It's that time of year! The 2022 Podcast Liftoff Gift Guide is here, fully updated with new gear and a section for video podcasting. We'll go through the what and why of it all, and I'll highlight some other great gifts for podcasters.
View the whole gift guide here: https://podcastliftoff.com/gift-guide/
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Hey everybody. It is that time of year, everybody, you know, every podcast, every blog, every YouTube channel is creating their gift guide and well, I'm no different. See, I created a couple of gift guides a few years ago, and they've done really well. I've gotten a lot of great feedback on them, and so this year I have fully updated. Podcasters Gift guide, and I also have a work from home gift guide, and that's what I want to talk about in this episode. If you want some visuals, you can catch this episode over on YouTube. It'll be in the show notes, and if you're watching on YouTube, Well, you can listen to this episode over on make money pod.com if you so desire. So today we are going to be talking through my Podcaster's gift guide and I'll be doing some highlights from the Work from Home Gift Guide because I think, I think there's a lot of relevant stuff in there. So without further ado, let's get started. Okay, so here we go. We've got the podcast gift guide up here. The first thing I wanna start with always is a microphone, right? So, um, a lot of people starting podcasting, they're not sure what podcasts Mike to get. Do they need to spend $400? Absolutely not. For a long time, I've actually recommended the audio Technica ATR 2100 x, uh, or the 2100 before that, and this year I have a new champion for Starter Mike. That's the Samsung Q two U. This microphone. The, the big winner here, I think is basically everybody I've talked to has loved it for a long time. It's versatile. It's compatible via USB or xlr. Um, it comes with all of the cables that you need, and it's a little bit cheaper than the ATR 2100. So, um, it's got. Good quality starting out. It comes with, again, everything that you need to record with, and it's less than a hundred dollars, which is a great price for a solid microphone. So, uh, Samsung Q two U is the mic I recommend. Now that said, uh, the ATR 2100 X is still a great mic. I still have that mic, and I, that's what I use for travel. Um, but by and large, from a lot of, uh, podcasters I've talked to the Samsung, Q2 U has become the better microphone. Uh, a lot of people ask me about the Blue Yeti. So I'll just say here, like, I think the Blue Yeti is a fine micro. Um, but you need to get it dialed in correctly. So, uh, you can kind of change the pickup pattern, so like how much sound it picks up and you can change the gain, how sensitive it is. And if you don't have those dialed in correctly, then you're gonna end up with bad sound quality. It's also really big and like has to sit on your desk like in front of you. You can get a really strong, um, boom arm, but, By and large, if you're just looking to plug and play the Samsung, q2, U, uh, that's sa m So N by the way, it's not Samsung, it's Samsung, uh, Q2 U is is gonna be your best bet. Other recording accessories. So the other thing I like about the Samsung Q2 U is that it comes with a, a pop filter or a windscreen, something that covers the microphone. Uh, if you don't have that, this is gonna prevent those hard p sounds. They're called plosives. So when you hit like pop filter, uh, you get like this gust of air that that makes. Listening to you really hard. Um, and so it's, it's a pop filter is an absolute must for me. If you don't have, uh, the, the covering that goes directly over the microphone, you can get a wind screen that's just kind of like a circle that sits in front of the microphone. And I link to that in the gift guide. It'll be in the, I'm gonna, I'm gonna try really hard to put the show, like all the links in the show notes too, so you don't have to click through, through to the gift guide. I'll link to the gift guide as well. If you want more context. Uh, a shock mount. So if you hit your desk a. if you don't have a shock mount, uh, then those shakes, those, uh, like hits are gonna come through in the recording. So I recommend a shock mic, a shock mount to, it's basically just a bunch of rubber bands, uh, that like hold the microphone in place. Um, it's not, I mean, that's like the cheaper ones, but, um, a shock mount will prevent shakes from hitting your desks and all other small. Making it into the recording. And then finally a boom arm, you know, if you've watched me at all, you know that I can move my microphone out of the way. And again, you don't, you don't want your microphone directly on your desk because if you hit your desk right, the, the shakes, the small vibrations are gonna come through. Uh, or if you're really close to your keyboard and your typing, that's gonna come. A boom arm keeps the mic out of your way. Especially I talk with my hands a lot. I'm Italian, uh, so I talk with my hands a lot. The fact that I can keep my boom arm or my microphone exactly where I want it to be is hugely helpful. And I have like a, an expensive boom arm cuz I got it when I had the Blue Yeti and I wanted a very strong blue arm. But if you're using the Q2 U, you can pick up one of the newer. N e e w e r, uh, boom arms for like 13 or $14. So not a big amount of money. The microphone and the boom arm, they're gonna, they're still gonna come. They should still come under a hundred bucks. Headphones. You need headphones when you record a podcast. No ifs and or buts there. You need headphones. If somebody gets on a podcast with you and they don't have headphones and they say they've never needed headphones, they're lying or they don't care about sound quality. So you need headphones to sound good. Your guest needs headphones to sound good. I think the audio Technica, A T H m 50 Xs are. They're a great price. They sound amazing. Those are not the ones I use today, but those are in my, on my electric drum set. So I still use them every day. Uh, I have the. Let's see the DT seven 70 Pros, they're may be a little bit better. If you're not like a huge audio file, you're probably not gonna notice a difference. But they're both kind of like studio monitor quality headphones without costing like a thousand dollars. So I think the A H M 50 Xs are fantastic. I strongly recommend them. Um, if you're going and, and so both headphones I just mentioned are. They're only headphones. If you're going to use headphones like AirPods or AirPod Maxes or whatever, you, you run a little bit of a risk cuz they're wireless, right? So you're gonna lose sound quality there. Um, as far as like things you might pick up, that's like, maybe not entirely the case. Uh, but those headphones also have a microphone on them, so you gotta make sure that the microphone is not on and you're not recording with that microphone. I think have dedicated headphones, uh, studio monitor headphones and the at H M X 50 Xs are great. Uh, the last thing under other recording accessories is acoustic foam. Uh, the name of the game with sound quality here is you wanna reduce echo and, uh, you wanna do that by absorb. And deflecting. So I recommend, right, or most sound people will recommend, like, have like a bookshelf behind you, right? Because the sound is gonna bounce off the wall and then behind you. And that's what causes the echo. The sound is just bouncing around your room, not getting deflected at all. A bookshelf will deflect, uh, but acoustic foam can really help. I have, uh, these hexagonal, uh, pieces of acoustic foam. I like these cuz they came in like blue and orange and those are like kind of my colors. Um, so they're by Deru, D E K I R U. Uh, and they're really affordable. They're not the best, but they get the, they get the job done right? They, um, they do a pretty good job. And again, I have like carpeting, I have a really good setup. So these were partially for aesthetic, but partially. The sound absorption and deflection. Uh, if you want really good acoustic foam. Our LX is considered like the, the industry standard as far as I last I checked at least. Um, and this is like the more traditional like super thick foam that's like cut into triangles. Uh, they have base traps to go into like the corners. And actually I do have rlx base traps in the corners, right, because that's, Sound is gonna get the most trapped, like bounce around in the corners and then head back to your microphone. So, um, they have a bunch of things. I used to have these panels that like were on stands that I, that I would put behind me, um, or in front of me. I still use those when I record for LinkedIn learning, but now my setup is, is good enough and, and I'm away. Uh, like the outside noises, mostly I do have an egress window right in front of me, and I will fill that when I'm, when I'm recording, uh, I will put rlx phone panels in that egress and that helps. Uh, so you, you wanna have some of these panels, um, to help reduce, uh, to help reduce the. Echo and sound quality. Okay, so that's, that's recording and sound quality there. Uh, let's talk about video podcasting. This is a brand new section in the gift guide this year, and it's because so many people have thrown their hats into. Podcasting that are related to video. Most notably YouTube, right? So I used to say, ah, you don't really need video for your podcast. It's fine. It's okay. Uh, but now it's an absolute yes. You need to, I, I think that you need video for your podcast. Uh, if you're now, if, if you or your loved one is just starting. Don't make that the requirement. Maybe like if, if just recording audio is good for them, great. But if you're, if you're ready to take the podcast to the next level or your loved one's ready to, to get to take their podcast to the next level, recording video is where it's at. That's why I'm recording this video along with the audio. So camera is first thing, you need a decent camera. If you have a. and an iPhone. Use the iPhone. Like there's just, you're not gonna get a better camera than that. Uh, I think starting in like the iPhone seven or something like that, it has a 4K camera on it, so that's absolutely gonna be the best camera that you can get. Uh, if you prefer a dedicated webcam, I recommend the Elga face cam. It's affordable, it's not 4k. Most people aren't watching it 4K or they're not gonna expect you to have 4k. Um, and especially if you're recording in Zoom or, or Riverside, you're probably not gonna have that 4K quality anyway. So I think the Alga face cam is really good. The Opal C one I have that. It's just some people say it's great, it just hasn't measured up for me. So, uh, I'm not a big fan of that. Now, if you. If you want to go all out, uh, I, in the gifts guide, I link to my, my live stream kit, and there I'm using like a $800 camera with a $300 lens. Like this is what, this is what you see for, for this. And I'm recording locally, so it's capturing 4k. I don't think you need that for your podcast. I have that because I've been doing a lot of live streams and videos and I create courses, and so video's a really important part of my content creation process. But again, if you. If you want this kind of quality and you have the budget, um, that's what I recommend. Otherwise, I think that the elga face cam is great. They just came out with the face Cam Pro. This is a 4K 60 frames per second webcam. This is 300 bucks. I haven't tested this, but if it's as good as the regular face cam, uh, then, then I'm, I'm gonna go ahead and recommend that. Maybe I'll pick this up, or Al Gado if you wanna send me the camera. To review on this channel, uh, I'll check it out, but the, the face cam Pro is a 4K camera. I love everything Alga makes, so I'm going to strongly recommend their stuff. As a matter of fact, I think that a good camera is important, but even more important is lighting. Lighting is crucial because if you have good lighting, your camera doesn't need to work as hard to generate a good. So there are lots of lighting setups. I have the Phillips Hu Lights behind me. You can see those. But I've got the Elga key lights on either side of me. That's what's creating the good lighting on my person. There's another one in the back that's like the, the backlight. Um, that's a key light air. I think those are really good solutions for lighting because you can easily change the color temperature and. Brightness and adjust based on like time of day. If you have natural lighting and things like that. They are. If you're looking for a more affordable option, knee has a two pack of lights on stands that you can just set up for $40. As I record this, it's $40 and they have like little buttons to, you know, adjust the brightness and things like that. Less flexible. But if you just need simple lighting, then they're great. And then the Loom cube for video conferencing is another thing that's like kind of sticks right onto your computer. And creates a spotlight for you as you're looking at your camera. So that's another option. I think any improvement to lighting is, is really gonna help. But I strongly recommend the Delgado Key Lights because they're well made powerful. They can be controlled by an app on your computer or by your stream deck, and I really love that. All right, so let's talk about uploading your podcast. Um, this is, I include this for completeness. I don't expect anybody to like, get hosting, uh, for, as a gift for somebody. But, you know, if, if you want to, if they're like, I really can't afford hosting and I wanna start a podcast, uh, there are two audio hosts I recommend. Buzz Sprout. Increasingly, I think Buzz Sprout is the best audio host for most podcasters. It has a generous, free plan and a a lot of really good features. So, you know, if you wanna pick up like six months for somebody, uh, I think Buzz Sprout is great. Casto is good. If you want a more robust website for your podcast, Or, uh, you need like, private podcasting, right? So if, if you, you or somebody you know wants to start a private member's only podcast, I think Casto is a really good audio host for that. They also allow you to easily create multiple shows inside of an account. So, uh, like podcast network style. So if you have like three related shows and you don't wanna pay for separate hosting for all of them, Casto is going to be your best bet here. That's what I use for how I built it. My, my, uh, longer show, my longer running show. And that's cuz I have how I built it. I have How I Built Bits, which is a clip show and I have my members only show, which is how I built it pro. So Casto, if you want flexibility, I think Buzz proud, if you want simplicity in modern features. And then there's website hosting. So like most. Most audio hosts at this point, including the ones I've recommended, include good websites at this point. But if you want something better, WordPress is super flexible. I recommend Pressable hosting nowadays. Pod Page is a service that is purpose built for podcast websites, and card is just super simple, super cheap, uh, and allows you to create a really nice landing page for your. Okay, now let's get into upgrading your setup. Right? So maybe you know somebody, or you are somebody who has all of the basic stuff I just talked about and you're ready to upgrade. For Mike, I know it's been done to death, but the Sure SM seven B. I've tested a lot of microphones and this one has stuck with me the longest. It's the one I'm currently using. It sounds amazing, and it's, it's in the four, $500 price range, so it's not cheap. But it's not a th like, it's not like a tele funkin or, or whatever, uh, like for a thousand dollars. And it's, it's a really good microphone, especially for spoken word. You see a bunch of podcasters using it, uh, and they all use it for a reason. So it, it's really good and flexible. Um, Alternatives include the road pod mic. This one was okay, and the stellar X two, which is about 200 bucks. I reviewed this, they sent full disclosure. They sent me that microphone for free and I tested out when I was pretty impressed for price versus quality. Uh, if you do use the SM seven B, uh, you'll need a little power boost depending on your interface. So the Cloud lifter CL one is perfect for that task. And if you are upgrading your microphone from a USB microphone, you will need an. The interface I've recommended for a long time is the Scarlet Focus, uh, the focus, right? Scarlet Solo. It's really simple. It has some simple controls. It's very affordable, it's easy to use, so that's what I recommend. If you just need to plug an XLR into your computer. If you're looking for something beefier, I recommend the Roader Proi that came out this year. I have it. I love it. It's a full, uh, board and mixer. It's around $600, but it's made specifically for podcasters. It accepts multiple inputs, so if you're recording with more than one person, you can. It also has a soundboard, uh, built right in. So if you have like sound effects or music, uh, you can connect phone calls and Bluetooth and there's a whole lot more. And it has, because it's built for podcasters. If you press on one of your mic inputs, there are. Uh, pre configurations for certain mics, including all of the big road microphones, but the only non road microphone they have, as far as I can tell, is the SM seven B. So they have, uh, preconfigured settings to make your SM seven B sound good without you having to mess around with it. And I don't need the cloud lifter when using the road caster Pro two because it already has phantom power and really good gain. So, If you're really to take, if you're really ready to take your podcast to the next level, uh, and you're not like a sound engineer, right? Like there's the Apollo duo or whatever, that's definitely for sound engineers and can get really expensive. The Roader Pro two is such a great interface, like I can't recommend it enough. So that's interfaces. Let's talk about some other helpful gear and then other helpful software to close this out. Uh, and then I'll quickly touch on the work from home gift guide and just point some things out there. So other helpful gear, uh, wire management is really important. You can find like $14. Like wire management packages, I link to one in the gift guide that has a bunch of different options, but you are gonna have a lot of wires with all of this. And just having them strew about is, uh, my nightmare. So wire management is really important. Uh, the Elga Stream deck is a powerhouse of automation and workspace set up. I use it for my live streams, but also my podcast if. Recording through E Cam Live. I will use that to record these podcasts, but I also have automation set up on it so I can control shortcuts and lighting and I can set up my podcast workspace. On my computer. So I push a button, it opens up the apps that I use for recording and it arranges them in a specific way, which is really cool. So I love the Delgado Stream deck. I strongly recommend it. I have the 32 button one cuz I have a bunch of stuff here. Um, if you are recording on the Go Zoom digital field recorders are, uh, there's nothing better than Zoom. I have the Zoom H five, I link to just. Page on Adorama, uh, where there's a bunch of them, cuz the Zoom H five is on back order right now. But that's the one I love. It's a, it's like a, a mini roader pro. I'm gonna say it's got like four inputs and you can record directly to device. You can also use it as an interface connected to your computer. And then finally, USBC hubs, especially if you have like a MacBook Air. Or, I mean, I have the Mac studio and I still need a hub, right? So, um, there's a couple I recommend there's the eight in one USBC hub by anchor. But if you need something really heavy duty, check out the cow digit element hub. It's got extra USB and extra USBC ports. It's like it's powered itself. So it's gonna act like it's going to be as. You've added extra ports directly to your computer. So, um, especially if you're doing like travel podcasting or you're working off of a laptop or an iPad, um, you're gonna need stuff like that. The last thing in this Podcasters gift guide is helpful and crucial software. So I'm just gonna mention these really quick because you're probably not getting somebody like a software for a. Calendly for scheduling, Riverside for recording, descript for editing, and eche live for video. So I will link, this is all gonna be a podcast, liftoff.com/gift guide. Uh, I'll link it in the show notes, uh, firstname.lastname@example.org or in your app of choice. Um, full disclosure, there are affiliate links on this page, but this is all stuff I've used and recommended. So let's run through the work from. Gift guide. Really quick. I've already talked about webcam and microphone, so those features, there are a few extra recommendations there. I talked about lighting. There are productivity tools. I'm gonna skip over that, right? Productivity is a very personal thing, uh, but I will mention the analog to do system by U Monk. People say this is too expensive, but I love it. It's re, it looks really nice on my desk and filling out the card every morning is a ritual of mine. Uh, if you're looking for ideas, coffee, right? So I've got lots of different coffee I need to include on this though. Comat Tea coffee. It is, that is coffee that's brewed and then flash frozen and sent to you. And so you. Coffee defrost. You run it under hot water and you have perfectly brewed coffee in minutes. Uh, it's also great for ice coffee, so I love comat here. That is getting a nice section on the work from home Gift guide. Uh, it, you know, I have the AeroPress Link tier too. Uh, I have an espresso maker. Which I really love. Um, I don't know if like people are gonna like lambast me for that. Um, and then for beans, I, I love R Coffee. There's R Coffee and then there's Redding Coffee Company here in Pennsylvania. Their jazzy Java is so good. Uh, as far as, uh, office ergonomics go, I think a good chair is super important. I have the Steelcase gesture. Uh, that's very expensive, but it's the best. Uh, and then I got roller blade wheels for office chairs. Um, this is wild. I think I saw West Boss tweet about this a couple years ago, but the wheels on office chairs suck and roller blade chairs, like give it a little bit more, um, uh, a little bit more sturdiness. It rolls a lot easier, especially on carpet, uh, standing desks. I have the Fully by Jarvis, um, but I also have the, uh, the E seven by Flexis spot. Uh, full disclosure, they've provided me this desk for free. As, as part of like a sponsor spot and video. Um, but I love this desk. It looks great. It's super sturdy. And the thing that it has that the fully Jarvis doesn't, at least mine, is a child lock. So my children. Cannot play with this desk and like kill the motor by like just pressing up and down on it. So I really love that, but it's, it's this beautiful black, um, and it's really sturdy and very spacious and I really like it. Um, As far as desk gear goes, now this is gonna change totally next year because there's a lot of really cool desk gear coming out next year, including like Egg Monk's, new Gather and Sarah DCI's, new stuff. But something to elevate your laptop or monitor. I think 12 South makes the best stuff here. Um, an ergonomic, I don't use an ergonomic keyboard. I use the Apple standard stuff, but an ergonomic keyboard if, if somebody's using. They're keyboard and mouse all the time. Uh, the Logitech, MX Master three is a really nice mouse. Again, I'm just using the standard apple mouse, which is not good. Um, but I like, uh, there are a few things that the Logic MX Master doesn't do, especially with sidecar and universal control yet, and that's why I'm using apples. Okay, so this is really important for any podcast or any content creator, backups and storage. I think you should have an external hard drive, uh, and then a cloud or offsite backup, Western digital myBooks. Those are like an industry standard. Uh, those are amazing. I have a couple connected to my computer. I use them for time, machine backups and manual backups, and then back blaze. There's only one service for cloud offsite backups, as far as I'm concerned, and it's back blaze. Super affordable, really great. It has saved me multiple times. If you're looking for something more advanced, there's network area storage. I have a Sonology two bay storage Na behind me that I use for cold storage. Uh, so this is just, again, network storage, extra hard drives. That's where I move old projects that I want to keep over. Uh, and then there's portable hard drives. Western Digital makes the elements, which is, uh, a portable hard drive. I recommend the Samsung T seven portable ssd. It is tiny. They are pricey, but they're tiny. I'm using one specifically for my photos library, so it's this tiny, like almost credit card sized hard drive that just houses my photos library. So if the rest of my computer goes up in flame, Um, that hard drive is the sole place for my full photos library. We've already talked about headphones, but if you're, if we're just talking about listening, I recommend the AirPods Pro two or the AirPods Max. I love both of those. Uh, the Bose Quiet Comfort 45 noise canceling headphones. If you're not looking to spend AirPods Max money are really good. Uh, and then there's other helpful tech. This is just, um, miscellaneous. That I'm gonna mention here, I need to fix this. Um, but Anchor 12 South and Saachi all make really good, like interesting grab bag things. So like charging bricks, wall chargers, everything I use for power, I get from Anchor, uh, 12 South for basically. Anything that goes on my desk at this point, that's gonna change soon. But I love 12 South for that stuff. The hover bar duo especially is really good for my iPad. And so tey for miscellaneous like industrial design stuff, I really like some of their stuff. So definitely check that out. Uh, if you're looking for, uh, like an extra special gift, I love the my iPad Mini. I strongly recommend the iPad Mini for a lot of stuff. Reading, writing, and note taking stuff like. Uh, and then the rest is like comforts of home. So we'll skip over that. You know, I think that clothes are, are one thing I need to update this cuz U Monk is no longer making clothing. Um, so that is, that's the gift guide, the 2022 gift Guide. I hope you enjoyed it. You can find links to everything in the show notes or email@example.com. Uh, if you have any questions, feel free to write in. I'm at Jake Casabona on. Or Joe casa bonna.org. Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, I can't wait to see what you make.