Best Equipment For Video Podcasting – Quick Note: Some of the links on this blog may be affiliate links, which will pay us a small commission (at no extra cost to you).
One of the biggest questions I get from people looking to start a podcast is what equipment do I need to buy and how much does it cost?
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Well, that’s a couple of questions, but the more you research your podcasting tools, the more questions you might have. There are so many products marketed specifically for podcasters that it can be difficult to decide which ones to buy and which ones are really good for podcasting. I haven’t used every tool in the world, but I’ve used and tested many tools over the years (some good…some bad, some downright ugly!) I’ll help you decide. Find out what you need to buy to write and publish quality podcasts.
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First, let’s start by asking some general questions you should consider before purchasing podcast equipment.
Am I on a budget or is money not that important? I’m here to help you get the most bang for your buck without sacrificing too much sound quality.
Do I have to be somewhere or do I need to have a mobile phone? Will I be recording elsewhere/on the go (outdoors, public places, noisy environments, etc.)?
Will I be recording in a space that has been treated in some way or will it be in a room with lots of reflections like bare walls and wooden floors?
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Do I want my accent to look good and sound? If you’re a video podcaster, read our podcasting video resources.
It’s 2022 so I shouldn’t say this, but make sure you get a computer or smartphone that actually works.
In fact, podcasts are streamed over the Internet, so you need at least a computer with an Internet connection to stream your episodes.
We won’t go into all the types of computers you can buy, as this is a personal decision, but we recommend that you get a computer with enough hard space so that you have plenty of room for your recordings. If you plan to write directly to your computer.
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Aside from having a working computer, the most important piece of equipment you will need to purchase is a microphone.
Depending on whether you get a USB microphone or a microphone with an XLR connection (more on that later), you’ll need a cable to send the signal to your computer or carrier.
Always have a spare cable in case it stops working. To be safe, it is recommended to have twice as much cable as you need in writing.
If you plan to record with a USB microphone attached to your computer, you don’t need any kind of digital audio recorder.
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However, if you plan to buy a microphone with an XLR connection, you will need an audio recorder with an XLR input and a dedicated preamp/converter.
If you’re using a USB microphone or plan to edit your own, you’ll need to have some kind of recording software installed on your computer.
At Resonate Recordings, we use Pro Tools, which costs a little more, but is our favorite software for recording, editing and mixing.
To monitor what you’re recording, you need closed-back headphones so you can hear the microphone even if it’s pointed in the right direction. (Trust me…it happens more often than you think)
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Make sure that your earplugs fit completely in your ears to prevent bleeding from your ears.
This will help reduce the vibrations sent to your microphone, so you don’t have to hold your hand over the microphone.
For best results, you’ll want an insulated slide attached to a floor stand or table.
It helps reduce the amount of air sent to the microphone diaphragm so you don’t get a low, loud p-popping sound.
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You need a quiet place away from outside noise like busy roads, people talking in the next room, loud HVAC systems, and loud computer fans.
You can spend thousands of dollars on professional equipment and end up with terrible sound because you didn’t record in a good sound environment.
Gain boosters provide more microphone gain and often a cleaner signal. It brings out the best in all dynamic mics.
The files on your computer can become a messy patch of angel hair, so it’s a good idea to have an external hard drive for your podcasts.
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We love using Glyph Atom solid state drives because they are small, reliable, fast and quiet. Make sure you have a data cable to connect to the computer
The last thing you want is to lose all your data, so backups are important. I had a professor in college who would take all the CDs from our recording project for a month and put them in the microwave as soon as the assignment was given. It was very good, but some students were afraid (fortunately, I supported the project). They then gave us 24 hours to resubmit our project, so the students who didn’t support their work… Lesson learned. Always have a backup.
Cloud storage is cheap these days and you can never have enough, so buy more.
Also, if you plan to use a handheld recorder that writes to an SD card, it’s a good idea to get multiple SD cards in case one gets lost, damaged, or runs out of space.
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You can buy acoustic panels or acoustic blankets for bare walls to reduce reflections in your room.
Keep in mind that if your room is noisy (external noise or a loud sound system), acoustic panels will not fix it. This can help to reduce or diffuse the reverberating sound in your room.
If you want to make your space more inviting, you can use rugs, plants, sofas, and bookshelves to add volume to your room. This requires a lot of experimenting and moving things around the room, so be patient.
As mentioned earlier, your microphone is the most important piece of equipment you will ever buy. There are many types of microphones to choose from, but I will limit this list to a few that I think are suitable for podcasting.
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First, you need to consider the type of microphone and pole style you need. For most of the podcasts we produce, we recommend getting a dynamic cardioid microphone.
It is a directional microphone that picks up sound from the front of the microphone, with almost no sound from behind the microphone and little side noise. Great for recording in noisy environments, rooms without acoustic processing, and interview-style podcasts with people talking in the same room.
There are many condenser microphone options on the market because they capture sounds with more detail and don’t require as much gain as dynamic microphones. However, they are more sensitive and will pick up more noise in your room than dynamic microphones. I’m a solo podcaster and will only consider a condenser mic if I’m recording in a quiet, well-maintained environment.
That said, almost every microphone we recommend will be an active cardioid microphone. Also keep in mind that if you decide to get a condenser mic, you will need a 48-volt phantom power interface/recorder.
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USB microphones are great because they’re easy to use, easy to set up, and can record directly from a computer.
It is a great microphone for beginners because it requires minimal equipment, is cheap and easy to set up. However, when USB microphones are compared to XLR format microphones, the recording quality is often lacking.
This is because USB microphones require an ADC (Analog-to-Digital Converter) easily installed in the microphone, which is less reliable than an XLR microphone connected to a dedicated preamp / converter. As technology advances, converters for USB microphones improve, so it will be interesting to see how things change in the future. The main disadvantage of using a USB microphone is that you can only record with one microphone, which limits your ability to record to one person only.
Technically, you can write
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