16 Dec Podcasting Made Simple. Episode 4: Podcasting Equipment
For people new to podcasting, it can be a daunting challenge to figure out what it will take to get their podcast up and running. For those recording at home or remotely, the amount of options can be a bit overwhelming. There’s a long list of equipment to choose from at every budget and every level.
In this blog post, we’ll be looking through these options from budget to professional, and will hopefully clear up some of the myths out there getting in the way of your podcasting journey.
“I have zero money to spend but want to make a podcast”
Podcasting is amazing because it can be one of the most accessible, cheapest and easiest ways to be creative and amplify your voice and the voices in your community.
If you have a modern phone, that’s all you really need to start making one.
For podcasting newbies right at the start of their journey, I often recommend trying out recording on your phone using voice memos to get their ideas down and listen back to themselves speak. For many, it will be a learning curve reading from scripts and speaking engagingly.
Once you’ve practiced that and now have a better idea of what your podcast will sound like, it’s worth trying out something like anchor* [LINK 1]
Within a single app, you can record, edit and add royalty-free music, record guests, together or remotely, as well as upload to all platforms. And the best part is that it’s free!
For people without access to budgets and short on time, this is a great method of getting started in the podcast world.
The downside to exclusively using your phone to podcast is that although phone microphones are pretty good these days, you’re unlikely to get a competitive sound.
When deciding if you want to level up and go get yourself a mic, it’s worth considering how important that sound quality is vs budget available.
You’ve got to ask yourself, is this a worthwhile investment? The answer to that will lay in the realistic goals you’ve set for your podcast.
Are you looking to reach a significant audience? Does the quality of your podcast need to reflect the quality of your brand or products? Is it just for fun or a hobby?
Think about these things before you blow all your money on a microphone.
“So I’ve got a little budget, and a bit of spare time to make a podcast series”
This is where most people I speak to are at. Maybe they’ve got a couple hundred quid to spend. Maybe they’re working full time and have a family but have clawed back a few hours each week to work on a new podcast to get their passion rolling.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that you do want to pull the trigger on some gear and get yourself set up to do this on your small budget, then you really have two main options.
Option 1. You buy yourself a USB microphone.
These are plugin and record mics. Nothing else needed (other than some software which we’ll get to in a minute.)
A great starting point for USB mics with noticeably better than phone or laptop internal mics is the Rode NT-USB Microphone* (LINK 2 & picture from link)
The top of the range USB mic out there at the moment is the Shure MV7* [LINK 3 & picture from link]
This microphone is not only specifically tailored to dialogue but also features both USB & XLR outputs, which means that if you can afford to give yourself more audio options down the line, it will work with external interfaces and preamps.
When looking at any microphone, always go on YouTube or somewhere first to hear a demo. Make sure you can tangibly hear and appreciate the difference between what you’ll be upgrading to.
Also- buy secondhand where possible. Most likely what you pay for it is what you will be able to sell it on for. Depreciation on new audio equipment is worth thinking about and can be significant.
Option 2. Go to a podcast studio
This is an underrated option. You can hire podcast studios from as little as £25 an hour. If you’re making a ten episode series, that’s £250, which is the same price as that Shure USB mic above. But going to a studio means that you’ll get access to more than a single microphone, more equipment and a professional setting to host guests from.
Plus you don’t have to think about or spend money on cables, stands, headphones and all the rest.
“I have a medium sized budget and am able to put a good chunk of time into this podcast”
You start getting a bunch more options at this point. Most importantly is the time available. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to the more professional side of audio. For people with the time and dedication, it’s great to increase your knowledge and develop your skillset. It will pay off in the long run. But for many of us, when that time isn’t there, it’s worth reaching out for help. Hiring a producer or audio specialist will save you time and means you can focus on the content rather than technical audio.
Helpful info if you want to know more about the professional side of the tools we’re using:
Shure SM7b (LINK 4 and picture)
Adobe Audition recording software (LINK 5 and picture)
Let’s look at some of these myths…
“The more money I spend on podcast equipment, the better my podcast will be”
Just no. Knowledge is way more useful. I promise you it’s possible to make a worse sounding recording with a £2000 microphone than an iPhone mic. Getting your technique right and understanding gain structure is paramount to this.
Things to think about-
– Proximity Effect
– Comfort for staying on mic
– Headphones to avoid echo
– Choose room wisely, and make quiet
“XLR Microphones with external interfaces are always better than USB mics”
It depends. And for who. If you have multiple uses for a mic, ie, you use it on your camera, making music, for work or a hobby, then XLR connection mics give your more options. Other than that, for most people especially newbies, the USB mic is the way to go. It’s foolproof you just plug it in and it’s good to go.
“You need to be tech-savvy to launch a podcast”
I’ve heard this one so many times and this frame of mind is probably most people’s biggest roadblock when it comes to getting started. Hopefully this post has helped dispel this myth. Podcasting is there for the taking by anyone at any level and although there’s a lot you can know, it doesn’t mean you have to know it all.
It’s like this with everything in life. I like baked beans. I eat them a lot and I could probably do a podcast about them. But I don’t have a clue how they’re made or what’s actually in them other than beans and some kind of red tomato based sauce. Podcasting as all about knowledge discovery and just like the conversations in your shows, as you learn more about the people, topics and guests you will in tandem learn more about getting your creative process down to a fine art form, from content to recording.
So get podcasting. And don’t let tech gremlins stand in your way.
Industry standard in podcasting is adobe audition
— Audacity (Free)
– Reaper (60 day free trial then cheap)
– Logic Pro X
– Pro Tools
– Ableton (extended free trial)
- and many more
LINK 1 >> https://anchor.fm
Record professional quality podcasts at a Mainyard Studios podcasting room.Available to hire by the hour. Email firstname.lastname@example.org