What You Need Before Starting a Podcast

What You Need Before Starting a Podcast

Starting a podcast can be a very rewarding experience and can be very easy too! 

Of course, you might find that grabbing your smartphone and a basic editing app would be just fine for you. 

But, if you really want to make it a long-term project to be proud of and a whole lot easier to manage, you may need to think a little bit more about the things you need before starting a podcast.

If you’re looking for a detailed set by step guide on creating your own podcast from start to finish, make sure you take a look at our Complete Guide: How to Create a Podcast article!

Complete Guide: How to Create a Podcast?

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10 Things You Need Before Starting a Podcast

Below, we’ve compiled 10 things you will need before starting a podcast.

1. A Microphone

Starting a podcast 1

A microphone is the most essential piece of equipment you’ll need as a podcaster before starting a podcast. As the audio is the focal point for the audience you will need to make sure that the sound is as good as you can make it.

Poor audio throughout the podcast would be unpleasant for your audience and if they’re concentrating on the audio quality, they won’t be listening to what is being said.

Therefore, you need to put a little thought into this element before starting.

Related Article: See our top 10 podcast microphones for suggestions!

It’s not advised to be recording using your computer’s mic or a basic microphone, not if you’d prefer high quality sound. If possible, avoid using any kind of default microphones at all, such as your mobile phone microphone or the microphone on your headphones, as they’re usually just not good enough.

Our recommended approach for beginners would be to start with an USB enabled microphone that can be easily connected to your computer or laptop. The sound quality on an USB microphone is not usually as good as an XLR microphone with a mixer, but the user-friendly set up makes up for that at the beginning as you’re learning everything.

If you’re a more experienced podcaster, you may want to grab yourself an XLR microphone and a mixer, or even a digital recorder.

Whichever option you choose, make sure that there is quality in the output on the other end.

Recommended podcasting microphones:

Rode NT USB

Pros

  • Brilliant, clear audio quality
  • It comes with a pop filter
  • Background noise is easily filtered out

 

Cons

  • Tripod may be slightly unstable
  • Record unnecessary sound including table knocks and keystrokes
  • There is only one polar patter

Pros

  • Great audio quality
  • A good, integrated gain control
  • Up to four recording modes
  • Offers great value for its price
 

Cons

  • No multiple head setup
  • Control buttons on the mic can distrupt live recording

2. A Computer / Laptop

Starting a podcast 2

Before starting a podcast you should make sure you have a camputer or a laptop. The main reason you need one is to edit your recording and to upload the finished audio file to the internet. But, it can also be used to manage the recording, to do the recording or store sound files.

Although you can get away with editing a few things on a mobile phone or a similar smart device rather than use a computer or laptop. A very good PC or laptop makes editing and recording a whole lot easier and quicker. 

If you are using your computer to record, it’s even more essential to make sure that you have enough power to run everything that you need. If you’re only using your computer to edit, store and upload, you don’t need as much power. 

Choosing a PC is a little more complicated that chosing a laptop, so check out our Best PC Setup Guide for our recomendations in that area. If you’re looking to run a more high end set up, with mixers and more than one XLR microphones we recommend you get yourself a computer, rather than a laptop.

But, if you’re a beginner looking to run an USB microphone here are two laptops we recommend as very good options for podcasters.

Recommended Laptops for Podcasting:

The ASUS gives you a powerful, yet affordable laptop to run anything that you may need to run during your recording and afterwards.

As it’s a PC, all your equipment should slot right in without the need for any additional attachments.

  • 10th Generation Intel i7 processor
  • 512GB SSD storage
Apple has been a steady and powerful machine for decades. It can run pretty much any programme you need with ease. But be wary that you may need a few extra attachments to plug in all the things that you need.
 
  • Ninth-generation 8-core Intel Core i9 processor
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics with GDDR6 memory
  • Up to 11 hours of battery life
 

3. A Pop Filter

Starting a podcast 3

Pop filters are mostly effective for cleaning up voice work, singing and for avoiding popping sounds. The microphone is required to be close to the speaker during a recording, so pop filters are used to reduce the volume of popping vowels such as b’s and p’s.

You don’t need to spend big on a pop filter, but the higher price ones tend to be steadier, more durable and more effective against popping sounds.

If you don’t want to invest in a Pop Filter, you can get over this issue by speaking to the side of the mic, instead of directly into it. 

But just save yourself the hassle, get a pop filter – the lower end of the scale ones are not expensive.

Recommended podcasting pop filters:

The Stedman is a professional pop filter on the higher end of the budget scale. We wanted to include it to show how seriously you can take having a pop filter. 

It’s a metal pop filter that’s durable, easy to use and holds in place well. It’s also 15cm wide so you’ll also have some more room to move about if needed.

But, you don’t have to spend big on a pop filter. 

This InnoGear is a great example of a budget approach to havin a pop filter.

But what you’ll find with the cheaper options is that it’s not as easy to use, harder to keep in place and not as easy to get it into the position you want it.

4. Headphones

Starting a podcast 4

Before starting a podcast you need headphones if you want to hear yourself clearly (and hear your guests effectively too) while recording, to ensure the sound is playing smoothly and be able to iron out any small defects in the sound. Imagine recording up to an hour or two, without realizing there was some acoustic interference the whole time!

If you are a beginner to podcasting, it may seem strange, hearing yourself in your own ears, but as time passes, you get used to it. Ensure you use closed-back headphones, such as the Audio Technica ATH-M30x.

Whatever you choose, steer clear of headphone-microphone combinations with the intention of using it to record, because of poor sound quality. You don’t need to bee too picky, just get the job done; it doesn’t have to be top notch or expensive.

Recommended podcasting headphones:

On the budget end of the scale, we have this LyxPro headset which is not only affordable but offer great sound quality and comfort.

  • Pro-Grade Closed Back Over-Ear
  • Instant Dynamic Response
  • 180° Rotatable Ear Cups
  • Wired

On the other end of the scale, you have this beautiful Bose headset. Yes, it’s going to set you back a fair bit, but you will never need nor want another pair of headphones ever again.

  • Noise cancellation
  • Alexa and the Google Assistant built-in
  • Noise rejecting dual-microphone system for clear phone calls
  • Wireless
 

5. A Good Recording Space

Starting a podcast 5

Of course, a podcast can be recorded anywhere; but it is always best to find a quiet space or area to set up and record a podcast. It could be open spaces such as the basement or any empty room in a home. Any quiet space you can fit in a microphone and a person into. 

Preferably, the room tone would be warm without any echo as it could create a very distant feel in the sound. You can achieve this through putting soundproofing materials around the area. If you don’t have any, little things such as drawing the curtains or beginning in anything with a fabric surface would help. In your podcasting space, sound should be absorbed by the surroundings, and not reflected (that’s what creates the echo like sound).

Make sure you’ve already ran a test recording and listened back to it with headphones. Doing this allows you to check for anything on the recording that would affect the podcast recording when it’s made, such as air conditioning humming or vehicle traffic outside.

6. A Mixer

Starting a podcast 6

Inputs, outputs and levels are controlled through a mixer and is more essential if you’re setting up with a more high-end microphone that needs phantom power or a mic that has an XLR end. Highly valuable too, if you are likely to be experimenting with effects, real-time audio enhancements, adding background music, or laying tracks.

With a mixer, you can also mix, adjust volumes, connect your professional gear such XLR plugs, connect phones for easy live calls, and other audio devices, and multi-channel recording.

Recommended podcasting mixers:​

On the budget side of the scale we have the Alto Prefecional ZMX52, that comes with everything that you’d need to start a podcast. If you need two phantom powered XLR input then the ZMX862 model comes with an additional input.

  •  Six total inputs
  • Phantom powered XLR input on channel one
  • Superior sound quality

On the upper end of the budget we’ve got the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 that connects to your computer via USB. 

  • 2 XLR inputs
  • Additional 2 instument inputs
  • Complete control over XLR inputs seperate
 
If you really want to push the budget then the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 is an incredible mixer.

7. A Boom

Microphone 1

Suspension booms are commonly used by professional podcasters, for good reason. So, if you are a beginner and looking at long term success, give it some thought from the outset. Not essential before starting a podcast, but will definately be worth it if you do get one.

A boom would prevent arm cramps, help your posture and help improve sound quality, as you would not have to worry about your microphone shifting away from position while using it. A boom also fees up desk space, easy to position or adjust, as well as eliminates any unwanted table and desk noises.

Recommended podcasting mixers:​​

This InnoGear all in one set gives you a budget option for a boom, and also comes with a pop shield included snf s few other bits included.

The springs are external and the arm can hold it’s shape quite well once you’ve set up.

It’s s decent buy for the price you’re playing.

On the other end of the budget scale we have the K&M which comes with a built in XLR cable.

The stand is also durable and keeps it’s shape well.

If you’re looking for a tidy set up with a piece of kit that will last a long time, this is the one for you.

 

8. A Podcast Hosting Account

Starting a podcast 8

Every podcaster should have a podcast hosting account. Podcast hosting uploads and stores your podcasts, and you do not have to worry about them eating up storage space and bandwidth, as you would not need to host them on your website. Meanwhile, your personal podcast presence should be there to provide a web presence for your show and related content. 

Libsyn, Soundcloud,  Buzzsprout and Blurbrry are examples of inexpensive, great hosting and publishing platforms. Placing, or uploading the podcast files on your own website can make your site slower, and cause problems when people try to listen in. 

For the full list of recommended hosting sites, check out our Top Podcast Hosting Sites article.

Recommended podcast hosting sites:​​

PodBean offers you everything you’d need to host a podcast:

  • Easy to get started
  • (A decent free version to get you goin)
  • Uploads to all the biggest sites
  • Analytics reporting
  • Mobile-app
  • Your own podcast page

Buzzsprout is all about making things easy for podcasters:

  • Jargon-free platform
  • Easy to use
  • Friendly support staff
  • Perfect platform for beginners
  • Mobile-friendly website
  • Access to statistics

9. Recording and Editing Software

Starting a podcast 9

Your software should help you do two things:

      1. Manage the recording (your microphone will capture the sound)
      2. Edit your podcast
 

Of course, if you’re using another method to record (such as a digital recorder), you won’t need the computer of laptop for the recording. You can import what you’ve recorded afterwards into the machine.

Once your recording is done, editing your podcast is key to making it sound great and as a podcast should sound. You’re unlikely to record perfectly without the need to edit; be that to change the structure, to cut out any mistakes or to add music.

We recommend editing your podcast on a computer or a laptop, rather than on a mobile device, as it gives you more control over what you are doing. There’s plenty of fantastic free software available to help you edit, such as Audacity and Garage Band, even if you’re a beginner. Although be aware that your computer or laptop needs to be powerful enough to run the software.

The most important thing you need to do when editing your audio file is to make sure the audio is clear for the audience to understand. If they don’t understand what is being said, you’ve missing the most important element of your podcast.

Recommended podcast recording and editing software:

If you’re a beginner, Audacity is the perfect starting point for you. Even if you’re not a beginner, it’s still great.

Not only is it free, it’s actually pretty good and does everything that you need as a podcaster.

It’s also available on Windows and Mac.

 

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10. Great Content

Starting a podcast 10

The final essential thing you need before starting a podcast, is great content.

Sometimes, it may be less about the equipment, and more about the value of your content. You can buy the most elaborate, professional tools on the market and build yourself a big studio. But, without putting great thought into your content and creating great content, you will find it hard to truly succeed.

We’ve created a step by step Complete Guide: How to Create a Podcast which covers the initial thought process when deciding on your topic.

Complete Guide: How to Create a Podcast

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