For about $100, you can get some great sounding gear. Even though “starting equipment” is in the title, this gear can be used for the life of your podcast.
- Microphone: Audio-Technica ATR 2100-USB, $70, https://amzn.to/2yLiRXb
- Boom arm: $13, https://amzn.to/2CmJhBL – To get the mic close to your mouth.
- Windscreen: $3, https://amzn.to/2pXNFQd – To remove puff sounds.
- Shock mount: $15, https://amzn.to/2CnIEbb – To remove desk thuds and taps from typing.
The mic connects to your computer via USB. No need for extra cables; everything you’ll use comes in the box.
You can throw away the small desk stand that comes with the mic, but save the XLR cable in case you want to upgrade your setup to a nice interface in the future.
Unscrew the mic clip that comes with the boom arm and screw on the shock mount. Push the mic through the rubber bands, then connect the USB cable. Switch the mic to ON and you’re good to go!
The blue light on the mic can be a bit distracting on video (and in person!). We put a piece of electric tape to block it.
There’s a headphone jack on the back of the mic. You can use this to monitor your voice and hear sound from your computer at the same time. I found it was quiet even at full volume and so I don’t use this. I use the headphone port of the computer instead but am unable to hear my own voice, which is okay. Always wear headphones while recording an interview; your mic can pick up your guest’s voice causing an editing nightmare.
When you connect the mic, your computer should select it as both the input AND output sound device. If you want to change this on a Mac, do so in System Preferences→Sound.
The ATR2100 is great for an untreated room. Unless you have carpeted floors, foam padding on the walls, and no kids, dogs, spouse, roommates, or neighbors, your room is untreated. If you record in a sound studio, you can get something like the Blue Yeti. Otherwise, don’t do it.
The ATR2100 is the mic my wife, Lindsay, uses on her Academics Mean Business podcast. Have a listen here:
Links are affiliate. Prices are those at the time of writing.