Starting a Podcast – Essential Equipment Checklist
It’s quite possible that podcasts will be the most interesting digital relic when future generations examine the archaeology of our era. Of course, there better be armies of digital archaeologists to sift through the endless petabytes of podcasts. It seems everyone is getting in on the podcast game these days, which is awesome because it allows us to share our expertise, stories, opinions and humor with the world.
You can start a podcast about any subject matter. To grasp the huge range of podcast types, consider these examples:
- The Gear Club, where producer/mixing engineer Chuck Zwicky (Prince, Soul Asylum, Dead Prez and Jeff Beck) talks about recording, gear and more
- The Joe Rogan Experience, featuring comedian Rogan’s deep conversations with interesting personalities
- Poker in the Ears, PokerStars’ weekly behind-the-scenes podcast look at the international circuit
- Stuff You Should Know, a podcast that explains a wealth of topics using entertaining pop-culture reference points
But a podcast is often only as good as the equipment used to produce it. If you’re serious about unleashing a high-quality, popular podcast, you need to know what the best options are. Here’s a look at some essential audio equipment for any podcaster.
- Blue Yeti USB Microphone – A popular choice for both podcasters and streamers, the Blue Yeti is a quite versatile microphone. It’s also affordable and can be trusted to deliver fantastic sounding audio every time.
- Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone – What makes this option so great is the value for the price. This Audio-Technica model is a rugged workhorse, perfect for both established podcasters and those venturing into the medium. The outputs make this a flexible choice for users who don’t only want a USB mic.
A pop filter is an absolute must for anyone who creates a podcast. You know how when you say certain words like ones with a hard “P” sound, there’s a popping noise due to the puff of air released? These little quirky noises are amplified by mics and drive audio levels into the red zone. Pop filters help to block that noise from the mic, saving the ears of your listeners. At ANR we’re big fans of Pop Audio’s versatile filter, make sure to check it out.
Headphones are critical for a few reasons. You need to be able to hear yourself when you and others are talking to monitor the levels. Headphones also allow you to precisely hear the output of your mics. You want to hear everything that you should such as other people. Some highly recommended headphones are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x or the Sennheiser HD-280 PRO.
You need to be able to record a podcast if you are going to do, well, a podcast. Typically, this means recording to your computer using different software. You could use software recording programs like Adobe Audition, Audacity or Apple’s GarageBand. The VOIP software like Pamela (Skype) works well to capture video conferencing interviews. If you prefer to use an external digital recorder, a product like the Zoom H6 is an excellent option.
You may not necessarily need a mixer, but one can make the production of your podcast a lot easier. Mixers allow you to combine different input sources, adjust individual volumes and add effects. In other words, mixers go a long way toward baking professional grade audio into your podcasts. The Mackie PROFX12 mixer is an excellent option to consider.
Acoustics for Your Recording Space
The acoustics of your room are especially critical because your mic will pick up ambient noises you may not want in the mix. Acoustic panels, made with foam, can make a big difference in correcting the acoustics in any space so that you can increase the fidelity of your podcast. On this matter, you might want to check our recent Sonarworks Reference 4 review.
Some other products to consider for optimizing your podcast recording setup include:
- Mic Stands/Booms
- Dedicated Podcast Hosting
- Editing Software
Creating a first-rate podcast isn’t difficult when you have the proper gear. The products suggested in this article are generally budget-friendly and will make your podcasts standout with a premium audio experience. Now, it’s time for you to assemble your rig and hit record.