With podcasts continuing to rise in popularity and more people multi-tasking while listening, starting your podcast NOW is a no-brainer! It’s a great way to connect with your audience, share good content, and make it easy for people to consume.
I have been getting asked a lot recently where someone even starts to set up a podcast; what equipment is needed, where to put the recordings and how to get them on iTunes? By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have a clear game plan and know what to do along with different options from cheap to expensive.
Having set up multiple podcast “set-ups”, launching or helping to launch multiple podcasts and producing a handful of top podcasts; I have some recommendations that I’m happy to share with you! Below I break them down into a few different sections.
First, I am going to go over a bunch of different options for what equipment to use, where to host, etc. Then I will offer an “inexpensive” set up and a “more expensive” set up. Everything I mention will give you very good quality podcasts either way so you can rest assured you’ll have a great set up whatever budget you’re on!
Let’s dive in!
I recommend Libsyn to everyone for the hosting part. (This is what we use for all of the podcasts we produce.) Yes, there are some cheaper options, but they are more of a hassle and aren’t as easy to work with. You can create an account with them here: https://www.libsyn.com. You can even start for as little as $5.00 a month! From there, you can then increase the features and the size of stuff you’re uploading if needed and you can upgrade on the fly with them. It just depends on how much you’ll be uploading monthly.
Now, with Libsyn being my “go to” there has been a new company who’s made a pretty big impact in the podcasting world called Anchor. (Anchor.fm) They claim to do it all in one easy spot; host for free, one-click distribution to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify and more, and they claim to even find and connect you with possible sponsorship deals. Although we haven’t used them, they seem to have great reviews and maybe be great for a beginner to just grab their phone, recorder, and post in a breeze! Ease of use seems important to them so you may want to check them out!
There are other options to hosting your podcast and more continue to pop up, however, we haven’t used or looked into many others as our experience with Libsyn has been amazing.
Call and Recording Software
For all our interviews that aren’t done in person, we recommend using either ZOOM or Skype for the calls. Either of these will get the job done for interviews with others. We had used Skype for a couple of years, however, have begun to use ZOOM because the service seems to be a bit more reliable for us.
Whatever set up you go with below, you’ll still need something to record the podcasts. If you use Skype and go with the easier/cheaper setup, you’ll need the software called eCamm: http://www.ecamm.com/mac/callrecorderft/ a $30 one time payment. This will do the recording of the tracks for you to then edit together later.
If you use Zoom’s internal recording feature it can even upload to Dropbox automatically too which is a super nice feature. We use Zoom, however, we record the interviews on an external recorder after running through a mixer.
For either call software you use, if you’re going with a more elaborate/expensive setup, you’ll need an external recorder. We like the ZOOM H4N or ZOOM H6. These will record externally from your sound mixer board. These are both very versatile recorders and can be used in multiple scenarios.
Editing Software: If you have a Mac, GarageBand is fine for it and will give you great results provided your audio source is good and (it should be just fine using what I mention in this article). You can also use Audacity which is a free download.
Microphone: There are two good USB mics for podcasting that are very reasonably priced and can be used without a soundboard.
The microphones above are really good and you’ll be happy with any of them if you want to stay on the less expensive side and want a USB microphone.
So, what we’ve already gone over will give you an inexpensive, very good sounding podcast. Everything above is for an easier setup but still very good quality and would recommend it for most people for ease of use and expense.
If you do want to do a bigger, more professional setup, here is what’s needed and what I recommend especially if you’re doing any in-person interviews:
- For the Microphone, you can either do the Audio Technica ATR2100 (above) or we use and love the sound of the Heil PR40 Microphone. This is the best pro microphone around. You can either get this package which includes a mic arm and shock mount, or you could buy them separately and get just the Heil microphone, Shock Mount, and Desktop Stand. After using both, we prefer the regular desktop stand.
- You’ll also need Headphones. We have multiple pairs of the Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphones. Super comfy and great sound!
- If you’re going to be doing interviews over Skype or ZOOM, and are using a mixing board that will send what’s called a “Mix Minus” and if you go with the company we recommend, Mackie, unfortunately, you have to get one of the bigger boards for this. We use the Mackie 1402VLZ4 Mixer Panel. It will give you ample inputs so you can have multiple in-person interviews as well as do a “Mix-Minus” for non-in-person interviews. However, if you want to try a less expensive, smaller board, we have read, but not tested or used, the Behringer Xenyx Q802USB Mixer will work for this and is roughly $75 or so. Could be worth looking into.
- Like we mentioned above, you’ll need an external recorder. We use the Zoom H4N Portable Recorder
- You’re going to need an adapter to go back into your computer from the mixer using a USB Input for Mic.
- You’ll also need a series of cords: Stereo Interconnect Cable, a mic cord should come with your mic in some of the packages, but you can also buy
Monster Mic Cord that will be better cord than most. And a Stereo Breakout Cable to go to your recorder. You’ll also have to go from your computer back to the mixer with a Male Stereo to Dual 1/4-Inch Male Mono Y-Cable Adapter.
Honestly, we recommend going the simpler USB ATR2500 mic route first and see how it goes. You can always go up from there but you will still get really good sound with the basic setup.
As for your launch, make sure to not hook your podcast up to Apple Podcasts until you are ready to launch to the public. We always recommend having 3 episodes there when you launch and then a couple more “in the bank” to release during that first week or so. This will help with rankings and hopefully get you on the New and Noteworthy! To submit to Apple Podcasts you will go here: https://podcastsconnect.apple.com/ and set it up. You will need to take your Feed from Libsyn (or wherever you’re hosting) and add it to Apple Podcasts through there.
Good luck with your setup and new podcast! It’s a great way to create content for your fans and followers and is a great way to continue to be “in their ear” daily or weekly!