Are you thinking of starting a podcast but the tech side of things is leaving you overwhelmed? What mic do I need? How do I record with guests? How much is it all going to cost me? Not to worry - in this week’s episode, we'll chat about the essential pieces of equipment you'll need to get started plus some nice-to-haves if your budget allows. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised so tune in now to learn more!
- The three must-have equipment you need to get started with your podcast
- The difference between a condenser and a dynamic microphone
- Additional options to consider depending on your budget
TUNE IN TO THE EPISODE
I know that the tech side of podcasting can be overwhelming when you’re starting out but it doesn’t need to be.
Recording your show can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. You can record directly into your phone, into a computer or use specialist podcasting platforms. There are pros and cons for each, but for beginners, there really is no need to make it more complicated than it needs to be. Nor expensive.
Keep it simple. Start with what you have and what your budget will allow you.
There are four pieces of equipment that I recommend for getting started with your podcast.
- Laptop - will be used to organize all the different aspects of your podcast; recording, social media, uploading to your host and website. If you don't have one, you might want to consider purchasing one. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy like a Macbook but one that can handle the different podcasting platforms with ease.
- Microphone - the most important thing as a podcaster (in my book). Whether you start your podcast journey hosting your own show or guesting on other podcasts, a microphone is important in producing quality audio.
There are two types of microphones:
USB microphones plug directly into your computer and then you’re ready to record. An example of this type of microphone is a Blue Yeti. XLR, which usually plugs into a mixer or an interface and is probably best for more advanced setups. These types of microphones can be dynamic or condensers.
Dynamic microphones pick up sound from the front mostly, and the sides, which is perfect because even though you need to speak closely, you don't need to be that close to the microphone. Dynamic mics need to be connected to a power source so consideration of where you’ll be recording should be given. An example of a dynamic mic is the ATR 2100. Condenser mics are more sensitive and pick up more background sound, especially normal home sounds like the fan whirring or the air conditioning unit humming. These are the sounds that you don't really want to include in your episode. And if the microphone picks them up as you are speaking, they are very difficult to get rid of.
TOP TIP: Keep about a fist away from your microphone when recording.
Most mics come with a stand, which is great because holding the mic will contribute to any noise you pick up when recording. As an optional add-on, you may consider getting a windshield.
- Headphones. These are really important, especially when recording. If you don’t wear headphones or your guest doesn’t wear headphones, your voices will bleed into each other and it’s a total nightmare to edit. You don’t need anything fancy starting out. You could use the ones that come with your phone. Those work just as well. You’ll also need some noise cancelling ones are your best option. I've got headphones for editing, and then I've got, well at the moment I'm using my phone, the efforts that came with my iPhone, I've got them plugged into the Yeti. So, you know, I do, I do switch it up.
Whilst a hosting platform isn’t something you need to think about immediately, you will need to choose one and this will be an ongoing cost for the life of your show.
- Hosting platforms. This is where you’ll host your podcast, your artwork, show notes, and even transcriptions. It is not recommended that you host your show on your website due to the amount of storage required (unless you have the tech skills to do this) There are many hosting platforms available (my top two are Libsyn and Buzzsprout) Some features may make some stand out more than others so it’s worth doing a good amount of research before choosing a platform. Your host will distribute your show to all the various directories such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts etc by using your RSS feed. When choosing a platform you may want to consider the goals of your podcast and think of the long term rather than just the short term. Moving to another host is quite an easy process but you will lose your download numbers in the process.
Other equipment you may want to consider if your budget allows (but don’t let these options set you back from getting started with your podcast)
- Pop filter. A meshy type plastic thing that you attach to your mic. It acts as a barrier between the microphone and your mouth, helping the microphone last longer but also reducing those harsh sounds we sometimes make when speaking. They are not expensive. You can pick up a pop filter from Amazon for approx £8.
- Boom arm. This attaches to your desk and you screw the microphone into the other end, allowing the microphone to be off the desk. You’re able to stand up if you want and move the mic in front of you. Most come with a shock mount which reduces any vibrations from the desk. If you talk with your hands, take care not to knock on the desk as the sound will travel to the microphone and impact your audio.
- Project management tool. I personally use Trello but there are others such as Asana or Clickup. Trello works best for visual people whereas others could be based on lists so do some research and choose one that works best for you. My podcast Trello Board acts as the central hub for everything relating to my podcast. It’s where I braindump ideas for the show, and keep the episodes in running order, along with their show notes, links, graphics etc. It really helps me to keep organised. And it’s absolutely free!
So now you know the three must-have pieces of equipment for starting your podcast. I also shared a little bit about the difference between condenser and dynamic microphones so you can feel better about choosing the right microphone for you. Of course, if you want to invest in some additional equipment from the start, I shared some options for you to consider. But no matter what route you decide to go, we hope this article has helped get you one step closer to launching your very own podcast. Are you excited? I sure am excited for you!
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
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