Podcasting—all the cool kids are doing it. Maybe your kid wants to be cool. Maybe it’s your dad who wants to pontificate online (let him, it’ll keep him quieter at dinner). Or maybe you’ve got a friend who’s getting into podcasting but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles just yet.
If that’s the case, check out this holiday gift guide, geared toward the podcaster—or wannabe podcaster—in your life!
1. Studio Broadcasting Mic on a Budget: The Logitech G Yeti GX
Last year, we recommended the RØDE NT-USB Mini USB microphone in this role as an ideal budget studio broadcasting mic, and that’s still a solid choice for those seeking crystal-clear audio quality without breaking the bank. But this year, Logitech has made moves in purchasing successful mic manufacturer Blue Microphones, and its update to the venerable Yeti line is a terrific new recommendation for the modern podcaster and streamer.
Enter the Logitech G Yeti GX RGB USB-C Gaming Microphone, a desktop dynamic mic with a supercardioid pickup pattern that deftly avoids unwanted room sounds inherent in home podcasting environments. With the G Yeti GX you get built-in Blue VO!CE audio processing for creating engaging content and plenty of onboard control.
Advanced auto-gain control and noise removal software further ensure you won’t pick up any keyboard taps or fans and you’ll get the perfect-sounding take every time. Best of all, you get exciting dual-zone RGB with LIGHTSYNC tech for a stunning look if you’re streaming your podcasts or if you simply want to build an aesthetically pleasing studio setup for yourself. To learn more, click here.
2. Legendary Live Microphone: The Shure SM58-LC
If your buddy is an aspiring comedian/podcaster, consider giving them a Shure SM58-LC. This classic live XLR mic also excels at recording, especially on comedy podcasts, where friends tend to hang out and shoot the breeze, holding the mic in their hands. A cost-efficient option, the mic is recognizable to most comedians who’ve ever graced a stage.
Keep that “stage” part in mind as you consider this gift for your comedy-podcast friend: see, this is a time of increased hygienic awareness. So why not give your buddy the gift of a classic microphone to serve two purposes. They can use it at home for their own podcasts and take it on the road whenever they do perform, minimizing the risk of sharing mics with people on stage.
3. The Perfect Mic for Remote Interviews: The RØDE Wireless GO II
RØDE is a company that is dedicated to the pursuit of perfected mobile audio on a budget. With its updated and well-respected GO II system, the brand has nearly achieved that. The RØDE Wireless GO II is a compact wireless microphone system featuring mini clip-on transmitter/recorders with quality omnidirectional built-in mics, as well as a two-channel receiver with meter display.
Versatile, robust, and easy to use, the Wireless GO II system is perfect for videography, vlogging, mobile journalism, and most importantly, one-on-one interviews. There are no menus and finicky dials, just simple power-on-and-use functionality that can be enhanced further with RØDE’s free companion app.
The scalable Wireless GO II system is available with one or two transmitters, making it easy to fit into any workflow. Use the transmitters as clip-on mics for pristine audio quality and near-instant setup, or add on optional lavalier mics, external interfaces, and more for a professional upgrade. You can rest assured that when you whip out this system during an interview, your subject will know you’re serious.
4. The Best Overall Hybrid Mic for Podcasting: The Shure MV7
Behold, the Shure MV7 Podcast Mic. Last year we recommended this mic as the best hybrid mic for podcasting, and a year later its premier placement in this category hasn’t changed: it’s still the ideal choice for those seeking a top-notch podcasting mic with the flexibility of two outputs.
The MV7 looks like the venerable SM7B, and it offers similar performance features (warm tone, directional polar pattern, end-address design). Like the SM7B, it has an XLR output for interfaces, and analog gear. But it also has a USB connection, giving you broadcast-quality 24-bit / 48 kHz sound. So, your buddy can plug into a hard disk recorder, an interface, or directly into a computer, doing so at a lower price than the famous SM7B. Click here to watch a video review of the Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone.
5. The Simple At-Home Interface: The Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (4th Gen)
Maybe your buddy hasn’t gotten started yet. They need a great interface to get them up and running at home, something simple that sounds great.
For those needs, the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 fills the bill, with two inputs, zero-latency monitoring, and the ability to take phone calls over VoIP, thanks to virtual loop-back inputs. If your friend and one other person are podcasting, with the occasional Skype call-in, this is a great, wallet-friendly starter piece.
Since last year, the Scarlett 4i4 has been updated with a 4th generation version. This new version brings new 4th gen mic preamps to the table. These preamps sport a huge 69 dB gain range and a selectable per-channel Air mode that adds high-end presence and rich harmonic drive to vocals, a great way to enhance the sound of your podcasts.
For a video review of the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4, click here.
6. The On-the-Go Recorder/Interface: The Tascam Portacapture X6
If you really want to get into the portable podcasting and recording world, Tascam’s new Portacapture X6 Field Recorder is a great way to get started. Sporting six-channel recording with its built-in stereo condenser mics, two XLR inputs (with phantom power), and stereo 3.5mm input, you can engage in everything from simple nature field recording to audio-for-video productions, interviews, podcasts, live music recording, and much more.
The big smartphone-like touchscreen is bright, colorful, and incredibly easy to use. With a few taps and swipes you’ll be off recording pro-quality audio in no time. The 96 kHz / 32-bit floating point recording ensures your six channels will feature top-of-the-line audio quality with minimal distortion and clipping. You can even mount the X6 on a camera or stand with its universal ¼" slot.
The X6 provides just about everything you could need for portable audio needs, but if more inputs are needed, you can also check out its larger sibling, the Portacapture X8.
7. The Complete Interface Package: The RØDECaster Pro II
The RØDECaster Pro II is the most expensive item on this gift-giving guide. But it’s arguably the most complete, as well. Need to record four people with high-end pristine mic pres? Check. Need four low-noise headphone outputs for everyone to listen to their headphones? Check. Want to EQ or compress the vocals on the spot? You’re good to go. Want to record to SD cards, sans computer? You got it.
The RØDECaster Pro II lets you record multitrack audio straight to computers for all its inputs. Whereas the aforementioned Portacapture X6 offers 2 XLR inputs, the RØDECaster Pro II can handle 4 XLR/Combo inputs for your audio sources (plus a stereo mix), separated into their own channels on the way in. This makes it perfect for easier, computer-based editing down the line. Interested in watching a video review? Click here for it.
8. Quality Headphones at a Wallet-Friendly Price: The Sony MDR-7506
Your podcasting friend will need a powerful pair of headphones, one that can handle monitoring purposes (hearing their own voice while recording) and mixing the final product. Last year, we recommended the SONY MDR-7506s, a pair of headphones that have stood the test of time in the mission-critical field. These headphones are still our recommendation, and for good reason.
First, these headphones are ubiquitous in broadcasting, so it pays to “learn” them early, if you’re planning on making a career in the industry. Secondly, these cans are more wallet-friendly than many competing headphones, making them a seriously high-value purchase.
But the third reason is where the real money is: If any vocal is remotely sibilant, these headphones will let you know! They have a way of translating pesky top-end transients that is undeniable.
In an age where podcasting from home is now ubiquitous, so is the rise of harsh, sibilant audio. So, think of us advocating for these Sony headphones as a kind of public service. If your buddy catches sibilance in these puppies, they’re far more likely to spare the listening public in the resulting mix.
9. A Frequently Sought-After Accessory: the Cloudlifter
A question we get a lot is, “Help! When I pair my mic with my recorder, there’s a lot of low-level noise! What do I do?” The answer is frequently the same: “get a Cloudlifter.”
The Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 adds transparent gain to passive mics, such as the ones frequently used in podcasting. This simple little device makes it easier to get a louder, but less noisy sound out of a dynamic mic. The CL-1 is a problem solver, but it’s not eye or ear candy. This makes it a perfect gift because you’re saving your friend from having to buy it.
Of course, if you’re looking for a great-sounding podcast mic with the features of the CL-1 built in already, you can check out Shure’s new SM7dB microphone, which combines the legendary pedigree of the SM7B with a Cloud Microphones-designed preamp for potent, low-noise output.
10. Essential Accessories No One Wants to Buy
Cables are not fun to buy, yet they are necessary. So, do your podcasting friend a favor and buy them some spare XLR and USB cables. Also, they might be interested in a spiffy broadcast arm, which you can check out here.
Batteries are also necessary, especially for portable recorders; you can never have too many AA batteries.
SD and MicroSD cards are boring. No one wants to spend money on them, but they are a necessity for recorders like the Tascam Portacapture X6 and RØDECaster Pro II. So, buy your podcasting friend an SD card, especially if your friend already has everything else for a podcasting setup. We have multiple kinds available here.
11. All-in-One Kits
Did you know that B&H carries a variety of packaged, all-in-one kits for podcasting? Whether you’re looking at a USB mic with a boom arm and a pair of headphones or a comprehensive suite of plug-ins for audio cleanup, you can find many wallet-friendly kits by clicking this link.
We hope that you have found this list helpful! Do you think we left anything vital out? Drop us a line below, and we’ll do our best to reply to your comments and questions.