Back to Basics: Essential Podcasting Equipment for Beginners
Here’s my guide to the essential equipment you need to get started.
1. A USB Microphone
A USB microphone means you can just plug it into your laptop, and you're ready to record.
I’ve tried lots of different microphones. Suzi absolutely loves the Rode NT-USB mic. It's incredibly simple to set up – just plug the USB into your computer, and you're good to go.
This microphone comes with a pop shield and a mic stand, which is excellent for reducing those pesky plosive sounds. Currently, it's priced at about £140.
I use the Audio Technica 2020 which costs around £120-£130.
If you're planning to record with multiple guests, the Blue Snowball microphones are an excellent choice as they’re specifically designed for podcasting. The Snowball iCE is the more affordable option at £47, and the standard Blue Snowball is slightly higher, around £70.
Another popular choice is the Yeti microphone, priced at £109. It's a favourite among many podcasters due to its versatility and ease of use.
2. A pair of over-ear plug-in headphones
Headphones are an important part of your podcasting setup, yet they're often overlooked. You don’t need to spend much money here - you may have some already lying around the house.
For podcasting, you want over-ear, plug-in headphones. They’ll help you identify any sound issues your guest has and limit any background noise at your end. They’re also less likely to cause technical issues compared to Bluetooth headphones.
Make sure they’re comfortable as you may be wearing them for extended periods when you’re recording or editing.
I’d also recommend checking out the Audio Technica range. They offer several models, like the M 20x at £49, the M 30x at £68, and the M 50x at £129 or consider the beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Studio Headphones. While they are an investment, priced higher at around £109,
Comfort is Key
If you're editing your podcast yourself, you'll likely be wearing your headphones for extended periods. Therefore, comfort is a significant factor. You want headphones that fit well and don’t put too much pressure on your ears. For a more premium option, consider the beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Studio Headphones. While they are an investment, priced higher at around £109, their comfort and sound quality are unmatched. They’re perfect for long editing sessions and will serve you well for years.
Avoid Using Earbuds
Avoid using earbuds such as AirPods which aren’t ideal for podcasting.Their built-in microphones often interfere with the recording quality.
3. Something to record on
For those just starting, I’d highly recommend Spotify for Podcasters (previously known as Anchor).
It's a good all-in-one platform that lets you record, edit, and even distribute your podcast. And it's completely free.
You can record directly into Spotify for Podcasters and even speak to guests over it. With its basic editing tools, you can publish your podcast to various platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
If you're looking to include video in your podcast and speak to guests remotely, I’d recommend Riverside.fm which offers standard video recording, and you can choose to record either video or audio.
It’s recently been updated with new features like an AI cleanup tool, which helps remove unwanted sounds and errors, and the ability to edit using a transcript.
While Riverside.fm has a free option or their standard plan is $15 a month if you're planning more frequent recordings.
Lastly, think about where you'll store your audio files.
Podcast files, especially videos, can be quite large. I use Google Drive and Dropbox.
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