Why Gear Matters Least When You’re Starting a Podcast

I’ll just get this out of the way now: I love me some gear. I’m an early adopter when it comes to tech, I like trying out new stuff, and A/V gear has become a bit of a hobby for me. However, when I first started my podcast, I was less concerned with the perfect mic, and more interested in a decent mic.

If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, but you’re worried you don’t sound perfect, STOP. Gear should be the least of your worries when you’re starting a podcast. Here’s why.

It’s Easier to Talk About Gear Than Almost Anything Else

You might think as you look at podcast resources, videos, and advice columns, that the pursuit for the perfect mic is tantamount to the success of your podcast. That’s because it’s easy for a lot of people to talk about gear. It’s a concrete concept – perhaps the most concrete concept when it comes to starting your show.

That content isn’t necessarily just for beginners either. I upgraded my mic 3 or 4 times1 before settling on what will be my “very long time” mic, the Shure SM7b.

Constantly recommending gear also allows content creators to make money off of affiliate links. Take it from me: I made $3,000 from Amazon affiliate links alone last year, after they reduced commission percentages. Most of that came from people buying gear I recommended. There are even affiliate links in this post.

Talking About Gear Isn’t Bad

I’ll just say right here that talking about gear isn’t bad. I do it and plan to continue doing it for some of the reasons above. It makes money, it’s fun to talk about, and honestly, it’s content that does well. People are curious to get a peek on the other side of the camera or mic.

They like to see how things are done, and I’m very willing to share. That sharing helps them get ideas, and it helps me improve. Thanks to some YouTube comments, I was able to improve my mic technique and fix a slight frame rate issue that offset the audio from the video ever-so-slightly.

BUT there’s too much of an emphasis on that for beginner podcasters.

“You Have to Sound Perfect” is Terrible Advice

Recently I was having a conversation with someone that got the impression from professional podcasters that even starting out, you need to sound perfect.

This is terrible advice.

First of all, most of us are never going to sound “perfect.” We aren’t in a sound booth, with a producer, and a team of audio engineers. But I know that’s not what people mean when they say that.

They mean you need to spend a lot of money on a mic, interface, and good recording software. You don’t. If you feel this way, you’ll never launch your podcast.

Start off Simple

Here’s what you should know about gear and sound:

  1. Don’t sound like you’re recording in a bathroom stall.
  2. Try to reduce echo and don’t use the built-in mic.
  3. Use headphones when you record so the sound from your speakers doesn’t go back into your mic.

If you absolutely need a mic recommendation, I have 2 depending on budget:

  1. The ATR-2100x if you can spend around $100
  2. The Shure SM47-LC if you’re looking for sub-$50.

These are both USB mics, so they’re the only gear you’ll need assuming you already have a pair of headphones. They are also both dynamic mics, making them more forgiving of your recording environment.

What Should You Focus On?

So if gear matters least, what matters most? Content. The perfect mic can’t make you podcast consistently just like the perfect task manager won’t make you more productive. They help you do. They don’t do.

When you’re starting a podcast, your main focus should be content. Come up with 20-30 episode ideas. Record a couple of demos. Figure out a schedule that works for you.

Fight Podfade2 by getting ahead of your schedule and having a bunch of episodes ready to go before you launch. Then batch your content so you’re not constantly struggling to keep up.

Buy a basic dynamic mic, then record your content. I mean, how upset would you be if you spent $1,000 on audio gear just to use it a few times and then give up?

Improve as You Go Along

One of the problems with “sounding perfect” right off the bat is you don’t know what perfect is for you. Sure, you know what professional podcasters sound like. But they aren’t you.

I’m no Paul O’Neill

My favorite baseball player growing up was Paul O’Neill. He was on my favorite team (The Yankees), we both played Right Field, and we both played the drums. I loved his swing. In my efforts to become a great baseball player, I wanted to perfect my home run swing. But I couldn’t just emulate his.

For one, he’s a lefty and I’m a righty. He’s tall and skinny. I’m short and portly. My perfect swing is different from his. My perfect pitch to hit is different from his.

Similarly, sounding “perfect” is something you’ll need to work at over time. Your voice is different from other voices. Your environment is different. Your content, confidence, and cadence are different.

You won’t know what to work on unless you start doing.

Done is Better Than Perfect

If you wait until your podcast is 100% perfect, you’ll never launch. So instead, launch, and then work on getting better. Focus on creating good content, have a bunch of episodes recorded in advanced.

Worry about your gear once you have a good process for being consistent under your belt.


  1. Samson, Blue Yeti, Rode Procaster, Shure SM7B ?
  2. According to AmplifiMedia, 75% of podcasts become inactive. Most don’t make it past 7 episodes. ?


No, Netflix’s New Audio-Only Mode Doesn’t Threaten Podcasting

Over on Podnews today they have a section about how Netflix is rolling out an audio-only mode on Android. They believe it could threaten podcasting because Netflix hopes you’ll stay in that app instead of listening to a podcast. I’m here to tell you this won’t even remotely threaten podcasting. Here’s why.

Read More “No, Netflix’s New Audio-Only Mode Doesn’t Threaten Podcasting”

How to Improve Audio Recordings at Home

Recording audio at home can be tough, especially if you don’t have the environment. On top of that, what app do you use to record, and how can you prevent that “robot voice” that happens if you’re recording online with other people. Let’s take a look at a few helpful techniques.

Read More “How to Improve Audio Recordings at Home”
| | |

My Travel Recording Setup

I was watching Friends last night (something I often do) and started thinking about the recording technology of the mid to late 90s. It occurred to me that my iPhone is more powerful than at least some of the cameras featured in the show. It also got me thinking about my new travel recording gear. Since WordCamp US is just a few days away, now’s as good a time as any to outline what I’ll be bringing with me!

Read More “My Travel Recording Setup”

Using the iPad Pro as my Travel Laptop

Since going out on my own full time, my tech stack has been a bit of a revolving door. In the quest to find the perfect set up I went from a MacBook Pro to a PC / smaller MacBook for travel. Less than a year later and I’m not too happy with that setup. Nothing against the PC, but living in two-thirds Apple land makes having parity between machines very hard (plus, Camtasia, my main video editor, is a hot mess). So when Apple announced the new iPad Pros, I made a decision to go with that and only that as my travel machine.

Read More “Using the iPad Pro as my Travel Laptop”

| | |

Podcasting: How to Get Good Room Acoustics

Since professional recording is now the lion’s share of my work, I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything I could to get good room acoustics. Here, I break down what I did to make sure that my sound it top quality, before it ever hits my mic. If video is your preferred format, I have that too, after the jump!

Read More “Podcasting: How to Get Good Room Acoustics”

| |

My Podcasting Setup and Process, Summer 2018

I tend to get a lot of questions about my podcast setup, especially lately. Lots of people want to get into podcasting and I love that! I’ve written about my setup before, and last week wrote about everything on my desk. I touched on some of my gear there, but in this post I want to dig into the real setup, and the current process, as well as improvements I’d like to make.

Read More “My Podcasting Setup and Process, Summer 2018”