Updated: Nov 15
You've probably asked yourself, what equipment do I need to start a podcast?
And it's easier than you think!
There are many recording studios and producers out there who don't want to let you in on this secret. 🤫
But we're here to tell you that recording professional-sounding quality audio is entirely possible at home.
And it doesn't have to cost you a year's salary either. In truth, building a remote recording studio is easy, cost-effective and saves you time and money, especially if you know where to go for the answers.
At Brave Moon Podcasts, we're on a mission to help every health and fitness professional build a podcast.
Podcasts help you:
Grow your audience
And put more money in your pocket!
First things first… you do not need a fancy microphone to be a professional podcaster.
Sure, you may be the envy of your friends with an expensive recording studio in your house, but you do not need it.
And why eat into your business profits when you don't have to? A professional-sounding quality is 100% achievable using cost-effective methods.
So let's start with the essential info to help you understand what you need.
At the very base level, you can record audio for a podcast using your smartphone and a recording app.
Your smartphone is the microphone
The recording app records your voice (the Voice Memos app for iPhones is a recording app you can use).
That's it. Really.
And many people do just that. In fact, Riverside has a complete article devoted to recording a podcast on your iPhone.
But is it the best-sounding audio?
Simply put, it's not.
A smartphone's microphone tends to pick up the excess background noise. Post-production editing services can help to fix some of these issues, but it's not our first choice.
Hot Tip: If you go this route of recording from your smartphone, ensure you are recording "lossless" audio for the best sound quality. For instance, in Voice Memos for iPhone, select Settings > Voice Memos > Audio Quality > Lossless.
But That Said…
For a professional-sounding podcast, we recommend you record with three essential items:
A USB microphone and its accessories
Wired headphones and
A recording device.
These three things can be very cost-effective and easy to obtain. We offer a complete shopping list in every budget in our Podcast Guide here.
Or you can splurge and build out a remote audio setup that will be the envy of your friends and fellow podcasters. We're here for both!
We should tell you now that professional recording studios mainly use XLR microphones.
This is because XLR microphones offer greater control over recording quality. We love XLR microphones as much as the next audio engineer.
But they're not necessary for your podcast.
In fact, they add a lot of cumbersome details you don't need for your setup.
Instead, we recommend using a USB microphone. There are a lot of high-quality microphones on the market right now that will make you sound great. And the best part is these connect directly to your recording device (like a computer).
There are even USB microphones that can connect directly to your mobile phone!
For Accessories, we highly recommend a shock mount, boom arm and pop filter. You don't have to add these things, but they are highly recommended for the following reasons.
1. Shock mount
Microphones are sensitive - on purpose! When the microphone picks up on a vibration, it will record it as a frequency in your audio.
Examples: Bumping into the desk, distant rumbling from a passing truck, or even opening a book near the microphone.
A shock mount helps eliminate these vibrations. It does this by securely mounting the microphone to a foundation and simultaneously allowing it to float independently using elastic. Shock mounts can range from as little as $10 to $200 plus. Get your shopping list in our Podcast Guide and shop today.
2. Boom arm
A microphone should be placed level with your mouth (about 3 inches is recommended). Your mouth shouldn't be above it.
This positioning can often be a problem for microphone stands placed on a desk. Plus, a microphone stand takes up space on your desk, while a boom arm takes up very little space.
It's up to you what you choose here, but as long as you find a comfortable way to have your microphone level to your mouth, you will be good. You should expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 plus for a quality boom arm. Check out this shopping list in our Podcast Guide!
3. Pop filter
A natural occurrence in human language is a plosive. It comes across in audio as a "pop" sound. For example, you're most likely to hear it when a "P" is pronounced.
It's natural, but you can avoid it using a pop filter (and ensuring you are 3-5 inches away from the microphone).
There are two pop filter types:
A screen that sits between you and the mic
A nylon mesh foam that fits over the mic.
Pop filters can be very inexpensive, ranging from $5 to $100.
Headphones are an essential element to your remote audio setup.
They help you with voice levels and also eliminate voice feedback with interviews.
But, most importantly, we recommend you choose wired headphones. We know Bluetooth wireless headphones are fabulous. But during a podcast, they can be finicky and cause audio delays.
Therefore, wired headphones are the way to go.
At this point, feel free to look through your old tech box and grab those wired headphones you got for free with your smartphone and then discarded years ago. These work well!
Any in-ear or over-the-ear headphones are great to use.
You can purchase high-quality wired headphones ranging from $15 up to $500 or more.
Fun fact: Did you know Joe Rogan uses the Sennheiser HD280 PRO Professional Studio Headphones? Pick up your own pair for under $100!
Choosing a recording device is easier than you think.
You probably already own a device that works for you!
A recording device records the audio into a .wav or .mp3 file that can then be edited and distributed.
Your personal computer is a great recording device.
Your smartphone or iPad can be the recording device, too.
The key is finding a device with a USB (or USB conversion) input so you can plug your microphone into it.
As long as you have an App to record to, you'll be able to record your audio.
Helpful Tip: Your personal computer is a great recording device, but it (more than likely) does not have a good microphone. Personal computer microphones tend to make your voice sound hollow and can pick up the excessive background noise. So when you record, set your outputs to pick up your external microphone, not your computer's microphone.
Additional Tip: Every recording device has a different set of inputs and connections. You might need a cord usb-c or usb depending on your recording device. You might also need a convertor, depending on how many connections you need.
There are infinite equipment setups to create the perfect sound for you. But to assist you, we've gathered our audio equipment recommendations, tiered by budget. It includes equipment and links to purchase, too!
We only endorse products and businesses we trust, and some of the links you find here are affiliates. Your support helps fund our free content on this podcast and our social platforms. Thank you!
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