Advanced Podcast Equipment Setup

I’ve been asked what my setup is for podcast recording. I want to stress, this is NOT the beginner setup. If you’re just starting out, get one of the mics on the list below, connect it to your computer with the USB cable, and start recording in Audacity. For a “headset,” take the earbuds from your cell phone and stick them in the 3.5mm headphone jack on the back of the microphone. Boom, you’re podcasting. I did this for 30-40-50 episodes? I lost count.

This is my normal two person plus audio in from a computer recording setup. I have the capability to add three more Skype devices, or other mics because I have the XLR/TRS combo head for the Zoom H6. I’ve done it. Editing is a bit of a chore, but I’ve done it. Normally, however, it’s the computer on Track 1 for audio effects, pre-recorded segments, and bumper music, me on Track 2, and my Skype guest on Track 3.

Advanced Podcast Setup

Click to enlarge

Typically my co host and my regular contributors record locally and I use my Skype recording to line their local audio up, but I can certainly use this to record pretty good audio for guests who just have Skype and a computer but no way to record their own audio. Having a way to record both sides of a conversation makes it vastly easier to get guests. Having everyone on separate tracks makes it MUCH easier to edit.

Now some smart guy is going to look at this and say, “But Sean! That will feed audio back through Skype and it will echo! You need a soundboard to run a mix-minus!” No you don’t. Skype is smart enough to recognize its own audio coming back at it and will cut that out electronically. There will be a second or two of echo on your guest’s end, but tell the guest to keep talking and Skype will catch up and fix itself. Do yourself a favor. Forget you’ve ever heard the term, “Mix-Minus.” I’ve conducted cell phone interviews with this setup with zero feedback, so it’s not something that you need to care about.

Costs –

This setup is a very slight modification of the setup used by YaDaddy who runs the 2AToday Podcast, so a big thanks to him for figuring out how this works and pointing it out to me. I’ve run this system for about a year now, recording a weekly podcast, plus the 4 or 5 segments that go into the weekly podcast. I’ve given it a workout and it is really good.

If you’re getting started in podcasting, let me know. I’m glad to help. If you’re upgrading your equipment from the basics and need some help getting something like this set up, I’m happy to get you moving in the right direction. I am convinced that this is the right direction for podcasters. Soundboards are great for live performances or for radio, where the goal is to mix and output a single source of audio. But that is not what you are doing on a podcast. On a podcast you are recording several different audio sources, then you are editing and mixing them at a different time. Don’t cross the streams. Keep your audio tracks separate until you’re done editing and them mix and render.

Once you go multitrack you’ll never go back!


Want something simpler? Never going to record more than two people at the same time?

Simple H4n Setup

The Zoom H4nPro –

You can also use the Zoom H5. It is a 4 track recorder the same as the H4n, but you can take off the built in microphones and attach the spare XLR/TRS capsule and record on 4 tracks simultaneously. With the H5, you will need to use the same setup as the H6.

Zoom H5 –

XLR/TRS Capsule –