Not too much has changed in relation to my podcast kit for 2020, though these days I’m carrying around a lot more cables, just in case.
My original post for 2018 and 2019 combines a lot of equipment that’s still in use on the road, but also at home.
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Recorder: Zoom H6
Two years on with the Zoom H6 and I would be lost without it. It’s a powerhouse of a mobile recording device that gives me access to 4 mono channels (XLR), plus an XY or omni mic for the head. Separately, I’ve picked up a few lavalier mics and fashioned a bit of cabling that allows me to use them on the zoom for camera interviews.
The Zoom H6 is available standalone or as a kit with a few extras and records everything onto SD card. There’s phantom power available at 24/48v, with on board compressors and limiters.
It’s available on Amazon for around €330-€340 but if you shop around you should get it closer to €300.
Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 250ohm
I’ve upgraded my headphones from the DT150’s to a pair of DT770 Pro at 250ohm and there’s a whopper of a difference. The 250ohm model packs huge low end and top end, is a little flat in the middle but is super comfortable on the ear and sturdy in design.
When the camera comes out I’ll switch to a set of the clear Shure SE215s – these will fit in your pocket, the DT770s definitely won’t.
When I’m recording the Ken On Food podcast, I tend to use the Rode NTG-2. It comes with a shockmount and separate handle (for a boom pole or tripod) which is super handy in avoiding additional noise.
If your handling technique with a microphone is good, you’ll have no problem with this. It captures a clean focused sound, and works great handheld or mounted.
The NTG-2 is still pricey and it will cost you close to €200.
In recording UR Podcast, which usually features 3 to 4 voices, I’ll pack a couple of Shure SM58s. These things will outlive the cockroaches when the world comes crumbling down. I’m fairly sure the few that I’m packing in the bag are ten years old or close to it, and they’ll go for another ten easy.
Depending on where you shop, you’ll spend anywhere from €100 to €130 for a new SM58, but even second-hand they should be fairly reliable.
Below is an episode of UR Podcast with three SM58s used in the conversation.
To use the NTG-2 or the SM58s with the Zoom H6, you’ll need some XLR cables. I always carry more than I need. With three or four voices to record, I’ll have maybe seven working leads in the bag, just in case. You never know!
If it’s just the NTG-2 I’m using, I’ll bring a short lead (1-2ft tops). As the SM58s are usually used in some kind of seated discussion, I’ll be packing 6ft leads.
Splitters & Other Leads
These don’t come into play all that often but I’ll carry two or three y-splitter cables with me along with a mini jack to mini jack stereo lead of short length (maybe 3ft).
Well, with the aforementioned lav mics, I’ve made up a Y cable that takes two mono sockets into a stereo plug. The reason for this is to capture both mics but on separate channels (one left, one right) to allow for room in post.
The second Y cable (stereo plug to two stereo sockets, or a headphone splitter cable) I can use to split the headphone out on the Zoom H6, with the third sometimes being used if there’s a camera involved. I’ll have a separate post on that.
Needless to say, if you’re in to sharing audio sources or need to monitor and share, these are fierce handy to have.
Batteries & Cards
The Zoom H6 requires 4 AA batteries to run. These days I keep a stash of Duracell industrial batteries handy. A pack of ten might cost in the region of €7.
The H6 records everything to SD but I won’t leave home without at least two cards. Class 10, high speed.
At least if you have one in the Zoom case, you won’t have to kick yourself when you realise you left your primary SD card plugged into the card reader at home.
Last but by no means least, you’ve got to get something to carry the lot. I picked up a Stanley 16″ hard-based toolbag for under €30.
It’s a rigid bag and you can pick them up in most hardware shops, motor stores or garden centres as well.
This thing has loads of room, will take 6 or 7 mics, 7 large XLRs, all my small cables, the DT-770s, a packet of batteries, a bunch of pens and I can close the lid on it with the full Zoom H6 hard case inside.
It’s a little builder-ish, but it’s nifty.
In summary: What do I bring and when?
If I’m recording one-to-one on the move
- Zoom H6
- Rode NTG-2
- Beyerdynamic DT770s or alternative headphones
If I’m doing a round table podcast
- Zoom H6
- Up to four Shure SM58s with foam popshields
- Up to four XLR/microphone leads
- Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro headphones
- Spare batteries, spare memory card