One of the most controversial discussion threads among podcasters is about the tech stuff. The gear. And it shouldn’t be. It’s sad to see people invest lots of cash only to find out that podcasting “wasn’t for them”, and they’re stuck with a room full of expensive gear.
Just starting out? Get a decent set of headphones, a basic mic (Shure SM-58, Blue Yeti USB or ATR-2100 (see below) and start podcasting. Use the free Audacity editing software and upload your MP3 to a reputable podcast host company.
I’ve used Libsyn to host all three of my shows, but you’ll hear great things about another company called Blubrry. A Google search will bring up other options. Libsyn costs me the price of a small pizza each month and sends my feed to many other podcast directories, including Apple Podcasts, Google Music Store, Spotify and Stitcher. Their support team is reliable and they have their own informative podcast called ‘The Feed‘.
Podcasters and radio announcers the world over love the Sony MDR-7506 headphones. I use these at all times. They fully cover the ear and block out ambient sound, letting you concentrate on your recording and editing. Cost: $135 CDN. Amazon.
The AudioTechnica ATR-2100 is what they call a hybrid, offering both XLR (three-pin) and USB connections. You can use it with a traditional mixer, a USB interface or right into your computer’s USB port. More than adequate for any level of podcasting. Cost: $99 CDN. Amazon.
The venerable, legendary Shure SM58 could hammer a nail (not that I’m recommending that) and will last you forever. It’s a solid, basic mic for stage and radio production. It’s ideal for studio use or in-the-field interview recordings. Cost: $120 CDN. Amazon.
The RODE Procaster is a heavy, dynamic microphone that helps isolate all sound to what is directly in front of it. I use this mic and love it. Not exactly what I’d call “budget-friendly” but a good long-term investment. Cost: $290 CDN. Amazon.
Post-production and Editing
Audacity is FREE open-source software that works on a Mac or PC. Podcasters from beginner to pro levels use it. There are hundreds of tutorials on YouTube, so you can’t go wrong. Download it (and the LAME encoder) here. Cost: FREE
If you have a Mac, you already have excellent recording software called Garageband. Originally designed to create music, it’s still a go-to program for podcasters. And you can’t beat the price! Cost: FREE
My personal favourite – Hindenburg Journalist – offers a free 30-day trial so it might be worth exploring. When you import audio, it automatically raises or lowers the volume according to industry standards. Visually it is very clean and simple. It also goes on sale once a year on World Radio Day. Cost: $95 and up. Check it out here.
I often use Auphonic.com to finalize and polish my podcasts after editing with the other software. It is a web-based audio post-production mastering tool, designed to help you improve the overall audio quality of your show. Big-time media podcasts might need the paid version, but most of us can use it free. More info here.s