Podcast Software and Hardware to make a Killer Audio Podcast
Are you considering setting up an Audio Podcast?
Curious about the Podcast software you need to get up and running?
It’s an area that is growing and will continue to grow rapidly. My friend, John Lee Dumas has built up an amazingly successful Entrepreneurship podcast in a relatively short time and in this article he shares with us what software/hardware you need to get a podcast up and running.
Over to you John.
One of the many benefits of podcasting is that you can get started without breaking the bank.
There are, of course, a few necessities, but some – if not all – are typically hardware or software that come already built-in to your laptop or desktop computer. If you’re just starting out, then these options will definitely get you headed down the right path.
However, I do want to provide you with a few different options, including a low cost, a mid-cost and the higher-end so that you know what to keep your eye out for as you progress as a podcaster.
Don’t worry: whether you’re a PC person or a MAC lover, you’re in luck. Both systems run smoothly with the options I’m going to talk about in this post.
Let’s take a look at the hardware and software required to record, edit and publish a podcast, and then also review some of the other options if you’re in a position to make an investment upfront.
Later in this post, I’ll also talk about other recommendations for podcasters that’ll cost you, but that will enhance the quality and start to give your audience a real idea of your brand is all about.
Let’s get to it!
What’s a podcast without sound? The only piece of required hardware to start a podcast is, of course, a microphone.
Whatever laptop or desktop you’re working from most likely has a built-in microphone, whether you know it or not. While using your built-in microphone is very cost effective and definitely do-able, it’s really not the best option.
Why? Because your audio quality will suffer.
Audio quality is a very important component of a podcast for obvious reasons. The medium you’re using to produce content is audible, and if the quality of your audio isn’t that great, then your audience will recognize that and it could mean the difference between someone listening and someone not listening.
When you’re just starting out – especially if you’re just trying to get a feel for recording an episode and doing some practice runs – using your built-in microphone is definitely okay.
Moving forward, I would recommend this piece of the puzzle be your first investment, as it is your sound that makes your podcast.
Here are the options available to you that I have used and would personally recommend:
The Logitech headset plugs directly into a USB port on your computer and provides a decent quality, hands-free microphone for you to record your audio.
Middle of the road
Blue Yeti USB Microphone, 89.99
The Blue Yeti is a big step up from the Logitch. This also plugs directly into a USB port on your computer, but unlike the headset, it is a free-standing microphone that is compact and easy to travel with. It’s quite a bit more money, but worth the cost once you feel you’re ready for it.
HeilPR-‐40 (XLR connection,not USB),$295.00
Thisis the microphone thatIuse to record interviews for EntrepreneurOnFire,andyou really can’t beat the audio quality that this microphone provides.
A major difference between this microphone and the other options I’ve mentioned thus far is that the HeilPR-40 does not plug into your computers USB port, rather it uses an XLR connection. This means you will need to purchase a mixer to plug the microphone into should you decide to go this route.
I’ll dive into the optional goodies for podcasters, like mixers, in just a minute; first, let’s take a look at the software required to start a podcast:
The one and only piece of software that is required to start a podcast is recording software.
Recording software is the program that allows your voice to actually be recorded, then edited and finally converted into an MP3 file that can be uploaded to your media host.
If you’ll be doing an interview-based podcast, then you’ll also need to use calling software, and I highly recommend using Skype for this. Skype can be downloaded and installed on a MAC or a PC and is a great way to connect with your guests.
Every one of my interviews is conducted via Skype because it is far better and much clearer to record VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) versus trying to do an interview with someone who is on a cell phone.
Recording via Skype gives both you and your guest the option to be hardwired in (highly recommended) so you don’t have to worry about connection issues like you would on a cell phone. The reception is simply better, resulting in better audio quality.
Even if your guest is only using their built-in microphone on their computer, this is a far better option than the quality you would get from a cell phone recording.
Another option for recording if you’ll be doing video interviews is Google+ Hangouts on Air (G+ HOA).
G+ HOA not only records your video chat, it also automatically streams it to your YouTube channel live – a great way to be on several platforms without a ton of work. This would also give you the option to embed the video interview on your website for people to watch live, or as a replay.
I put together a step-by-step guide of how to set up and record your live, G+ HOA, and it’s linked at the end of this post. Here’s a quick look:
If you will not be doing an interview-based podcast, then you can skip Skype, and just record directly into your software program. Here are the no-cost options available:
No cost for both MAC and PC users:
Audacity is a great, no-cost option to record and edit your podcast. It doesn’t give you anywhere near the same capabilities as Adobe Audition, but it definitely gets the job done.
No cost for MAC users:
GarageBand: For a free piece of software, GarageBand is a great option. Again, I prefer Audition over GarageBand, but if you’re not looking to spend money on a program just yet, then GarageBand will definitely get the job done.
Cost option for both MAC and PC users:
Adobe Audition. I use the Adobe Audition Cloud software, which I can record directly into while using Skype as my “calling system” and my PreSonus Firetudio mixer. I’ll talk more about mixers in just a bit, though.
The Adobe Audition Cloud software can be purchased for a low monthly cost of $19.99 on its own, or, if you use other Adobe products you can purchase the Adobe Cloud Package for $49.99/month.
Other recommended goodies for podcasters
Something that I don’t know if I could live without is my mixer.
What exactly is a mixer, and what does it do?
Great question. It’s an electronic device for combining and changing the level, timbre and dynamics of different types of audio signals. If you end up purchasing the same microphone that I have, which is the Heil PR-40, then the XLR connection will require a mixer.
Again, the mixer is definitely not a necessity, but it does allow you to do some pretty cool stuff with your voice levels, and it has definitely saved the day on a couple of occasions when my guest’s sound wasn’t all that great.
I use the PresonusFirestudioProject, which will run you $399.95. It’s not a cheap purchase, but it will drastically improve the quality of your audio and the ease with which you’re able to edit your podcast.
If you do not plan on doing any of the editing, or you’re not too concerned with being able to record on two separate tracks, then this is probably $400 you could spend on something else. Here’s why I can’t live without it:
As previously discussed, the mixer is also what allows me to record directly into Adobe Audition on two separate tracks (one track is my voice, the other track is my guest’s voice). Among a lot of other benefits, recording on two separate tracks makes editing a lot easier, including the ability to silence out background noise and also cut out entire parts of the audio clip if and when you and your guest talk over one another.
Well, there you have it! A quick look at all the podcast software and hardware required to start your own podcast. See, I told you there wasn’t much.
Now that you know how easy it is to get started, what will you podcast about?