As a tech person, I’ve been experimenting with lighting and audio-video setups for my podcast studio since 2014.
I’ve purchased several equipment over the years to enhance the quality of the recordings that we are going to be using for each episode, and/or whenever I get to appear as guest on other podcast shows.
I thought at the beginning of this year, I had the best setup I could have, and I wrote a post about that. Then, I build an in-home studio when we bought a house. In almost two years working in my home studio, I made even more upgrades.
And due to popular demand, here’s the breakdown of my setup and what I think is, the best podcast setup to invest in for 2023.
Up to this point, this is the best setup, and most cost effective I’ve found. You don’t need to use everything I do, but I’ve found this creates the best final product, which in presenting your brand is pretty important.
Right now I’m using the Logitech BRIO. I’m looking at upgrading in the future to the Sony ZV-E10: highly recommended by a lot of YouTubers. Has been producing pretty consistent results for me. It records 4K video at 24p with no crop (crops at 30p); I use in 1080p. DO NOT use this without the Webcam Settings App or you will not be happy. I find that recording at 4K is very difficult because of bandwidth usage and makes it almost impossible to talk to a guest due to created lag. The out of the box setting is pretty bad.
Phopik Camera Tripod: In general, any tripod works, but this one is the easiest I’ve used.
Studio Box: I DIY’d this studio box back in 2021. It’s about 6×6 ft space area with a sound proof door. Read more about this: How I Built a Home Podcast Studio and You Can Too!
This process is almost by the book per the post above, the only thing I changed is getting rid of the light in the front, changing to two angle lights and adding an angled “hair light,” behind me (detailed in lighting below). I used to do the traditional backdrops with each of my shows’ logos printed, but it was kind of challenging when trying to get the perfect lighting with it. So I changed it to barn wood from Home Depot.
This is a comparison to the Brio 4k with the webcam settings app and without it; its night and day. The right is without webcam settings app, the right is with it. It literally looks like a different camera.
Accent Light: I got this customized CYOL background lighting from Etsy. What’s cool about it is that it comes with a remote control that allows you to change the light’s colors. You don’t have to do this, but I find it also adds a little depth to the image as well.
LED Lights: I am currently using 3 LED lamps this time. 2 are positioned diagonally behind my laptop to light me on an angle. And the other one is at my back right top corner of my studio box. This functions as a hair light which gives more depth to the video/photo. You’ll have to play with light brightness, I’ve found a click or two down from high seems to be good otherwise my skin reflects the sun.
Shure SM7B: The ‘LEGENDARY’ studio microphone. This is the single best microphone I’ve ever used. I use the out of the box settings on it. You may want to mess with them depending on how much bass you want from your voice.
Cloudlifter Pre Amp: Out of the box, the Shure mic doesn’t have enough power. So, turning the volume 90% up, but it also means you’ll pick up every background noise and movement. The Cloudlifter adds extra decibels to your mic so it has a nicer/louder sound without picking up much noise.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) Interface: This allows you to use an XLR type microphone via USB 3.0.
Tascam Studio Head Phones: Prevents sound from escaping and going back in the mic. Any earmuff type mic will work for this.
IXTech Boom Arm: Allows you to move the mic around. I prefer a boom arm, you may like a regular stand, but this is what holds my mic for recording.
Riverside FM: By far, it’s THE BEST on the market. You can use it on Chrome. Records on each device (host and guest) then uploads to the cloud rather than through your internet connection – that means, even if you internet sucks, the recording will still be perfect.
Webcam Settings App (Mac Users): Get this via App Store and you’ll have THE GAME CHANGER for any webcam. You can adjust the exposure, white balance and all the other things in it. The most important setting is aperture and two toggles under that. That’s the night and day difference in the image above. The below is just a screen shot and not my exact settings, adjust these first for best picture quality.
Krisp.ai: It’s a smart background sound filter. Real story, I have used it to block my daughter’s crying in the background several times before and none of my guests had no idea. The latest version records in HD, so it’s literally perfect.
OK, so in terms of cost, what are we looking at here?
Well, the studio is a separate issue, all the parts to build the studio was around $600, and that was when lumber was at crazy inflationary prices, which have dropped a bit since.
In terms of buying the software, lighting, mic and everything else needed, you’re looking $1,164.00, with $28/mo recurring fees for Riverside FM and Krisp.ai.
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