Podcast Software and Hardware to make a Killer Audio Podcast

Podcast softwareAre 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.

 

 

 

John Lee Dumas

 

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!

Podcasting hardware

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.

 

HeilPR40

 

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:

Low end

Logitech ClearChat USB Headset,$26.00

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.

High end

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.

 

Mixer

 

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:

Podcasting software

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.

With the help of programs like eCamm Call Recorder (for MAC) and Pamela (for PC), you can easily record both voice and video, and then upload the recording to your software program of choice.

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:

HowToStartGHOA

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.

Alright, now that you have an idea of the software required to start recording, editing and uploading your podcast, let’s talk about those goodies!

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?

  • http://msileanespeaks.com/ Ileane

    Great to see you here doing a guest post John. I watched you on the Podcasters Roundtable HOA with Ray Ortega this weekend and it was a really amazing episode. Of course I laughed when you switched from the Yeti to the Heil. Fun stuff. Thanks for being so transparent and all the great things you do for the craft of podcasting.

    Thanks for hosting John today Ian! Great article.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Illeane!

      • http://DrewHelps.us/ Drew McGregor

        Hi Ian! Thanks for connecting with John and sharing great content. Looking forward to San Diego.

        • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ Entrepreneur On Fire

          For sure Drew! Glad you enjoyed!

    • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ Entrepreneur On Fire

      Thanks for being awesome IIeane! You rock!

      • http://DrewHelps.us/ Drew McGregor

        Two guys I admire and look up to in one place. BTW John! 1 podcast everyday just seems brutal. Its appreciated. Thank you!

        • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

          Thank you Drew, looking forward to meeting you!

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ Entrepreneur On Fire

    Ian,

    Thank you for the incredible opportunity of guest posting. I love what you have created here and am honored to be a part!

    ~ John Lee Dumas

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      It’s my honor to have you. Thanks for a great post. I love what you are doing with http://www.entrepreneuronfire.com and I was delighted to be on your show. Ian

  • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

    Great stuff, John! I’m taking the “middle of the road” approach with my Yeti right now, but I’ve been thinking of upgrading for a few months now. Only issue is that it sounds like the HeilPR-40 is best for people who are going to do their own editing. I currently record via Screenflow (which splits the audio files) and send to someone for editing. Would it be a waste of a mixer if I’m not editing my shows?

    Any thoughts? Thanks, my man! You’re doing some awesome things.

    • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ Entrepreneur On Fire

      I am pretty sure they have a usb adapter for the Heil now…I think that is the road I would take!

      ~ John Lee Dumas

  • Manu

    Useful post, thanks, John. Thanks to you too, Ian.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Manu.

    • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ Entrepreneur On Fire

      Glad you like Manu!

      ~ John Lee Dumas

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    Good tips @JohnLeeDumas:disqus. Already using many of these tools (minus the Mixer). At what point did you switch to the Heil-PR 40 (or did you start off with that one)?

    Been using the Blue Yeti for a few years now.

  • http://www.heartsongfit.com/ Vickie Maris

    I’m launching a podcast in the near future and appreciated finding this article pinned in Pinterest. Very helpful info. Was glad to read about the options for portable podcasting as well as the use of Skype rather than cell phone recording. I plan to do most of my interviews in studio, but feeling better about the portable options now! Thanks for the info. Excellent.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi Vickie, glad you like it. If you’re launching a podcast you should consider John’s course – podcasters paradise. I’ve hear nothing but great reviews – http://www.razorsocial.com/go/podcasters-paradise.

  • mlkma1

    I have a weekly radio show that’s recorded before it airs. I would like to buy the equipment and record from my office vs having to drive to the studio. I interview people on a regularly via the phone. I’m interested in creating a larger audience and want to podcast too. Is this something your membership can assist me in achieving? Thank you.

  • Jose Mario Lagos

    Hello, nice tips, one thing that I want to do is to create a Live podcast (just audio) that anyone with an android or iphone can access as easily as posible, do you have any advice to me, by the way in using OS X mostly.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi Jose, the tools mentioned by John above will work for you!

  • http://www.calebminson.com Caleb Lee Minson

    You mentioned Skype is the best internet phone program to use when doing call in interviews. Is Google Talk good as well?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi Caleb, I’ve never used Google Talk and everyone uses skype so I’d stick with that. Ian