What’s on my Christmas list this year? Spoiler alert I am not channelling my inner Mariah Carey because it turns out I do want a lot for Christmas.
So if you’re not sure what you want for Christmas or maybe there's a podcaster in your life who is tough to buy for, here is what’s on my Christmas list this year…
USB microphones are back in stock and not at ridiculous prices we were seeing at the beginning of lockdown.
I am a huge fan of all things Røde.
When it comes to value for money, ease of use and straight up hardworking microphones I adore my NT-USB microphones.
They are simply plug and play and sound great.
I don’t have the mini version though and because I don’t think I’ve got enough microphones I am putting that on my list.
For XLR microphones I am again a Røde fangirl using mainly NT1-As and the Rode Podmic. I personally think the NT1-A is better than the Podmic but not by much!
If I wanted to blow the budget I’d be putting the Shure sm7b it’s double the price (and then some) of the Røde NT1-A though. I’ve not tried this microphone but what I’ve heard does sound sexy!
I’ve asked Santa every year for a while now for a Rødecaster Pro. And I will again this year.
The Rødecaster Pro is a sexy bit of kit that you can use as a podcast studio. You can plug your microphones in, get outside sources - phone calls, skype calls, zoom calls etc and record directly on to a memory card. Or you can plug it in to your computer and use it as an audio interface - a way to get your xlr microphones connected to your computer. You can then record directly to your computer.
It allows you to have banks of sound effects or if you want to record live you can hook your intro and outro up, play them in and record yourself so you don’t have to do any mixing after you’ve done the recording.
I love everything about the Rødecaster Pro. I love that it has faders because there is nothing like the feeling of pushing up the fader and beginning to talk.
I will be buying one next year if I don’t get one for Christmas.
However it does have strong competition from the Zoom Podtrak.
You may have heard me talk about my Zoom H6 recorder or any of the Zoom recorders that are out there. They are fabulous solid bits of kit.
I’ll be honest - they’re not pretty but they do the job - and that’s important. My H6 has been massively abused - chucked around and worse. It is still working and a total workhorse.
The Podtrak is smaller than the Rødecaster but does a lot of the same things.
It’s also half the price.
The one drawback for me (and this is simply personal preference) is it doesn’t have faders - it has dials.
If you just need an interface to connect your microphone to your computer then I use my Zoom H6, which doubles up as a recording device too, but you don’t need to do that if you don’t need the recording part. The focusrite interfaces are great at what they do and solid bits of kit.
I love and always have loved big over ear headphones because whenever I wear them I like to think of myself as a member of Band Aid singing “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
But when it comes to podcasting headphones are very important. Your brain is very good at filtering out noises it doesn’t need to hear or process. Microphones are less good at this. By listening to what you’re recording on headphones you are hearing what the microphone is hearing and by hearing I mean picking up, recording and ruining your beautiful content. You might think you’ve moved far enough away from that noisy car, couple talking, duck quacking - but until you hear what it sounds like on your headphones you won’t know.
I prefer noise cancelling headphones and I don’t use wireless headphones. That’s because there can be a lag with the bluetooth when it comes to editing. Same reason I don’t use a wireless mouse or keyboard. Also I don’t want to have to remember to keep charging things!
My favourites are Bose but Sennheiser are decent too.
My top advice - make sure they are comfortable and have decent padding around the ears!
Let me introduce you to my Rocketbook. I am pretty old fashioned and will choose pen and paper for writing every single time.
But it all adds up - notebooks need buying and storing once used. There’s a cost both money and the environment.
And into my life came the Rocketbook. It’s a reusable notebook. You use erasable pens and once you’ve made your notes you take a photo of the page using your rocketbook app and it sends a photo of your notes to a whole load of different places you want it to go (I’ve got Google drive folders set up) but on top of that it also transcribes your notes into a text document if you want it to. Now the transcription is not perfect, but it is quite simply life changing.
I use the Rocketbook Fusion which has a project list, two week planner, month calendar, goals dotty pages and lined pages.
I honestly adore it and I’ve recently bought lots of funky coloured pens to go with it so I make it look very pretty.
And if you’re worried about where you get the pens from - don’t be - it comes with a pen!
Sticking with stationery/planners of course I’m going to tell you my podcast planning toolkit should be on your podcast Christmas list!
Yes this is a bit of shameless self promotion but actually as I’ve said loads of times before this toolkit works.
It’s a place for you to lay the foundations for your podcast, or if you’re already podcasting it’s an opportunity to revisit those foundations and see if they are still relevant. Has your podcast grown and developed? Do you need to tweak your mission statement and your listener? I mean don’t actually tweak your listeners - that’s rude and in 2020 certainly a breach of social distancing!
But are you still talking to the same people you were when you first started? Now is the time of reflection and planning ahead and the toolkit helps you do just that. You can buy it on my website
Another planner I adore and which works brilliantly in tandem with my planner is Janet Murray’s Social Media Diary and Planner (this is an affiliate link). It’s packed full of awareness days and events that I promise will help you with not just your social media posting but also spark ideas about what you can talk about on your podcast. It’s sparked ideas for me certainly!
You might have noticed I’m a big fan of a slogan t-shirt and I do love a slogan t-shirt that shows everybody I’m a podcaster too.
I love the Pods Up North T-shirts and they are on sale here
I have both the "Podmother" and the "Pod For It" t-shirt. It took me way too long to get the joke with Pod For It. (Pods Up North took place in 2019 in Manchester. Pod For it/Mad For it. Or at least that’s what I hope the joke is…)
And while you’re there you should totally get yourself a replay of Pods Up Level Up too. It’s a two hour masterclass featuring dozens of experts.
Let’s be honest there’s only so many times you can watch Elf over Christmas.
You should be drinking more water. So should I. The truth is despite me telling you all the time to drink more water I’m not always practicing what I preach.
Water (not too cold, not too warm) is the key to keeping your voice healthy and strong. And the only way I manage to drink water is if I have a bottle. I simply ignore water in a glass - but put it in a bottle - glug glug glug!
The other benefit to a bottle of course is (assuming I’ve done the lid up) when I knock it over (and of course it is when, not if) then it’s not going to destroy hundreds of pounds of kit. Which we can all agree is a good thing.
I keep eyeing up the ever so pretty Chilly’s bottles so that’s what’s going on my Christmas list.
And if you drink tea and coffee I highly recommend getting what I call a sippy cup for your hot drinks too. A reusable cup which has a screw on lid has saved expensive equipment on more than one occasion when Calamity Charlotte has been in town...
Let me know what’s on your list this year, I'd love to add more to my list...