Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder — For in-person recording, I use the H6 with simple stage mics (below). For recording 2-4-person interviews, it’s easier to use than the older H4n model. Pro tip: ALWAYS put in new batteries for every important interview. I use simple earbuds for sound checks and set up.
Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Vocal Microphone without Cable — Thanks to Bryan Callen for introducing me to these. I’ve tried all sorts of fancy lavalier mics, booms, etc. For my money, nothing beats these old-school stage mics for in-person podcasting. You could throw them against a wall and they’d probably be fine. Some people use mic stands to hold them, but I do not. I prefer to let/make guests hold them, as they’re less likely to lean away. Sound levels (volume) are therefore more consistent, requiring less fussing in post-production.
XLR 3 Pin Microphone Cable (6 feet) — To connect the Shure SM58-LC microphone to the H6 Zoom recorder. Don’t cut corners here. In my limited experience, if anything is going to go wrong (and undetected until too late), it’ll be a loose fitting on one of these. Have extras.
Foam Mic Covers — These minimize the clicks, pops, and motion noises picked up from vocals, as well as background noises and actual wind. Brand doesn’t matter much here.
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone — This is my go-to travel mic for all phone interviews. It can also be used for recording intros, sponsor reads, etc. with Quicktime. I will often mail guests this mic via Amazon Prime if they need one, as it has the best bang-for-the-buck value I’ve found. Be sure to use a foam ball windscreen or “pop filter.”
Yellowtec: iXm — I use this mic for last-minute travel recording and post-production intros. It is an amazing all-in-one mic, which allows you to record without a Zoom or laptop. It automatically corrects levels and — quite frankly — produces some of the best audio of all the various mics I own. I use it for many of my intros (“Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show…”) and sponsor reads, which I record separately from the interviews. If I’m traveling but might need a mic, I stick this in my backpack. [2019 update: I no longer use this iXm mic much, as I had some technical issues and find the below much more convenient. Technology changes quickly.]
Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone for iPhone — This fits in the palm of your hand and grab great audio. For field recordings (impromptu interviews, sounds of nature, etc.), this is my current default.
Auphonic — I often use Auphonic.com to finalize and polish my podcasts. It’s a web-based audio post-production mastering tool, designed to help you improve the overall audio quality of your podcast.
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 800 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.