Six Things You Need to Start a Podcast
Computer / SoftwareFirst on the list is probably the most obvious, you’ll need a computer. By no means do you need a top-of-the-line workstation to get started on podcasting, but a computer is essential to podcasting because you’ll want to use a digital audio workstation to produce your show. This also includes the use of software to help with the production of your podcast, like Adobe Audition (PC/Apple) or Garage Band (Apple). These applications will allow you to capture the audio for your podcast, as well as make cuts and edits to help make the final product sound more professional and polished. These tools are also essential when publishing your podcast episodes.
XLR or USB MicrophoneOnce you’ve got the computer figured out the next obvious piece of equipment will be a microphone. Your microphone will be the one tool where you can have the biggest gains in production quality, as it has the biggest effect on audio quality. We recommend using a dynamic XLR microphone with a cardioid polar pattern like the Zoom ZDM-1, however, that will likely require the use of additional tools to help capture the audio for your podcast. If you’re going in the USB direction, the Shure MV7 is a great option.
Mixer / Audio Interface / Digital RecorderIf you’re looking to just run and gun a podcast, you could technically plug a microphone directly into your computer using the USB connection, and record directly into Adobe Audition or Garage Band. But if you want a world of additional tools and adjustments at your disposal, we recommend a mixer or audio interface of some sort – particularly the Rodecaster Pro or Rodecaster Pro II. While it may be a bigger purchase for someone just starting, it is worth it when you consider the value it can add to your production. It’s loaded with presets to enhance the quality of your audio and it also allows you to fine-tune those settings for more advanced controls. There are four XLR inputs, so it works great for solo or multi-guest shows. You can use the SMART pads to trigger sound effects, key intros, and outros, play pre-recorded segments, and more.
Microphone StandA mic stand or boom mount is a great solution for getting the mic up off the desk, out of your hand, and closer to mouth level. It is important to consider this since the position of the microphone impacts the sound of your voice. Using a stand also reduces the chances of knocking into the mic or having it rub against something while recording, and frankly, just cleans up your workspace when recording.
As a bonus piece of equipment, you should consider a shock mount to have attached to your microphone and microphone stand. A shock mount will help reduce those little vibrations that you might not even consider, such as the clicking of your keyboard keys or even the fans in your computer.
Pop FilterNext on the list is a pop filter or windscreen to place between you and the microphone. Pop filters or windscreens both reduce the plosive sounds we make when saying words with hard P or T. A pop filter is typically a foam cover or mesh screen fixed in front of the microphone. This will help you get cleaner audio files out of the gate, and help reduce the amount of editing you may need to do to some words and phrase clipping.
HeadphonesFinally, the last piece of equipment we recommend is a good set of headphones. Not only do headphones work well to help prevent any echo from audio playback that might happen during a podcast, but they also serve as your audio monitor when recording. With headphones, you can hear whether you’re off-mic, clipping, or any other technical issues every time you speak. This allows you to adjust the way you’re using the microphone in real-time as opposed to finding out once you’ve finished your recording.
So that’s our list of the six things you should consider when starting a podcast. Is there anything you think we missed? Feel free to chime in with your additional recommendations in the comments below. And if you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to our own podcast on Apple Music or Spotify.