Blue Snowball Mic
This is the most affordable high-quality mic I’ve been able to find. It’s portable and durable (I’ve dropped it on the carpet a few times and it hasn’t died). My one quibble with it is that the audio tends to be very soft but clear. I usually adjust for that in post-production.
Blue Snowballs are typically sold for $30-40 used or refurbished, and $50+ new. If you’re going to buy one the former way, make sure it comes with an active warranty. I bought my first Snowball this way, refurbished, and it didn’t work. I called Blue Snowball for some tech support, and they were very nice about it. Stuff happened, and I ended up having to pay full price for a new one due to a miscommunication, but the story ends well – I have a working, great quality mic.
Pop filters, as the name suggests, filter out all the popping and whooshing sounds you automatically make when speaking with consonants like P (for pop), T, S, F, etc.
You can buy these at a variety of prices online, but the easiest and cheapest way to get one is to make one yourself.
I followed C-Threep’s tutorial, which involves getting a wire hanger and putting a nylon stocking or section cut out of a pantyhose over it.
Sound booth / sound-proof area / area with minimal background noise
Have you ever seen Markiplier’s videos? The walls behind him are covered with these neat, textured foam pieces. This keeps his “professional screams” contained in his room and the anger of his neighbors contained in theirs, and directed at other things. You can do the same thing by lining the walls of your space with soft fabrics, blankets, carpets, or (my personal favorite) mattress foam.
But if you’re going to record in your living room, that’s going to take a lot of material. That’s why people use small sound booths, about the size of a phone booth, with enough room to stand in and record without much outside noise coming in, or inside noises bouncing around and sounding terrible. But sound booths can be pretty expensive to build.
Early on, I started using a homemade, miniature sound booth, made from a plastic bin that I lined with egg crate mattress foam. Like this, except it cost practically nothing because I already had foam and a plastic bin on hand.
In theory, this sound booth is portable (you can still use it as a bin to carry your other recording equipment around) but it can be a little unwieldy depending on how big a bin you used. If I were to do mine over, I’d use a slightly smaller bin.
At the very least, try to find a quiet space in your house or dwellingplace where your mic can’t pic up loud ambient noises, like children playing or chirping birds or children fighting or motorcycles zooming by, or the man next door playing video games, or children screaming, or angry zoo animals getting loose, or children…. I can tell you, locking yourself in your study room with the windows shut can get pretty stuffy and unpleasant in the summer.