The Exact Microphones and Gear You Need to Start a Podcast with Two Hosts
There are a few barriers to entry when it comes to starting a podcast. The questions pop up in Facebook groups and Reddit threads and Google searches all the time:
What is the best mic for podcasting?
What kind of mixer do I need for my podcast?
What’s the best starter podcast gear setup?
I find the answers to these questions to be weighed down with industry jargon and self-proclaimed audiophiles trying to outdo each other with their advanced gear recommendations.
Of course, there are north of a million microphones on the market that will record sound into your computer for later editing and distribution. But let me make this simple for you and share the exact setup that I use to record my podcast, Little Stories.
The sound quality is stellar and the setup is simple. Here is the exact microphone and gear you need to start a two host podcast.
Two hosts means you need two microphones. Before you roll your eyes and mutter, “Duh!” in my direction, let me explain why you can’t just buy two microphones and be done with it.
When I first started my podcast, I purchased two popular USB mics that I plugged into two separate USB ports on my MacBook Pro. While they were an all-in-one option, but they really aren’t intended to be used that way.
USB mics have phantom power, meaning they supply their own power by feeding of the laptop. This really overloads the sound cards on most laptops, giving your entire podcast track a random, frenetic ticking and clicking that is impossible to remove while editing.
Instead, grab a set of standard dynamic vocal microphones. You know, like those mics you dramatically drop at the karaoke bar when your song is over? Those ones.
I love our Samson R21 Dynamic Vocal Microphones that came in a pack of three. I only need two, but this three-pack is a better price point than buying two individual microphones. Plus, they come in a case with their own mic stand attachments. Super convenient.
The next important piece of gear for your podcasting setup is a mixer. This piece might seem intimidating with the dials, buttons, inputs, and new vocabulary associated with it, but don’t stress. You don’t need a professional sound board with all the things to have a great, professional sounding podcast.
My favorite mixer is the Behringer U-Phoria UMC202-HD. This mixer has two inputs for your two microphones, and it connects via USB to your computer. You can record in two tracks (mono or stereo) and independently adjust volume. The headphone jack is a plus so you can monitor your sound as you record.
Your microphones won’t use USB cables to connect to your computer, so you’ll need XLR cables instead. Don’t worry about the acronym, just know that these are standard audio cables you see your fave musicians twirling around on stage.
The mixer bundle I linked above comes with two XLR cables, so you’re good to go and you’ll save a little money buying in a bundle. But if you need a replacement cable or want to buy them separately (maybe you need different lengths) you can snag those right here.
If you want the best sound from your microphones, don’t host your show holding the mics. Instead, setup at a table (or like us, at my kitchen island) and anchor your mics in some table top stands. These stands do not come with mic attachments, but don’t worry, because the mic set I recommended above includes your clips. These are nothing fancy, but they get the job done and are affordable.
You Can Do This
Why does the internet make it feel like you need to be a professional audio engineer, seasoned public speaker, and a stand-up comic to produce a great podcast?
I joined a ton of Facebook groups for podcasters when I first started my show, and I was so bummed out by the commenters discouraging others from getting started because they didn’t have the fanciest gear and didn’t know how to setup tracks or even press record.
While this is the gear I used to get Little Stories podcast off the ground and I’m confident you’ll love using this equipment to start your show, you don’t need it. You can start your podcast right now by opening the Voice Memos app on your iPhone. Just start talking. Don’t let perfection paralysis tackle you at the starting line.
Every now and then I like to go back to the earliest episodes of My Favorite Murder (any Murderinos reading this?) Their massive show is always at the top of Apple Podcast charts with sold out live shows, a New York Times bestselling book, an online fan club, full weekend festivals, their own damn podcasting network with employees, and more… But it didn’t start with perfection. In fact, I’d argue their first episodes were actually kind of terrible.
Just start where you’re at. I can’t wait to see what you create.