If you love all things podcasts, chances are you are no stranger to The Joe Rogan Experience, one of the podcasting world’s longest-running and most popular. Joe Rogan’s podcasts have set the industry standard for what it means to produce a highly successful podcasting brand while staying relevant all this time. The JRE brand had recently signed an exclusive deal with Spotify worth more than $100 million. It coincides with the JRE’s location change from its Los Angeles studio (the one with the brick walls in the backdrop) to the new studio in Austin, with some variations to the podcasting setup.
It’s understandable how you might have been inspired to go in search of Joe’s podcasting set up to start your own podcast show after watching an episode; he sure made it seem super easy on every episode. Additionally, part of what makes Joe Rogan’s podcasts so unique is the additional video element that accompanies his interviews. While most podcasts exist only in auditory form, the JRE also enables you to watch the interview. The visual aspect effectively makes it accessible for people who enjoy viewing non-verbal cues during a conversation rather than just listening to an interview.
If this is the kind of setup you’re thinking of having for your podcasts, or if you’re simply just curious to learn from one of the industry’s best, here’s a list of the equipment that the JRE team uses to produce the show.
A good microphone is essential for any sort of recording setup. Hence it’s absolutely vital to get one that’s best suited for capturing conversations. Joe Rogan’s microphone choice is the Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone, similar to the choice of many other professional broadcasters and podcasters. This model was designed specifically for recording speech with its flat, wide-range frequency response. With the built on pop filters, you don’t need to mount any additional protection against heavy breathing when the microphone is close to you or your interviewee’s mouth.
There have been a few occasions when Joe had to record away from his studio setup, and on such occasions, he used a Blue Yeti USB microphone. The things that this tiny little USB microphone can do are amazing. It has a built-in preamp and an analog-to-digital converter, comes with a jack for headphones, volume control, and microphone gain control. I should also add that the microphone has four pattern modes: bidirectional, cardioid, omnidirectional, and stereo. All you have to do is plug this into your computer or laptop’s USB port, and that’s it! These features make the Blue Yeti a fairly popular USB microphone among beginner podcasters and vloggers.
Not only does a microphone arm make your podcast recording studio set up look professional, it has many practical benefits. A microphone arm, also known as a boom stand, frees up a lot of clutter from your desk and allows for your microphones’ perfect positioning to capture audio. The old studio uses a Yellowtec m!ka Standard Mic Arm, while the new Austin studio uses a Gator Frameworks Deluxe Desktop Mic Boom Stand (3000 series). The Gator Frameworks boom stand has a 360-degrees rotation that easily clamps to a desk or similar surfaces, with an integrated 10ft XLR microphone cable hidden internally.
Wearing headphones enables you to monitor audio feed and levels in real-0time during a recording session, so it is crucial to get a pair of good ones that feels comfortable and does not leak sound out. Joe Rogan uses the Sennheiser HD280PRO headphone, a closed-back, over-the-ear design that contains audio leaks well enough. The earpads and headband padding are comfortable enough to wear during those long, extended recording hours. The padding and audio cord is easily replaceable, which extends the headphone’s durability. To top it off, this widely used headphone comes at a really affordable price too.
With a headphone amplifier, you can use multiple headphones while you and your guests can separately control and adjust the volume levels. The JRE setup uses the Behringer POWERPLAY HA8000. It features two separate main inputs and eight channels of stereo high-power headphone amplifier sections in a single rack with volume control. If you don’t need that many channels, Behringer also has smaller four-channel and six-channel headphone amplifiers.
You might have seen a small black unit that pops out of the table on some JRE episodes. This is a super handy tool called a podcast unit. It’s designed to give you easy access to handy ports for headphones, HDMI, and USB during an interview. The one Joe uses is the Altinex Podcast Tilt ‘N Plug Jr. (TNP130), and it comes with a headphone port, volume control knob, HDMI and USB ports, and a cough button. A cough button temporarily stops the recording and transmission of audio when held down and is useful for moments when you or your guest feels a cough (or sneeze) coming. You will also see this being used in live studio settings where broadcasting is delayed by a few seconds to prevent any foul or misspoke words from going on-air.
Think of the mixer as the central brain in a podcast recording setup. While it’s not a necessary piece of equipment to have, it will undoubtedly improve your sound quality and enables you to control multiple audio input levels from a single place. You’ll see a mixer being used in most live radio broadcasting set up, as it enables you to mix multiple audio inputs into a single recording. Currently, Joe Rogan uses the Behringer XENYX X1222USB mixer at the new Austin studio. It comes with four stereo inputs, six microphone inputs, four microphone preamps, compressors, and a built-in USB audio interface to connect to your laptop or computer. There’s also a built-in FX processor with 16 editable presets, including reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, pitch shifter, multi-effects, Tap function and storable user parameter settings for you to play around with.
In simple terms, an audio interface is a device that you need to get audio in and out of your laptop or computer, which you can then edit with an audio editing software. It’s commonly used to plug in musical instruments and microphones. While the mixer that the JRE uses has a built-in audio interface, JRE producer Young Jamie uses a separate Universal Audio Apollo FireWire audio interface. It’s compatible with both Mac and Windows and has onboard quad-core processors that will help reduce the computer’s CPU load. It also comes with four mic preamps for tracking through preamp emulations. You can use this to do real-time audio processing with near-zero latency, which is great for cutting up and editing clips on the fly. It’s also convenient to plug-in musical instruments if you have musician guests on the show.
Digital Audio Recorder
A digital audio recorder is a portable recording studio, simply put. It’s most useful for recording sessions away from your main studio set up. For example, if you’re recording vox pops out on the street, getting a comment at a press conference, recording an off-site interview, or any situation that calls for having a recorder on-hand and ready to go. This device can also be used as a backup recording device in case your laptop or computer fails. The JRE team uses a TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder, which has XLR mic inputs, 3.5mm line inputs from the mixer’s main out, and a stereo S/PDIF digital input. You can power the device with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, AA batteries or an optional AC adapter.
Having your podcast interview on video is an excellent way of making sure you’re not leaving out huge numbers of audiences on platforms like Youtube. The JRE team uses four tripod-mounted Canon VIXIA HF G40 Full HD Camcorders that captures the entire podcast interview from multiple camera angles while connected to a multi-camera production system. They record in 1080p, has a 20x high definition optical zoom lens and dual SD card slots.
Multi-Camera Production System
A multi-camera production system enables switching between multiple cameras through the interface. You can also use it to do production work on the fly during broadcasting, such as displaying websites, pulling out articles, photos or YouTube videos, and connecting with additional external video sources such as laptops or computers. The JRE team uses the Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K UHD Live Production Switcher with the four Canon G40s mounted and connected. This model allows up to 8 inputs (4 x HDMI, 4 x SDI) and has a built-in 10-channel audio mixer.
In the production process, the computers will be used for audio/video editing and post-production work. When working with digital audio workstations or video editing software, the general rule is the more processing power, the better. That being said, you need not get the most high-end laptop on the market for the job. Identify the software that you will be using, check the minimum requirements for the software, and you’ll see that you need not waste all your money on an expensive laptop for podcasting. The JRE team had previously used an Apple iMac at the old studio. The new Austin studio is now equipped with an Apple Mac Pro Desktop Computer coupled with a 32″ Apple Pro Display XDR. Producer Young Jamie also has an Apple MacBook Pro laptop that he uses during recording sessions to pull out research, fact check, or whenever Joe Rogan says, “Jamie, pull that s*** up!”.
We all know just how important a good chair is for our backs when working long hours on the desk, and Joe Rogan’s interviews can run for as long as 3 hours at times. For someone who also lifts weights and is concerned about his back problems, Joe Rogan pays special attention to the chair he sits on. So for his choice of chairs, Joe uses the Hag Capisco Ergonomic Chairs. The chair has a contoured saddle design that opens promotes better posture and healthy blood flow. It’s a great choice for sitting long hours, as described by Joe in this episode. In his own words, “it’s two and a half hours into the podcast now, our backs aren’t hurting”.
Let’s talk about aesthetics for a second. If you’re going to have a video set up for your podcast, the way your studio or recording space looks can and will have an impact on your branding and viewers. What you put up on your wall or desk says a lot about you, so it’s a chance to express your inner personality. While it’s always important to stay true to yourself, here’s a little inspiration from Joe Rogan’s podcasting set up:
The classic brick wall and flag at the old studio
Some really cool Hendrix and Elvis posters
Mysterious looking ornaments with the Buddha watching over interviews
Connor, Joe, Biggie, and Pac
Futuristic looking studio
Though the equipment he uses is top-tier, professional-grade hardware that may not be affordable for everyone, don’t let that deter you. Many cheaper alternatives out in the market can do a decent job for whatever you’re looking to accomplish. It’s also not essential to have all the equipment listed above to get your podcast show going. Everybody has to start somewhere, so start within your means. It’s great to have aspirations, and when looking through Joe Rogan’s podcasting set up, one can certainly dream and get there one day.
Timothy is a news broadcast producer with a keen eye for television and a pair of tuned ears for the dulcet sounds of radio. Besides exploring new ways and mediums to tell a good story, he is also a passionate writer and musician who could play a sleazy guitar riff on the fretboard at any given moment.