Pantheon Podcasts is a network of more than 70 music-focused shows, running the gamut from casual music exploration to history, production, banjo culture and much more. Pantheon founder and CEO Christian Swain is also the host of Rock N Roll Archaeology, a chronological, episodic podcast that tells the story of how the music of the late 20th century intersected with the changing culture of the times to create what is now one of the greatest moments in music history.
The AKG Podcaster Essentials toolkit makes it possible for less-experienced hosts achieve professional sound easily and lends a cohesive sound to the network’s many shows.
Lyra is an ultra-HD multimode USB microphone that combines legendary AKG engineering for superior sound quality with a sleek design and integrated desktop stand that makes it quick and easy to set up and use. To complement the microphone, the Podcaster Essentials bundle includes a pair of AKG K371 headphones. Sporting a closed-back, over-ear design and premium AKG drivers, K371 headphones offer transparent sound with extended frequency response and excellent isolation from external noises. The bundle also comes with a copy of Ableton Live 10 Lite software for streamlined recording and editing.
Corey O’Flanagan’s Songfacts Podcast is an offshoot of the popular website Songfacts.com, a compendium of information on all things music. On the podcast, O’Flanagan speaks with songwriters, musicians and music journalists, discussing classic songs and exposing the audience to new music. According to O’Flanagan, the AKG Lyra compared favorably to other USB microphones as well as professional XLR microphones.
Daniel “The D3” Cohen is a musician, producer and recording engineer based in San Francisco. On his Ready to Record podcast, Cohen interviews veteran recording engineers, reviews gear and shares music he’s working on. Cohen praised Lyra’s ease of use and broadcast-ready sound, but as a musician and engineer, he especially appreciated Lyra’s versatile pickup patterns and stereo recording capabilities.
Quentin Self and his twin brother Travis host No Filler, a podcast dedicated to highlighting the overlooked “hidden gems” on popular albums. In each episode, the hosts dissect a well-known record, delving into the merits of the lesser-known songs between the hits. Quentin recommends the AKG Podcaster Essentials bundle for its sound quality, ease of use and great value.
Hosted by Nate Wilcox, Let It Roll explores the history of American popular music with a focus on the social, technological and business forces that influence culture. The show’s first season comprises a series of in-depth interviews with music historian Ed Ward, author of The History of Rock and Roll, Volume 1: 1920–1963. Other guests include Robert Gordon, Paul Trynka, Peter Doggett, Elijah Wald and others. Upon upgrading to Lyra from another popular USB microphone, Wilcox noticed a significant increase in sensitivity.
Co-hosted by Matthew Szczepanski, Audio Judo aims to expose listeners to great music—new and old alike—while digging into the history of bands and albums. Recently, show consultant Chris Delisle began hosting a limited series of jazz-focused podcasts called Audio Judo Does Jazz. Because Delisle lives in a different part of the country than the other hosts and did not have prior experience with audio equipment, Szczepanski sent him the AKG Podcaster Essentials bundle, which helped him deliver high-quality audio with minimal setup and technical knowledge.
“We pride ourselves on providing audiences with quality content coupled with quality audio,” said Swain. “We choose our music-related podcasts for their quality content, but not all come with the quality audio we expect. Having the ability to quickly and inexpensively supply these shows with the AKG Podcaster Essentials kit is an excellent way to solve this problem when it arises. It also allows us to have a somewhat uniform raw audio signal for editing and enhancing the content when needed. We used to shy away from USB microphones, preferring a more traditional external XLR interface, but the AKG Lyra meets our needs and offers a cost savings. We have been very happy with the results and our hosts using this package are extremely happy to be able to up their audio quality!”
“When I first started out, I ordered a $40 USB mic from Amazon,” said O’Flanagan. “Then, when we got a little more serious, I bought one of the more well-known USB mics and used that for a while. When I got the Lyra, I couldn’t quite figure out how it was so much better—it just is. I have a lot of experience with microphones from recording music, and I’ve used some really high-end condenser microphones. I have a $400-500 microphone that’s sitting in storage right now, but I haven’t had to use it because I’ve got this. Lyra gives me a good studio sound.”
“It’s very easy to work with when it comes to setting up,” said Cohen. “I thoroughly enjoy the desktop stand as an on-the-go tool if I need to do quick voiceovers and things like that. As far as the sound, compared to other microphones in its price point, I think it blows a lot of them out of the water. Feature-wise, my favorite is the multi-pattern recording capability and the fact that you can use it as a stereo array, which I’ve used to record stereo drums and acoustic guitar. That’s a very powerful thing that not a lot of other USB microphones out there do. I see a lot of different applications for this microphone.”
“I think the mic sounds amazing, and I really like the design of it,” said Quentin. “I like that it’s got the headphone output so I can monitor my vocals without having to use Ableton’s monitoring, and having the volume knob right on the mic is really convenient as well. And the headphones are unbelievable—I can wear them for 12 hours and they don’t hurt my ears at all. It’s a no-brainer for podcasters to get this Podcaster Essentials kit. With these headphones and this mic, the price is just too good to pass up, and it also comes with the Lite version of Ableton, which is really cool. I absolutely recommend it.”
“It sounded really good,” said Wilcox. “It was a huge improvement over the mic I was using before, so much so that I had to minimize my ambient sound. I’m pretty low-tech, so I liked that I could just turn it on and record. I also love the headphones; they’re comfortable and they sound good.”
“Even though he had no experience, he was able to just plug and play with the mic and headphones and get started right away,” said Szczepanski. “That was one of the big benefits—it’s very simple to use and he doesn’t have to overthink it. The difference in sound quality between the Lyra and what we use—what I would consider high-end production equipment—is kind of indistinguishable. It sounds really, really good. It’s definitely a warmer sound than I anticipated. It’s a great product.”