The Essential Equipment You Need To Start Your Own Podcast

Are you dreaming of starting your very own Podcast, but don’t know where to start?

Maybe you’re thinking it is really complicated, you don’t know where to start, and that is why you are reading this page.

I can understand, it does sound super technical to get setup, there are a million and one things you have to get done you have to get extra equipment to enable you to begin Podcasting.

Or do you..?

I often get asked, Chris… What equipment do I really need to start a Podcast?

My answer quite often surprises them…

(My Answer…) – Not very much to be honest!

In short, you may only need a simple headset ($20/£15) with Microphone, a computer and somewhere to host your audio files, and that’s it.

If you have a smartphone and a simple set of headphones with in-built microphone you have pretty much what you need right there.

Now don’t get me wrong here, you can add a lot more bells and whistles to make your show better, the audio cleaner, better hosting with more details or basic stats so you can check and keep an eye on your essential numbers…

…but to get started do you really need all of the equipment?

That’s up to you to decide, but remember you can create and run your very own Podcast on a very limited budget with limited resources. Anything else is just there to enhance the experience for your listeners and subscribers or to enhance the show and business overall.

Audio Equipment Needed

First off, Podcasts by their very nature are mainly audio orientated. The reason why I say mainly is there are also video Podcasts, however in this post we are focusing on audio based Podcasts only.

Headphones

These are an essential piece of equipment and something everybody should have laying around. These can range from the most basic of smartphone wired set with an in-built microphone, right up to expensive sets with various options.

It is up to you what you choose…

I personally have a mid range set of Sony headphones without an in-built microphone, but in the past I have used and loved my Logitech Clearchat USB headphones.

These are essential if you plan on conducting interviews in order for you to talk to the guest and interact with the conversation.

Microphones

If you are on a budget – These can be built into your headphone set, or if you wanted to branch out a little and as you get more advanced, you can use a stand alone microphone as you will get far superior audio quality for your podcast episodes.

I personally have used both and know that my setup is far more advanced than most beginners, but I went this route as I wanted to get a crisper, clearer audio, and it also doubles up to give superior audio for my videos and live streaming and recordings.

This is the Geek in me here…

Stand Alone Microphones

Again you can branch out and purchase a stand alone microphone. You don’t have to, but at the same time there are a lot of benefits of buying a separate microphone.

The main reason… is all down to audio quality.

Being as a Podcast is mainly audio based, podcasters tend to look at producing their audio to as high a standard as they possibly can. If you ever listen to a radio station, then you will know what quality audio sounds like, and this is the effect the Podcasters are seeking with their own

audio quality. With the use of an external stand alone microphone and good recording setup

I currently have a Rode Procaster that is connected via an XLR input into my 8 channel Behringer audio mixing desk. This mixing desk also gives me the ability of mixing in other audio sources and ‘geek out’ on my settings, levels and quality. There is also a Rode Podcaster that others use, and this is pretty much a similar microphone to the Procaster except the Podcaster is a USB Mic and the Procaster is XLR only meaning you will also require something to interface and manage the XLR input.

I have also used a Blue Yeti Pro in the past and whilst it is a great general microphone, I found it did pick up a lot more background ‘static’ noise over the dynamic Rode microphone.

I also know MANY other Podcasters use and love the Heil PR40, but this is also an expensive microphone and may be more than your budget allows if you are just starting out.

Typical prices (on Amazon) for the referenced Microphones:

  • Rode Procaster ($230ish)
  • Rode Podcaster ($230ish)
  • Blue Yeti ($120ish)
  • Heil PR40 ($330ish)

**The reason I give general prices are Amazon or the suppliers on Amazon may alter prices with various deals. These are close prices at the time of publishing this post**

My recommendation for microphones if you are starting out: Use what you currently have. If you have a limited budget, then go for a USB combined set, something like the Logitech Clearchat.

Audio Recording Facility

You of course are going to need some way for recording your audio. This can be done via an App on your smartphone or onto a computer or even an external audio recorder.

External Audio Recorders

Many Podcasters will use a dedicated standalone audio recorder for the recording of their content. There are many pros for using these, like in the event of a computer failing or shutting down midway through your recording. They are portable and can be taken with you in the field. The only issue is they are not free.

The following are two types of digital audio recorders Podcasters use and prefer. 

  • The Roland R-05 will cost you around $200/£150.
  • The Zoom H4n will cost you around $240/£180

Recording Skype Calls (Audio or Video)

There are several software you can run on your computer or Mac that can record the audio or even audio + Video feeds of your Skype interviews. You may elect to do this as a backup or to capture the conversation that you intend to use as an interview within your podcast episodes or even use this as your primary method to capture the recordings.

I have used both types of software on PC and also Mac and know they can be a life saver if you somehow lose the recording you had with your recorder, then the Skype recordings run automatically (if setup) and will capture all calls and store them for you.

The two I have personally used are:

Again this is not required, but I know it can save the day if you lose or corrupt a different file or even forget to hit record on your software or recorder. Or you may choose to just use this as your main method for capturing your Skype calls. It is down to you, but if you do wish to record and interviews online, then I highly recommend you do have something that will enable you to record these conversations.

Audio Editing/Recording Software

Audio Recording/Editing Apps

There are apps that will allow you to speak into and record from most smartphones. Again many are free, whilst others do charge. My only concern here is the audio quality may not be just as good, but  you would have to test out the quality for yourself.

There are plenty of options here for editing your audio of you wish. Some people do this via their tablets or smart phones and this can be edited in many different apps available for all platforms.

Audio Recording/Editing Software

If you prefer to edit on a computer (Mac or PC), then you can use the free open source software called ‘Audacity‘ to record and edit your audio files, all you simply have to do is go here to download it.

Additionally, If you own a Mac, then you have the option to also use Garageband, you will find that it is installed freely on most Macs.

Again you can also look at additional software for editing, but my advice is do learn one in the beginning and then seek to improve over time.

My recommendation for audio editing if you are starting out: I would say do this on a computer and if your budget is limited, then Audacity is a brilliant choice as it is free, plus there are plenty of free tutorials on YouTube to teach you how to use the software should you need this.

Audio Mixers

First off let me say that this is NOT a requirement if you are starting out. You can manage just fine without one. However if you are a geek like me, or see the need to mix different audio streams and set levels of bass, treble and volume and ultimately tweak the output, then using an audio mixer is a fantastic choice.

I personally have a Behringer 1204USB (8 channel) Audio mixer, and again the mixers are down to personal choice. Many people use and recommend the ‘Mackie‘ range of mixers, so if this is within your budget, then this is also an option worth considering.

A Podcast Logo

You are going to require artwork to brand your Podcast. Your artwork/main image must be either JPEG or PNG file formats and with a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and up to a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels square.

It needs to be eye catching and draw your target audience into your show. You can of course change and update this over time, but my advice is look at taking the time to get good artwork done initially and this can free you up to worry about other elements of your show.

If you are a dab hand on Photoshop or other image editing software, then I would say go for it. However most may be okay, but when compared to many existing Podcasts within your niche. If you are not sure, go into iTunes and search for your chosen niche and see what appeals to you, what catches your eye and see if you can gain any ideas.

I personally would advise most people to go to a graphic designer to have this work done as this is going to form the basis of all of your branding and even your website imagery. Spend a little cash here and have great artwork images created and it honestly will be an investment for the long term of your Podcast.

Podcast Introduction or Outro Jingle/Music

You may get sick of saying the same thing to introduce and finish your show. Likewise, you may also wish to play the same music at the beginning or end of your show.

To do this I recommend you get a professional intro/outro audio created. I refer to these as intro/outro bumpers. If you go listen to my show here – you will hear what I mean. I have an introduction audio that I play after I have my verbal intro, and likewise I also have an outro audio jingle/bumper that I play to close my show off.

If you are looking to brand your show, then this again is another fantastic option for your podcast. It also helps your listeners to identify your show and some may actually like to hear it as part of the show.

There are MANY services out there that offer the creation of the audio jingles and they also range in price. You can also go to Fiverr and have people there create them for you. Again this is all down purely to taste and you may not need this in the beginning, but it helps to quickly brand your show to your listeners.

Podcast Audio Players

There are many layers on the market for sale that will allow you to embed your audio and also allow you to have other features like sharing, images, downloading and a lot more. I personally have and use a premium player called Audello, but I also know of others that are either a monthly price or cost to buy a plugin you can install to give you this functionality.

What I can tell you is many of the main Podcast file hosting solutions also provide you with a player you can embed into your site for free. They are getting a lot better and if you are on a budget or it is early days, then I would suggest using one of the free players initially.

The free players I know of are:

  • Libsyn
  • Blubrry

Why Not Join me on my Broadcast Geeks Podcast

go here to join me on my podcast …

Thats My List of Essential Podcast Equipment

So that is my list, I will continue to update and add to this list over time. I hope you have found it useful and I have helped you find a way through the minefield of equipment you need to get started with your podcast.

I have listed many of the free podcasting tools and equipment and also some of the upgrades or premium tools and equipment you can pick up for your podcast over time. If you have any other suggestions or tips, then I would love to hear them, please leave them in the comments below.

 

About The Author

chris

Chris Cole is passionate about online technology, video and audio. He is from Northern Ireland and has been working online since 2009. He likes to write about his marketing journey online and is also a lover of all thing Video and Podcast related. Follow Chris' journey and while you're here - Watch out for the new Broadcast Geeks Podcast that is coming soon. If you like this site, then why not come and join Chris over inside the Broadcast Geeks Facebook Group (Click Here) https://www.facebook.com/groups/broadcastgeeks

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field