I’ve been thinking about the different types of hardware and software needed when you host a podcast with the cast located in different locations. The setup I’ve used for in-person podcasting (multiple mics going into a soundboard and recording only people in the same room) won’t work for a distributed cast.
Online Software Tools
Here are some software tools that might prove handy:
- Zencastr — This allows you to record people from different locations. The recordings are done locally to ensure quality and the software syncs everything up and has sophisticated editing tools.
- Cleanfeed — Similar to Zencastr, but lacks the local recording feature.
- Descript — Innovative tool that transcribes your podcast and lets you edit the text to edit the audio. Overdub feature lets you us AI technology to add in words after the fact.
- Auphonic — Great looking tool to normalize and fine tune the quality of your audio.
Mic and Headphone Combo
If you don’t already have a high-quality headset, generally having a mic plus separate headphones will be cheaper over the long term. Headsets generally break at some point due to stress while using them, but if you have the mic and headphones as separate products, if the headphones break, you can cheaply replace them and still keep the mic.
The top two mics I recommend are either:
$130 Blue Yeti (Condenser Mic)
The Samson Q2U is a Dynamic Mic, and is essentially what we’ve been using to date for the podcast. These are mics you have to be close to (have the mic in front of you, about 6 inches away). The sound is great, and it doesn’t pick up extraneous sounds like keyboard clicks or A/C hiss. If you have kids or dogs making noice in the distance, this is the ideal mic. The downside is that it’s right in front of you and might be ergonomically hard to see a screen if you’re playing on Roll20.
The Blue Yeti is a Condenser Mic, which means you can have the mic off to the side a bit and have it be unobtrusive while you game (it doesn’t have to be right in front of your face). The downside is that it is very sensitive and will pick up a lot of background noise potentially, so this works better if you have a very quiet room, such as a dedicated office with the door closed.
BOTH of the above mics plug into your laptop or computer via USB. Both of them are powers by USB and do not require a mixer or phantom power.
Here is a review of the Samson Q2U. Also see a comparison of the two.
eBay has all sorts of combo offers with the above Samson Q2U mic combined with headphones, pop filter, etc. Here’s an example.
Here is a nice pair of $35 headphones I’ve use a lot.