Welcome to my equipment page. I think it is important to let you know that you could start podcasting with free software and as little as $35 spent on an inexpensive usb headset. This is actually how I started back in 2005. Full details can be found in my free Learn How To Podcast Tutorial. However, if you want to have a professional sound that puts the audio of your podcast among the top 3% of podcasts out there, then you should consider investing in professional equipment. I have created this page to showcase some of the gear that I most recommend to my consulting/coaching clients.
The only equipment I sell, currently, is what you will find listed in the two packages below. If you are looking to purchase individual items that I mention on this page, I’ll provide a B&H affiliate link in each item’s description. Please know that I do earn a commission for any B&H orders purchased within 24 hours of clicking through any of my affiliate links. I so appreciate the support of those who either order my equipment packages or use my affiliate links. Thank You!
Podcast Equipment Package
The Podcast Equipment Package Includes:
Roland R-05 Digital Recorder
FREE step-by-step Edirol video training tutorial included ($39 Value)
Free Inside The Studio Tutorial Tutorial included ($75 Value)
Heil PRSM-B Shock Mount
BSW RE320POP Fine Mesh Metal Screen Pop Filter
Heil PL2T Heady Duty Mic Boom Arm w/ C-Clamp
Mackie 1402-VLZ3 Mixer
Sony MDR-7506 Large Diaphragm Foldable Headphones
XLR Mic Cable 20ft
QTY 2 RCA to 1/8″ Stereo Cable
QTY 2 RCA to 1/4″ Phone Jack Adapter Shipping Included!
Heil PR-40 Podcast Microphone Equipment Package
Heil PR-40 Package as show above = $649 (Free Shipping) (Mic Flag Not Included)
I have created this quick video to show how to quickly setup your Heil Package:
I’ve been a huge fan of Leo Leporte from way back in the ZDTV days. I had the honor of speaking with Leo personally early on into my podcasting career. At the time, I was in the market for my first major purchase in my equipment upgrade. I had explained to Leo that I had a few hundred dollars to spend toward upgrading my podcasting gear to a professional level and asked him where he would suggest I spend the money first. Without hesitation, Leo told me to immediately go out and get the Heil PR-40 microphone. (Note: Leo’s been in radio broadcasting for more than 30 years)
That’s exactly what I did. I was blown away by the amazing sound that comes out of the Heil PR-40. You may be shocked to learn that it is a dynamic microphone. Once my wife, Stephanie, heard the sound of my Heil PR40, she insisted that I purchase one for her as well.
I had sold so many Heil PR40 packages that I had got the attention of Bob Heil, who called me one day in June 2008, out of the blue. Have a listen to the interview I did with Bob Heil.
If you are considering the purchase of a Heil PR40, please have a look at my Heil PR40 package listed above. If you are looking for only the microphone, please consider using my Heil PR40 affiliate Link.
I encourage you to have a listen to episode 46 of the Podcast Answer Man to hear a side by side comparison of the Heil PR40 with several other microphones. I recorded that episode back in January 2008. My production values have improved a great deal since then. However, my Heil PR-40 is still going strong today. I’ve gone ahead and place that review in the audio play below.
Often people will ask me what I recommend regarding a decent usb microphone for their podcasting efforts. My initial response is simply to tell them not to purchase a usb microphone. One major reason is that it limits you to recording straight into your computer. I find there are a number of issues with recording into your computer directly. However, this is an equipment list, not an audio recording tutorial page.
When I first chose to get an audio mixer, there were two main benefits that I was going for. First, I wanted to be able to record with as many as three or four people in a panel discussion. The second benefit that I was going for was being able to bring audio from multiple sources into the audio recording to reduce the amount of post production. I currently run audio from Skype and audio from sound clips into many of my live recordings. This leads me to the next benefit of having a mixer.
If your mixer has an “Aux Out” Channel, it allows you to do a mix-minus on the audio signal from any of the channels that you choose. A mix-minus is a particular setup where the output to a certain device contains everything except the input from that device. This prevents echoes or feedback from reverberating or howling and squealing through the system.
I also have another source of audio coming into my mixer for telephone calls, but I’ll talk more about that in a future piece of audio equipment. At one time, I was producing as many as 15-20 podcast episodes per week (Click Here To See My Episode Guide). I was able to do this because of all the software and equipment that I use, but it is the mixer that brings all this stuff together into one signal that can be recorded live without the need to go in and add anything thing in post production. I believe an audio mixer is an absolute must!
I do have a digital training tutorial called Inside The Studio. The tutorial walks you though each of the pieces of equipment that I have in my studio, why I use them, and how they are hooked up. The tutorial also includes my step by step podcast workflow from show prep to publishing to the web with little to no post-production required. You can purchase that tutorial here.
The mixer I use is pictured above. It is the Mackie 1402-VLZ3. I like this mixer because it has six XLR Mic inputs. It has two Aux Out ports. It also has a great deal of additional audio channel inputs as well as something called “Channel Inserts” that allows me to to bring also use external audio processing equipment. The reason I recommend this mixer to most of my consulting/coaching clients is due to the fact that this mixer allows me to bring in audio from all the sources I’ve mentioned above with still a little breathing room to grow. If you are considering the purchase of a Mackie 1402-VLZ3 mixer, please consider using my affiliate link.
If there was one piece of recording equipment that I could not live without, it is the Roland portable digital recorder. I cannot begin to tell you just how much this small device means to me. It is small enough to fit into your pocket and the audio quality that it records is simply amazing.
It is entirely possible that one could produce a podcast with this single piece of audio equipment. In fact, Podcast Answer Man episode 228 was recorded with nothing more than the Roland recorder to demonstrate this. I often take this recorder with me everywhere I go. It’s perfect for sound seeing tours with its two on board condenser mics which record in an unbelievable stereo sound that makes you feel as though you are right there with the person who is recording the sound seeing tour.
This recorder is also great for a face to face interview. I’ll often set the recorder on a desk or table between myself and the person I’m interviewing and record our interview without the need to lug any additional recording gear along with me. To hear an amazing sounding interview with a Roland digital audio recorder, please listen to Podcast Answer Man episode 136.
Most important to me, I use the Roland digital audio recorder for every single podcast episode that I record. Rather than using software on my computer that can crash to record my audio or deal with the noise and interference from the computer’s internal components, I take the audio output from my mixer and put in directly into the line in input of the Roland unit. This produces a crisp, clean, and clear recording every single time. No more hours spent trying to use audio editing software to reduce the noise table of my in-studio recordings.
I have a full training video that I did for the Roland Edirol R-09HR recorder, which has been discontinued. The Roland R-05 is the replacement of that recorder and is almost identical to the R-09HR. Everything from this tutorial, including the step by step processing of going through the menu system to set up the recorder, applies to the R-05. If you are interested, you can purchase my Roland Digital Audio Recorder Tutorial by clicking here.
For the past several years, I had been using Bose AE2 style headphones. When I was in NYC for BlogWorld & New Media Expo, I visited the SiriusXM studios. While in the studio, I noticed that they only used Sony MDR-7506 headphones. I was so pleased with the sound quality that I decided to order myself a pair so that I could compare them, side by side, with my Bose Headphones.
Some folks have wondered why I would suggest wearing headphones while recording a podcast. While I have to admit, I do enjoy hearing myself talk, there is another reason that I believe everyone involved in the production of a podcast should wear headphones. That reason is that if anyone were to turn their head, even slightly, it could drastically drop the volume level of their audio, in the recording. Wearing headphones allows you to monitor the sound of what is being recording. When you get too far away from the microphone, you’ll hear the drop in audio volume in your headphones immediately.
The Sony MDR-7506 Headphones can be purchase by using my affiliate link.
I often have an in studio guest/co-host for many of my podcasts. Originally, I was using a very inexpensive headphones splitter to allow me connect two pairs of headphones to my mixer. The only issue with this setup was that I like my audio a bit louder than my wife does.
The Behringer HA4700 Headphone Amplifier allows me to share the headphone signal with up to four people. The nice thing is that each of the four people get to adjust the volume level to their own preference. Most new podcasters will not need anything more than a simple headphone splitter. However, if you are recording with multiple people and you find that you need to have separate audio levels, then I highly suggest this piece of equipment.
The JK Audio Broadcast Host is another piece of equipment that I ordered based upon the recommendation of Leo Leporte. I wanted to do live, interactive podcasts and found that there were limitations to the number of people I could bring into my shows with Skype, at the time (We’re talking 2006). There were, however, a number of solutions available for free conference calling. With the Broadcast Host, I can use my studio telephone line to dial into one of these free conference calling telephone bridges. When my listeners call into the same conference call, their voice travels down the phone line, into my broadcast host and then into my audio mixer mentioned above.
Using the aux output with a mix-minus setup mentioned in the mixer section above, I’m able to send all the audio from my microphones and audio inputs from my computers back out of my mixer into the broadcast host and back down the telephone line for all those dialed in to hear.
Another benefit of having the broadcast host is that there are times when I will want to interview someone who is not tech savvy enough to figure out Skype. When I ordered this gear, using Skype to dial out to someone on a telephone was not as reliable as it is today. The Broadcast Host made it possible for me to simply have my guest call my studio line or for me to dial them directly from my studio and record the call this way.
As a podcast consultant/coach, I do a bit of consulting for folks who come from traditional radio broadcasting backgrounds. I have seen this exact telephone interface in use in many radio stations to bring in live callers.
My Inside The Studio Tutorial thoroughly explains how I have my JK Audio Broadcast Host hooked up with all of my other equipment and provides additional information about how I deal with the static that typically comes from brining a telephone call into your mixer. You can purchase that tutorial by clicking here. If you are considering the purchase of a JK Audio Broadcast Host, please consider using my affiliate link.
The Behringer MDX-4600 is the only piece of equipment that I did not put to immediate use. I was immediately overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to set this unit properly. As someone who hates to read owner’s manuals, I simply allowed this to sit and gather dust for months.
When I finally learned how this one piece of equipment could eliminate 100% of the static in the background of my my telephone interviews from the JK Audio Broadcast Host, when my interviewee was not talking, as well as help keep my audio levels from peaking, and make my voice sound a little more “powerful,” I decided I would finally dig in and figure this thing out.
While there are many other Compressor/Limiter/Gate options out there. This is the only one that I’ve taken the time to learn out to set up. As a result, many of my clients have chosen to purchase this exact unit just so they can copy wiring setup as well as all my knob and button settings.
I had been hired so many times to help clients set up the Behringer MDX-4600, that I decided to create a tutorial to help set this up. If you would like to purchase this tutorial to walk you through the setup of the unit, please click here.
When you have as much equipment in your studio as we do, the last thing you want to do is try to find a clear space for a table top mic stand. We use the Heil PL2T microphone boom arm which allows us to bring the microphone right up to us and it simply hangs there, suspended in mid air.
Using a microphone boom arm also keeps us from the need to lean forward to stay in front of the microphone. When you are recording a podcast for an hour or more, you tend to appreciate the fact that you can sit back in your chair and bring the mic to you.
Heil Shock mount PRSM-B for the Heil PR-40 Microphone – Affiliate Link
I can tell you that having a shock mount for your microphone is very important if you are using a table top mic stand or if your microphone is any way supported by something that vibrates or moves in any way shape or form during the recording of your show. Our microphone arms are mounted to the wall in our studio. However, we still find that we like to adjust the position of the mic arm as we record, from time to time, and it is less noticeable in our recordings since we added this shock mount.
This pop-filter has been designed and manufactured by BSW and was made to fit the Electro-Voice RE320. However, this filter works wonderfully with the Heil PR-40 microphone as you can see shown in the image here.
You simply MUST have a pop-filter of some sort in front of your microphone if you want decent sound without all the popping of your “p’s.” You can find less expensive pop filters out there, but I can attest to the fact that they are big, heavy, clumsy and they simply get in your way. I absolutely love the fine mesh metal screen and the low profile that this pop filter offers.
I do not have an affiliate relationship with BSW. The only way that I sell these is through my equipment package above. You could purchase this screen filter directly through BSW using this link. (Note: Not an affiliate link)
More To Come!
Please know that I still have so many items that I have not yet had time to add this this page. I hope that my site will become a regular stop for you. Please be sure to come back and check out this page to see if any new items have been added.
Cliff, I have an MXL 990 condenser mic and the M Audio Fast Track Pro USB Audio/MIDI Interface. I got these a while ago for recording video with better sound quality. Served it's purpose but I don't know that this is right for podcasting. First thing is it records mono. I have no idea if I can get it recording in stereo. So my question is, should I retire this and get a new rig? And if so, should I just get the mixer or is this mic not the best either? Or am I missing a way to use what I have.
@MikeBrooks Mike, I'm getting ready to launch a Podcasting A to Z course that starts tomorrow and it will keep me very busy for the next four weeks. I share this to say that I'm not going to have a great deal of time to answer your question in great detail.
My quick response would be to say that the gear you have is "sufficient" to produce a "decent" sounding podcast. I encourage you to check out my free tutorial at http://LearnHowToPodcast.com. Video #3 goes into some of the basics of my thoughts on equipment for recording a podcast.
Cliff - Have you taken a look at voispot ( voispot.com )? voispot is a new interactive podcast app. No need for Skype. Free to download and free to host. Unlimited live podcast listeners! Listeners can ask questions live!
Cliff - I have an interview coming up in May and the interviewee's rep requests the call-in number for the interview (no Skype-to-Skype). Is it worth investing in the JK audio broadcast host vs. getting a SkypeIn phone number?
@Adam Bagwell My experience is that JK Audio hooked up to a land line is more "RELIABLE" for a phone interview. However, for those who use Skype to telephone, I find that they actually tend to get a better audio quality for the phone caller.
If you have a great, high bandwidth connection to the internet and you are not prone to drop phone calls with Skype to Telephone, I think Skype to telephone is the better solution.
@Aliraheem I personally don't think you would need one. I only have one as someone gave it to me as a gift. It's really only used to adjust a few frequencies that come in from my telephone interface device.
Do you talk about the mechanics of recording a caller on the phone and mixing it with the podcaster voice to get them leveled? I use this device to record: http://www.dynametric.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=5 and sometimes the levels are great. No individual control. I know a mixer would help! Can I talk into my microphone and have that one one channel and the caller on another channel so I can balance them? Would I use that little device I have to grab their level? Thanks... haven't been able to nail down this piece of the puzzle and just using my device works, yet it's uncontrollable.
@Cliff Ravenscraft@raspyni I probably should have kept reading your (excellent page) and watched your videos before asking. It looks like with the Broadcast Host Digital Hybrid JK Audio, the Compressor/Limiter, and mixer this can all be accomplished pretty easily. Thanks for the wonderful tutorials. The time-lapse of your studio make-over was inspiring.
Awesome information, Thanks Cliff. Quick question, with the mix minus, if you have two people on skype how do you get them each their own 'channel' if it's being ran back into, in my case, a Mac via the line-in. Am I missing something? I appreciate the help
@Cliff Ravenscraft Thanks Cliff. That's what I figured. So when you have multiple people on your show via skype are you doing it via multiple machines? I remember Leo always talking about the fleet of Mac Minis he has for that.
I might be missing something but on your diagram for wiring you seem to show an external sound card for the computer but I can't see what you recommend for this ? In fact your diagram has two external cards ?
@phatskis I try to make it a point to never have more than one person on, via Skype. If I do, I will either use another computer and do another mix-minus or I will do it all in one Skype connection, if I am lazy, and make the other callers adjust their mic input levels, inside Skype preferences, so that they are coming in at the same audio level.
I've always been a podcast fan and I was on the fence about launching one myself. Then, I discovered you via Pat Flynn's "Smart Passive Income" podcast and I was so inspired by your story, I launched one myself.
I'm proud to introduce The DOcast: A podcast where I interview entrepreneurs doing the unthinkable... and I would love to have you on some day. Check it out: www.thedocast.net
@richardhanleyjr Richard. Congratulations! I am thrilled to know that you have been inspired to start your own show! That is awesome! When you get past episode 10, please send me an email and I'll be glad to schedule an interview with you!
Awesome list, and very comprehensive explanation/outline. Helped tremendously. I tried ordering through your links, but ran into nothing but roadblocks! (I'm in Canada) Even tried Amazon, but only a few of the items would work and the rest all send can't be delivered to your locations. Finally managed to get an order in for the Heil pr-40, boom, pop filter, shockmount and cables. Now we'll see how long it takes to arrive! :)
@Cliff Ravenscraft It would have been the least I could do for all the info you shared here. :)I also forgot, I went with Sony 7506 headphones, and something called a presonus audiobox 22vsl (Audio Interface) Can't wait to get it all here and hooked up. Will probably be back looking for more tips and tricks!
I'm eager to get my podcast started and just picked up a Roland R-05 recorder and a Heil PR40 mic. I connected them to do a test, and the audio level is REALLY low. I adjusted the input levels on the R-05 to the max and still can't get a loud enough recording. The internal mics on the R-05 work great, but the PR40 level is way too low to be useful. Am I missing something simple?
@Joe Jacobs The PR-40 is a dynamic microphone and really should go through a Pre-Amp before going into the recorder. Yes, it's possible for the Heil to go directly into the R-05. However, hooking it up to even the smallest, cheapest mixer with built-in pre-amp would help solve the issue.
@Cliff Ravenscraft@Joe Jacobs Cliff, thanks so much for the quick response. I'll just have to add one more piece of equipment to my growing desk top. Also, thanks for all the work you do on the podcast. I've learn a ton and appreciate what you do!
I am just starting off and just received the final bits allowing me to record directly from my XLR mic (Audio Technica 2100) to my audio recorder (Roland R-05).
When I monitor the sound (Sony 7506) as I adjust the input gain on the Roland to get near the -12 db mark, there is noticeable interference. (increase of noise/hiss as well as the odd crackle and pop when I move the cable as it enters the XLR connector).
I heard recordings from various podcasters of the mic that were noise free, so I can only deduce that it's the XLR to 3.5mm stereo cable (I paid £7.00 on Amazon in the UK and was rated 3 times with 5*) that is causing the problem.
The cables you show on your tutorials / images do appear to be 'standard' judging by the non metallic casing of the 3.5mm connectors - but this may be a false conclusion - as appearances almost always deceive.
But like any great HiFi system can be made to sound less than average with inferior cables, I guess the same principle applies with podcasting.
Other than going into a bricks & mortar shop and physically trying out a cable, is there a particular standard or make of cable you recommend for the various podcasting connections? It could otherwise be a long road of trial and error before finding a satisfactory cable.....
@Geocaching Studio I've always just used standard cables and rarely have encountered interference as a result. Though, I have had cases where a bad cable has caused noise. Also, if a cable gets too close to a power strip or gets wrapped around a power cord, it can cause issues. In these cases, you can either move the cord or buy the shielded cables.
@Cliff Ravenscraft Thanks for the feedback. I have sent the cables back. I ended up trying it with a Sony M10, Zoom H2n and the Roland, but all picked up the interference to varying degrees, with the Sony picking up most and the Roland the least amount.
I will go into a shop this time and make sure the cable I purchase is interference free. Thanks again.
Cliff, I was watching Patt Flynn's stuff on podcasting and seen your the best guy for podcasting stuff. I looked at his setup and I really liked the sound better with the ATR2100USB better then I liked the Heil. But i really liked the heil shock mount. I have seen they come out with the AT2005USB. I guess my question is do you think the AT2005USB will fit in the heil shock mount? Call it stupid but I like the black setup and really love the flag it has for my branding. I looked for hours for a good shock mount for my blue yeti and gave up on that do to how big it is. Really not looking for wow factory but as a beginner in doing some test podcast's sample as well as some youtube video samples I really dont want to buy the Heil PR-40 quite yet.
@LeeSheppard Glad you found a microphone that you like and that is working well for you. I don't have any experience with the AT mics that you mentioned. So I'm not sure that they will work with a Heil shock mount. The Heil mounts are custom made by Heil Sound to work with Heil Mics.
I just made the jump and got a Heil PR-40. I wish I had known about this site before I was shopping around -- the information is invaluable! Was wondering if there's a way to use the PR-40 directly with my computer (an XLR adapter that can go into my line-in?) or if I had to route it through a mixer?
I've been waiting for the new iMac 27 (I'm a new Mac user...). I noticed the old iMacs have an "audio input" jack and the new iMac 27 has only audio headphone (output) jack. In order to use the audio gear (Heil mic, mixer, etc.) will I need to go with the older version of iMac? Or, is there a way to use the Thunderbolt or USB to connect my audio gear to the new iMac so that I can record Skype interviews on my roland recorder and have my voice come through the Heil mic, my Mackie mixer, and the Behringer compressor/limiter/peak/gate???
@Jmunchbach Let me apologize for the delay in responding, I didn't get any email notifications of comments from October 14th through November 23rd. I've since fixed the issue. I did answer your question in episode 284 of Podcast Answer Man which you can find at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/284
@Jmunchbach I can help you with that... When you purchase a mixer just be sure that it has a USB out and you can connect all your equipment to the mixer and the signal will be sent to the computer via the USB. Most of the newer version are equipped with them. This will also allow the mixer to loop a signal from the mixer to the MAC and then back to the mixer. You will be able to incorporate sound effects etc. Currently I have an Allen & Heath ZED14. With the iMAC I was experiencing a DC offset when playing audio files. In short this is a small popping sound when you start to play the file or just after you stop it. To remedy this I used the headphones output jack on the iMAC and inserted it into a stereo input on the mixer. What this does is allows the signal to bypass the USB. Not sure of the technical aspects of it but depending on the mixer this could be something you run across. Hope that helped...
CAn you suggest a particular type of phone or phone headset that will give better sound for telephone interviews? My side of the interview always sounds really fuzzy. (You can listen at http://frankonlinemarketing.com/show)
@temafrank I would say that if you don't yet have the budget for the gear seen on this page, I'd hold off on the tutorial, as it is mostly about why I chose all that gear and how I hook it all up, how to do a Skype Mix Minus and my step by step workflow, from beginning to end, on how I produce an episode with it..
@temafrank Hi... Although I not not Cliff, I do take an interest in this technical stuff and may be able to help. Your initial voice sounded good but at the end it sounded as though you switched microphones in order to respond to the guest. Was that the case? If so why? Are you not routing the Skype call thru your mixer using the mix-minus technique? If not Cliff has a video that explains it. I tried to locate it for you but could not find it. :-(
@Greg Allen@temafrank Thanks Greg. I recorded the call from France. I was on a telephone and recording it all via Recordiapro. I have no idea why the sound switched there. I don't recall having changed anything, although it was a few months ago that I recorded it.
I haven't been doing them via Skype yet, though I plan to start soon (using Vodburner for video? ) . My internet connection speeds have been flaky, so I don't want to risk recording that way until that issue is resolved.
Don't have a mixer. Have just been using a USB mike (Blue snowball).
I really appreciate your advice and suggestions!
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