I saw a post on forum that asked, “I am looking to upgrade my equipment and set aside 500 dollars to do Audio/Video. Any suggestions?”
To this I reply:
I feel there is no One size fits all. Also keep in mind, that if you're audio sounds good – new equipment won't bring you more subscribers. For example if you use something like a Audio Technica ATR2100 and you upgrade to a Heil PR40. Will it sound better? Yes. Will it sound $240 better? No. However, if you have a Blue Snowball/Yeti and you switch to a ATR2100 you will probably sound noticeably better as the ATR2100 is a dynamic microphone and all Blue microphones (that I am aware of) are condenser and pick up much more room noise.
Likewise a mixer is another piece of equipment that you may not need. If you're doing a solo podcast, and you add your music in after the fact, you absolutely do not need a mixer. Now a mixer can help shape your voice, but you can also do that in software post-recording. If you have multiple people in the room with you, or you are mixing in music live as you record – then you NEED a mixer.
Lastly, what is the current problem? You may be obsessing over a noise that nobody hears. When I had launched my first podcast I OBSESSED over my fan noise. I added noise gates and all this stuff, and I swear I could hear it in the recording (listening to the recording sitting right next to the computer with the fan noise….) In the end if it did get on the recording, the only reason I heard it is because I had pushed my headphones so far into my head, and I was listening at 2 in the morning when nobody was awake and the house was quiet. Finally, someone wrote in and said, “Dave I have no idea what noise you are talking about (as i would mention it in my podcast – great content) I don't hear it, and I do wish you would move on. So in the end we all freak out over our audio quality when in reality it may be something that is so small its basically silent to the average listener. I know I had an episode this year that I had bumped some knobs and I did have legitimate noise in the episode. I was listening to it while driving on route 480 going to work. I couldn't hear it over the noise of the cars around me.
In general, I feel its hard to create a podcast that sounds so bad I wouldn't listen to it. That typically consists of someone using a condensor microphone, sitting two feet away, and then their music is loud/soft and I'm constantly having to adjust the volume knob on my player.
If you have any questions, let me know. I'm over at the School of Podcasting, and I can help you figure out if you need new gear. If you do need new gear, then by all means please check out www.bestpodcastinggear.com as that is my Amazon store and all proceeds go do help me pay off my students loan.