The Ultimate

Podcasting

Resource List

Colin started The Podcast Host over 6 years ago now, and it’s evolved a fair bit over that time. There’s one thing that’s remained core throughout, though:

we aim to help as many people start podcasting as I can.

The biggest stumbling block, we’ve found, is equipment

This page is designed to bring together all of our equipment advice and keep it in one easy-to-find place. No matter what stage of podcasting you’re at, you can find the tools you need here.

This page is always kept up to date with our current recommendations for podcasting equipment, software, tools and more. If you’re just getting started, or you’re looking to expand your podcasting kit, you can find out what you need below.

Podcasting Microphones

Microphone 10What's it For?

Your mic is your best friend – it's the single most important part of your kit, and the only extra equipment you need when you first start out. Many great Podcasts start on just a headset microphone, then move up to more expensive ones as they grow.

Podcasting Setup #1

The simplest method is nothing more than a microphone and your computer. Plug in the mic, fire up a recording package (next section) and go. The only choice you have here is USB or 3.5mm plugs. If you have a decent sound card, go 3.5mm, and if not, go USB. If you're not sure, go USB!

Starting Out

Headset Microphone: Sennheiser PC8 Cheap as chips but decent audio quality – a great bit of kit to get you started. This is the mic I still use when I need to record quick and dirty via Skype or Hangouts. Check out my headset mic shootout here.

USB/XLR Microphone: ATR2100 or Samson Q2U. These are essentially the same mic inside – a little more expensive than a headset, but a noticable increase in audio quality. They both have USB and XLR outputs and so can grow with you when you get a mixer.

Improving

Good Quality USB Mic: The Blue Yeti This is still one of the most popular podcasting mics out there – good quality sound and the best option out there if you want ease of use and setup combined with recording quality.

Best Quality USB Mic: For a little more than the Yeti, you get the Rode Podcaster and even higher quality.

XLR Mic: The MXL 990 This is the mic I use on a day to day basis. Great value, excellent quality and a noticeable improvement on the USB mics above. It needs a mixer though, and good mic technique so it's not half as quick and easy.

Going Pro

Podcasting Gold Standard: The Heil PR40 Advocated by some of the biggest Podcasters in the world, this is a great microphone. Perhaps not quite worth all the hype, because there are other options out there, some of which might work better for your voice. For example, Shure SM7b is a legendary mic in the industry. This is one that discerning audiophiles hold in great esteem, and one of the best of breed.

For More Information

Have a look here for my full guide to the Best Podcasting Microphones and how to choose between USB, XLR, Dynamic, Condenser and all the other options.

Podcast Recording / Editing Software

What's it For?

Sometimes known as your Digital Audio Workstation or DAW, this is the software in which you can record and edit your podcast. It allows you to piece together different audio recordings, add in title and background music and remove any mistakes you made, or sections you don't want to include.

Podcasting Setup #1.5

Nearly any Podcasting setup needs editing software, if only to produce your final MP3 and add your meta tags. Some people record into their DAW directly, and then edit. Others record to a digital recorder, then edit those files in their DAW. The latter is more reliable, but the former works fine in the early days. Beware of software crashes though!

Starting Out

Audacity Audacity is a free piece of software which acts like it costs a tonne! It's amazing the power Audacity offers for the (no) money, including compression, EQ and all the FX you need.

Improving

Adobe Audition Audition is a pro-level audio editing package and adds a bit more spit a polish to the appearance of Audacity. It makes many things a little easier, which is the main thing you pay for.

Going Pro

To be honest, the options to the left work just fine for pros too – stick with them!

For More Information

I have a big range of Audacity tutorials right here on YouTube. If you choose to go that route like I do, then check them out!

Digital Recorders for Podcasting

What's it For?

Episode 2 - The Power of Narrative Flow for your podcastDigital recorders are second only to microphones in terms of usefulness and value added. They give you flexibility in where you record – the street, events, meetings, etc. They also add reliability as you can record direct to them and not risk software crashes.

Podcasting Setup #2

The most reliable way to record a Podcast is to plug a microphone directly into a digital recorder, and hit record. Recorders are far less likely to crash, and less moving parts means a cleaner audio chain. Or, record to PC & recorder for backup. USB mics wont plug into these, though, so watch out.

Starting Out

The Zoom H1N This is a great little recorder for the money. The internal mics are fine for outside recording, and you can plug in a 3.5mm microphone cable for an external microphone should you want to improve it.

Improving

Roland R05 This is an excellent digital recorder with great internal microphones and a lot more control than the lower end models, like the H1N. You can plug in a 3.5mm external mic for recording externall or from a mixer. For an alternative with an excellent internal microphone, look at the Zoom H2n. This can be used as a USB microphone so it can serve double duty as your main Podcasting mic too!

Going Pro

The Zoom H6 A true pro-level recorder – the H6 has a wealth of recording options, can record 6 separate channels and takes XLR inputs – this means better quality mics and better quality input. For a lower budget, but just as good quality, go for the Zoom H5. That's what we use more than anything else at The Podcast Host. It has a few less features than the H6, but is more than enough recorder for 99% of people.

For More Information

Have a look here for my guide to digital recorders. There are a big range out there, and I'm a huge fan of the Zoom devices. The H2n is a very good alternative to the Roland above – I just thought I'd include another brand so I didn't appear such a Zoom fan-boy!

Podcast Hosting

What's it For?

You need somewhere to host your Podcasting files – that is, to make them available so that the public can download them. Podcast Hosting takes care of this, and it generates the RSS feed you need to allow subscriptions and to be listed in iTunes and the other directories. I provide top quality, tailored podcast hosting through The Podcast Host so I'll talk you through the options below.

For More Information

We’ve written a full comparison of Libsyn vs Blubrry which you can read on the blog.

Starting Out

With hosting, it’s worth starting out as you mean to go on. After all, it’s quite difficult to shift away from a bad quality host. Avoid the free Podcast Hosting options, they’ll just drag your show down and stifle your growth.

Improving

The two hosts that we recommend are BluBrry and Libsyn. There’s not much to split them, so it’s main down to the following choices:

Do you want to house your podcast on your own website?

If yes, then Blubrry is the best option, thanks to it’s amazing Powerpress plugin for WordPress.

Do you want to place your podcast on the media hosts’ website?

If yes, the Libsyn is the best option. They offer you your own website under their domain.

Going Pro

Both BluBrry and Libsyn offer great stats. Lisbyn charge a little extra for their stats, while Blubrry include them within any hosting package.

Podcasting Mixers

What's it For?

Mixers add a whole lot of complexity to your podcasting setup, and they're most certainly not a necessity for a professional sounding show. But, they do bring with them quite a few benefits. The main ones for me are: 1. Workflow – you can start to record live, saving a whole lot of post-production time. 2. Mix-Minus – you can include co-hosts at a distance and have them hear music, sound FX and calls from your end.

Podcasting Setup #3

I'll give my own regular setup as an example of how a mixer can be brought into your audio chain. I like to keep things as simple as possible in my own studio, so I'm using the following: MXL990 Microphone on a Neewer boom arm for my vocals, iPad for music and IDs, Skype for co-host, all into a Behringer Eurorack Mixer for mixing. The mixer goes out into the PC to return audio to Skype via Mix-minus, and it also goes out into a Zoom H4n for final recording. I monitor my recording with DT770 Pro cans straight from the recorder. This lets me record every show live and cut down on the time it takes to get a recording out onto the interwebs.

Starting Out

I'll qualify this by saying that, to be honest, I'd recommend jumping in at the ‘Improving' level if you at all can. The increase in quality and features is huge, and the mixer will last you much longer. But… if you have to get in at the lowest possible cost, the Behringer Xenyx 1202 is the cheapest Mixer than offers mix-minus and still cuts any mustard at all. You'll have to put up with a not-very-great build quality, and the noise floor isn't great, but it could be used to run the Podcasting Setup I describe above.

Improving

The minimum level I'd normally recommend jumping in is the Yamaha MG10. This is a great little mixer, plenty of channels, lots of options and gives you decent volume control even with knobs. This is what we use on a day to day basis in The Podcast Host office. Quick, easy and powerful.

Going Pro

While Behringer allow many people to enter the world of mixers, Mackie are just a cut above. If you want a mixer with excellent audio quality, comprehensive features and build standards that will last you a lifetime, just look at their range. The Mackie ProFX8 is a brilliant mixer, and it's bigger brothers just get better and better, the more you spend.

For More Information

Have a look here for my guide to mixers for podcasting. There are a lot of things to think about when buying a mixer, and, actually, I don't think they're for everyone. Certainly don't rush into buying one – they remove a lot of the spontaneity of recording and take a fair bit of time to learn, so they're not an easy option.

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19 Comments

  1. Audition is now a CC product at $20 US/mo. This seems crazy expensive to me.

    Reply
    • Yea, the ongoing expense is a bit hard to bear isn’t it, but it is a really effective tool. To be honest, most people will do just fine with Audacity, though, which is entirely free!

      Reply
      • And while the subscription is annoying, it also means you get the latest version of the software as soon as its out. No need to rebuy every year, so there could actually be some significant savings

        Reply
  2. What about REAPER at $225 for a perpetual license or $60 for a discounted license (personal or commercial making less than $20k/yr.)?
    Is that the answer for the small indy podcaster?

    Reply
    • I’ve actually been hearing more and more about Reaper in the past few months. Still haven’t used it but the hype around it makes me think it’s an emerging contender! Have you experience with using it?

      Reply
    • This comment is a little old (2014) but Reaper is very rapidly becoming popular for all manner of editing and sequencing. It has a definite pro-quality, IMO, is relatively intuitive to learn and would be, IMO, a much better alternative to Audacity. Also, Reaper is not a file-chopping disk hog like Audacity — it’s non-destructive to original recordings, and it stores all it’s editing information in a TINY XML TEXT project file …… While, as noted, Reaper Commercial licensing is a ONE-TIME FEE of a little over $200, the Personal/Non-Profit licensing is only a ONE-TIME FEE of $60. Further, the trial version of Reaper never cripples itself or stops working! You must only endure a 5-second count-down nag screen each time you begin a fresh Reaper session ….. In sum, if you are just starting out as a podcaster, I strongly recommend that you skip Audacity and go straight to Reaper as so many are beginning to do.

      Reply
  3. Hi Colin,

    I was wondering what you would recommend as a good mic/headset for guests to use? It strikes me that the quality of their audio is also important to a good show.

    Cheers,

    Sean

    Reply
    • That’s absolutely right Sean – no point sounding great yourself if the guest sounds horrible 🙂

      A good cheap headset is the Microsoft Lifechat 3000, so that’s one that you can recommend if money is an issue. Or, you could point them at my Headset shootout here: https://www.thepodcasthost.com/blog/headset-microphones-for-podcasting/

      That lists a range of headsets and my thoughts on them, plus prices. Hopefully that helps!

      Colin

      Reply
  4. Hi Colin,

    We’re putting together an ongoing interview podcast series. I will interview a different guest each week — they will be located all over the country. Your book was very helpful in planning our set-up at the interviewER end …. but what about the interviewEE? We don’t want to ask guests to buy equipment just for the pleasure of one interview … 🙂 … and shipping equipment around the country sounds like a headache, at best. Is there a simple solution?

    MAT

    Reply
    • Actually that’s just what some people do Mat, but I realise it’s not really affordable for most people! If you can’t talk someone into buying a decent headset microphone, such as the Sennheiser PC8, then the best and easiest way is to ask them to install the Skype app and use their phone to do the call. It’s actually a really good quality way of doing it with anyone that has a smartphone. Ask them to speak into the smartphone in th same way they would any other call and you’ll get really quite decent quality for no extra outlay on podcasting microphones. Thanks,
      Colin

      Reply
  5. Can I host a Podcast on my Squarespace site using RSS feed?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • You can Jenna, but you’ll want your RSS feed to be from a media host like Blubrry https://www.thepodcasthost.com/blubrry and not actually be uploading audio files directly to your website. This can cause a lot of issues once you start picking up a few downloads.

      Reply
  6. Thanks for creating this super helpful page! I have a Mackie ProFX8 that I got for recording music. I was going to get another mixer that someone else recommended, but reading your page convinced me that I should keep the one I have. The rest of the resources here are great too.

    Reply
    • Thanks Bo, glad you’re finding everything useful!

      Reply
  7. Don’t forget about Podcast Intros and Outros produced by a Professional voice. They set the stage for what you’re doing and tell people where to find your resources, website, blog and to comment. There are many affordable options through Fiverr , including mine (Shameless plug) http://tinyurl.com/hz84pxj

    Reply
  8. What’s the best way to spread the word about a podcast once you’ve got it all good to go? Me and a group of friends are starting a fiction podcast soon and are trying to figure out the best ways to utilize social media. My big fear is that it could be the best podcast in the world, but it wouldn’t matter if no one ever listens.

    Reply
  9. Would the internal mics in a recorder like the zoon H2N suffice for face to face interviews? If not, should I buy a mic to use and plug it into the H2N? I don;t want to use lapel mics as i’ve found people moving too much creates lots of noise on them. Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Alana. The internal mics in the H2 are great, and you can certainly use the recorder for decent sounding face to face interviews. Mic technique comes in to play here though as you or your guest can end up at different distances and volumes. Despite your concerns about lav mics they may be your best option as an external mic solution – coaching your interviewee on not moving around too much will be easier than trying to keep them on mic with a recorder sitting on the table in front of them. Because the H2 has a 3.5mm port for its mic input, 2 lav mics into a splitter would get you up and running. There’s also the option of screwing in the mic-handle attachment you get with the H2 and using it as a handheld, but that has its own challenges (mic distances, handling noise).

      Reply

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