How to start a podcast: the best recording equipment, microphones to buy



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So you want to reframe “Hey, I’ve got a podcast” from a terrible pickup line to an actual statement of fact. It would require you to start a podcast, but you’re looking into your wallet and can barely afford the drink you’re carrying now because of your terrible pickup line.

We can’t give you a game, but we can give you great advice from a professional podcaster. And we can also give you some encouraging news — most podcast studios don’t look like Joe Rogan’s posh decor or even Marc Maron’s cluttered (but very expensive) garage. Better yet, you may already be sitting in yours right now, and at a fraction of the cost you feared.

Everyone is seemingly a few good products away from having their own show. (Having something interesting to say helps, too, of course.) No serious technical knowledge or tightly soundproofed studio necessary.

“That’s kind of the beauty of podcasting,” says Ari Cagan, host of “Things You Don’t Need To Know,” whose first season premiered March 17. “You know how people say anyone can make a movie now with an iPhone? That’s only true to a certain extent. But literally anyone can make a podcast if you have a quiet room and a mic.

Cagan’s setup takes up a corner of his Manhattan home, with no more soundproofing than the most basic five-year-old acoustic foam panels — “the cheapest on Amazon at the time.” (Here’s a good basic current option.)

His microphone, a Shure SM48 cardioid dynamic vocal microphone, and headphones, “just basic Audio-Technicas”, are tried and true and cost him little real money. But in deference to Manhattan’s constant background noise, its only madness concerns the wiring.

“If you live in a city, my pro tip is to get the most expensive XLR cable that has the most resistance to outside interference because there are so many cell towers and signals and other crap that gets in the way. cheap cables,” he says.

Cagan’s podcast, produced by Adam McKay’s Hyperobject Industries and Three Uncanny Four, found him on the phone with everyone from comedians and professional poker players to pickup artists and air traffic controllers, so he embarks on a quest to learn about the niche, wildly interesting topics — all from the comfort of his home.

Discover all the equipment that makes this possible:

Ari Cagan’s Top Recs:

Courtesy Image


Apple MacBook Pro 2021 – “I hardly ever upgrade the equipment, but this one is so much faster. It looks like a real computer, the old one looks like a big Macbook Air. It’s like a professional device, things are done with this thing. It’s a great piece of engineering, shouts Jony Ive. It’s night and day compared to the old models. It’s completely worth the $2,000.”

Apple MacBook Pro 2021


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Professional tools – “I used to do my podcast in Final Cut, but realized very quickly that it was never going to work. Pro Tools has so many more options for audio. It’s much more precise and you can edit the audio much more precisely.



Buy it


Shure MS48 Cariod Dynamic Vocal Microphone – “They are good, they are reliable, they sound good. They are XLR so it’s a cable that plugs into a mixer so it’s a bit more involved but once you get the hang of it you won’t want to go back.

Shure SM48 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone


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Audio-Technica ATH-M50X – “They are made for listening to audio. So they’re really well balanced, that’s the key. Some speakers can be tuned too low, but the magic of these headphones is that they’re perfectly even.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X


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Portable recorder:

Zoom H6 6 tracks – “It’s a truly amazing utility product. I’ll use it for everything from podcasting to field trips and listening to random stuff, and I’ve even used it to make short films. It can record on an SD card or you can run it through your computer.It’s quite easy.

Zoom H6 6 tracks

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Wise advice:

“If you’re making decisions about what to buy, it’s always the connectors that bother you. It’s such a small thing, but it makes such a big difference. »

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