In 2015, I started working on a podcast, On the Schmooze. It was a LOT of work to get started. I spent hours researching what microphone to buy, and ultimately, I chose a more expensive option. It's now 2022 as I'm updating this page and I'm *still* using this microphone and I'm about to publish episode 300. Having this fancy mic definitely helped me launch a business as a virtual event design consultant and executive Zoom producer.

 

I first considered purchasing the Blue Snowball Microphone. It plugs right into a USB on my computer and the total set-up cost would have been under $50. Blue Yeti is another plug-and-play mic that is very popular with podcast hosts and costs about $149. You may be wondering why I chose a set-up that cost me over $700 then?

 

When I started my podcast, I was recording in my living room which faced a very busy street. On that street were several hospitals, including one directly across from my apartment. Did I mention that my apartment was in a college dorm and my desk was next to our front door which led to a small lobby where students congregated at all hours of the day and night? I needed a mic to help me create high-quality audio without investing in soundproofing a space that was not my permanent home.

 

After listening to various video comparisons, I decided to go with the Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone. I knew the sound would be much more professional, although the set-up would be more expensive and technical. I couldn’t find a simple list of items to purchase so it took some time to get all the pieces. I watched many Youtube videos to figure out how it all connects to each other and to my iMac.

 

Play this video to hear how sensitive this mic is. It will definitely block out background noise.
Inspiration for this podcast set-up came from Pat Flynn’s How to Start a Podcast Podcasting Tutorial. I highly recommend watching his videos and listening to his podcast, Smart Passive Income. I also benefited from listening to the Showrunner podcast (a podcast for podcasters). Join their mailing list and they'll send you The 4 Essential Elements of a Remarkable Podcast and information about their podcasting course which I signed up for and found very helpful.

 

The end result looks and sounds really professional, and I get compliments from my guests and from other podcast hosts all of the time. I like how the boom mic stand can swing back behind my large iMac computer screen and be out of the way – without taking up much space on the desk.

Without further delay, below are all the links to guide you towards the same or similar purchases to set up your own professional-sounding home podcasting studio. Full disclosure: The links below are affiliate links. You don’t pay anything extra, but I get a small percentage of your purchase from Amazon for pointing you toward their site.

 

Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone

Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone

$349 just for the microphone and you need nearly everything else on this list to make it work. Total cost will be about $700.

Heil Sound PL-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom
Heil Sound PRSM-B Shockmount (Black)

Heil Sound Windscreen for PR30 & PR40 Microphones 

There are other options, but you definitely need a windscreen or pop filter.

 

Behringer U-Phoria UM2

The Heil PR-40 microphone is NOT a USB mic, so you'll need this to connect it to your computer.

 

Printer cord

This connects the Behringer interface to your computer via USB.

 

 

You don't need to get these specific headphones, but you do want something better than your iPhone headphones. Over-ear headphones pick up background noise that you otherwise might miss.
While I didn't have to worry about soundproofing my living room, I did want to have a cleaner and less visually cluttered background. So in September 2017 I ordered a simple room divider and plan to use this when recording podcast interviews and virtual summit interviews. You can add simple contact paper to spruce it up.
Robbie showing up wood planks on wall Over the next few years, my background evolved. Eventually, in 2021 I purchased my own home and installed wood paneling on the wall behind me. This is the company I purchased from.

One final note – remember always to check your audio connections – I made the mistake of not doing this when I switched from using Skype to using Zoom. Several of my interviews “looked good” but the sound quality was poor because I was recording using my iMac's internal microphone. Learn this lesson from me and always double-check.

What tips do you have for new podcasters? Post them as a comment below.