The Podcast Equipment from… This American Life

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Podcast Equipment This American Life

With tons of microphones, mixers, and software available, the choice for podcasters is huge! So huge that a lot of creators can’t see the forest for the trees. One of the most questions asked on any forum about podcasting is: what microphone do you use?

That’s why in this blog series ‘The podcast equipment from…’ we want to answer the questions every podcaster has. What equipment do their heroes use?

For our second episode (read the first one here), we did some research for you all and came across the podcast equipment from This American Life. Host Ira Glass shares in this article his best practices for when you want to make your own show.

Let’s take a look at their podcast equipment!

What microphone do they use for their podcast?

“In the field, we prefer the Audio Technica 835B shotgun microphone and a few different kinds of Lectrosonics wireless microphones. We like shotgun mics because they give you a prettier sound for interviews with less room noise, and when you need to capture the sounds of machines clicking and cows mooing and all the other ambient audio that makes up a radio documentary, you can point at what you’re trying to record and isolate it from the surrounding environment a bit. In the studio, we use the Shure KSM32 mic.”

Which mixer do they have?

“We use the Marantz PMD 661 and Zoom H6 digital audio recorders, set to record 16-bit WAV files.”

What editing software do you use?

“We edit and mix the radio show on Mac computers with Pro Tools, using its basic Mbox 2 setup.” 

When starting a podcast, what is the most important piece you MUST have? 

This is interesting, Ira Glass doesn’t talk about equipment here. He recommends a book: “First and foremost, I’d send you to Jessica Abel’s book Out on the Wire:  The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio. It’s the definitive how-to guide for anyone who wants to make narrative journalism – i.e, true stories with scenes and plot and characters like we do on our show. I’ve probably bought 150 copies for people over the years and can’t recommend it highly enough.”

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About This American Life

This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 2.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards.

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