Teach Me Podcasting: Basic Equipment to Record

When it comes to creating a podcast, there is a lot of development that goes in to planning the process. However, once you are ready to record, what are you going to need to get from idea to published? This blog is going to help you make sure you have the bare essentials for creating a podcast. I will also let you know what exactly we use to record, edit and upload our podcast episodes.

One of the most beneficial things about creating a podcast these days, is that almost anyone with a computer and a microphone can do it. If you don’t plan on adding any flashy things to your podcast, then editing will be a bare minimum for you. If you do plan on adding any type of music, or cutting parts out then editing software will be required. 

Microphone/Mixer

For a microphone you have a few options. You can go and buy really any type of microphone that comes with a microphone cable. From there your options stem from a mixer, a USB interface or even a USB microphone. The first route may be the most expensive, as mixers can vary in price, but can sometimes be on the higher end. Your ability to adjust levels and sounds is higher, however the price tag will also be higher.

The second route is a USB interface style microphone. When I first started podcasting, this was my favorite method. M-Audio offers a variety of Fast Track products that even come with a mic. The mic plugs in to this mini USB mixer, which then plugs in to your computer. It is pretty straight forward in terms of setting up, but I do believe it comes with a helpful cd and possibly software. Normally there is only one or two ports for a microphone and minimal adjustment of levels, but it will get the job done for your podcast as it gets going.

The final variation is purchasing a USB microphone. One of the most popular styles are the Blue microphones called the Yeti. These microphones, though a little pricier, allow you to adjust the sound pickup as well as levels, and it plugs directly in to your USB slot on your computer. At a starting price of $149.99 you can get a Yeti online or from a place like Best Buy. Sometimes you can actually find them $30 cheaper on sites like eBay or Amazon. This is currently what we are using.

Computer 

As far as I know you don’t need a computer to record your podcast, you can use a smartphone or any sound recorder, however if you plan on uploading it, I believe this will be a key component. We are currently using a Macbook Air, which I know are pricey, but I am more accustomed to Garageband and the ease of getting our podcast recorded and uploaded in a small turnaround time. 

You can use probably any laptop, and then download a music software like Audacity to do any minor editing. The ultimate use of the computer is once the podcast is recorded and done, uploading it to the site you choose. I won’t say this is impossible to do from a smartphone, but I find it far easier on a computer, because you can really get your podcast labeled, tagged and set up right. 

Podcast Services

This is something I’m fairly new to when it comes to the podcastng world. We started out using SoundCloud to upload our podcasts. We were just getting started, and wanted a free outlet. This was nice, until we uploaded our 3rd episode. For the free service with soundcloud, you are only allowed 1 hour. Our shows run about 55 minutes, so once you hit that 1 hour mark, it hides any previous episodes. You can pay for more options for soundcloud, but we decided it was not the best spot for us.

We moved to Libsyn to host our podcast, and the set up, even for somebody who is still pretty new at publishing the podcasts officially online, was easy. For $20 a month you get 400mb of storage for your podcast. Our episodes run about 50-70mb an episode. At the end of each month, this resets. We were also able to get an RSS feed so we could publish our podcast on iTunes. On top of that, though it’s very basic, you get a blog to post on for your show. We just found it to be the best route for our weekly show. 

So when it comes to it actually getting your podcast from an idea to online A microphone, computer, editing software and a hosting site is really all you need. Again a mixer is good, but there are a few options that come with the microphone or are built into it, like the USB microphones. It then comes down to how often and how much space you will need for your podcast. If you post once a month, you can probably be safe with a free service like soundcloud. If you are going to post more frequently, then you may need to fork over a little bit of cash a month for hosting. 

Here is a list of exactly what we use to record a podcast:

  • Macbook Air
  • Garageband (for editing)
  • Blue Yeti microphone
  • Libsyn.com hosting service

Keep in mind that Garageband is strictly Mac software so it only works for the Mac OS. You can still use things like Audacity, or Pro Tools or a variety of other music editing software to get your file how you’d like it.

If you have any questions regarding any of this, comment below, and I’ll try to help the best that I can. 

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