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How to start a Podcast: Part Three

PART THREE; ‘Let’s Get Technical, technical’ (thank you Ms Newton-John)

 

Welcome back to part 3 of our series on how to launch your own podcast, where I break down everything you need to know in order to get started, whether creating a hobby podcast, or one that you want to help grow your business. In part one and part two of the series we talked about exactly why podcasting is awesome, how it could help your business, and all the things you need to think about and prepare before you begin. Give them a quick read if you’ve not done so already.

 

 

So here we are, at what people most likely consider the biggest hurdle. Any tech can be hard to get your head round - a new phone or TV is complicated enough - but any kind of ‘media creation’ can seem particularly baffling. Of course, the higher spec you go then the more confusing it gets, but the minimum tech required to record a podcast should put you immediately at ease - you can do it on Zoom. Just hit ‘record’ and go. You can export your audio at the end, instead of the video - it’s that simple!

 

However, using Zoom is our most basic option for a couple of reasons;

 

  1. The audio quality will be average as you’re just using your computer microphone
  2. If you have more than one person on your podcast, the audio will still come out as a single track which means you can’t edit it very easily. If someone coughs in the background while you’re talking, there’s no way of getting rid of it.

 

Below are the items you require in order to a) have professional sounding audio and b) give you a multi-track recording for much easier editing.

 

TOTAL COST CIRCA £250

 

Microphone

Most recording solutions will work with whatever microphone you have built into your computer. That is to say, whatever automatically clicks in when you’re having a zoom call. However, podcasts are all about audio, and so often listened to on headphones, so I thoroughly recommend investing in making that sound as nice as you can.

 

For my podcasts I use an AKG D5. It costs £99 and is well known for good sound, use for live as well as studio (in case you ever want to use it on stage!) and also for its sturdiness - they don’t break easily.

 

You certainly don’t have to spend that much on a microphone if you’re just testing the waters, for a cheaper alternative, consider the Audio Technica ATR4750-USB. You can also go way more expensive if you prefer, the Shure SM7B is an amazing microphone if you can justify the spend!

 

The great thing about buying a nice microphone is that you can also use it for all your online meetings, whether in Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet - they will all use your microphone once set up making you sound fantastic for all those client calls and team meetings.

Audio Interface

Unfortunately, good microphones daren’t USB, so you need something that will send your microphone signal into your computer so that you can record - this is a called an Audio Interface - basically a little box that you plug your microphone into (using an XLR cable) which then sends the sound back out down a USB cable and into your computer. I thoroughly recommend this fantastic, robust little box, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo.

 

Microphone stand

As you can see, the Audio Technica comes with it’s own stand, but most microphones won’t. Microphones are pretty standardised when it comes to home use - you’ve got 2x options;

 

1. clip stand; the kind of stand that you see singers using, but smaller, for your desk

 

1.5. desk mount clip stand; what I use so that my mic is always accessible

 

2. suspension mount; if you have a noisy house or are near a road then this will help keep those vibrations off the recording. Be very careful to find a suspension mount that fits your microphone, they’re not one-size-fits-all!

Pop shields

Pop shields are a cheap and simple way to hugely improve the quality of your sound. They stop any kind of wind noise (including your heavy breathing!), plus they will stop certain mouth noises that are rather unpleasant when amplified in a recording (these are called plosives and sibilants, have a Google if you want to learn more about the strange noises our mouths make!).

 

Recording

If you are recording on your own, or in the same room as your guests, then I recommend using Audacity. It’s a piece of free software for PC or MAC that has been around for a long time and is trusted by many musicians and podcasters. It’s simple to use but there are also endless amounts of tutorials on YouTube that you can follow to help you set up microphones then record and edit your voice.

 

If you can’t get into the same room as your guests, then you’ll need a service called Squadcast. It’s very similar to Zoom, but it records all the audio separately so that you can edit it properly afterwards.

 

 

Location

Finally today, we just need to find you a space to record in. There’s all kinds of urban myths and bad advice about recording in closets or about having to put egg cartons up on your wall, but these are not necessary for home-recording a podcast. Simply choose the most appropriate room bearing in mind that these things are your enemy;

 

  • Big rooms
  • Empty rooms
  • Uncarpeted floors
  • Rooms with noisy things in them! (fish tanks, washing machine, children)

 

 

 

Put simply, pick a small room with carpets and some furniture in it. Personally I record in a bedroom where the curtains, mattress and carpet suck up all the echo and give me a nice clean sound.


So there you have it - you’re now ready to get out there and record! Grab your equipment and get started! If you come unstuck with any of the tech, then feel free to get in touch and I will help you get sorted. Otherwise, check back soon for the next article which will be how to edit and publish your podcast. Let’s get you onto Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Podcasts and more!

How to start a Podcast: Part Three

PART THREE; ‘Let’s Get Technical, technical’ (thank you Ms Newton-John)

 

Welcome back to part 3 of our series on how to launch your own podcast, where I break down everything you need to know in order to get started, whether creating a hobby podcast, or one that you want to help grow your business. In part one and part two of the series we talked about exactly why podcasting is awesome, how it could help your business, and all the things you need to think about and prepare before you begin. Give them a quick read if you’ve not done so already.

 

 

So here we are, at what people most likely consider the biggest hurdle. Any tech can be hard to get your head round - a new phone or TV is complicated enough - but any kind of ‘media creation’ can seem particularly baffling. Of course, the higher spec you go then the more confusing it gets, but the minimum tech required to record a podcast should put you immediately at ease - you can do it on Zoom. Just hit ‘record’ and go. You can export your audio at the end, instead of the video - it’s that simple!

 

However, using Zoom is our most basic option for a couple of reasons;

 

  1. The audio quality will be average as you’re just using your computer microphone
  2. If you have more than one person on your podcast, the audio will still come out as a single track which means you can’t edit it very easily. If someone coughs in the background while you’re talking, there’s no way of getting rid of it.

 

Below are the items you require in order to a) have professional sounding audio and b) give you a multi-track recording for much easier editing.

 

TOTAL COST CIRCA £250

 

Microphone

Most recording solutions will work with whatever microphone you have built into your computer. That is to say, whatever automatically clicks in when you’re having a zoom call. However, podcasts are all about audio, and so often listened to on headphones, so I thoroughly recommend investing in making that sound as nice as you can.

 

For my podcasts I use an AKG D5. It costs £99 and is well known for good sound, use for live as well as studio (in case you ever want to use it on stage!) and also for its sturdiness - they don’t break easily.

 

You certainly don’t have to spend that much on a microphone if you’re just testing the waters, for a cheaper alternative, consider the Audio Technica ATR4750-USB. You can also go way more expensive if you prefer, the Shure SM7B is an amazing microphone if you can justify the spend!

 

The great thing about buying a nice microphone is that you can also use it for all your online meetings, whether in Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet - they will all use your microphone once set up making you sound fantastic for all those client calls and team meetings.

Audio Interface

Unfortunately, good microphones daren’t USB, so you need something that will send your microphone signal into your computer so that you can record - this is a called an Audio Interface - basically a little box that you plug your microphone into (using an XLR cable) which then sends the sound back out down a USB cable and into your computer. I thoroughly recommend this fantastic, robust little box, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo.

 

Microphone stand

As you can see, the Audio Technica comes with it’s own stand, but most microphones won’t. Microphones are pretty standardised when it comes to home use - you’ve got 2x options;

 

1. clip stand; the kind of stand that you see singers using, but smaller, for your desk

 

1.5. desk mount clip stand; what I use so that my mic is always accessible

 

2. suspension mount; if you have a noisy house or are near a road then this will help keep those vibrations off the recording. Be very careful to find a suspension mount that fits your microphone, they’re not one-size-fits-all!

Pop shields

Pop shields are a cheap and simple way to hugely improve the quality of your sound. They stop any kind of wind noise (including your heavy breathing!), plus they will stop certain mouth noises that are rather unpleasant when amplified in a recording (these are called plosives and sibilants, have a Google if you want to learn more about the strange noises our mouths make!).

 

Recording

If you are recording on your own, or in the same room as your guests, then I recommend using Audacity. It’s a piece of free software for PC or MAC that has been around for a long time and is trusted by many musicians and podcasters. It’s simple to use but there are also endless amounts of tutorials on YouTube that you can follow to help you set up microphones then record and edit your voice.

 

If you can’t get into the same room as your guests, then you’ll need a service called Squadcast. It’s very similar to Zoom, but it records all the audio separately so that you can edit it properly afterwards.

 

 

Location

Finally today, we just need to find you a space to record in. There’s all kinds of urban myths and bad advice about recording in closets or about having to put egg cartons up on your wall, but these are not necessary for home-recording a podcast. Simply choose the most appropriate room bearing in mind that these things are your enemy;

 

  • Big rooms
  • Empty rooms
  • Uncarpeted floors
  • Rooms with noisy things in them! (fish tanks, washing machine, children)

 

 

 

Put simply, pick a small room with carpets and some furniture in it. Personally I record in a bedroom where the curtains, mattress and carpet suck up all the echo and give me a nice clean sound.


So there you have it - you’re now ready to get out there and record! Grab your equipment and get started! If you come unstuck with any of the tech, then feel free to get in touch and I will help you get sorted. Otherwise, check back soon for the next article which will be how to edit and publish your podcast. Let’s get you onto Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Podcasts and more!

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