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Podcasters Studio: My Gear

My StuffIt’s been my experience that podcasters are a nosey bunch, myself included. Whenever we run across a new show, and particularly like the sound of it, we start searching Google for any bit of information on what they’re using… and it’s usually pretty slim pickings.

What I also remember is when I was just getting into podcasting I searched everywhere for what gear podcasters were using in their studios. Face it, we’re all gear junkies at heart. Plus it’s nice to know what folks like and, in particular, don’t like.

My studio has evolved over the years and I’m quite happy with the setup I’ve got. So, if you’re an up-and-coming podcaster and happened across this blog post, congrats! I’m going to share with you my setup (Links below are Amazon Associate links). Click to enlarge the photos.

Heil PR40My Microphone
After trying out dozens of condenser and dynamic mics, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with my Heil PR40. Rich, crisp and deadly silent. Leo Laporte swears by them and I can see why. I also have the matching Heil SM2C shock mount.

I can record with the dishwasher on, the TV blaring in the living room and a little fan on my desk running and you’re not going to hear them. I forego the pop filter for a large spit mitt (WindTech 20/421) which seems to tame any plosives quite nicely.

Rode ProCasterMy Guest Microphone
Rode’s ProCaster – For less than $230, Rode has created an incredible mic. I was surprised by how heavy it was. If you can’t afford the $600 for an RE27 and the mount, this really is a nice alternative. Great all around mic that makes my guests sound their best.

Symetrix 528eMy Preamp
Symetrix 528e Voice Processor – For years this was a staple in many radio stations. Voice over talent would fight over the recording rooms that used them. I found mine on ebay and I’m pretty sure I bought it from Dave Diamond one of the old school voice over artists. It even had his old settings penciled right on the face plate. I’ve gone out of my way not to accidently erase them.

ART MPA-VLA and Aphex 104Preamp and Compressor Combo for the Guest Mic
I’m running the Procaster  into an ART PRO MPA II and then into the matching ART PRO VLA II Tube Leveling Amplifier. Both channels are then run into an old Aphex 104 Aural Exciter. This setup runs double duty for me because not only can I get a great, clean signal from the Procaster mic, but I can also take advantage of it two channels for recording in stereo with my other music projects.

PreSonus Firestudio MobileSound Card
All of this gear gets run into my PreSonus FireStudio Mobile. A lot of folks argue that USB 2.0 is the way to go but what they forget is that when you’ve got seven different peripherals plugged into your computer, you’re splitting the signal. Firewire sends only the one signal from the sound card and doesn’t share it with anything.

Alesis M1Active 520USBSpeakers
Alesis M1Active 520USB – Great sounding little speakers. One trick for cheap isolation: I found two wooden recipe boxes and filled them with sand. Then I took the foam that was packed in with the speakers and set them on top of the recipe boxes (they fit almost perfectly). Then place the speakers on top of the foam. Without that, the bottom of my desk turns into a sub-woofer and makes it hard to mix the final recordings.

Yamaha S-Logic HeadphonesHeadphones
Yamaha S-Logic – I don’t think they make these anymore and it’s a shame. Under $100, these are some of the best cans I’ve found. If you’re lucky you can still find some of the last ones at Amazon.

I record into GarageBand. Yeah, I said it… and I’m proud of it. You don’t need an expensive DAW to work with. In a later post, I’ll go over how I set up show templates.

iZotope Nectar and OzoneSoftware
I’m only using three plugins for my podcast, Campground Pirate Radio:

  • W1 – a free brick wall limiter and clone of Waves L1.
  • iZotope Nectar – I’m using this on my vocals and on another segment’s vocals.
  • iZotope Ozone 4 – This plugin gets me the big, loud, ultra-compressed FM sound I was looking for. I mix everything with this.

When it’s just me on the show it’s just the Heil into the 528e into the FireStudio Mobile and into GarageBand. After I’ve recorded, I’ll add the plugins to massage the sound.

I’ve got more goodies in my rack but they’re primarily for music projects.

What’s your setup? Please share it in the comments below… I’m always willing to steal a new idea!

About Jay Walsh

With a combined 25 years of design, marketing, podcasting, video and social media knowledge, Jay created with the goal of helping you make a better podcast.

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