Equipment Needed To Start a Podcast

HOW TO START A PODCAST Picking Out Recording Equipment & Software

The quality of your podcast is a reflection of your podcasting equipment and software. You need to invest into the right equipment needed to start a podcast.  By definition, excellent audio recording equipment and software translates to an amazing podcast.  

From experience, we know starting a podcast is a challenge, but picking out the equipment needed to start a podcast  as a newbie is even more difficult. This is even more confusing if you know nothing about electronics and far from being an audiophile.  

Asking and searching around for cues, you’ll have your hands full on what many people will ask you to get as equipment needed to start a podcast. The lack of understanding about podcast equipment and software is one of the major reasons aspiring podcasters find it difficult to get their ideas off the ground.  

Here’s a caveat, though; scoring it big as a podcaster is beyond having the best equipment and software available in the market. Good content plus average equipment is far better than bad content and the best podcast equipment and software.  

Of course, you can easily get started by recording your first podcast episode using your iPhone. However, we won’t advise you to begin weakly and cheaply, that’s why the focus of this piece is on choosing the right equipment needed to start a podcast.  

What Are The Equipment Needed To Start a Podcast

This section isn’t going to recommend equipment and software that is needed to set up a studio, but the items that can take you from oblivion to among the greats;  

If you can get it right with all of these items, then your podcast is ready to fly. We’ll talk about the four essential equipment needed to start a podcast;  

  1. Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet 
  2. Microphone 
  3. Headphone 
  4. Recording Software 

We’ll talk about each of these podcast equipment and software. This will include the must-have requirements of this equipment.  

Choosing a Computer For Podcasting 

It’s not about choosing a PC and Mac or Acer and HP but choosing one that meets the minimum requirements needed as a podcaster’s computer. A computer is an important tool for recording your podcast; you can’t settle for less. Here’s what you should consider before deciding on a computer;  

  • RAM 

The Random Access Memory determines the quantity of data that your computer can process at once. In that case, the higher the RAM of your computer, the better. A higher RAM implies that your computer is better able to handle editing software, plugins, and even multiple podcast episodes.  

Being able to handle a significant amount of data, you get more done in lesser time,  

  • Internal Storage

When it comes to internal storage, the option is between Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD). However, the obvious choice is Solid State Drive due to the higher seek time and noise of Hard Disk Drive.  

Solid State Drive stores data digitally, which translates to a faster seek time. Moreso, SSD generates lesser noise which is ideal for podcasting. However, the expensive cost of Solid State Drives is a drawback. 

  • Operating System 

This is more of a personal criterion than a professional one. Whether Windows PC or Mac, pitch your tent with the one you are comfortable with. Consider your budget also as Mac devices are a bit costly than their Windows counterparts.  

Aside from your personal preference, you should also consider the audio editing software you intend to use. For instance, GarageBand and Logic Pro only work on iOS devices. However, you can also consider multi-platform software.  

  • Digital Audio Workstation Requirements 

Another factor determining the type of computer you use will be the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). A DAW is a software you rely on to record, edit, and process your podcasts.  

Your choice of DAW should be the deciding element for the computer specifications you settle for. To be on the safe side, settle for a computer with not less than 4GB RAM and 2.5Ghz processing speed.  

  • Latency 

There’s usually a lapse time between input and output of audio signal; this is known as latency. In simple terms, the time it takes for the sound signal to enter a microphone and be heard on the monitor. To better understand latency, calculate the microseconds it tasks for your computer to produce sound when you press the play button.  

That’s why you should pick a computer with a low latency rate. The ideal should be 20ms. Note that the latency is determined by both the processing speed and the RAM of the computer.  

  • The Central Processing Unit

This is the brain of your podcasting computer, and the better the CPU, the better the performance. While considering all of the other requirements, you cannot neglect the CPU power because the entire computing activity takes place.  

The ideal is to settle for a multi-processor computer that allows you to perform several tasks simultaneously. With a powerful CPU, your computer can handle plugins and DAWs, most importantly, all of the multiple podcast episodes you throw at it.  

Final Thoughts on Choosing a Computer For Podcasting 

We hope you are not confused about the computer to choose for podcasting. Our advice is that you go with higher system specifications and a Solid State Drive (SSD), even if it’s smaller in size.  

Regarding noise, there are fanless laptops; if you don’t want those, then invest in a desktop. Another issue will be your operating system, and both OS types are excellent for podcasting; what differentiates them is software compatibility.  

I bet we’ve done justice to your concerns about a computer for podcasting. Now, let’s move on to another important equipment needed to start a podcast, the microphone.  

What’s The Best Microphone For Podcasting 

The topic of the best microphone for podcasting is one of the most contested in our world. The debate lies in the level of quality that is expected of a decent podcasting microphone. At Disctopia, we know what it takes to record an excellent podcast. This is what guides our knowledge of what you should look out for in a podcasting microphone.  

We’ll give pointers to the best microphone for podcasting. You know that there are over 1,000 microphones out there, but not everyone is ideal for podcasting.  

Usually, choosing a podcast microphone is one of the first major decisions you’ll face by a podcaster. Let’s get into it but note that choosing the right microphone isn’t expensive or technical, just knowing what to look out for;  

USB Vs. XLR Microphone? 

This is the first headache you’ll face as a podcaster, the microphone connection option to choose. You are to choose between a USB or XLR microphone. You know that most of the microphones out there were created for musicians in mind, and of course, musicians don’t sing into a computer. That’s why we have more XLR microphones than USB ones.  

Just like its name, a USB microphone can be directly connected to the USB port without the need for additional equipment. In contrast, you’ll need an audio interface connected to your computer to use XLR microphones.  

Let’s cut to the chase here; as a new podcaster, the USB option will simplify your podcasting experience. While the XLR microphones might sound better (remember, they are made for musicians, who are mostly audiophiles), the difference to a USB won’t even be noticed by your podcast listeners who are interested in your message.  

  • Condenser Vs. Dynamic Microphones? 

Think of condenser microphones as a magnifying glass, picking up sound in an accurate manner. For dynamic microphones, these are for recording loud sounds in a narrow frequency.  

Imagine being on a beach recording the next episode of your show. If you use a condenser mic, all of the waves crashing on the shore, the laughing and giggling of kids, or the squawking of seagulls will be picked. As for dynamic microphones, they don’t catch as much background noise as a condenser would.  

Since most new podcasters record from home, you are better off with a condenser mic.  

Wrap Up: Choosing a Podcasting Microphone 

Outside of the technicalities (which we hope don’t bore you with), two things should determine your podcasting microphone; recording environment and budget. While we hope you pick enough wisdom from this guide, we still hope you buy the best podcasting microphone you can afford.  

Before you make a choice, please think of the environment where you’ll do most of your recording and balance it up with your budget.  

What’s The Best Headphone For Podcasting 

Do you know why headphones are called the podcaster’s best friend? Because you need it to monitor sounds to ensure that volumes and other levels are within the expected range. To capture quality podcast audio will require a good pair of headphones.  

Just like you might get lost in the multitude of computers and microphones, this scenario might also play out with podcasting headphones. Of course, just like we’ve done with computers and microphones, we won’t be naming names; provide enough pointers for you to decide on your own.  

Before we get into it, let’s talk about why headphones are important for you as a podcaster;  

1. Sound Monitoring 

Part of creating an excellent podcast is cultivating a good mic technique. To achieve this, you need to be able to hear yourself. With headphones, you hear your popping, plosives, and any other jarring sound that your listeners will notice.  

Good podcast headphones are even more vital when working with a guest on your show. Usually, your podcast guest will have little or no experience with a mic. You won’t have enough time to start tutoring them on how to speak into a mic correctly. However, with a headphone, they can feel what they are doing, and their volume level.  

2. Improving Overall Audio Quality 

Headphones are not just about sound monitoring or mic techniques but working towards having better audio quality. Headphones are built to receive more frequencies than the average human ear. With good podcasting headphones, you’ll pick up any distracting hums that could prevent a clean recording.  

It does not even matter whether you are in a standard soundproofed studio; a headphone can pick up the air conditioner, computer cooling fan, or other untraceable noise.  

3. Reducing Post Production Editing 

Lastly, if you get it right with your podcasting headphone hooked up to a mixer, you can control audio levels right from the point of recording. Why spend time in post-production editing when you could have it under control during the recording.  

While skilled sound engineers can edit out issues, it’s better to prevent such from getting into your podcast recording. The headphone is the best tools to shorten your post-production time. If you know your onions, you can go from recording to publishing, cutting out post-production.  

How To Choose a Headphone For Podcasting 

Now that you understand the importance of headphones to podcasting, we believe you’ll pay more attention to the selection process. Here’s what you should look out for in the features of any headphone;  

  • Frequency Range 

This is a make or breaks factor, the range of sound that the headphone can pick and reproduce. The frequency range or response is to ensure that the audio playback is accurate without any additional filter.  

The idea is to get the real sound you are making out of the headphone. In your search, look for headphones in the range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Anything above this is quite a waste of resources and unnecessary.  

  • Comfort 

Regardless of the length of your episode, you should be wearing headphones that does not cause any inconvenience. Since you’ll be wearing the headphones for longer periods, go in search of lightweight ones with padded earpads and adjustability.  

You should be able to wear the headphone for at least 60 minutes of recording without feeling the need to take it off.  

  • Noise Cancellation 

Remember one of the reasons for using a headphone is to monitor sound and cut down post-production time. This purpose will be jeopardized if your headphone is heavy on noise cancellation.  

There will be a lot of misrepresentation with noise cancellation, and often there’s a heavy price tag attached. Your podcast listeners will need noise cancellation headphones if you use one in recording your podcast.  

  • Wired or Wireless?  

Don’t be tempted by the convenience that wireless headphones offer; that’s all it has over wireless headphones. One thing about sound is that it travels faster when a cable is used as a medium.  

There’s a delay with wireless headphones caused by latency. Even the best electronic manufacturer will struggle to produce a headphone that defies the law of physics. The latency issue is why experienced podcasters stick with wired headphones.  

  • Budget 

Budget has an important role to play when it comes to settling for the best equipment needed to start a podcast. For most electronics, the more you spend, the better the quality. However, not everyone can cough out hundreds of dollars for an excellent headphone. However, for between $100 – $200, you should get a decent pair.  

Wrap Up: Choosing a Headphone For Podcasting 

That’s it about podcast headphones. You need to pay ample attention to your headphones just like you would to microphones and every other piece of equipment needed to start a podcast. Before starting your search, note that you have to make some compromises in terms of comfort, aesthetics, or sound quality. There’s no way you’ll get it all except you are ready to break the bank.  

No matter what, never record a podcast without headphones. It’s more like Russian audio roulette; while you sometimes get away with it, you are likely to end with an audio mess sooner or later.  

Choosing The Best Podcast Recording Software 

We are at the last of the quartet, choosing a reliable audio recording and editing program for your podcast. While we’ve avoided picking headphones, microphones, or computers, the reverse will be the case this time.  

A reliable recording software is the bedrock of a successful podcast career. At Disctopia, we want to see the number of successful podcasters increasing; that’s why we are taking time to help you choose the best podcast recording software. 

We’ll discuss these podcast recording software according to their operating systems. The choice is yours in line with the computer you must have chosen earlier. We’ll be recommending at least 3 in the different categories.  

Let’s get into it;  

Best Podcast Recording Software For macOS 

In arriving at our recommendations of equipment needed to start a podcast, we picked the brains of experienced podcasters, scavenged through podcasting forums, and tested out the options. Here’s what we arrived at;  

1. GarageBand 

As a newbie, this is an excellent point of entry for you; it’s a Digital Audio Workstation that is even relied on by experienced podcasters. The software makes life easier for you as there can be separate tracks for intros, outros, and even music.  

GarageBand is one of the Crème de la Crème of podcast recording software, providing you with more than enough. Since you are likely to be on a budget and have a mac device, this is a solid option.  

2. Logic Pro 

While you will need a bit of hands-on experience with digital audio workstations to have the grip of Logic Pro, it’s indeed a top-notch tool. You’ll likely find Logic Pro in the hands of audio and sound engineers due to its robustness and sophistication. 

As a macOS software, most podcasters usually transition to Logic Pro from GarageBand. This is because they share similar UI, and your GarageBand files can work on Logic Pro.  

3. Audacity 

This is beyond just macOS, as it’s a multi-platform digital audio workstation that also works on Windows and GNU/Linux. The practical features of Audacity make it one of the preferred choices by podcasters.  

While there’s a steep learning curve, once you grasp it, you’ll find it easy to navigate. The tools can help convert and combine sounds. The beauty of Audacity is the constant updating of the app for optimum performance.  

Best Podcast Recording Software For Windows 

1. Adobe Audition 

This is part of Adobe Suite, and with a Creative Cloud subscription, you’ll have access. Adobe Audition is intended for podcast recording and editing. The tools possess advanced tools for advanced compression, noise reduction, and EQ.  

One beautiful feature of this software is batch processing. The feature allows you to single and multiple files. There are ample resources on YouTube to learn to make the most of Adobe Audition.  

2. Alitu 

This is another intuitive podcast recording software for those who care about a unique user experience. The strength of Alito lies in being able to publish directly to your podcast host.  

You can also use Alito to automate the cleanup and conversion of audio files. Not to forget the ability to add id3tag and music. Take advantage of the custom editing tool in fixing mistakes and silences.  

3. Boomcaster 

This is the latest entrant to the world of podcast recording, with a focus on setting new standards for podcasters. Not just a podcasting tool. Boomcaster allows podcasters to Livestream directly to their listeners on YouTube and Facebook.  

Unlike other options, BoomCaster is a web-based podcasting recording platform. Even if you are far away from your comfort zone, you can get your podcast recorded from any PC.  

 Next: How to Use a Mic as a Podcaster