My cohosts on both shows and I are often asked about our podcasting rigs. To be honest, there’s not a lot of magic behind what we do, other than really giving a crap. Much like a good photographer, a good podcaster isn’t defined by their equipment. Doubly so once you’ve reached something nicer than a phone’s camera, or a phone’s earbud microphone.
I’m not trying to justify any of this as the right nor best approach. I’m not saying that for your voice either of these microphones makes sense. I’m simply answering the question “What do you use?”.
Beginning with ATP #92, I am now using the following, which Marco recommended to me:
Shure SM7B microphone
- Shure BETA 58A microphone
- Shure A58WS-BLK windscreen
- Rolls MS111 MicSwitch mute switch
- Sound Devices USBPre2 preamp
- K&M Reducer Bushing to fit the Shure on the Rode arm (see below)
- 1 6-foot XLR cable to go from mic to switch
- 1 3-foot XLR cable to go from switch to preamp
I also continue to use a couple items from my original setup:
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 32Ω headphones
- Rode PSA1 boom arm
UPDATED 2015-05-04 10:00 AM: As of ATP #112, I have switched to using a Shure 58A ball-style microphone. This mic does a great job of eliminating nearly all background noise and works well with my voice.
For nearly the first two years of my podcasting career, I used a different setup at home. This has now been demoted to my mobile rig, in the rare occasion when I want to record while traveling.
If you’re just getting into podcasting, I can’t recommend the Rode Booming Kit enough to get you started at home. You’ll sound professional without (completely) breaking the bank.
An alternative, which John uses and the Wirecutter recommends, is the Shure PG42-USB. It’s basically the same money as the Rode Podcaster, but it comes with a shock mount, pop filter, and desk stand.
For me, this is my mobile setup:
- Rode Podcaster Booming Kit, which includes:
- Rode Podcaster microphone
- Rode PSA1 boom arm
The arm came with this kit but, naturally, isn’t used while mobile. It instead remains part of my permanent setup.
- Rode PSM1 shock mount
- On Stage DS7200B microphone stand
- IMAGE Pop Filter
The software I use isn’t that exciting. As many others do, I wish there was something purpose-built for podcasting, but there isn’t yet.
- Skype to actually call each other
- Skype Call Recorder to record both ends of the call in separate tracks
- Piezo to record both ends of the call, usually for redundancy
Additionally, I’ll also have open while recording:
- Google Docs for show notes
- Colloquy for the chat room
- Caffeine to prevent my screen from ever sleeping
When doing my side of the edit (more on this below), I simply use QuickTime Player and TextEdit to take notes.
Generally speaking, for ATP, the workflow is as follows:
Wednesday Night: We record the show
Thursday: Marco merges the tracks and does a rough edit. This includes cutting out crosstalk. Sometimes cutting cross-talk means muting one of us. Sometimes it means spacing out what we say so instead of being simultaneous, we’re now taking turns, thanks to the magic of editing.
Marco will also insert sound effects for swear words, as well as occasionally add some editing flair all his own. He will cut whole segments that are uninteresting or not worth including in the released episode. Finally, he adds the theme song and picks out pre- and post-show clips, and adds them in the appropriate places.
Friday Morning: I listen to the show, at 1x, and take note of any edit points I think he should consider. This is usually background noise like someone sipping a drink, or dropping something. Very occasionally, I’ll ask him to edit for content, on behalf of any one of us.
While I’m doing the edit, I also write a draft of the show notes in Markdown using
Squarespace’s editor. We really do host ATP’s site on Squarespace. If you’d
like to try it out, you may find that offer code
ATP will save you 10%.
Friday Afternoon: I send my edits to Marco, who makes final changes. He’ll upload the file to Libsyn, make any changes to the show notes, and then post the episode.
For Analog(ue), we follow the same general workflow. We record on Thursdays, I listen to the copy of the show from Call Recorder, and then get edits to Myke by Sunday morning. He’ll then splice together the pieces and post the show by Sunday evening. Myke also tends to handle curating the show notes, as he’s impossibly fast at getting links together while we’re talking.
- ATP’s ad sales are handled by a third party.
- We manage what spots are bought, paid, available, and who is owed what using a custom and proprietary piece of software that Marco wrote.
- Analog(ue)'s ad sales are handled by the Relay team and were, for a time, in small part by The Midroll.
Where’s the Magic?
Like I said above, nothing here is really magical. The magic for both shows is giving a crap.
Many of my podcasting friends think we’re nuts to insist on going through the episode and trying to cut out cross-talk, odd background noises, et cetera. They may be right — it may not be worth all the extra time and effort. I admire the fact that, in many cases, they can post their shows within a couple hours of airing. They give a crap about timeliness.
To us, though, we see it differently. We don’t give (as much of) a crap about timeliness. We’d rather have something that sounds the way we want it to. So, we take the time to do what amounts to three edits: one to splice things together, one to mark any garbage points, and one to clean up the garbage. I can honestly say that I think ATP and Analog(ue) sound the best among their peers. You may never be able to tell the difference, and that’s okay with me.
Each side has its advantages; it’s up to you to decide what you think is best for you and your show.