What Hardware/Setup Combo do I need?

Hi all

(you can also skip my lenghty intro to “my question”)
Here is what I have been doing:
After some research a year ago, I bought a Blue Mic Yeti and started a comedy podcast. It is me plus my co-host and as you might guess, the audio was kind of lacking, but we didn’t really care, since it was just an experiment.
Later on I tried to hang up some audio mats around my (rather small) room to get less echo. I build some contraption that lets me hang up the Yeti, and put a chair on both sides of it. We’d sit there and record. But yeah, whenever I recorded the intro myself (and switched the Yeti to uni-directional) I got a seemingly perfect Audio quality, but in bi-directional, a lot of echo, not the same volume level for the both of us…

I then bought another USB mic (snowball) and only after that realized, that it was a nightmare to use both mics with a PC. I imagined that way both would use their own mic on uni directional, and it all would record on audacity. Well… the podcast is still a thing and I want to have a better setup.

My Question:

I want to up my hardware. I will always use a PC (that’s what I have, I’m a gamer, so my PC always is a strong one, and I can’t afford a mac just for podcast purposes). But we also want to start having guests, and they won’t fit in my small room. So can you guys advice me of what hardware could make this happen:

  • We want to start recording, in my rather large living room. I can’t fit 4 people in my small room.
  • All SFX or themes etc will be put in by me, after everything is recorded, so I really just need to record the convos, no need to be able to insert “live” sfx and stuff, so I guess having a PC right there is not needed.
  • I would love to have a PC independent “mobile” solution that I just could use in the large living room. I’d be ok with even buying a mini pc for lets say 200 bucks, if every other hardware option would mean buying pro stuff… but since I just need to record, maybe a simple recording device would be the best, that lets me copy it all to the pc afterwards? I have no clue what exists out there.
  • I should be able to record at least 3-4 mics, so I can have 4 people sounding as clear as when I use my USB mic now on single-directional setting.
  • Or just some mini-mics that everybody will attach to their collars?
  •   And yes, my budget is very limited, since this is purely "for fun", no sponsors etc.. but I probably would invest up to USD 400 or 500.--...
  •   Quality wise, again, I need no pro stuff. Both the snowball and yeti have excellent (for my needs) quality on single directional setting.

What are my options? What hardware would let me setup this “mobile” version, where people could talk and hang in the couch, but where also I could afterwars just connect to my pc and download it all? Small PC with a certain soundcard? Dictaphone?

I just didn’t know where to start gathering this info to get an overview… so I hope some of you who are not too annoyed with my noob questions, will hint me to some links!

Thanks a lot!

If somebody sent me a note that they wanted to record up to four people in an informal chat/living room setup, I would be bringing my four channel sound mixer and four broadcast lavalier (neck-tie) microphones. My Mac has stereo Line-In, but if your machine is a Windows laptop, you’ll need some sort of USB digitizer.

It’s still going to sound like a living room and not a studio, but each person’s voice should be clear and not get lost in the recording.


I woud have to buy the microphones. I’ve never had to do a meeting like that, so I never bought anything to mic it.

If you could come up with a good soundproof room, the cheap possibilities go way up. You can use a Pressure Zone microphone configuration in the middle of the table.

There’s another variation I can’t find right away. You might even be able to use one of your original microphones.

Once you decide to record in the field or other hostile environment, the difficulty or expense go way up. I have a terrific battery-operated, three input, Shure FP33 field mixer.


Doesn’t look like much, does it? That one’s been shooting sound for years. They’re $1500 new. Plus the microphones, USB adapter and computer if you don’t have one.

You can cheat. I’ve never tried this, but my iPod has a personal recorder feature. I have a Radio Shack 3013 microphone that should work plugged into it. Put one of those in each person’s pocket with the microphone on their chest and start recording. You’ll need to put all those sound files together later in Audacity, but that should work. Stand up in the beginning of the show and shout 'Marker!" and clap your hands. That’s for sound sync later.


You’re going to make a hash out of the first couple of these anyway, so going big guns into an expensive setup may be a waste. Go the cheapest possible and those trashed shows will show you what you really need to do the job.


holly crap, now that is a great first answer! haha, thank you very much.

I will read through that a few times and check what would work for me.
To specify: My PC is not a laptop. that really is my tower I work with (gamer PC). So yeah, lifting this thing “downstairs” every time is no option. But if there were a pc-related solution (external something where mics plug in?) I would buy a mini pc for 2-300 or so and set it up in a corner.

But I’ll rather explore your other options.

A problem with gamer computers is the noise. This comes up on the forum here and there. “I’m recording gamer commentary and the cooling noise keeps getting into the recording.”

Yes. It does. Separate the computer and the microphone… Oh, wait. You can’t do that with a USB microphone.

Actually, I did miss one variation. Tape each person’s cellphone to their shoulder and run each Personal Sound Recorder.

Then all you need is a roll of Gaffer’s Tape®

Collect the sound files later. Do that clap thing at the beginning or sound sync will be difficult.

I found the other illustration.

This is a Shure SM58 standard rock-band microphone (plugged into a small sound mixer, not a computer). It’s sitting in a little hole so it doesn’t roll around. This is if you can get everybody in a 180 degree fan in front of the microphone. I was using this for a videoconference where everybody has to be in front of the camera, so I had a captive audience.

Really nasty things happen to a microphone if you use a desk stand, so I never do. That board (painted high-temperature black) doubles the loudness of the microphone and has no other evil effects. You need to put a blanket, towel, or (in my case) black Duvetyne® under it do it doesn’t pick up desk noise.


Radio shack used to offer an onmidirectional microphone and I’ve used that where people are sitting all around the microphone in a conference room. Same board (30" on a side if anybody asks)


Post back when you get something to work. It’s a Forum for sharing ideas, not a Help Desk.

I’d be particularly interested if you tried to get that mobile/cellphone recording technique to work.

Just think. You can walk into an interview with nothing but a clean shirt, a cup of Starbucks and your cellphone. Only if you get somebody like me on the other side with a StupidPhone® that doesn’t have a recorder would you have to supply any hardware at all.


I will post back, when I get the chance to try something.

I’m not too crazy about the phone idea. I would have to rely on everybody’s phone every time, and have no way to know how the quality will turn out etc.
I get the part where I put the different audios together, that’s easy. But having to get the files off especially iPhones is a drag, and telling the guest I’ll need to take their phones now and connect them to my computer… pretty much is a no no.

I like a lot of your other ideas. As far as I see it, my favorites are either a mixer + 4 microphones or 4 kind of recording devices, that are not expensive but together with little mics provide a nice enough sound recording.
But I can post way faster than I can actually google the hardware, decide where to buy, find a night off to install it and then try it out – so please be patient 

And you’re going to find, as I did, that nobody’s making a good, XLR-type lavalier (tie-tack) microphone. They all make the natural assumption: “Of course you’re going to want to plug it into a hip-pack for one of our expensive radio microphone systems.”

Let’s say I don’t.

The other improbable thing is you can’t just bottom-feed sound mixers without performance problems. “How come my shows have a hiss in the background?” and “Why do my microphones have an insane pop in the sound when I connect and disconnect them?” The first is poor quality microphone preamplifiers and the second is from Phantom Power which some cheap mixers can’t turn off.

Without getting too far into particle physics, microphone signals are really tiny. I call them the butterfly wings of the sound world. The mixer has to carefully pre-amplify them before they even get to the audio amplifiers and faders. High level sound signals like your guitar pickup or maybe a cassette player don’t need the preamp. Many recordings with hiss in the show are listening to the noisy preamplifier, not the microphone noise.

We never settled on whether you want the whole thing to be batteries and portable or not for “Outside Broadcast” (“Remote” in the US) sessions. You know the living room is going to be dandy for a while, but you’re going to hit somebody that’s a “get,” but they can’t come to you.



Ok, so I think I will put up some money and go with something like this:

  1. 2 Mics, behringer C1 for example. About 45 USD a piece. Then maybe cheaper ones for guests, or even two more c1s.
  2. Mixer: Behringer XENYX QX1202 USB: 130 USD
  3. Cables + stands, another 120 bucks.
  4. hooking a laptop to it.


This would let me have everything mobile and in my living room. both of us would have separate mics, which would mean a huge quality improvement.

This is a great all-around studio recording mic, ideal for capturing vocals and instruments in the studio…

This is a review from Sweetwater sound. Note using the word “Studio” twice. That’s a soundproof room with carpeting on the walls and ceiling.

Or a simulated studio:

That’s actually a design project, but you get the idea. That was a real voice shoot for a television commercial. I wasn’t interested in recording the walls.

— Echoes and reverb from the walls are going to kill you. Each time somebody talks, their voice is going to bounce from the walls and be picked up by that microphone and all the other microphones.

You’re never going to get rid of that “recording in the kitchen” effect, but studio microphones will make it much worse unless the performers are close to each microphone, and then you could run into the popping P problems.

That doesn’t seem too bad until you hear it on larger speakers. Then it sounds like amateur night at the local club. The mixer has Low Cut buttons on the mic channels to help with that.

— There’s no quick, easy way to set up for a remote/outside interview. That’s actually more equipment than people setting up for a video interview.

— You decided to go without batteries? That’s a serious decision. That’s an AC powered mixer — no option.

— It’s a 12 input mixer, but will still only ever handle four broadcast or studio microphones. They count all the audio inputs whether or not you can use them at the same time.

— Earphones. You can’t use earbuds as a rule for mixing. They miss too much. Earphones will help you set the microphones for best placement since you can’t run speakers and microphones at the same time.

— Computer. You don’t have a laptop yet, do you? I was talking yesterday with a friend about using his Zoom X4 as a recorder instead of going with a stand-alone computer. The discussion took lunch, so it’s not an easy decision. “Which mixer do you have? What if we did it this way…”


I think that’s all for a first pass. The list would work, but work much better in a quiet room and be a chore to move once you set it up, particularly if you start doing four-part interviews or shows.

Since nothing in that list is particularly expensive, it’s good to go on. Everybody finds things they would do differently based on their particular recording style.

I do know people that produce very good quality work in plain apartments or bedrooms. There’s two of them and I think they got very lucky.

!@#$% I didn’t bookmark the other one. Silly me. Searching.


I know somebody’s going to comment I didn’t push pop filters. That’s the tennis-racket thing between the singer and the microphone.


That’s for full-on studio/singing/announcing work. It increases the equipment list and you can do almost as well with the Low Cut filter on the mixer.


Here it is.

I would have put serious money on not being able to record in a bare room like that, but they regularly crank out very nice music. It’s the pianist’s apartment in Brooklyn.

Understand my goal is to find as many things wrong with your list as I can against you being nasty surprised when the UPS truck shows up. I would have no trouble at all making a very nice recording with that list (and headphones).

My favorite mic stand is On Stage Stands MS7701. It’s a folder, so it doesn’t have that heavy Atlas base. Mine is a 2701 and I don’t remember the difference. That’s it on the conference room table.



Once again, thanks for your feedback (obvious pun will not be made here).

I need to stress: There is absolutely NO chance that I will do outside recording. And little to none, that I will record somewhere else. It’s a comedy podcast, you can compare it to comedy bang bang. 8/10 times, it’s me and the co-host talking. we’re planning to also have guests, but when we do, not more than 2. 4 persons is more than enough confusion.

The mics will be either mounted, or handheld. I asked the guy in the shop that made me this suggestion, if you’d hear people fiddling on their mics, if they need to hold it. That’s why he upgraded from a supercheap mic, to the C1… he said then I should be fine.

The second suggestion was the Zoom X6. That would be 400 Bucks, and would let me record 4 mics. But the USB Mixer just seems more attractive. If I add a laptop to that, at least I also have a laptop I can use. And for the time being, I’ll just hijack my GFs Laptop that will be just fine.

So mobility is no real factor. People will come, we’ll record, they’ll leave again.

Earphones: will do!

Kitchen effect: yep, Mic close to each person will be the goal. If I have to use pop filters… well then that’s how it shall be… I’ll test first without.

Room/youtube: Oh, and I love their music, they’re one of the few subscriptions on my youtube!!!

As you said: this experiment is “cheap”, so I can risk it. Add pop filter if needed. Anything beyond that, is also beyond my means (again: we make zero money, pure fun and hobby).

thanks again!

I think hand-held is a fever dream. Those microphones are side-fire, you don’t talk into them like a rock band microphone. They have little or no handling isolation and are usually used on a stand with a spring or rubber shock mount. Nobody is going to be hand-holding a side-fire microphone and pop filter.


Good luck with that.

If they are “real” comedy artists, then they’re used to hand-held rock-band/club microphones like the Shure SM-58.


I like the China knock-off GLS Audio, ES-58.


You can get them in packs of three. I do not like switches on microphones. They take control away from the audio technician and can cause production panic.

“What happened to mic-3?”
“Oh, wait.”