In 2018, Seth Godin said the podcasting is the new blogging. That means there’s no better time to start a podcast than 2019. In this episode we’re going to go over what gear you need to launch your show.
- Episode 5: Where Should You Host Podcast Audio?
- ATH-M50x Headphones
- My Podcast Setup
- Jeff Large’s Setup
- Launch Your Podcast in 3 Days (online course)
Hey everybody and welcome to episode 10 of Creator Toolkit, a podcast about building stuff on the web. This episode combines the analog with the digital as we select the perfect toolkit for starting your podcast.
We’re going to cover these main tools:
- A decent mic and helpful accessories
- Recording and Editing software
- Getting your podcast online
Let’s get started! Everything we talk about here will be linked in the show notes, which you can find at creator toolkit.com/010/.
Let me start by saying that you don’t need to sound like NPR to have a good podcast, but you also shouldn’t sound like you’re in a bathroom stall. The first thing you should get when you want to start a podcast is a decent mic. Don’t worry – this isn’t going to break the bank. You can upgrade for as little as $30-40. But I’ll cut to the quick and tell you my 2 recommendations:
The Yeti gives you a little bit more control over gain (how much sound the mic takes in) and pattern (which part of the mic picks up sound).
The ATR2100 is nice because it’s a very affordable beginner mic and has both USB and XLR.
USB vs. XLR
This isn’t necessarily a technical episode, but there are two types of mics you can get: a USB mic, which will connect directly into your computer, and an XLR mic, which requires a bit more setup – specifically an interface. That’s something that converts the analog sound from XLR into digital and sends it to your computer.
XLRs are professional mics. You’ll see them in TV broadcasts, live shows, and on high quality podcasts and radio shows. I’m currently using an XLR mic – specifically the Shure SM7B. I could definitely do an entire show on just mics (write in if you want that), but starting out, a USB mic is your best bet.
So technically speaking, you only need the mic to get started. But if you have the budget, there are a couple of accessories that will help you sound better.
The number one accessory is a pop filter. This is a simple screen that sits between you and the mic and filters out hard gusts of air. It prevents the mic from “popping” with hard p-sounds, called ‘plosives’. These are relatively inexpensive too, ranging from $5-25.
If you want to take your setup to the next level, I recommend a boom arm and shock mount. The arm will keep the mic off your desk and at the right distance in front of your face. It will also absorb some of the sounds from you hitting or shaking your desk.
For the sounds the boom arm doesn’t take care of, that’s where a shock mount comes in. Depending on the quality, in some instances you can hit the boom arm and it won’t come through in the mic.
I like having a boom arm because it means I don’t have to reach around the mic when I’m on my keyboard while recording, and I won’t accidentally hit it.
I’d also recommend a good set of headphones. These will help prevent echo in the event that you’re doing an interview show, and it will help you monitor your audio – so you know how you hear while your speaking. I have the Audio Technica ATH-M50x and I love them.
All-in for a beginner setup you’re probably looking at $70-200, depending on the configuration.
If you want to see my whole setup, there’s a link in the show notes.
With your hardware settled, it’s time to think about recording. If you’re a solo podcaster with no cohosts or guests, you can get away with Quicktime on Mac or Windows Recorder on PC. However, if you intend on editing too, I’d recommend Audacity, which is free for both Mac and PC, or Garageband, which comes with Mac.
If you are doing interviews, you have a few options. Skype is a common option for doing calls and it’s free. They also recently rolled out native call recording, though I haven’t tried it.
If you use Zoom, they also provide recording – you can do video, or audio only, and each guest will be saved to a separate track.
The problem with both of these is that you’re getting the compressed, internet-affected audio. This will almost certainly mean lower quality. To get the highest quality, I’d recommend asking your guest to record their audio separately and then send it to you. There are a few services that do this, like Zencastr, which costs around $20/month.
Once you have the show recorded, it’s time to edit. This will probably be the biggest learning curve. You’ll definitely have to spend some time with whatever software you choose to get comfortable with it. As mentioned before, starting out I recommend Audacity or Garageband. They’re both free and have a relatively low learning curve. As your skills advance you can look into something like Logic Pro.
There’s also the option to hire out. Hiring a good, quality editor will definitely be your biggest expense. I’ve had some success with Fiverr for basic edits and ad-insertion. But if you want to control the whole story, feel, and personality, you’ll need to edit yourself work with with a bigger budget editor/producer.
Getting Your Show Online
Back in Episode 5 we discussed the many different options for hosting your podcast. I won’t rehash that here other than to say your podcast likely needs 2 hosts: one for audio, and one for the website.
For the audio I recommend Libsyn or Castos. Libsyn is tried and true. And Castos is up and coming…plus it works great with WordPress.
For your website hosting, I recommend SiteGround. They are priced right for most people, offer a lot of features and make it relatively easy to get up and running with a CMS like WordPress.
Many hosts (Castos included) also have a simple website for your show, but I generally recommend you have your own separate website. Again, see Episode 5 for more info on that.
So that’s everything: Mic, Accessories, Recording, Editing, and Hosting to get your show online. All of this will take some time to learn but my recommendation is get the hardware, record a few episodes, and see how you like it. Then when you’re ready, learn how to get it online. If you want to full course on how to do exactly that, you can check out my own course, at creatorcourses.com/podcast-website/
For a link to that and all the show notes, go to creatortoolkit.com/010/. If you liked this episode be sure to leave a rating and review in apple podcasts. And if you have any questions or want me to put together a specific toolkit, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter, jcasabona.
My question for you is: What do you want to make a podcast about? Let me know on Twitter, @jcasabona, or via email, email@example.com
Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, get out there and build something.