-   Best Studio Gear (
-   -   Ten pieces of gear to improve your podcasting and streaming audio quality (

The Press Desk 29th April 2020 06:37 AM

Ten pieces of gear to improve your podcasting and streaming audio quality
1 Attachment(s)
Ten pieces of gear to boost your podcasting and streaming audio quality

Podcasting and streaming is hotter than ever, so here are ten pieces of gear to make your content sound better than ever:

 DGT 650

Lewitt DGT 650

Top Quality USB Microphone
Lewitt makes some of the coolest microphones out there, and now they're bringing their fine craftsmanship and sonic expertise to the realm of USB mics with the DGT 650. This is actually more than "just" a superb stereo large-diaphragm condenser, it is a full-fledged recording solution that features a headphone output with a direct monitoring option and a low-latency audio interface that is compatible with Mac, Windows or iOS. A great option to get high-quality takes whenever you want and wherever you are.


Shure SM7B

Industry-Standard Dynamic Microphone
If you haven't been living under a rock you have certainly seen the ubiquitous Shure SM7B in use on so many broadcasts/live streaming from all kinds of content providers, from major TV channels to humble YouTubers, not to mention its frequent use in music recording studios as an exceptional vocal mic (amongst other uses!) It's superb on voice work and capable of handling high-SPL abuse like few others thanks to its effective internal pop-filter, making it perfect for handling those wild guests who will inevitably get too close to the mic - not to mention they will sound amazing on those people who know how to get the best out of them! Couple great sonics with great "bad-room-rejection" as well and you've got a classic.

 Babyface Pro FS

RME Babyface Pro FS

Endgame Audio Interface?
The Babyface Pro is one of the most popular interfaces on our forums, and with good reason: superb audio quality, flexible connectivity and state-of-the-art drivers compatible with Windows, Mac and iOS. Featured here is the updated Babyface Pro, the 'FS' model, with improved converters and electronics that make it even better than before. The core feature set remains intact, with two mic preamps, two line inputs, stereo output on XLR, headphones outputs, MIDI, and ADAT lightpipe ports for up to eight extra inputs and outputs. All in a compact, portable package that can be easily fit into a small backpack.

 iRig Pre HD

IK Multimedia iRig Pre HD

iOS Microphone Interface
IK Multimedia offers many interesting solutions for mobile recording, but if keeping it simple is a must then the iRig Pre HD is perhaps the best option from their catalog. This is a no-frills interface for iPhone and iPad, with one XLR input (with 48V phantom power available to feed condenser mics), a headphones output and a direct monitoring option for zero-latency monitoring. A full-analog version is also available via the iRig Pre, which uses a regular 1/10” analog connector that is compatible with all phones and tablets.

 H4n Pro

ZOOM H4n Pro

Remote Recorder
Need to record on the go without the clunkiness of a computer and an audio interface? Check out the Zoom H4n Pro, a 4-track remote recorder with built-in stereo mics, two XLR inputs for your favourite mics, plenty of onboard storage and battery life to spare for hours of recording fun. It also works as an audio interface, so if you can afford (or want to carry) a laptop you can still record on the go with the clunkiness of a computer and an audio interface!

 RodeCaster Pro

RODE RodeCaster Pro

Podcast Mixer
The RØDECaster Pro is an interesting all-in-one solution for serious podcasters, merging mixing and recording tools into a single platform that can operate with or without a computer. The RØDECaster Pro boasts four Class A mic preamps with onboard processing such as compression, ducking, noise gate, de-esser and Aphex Aural Exciter/Big Bottom for seriously enhancing audio quality. It also comes with convenient bluetooth input, multiple headphone outputs and a USB interface. A very elegant solution if you’re hosting multiple guests on your podcast.


Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

Closed-Back Headphones
Good isolation, loud volume for monitoring and great sound quality, plus the benefit of low-impedance (just 32 ohms) so they work basically anywhere with any device. That’s precisely what one needs to monitor with confidence, and that’s precisely what the ATH M50X delivers. A Bluetooth version, the ATH-M50xBT, is also available right now in case wires are your enemy!


JBL 104-BT

Compact Speakers
The JBL 1 Series 104-BT are quite remarkable speakers, and not only for their good looks - we have the white version featured here but they are also available in classic black. They’re compact, easy to install, great-sounding for their size and provide not only professional connectivity through TRS balanced inputs but also amenities such as Bluetooth and a conveniently-placed auxiliary input at the front. All at a super-affordable price that can keep some cap room available for your other investments. There's also "non-BT" version available, which is slightly cheaper in price but otherwise sounds and looks exactly the same, minus the wireless option.

 Halo Reflection Filter

Aston Microphones Halo Reflection Filter

Microphone Shield
Regular rooms are often plagued with bad reverberations, something that can lead to subpar and disappointing recordings, and a quick fix for that is going for one of the many mic shields out there. The Aston Halo Reflection Filter is arguably the best in clas - it’s a shield on steroids, boasting a reassuringly big size and a design that deploys special materials to mitigate the problem of bad-sounding rooms and seamlessly getting almost any space suitable for good vocal recording.

 Acoustic Art Panels

GIK Acoustics Acoustic Art Panels

Acoustic Treatment
"Treat your room" is a mantra on but what if you need to fix a room to make it suitable for recording without ruining its looks/resale value and thus avoiding a family tragedy? GIK Acoustics has something that does just that: the Art Panels. These are “broadband” absorbers that will improve the overall sound of a room and make it viable for recording - and you get to choose the art on the fabric covers, making them look just like nice decorative pictures, so your room can look as good as it sounds.

For more podcast gear and discussions, click here to visit our Podcasting, Vlogging & Audio For Social Media section.

Fast_Fingers 4th July 2020 07:21 AM

No RE-20 or RE-320?

Quasar 5th July 2020 08:45 PM


Originally Posted by Fast_Fingers (Post 14838026)
No RE-20 or RE-320?

Obviously, lists such as these can't be comprehensive. From watching and listening to demos, I suspect the SM7b will be the perfect choice for many people, especially if a) you have a pre or gain booster strong enough to drive it, and b) you need to record in less than ideal acoustic environments. The RE-20 sounds like a wonderful dynamic mic as well. I'm not quite as impressed with the 320 at its price point. (Again, only window shopping on the internet. I have no direct experience with any of these.)

My biggest question about this compilation is the inclusion of a reflection filter. I have tried these, and IMHO they only help marginally in bad rooms. On the other hand, in conjunction with other treatment such as something absorbent above and behind you, they can help.

Dohreetoh 6th July 2020 07:01 AM

For the first time, I have to disagree with a good chunk of this list. The Zoom H recorders, including the H6, just aren't good. They produce a lot of self noise at just 50% on the gain dial.

The reflection filter isn't going to do much either. They cover the least sensitive part of a cardioid condenser mic.

Also the Lewitt DGT650 is a waste of money. $570 for a USB mic is crazy. It's a little on the thin side but also quite boxy sounding. I seriously thinking a CAD M179 is a better investment and a better mic, at it's almost a third of the price. Or just get a used C414 XLS and Behringer UMC404HD or UMC1820. It'll be a much better sound (the CAD is actually pretty close though). Lewitt's real mics are great too, just don't fall for "pro USB mic" nonsense. The thing sounds like a low end condenser (and not the good bang for your buck ones) with a mid level price tag. There are plenty of good electret mics, I like the Vintage CAD E-100 and E-200, and I like the iSK Pearl a lot. The only decent sound voice sample is the spoken word sample on Lewitt's site for the DGT650, but it still has a kind of boxy sound and something unnatural in the high end (a lot of the instrument samples remind me of things recorded on ultra cheap electrets using Transound capsules). I even like the LCT240 Pro more and that's Lewitt's lowest end LDC. I can genuinely say their mic I like most is the mid tier LCT 440 and LCT 441, but I think those are only about as good as the $200 CAD M179.

And if you don't already have decent interface and pre you're not gonna be able to effectively use an SM7B.

Also barrel adapter pre and converter combos like the iRig are not even a substitute for a Behringer UMC204.

A legitimate quality set up can be done for what the DGT650 costs, and it'll be way better.

Sky 6th July 2020 08:25 AM

The RODECaster Pro is high on my list, probably #1 because it's purpose-built for podcasters. Four mic pre's, four headphone outputs for guests, long-throw faders, cue/FX pads, Aphex vocal processing in DSP, built-in SD recorder and class-compliant 12x2 USB interface for tracking to DAW.

I'll also nominate Audio Hijack by Rogue Amoeba. This modular audio routing app enables building signal chains with AU plugs, and includes a built-in direct-to-streaming module.

RODECaster Pro + 13" Macbook Pro running Audio Hijack is a brilliant mobile streaming broadcast studio.

One more component - any of the pro-level boom-mic stereo headsets, e.g. from Audio Technica or AKG. One headset per person is a clean setup with acceptable audio quality for streaming.


dickiefunk 6th July 2020 01:11 PM

During lockdown I've been contacted by a lot of people wanting to be able to keep working without going into studios and I've recommended the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen3. It is so simple to use and it works great on so many platforms. Quite a few are using it with iPhones/iPads because you only need the Apple Camera Kit USB3 adapter and don't need a powered USB hub! Most of these are recording into Audacity or GarageBand (which are free) and getting great results. Some of my colleagues are still continuing to work as session musicians from home!

Dohreetoh 14th July 2020 01:21 AM


Originally Posted by dickiefunk (Post 14841635)
During lockdown I've been contacted by a lot of people wanting to be able to keep working without going into studios and I've recommended the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen3. It is so simple to use and it works great on so many platforms. Quite a few are using it with iPhones/iPads because you only need the Apple Camera Kit USB3 adapter and don't need a powered USB hub! Most of these are recording into Audacity or GarageBand (which are free) and getting great results. Some of my colleagues are still continuing to work as session musicians from home!

There's an app to use interfaces on Android too called USB Audio Recorder PRO (it's paid, I think it's like $7). I don't know which Focusrite ones it supports, but it supports just about all the Behringer ones. Don't know if it supports their mixing consoles, but if you're using a console you're not gonna be recording into a phone anyway.

Requires an OTG cable for phones, tablets that have a regular USB port for data transfer can just plug the interface into that.

soundseeker 6th October 2020 07:15 PM

wow, Im selling 3 of these at the moment. Holla if anyones interested in the GIKs, Zoom Q8 or babyface

Amyrose9x 24th October 2020 05:50 AM

Oh, great, your article provided me with useful information and a fresh perspective on the subject.

analogjeff 30th November 2020 12:03 AM

For the cost of a mid-priced usb mic you can buy an Allen and Heath usb board (around $220 for a ZEDi 10) that has decent sounding mic pres and 3 band EQ. Running even a Shure 57 or 58 sounds decent through this, and if you already have some good mics (AKG 414, Royer 121, vintage Neumann 87, etc. etc.), you can make very nice sound! EQ is the trick here, and there isn't a usb mic that can do what even an inexpensive Allen and Heath board with EQ can to control and sweeten your sound in whatever spaces you're in.