Learn to Start a Podcast

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Taking the plunge into the podcast world is a big step and a brave choice. You’ll no doubt know that it’s not something you can produce quickly using your phone mic and some basic audio editing. No, you need computers, a podcast microphone, various cables, quality software, and more. 

Here you’ll find a list of essential podcast equipment and pieces of tech to get your podcast starter setup complete. From mics to pop shields and stands, let’s get you started…

Confused about podcasting

What equipment do you need for a podcast?

So, you’ve decided on your topic and the way you’re going to approach it – the big idea is done, now you need to source your podcast kit. If you’re thinking, “What podcast equipment do I need?”, don’t worry, we’ve got some advice for you.

If you have multiple hosts, you’ll need a slightly more complicated podcast starter set including a mixer and alternative mics – there’s plenty of top-notch guidance out there for that, but we’re going to focus on the best home podcast setup for a singular host.

For a single host, the most essential pieces of a home podcast recording studio are:

  1. A high-speed laptop or computer
  2. A good quality microphone

It’s that simple. There are varying quality mics and computers, but that’s all the recording hardware you need.

Podcast Hardware: Computer specs

If you’re working on an old, slow, struggling laptop and it’s taking forever to edit and save your audio files, it may be time to consider upgrading to a new laptop or tower computer.

As a base point, we recommend you look for one with a lot of RAM, 32GB if you can, to improve the multitasking capabilities. And ensure it has a good CPU to max out your processing speeds – Intel i7 or i5 is good.

There’s also the ever-long debate between Apple and Windows, Mac vs. PC.

The choice between the two depends entirely on what recording software you want to use (more on this later). So, do your research and explore the programs you’re going to use and the computer specifications they require, then make a decision based on that.

Podcast Hardware: Microphone specs

Even if you choose the most high-spec, kitted-out computer of all time, please don’t use the built-in microphone. It’ll record all the background noise, door closing, dogs barking, everything – and at a lower quality than needed.

You can get USB mics at a very affordable price; you simply plug them into your computer and go. But you will need to decide between a Condenser and a Dynamic mic.

What is a Condenser microphone: They’re great for studio recording due to their ability to match the ‘speed’ of a voice. They’re also more sensitive to noise and deliver a louder recording. The downside is that this kind of mic typically needs a power supply.

What is a Dynamic microphone: They’re much more resilient against moisture, accidents, etc. They don’t need a power supply, but they also don’t deliver the same sound quality. This kind of mic is recommended for live vocals.

Check out this resource for more info on the differences.

Optional extras for the best podcast setup

Pro Tip: If you want to be able to upgrade your podcast kit without having to buy a new microphone then make sure your original mic is an extensible microphone.

If you want to go further, here are some additional items you may want to invest in to improve your kit:

  • Audio Interface – essential for non-USB mics to convert the audio into a digital file 
  • Mixer – helps you control the levels of your inputs and outputs
  • Pop shield – reduces audio pops or rushing breath noises when you speak into the mic
  • Headphones – listening as you record can help reduce retake time and identify audio issues
  • Mic stand – this can help keep your mic steady and results in more consistent sound levels

Our best simple podcast setup buys

If you want to research all of the elements on their own and craft a mega setup, then have at it! There’s something to be said for customizing your setup, and knowing you’ve got everything you could need exactly how you want it. Or, just get a bundle that gives you everything you’ll need in one go. At the end of the day, it’s up to you.  

How to record a podcast

audio editing software for podcasting

Once you have your podcast equipment kit, you’re ready to record it – but which podcast recorder is best? As we said earlier, what podcast recording software you use depends on the kind of computer you have. 

  • Mac owners will find GarageBand already installed on their computers. It’s free and easy to use to edit your audio. Here is a great tutorial on how to use GarageBand.
  • PC owners will need to download software to use as nothing comes pre-installed. Audacity is similar to GarageBand, and it’s free as well – you can download a mac version too if you prefer it.

More information about Podcast Recording Software: Podcast Audio Software.

Next Steps:

Now you’re all kitted out and recording your masterpiece, don’t forget about the additional steps you should take. 

Hosting – just like a website, your podcast content needs to be hosted online somewhere so that search engines and music players can find them. There’s an excellent guide here that takes you through the basics.

Marketing – To help spread the word, marketing your podcast is essential. Here are some tips from the professionals on the best tactics and strategies to employ.

While creating a podcast is exciting, it’s not something you can just bang out, submit to listeners, and expect success – the initial podcast starter setup and recording hardware costs time and money. This guide gives you a great starting point and some useful tips, but the rest is up to you. Good luck future podcaster, we hope to hear from you soon.

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Andrew McGivern
Andrew McGivern

Andrew McGivern is a podcaster, blogger and mobile tech guy. Father of three awesome little ones. Interested in Social Media Marketing, New Media and Podcasting, Technology, Natural Health and Green Energy.

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