Starting a podcast is a rewarding creative venture; however, the thought of launching can be daunting, especially if you aren’t aware of the tech and equipment needed. Unfortunately, podcasting isn’t as simple as recording into a microphone. You’ll need various podcasting tools, and there are multiple steps involved, from editing to hosting, distribution, and marketing.
While it’s easy to go overboard and spend frivolously, here’s a list of the tech needed to start a podcast. This list covers the must-haves, and you may even be surprised to find out that you already have some essentials like a laptop and editing software built-in to your computer.
The Absolute Essentials Needed To Start A Podcast
When searching for a podcasting microphone, prioritize dynamic, cardioid microphones. These microphones concentrate on your voice while minimizing sounds outside, like the air conditioner or birds chirping outside your window.
You can also choose between USB microphones (most convenient) that plug into your computer or XLR cables that plug into professional podcast mixers.
The most common podcasting microphones include:
- Samson Q2U
- Shure MV7
With a budget of under $100, you can purchase a high-quality podcasting microphone and upgrade later on if need be.
Improve your audio with wired, closed-back headphones which fully cover your ears. Wired headphones are best because sound travels faster through cables.
Closed-back headphones prevent “leaking” sounds from getting picked up by your microphone. While convenient and trendy, avoid wireless or Bluetooth headphones, which may cause latency delays. Sony and Audio Technica are two reputable headphone brands.
Wearing headphones while recording is a must because it helps with monitoring sound levels – your levels and your guests. If you hear any static, echos, extraneous noise, or if the levels are outside the range, you can quickly course correct, which may be difficult (or nearly impossible) to do in post-production.
When speaking into a microphone, words with b’s, p’s, and even s’s cause explosive or hissing sounds, so a pop filter or windscreen can shield against them.
Optional: Accessories like a microphone boom arm and shock mount helps with handsfree microphone placement, improve posture, and filter out vibrations.
Whether you have a computer or laptop, you can plug in your USB microphone to record as long as you have USB slots. Not only will your computer store drafts of the audio files, but you will also use it to edit episodes and upload final versions to your hosting platform.
With a computer, microphone, and headphones, you are almost ready to record your first episode, but first, you’ll need audio recording software.
There are various options ranging from free software like Audacity or GarageBand (available on Apple devices) to paid podcast recording software like Adobe Audition or Hindenburg. Most software allows for both recording (solo) and editing.
If you plan to record episodes with guests remotely, consider Skype Ecamm Recorder, Zoom, Riverside, or Zencastr. Other software, like Descript and Alitu, is commonly used for editing.
Helpful Tip: Like learning a new language, expect a steep learning curve when learning how to edit podcasts. Choose a recording/editing software wisely since it will likely take time to become efficient. Switching, later on, can be challenging.
Since audio files (WAV and MP3) are large, save files on an external hard drive. With an external hard drive, your files will not only avoid corruption but also remain safe in case your computer malfunctions. A hard drive can also keep your files neatly organized and allows for easy access to files on the go.
While you can host your podcast RSS feed on your website, since audio files take up a lot of space, many prefer storing audio files and having episodes distributed to podcast players with third-party podcast hosting. Most podcast hosting platforms charge a monthly fee, have monthly upload limits, and offer download and audience stats.
While often overlooked by new podcasters, a website with a dedicated URL can help amplify and grow your show exponentially. With a website and high-quality show notes for each episode, your podcast episodes may appear higher in search results. Show notes also enrich your listeners’ experience with easy access to mentioned resources in the episode and detailed transcripts.
While WordPress-hosted websites are commonly used among creators, they are cumbersome to customize. Website builders like Podpage are helping podcasters create podcast websites from RSS feeds with no tech skills needed.
In summary, to launch a great-sounding podcast, you’ll need, at a minimum, recording, editing, and distributing software. These items do not have to be fancy or expensive, and you can always upgrade as you gain more experience and want to streamline or improve the overall quality of your show.
What tech do you think is critical to launching a podcast? Leave a comment below with your suggestions.