Behringer Shark DSP110
One of the more complicated aspects of podcasting is getting your audio to sound good without investing massive amounts of time in improving your sound quality. While one school of thought suggests you are only as good as the time you spend in production, it's nice to know a few tools exist to make your life easier. One of the best pieces of hardware I found for improving sound quality with almost no additional investment of time is the Shark DSP110 from Behringer. The Shark does double duty as both a compressor and a noise gate, which helps prevent massive dynamic fluctuations and cut out some of the room noise picked up by your microphone. The Shark has phantom power for condenser microphones, making it a solid solution as a go-between for taking your microphone to your sound card. Default settings using the "learn" features of the Shark deliver impressive results, although like anything else, manually adjusting the settings further improves your sound. If you do voice recording with your PC, record podcasts or want an affordable gating system for instrumental recording, Behringer's Shark DSP110 delivers for a fraction of the price for comparable gear.