Getting Started ResourcesMay 20th, 2019
Welcome to The Podcast Creative curated list of tools and resources to create and launch your podcast.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, I only recommend products and services that I fully trust and believe will help you reach your podcast goals.
There are so many different ways to record your podcast and the best solution for you will greatly depend on what your budget is and the format of you show. So, know that you don't need everything on this list.
There are a few options listed here from least to most expensive and increase in recording quality respectively. These are all great mics, so if you're working with the lower end of the spectrum, you're still going to able to get a great recording.
Budget Mic: Audio Technica ATR-2100 - $65
This is a great mic for the money. Don't let it being in the budget option fool you, you can get very far with this mic before needing to upgrade to increase your audio quality. An awesome bonus about this mic is it comes with a USB and an XLR connection, so it super versatile and can plug into your computer or any recording device with XLR, which is all of them.
Mid Level: Blue Yeti - $129
This is the next step up in quality. Blue is a renowned vocal mic company and the Yeti lives up to the Blue name. This USB condenser mic is an easy plug-and-play solution if you're recording straight to your computer. Another plus for the Yeti is you don't need an additional stand, as it has a built-in stand.
*Using a USB mic such as the Yeti or the Rode Podcaster enables a more simple setup to record, so you won't need the external audio recorder, audio mixer, or audio interface mentioned later in this article. Be aware that downsides of this simpler method will be less control over your audio, lower quality preamps, and potential issues from electrical noise. So you'll want to weigh the cost/benefit of this when choosing your setup.
Upper Level: Rode Procaster (XLR) and Rode Podcaster (USB) - $229
With the Rode Procaster/Podcaster, you're getting into the professional recording territory. These mics both sound great with the only difference between the two being that the Procaster has an XLR connection and the Podcaster has a USB connection.
**Using a USB mic such as the Yeti or the Rode Podcaster enables a more simple setup to record, so you won't need the external audio recorder, audio mixer, or audio interface mentioned later in this article. Be aware that downsides of this simpler method will be less control over your audio, lower quality preamps, and potential issues from electrical noise. So you'll want to weigh the cost/benefit of this when choosing your setup.
Highest: Heil PR-40 - $327
The Heil PR-40 is the ultimate XLR podcast mic. You definitely don't need this mic to get a great recording, but you can't get much better in the podcasting world. It features a pickup pattern that helps prevent ambient room noise and a frequency response pattern that's specifically tailored for natural voice articulation.
*You DON'T need an external recorder if:
You only need to record yourself directly to your computer with a USB mic You're using an audio interface This is where we get into differing setups for recording. Everyone needs a mic, not everyone needs an external recorder. So let's look at some of the reasons you might want an external recorder and which setups they work best with.
With an external recorder, you'll plug your XLR mic or mixer output (if you're using a mixer - which we'll get to later) directly into your recorder which - records your audio to usually an SD card. When the episode is finished, you'd import all of that audio from the SD card into your computer, open it with your audio editor of choice and edit away.
So why would you want an external recorder? Here are some of the main reasons:
The preamps - which determine the gain (or volume) that you record your audio, is going to be better than going directly to your computer with a USB mic. You're also going to have more control over those levels through the device. Depending on the other aspects of your setup, it can be super portable. You won't need to lug around your laptop to record into and therefore enables a very portable setup. External recorders are often more reliable than recording directly into your computer. You're less likely to have ground loop issues or electrical noise issues in your audio. Here are some options if going this route:
Tascam DR-40 - $169 - 2 XLR inputs or Zoom H4 Pro - $199 - 2 XLR inputs
These are a super portable option and have high-quality preamps built in. These are almost identical devices. If you're going this route, I'd suggest getting the one that's more affordable when you're buying. Also, both of these have two XLR inputs and two built-in stereo mics, so in a pinch, you can technically record three people at once.
Zoom H6 - $349 - 4 XLR inputs (extendable to a total of 6 XLR inputs)
The H6 comes with 4 XLR inputs if you need to record a larger group, or if you have a really large panel, you can get the extender capsule to add an additional 2 XLR inputs.
*You DON'T need an audio interface if:
You only need to record yourself directly to your computer with a USB mic You're using an external recorder An audio interface is a piece of hardware that allows you to send and receive audio to your computer and other devices through the inputs and outputs on the interface.Audio interfaces have preamps which are used to control the gain, or sound level, of the mics or devices plugged into them. A major difference between an audio interface and an audio mixer is that the interface will let you record each of your inputs individually into the software on your computer. A mixer will have them summed into one stereo signal.
In relation to podcasting, you can think of them as basically the same as an external recorder except your recording the audio straight into your computer through the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) you're using versus recording it to an SD card like you would on an external recorder.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 - 2 XLR inputs
This is a quality standard for audio interfaces at a reasonable price point. It's a simple device with two XLR inputs, gain controls, an inst/line switch (use inst for mics), a headphone output for monitoring, and both a USB connection and a balanced left/right stereo output on the back.
Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 - 4 XLR inputs
The 18i8 is a great solution for shows that need to record three or four speakers at once.The 18i8 will be similar to the 2i2 just more ins/outs.
If you're starting out and know you're going to need four speakers at once, I'd recommend going with a four input audio interface versus using a combination of a mixer and a smaller audio interface or external recorder.
*You DON'T need a mixer if:
You only need to record yourself directly to your computer with a USB mic You already have enough inputs on either your external recorder or your audio interface The main use of a mixer in podcasting is if your external recorder or your audio interface, whichever one you're using, doesn't have all of the inputs you need for the number of speakers on your show.
For example, say you using the Tascam DR-40 external recorder, or the Focusrite 2i4 audio interface (which both have 2 XLR inputs). But uh-oh you have 4 speakers. You need a way to get 4 speakers with individual mics recorded. This is where a mixer comes in.
A mixer, such as the Behringer 1202 (which has 4 XLR inputs), then takes those inputs and sums them into a left and a right stereo signal. From there, you send that left and right signal into your audio interface or external recorder.
Downsides of a mixer are that you have less control over the audio once you start editing/mixing it on your computer because you can no longer work with individual speakers since they're all summed together.
This can be a major disadvantage of using a mixer in your setup. Think carefully about the pros and cons, and consider investing the money you would spend on a mixer to get either an external recorder or an audio interface that has the number of inputs you need.
You need something to hold your mic. Here are a couple of options:
Adjustable Mic Desk Stand
Scissor Arm Mounts - There are lots of these, just do a search.
You definitely need a pop filter for each mic. These will save you a ton of time fixing plosives (caused by air hitting your mic from saying words with a hard 'p' sound) and sibilance (hissing from 's' sounds) issues. Double mesh filters are the best.
There are also lots of these, do another search for 'microphone pop filters' but make sure to get the double mesh for the best results.
Audio Editing/Mixing Tools
DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) Adobe Audition - $20/month Audition requires either some existing audio engineering knowledge or the willingness to learn if you want to effectively use it for your post-production. If you are willing to put in the time, it's is a very powerful tool for all of your podcast editing/mixing needs. One of the most powerful aspects of Audition is the noise-reduction suite.
Adobe Audition Tutorials
Powerful - everything you need in a professional DAW Noise-reduction suite If you already use Creative Cloud, no an addition cost Cons:
Monthly charge and you never fully "own" it If you don't have audio experience it requires investing time to learn If you're interested in seeing how we use it, check out this post going over our audition workflow when editing/mixing podcasts.
Reaper - $60
Think of Reaper as an alternative to Audition if you want Audition but don't want to pay a monthly subscription to use it. It's probably also a good idea to either already know your way around audio engineering or be willing to invest some time to learn.
Powerful - everything you need in a professional DAW Highly customizable One-time payment Cons:
Highly customizable If you don't have audio experience it requires investing time to learn
Audacity - Recommended for most podcasters
Audacity is a great choice to start out with as a DAW. It's not as powerful as Audition or Reaper, but it will definitely get the job done. This is the option we recommend for most podcasters.
Free Easier to learn than previous options More powerful than GarageBand Cons:
Not as powerful as previous options
GarageBand comes with your Mac, so if you're just starting out, this is an easy choice to at least try out. GarageBand isn't as powerful as the other options, but it's also much easier to work with if you're not familiar with audio post-production.
Easy to use Free - comes with Mac Cons:
Not as powerful as other options Not an option if you use a PC
Podcast Media Host
Blubrry along with Libsyn are the top two podcast media hosts. These are both great options and you're in good hands either way. Depending on your specific case, one could be better than the other.
**Use above link, or the promo code - thepodcastcreative - for a free month.
Blubrry is a good fit if you're planning on creating a self-hosted WordPress site because of their PowerPress Podcasting plugin. PowerPress is the most popular podcasting plugin on WordPress and gives you all the control you need with your podcast feed. Another area Blubrry shines is with their podcast statistics. All Blubrry plans come with advanced podcast statistics, where with Libsyn, you'll need to pay extra or be on one of their more expensive Advanced plans to get advanced podcast statistics.
All plans come with podcast media statistics Direct integration with WordPress PowerPress plugin - the most popular podcasting plugin Allows a 25% storage overage each month on all their plans as part of their No-Fault Podcast Hosting Offers a free PowerPress site with all plans hosted by Blubrry if you don't want to self-host your own WordPress site
Libsyn is a great fit if your main concern is the cheaper option of the two. Although less popular, Libsyn also has a podcasting plugin in public beta. Libsyn offers OnPublish which incorporates publishing to Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Blogger directly from your Libsyn account.
Cheaper than Blubrry for their 50mb/month and 250mb/month plan OnPublish if you need multiple destination publishing Offer a free podcast page through Libsyn which can be used if you don't want a full website to direct traffic to
Podcast Website Hosting
Web hosting is different than podcast media hosting. This is specifically for your website which you should be using to connect with and grow your audience. The most common and recommend method of self-hosting your website is to use WordPress to create your site.
Most web hosts will have a one-click install available to install and setup WordPress. Check out this post that goes into further detail about domain names, web hosting, and how to set up WordPress with your web host!
SiteGround - starting at $3.95/month
SiteGround is a fantastic hosting company that I use for all of my sites. I’ve used other hosting companies in the past, but SiteGround by far has the best customer support, site uptime, and value. Like most hosts, they have a one-click install for WordPress. Check out all the other awesome features of hosting with SiteGround.