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Podcast Equipment - Packages for Heil PR40 & Shure SM7B

What's up everyone?

Wanted to shoot out a quick note about podcast equipment.

You can get into the game cheaply.  The Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone is a fantastic lower cost mic.  On occasion, it can get down towards the $40 level, if you wait out for deals. The really cool thing about this one is that it has a USB and an XLR output, which means it is versatile for the two ways you could record a podcast: 1) into a digital recorder ( I like and have this one and this one) through a mixing board (XLR), or 2) straight into your computer (USB).

Straight into your computer could include recording directly to hard drive through a program like Audacity (Free) or Adobe Audition (somewhat costly),or it can include recording a podcast via Google Hangouts or Skype.  Hangouts will record your audio for download afterwards; Skype has a host of third-party providers (I have used MP3 Skype Recorder) who will record you and your guest.

I have talked in the past about my general aversion to recording directly to hard drive (computers can crash, digital recorders not so much), but to start at a low cost, it is typically the best option.

When purchasing equipment for your podcast (and for most products in general), Amazon typically can't be beat.  At the worst, Amazon will at least match the price of any competitors.  However, where outside providers can win is in packages.  For instance, with a microphone, you are not only buying a microphone.  You will need a stand (desk or boom) and XLR cables, and optionally could buy a shock mount and a pop filter.

Let's say you want to buy one of the top podcast mics in the game, such as the Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone or the Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone, Cardioid.  Amazon will beat or match nearly all competitors on the price of the microphone itself.  However, with mics like this you are going to at least want a stand (I always prefer the studio-like boom versions, as opposed to the static desk stands).  With the Heil, the shock mount is really cool looking, and the pop filter is helpful in keeping you at the right distance and taking away those hard Ps.  The SM7B has a good pop filter windscreen already, and is a substantial enough mic that there is not a shock mount.

If you were to buy all these pieces on Amazon, you would be looking at a cumulative cost of probably $550-$600.  Also, it is key to remember that each of these mics, particularly the Shure, will typically need some kind of gain boost.  Something like a Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 or Triton Fethead will be a near necessity for the Shure, which needs 60 Db of gain to shine, and could be for the Heil, which needs roughly 53 Db.  Most lower-cost mixers max out at 50 Db of gain.  So this adds another $100-$150 to your cost, if you don't have a mixer with enough headroom.

Back to the beauty of packages.

Who knows how long this will last, but the site BSWUSA.COM (Broadcast Supply Wordwide) has had and still has really good packages for these two mics.

For the Heil PR40, they have a package for $369.00 that gets you the microphone, a broadcast boom stand, a shockmount, a pop filter, and the cable.  I purchased two of these packages for our podcast setup at the office.

For the Shure SM7B, they have a package for $399.00 that gets you the microphone, boom stand, and cable.

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