GEAR: YOU EITHER LOVE IT OR HATE IT. IF YOU'RE THE LATTER, HOPEFULLY THIS GUIDE CAN HELP.
"Just tell me what to get"
Audio Technica ATR 2100x podcasting bundle ($119.00) USB/XLR dynamic microphone bundle with a desktop and broadcast arm stand, pop filter, and USB cable extender.
Audacity or GarageBand (Free)
Hosting through Libsyn ($15.00 a month)
STANDS AND POP FILTERS: You'll need a mic stand. Some of the mics above come with a simple desktop stand, but you can also get a broadcast style desk arm or a floor mounted boom stand depending on your recording set up. And in addition to good mic technique, a pop filter will help erase those pesky "plosives" and make your editor's life a whole lot easier. You can find all the mics above in bundles with stands, cables, and pop filters included.
CLOUDLIFTERS: Some dynamic mics (such as the SHURE mics above) benefit from a boost to their gain (volume) on the way to the audio interface. I run my SHURE SM7B through this Cloudlifter
AUDIO INTERFACE/PREAMP: If you choose a mic with only an XLR connection, you'll need a mic preamp (audio interface) to boost your gain (volume) and convert the signal into your computer. These are all very popular options
$120. Simple, clean, and easy to use. I have an older version of this interface I've used for a long time.
$200. Four mic inputs, super mobile, and a great option for shows with more than 1 person.
$600. Couldn't love this enough. Takes the essentials of a studio mixing board and puts them in your lap. four channels, slider controls, audio effects, phone recording, remote or direct to computer recording and more
want more options?
First, some terminology. There are basically two types of microphones: dynamic and condenser and you can get those with either USB or XLR connections (or both). Also, you want that "pickup pattern" to say cardiod which limits pickup around you and maximizes picking up the stuff coming out of your mouth.
A condenser mic has a wider frequency response and can pick up a larger variety of qualities in a voice, but will also pick up a lot more "room noise" in an untreated space. A dynamic mic limits the outside noise and is much better for podcasting. Unless you intend to do a lot of singing or instrument recording as well, you're going to want to go with a dynamic mic for your podcast setup. A USB mic can plug directly into your computer. an XLR mic needs an additional preamp/audio interface (see below)
$79.00. Best low-cost option. Comes with desk stand, cables, and foam windscreen.
$250-$300. A nice, mid-level option from a solid company. You may want to pair with a cloudlifter (see below)
$400. This is my mic. Very popular podcasting AND vocal mic, notably used by Michael Jackson on Thriller Will want a couldlifter here.
Audio-Technica ATR-2100x USB/XLR
My go-to "starter pack" above, just without the extra accessories
$250-$300. Excellent and more affordable version of the gold standard, RE20 below.
$450. Broadcast radio standard. If you have the budget for a great editor AND a great mic ;) this is where I would go.