Do you currently run a podcast, are thinking of starting a podcast, or have a loved one that is? Chances are the answer is, yes. Podcasting is the latest trend among creatives, businesses, and people that think, “I can totally talk about something for an hour” and we’re here to help you find the perfect gift for the podcaster in your life.
It’s all in the details
Podcasting is a great hobby but once you’ve gone into the deep end, you’ll quickly notice that you’ll need to consider things like branding and improving audio quality. That’s why this section is devoted to the little details that mean a lot for the success of any podcast.
Mic flags are simple boxes that cover the barrel of your microphone that can be used to affix branding or a call sign. Nothing fancy here but it goes a long way to giving your podcast a more polished look. There are more expensive, custom options but if you don’t have access to the logo files or don’t want to ruin the surprise going the Amazon route is a better option.
Product Description via Amazon:
- Color: Mainly black.Material: ABS plastic.Shape: Triangular.
- Hole Diameter: Approx. 3.9cm1.54 inch(internal with adjustable Sponge).
- Logo Diameter: Approx. 9.4cm3.7 inch.Logo Heigth: Approx. 5cm1.97 inch.
- Suitable for Professional interview microphone Station logo, triangle design.
- Large place to show logo, can print your own covers.
Under $20 via Amazon
Acoustic Foam Paneling
Podcasting is all about sound. One of the most overlooked pieces of equipment in most home studio setups is sound dampening. These acoustic foam panels help cut down unwanted echoing and clean up the overall audio quality of recording from home. It’s a minimal investment that nets big returns on sound quality – the podcaster in your life will love you for it.
Product Description via Amazon:
- PRODUCT IS SHIPPED AS 6 TILES, EACH TILE Splits into “2 WEDGES”.
- Once You Split – Each egg crate foam acoustic foam soundproofing Foam panels HIGHEST point reaches a 1-inch height. Its LOWEST point reaches 3/4 inch in height.
- Overall Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC): 0.40
- Smaller soundproof padding panels offer more options for placement and design
- Covers 12 sq. ft. (Covers 1 sq. ft. per sheet)
- Good for Recording Studios, Vocal Booths, Home Theaters -Enhance Sound Quality by Absorbing Noise and Echoes
- Can help increase sound clarity in a room or space.
What about Gear?
Outside of your computer, you will most likely need a microphone and an interface to record on. Unless you have access to a professional studio (in which case, hashtag-blessed) you will most likely be recording from your desktop or laptop. Most laptops have really bad onboard mics that sound tinny or as if you’re in another room – that’s why you should really consider at minimum a USB microphone. Creators looking for an analog mic setup pay attention:
Focusrite Scarlette 2i2 USB Audio Interface
If you’re looking to set up your computer to work with analog condenser or dynamic mics you’ll need a USB audio interface to get the job done. Rather than opting for the Scarlette bundle that includes a condenser mic and headphones, we opted for the 2i2 because you should spend a little more for better mics and headphones if you’re going this route. Analog mics tend to have better sound reproduction than USB options but that gap is quickly shrinking.
Key Features via Amazon:
- Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain
- Two instrument inputs designed for seriously hot pickups
- Conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz/24-bit
- Cue mix switching, with four analogue outputs
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+PK Streaming/Podcasting Pack
If you’re looking to jump right in and not worry about USB interfaces, the Audio-Technica Streaming/Podcasting pack has everything you need to get started. Featuring the AT2020 USB condenser mic and pair of ATH-M20X headphones you’ll be able to jump into the world of streaming/podcasting without sounding like you’re talking into your earbuds. (Yes, that’s how I started.)
Product Description via Sweetwater.com
- AT2020USB+ USB condenser microphone
- ATH-M20x headphones
- Boom arm
- Mic clip for boom stand
- Euro-thread adapter for mic clip
- Soft protective pouch
Getting the product to the people
When The Noisecast first launched, there was no easy way to record conversations among multiple guests across the internet. It often required re-routing audio either physically or virtually so that you could pipe it through to your DAW of choice and then editing/mixing once the show was recorded. When Google Plus first launched, the Hangouts on Air service allowed for live “taping” of Hangout video chats to be published on YouTube (which would ultimately be downloaded and edited). While it made the recording process easier, the quality of audio was always lacking.
Zencastr Pro Subscription
Fast forward to today and services like Zencastr make the entire process as easy as can be. All you need is a decent internet connection (a good mic helps but isn’t necessary) and a show and you’re ready to record.
Key Features via Zencastr.com
- Unlimited Guests
- Unlimited Recordings
- Live Edit Soundboard
- High-Quality MP3 Recording
- Record in 16-bit 44.1k .WAV
- 10 Hours of Automatic Post Production per month
While Zencastr is free to use, the paid features are definitely something that should be on any podcaster’s wishlist. The 10 hours of post-production work (sound leveling, elimination of most echos, etc.) mean you spend less worrying about the intricacies of sound engineering and more time promoting your show.