For over a year-and-a-half now, I’ve been running Pubcast Worldwide, the podcast where I get to interview creatives, celebrities, and other interesting people over beverages at some of the best bars and breweries on the planet. Now – with over 40 episodes, more than 20 cities, and 6 different countries under my belt – I continue to hear the following question more and more often:
“What equipment do you use to record an on-site podcast?”
Great question, and it’s time to give you an answer! In an effort to distill this as clearly as possible (yes, that was an alcohol pun), I’ve put together this brief blog post to outline the equipment that I use to make and produce Pubcast Worldwide.
To start, this isn’t the only blog post on the internet outlining the perfect mobile rig for podcasting. In fact, my “portable studio” is a hybrid of equipment from a number of lists that I pulled from when I was just getting started. You can find those here, here, and here (this last one’s my favorite). But, for a show that by its very nature takes place outside of a proper studio and, sometimes, in noisy / crowded / drunk / less-than-ideal environments, the equipment in this setup keeps the sound quality under control. Here goes:
While Zoom makes a number of different mobile recorders (the H4 is another popular option), I prefer the H6 because it has (4) XLR inputs. This is great because then if I feature more than one guest at a time, every guest gets a microphone. In addition to being easy-to-use, it’s compact and comes with a solid carrying case.
While the H6 comes with a 2 GB SD card, I’d recommend going with no less than a 32 GB card so that you’ll never need to worry about running out of audio space. I use a 128 GB card and after recording 30+ episodes, it still has plenty of room. Most importantly, don’t forget to format the card with your H6 before recording your first episode. You’ll be bummed later if you don’t and can’t upload the audio files to your computer!
OK, so this is pretty much specific to my show, but I’d be misinforming you if I didn’t include this as an essential piece of “equipment” within my portable podcasting studio. Cheers!
I have an additional dynamic microphone in my arsenal for a couple reasons. First, this doubles as a USB microphone, so it allows me to record intros and outros for each episode straight to my computer in Audacity. In addition, it’s an extra, lower-cost microphone I can use when I’ve got more than one guest on the show.
Since the Zoom H6 recorder runs on (4) AA batteries, but also comes with a cable for USB power, I’ve found this to be a helpful addition to my podcasting toolbox since it prevents me from having to swap out batteries all the damn time. While plugging into an outlet is always an option, I’ve found that a convenient power source in most bars and breweries is something to be desired. Since it has 2 USB inputs, you can also keep your iPhone charged should you choose to video record an episode on Facebook Live as I sometimes do.
I know, this isn’t equipment, this is software, but I’d be doing you a disservice not telling you what I use to produce the show after it’s recorded. Audacity is – in my experience – the best free software available for producing a podcast. The editing interface is intuitive, the post-production effects are great for cleaning up the sound (compressor, peak limiter, and other words that probably mean nothing to you at the moment…), and once you pop the SD card into your Mac and hit “Import,” all your audio from the episode you just recorded is there. Also, it’s free, which is never a bad thing.
So there you have it! That’s all the gear that brings Pubcast Worldwide to life from a watering hole near you! If you’re not already subscribed to Pubcast Worldwide, or you’re just curious to learn more about it, make sure to subscribe on the podcasting platform of your choosing (iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, etc.).