Podcasting is the process of making a series of audio or video files available for download or to be streamed over the web. Podcasting is a relatively new media outlet yet a viable outlet for anyone looking to have a voice in today’s popular culture. Here we will outline the gear you need to produce a basic podcast.
Like any audio production it all starts with the microphone. A popular choice for many podcasters, because of the simplicity and ease of use, is a USB microphone. We have many USB microphones designed for podcasting and similar spoken word applications such as the popular Samson C01U or the Samson METEOR MIC. USB microphones are convenient for podcasting as they have the necessary analog to digital converter components built in so no other interface is necessary. Conventional microphones can certainly be used for podcast but will require an audio interface for the digital conversion such as the Zoom R16 or the Presonus FireStudio Mobile.
Something very important to consider when selecting your equipment for your podcast is how many people your podcast will feature. This is important because not only will each person on the podcast need their own microphone, but when dealing with multiple microphones and other audio signals, you will need a mixer to route and mix all of your audio signals down to a usable 2-track stereo mix. There are many mixers on the market today and selecting the right one may seem a bit overwhelming. It is important to keep in mind your mixer selection is based off of the number of channels you’ll need for each microphone in your production. It is also recommended to select a mixer that also functions as an interface for recording your podcast such as the Alesis Multi Mix 8 USB FX which offers four mic preamps and sums a two track mix down to a digital interface via USB directly to your computer.
You and the talent you feature will also need headphones and a headphone mix commonly referred to as “Foldback” in the broadcasting world. This is accomplished by using a headphone amplifier with multiple outputs like the Presonus HP60 which will supply headphone mixes for up to six people with individual volume control.
The most common way of recording podcasts is with a laptop computer and a stable recording software program. There are many freeware recording programs available of for both Mac and PC. There are some cases where a portable recorder is used remotely to produce a podcast. The Nerdist Podcast features comedian Chris Hardwick who sometimes remotely records his podcast while on the road using a Zoom H4n then uploads via USB at a later time.