We started out as complete audio novices. Neither of us had ever been anywhere near a mixer of the non-cement variety.
We spent hours on the Internet looking at tutorials. Of particular help was daytime podcast producer and nighttime podcast hobbyist Ray Ortega. He does wonderfully lucid audio and video tutorials and I encourage you to check out his site here.
Our goal was to buy just enough equipment for our needs. There are lots of horror stories out there from novices who overbought electronics or selected the wrong mixture of stuff they had to correct with additional purchases.
Here is what we use now. We are about to change our configuration to conduct third-person interviews and we'll update this page when we do.
We paid about $60 each for the Audio-Technica AT2005 USB/XLR model, which is surprisingly good quality for the price and adds the versatility of both USB and XLR connections. This is a huge bonus as you'll see as you read on. We each added an On Stage Foam Ball-Type Windscreen to prevent popping.
We both used the little tripod stand that came with the mics at first but that is not a comfortable way to podcast for 45 minutes and leads to stray noise. I graduated to the Heil Sound PL-2T Broadcast Boom that hooks by clamp to my standing desk. John uses the ProLine MS112 Desk Boom Mic Stand. Neither of us uses a shock mount.
After watching Ray Ortega's videos, we decided to use a Zoom H6 Recorder as the centerpiece and most expensive item in our studio. The versatile recorder allows us to connect up to 4 microphones to directly record audio and hooks into a computer, among other things. Also is a great portable unit for interviews. The advantage of direct connections is that it provides a nearly foolproof way to record the podcast without worrying about a computer glitch.
I edit the podcast and I started out using the free GarageBand software that comes with Apple computers and Audacity, a free web-based program. I had never edited audio so it was a mess for a few weeks. There is other software like Adobe Audition, Pro Tools and Logic Pro X that cost hundreds of dollars and is eye-splittingly complex. I found something in between -- Hindenburg -- which is much simpler and made more for spoken word rather than music like most of the others. Hindenburg has a few great features, like automatic loudness normalization between tracks, that make it a nice value.
HOW WE RECORD
John and I normally record the podcast from different locations. I do the recording and editing and he sends me his audio via Dropbox and I line it up and edit. We connect via a Skype call. We originally were using his audio portion of the Skype call for his track, but it was sometimes of poor quality so we decided to go with the "double ender" method of using audio we each directly recorded and stitch the two tracks together afterwards. The editing takes a litle longer but the quality is much higher.