Toddcast Studio Equipment - Version 2 - Basic Setup

December 01, 2015
Here is the equipment used to produce Toddcast episodes 3 and beyond. The following is in addition to the equipment described earlier in the Budget Setup post but, please note, there is no need to own both lists of equipment. I still use the gear described in the Budget configuration for voiceover work (introductions, closing credits, skits), but the Budget single microphone setup still works fine for interviews or meeting recordings, as described in that post. I still recommend it as a wonderful way to start podcasting: simple (plug and play USB), good quality, and cheap.

The Basic Studio Equipment setup listed below offers more power at more price: inputs for two standard microphones plus additional plugins for Skype/Hangouts interviews, CD/tape/cellphone inputs for sound effects and music, or could also be used to record guitars and vocals for home music recording.

I used this setup to interview Maria Belen and Yara El Helou via Skype for Episodes 3 and 4, as well as an on site-interview with the folks at Suits his Style:

Hardware:

1x - Behringer Xenyx 802 Premium 8-Input 2-Bus Mixer with Xenyx Mic Preamps and British EQs: I love this mixer because it has enough inputs and controls to be useful, without being overwhelming. It is quiet, compact, and encased in solid metal: an amazing product for the price. This model has a standard audio cable output. If you wish to output sound to your computer via USB (simpler, potentially quieter, requiring one less cable, and less than $20 more expensive), order the Behringer Q802USB instead. I love this little powerhouse but if you need a larger mixer for more microphone inputs, consider the Behringer Q1204USB or the Mackie ProFX12.

1x - Headphones: To monitor the sound in the mixer, you'll need decent headphones. I really like my Sony MDR-V300 series -- warm sound and an extra long cable so I can walk around without taking them off. But... they're not available through Amazon, and they're $70. If you want something good, basic, and reasonably priced, check out these Sony MDRZX100 Series Stereo Headphones  for less than half the price.  You can also use your own pair of headphones, if they include a 1/4" plug or adapter.

2x - Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Cardioid Microphones: While there is much debate, these microphones compare favourably to the Shure SM58, particularly when cost is factored in.  They have a warmer low end than the SM58 that sounds wonderful for speech and they cost a fraction of the price. Impossible to resist, and I didn't. Zero regrets.

1x - 5 Pack-Microphone Ball-Type Sponge Windscreens/Foam Covers - Black: To prevent (or at least minimize) P-pops, you'll need to cover the mics with these. Why a 5-pack? They are cheaper to buy as a pack than individually, and you won't have to worry if one tears or gets lost. 

2x - CBI MLC20 Low Z XLR Microphone Cable, 20 Foot: Some mics come with a cable, but good ones often don't.  You'll need these to connect the XM8500s to the mixer. Twenty feet is a bit long, but I found these to be of fair price and good quality, and maybe I will need the extra length someday. For podcasting, I keep them coiled up, with a foot loose on either side.

2x - Samson MD5 Desktop Microphone Stand: These are a wonderful, sturdy, solid metal microphone stands, but are incredibly pricey. I got mine on sale. If the Samsons are full price, or still too expensive at sale price, check out this comparable stand from On Stage, instead. Boom stands and scissor-arm stands are also a possibility, but my studio was designed for easy setup and easy tear-down.

1x - Monoprice 3-Feet 3.5mm Stereo Male to RCA Stereo Male Gold Plated Cable for Mobile, Black : This is used to connect the Tape Out connectors on the mixer to the microphone input on your computer, to record the audio. Not long enough?  Order a 6-foot length instead.  If you opt for a USB mixer, you don't need this.

1x - HOSA Stereo Mini Male to Phone Y-Cable, 3 Feet Optional. This cable can be used to bring sound in from your smartphone. On Toddcast, I use this type of cable to bring Skype call sound into the mixer, and I talk back to the caller using the built-in mic on the phone. Simple. There is a more complex technique called mix-minus that uses two cables, and I won't bore or confuse you with it.

If you can find a cable like this cheaper at local music or electronics store, buy it there instead. I bought a 6-foot version from Long and McQuade for $11. I've included the HOSA brand cable as an  example, or for your convenience if you'd rather just order multiple items from Amazon than store-hop.

Software:
Audacity (FREE!)

Questions? Comments? Leave me a note!
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