Podcasting is thought sometimes to be a difficult area to dive into, but it's not. If you're thinking about taking the plunge into the world of podcasting there are some things you'll want to consider and research before you begin.
With podcasting becoming more mainstream all the time and technology constantly evolving, the good news is that podcasting is becoming relatively inexpensive to start that journey. There are many great resources to discover how to structure your show, what to use for your recordings, equipment and distribution platforms.
For the purposes of this tip, and to set you on the right path, we'll be focusing specifically on the steps of recording software and the equipment you'll need to jump into your podcast experience at that lower budget price point. These tips will help you determine the best options and make it a relatively painless process.
What recording software should I use?
Depending on the complexity or the cost you desire, it will make a difference in the software you choose to go with. There is a multitude of different methods to break down what could be the best use for you.
- Audacity - Cost: FREE
- Open-source with plugins for your recording needs. It is an easy-to-use multitrack audio editing software.
- Supports Windows, Mac OSX, GNU/Linux
- Adobe Audition CC - Cost: $20.99 a month subscription
- Great for audio recording, mixing, and restoration.
- Cost aside, this program allows for the great multitrack adjustments, cutting of clips and makes editing easier over Audacity.
- Supports Windows 10, and Mac OSX.
- Avid Pro Tools - Cost: Varies based on the subscription model
- Pro Tools First: Free, Standard: $24.92 a month, Ultimate: $83.25 a month
- Great recording and editing tool for every audio project type.
- Pro Tools First supports Windows 8.1+, and Mac OSX, whereas Pro Tools and Ultimate support Mac OSX only at this time.
How do I determine which podcasting hardware to purchase?
This question really depends on what you plan to do with your podcast. While the above-listed software is mostly universal no matter the hardware choice, the plan you have set forth will ultimately determine what you need.
If you're planning to create a show where it's just yourself or two people in different locations, then you may only need one microphone. If you plan to have a setup with someone recording multiple people in the same room, that's where podcast bundles could be your friend. So for each of these uses, I'll be giving a recommendation on exactly which you should get.
What hardware do I need to get started?
For the solo hosts or hosts recording in different locations, I'd recommend a few options from the listing below. This works well for those intending on connecting with their guests over Skype and other types of call sites directly from your computer.
- Blue Yeti Microphone - Cost: $102.99
- This microphone is USB but packs a punch for home users. This microphone has four patterns of vocal pickup for versatile recording from Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional and Stereo modes. It also has the ability to adjust the gain and pattern selection on the back of the mic and has a headphone jack built-in to monitor recordings. This device only works on PC or Mac devices and not mobile but is a powerful microphone.
- Samson Q2U - Cost: $59.99
- Benefits of this microphone are that it is a USB/XLR dynamic mic with USB output to Mac or PC, XLR output for mixer/PA systems. The mic is plug-and-play, USB bus powered via Mac, PC, or iPad. It includes a mic clip, tripod stand, tripod extension, foam windscreen, and USB and XLR cables. You have the option to go mobile as well as it can be used with iPhones and iPads using Apple's Lightning to USB Camera Adapter or for Android users via the Host OTG cable.
- Audio-Technica ATR2100 - Cost: $66.95
- This has much of the same features and capabilities as the Samson Q2U but also includes a built-in headphone jack that allows you to monitor your microphone output without audible delays.
For the podcaster looking for a more studio roundtable feel and function, having a separate mixer and proper amounts of microphones might be more up your alley. Mind you, you don't need a mixer to podcast, but it can be handy to have. What they do give you the option for is adding multiple mics for the guests and co-hosts of your podcast.
- Samson Mixpad MXP124FX Compact, 12-Channel Analog Stereo Mixer with Effects and USB - Cost: $129.99
- This mixer doesn't include a bundle or any microphones but comes highly recommended from podcasting experts with the tools you'll need for your group podcast needs.
- Combine this with one or multiple Samson Q2U to get everything you need to podcast.
- Mackie Bundle - Comes with Mackie Traction software - Cost: $299.99
- This bundle comes with everything you'll need right out of the box including the recording interface, 2 condenser microphones, 2 headphones and mic stands. If you're looking for out of the box, all-in-one packages, then look no further with these trusted Mackie and Samson branded devices.
- This is a two-person podcasting setup.
- Focusrite Bundle - Comes with Pro Tools First software - Cost: $299.99
- This set has much of the same contents as the Mackie bundle but instead of a Mackie interface, it comes with a Focusrite SCARLETT mixer with Pro Tools First which is free.
- This also is a two-person podcasting setup.
No matter what direction you choose to go, the components and software are almost always interchangeable depending on what you need it to do. If you're at a church or other organization that more than likely already has most of these components, you could easily adapt or plug these into inputs on a PC through the current mixer sound systems and microphones to start.
If you're ready to dive right in, then you won't go wrong with any of the options listed above.
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