When I was first starting out in podcasting, it really helped me to be able to read about how other people record their shows, and to get a sense of what sound quality you could achieve on different budgets. So I wanted to do my bit for anyone who is starting out and explain how me and CJ record our podcast, The Boy Who Hasn’t Lived.

Tl;dr – we use a Zoom H4N Handy Recorder. I spent about £200 on this set up and I get really nice quality recordings. I’m very happy – if you’re looking to spend that sort of budget, I would definitely recommend this set up. I also use a Rode NTG2 for other things, but this post is just focused on the set up for The Boy Who Hasn’t Lived.

The full, and very simple, list of equipment we use is:

Zoom H4N Handy Recorder

Camera tripod (the Zoom is designed for use with video cameras, so you can use a camera tripod to mount it when you’re recording)

Cheapo wind guard

Headphone splitter (so CJ and I can both monitor the audio while we’re recording)

When we record, we sit next to each other, directly in front of the mic.

Also, if you’re going to be walking and talking, you can hold the recorder using the tripod to avoid mic handling noise.

If you want to get a sense of the quality of recording, have a listen to a bit of a recent episode.

There are lots of options for how to record a podcast and I did quite a bit of research. The reasons I went for the Zoom H4N in the end were:

  • I wanted something that would do high quality audio, and I read a lot of reviews saying that the Zoom was one of the industry standards for recording broadcast quality audio for TV, etc.
  • I didn’t want to spend loads of money but I also didn’t want to end up replacing whatever I bought a year later because it was too cheap and cheerful. The Zoom is about £150 and I think it’s a pretty good investment if you’re able to spend that much. Obviously compared to a lot of equipment, you could say that £150 is cheap. But I know not everyone has that much money laying around.
  • I didn’t want to have to carry around lots of equipment. When I go out to record, I just chuck all the above bits in my bag (and some spare batteries) and I am good to go.
  • I didn’t want to have to bring a laptop every time I was recording, which I would have had to do if I used a USB mic. E.g. I considered a Blue Yeti, but in the end I wanted a portable recorder, not just a mic.
  • I wanted something portable and versatile –
    • I can use the Zoom for sit down, studio type sessions, as well as recording out-and-about, e.g. when I am working on documentaries.
    • When I need to, I can plug external mics into the Zoom instead of using the onboard mics.


I am really happy with the Zoom. For a pretty mediocre investment of about £200 all together, CJ and I can record nice quality audio that sounds professional.

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