From Booms to Pop Filters: Accessories for Your Podcasting Setup

Take Your Podcast and Sound Quality to the Next Level

Microphone Boom & Shock Mount

You know the benefits of podcasting. It’s time to build an audience and get your message out there by expanding your reach. You have a clever idea, a smart title, and some fun episode ideas. You also have a shiny new microphone and audio recording software.

Depending on your setup, there are a few additional accessories that will make your audio sound more professional and be easier to produce. Today we are going to talk about microphone booms and stands, portable recorders, windscreens and pop filters, and a few general items that will make your show more professional.

Microphone Stands & Microphone Boom Arms

When podcasting, you want to record with the best sound possible. Having things like your microphone close to your mouth or placed at a close enough position to get great sound without pops and hisses is optimal. You also don’t want to record extras bumps on your desk or rumbles and fan noises from your computer. With this in mind, there are a few microphone stand options that will fit your podcast setup.

Podcasting on the Go

If you are on the go, you can have an easy podcast setup with just an inexpensive handheld microphone and a laptop. Surprisingly, a handheld microphone works well because you can position it where you would like it near your mouth and it doesn’t pick up any noises from your desk or table. The downside is that you have to hold it while you are talking.

Table Top Microphone Stand

You may get tired of holding it and may want to switch to a tabletop stand.

There are many inexpensive choices of table top stands that will hold most microphones. Many microphones like the handheld Audio-Technica also come with a stand. Tabletop mics stands are also usually very inexpensive.

The downside is that you may not get it as close to your mouth as you like, and it may pick up noise from your desk or computer.

One way to lessen the noise is to put a foam cushion or even a mouse pad under it. Another tricky thing that podcasters do with inexpensive table top stands is to put some foam around it or make a foam padded box to eliminate background noise.

Tripod Boom Microphone Stand

A tripod boom microphone stand is another good option. It stands on the floor and has a boom arm that you can swing in front of your mouth and then away from you when you aren’t talking. On Stage Stands makes a 30-inch adjustable tripod boom stand that is a decent option. It comes in black or chrome and you can remove the boom to use it as a straight stand. It also collapses for easy storage. These are a good option because they can be placed away from the table but positioned near your mouth. Care needs to be taken not to kick or bump the stand.

Heil Sound PL-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom

This boom arm is probably one of the most popular boom arms, and it is used in professional and amateur studios. This one has internal cable management, internal springs, and 20-inch boom arm segments. It also holds heavier high-end microphones, and it is fun to swing the arm to your mouth when you are speaking and then swing it out of the way when it is not needed.

It also keeps your desk clutter free, and most podcasters say they won’t do their shows without a boom arm once they try one.

Boom arms such as the Heil PL-2T need to be mounted to something. The boom arm comes with a desk clamp, but it’s not the best mounting option. Many users say that the clamp frequently comes loose, and it could pick up some computer noises or vibrations being clamped to your desk. Fortunately, there are several mounting solutions for overhead boom arms.

Heil Sound WM-1 Vertical Surface Mount for Heil Booms

This is a vertical mount that can be mounted on the side of something. You could mount it to the side of your desk, but it would be ideal to mount it to something other than your desk to avoid sounds and shock from your desk.

It could be mounted on a wall if you find a stud or have a shelf or something that would be strong enough to hold it securely.

Then it could be pushed against the wall when not in use. Another good solution would be to mount it to a piece of furniture that is near your desk.

Heil Sound FL-2 Permanent Flange Mount

With the permanent flange mount, you drill some holes in your desk and attach it permanently with three screws. This is much more stable than the clamp mount, and it can even be used to attach other items like desktop lamps.

Heil Sound DT-1 Flush Mount for PL-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom

With the flush mount, you drill one hole in your desk and put the mount inside it. The mount sits on your desk in an unobtrusive way. It’s almost flush with the desk. This can be a good option if you wanted a permanently mounted boom, but may occasionally take the boom out of the mount and work on the desk without it.

Heil Sound RS-1 12" Riser for PL-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom

This mount gets the boom arm higher off the desk. This is mounted with four screws. These are often used when podcasters want special configurations for multiple guests or multiple seating options. These also can make the microphone reach further and be in a more comfortable position.

Heil Sound PRSM-B Shock Mount

If you have your boom arm mounted on your desk, a shock mount can be a good option to avoid computer noises and low-frequency rumbles. It damps vibrations and makes swinging the desk mounted shock mount quiet and smooth. This particular shock mount works with the Heil PR 30 and PR 40, but there are several shock mount options available for different microphone and boom arm combinations.

Pop Filters

Pop filters are great for minimizing plosives. A plosive is a consonant that is produced by stopping airflow using the mouth and then a sudden release of airflow. In other words mostly P and B sounds, but also T, K, D, and G sounds. Meaning no one wants to hear inaudible puffs and pops in your recordings. These pops usually happen when the microphone is directly in line with your mouth. An inexpensive filter can absorb the sound.

Depending on your microphone, there are different filters you can get. There are inexpensive foam ball filters that slide over the top of handheld or on stage microphones. These often come in fun colors and are easily interchangeable. Another popular option is the gooseneck clamp-on round mesh screens. These usually clamp on to your boom arm or microphone stand and the flexible gooseneck makes them adjustable. These are used by professionals and everyone in between. They work for most microphone and stand options. Just check to make sure the clamp on the filter is compatible with your stand.

Portable Recorders

The topic of portable recorders can be an extensive one, but I’ll just highlight some of the uses of a portable recorder and why you may want to include it as one of your podcast equipment accessories. These are small handheld devices that can be used to record podcasts while on the go. It is entirely possible to publish a podcast with just a portable recorder and a device to upload and post the podcast.

A portable recorder can record straight to a mp3 file.

Some can even mix inputs, apply compression, limiting, gating, and other audio functions. You can connect your mic to one or connect one to your computer and use it as a microphone. Some have extra channels like the Zoom H4n. You can use these to record interviews on the go or record your own public presentations. These are good for teachers who want to turn their lectures into podcasts or for travel podcasters.

Since you can record without a computer, there is also noise reduction. Another nice thing about using a portable recorder is that it makes a nice podcast backup. Let’s say you finally land that big interview guest, and your computer crashes. You are more than likely out of luck, with a portable recorder you will still have a useable copy of the interview. Zoom, Tascam, and Roland make some good models with varying features. In a pinch, you can also substitute an iPhone or iPad.

Headphones

Wearing headphones while podcasting actually allows you to hear how your voice actually sounds. Have you ever noticed how a host podcasting voice improves over time? Part of this is due to finally listening to their own voice and working on their technique. Headphones are good for professional sounding solo shows. They may not be the best for interviews, because depending on your recording technique, you may hear your guest, but not yourself.

Some podcasters don’t like to use headphones because of sound isolation or comfort issues. Quality studio headphones will block outside noise, so you only hear your voice. This is great if you are working on voice technique, but it may not give you the best overview of all of the sounds being recorded. The headphones may be a preference and trial and error option. Some podcasters are happy with just using their Apple earpods.

Depending on your setup, there will be a lot of little extra podcasting accessories you may need. Cords and adapters for microphones, battery backups and memory cards for personal recorders, and foam and soundproofing equipment for your particular studio environment are all things to consider. There are quite a few all in one kits available to make sure your setup and accessories are compatible. There are also quite a few online example of podcasting setups. Still, it might take a bit of trial and error to find the best setup and accessories for your situation.