I'm helping a non-profit set up a podcast and want to make sure I pick out the right types of equipment. The podcast will usually have 2 people talking. I'd like to put together two different proposals; one for a cheap setup with decent quality, and a second for a more expensive setup with better quality. The budget is about $150 for the cheap setup and $400 for the "expensive" setup.
I have a little experience running sound for live bands, but nothing in a studio. I know the quality isn't going to be great because of the limited budget and my inexperience, but I want it to be good enough so that it sounds like a good amateur recording and listeners aren't distracted by the lack of quality.
Right now I'm concentrating on the recording aspect, and I want to make sure I buy the right equipment. Here are my ideas so far, can you please tell me if these setups will work, if anything is missing or redundant, and offer any advice about improvements? I'll link to example equipment to help avoid any confusion, but I'm not looking at specific products yet, I just want general advice about the right types of equipment.
- Cheap proposal: two USB mics --> audio interface with USB inputs? --> laptop usb port --> record in Audacity
You can't record two USB mics directly on the laptop at the same time (without some ugly hacks), so there needs to be some kind of device to merge their signals before it goes into the laptop.
- Expensive proposal 1: two lapel mics with wireless receiver --> 4 channel mixer --> laptop mic-in jack (1/4" cable with miniplug adapter) --> record in Audacity
- Expensive proposal 2: two lapel mics with wireless reciever --> 4 channel mixer --> audio interface with 1/4" input --> laptop usb port --> record in Audacity
- Expensive proposal 3: two lapel mics with wireless receiver --> 4 channel mixer --> portable recorder with minplug input (1/4" from board with adapter)
In "Expensive proposal 1", will going directly from the board to my laptop cause problems? I think I've heard about the sound card being damaged in some situations.
Obviously I'll also need cables and miscellaneous accessories, but I'm just focusing on the major components right now.
Update: I'm now thinking that the best setup would be 2 lapel mics going into a combined mixer/interface and then into the laptop.