You don’t need a professional studio to record a successful podcast. Learn how you can record professional-quality podcast audio at your home or office.
You’ve figured out what you want to accomplish with your podcast. You’ve chosen to distribute your show with POST. But just how do you actually record a podcast? You’re likely asking yourself questions like “what do I use for a microphone?” “Should I record it on my computer or phone?” “How much money will I need to spend to get started?” Relax! Let me demystify the process of setting up a home/office studio, trust me, it’s less daunting than you think.
In theory, you could use the microphone that’s built into your computer, or even a small portable recorder, along with a basic audio editing program to create an audio podcast, but should you? The short answer is no. It’s not what’s considered a best practice when setting up a podcast studio. However, with a relatively inexpensive microphone and a decent piece of recording/editing software (some even free), you can have your podcast suite setup and ready to go in minutes, no engineering degree required!
Part One – Recording a single voice podcast (no guest mics):
Let’s start with the microphone. A basic recording setup can be as simple as purchasing a decent quality USB microphone that plugs directly into your PC or Mac and requires no special audio interface or mixer. Your choices will range from headset mics targeted at gaming or VOIP, to broadcast-quality mics designed specifically for podcasting. For the best quality, I’d opt for the latter. You’ll also want the ability to plug in a set of headphones to monitor your recording. With that in mind, you may want to consider Blue Microphones Yeti or The Rode Podcaster. If you want to kick it up a notch, try Blue Microphones Yeti Pro XLR and USB Condenser Microphone. There are many other options on the market today. Keep in mind that room acoustics and your own voice will determine what the best microphone is for you, however both the Yeti and the Rode Podcaster are great options that work well in many acoustical settings and with a wide range of voices.
So now you’ve picked out your USB microphone, what’s next? The recording software. The choices range from free to expensive. In some cases, the open source Audacity program is all you need (https://www.audacityteam.org/). Audacity is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. Best of all, it’s free to use! Another option I find that’s quite often overlooked is Garageband from Apple. If you own a Mac, any Mac, you have Garageband. While it is designed for making music, recording a voice track for podcasting is super simple! Plus the fact it is a multi-track editor, adding music and other sound clips to your podcast is really easy. Here are some other commonly used pieces of recording software on the market today:
- Adobe Audition: https://www.adobe.com/products/audition.html
- Hindenburg Journalist & Pro: https://hindenburg.com/products
- ProTools: https://www.avid.com/pro-tools
If you already subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Audition might be a great add-on for you. Hindenburg is packed with many features to help you easily polish the sound of your podcast such as automatic level (volume) setting. If you prefer a more advanced solution, Avid’s ProTools is considered by many as the Cadillac of recording/production software.
Coming up in Part Two, we’ll explore setting up a studio to accommodate multiple/virtual guests. Happy podcasting!