Podcasts are awesome. Whether you’re listening to several hours of the Joe Rogan Experience, deciphering true crime stories on Crime Junkies, or eavesdropping conversations with Overheard at National Geographic. Podcasting enables entertainment, education and engagement on so many levels. Podcasts cover almost every subject imaginable, and the best part is, just about anyone can get involved.
Podcasting doesn’t require any credentials or certificates to get started. All you need is a microphone, and you’re ready to voice your opinion and thoughts on whatever you please. But before you hit record, you may want to consider the quality of your podcast equipment. Why?
Prospective listeners will be turned off by poorly recorded audio. If your audience can’t understand you, or the audio is distorted, no one will want to listen, no matter how interesting you are. So before you launch into your inaugural podcast, take stock of your podcast setup because it’s probably missing a few essential components. Follow along as we detail the three pieces of equipment needed to start a podcast.
1. A high-quality microphone
Recording high-quality audio is non-negotiable for a podcast. As a listener, it can be frustrating to hear distorted or muffled audio, especially when it becomes impossible to hear or understand what is being said. If you’re serious about podcasting, you’re going to have to upgrade to a dedicated podcast microphone.
The type of microphone you can purchase will depend on the device you use to record your podcast. If your primary recording device is your computer, a USB microphone is your best option. All-In-One microphones like the Rode NT-USB Microphone come bundled with essential accessories such as a mini-tripod and a pop filter to eliminate plosive (popping) sounds during speech.
If you’re a fan of vlogging, take your podcast on the go and capture high-quality audio directly to your camera with the Rode Videomic Pro+. Using a smartphone? You’ll need to find a compatible podcast microphone for your mobile device, i.e. iPhone or Android.
Ted’s top podcast tip: The best companion for a high-quality podcast mic is a good pair of headphones. If you’re serious about podcasting, constantly monitoring your audio is vital to avoiding recording issues.
2. A suitable camera
Although podcasts are focused primarily on audio, many popular podcasters also record video, presenting their podcast visually to a broader audience via Facebook, YouTube and even Spotify. While not everyone can afford their own production studio, we definitely recommend upgrading beyond budget-friendly webcams.
Mirrorless cameras are fast becoming the best camera for podcast recording thanks to their image quality, functionality and versatility. They’ve gotten so good, they’re beating out more traditional DSLR cameras. Boasting a typically smaller form factor, mirrorless cameras make it easier to take your podcast on the go.
To capture good quality video for your podcast, your camera should meet the following specifications:
- High-quality video recording – Full HD minimum (4K is a bonus)
- Tilting LCD screen – This will help you frame your podcast while in front of the lens.
- Clean HDMI Output – Records a live feed of your camera’s sensor, without icons, settings and other info.
- Wi-Fi connectivity – Provides upload flexibility, remote control of the camera and live streaming possibilities.
- Microphone Input(s) – To attach an external microphone
3. A reliable tripod
A reliable tripod is an essential piece of equipment for podcasters and other creators alike. Recording video without a tripod is like driving without tires – it’s going to be a bumpy ride. With the right tripod, you’ll have far more control over framing for stable composition. There are various tripods available, so be sure to find the right option for your recording device.
A Gorillapod tripod might be suitable for your smartphone or compact camera, but for something heavier like a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, you’ll need something more substantial. Manfrotto is a great place to start for tripods. However, if affordability is necessary, the Inca Tripod is a solid choice.
With these 3 essentials, your podcast setup is now complete. You’re ready to hit record and connect to your audience in a brand new way. Happy podcasting!