I’m on record as saying gear matters least…but process matters most! SO if you’re interested in my podcast setup, from gear to publish, read on!
Podcast Setup: Gear
First, let’s start with the fun part of the podcast setup – the gear. I’ll write everything here in the order in which the audio (my voice) hits the device, starting with the mic.
Microphone: Shure SM7B
My mic is theShure SM7B, which I’ve wanted ever since I heard about it. I thought I could get away with the cheaper Rode Procaster, but in the end, the SM7B is better for my voice – it sounds more natural, less muddy (or muffled/deep). This mic is also known by many as the “podcaster’s mic,” though it’s used by all sorts of professional vocalists, from Michael Jackson to the Pentatonix. This article breaks down why wonderfully.
That goes into a Cloudlifter CL-1. The SM7B is a power-hungry monster. Because of that, it needs extra gain (or power) to get good volume from the mic. Even with my interface (which I’ll talk about next), it could still use some clean, extra power. The Cloudlifter provides that.
Other Mic-Related Gear
- Wind Screen: The foam piece on the front of my mic protects it from hard breath sounds, wind, and plosives (hard P-sounds), improving the audio a bit. The SM7B comes with one specifically for podcasting / close talking.
- Boom Arm: This is what my mic is attached to. It keeps the mic off my desk, and gives me a lot of flexibility on placement, allowing me to improve my mic technique.
Preamp / Interface: Rodecaster Pro
My current interface is the increasingly popular Rodecaster Pro. It’s $600, but you get a full, 4-input podcast studio – you don’t even need a computer to record your show.
That said, it plugs right into your computer, and with the Rodecaster Pro software, you have lots of control over what tracks get recorded.
The thing I love about the this piece of hardware is that it gives you control over the processing, but you don’t need to be an audio engineer to use it – just a little knowledge will go a long way. With the Arrow, I felt like I didn’t know nearly enough about audio processing to use it to it’s full potential. Plus it fell down when I tried using it with multiple profiles on my computer.
All of that goes away with the Rodecaster Pro. So now I can dial my mics in just the I like, plus I can easily record to a microSD card as well. I’m a big fan so far. The only thing to keep in mind is that it has a big footprint. It’s basically an 8-channel mixer (4 mins, USB in/out, phone, Bluetooth device, and sound effects).
Also plugged in: my KRK Rokit 6 studio montiors with stands and wires, and DT 770 Pro monitor headphones.
Podcast Setup: Production Process
I try to be as hands-off as possible during my process, outside of the recording. Here’s how the whole process works.
I’ll get guests 2 ways: 1) they apply, I look into them, and I decide if they’d be a good fit for the show. Or 2) I reach out to them.
Once I’m ready to book a guest, I will use Calendly so they can pick a time that works for them. I have specific blocks throughout the week where I record interviews and do meetings. When they pick a time, they’ll get a calendar invite with a set of instructions, a Riverside.FM link, and a page for recording notes. Calendly automatically redirects to that page once they’re done signing up too.
It has what to expect, how we’ll record, and some tips for a smooth recording. I’ll also ask what their title is, and their company, so I don’t mess that up in the recording.
I have a Zapier automation setup so that when someone books with Calendly, several things happen:
- A new note is added in Notion. It will have my show notes template, the info they filled out, and some prompts for me. This note is also automatically shared with my VA and transcriber so they don’t need to spend a ton of time researching terms and looking up spellings
- An entry is added to Airtable. This is where I work out the schedule of episodes and where I add the sponsors.
Speaking of, on the day of recording, I’ll get that gist and relevant links. We’ll speak on Riverside.FM, which will capture my local audio, and more importantly, my guest’s local audio. Everything sounds super crisp. I’ll also record a backup using GarageBand, and a hardware backup to the Rodecaster Pro.
After a sound check, I make sure I know how to pronounce my guest’s name, and that we’re both recording our audio. Then we get to it. At the end of the recording, we wrap up, and I download both tracks separately.
Post-Production has been greatly simplified since the summer thanks to automation and Dropbox. I collect all of the audio files: my audio, my guest’s audio, the intro and outro bumpers, and sponsor spots.
I put them all in a Dropbox folder I share with my editor. He’ll take it from there with a few instructions from me. Once he’s done, he’ll put it in a separate Dropbox folder called “Needs Transcribing.” My transcriber will get a notification, and she’ll take care of it from there.
The “status” field in Airtable will also be updated to “Add to WordPress.” Once that happens, my VA gets an email and will upload the audio, copy, and show notes (which she gathers) to WordPress, and schedules both the public show and the members-only version for publication based on the publish date in Airtable.
With the audio set, there’s a couple more things that need to be done before launch:
- Create images with Canva. My VA does this using a template I created.
- Put together a simple description and show notes. I’ll write the description. My VA gathers the show notes
- Upload the transcript. My transcriber sends a Google Doc, and my VA adds it to WordPress
- Create a tweet thread for promotion using TweetHunter.
Ideally, I do this for 4-5 episodes at a time; this highly depends on what sponsors I have and when I get their assets.
Controlling Environment Sounds
Aside from improved recording gear for my podcast setup, I’ve gone through great lengths to make sure my environment is perfect for recording. This includes building a smart “on-air” light and treating the room with sound-absorbing panels. You can see my full desk/office setup here.
That’s About It!
So that’s my whole podcast setup – gear and software. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!