Cheap podcasting accessories

It’s fun to talk about the big equipment podcasters use: microphones, mixers, software, cameras, and so on. But having a supply of these small accessories will keep you sane when you try to podcast.

1. Miniature camera tripod

I love my several mini tripods. I use one on my Logitech C920 webcam and another on my Zoom H4n. These are small, lightweight, but extremely versatile for around or under $10.

2. Desktop mic stand

You may not always be able to bring a large mic stand or overhead boom arm. Having a small, desktop stand is a great backup for podcasting away from your home studio.

Check out the selection from Amazon.com.

3. Cables

  • XLR cables
  • 1/4″ stereo or mono extension
  • 1/4″ stereo or mono male-to-male
  • 3.5 mm extension
  • 3.5 mm male-to-male
  • USB cables
  • Charging cables
  • CAT-6 network cables

Hands down, the best place to get cables is Monoprice. They are amazing quality at very low costs.

Monoprice.com! Best quality products at the lowest price, Always!

4. Adapters

  • 1/4″ to 3.5 mm stereo or mono
  • Mono RCA to 1/4″
  • 3.5 mm to 1/4″ stereo or mono

Monoprice is the best place to get audio and video adapters.

5. Splitters

  • Stereo 3.5 mm to stereo RCA splitter
  • 3.5 mm iPod A/V to A/V RCA splitter
  • Headphone

You guessed it, Monoprice is the best place for splitters, too.

6. Microphone windscreens

I really like my Shure A58WS-BLK Foam Windscreens. These work great on any ball-type microphone. The windscreen is great at preventing popping P’s and T’s (plosives) in the microphone, especially with the extra thickness at the end.

7. Rechargeable batteries

For devices that use batteries, I’m now a fan of Eneloop rechargeable batteries. These batteries hold their charge very well, don’t lose much charge over time, and they will last through many charges (rated for 1,500 cycles). Even if you only get 1,000 cycles per battery, that’s like paying a fourth of a penny per battery.

I used Eneloop rechargeable batteries in my cordless mouse, Zoom H4n, and external camera flash.

8. Extra earphones

Can-style headphones are the best for audio podcasting because they will block out surrounding noise, protect your microphone from sound leakage, and let you hear the details your audio really well.

But it’s not always practical to bring your big headphones. Always have a decent pair of earbuds around. This can work fine in a hurry or on the road.

9. USB audio adapter

Whether you need to connect analog audio equipment directly to your computer, or you need an extra audio device (for advanced mix-minus setups), a USB audio adapter will always be handy.

You can get a decent adapter for under $10 and it’s tiny and portable.

10. Twist ties and cable labels

“Save the twist ties, save the world!” Keep durable twist ties for packing and transporting any kind of cable. Always take extras with you because you’ll lose some when you have to repack things.

I keep twist ties from the Christmas-torture toy packaging, equipment I buy, and more. Separate your ties into basic sizes: small (1–2 inches), medium (3–6 inches), and large (7 inches or larger).

Labeling your cables can be as cheap as a roll of masking tape. Note where things plug in and what they’re connected to. For example, “Primary PC,” “iPad,” “Daniel’s mic,” “H4n left.”

BONUS (but not cheap): gaffers tape

Gaffers tape isn’t cheap, but it’s much better to use that duct tape or electrical tape. Use gaffers tape to secure cable to the ground so they’re not a tripping hazard.

What cheap accessories do you find are indispensable? Tell me in the comments below!

Learn WordPress and Audacity in upcoming webinars

The core software to successful blogging or podcasting is WordPress. But if you don’t know how to use it, you’ll struggle with building your online platform. Tickets are now on sale for my next “Learn WordPress” webinar on Saturday, April 27 at noon (EDT/GMT-4).

My first Audacity webinar was a great success and was highly praised. This is where I teach the basics and some of the more advanced techniques of using Audacity for podcasting and other audio-editing. If you want to edit your own audio for high quality and with efficiency, then join me for my “Learn Audacity” webinar on Saturday, May 18, at noon (EDT/GMT-4).

Tickets are $100 for either of these 2-hour webinars (including Q&A), or $175 for both. Reserve your space today!

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

19 comments on “10 cheap accessories every podcaster should have – TAP121

  1. Polarizing_Images says:

    Another great podcast, Daniel, thanks! I’d like to add two thoughts:

    1. Since the H4n – and it’s now discontinued predecessor the H4 – can accept an external mic, it is perfect for podcasting out in the field (as you mentioned). However, if you’re standing outside and trying to record, what do you do with the recorder? Get a cheap metal belt clip like the one below for about $5 and then head to a hardware store and pick up a short quarter-twenty bolt (that’s the thread size of the tripod nut/port on the recorder) and screw the belt clip to the H4n. Attach a lav mic and suddenly it’s hands-free recording!

    2. Go to a hobby store and buy a small piece of dense, closed-cell foam. Wrap some of the foam around the bottom of each leg on the tabletop tripod you recommend to help absorb minute vibrations that would otherwise travel up the tripod and cause noise in the recording. It’s an old photographer’s trick to help minimize vibration when shooting from a tripod on a moving platform like a ship or a wooden sidewalk where people are walking.

    Rob

    1. Both brilliant!

      I’ve been sticking my H4n in my pocket when it’s connected to my Giant Squid lavalier.

  2. Hi Daniel and thanks for another great episode. I couldn’t resist contributing this item as it’s by far my favourite cheap gadget of all time! As you can see from the photo (I hope) it’s a AA rechargeable battery which you plug into a USB port. I have two of these and I use nothing else to power my Zoom H1 – absolutely brilliant. In the UK these cost me about £7.99 – no idea if they are even available in the US, sorry! UPDATE – sorry can’t seem to get that image to upload here so her it is on my site – http://www.mulryne.com/yesmusicpodcast/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/IMAG0568.jpg

    1. Great item! The Eneloop batteries have a separate USB charger, but I love that your batteries have the charger built-in! How long do they last?

      1. My Zoom H1 would run for about 2.5 hours per battery I think. I have also used them as backup batteries for my Android phone and they do about 1.5 hours of heavy wi-fi usage each.

        1. Of course, I swap the batteries and plug one into USB while using the other – perfect! Found the website – http://www.usbcell.com/ and whoa! They are going to launch a phone cell version! http://www.usbcell.com/product/6

  3. A really helpful episode Daniel. I never thought that you could add another sound card to your system for $10. This really is a great solution for multiple source recording – love it. Thanks for including my testimonial too! You crushed it in your last webinar Daniel 🙂

    1. Thank you, Mike! I’ve been enjoying many of your YouTube videos lately.

      1. Cheers Daniel, you’re a gent!

  4. Daniel, great episode I have a question about the multiple USB sound card. Is there a way to configure one copy of a browser to use the on-board sound card, and one copy of a browser to use the USB audio adapter? (I hope I explained that right).

    1. Windows or OS X?

      If the web app truly can’t support selecting a device, then you can sometimes trick it. Set one USB device as the default, start the browser and web app. Then switch the system default to the other default and start a different browser (not a new window, but use Safari and Chrome, or Chrome and Firefox, etc.).

      1. Thanks Daniel. I am using Windows. Your idea seems like it should work, but I can’t get it to work on my system….

        1. What are the web apps you’re trying to work with?

          1. I am using Chrome. I sometimes need to play sounds from a web browser to my co-host who is on via Skype. I have the mix minus set up so I the skype and podproducer work, but on the occasion I need to play a sound from a web page on the fly I haven’t been able to figure it out.

          2. Set your system default output to the device that your cohost can hear through your mixer setup. Leave that as the default. Then in Skype, switch its output to the mix-minus channel.

            Skype will allow you to change input and output devices, so leaving your system default as the other output device means anything else, except Skype, will be heard by your Skype guest.

          3. DANIEL — YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, thank you. That worked.

  5. Great Job Daniel!
    Another inexpensive item to have is extra SD cards for back ups. You never know when you are going to need one because yours just died, and yes they do die at the most in opportune time

    1. Excellent suggestions! I picked up a couple 32 GB SD cards from Amazon when they went on a fantastic sale around Thanksgiving.

  6. davedufour says:

    Monoprice is great, but some of their cables have fallen apart on me. They usually have 2 or 3 price levels on every item. You can have confidence in their mid or top level products that are STILL dirt cheap. They are very fast too.

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