The Best Tools for a Mobile Podcast Studio

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As I listen to podcasting develop as an artform, I am constantly reminded that the possibilities in this medium truly are endless. Gear has gotten smaller and more portable, and podcasters of all kinds are now able to take their shows on the road. There are some different options in terms of gear that may apply, if, for example, your podcast is strictly a roundtable discussion type show, versus one with a more complex, audio-storytelling style format that calls for on-location interviews. We’ll review some of the different options below.

Taking Your Show on the Road

If your podcast is a formal interview, or roundtable discussion show, then a setup that features a portable recorder with tabletop microphones is the choice for you. The Zoom PodTrak P4 Portable Multitrack Podcast Recorder with 2-Person Podcast Mic Pack really makes things easy, because it includes everything you need to start producing high-quality podcasts with up to four people, in an extremely portable package. This B&H Kit includes the Zoom PodTrak P4 portable multitrack podcast recorder, and allows you to configure your system by choosing up to four Zoom Podcast Mic Packs, each featuring the ZDM-1 large-diaphragm dynamic microphone, a custom windscreen, closed-back headphones, a tabletop tripod mic stand, and an XLR cable.

Zoom PodTrak P4 Portable Multitrack Podcast Recorder with 2-Person Podcast Mic Pack Kit
Zoom PodTrak P4 Portable Multitrack Podcast Recorder with 2-Person Podcast Mic Pack Kit

The ZMD-1 is a perfect choice for recording on the go for several reasons. Its dynamic microphone capsule features a highly directional supercardioid pickup pattern, which is exactly what you want for effectively reducing ambient sound from the environment that can bleed into your recordings, especially in noisy acoustic spaces. To absorb low-end rumble from vibrations, the ZDM-1 is equipped with an integrated shockmount. This is a great feature because with many mics, you only have the option of using a separate shockmount, so having one built into each of your mics will substantially cut down on the amount of gear you need to schlep around.

Another cool feature that Zoom baked into the ZDM-1 is an integrated humbucking circuit that improves the signal-to-noise ratio by inhibiting electromagnetic interference from common sources such as wireless phones, power lines, computer displays, and more. Again, if you’re recording on the go, you may need to settle for a less than ideal recording environment, and this feature offers you some protection if you end up in a spot that’s ripe with interference, like a gymnasium or conference center.

The PodTrak P4 recorder is specially built for podcasting on the go. It runs on just two AA batteries, and will also run on AC power using the AD-17 AC Adapter, which is sold separately. It has four ⅛" stereo headphone outputs, each with its own level control above the headphone jack. The PodTrak P4 lets you record up to four dynamic or condenser mics, as well as take two remote call-ins simultaneously. It even lets you trigger samples, such as your intro or segue music, or sound effects.

Recording On-Location Interviews

Say you’re doing the kind of podcast that will require a more “run ’n’ gun” style of recording, impromptu interviews that you record with attendees at a trade show, for example. This approach really lends itself to more of an all-in-one recording solution with an ultra-small profile, like the Zoom H1n 2-Track Portable Recorder. If you’re going to be outside, be sure to pick up a windscreen, as well.

Zoom H1n 2-Input / 2-Track Portable Handy Recorder with Onboard X/Y Microphone
Zoom H1n 2-Input / 2-Track Portable Handy Recorder with Onboard X/Y Microphone

Conclusion

If you plan to be podcasting on the go, or doing any kind of in-person recording, you should always sterilize all of the microphones before and after they are used. Pick up some Goby Labs Sanitizer Spray for Microphones; it’s a total must. Thanks for reading our recommendations for building your mobile podcast studio. Please ask us any questions you have in the Comments section, below.

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