Have you read Rule 1 in podcasting yet? If not, do that first.
The first two rules are like two sides of the same coin. Rules 3 and 4 are like that, too.
Rule 3 in podcasting is “Start with what you know. Learn as you go.”
Rule 4 in podcasting is
Start with what you have. Upgrade as you go.
I believe the most asked technical question in podcasting is “What kind of microphone do I need?”
Related questions are
- Do I need a mixer?
- How do I record someone in another city?
- What software do I need to record and edit?
- How do I record on the go?
Those are good questions, but the reason I’m bringing up Rule 4 is to strongly urge you not to let the technical slow you down. Many potential podcasters have remained “potential” because they could not decide what equipment to buy, or because they couldn’t afford the equipment they thought they had to have.
Don’t be “potential.” Start with what you have. Upgrade as you go.
The problem of perfect podcasting tech
If you’re not careful, you’ll fall into the trap of obsessing over what you need, delaying the start of your podcast indefinitely.
Why is this a problem?
There are a lot of pieces to the podcasting puzzle, and you won’t discover all the pieces until after you start.
After you record a few episodes, you’ll start to notice technical difficulties in certain areas. As you do, make note of those things and begin asking people how to solve those problems. When equipment is needed, you’ll hear suggestions from fellow podcasters.
Technology vs. Technique
If you could spend money on either new equipment or a class on how to use equipment you already have, learn how to use the equipment.
Technique is more important than technology.
You could spend $300 on a microphone in hopes it would make you sound like a movie trailer voiceover. But if you don’t learn how to properly use that mic, you’ll sound worse than the podcaster who records into the built in mic on the laptop.
Technology can improve your sound if you know what you’re doing, but technique is always the best place to start.
- Learn about mic placement.
- Learn how close you need to be to a microphone.
- Learn about reverb and how to reduce it in the place you record.
Techniques like these will save you cash and get you podcasting sooner.
Basic podcasting setup
I wish I could simply recommend a beginner-podcaster kit, but “it depends” kicks in, making the one-size-fits-all setup nearly impossible to create.
For example, if you have an iPhone, you have all you need.
You can use the built-in mic and an audio recorder that’s already on the phone.
You could even get the free Auphonic app. Not only will it record, but it can also automatically upload to the Auphonic web site where it’ll level the too-soft and too-loud parts as well as set the appropriate overall loudness you need to be heard clearly.
However, if you need to record two people in the same place, you’ll need a different setup. Or if you plan to record two people in different cities, you’ll need something like Skype or Zoom.
Maybe the best way to think through what you need is to look at the following list. Again, start with what you have. You can always upgrade later.
- You need to record your voice, so you need some kind of microphone and some kind of recording device.
- You need something that will let you convert that recording into an mp3.
- You need a place to upload that mp3.
- You need to find a way to generate an RSS feed. (Podcast listening apps use that RSS feed to download or stream your words to your listeners’ ears).
Start with what you have.
Focus more on technique instead of worrying about the technology.
Record a few episodes to hear how you sound, making notes about what equipment you need.
Then upgrade as you go.
If you want to ask someone specific questions about what equipment you have and how to use it, ask me. Just click contact and send me your questions, confusions, and ideas.
My Rules for Podcasting