podcaster Needs to Have

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Leave a comment

  1. Good insights…while the setup/equipment for each recording situation will vary, one thing is key – make sure you’re using dynamic microphones. Additionally make sure you’re in a quiet room. A carpeted room is preferred. If you don’t have any acoustic treatment or sound panels up, soft furniture does wonders for absorbing reflections.

    1. Yes! Soft furniture and carpets are a podcaster’s secret weapon! Thanks for sharing, Eric!

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback, Joy!

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