Rockville Pro Studio Recording Condenser Microphone

rockville microphone

The Rockville RCM03 Pro Studio Recording Condenser Microphone works for amateurs and serious professionals alike. It comes with everything you could possibly need to have a small recording studio at your own desk.

It doesn’t require a sound booth or construction to add sound dampening to the walls. Instead, you can have an inexpensive sound studio without buying thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

Who Needs a Recording Condenser Microphone?

Feature Pick

Rockville Rcm03 Pro Studio Recording Condenser Microphone Mic+Shock Mount+Shield

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This is a good setup for a variety of customers. If you want to record your voice for gaming commentary during videos, school lectures that you’re giving, or audio books, this is one of the best microphones for Skype and gaming that comes with everything you could possibly need.

It’ll get your foot in the door of recording if you want to start uploading your videos to YouTube. You might want to create your own courses online, too. Any instance where you need a crisp, clear rendition of your voice this microphone is a fantastic choice.

What’s Included?

  • Isolation filter
  • Sound dampening foam
  • Microphone
  • Shock mount
  • Cables
  • Tripod design

Power Requirements

If your computer sound card can handle a recording microphone, you won’t need to worry about power. On the other hand, it can make more sense to get a 48V DC phantom power source, so you can be sure that your computer’s sound card won’t die.

You won’t have to rely on having the right sound card to power the microphone at all if you use a phantom power source. When you don’t have a good sound card, you’ll be able to hear that in the recordings. If you’re going to the trouble of buying a microphone, it’s best to have all the accessories in place, too.

Noise Reduction

rockville recorder for gaming commentary

You don’t have to worry about the hiss and pop of your breath on the microphone since this kit comes with a filter. This screen covers the microphone, so that you don’t end up with extra sounds in your recordings.

The condenser cardioid design will keep you from recording background noise from other sources in the room, too. It’s the same filter you’ll see professionals use when they’re making their recordings in a studio sound booth.

Shock Mount

Microphones need shock mounts to keep them from recording vibrations. While you can’t hear the vibrations from movement, it’s very discernible for the microphone and will be heard on your recordings. You don’t want to be able to hear the vibrations from the room like the creaks and movement of the desk.

The shock mount can also protect the microphone from damage in case it falls. While some people don’t recommend a shock mount in a home studio, it provides a huge benefit. Normally, the shock mount is an added expense that some don’t require. This microphone comes with one as part of the kit, which makes it silly not to use it.

Vocal Booth Foam

gaming commentary recorder

The microphone has a cardioid pattern for recording the natural sound that comes from a person speaking directly into the mic. The pro audio acoustic isolation shield provides extra sound dampening for your recordings.

You might not hear all the noise in the room, but a good mic will pick up all the ambient sounds of the room itself. The isolation foam acts as an isolation shield like those seen in professional sound studios. It’s portable as well, so you don’t have to worry about staying in one place when you are recording.

Whether you plan on doing interviews, gaming with friends, or recording your lectures, you can bring this microphone setup with you anywhere. It’s rugged and sturdy as well as providing a small footprint for setup in any location without needing a huge space.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of material was used to make the filter?
The filter is made of high-grade steel, which is why the entire microphone setup is so rugged and durable.

How many panels are in the foam acoustic shield?
There are 3 pieces for the panel.

What are the dimensions of the mic?
The length is 217 mm while the diameter is 44 mm.

How much does the equipment weigh?
The total weight is 4 pounds, which is another reason it’s so easy to port this wherever you might need it.

Is this microphone recording system compatible with a Mac?
This system is definitely compatible with a Mac.

What kind of recording software can I use?
This is a personal preference. You can purchase software or use a free recording software downloaded from a reputable software provider.

The Rockville Pro Studio Recording Condenser Microphone has everything you need to become a professional or serious amateur who wants to start recording. If you want to do record your video gaming commentary or read audiobooks in your spare time for cash, you can certainly do that with this recording microphone kit.

Dark Matter Radio – YTMS Calls In

dark matter radio

There is an opinion floating around these days that, in general, the world is kinda fucked.  A lot of people like to blame Trump, but hey, things were kinda fucked before he got in, right?

donald trump meme pack

While things do seem a bit “off” sometimes, we must admit, one of the benefits of our society here in North America is that we are living in a time where we can say whatever the fuck we want, and get our message out there, thanks to the internet.  With the help of technology, podcasts and online radio shows are popping up all over the place, and building their own audiences.  We think Happy Harry Hard-on would be proud, don’t you?

A great example of this relatively new and uninhibited form of broadcasting can be found with Dark Matter Radio.  This is an online live radio show that features Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction, as well as co-hosts Todd Newman, Dan Cleary, Jessica Sattelberger, and lest we forget Engineer Mo.

dark matter radio podcast dave navarro

Visit Dark Matter Radio on iTunes

While it has been broadcasting since 2008, Dark Matter Radio these days is like a very sharp and pointy shiv, every week getting sharper and pointier as the hosts of Dark Matter lovingly polish their technique, getting darker, more brutally honest, and more hilarious as the weeks go by. 

As such, when you tune into Dark Matter Radio, what you’re getting is a fairly impromptu or unfiltered assessment of what’s going on in the world, whether it be good or bad.  Its not really any one specific type of show – as a show, its like real mutt – its like a poodle / dachshund / rotty cross-breed type of deal.  Or…well, this image below kind of sums it all up nicely.

dark matter with dave navarro

The hosts – Dave, Todd, Dan, Jessica – don’t ever limit themselves in terms of what they talk about.  There is no real consensus on what someone can talk about – hence, not everyone (hosts or listeners) are going to 100% in their comfort zone at all times, but ah well!  

To be fair, at this point, its probably physically impossible to impose any limits on these individuals, since its their show and they answer to no one.  Hence, Dark Matter might be, as they say, NSFW, or really, straight up not recommended listening for minors, the faint of heart, SJW’s, and those bleeding heart liberals.

jess dark matter
Image Source: Dark Matter Facebook

Now, because Dark Matter Radio is a self-sustaining entity, meaning it doesn’t rely on cash from sponsors or any outside support to exist, this gives it a special kind of leeway to, essentially, do or say whatever the fuck they want, without any ramifications from networks, bosses, or whomever.  In this sense, Dark Matter Radio really is Happy Harry Hard-on’s dream come true, because it allows for the hosts to dig into just about whatever topic they want, whether its music, having various colorful guests call in, or discussing whether extra-terrestrials are currently mating with our race to create “hybrids”.  Half the time they’re just shooting the shit, which is often some of the best conversations you’ll hear on the show because its just raw and in the moment.

One cool thing happened recently, and that is that YouTube Music Sucks got to jump on live with the Dark Matter crew to ask them some questions about their “podcast”, even though its not really a podcast – its a radio show, as they said.  Still, we had some burning questions to ask them regarding where the show came from, where its going, how they get “in the mood”, and a few other things that we cooked up about 20 minutes before going live to air.  Check it out!

Overall, the vibe we got from talking to the Dark Matter crew isn’t something they do for the money, but for the pure love of having a platform to do and say as they please.  Nestled in their downtown Hollywood studio with the cramped parking lot, Dark Matter Radio is a place where they can come in, do their thing, maybe talk to a guest or caller here and there, slap each other in the balls (except for Jessica, who is presumably without balls to slap), and go home with a sense of accomplishment for balls well slapped. 

To us, its interesting to see and hear what people get up to when they’re not specifically being motivated by “the money” (AKA the motherfuckin’ monayyyy). 

dark matter radio on the air
Image Source: Dark Matter Facebook

People getting paid to do things is the way of the world, but when you do something because you love it, ironically that’s when you become more of a threat to society – because then you’re just being honest, and the truth is hard to swallow.

Tune in to Dark Matter Radio on iTunes here

OR

Tune in to Dark Matter Radio on Soundcloud here

Studio Headphones VS Studio Monitors – Which Do YOU Need For Home Recording?

studio-headphones-vs-studio-monitors

There is an endless debate among amateur music producers and sound engineers regarding the best way to get what you’re seeing on screen into your ears. How do you get the most accurate representation of the sounds you are crafting in your DAW, so that what you’re hearing enables you to mix effectively?

Honest Audio

Ordinary headphones or speakers designed for listening to your favourite songs, no matter how good they are, just aren’t appropriate for mixing. They are always designed to present the sound in a way that would make it pleasing to enjoy casually – they do not give an objective, accurate representation of the frequency spectrum that is so important for you to nail at the mixing stage. So we have to choose between studio headphones and studio monitors when building up our home setup.

headphones-vs-monitors-recording

Considerations

There are several factors to consider at the foundation of making a choice between the two options. The first is your budget – how much you are willing to spend, because good monitors generally cost far more than good cans. The second is your workspace. A residential location without soundproofing or acoustic treatments is not usually conducive to mixing with monitors, because the noise you make will inevitably bother someone, and your setup may cause their sound to be corrupted before it reaches your ears. Finally, you need to be aware that there is huge diversity within either choice, particularly monitors. Once you have made a decision about which is best for you, you then have a far more complex choice to make to pinpoint the precise pair of headphones or monitors you will eventually go for.

The Money Factor

Your budget may end up making the choice for you. To get a set of headphones that are suitable for mixing purposes, the range we are looking at is around $40 up to about $500. For monitors, the range is more like $140 – $1,750! So it’s pretty clear which option is better suited to those with lesser means, regardless of what you think about which option is objectively the superior.

Feature Picks

Behringer Hps3000 Studio Headphones

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Sony Mdr7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

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Audio-Technica Ath-M30X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black

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Audio-Technica Ath-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black

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Upfront investment is so often the greatest barrier towards the amateur, DIY musician fulfilling their setup dreams. When a monetary return on your investment is anything but guaranteed, it may seem foolish to shell out on the most expensive products just for home use. Furthermore, the reality is that utilizing the best equipment in a studio that isn’t kitted out with the best acoustics is not gonna allow you to get the best out of your equipment!

If you have the skills of mixing, you will make a good end result with whatever option you go far. Besides which, you will learn how your setup sounds through experience, and gradually become more adept at getting the right sound from your process.

That being said, here are a few suggestions for budget category equipment:

Open Back Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT990 PRO – available for around $150, these headphones are not the absolute cheapest, but offer great value for their price.

Feature Pick

Beyerdynamic Dt 990 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphones In Black Open Construction, Wired

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Their selling points include:

  • A wide frequency range – 5Hz-35kHz
  • A very strong bass presence
  • A supremely comfortable fit

These headphones will keep you going for a long time, and won’t break the bank if you purchase them.

Check out this video review of the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones by Youtuber HiFi Heaven

Another popular model along with these Beyerdynamics at a similar price is the AKG K701.

Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Headphones – Available at around $50, if you have the tightest of budgets then these are the headphones for you.

Feature Pick

Samson Sr850 Semi-Open-Back Studio Reference Headphones

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Their best features include:

  • A frequency range of 10Hz-30kHz
  • 32o impedance
  • 50mm drivers for exceptional reproduction/wide dynamic range

It is widely reported that these headphones exceed their modest price tag. A skilled producer will be able to achieve great results for the humble investment the Samson SR850s command.

Check out this video review of these Samson SR850s by Youtuber ODi Productions for a closer look!

Studio Monitors

KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation Studio Monitors – For a pair of $300 monitors, you can get some great performance. In fact, there are few (if any) reviews of the KRKs that have a word of criticism to offer.

Feature Pick

Krk Rp5G3- 59107 Na Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor – Pair

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Their features include:

  • Large headroom and very low distortion
  • Pristine clarity and extended response up to 35kHz
  • Proprietary waveguide optimized for superior imaging

They aren’t the very cheapest of monitors, but they are a million miles from being the most expensive.

Check out this video review of these KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation Studio Monitors by Youtuber recordingrevolution.

If you are starting out, but want to invest in something above the most basic, the KRKs are a good shout. As are the JBL LSR305s and the M Audio AV42s, in case you’re interested!

When Money is no Object

Some of the best headphones you could imagine are these Shure SRH1840.

Feature Pick

Shure Srh1840 Professional Open Back Headphones (Black)

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Check out this video review of the Shure SRH 1440 by YouTuber Headroom to get more information.

Hearing music for the first time through them is a beautiful experience, and it just might change your entire outlook on what music is supposed to sound like. The same could be said of the Focal Twin6 Be studio monitors.

Feature Pick

Focal Twin6 Be 65″ 3-Way Powered Studio Monitor

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These are the high-end options for you to consider if you really do have the means to acquire the best that money can buy. Your setup will be at its most effective if you have these, but they won’t perform at their maximum capacity unless you have the best interface, software and studio setup to support them.

The Truth

The reason the debate between headphones and studio monitors has endured as long as it has is because it ultimately comes down to personal preference. And, in reality, the best option is to have both! You need to hear your mix through as many different sound mediums as possible to get a full idea of how it sounds on the countless sound systems you plan to be played through eventually. The suggestions in this article will give you the best options to fit your budget…it is up to you to decide which side of the debate you land on.

Please feel free to join the debate through our social networks or comments section to let us know your thoughts on the best way to mix tracks.  

Check out one of our own tracks, made with some of this pro audio gear.

Behringer Xenyx 1204USB Mixer Review

The Behringer Xenyx 1204USB mixer is a great multifunctional analog mixer that offers a lot of value at a very reasonable price for what it can do. It has a lot of built-in functions that makes it an attractive option for small venues and its USB capabilities mean it can also be perfect for home studios and podcasting.

Feature Pick

Behringer Xenyx 1204Usb Premium 12-Input 2/2-Bus Mixer

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Key Technical Specifications:

  • 4 XENYX phantom-powered mic preamps with 130dB
  • 4 studio-grade compressors
  • “British” 3-band EQs on all 8 main channels
  • 3-4 fader control
  • 4 additional input channels
  • Built-in stereo USB/Audio Interface
  • Free Professional-Grade Software Bundle

Audio Quality

The Behringer Xenyx 1204 USB mixer has a lot of functionalities to offer, but before one looks into the bells and whistles, they should look into the core. And in this case, it’s outstanding. This mixer has 4 phantom-powered mono channels, especially suitable for microphones.

The XENYX preamps on those channels offer supreme warm audio quality with outstanding dynamic range and bandwidth. The experience of running your mics through this mixer is comparable with studio-grade outboard gear which says a lot. This is offers a huge benefit when you use those channels for musical instruments as well.

If you want to see the Behringer XenyxUSB in action, watch this video review.

Onboard Effects

Besides the incredible sound you are going to get from the preamps, the mixer offers two more ways to boost the sound quality useful both live and in the home studio. First of all, there are built-in compressors into each of the 4 mono channels that are operated by dedicated knobs with the addition of LED indication which is priceless when dealing with inputs with a lot of dynamic range like microphones or many musical instruments.

On top of this, your main 8 channels all have dedicated neo-classic British-style 3-band equalizers that can add a lot of warm analog feel to the sound of your mix.

behringer-xenyx-1204usb

Mixing Options

Speaking strictly technically, this is actually a 12-channel mixer despite its smaller size, but you should keep in mind that 8 of those channels come with some limitations. First of all, you get 4 outstandingly flexible mono channels with phantom-powered XRL inputs besides the standard mono jacks. Those are suitable for everything and take advantage of the maximum control you could have including individual compressors, EQs and AUX sends. Then you get 2 stereo channels that have all of the same options without the XLR input and the compressors. Those are perfect for dual-channel musical instruments like keyboards, synthesizers and sequencers. Since those channels are stereo, the two of them actually count as 4 mono channels on the mixer despite the fact that each pair shares volume, EQ and Aux Send controls. The last four channels are designated for external music players and lack most controls, but still add a lot of flexibility for venues that need to play music from different sources while the performers are not performing.

xenyx-1204usb-mixer-behringer-review

In order to make life extremely pleasant in many applications, this mixer has a wide array of outputs as well. First of all, it has dual XLR stereo outputs that are each controlled by a separate fader and are considered the mixer’s main output. Then you get two alternative 3-4 outputs that have their own volume fader and can have a variety of applications and on top of that, you another control room stereo outputs. You can get a great deal of functionality out of those additional inputs thanks to the 2 Aux Send controls that you have on the main 8 channels. As a bonus there is also a stereo phones output on the front face of the mixer.

An additional layer of flexibility is also added by the ability to connect outboard effects and the incredibly powerful USB interface that would be of huge help with your analog to digital conversion if you want to use this mixer for recording purposes.

On top of this, there are built-in compressors into each of them, operated by dedicated knobs with the addition of LED indication.

Besides the 4 mono channels, there are also 3 more stereo channels that give you a total of 8 channels and 6 instruments or sources you could be working with. Another functionality that makes the mixer quite versatile and adds to its sound quality is the neo-classic British-style 3-band equalizers that can add a lot of warm analog feel to the sound of your mix.

Live Gigs

One of the possible applications of this mixer would be at live music events or comedy clubs. This is not a large mixer, so it doesn’t have enough channels to properly function as the main mixer of a larger venue where drums need to be miked, but it can really shine in smaller ones. One if its killer features for such occasions is the fact that it has 2 Aux Sends. This alongside the alt 3-4 fader gives a huge deal of flexibility and allows a small show to be comfortably mixed for both audience and performers. This means that you can have 6 instruments and/or microphones to work with and you don’t need to keep any channels open for the house to connect their music sources while the performers are on a break.

best-podcasting-mixer-behringer

Home Studio

The Behringer Xenyx 1204 is a really great mixer that can easily become the focal point of your home studio. It is extremely flexible and more importantly offers outstanding sound quality. But what you will probably love the most is the ease of use. Using this mixer, you would not need a separate analog-to-digital audio converter since this awesome piece of gear can be connected to your computer via USB as an external audio device.

Perfect for podcasting

Now there is one application this mixer will also be perfect for besides mixing music – podcasting.

cheapest-podcasting-mixers

This mixer’s flexibility, numerous input and output options and USB interface mean that it will easily become the command center any podcaster could dream of. It has 4 microphone channels, so a podcast with two hosts and two guests could be miked very easily. And the sound would be great and customizable for each speaker. On top of this, all of the inputs and outputs would allow playing prerecorded effects and interstitials with ease and mixing your podcast live. The 3 stereo outputs and additional stereo inputs means that remote guests will no longer be a challenge and a pain, because you could send them a separate mix without their own voice.

But the killer features don’t stop here. While musicians building their home studio will probably prefer to rely on their own specialized software or would anyway have access to Audacity, the podcasting software included in the bundle means that you will be covered all the way through production.

Choosing The Best Software For Podcasting (Mac & PC)

The humble podcast is a rapidly growing area in the world of online broadcasting, in which you can get started without spending a fortune on equipment and software. In the beginning, the individual can start using the built-in features of your computer, like Garageband.

garageband-podcast

In this article, we are going to show you what options you have for launching your first podcast. A huge benefit about podcasting is that the softwares are often compatible with both MAC and PC, which means that you don’t have to change your laptop.

Podcasting Software

To start a podcast, you need a working microphone and a recording software. Remember that most computer have built-in microphones, but they are not the best option given the fact that the quality of the audio won’t be great.

The recording software doesn’t record voices only, but they give you the opportunity to edit them professionally and convert them into MP3 files so that they can be uploaded.

skype-podcast

Most individuals use Skype for interview-based podcasts due to the fact that the software is really straightforward, and it works flawlessly. Through its official website, every person can download it for both MAC and PC.

The quality you get using Skype is far better when recording voice over the internet. If your guest is hardwired, the connection issues will disappear resulting in better audio quality, which can’t happen over the phone using the cellular internet. If your guest is using the built-in microphone on his computer, the quality of the audio will be far better than the one from a cell phone.

In order to record both voice and video and then edit it in another program, you will need the help of eCamm Call Recorder (MAC) or Pamela (PC).

Here’s a quick review of eCamm Call Recorder.

Now here is a video showing how to use Pamela for Skype.

There is another great option for interviews, and it is called Google + Hangouts On Air.  That said, YouTube Live seems to be usurping that platform as Google seems to be shifting their focus lately.

G+ HOA has some other magnificent benefits that make it so accessible. While recording your video chat, you can automatically stream it on your live Youtube channel, giving you the possibility to stream on multiple platforms without efforts. Moreover, you can embed the video on your website, and the visitors can watch it live.

No Cost Option for Mac Users:

GarageBand This is a music creation studio owned by Apple. It has an extensive sound library and a variety of instruments. The interface is quite intuitive, and you won’t have problems mastering it. If you are not looking forward to spending money, then GarageBand is going to do the job for you.

Here’s a video featuring Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income talking about using Garageband for podcasting.

No Cost Option for Mac & PC Users

Audacity – is a costless and easy-to-use multi-track audio editor available for both Windows and Mac OS X. It doesn’t give you a lot of features, but it’s going to get the job done.

audacity-vi

Cost-Option for Mac & PC Users

Adobe Audition Cloud Softwaregives you the opportunity to record simultaneously while using Skype and it offers a fantastic user-friendly interface that you will love. Mix, edit & create audio files with the variety of tools provided by Adobe for as little as $19.99 per month.

adobe-audition

Recording Audio from Applications

Audio Hijack – is a software that records audio straight from applications such as Skype and Safari. You can also save your audio from hardware devices including your mixer and microphone. If your laptop has small speakers, the “Volume Overdrive” feature will increase the volume significantly.

Differences between Free & Commercial Softwares?

Most software that doesn’t require payment are lightweight, and they offer only a particular set of features. Commercial podcasting softwares offer numerous features, but they can be larger and slower to load.

Advantages of Podcasts

The percentage of people listening to podcasts during their day-to-day activities is increasing every single day. Podcasts are preferred by many individuals due to the fact that they are lightweight, and they can be played on phones, browsers, musical players and even in your car. Some companies use video while podcasting, but we’re confident that the future of podcasting consists of using mainly audio.

Use A Mixer For A Better Podcast

Mixers are electronic devices that combine the level, timbre, and dynamics of the audio. It’s not a necessity, but it will undoubtedly increase the quality of your sound and it has some excellent features to offer.

best-podcasting-mixer-review

A mixer can cost you more than $400, but you will know that your quality is splendid, and the podcast can be edited with ease. This software gives you the opportunity to record voices on separate tracks, making editing incredibly easy. You can cut whole pieces and silence any background noises.

Now that you know the types of software, which one are you going to choose? Are you going to start with a free or a paid software? Have you tried any of the applications above and which one is your favorite?

Choosing The Best Mixer For Podcasting

behringer-xenyx-1204usb

best-podcast-mixer-reviews-2017The greatest thing about getting into podcasting is that barrier to entry is pretty low and you don’t need to invest too much into recording equipment right away. But as your podcast starts getting some traction, it would be a very good idea to start the process of upgrading your gear. You want to both make your own life easier and provide the highest sound quality you can afford for your listeners.

One of the things you might want to get early is a podcast mixer. It’s something that you know is going to be useful and the feeling of getting some new gear is always fulfilling. Just don’t rush it and make an informed decision. Also keep in mind that while having a more advanced setup will surely improve the quality of your podcast in the long run, it might also require some getting used to and it might complicate your recording process in the beginning.

Still, getting a mixer will sooner or later become a must for you if you want to keep podcasting professionally.

The Benefits of Getting a Mixer for Podcasting

It goes without saying that getting a professional grade mixer will improve the sound quality of your podcast right away. The preamps and the whole circuitry on mixers were designed with sound quality in mind, so you will be able to get even better results from the microphone you already have with very little additional tinkering. But since podcasts don’t require the same attention to detail as recording a musical instrument, the subtle boost in audio quality alone would not be enough to warrant the investment. The thing is, you want to have a mixer for your podcast for the flexibility, control and utility.

So let’s look at the benefits. Keep in mind that in order to take advantage of them, you need to select a mixer that supports that functionality.

1. Having Multiple Channels

Control over individual channels is something quite simple, yet extremely convenient. This means you could get everyone their own recorded track with individual corrections suited to the way they talk. This will allow you to do a much more thorough job in post and will make your life easier and your podcast much easier to listen to when multiple people are talking.

Keep in mind you will usually require at least 4 channels and if you have multiple guests and cohosts, you might be better off with more. Select a mixer that has enough channels for you to grow painlessly.

sa-djmixer-bt_dj_knobs_lrg

2. Onboard Effects, Enhancements and Controls

Having multiple channels is great and most mixers will allow you to control and enhance each channel separately. Being able to use equalization, low-cut filters and gain control on each channel individually will save you a lot of time and headaches in post.

Here is a video showing how to use your mixer’s EQ section.

3. Use XLR Microphones to Their Fullest Potential

If you already have an XLR microphone without owning a mixer, you are most probably using a USB converter or something similar. Unfortunately, those solutions are a compromise at best and having a mixer that can provide your awesome condenser mike the juice it needs will allow it to perform to its full potential.

4. Reliabilitymixer-with-digital-recorder

Hopefully you haven’t experienced that yet yourself, but computers are prone to bugs and crashes. This means that if you are recording on your computer, you might lose all or most of your recording due to glitches. On the other hand, mixers don’t crash and if you pair them with a digital recorder, you will always have a backup copy of everything you record.

5. Physical Controls

Sometimes the simplest things in life are what counts. It’s one thing trying to adjust some tiny fidgety controls on a computer screen and a whole other story to have the literal faders or knobs at your fingertips.  Try to select a mixer that offers faders for volume control.

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6. Mix Minus for Remote Guests

Having remote guests will open up your podcast to a lot of new possibilities but it also comes with a lot of challenges. One of the biggest problems is having everybody hear what they need to. While you can connect your guest to your mixer from Skype, you need to send an audio mix to him that doesn’t include their own voice but includes everything from your side of the conversation. If your mixer has an Auxiliary Output or and FX Send, you can use that to create a mix minus the voice of your remote guest and sending that to them, so they hear exactly what they need.

mixer-aux-send

7. Live Production Options

On top of it all, having a good mixer that you are skilled at operating could actually save you the bulk of the work you are now doing in post-production. Having a versatile mixer means you could be playing intros and outros, music and prerecorded voice clips live while recording just like people would do on a radio show. This means you could be doing the bulk of your editing work on the fly and then requiring significantly less time and effort in post.

Our Recommended Models For Best Podasting Mixer

So if you are seeing a podcasting-friendly mixer in your future, here are a few models to consider depending on your budget.

The Yamaha MG10 – that’s an entry level mixer that will get you what you the basics at an affordable price without any bell and whistles.

Feature Pick

Yamaha Mg10Xu 10-Input Stereo Mixer With Effects

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The Behringer Xenyx 1204 – this is a solid midrange option with a bit more channels and functionality. It is very likely to be absolutely enough for your podcasting needs and would be a pleasure to work with. As a bonus, it can connect to a computer over USB to bring your straight in for direct recording.

behringer-xenyx-1204usb

Read our full review on the Behringer Xenyx 1204


The Mackie ProFX8 – if you are looking for a professional grade piece of equipment and can afford to spend more on quality, this is the mixer for you. It’s reliable, functional and has amazing preamps and 7-band EQs.

Feature Pick

Mackie Profx8V2 8-Channel Compact Mixer With Usb And Effects

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Best Podcasting Mics For 2016 – Our Review

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Podcasting, and specifically the microphones uses for podcasting, have been getting a lot of press lately since podcasting has gotten huge on the internet in the past 5 years.  Literally every other person has their own podcast now, and we think its great!  Its a great way to share your thoughts with the world, exercise your free speech rights, conduct interviews with Obama, and even make a bit of bread if you get popular.  You really never know how many people will check out your podcast, no matter how ridiculous the topic.  Take H3H3 for example… 🙂

Podcasting can really be done anywhere, since your main tool is really your laptop, some good software, and a decent microphone.  You can even use platforms like Skype, Hangouts, and Viber and podcast from the comfort of your smartphone (eg. where ever you go).

But, for the serious and even semi-serious podcaster, getting a quality mic is a big deal.  Sure, some people use a crap microphone and it can work (eg. Macbook Pro internal mic), but wouldn’t you rather just get a good one?  Its always nice to actually hear what people are saying, and it can honestly add a lot to your podcast because you’re not going to be annoying the fuck out people with your crappy mic and static-y voice.  For God’s sake, think of the wee ones!

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All that said, you don’t have to spend $1000 on a good podcasting mic.  Heck, you don’t even have to spend $500?  (wow, this sounds like an infomercial from the ‘80s – Ronco Food Dehydrator, anyone?) But seriously, you actually don’t.  Of course, you *can* spend $1000+ on a good mic, but you don’t have to.  There are many great mics available now for affordable prices, which is why we’ve come here today, which is to share with you some of the best types of microphones for podcasting which are both handy AND affordable.


The Audio-Technica ATR2100

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If you’re looking for a microphone that can get you started into the world of podcasting, then this is the microphone for you. It comes with two outputs – a USB digital output which is perfect for using with your PC or laptop, and an XLR analog output that you find with conventional stage performance microphones.  That means, you can essentially do two tracks at once, one via USB, and one via XLR.  Your USB will allow you to record a track direct to your laptop if you have the right software (which you’ll probably want to get anyway, as a podcaster), and your XLR can allow you to hook up to a mixer, so amplify your voice, do a live broadcast, or what have you.

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You can also hook up your XLR to a pre-amp and record two separate tracks onto your computer, if you so choose.  This is something you might want to do if your vocals are a super important part of your podcast.  Also, it has a built-in headphone jack, which is perfect if you want to check on your output.  All in all, this is a great mic for podcasting which is considered to be “entry level” due to its affordability.

Here is a great video review of the Audio Technica ATR 2100.

Check for deals on the Audio Technica ATR 2100 on Amazon now


The Samson Q2U

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The Audio-Technica ATR2100 is great for US-buyers, but can be quite difficult to come across if you’re outside the U.S.  On the other hand, the Samson Q2U is arguably more popular outside of the U.S. due to its availability, although these two mics are nearly identical. 

The Samson Q2U is another cardioid mic, which means that it has the ability to obtain clean and precise vocal patterns, making it great for something like podcasting.  Once again with the Samson Q2U, we have both the USB and the XLR ports which you can use the same way as the previous mic. 

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The mic pictured here comes with a great little package that you can get which includes a desktop stand, some decent Samson Playback headphones, a mic clip, USB and XLR cables, and it even comes with Cakewalk Music Creator as well.  The asking price is pretty great, so you should take advantage while you can, as this is essentially all you need for a podcast.

Here is a great video review of the Samson Q2U.

Check for deals on the Samson Q2U on Amazon now


The Shure SM58

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This microphone is really easy to spot at music events because it’s so widely used.  Literally every rock star ever has used one of these, and once you get to know the look of the Shure SM58, you’ll start seeing them everywhere.  It generally comes with a cable (or not), and that’s about it, but is still a very dynamic microphone and not a bad bet for a beginner podcaster.  They have an amazing quality because no matter how many times they get dropped or knocked into a puddle, they still seem to run great! Isn’t that amazing?

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If you want to do in-person interviews, this microphone is great to use with a Zoom –H5. If you want to get a mic that will likely outlive you, and can really take a pounding, the Shure SM58 is perfect.  Oh, and one thing we can’t forget to mention is that most mics have a problem with P’s and need a good pop filter.  Not the SM58.  This is the kind of mics that punk bands use, screaming into it for hours on it.

Of course, you can treat this mic with more elegance, get it a proper stand, and use it for podcasting, because this is THE standard for performances mics around the world. 

Here is a comparison video between the ATR 2100 and the SM58.

Check for deals on the Shure SM58 on Amazon now


The MXL 990

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This is one of the first microphones to be considered high quality that reached the hands of different musicians looking for an affordable but higher quality mic, and, eventually, it reached the podcasting community.

The MXL 990 is a condenser microphone, that comes with an XLR analog output, which means that in order to use it you need a high-quality mixer and some slick software to take full advantage.

Or you could just go with Garageband, but we recommend something a little more immersive. So, if you really want to be a podcasting expert, go donate 8 quarts of blood, get that cash, and go get yourself a MXL 990.

Will the MXL be the podcasting mic for you?  Take a look at this video review and hear one man’s opinion.

Check for deals on the MXL 990 on Amazon now


The Heil PR40

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There are many podcasters out there in 2016 using this microphone because they want a high quality no-nonsense microphone that will produce the best quality sound that they can get at a price that won’t break the bank.

Although users do admit that it is a good microphone, some beginner podcasters have an issue with price, which can be upwards of $300.  Hence it gets labelled “overrated” sometimes.  That said, perhaps “overpriced” might be a better way to describe this mic.  

However, other customers do believe that the price is well warranted.  Why?  Because it is not only a sensitive mic sound wise, but it is designed to be classy and elegant.  Its features include its zinc-die cast bottom, steel body, neodymium magnetic structure, and its dynamic frequency range.  If you are willing to shell out a few more dollars, this mic is a great all purpose mic with great sound and it is perfect for podcasters.

Take a look at this video review of the Heil PR40.

Check for deals on the Heil PR 40 on Amazon now


The Shure SM7b

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This is one of the best microphones in the podcast industry, used by amateur and pro podcasters alike.  Whereas the Shure SM58 is known for its durability, the SM7B is known for its cardioid clarity.  It’s completely worth the asking price, which is more than reasonable for a mic like this. It is a microphone of exceptional quality and has extremely clean and natural sonic representation which makes it appropriate for either speech and music.

Technically speaking, it sports a bass rolloff and an emphasis on the mid-range, giving the Shure SM7B plenty of presence, and even a graphical display so you can see the mic’s response to your voice.  You can hear the sound of the SM7B on a lot of CBC radio broadcasts if you live in Canada.

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There is also a built-in pop filter with this mic which makes it especially suited to podcasts, because things like breathing and certain sounds like P’s and B’s are dealt with by the mechanics of the mic, and by the wild screen that comes with (which is detachable), and so there’s no need for a pop filter here.  Close up vocals sound warm and rich with this mic. 

In addition, the mechanics of this mic are designed to block out background noises and interference by other signals that are within range of the mic.  It comes with a locking yoke mount as well, but no stand, so that’s on you.  All around, podcasters have nothing but praise for the the Shure SM7B!

Check out this video review of the Shure SM7B to see if it suits your needs.

Check for deals on the Shure SM7B on Amazon now

What Equipment Do I Need For A Live Podcast?

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Podcasting is a growing phenomenon and there are already a large number of podcasters making a living even in small niches. And there are even more of them who are doing it to promote themselves and their other projects. It’s a medium that allows you to build a personal connection with your audience and all kinds of performers including DJs, comedians, beauty experts, and so on, can greatly benefit from starting a good podcast.

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Oh, and if you happen to be in the music business already, such as if you are a DJ, this definitely puts you at an advantage, since you have both experience and gear that you can use.  If you are totally starting from scratch, that’s ok.  

Podcasting is for everyone who isn’t afraid to talk and let people hear what you have to say.  So, whether you own music gear already or not, you’ll probably need to buy a few things as well just for the podcast.  So, let’s see what you need to start podcasting.

Hardware

The first and main thing that you need to pick up is a microphone.  Clearly, you couldn’t do a podcast without a good way to record yourself and having decent sound matters.

Condenser vs. Dynamic

There are two main types of microphones you can get – dynamic and condenser microphones. Generally speaking, condenser microphones tend to be more expensive, fragile and much more sensitive. They are usually used in sound-treated studios to get the highest quality recordings and pick up almost every sound from the room you place them in.

Here is a selection of bestselling condenser mics from Amazon that you can browse if you’re looking to buy.

Feature Picks

Neewer Nw-700 Professional Studio Broadcasting Recording Condenser Microphone & Nw-35 Adjustable

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Neewer Nw-800 Professional Studio Broadcasting & Recording Microphone Set Including (1)Nw-800

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Mxl Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Buy On Amazon

On the other hand, dynamic microphones tend to be used more commonly by live performers because they pick up loud sound sources at short ranges like a person speaking or singing into them, but don’t tend to register fainter sounds that are further away.   Here is a decent selection of dynamic mics in case you’re looking to buy.

Feature Picks

Shure Sm48-Lc Vocal Dynamic Microphone, Cardioid

Buy On Amazon

Pyle-Pro Professional Moving Coil Dynamic Cardioid Unidirectional Vocal Handheld Microphone Includes 15Ft Xlr Audio Cable To 1/4”

Buy On Amazon

Cad Audio Kbm412 Dynamic Cardioid Kick Microphone

Buy On Amazon

Additionally, condenser microphones require their own power supply while dynamic mikes don’t.  

Podcasting Microphones

It’s important to note that the podcasting world has been flooded with cheaper condenser USB microphones, so looking at entry-level podcasting options condenser mikes would actually be cheaper.  

Some of the cheapest models one could get are Blue Microphones Snowball, Audio-Technica ATR2500 and Samson C01U Pro which are all USB condenser microphones.

Feature Pick

Blue Snowball Ice Condenser Microphone, Cardioid – Black

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You usually see condenser microphones in studios and dynamic mikes on stages, but podcasting might have a bit of different requirements. If you can record in a sound-proof studio or booth (be it a home one), you will definitely get better sound quality with a condenser microphone. But if are hoping to simply record in your room, a decent dynamic mike will provide decent enough sound quality while significantly reducing background noise and making your neighbor’s dog a much more unlikely guest on your podcast.  

Get Something Useful  

If you are either a DJ or a musician who performs regularly, it might be a much better idea to invest in a microphone that you will get some additional use out of. If you talk to audiences, get a nice dynamic microphone like the classic Shure SM58 which will also do a good job as your podcasting weapon of choice.

Feature Pick

Shure Sm58S Vocal Microphone (With On Off Switch)

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 If you want to produce some original tracks and would like to be able to record vocals, it would make a lot of sense to spring for a higher quality vocal condenser microphone which will also make your podcast sound amazing.   But if you are getting a condenser mike you need to take care of two important things. First of all, you need to power that thing. USB microphones are much less versatile, so getting an XLR one is advisable. Additionally, it’s not a good idea to use a condenser microphone in a room that is not sound-proof and suitable for recording.  

Other Hardware  

Besides the actual microphone, you can also decide to spring for a simple mike stand or even an overhead broadcast boom like the Heil Sound PL-2T to make recording more pleasant and comfortable.

Feature Pick

Heil Sound Pl-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom

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The other essential piece of equipment is headphones, but many people already have some good ones kicking around just for listening pleasure.  If not, here is a selection of bestselling headphones for you to browse.

Feature Picks

Tzumi Bluetooth Stereo Foldable Rechargeable Wireless Headphones With Powerful Bass – Built In High Definition Microphone And Remote Music Control (Black)

Buy On Amazon

Kinivo Bth240 Bluetooth Stereo Headphone – Supports Wireless Music Streaming And Hands-Free Calling (Black)

Buy On Amazon

Edifier H840 Audiophile Over-The-Ear Headphones – Hi-Fi Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Closed Monitor Music Listening Stereo Headphone

Buy On Amazon

On top of that, if you feel like investing a lot into this, you can get preamps for your microphones, a multichannel mixer for when you have many guests and so on.

Software

If you’re a recording artist or otherwise just have some audio know-how, it is very likely that you are already familiar with more powerful editing and recording software than the basic stuff you would need for podcasting already.  But, if you aren’t, you can always start with something simple and free as GarageBand, or you can use something like Audacity or Sound Forge.

Feature Pick

Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 10

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And for people already used to powerful DAW software, editing a podcast will be a breeze.

The real challenge you’ll face is when you start having guests over Skype or another similar application. The best thing to do is to have everybody record their own voice that you would mix later.

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