So You Want to Start a Podcast · Simply Statistics


Podcasting has gotten fairly a bit simpler over the previous 10 years, due partly to enhancements to {hardware} and software program. I wrote about each how I edit and record each of my podcasts about 2 years in the past and, whereas not a lot has modified since then, I believed it is likely to be useful if I organized the data in a greater method for folks simply beginning out with a brand new podcast.

One irritating downside that I discover with podcasting is that the straightforward strategies are certainly straightforward, and the tough strategies are certainly tough, however the strategies which might be simply above straightforward, which different markets would possibly label as “prosumer” or one thing like that, are…sort of arduous. One of many causes is that after you begin shopping for higher {hardware}, the whole lot sort of snowballs as a result of the {hardware} turns into extra modular. So as an alternative of simply utilizing your telephone headphones to document, you would possibly purchase a microphone, that connects to a stand, that connects to a USB interface utilizing an XLR cable, that connects to your laptop. Equally, on the software program facet, there’s actually not a lot on the market that’s free. On account of each phenomena, prices begin to go up fairly rapidly as quickly as you step up just a bit bit.

I can’t do something about prices, however I believed I might assist a little bit bit on checking out what’s on the market and what’s genuinely worthwhile. There are two variations right here: the free and straightforward plan in the event you’re simply beginning out and the following degree up, which is principally what I exploit.

The three issues I’ll cowl right here that you just want for podcasting are:

  1. {Hardware} – this consists of all recording gear like microphones, stands, cables, and so on.
  2. Recording Software program – Except you reside in a recording sales space you’ll want some software program in your laptop (which I assume you might have!)
  3. Modifying Software program – the extra sophisticated your podcast will get the extra you’ll must edit (past simply trimming the start and finish of the audio recordsdata)
  4. Internet hosting – Except you propose on operating your individual server (which is an choice however I don’t suggest it) you’ll want somebody to host your audio recordsdata.

Free and Simple

There are in truth methods to podcast free of charge and many individuals keep at this degree for a very long time as a result of the standard is suitable and value is zero. If you wish to simply get began rapidly right here’s what you are able to do:

  1. {Hardware} – simply use the headphones/microphone that got here together with your cell phone.
  2. Recording Software program – If you’re doing a podcast by your self, you may simply use no matter app your telephone has to document issues like voice memos. In your laptop, there needs to be a built-in app that simply enables you to document sound by means of the headphones.
  3. Modifying Software program – For modifying I like to recommend both not modifying (easier!) or utilizing one thing like Audacity to simply trim the start and the tip.
  4. Internet hosting – SoundCloud provides free internet hosting for as much as three hours of content material. That is lots for simply beginning out and seeing in the event you prefer it, however you’ll possible use it up.

If you’re working with a companion, it will get a little bit extra sophisticated and there are some extra notes on the recording software program. My go-to suggestion for recording with a companion is to make use of Zencastr. Zencastr has a free plan that allows you to document high-quality audio for a max of two folks. (If it’s essential to document greater than 2 folks, you may’t use the free choice.) The great factor about Zencastr is that it makes use of WebRTC to document immediately off your microphone, so that you don’t want to fret an excessive amount of in regards to the high quality of your web connection. What you get is separate audio recordsdata, one for every speaker, which might be synched collectively. Sometimes, there are some synching glitches, however often it really works out. The recordsdata are routinely uploaded to a Dropbox account, so that you’ll want a kind of. As a result of Zencastr routinely goes to MP3 format, the recordsdata are comparatively small. Additionally, in case you have a visitor who’s much less acquainted with audio {hardware}/software program, you may simply ship them a hyperlink that they’ll click on on and so they’re recording.

Notice that even when your companion is sitting proper subsequent to you, it’s typically easier to simply go to separate areas and document “remotely”. The first advantage of doing that is which you can cleanly document separate/unbiased audio tracks. This may be helpful within the modifying course of.

For those who want an all-in-one resolution, there are companies like Cast and Anchor that supply recording, internet hosting, and distribution. Solid solely has a free 1-month trial and so you need to pay ultimately. Anchor seems to be free (I’ve by no means used it), but it surely was lately bought by Spotify so it’s not instantly clear to me if something will change. My guess is that they’ll possible keep free as a result of they need as many individuals making podcasts as attainable. Anchor didn’t exist once I began podcasting but when it had I might need used it first. But it surely all the time makes me a little bit nervous once I can’t work out how an organization makes cash.

To summarize, right here’s the “free and straightforward” workflow that I like to recommend:

  1. File your podcast utilizing Zencastr (particularly in case you have a companion), which then places audio recordsdata on Dropbox
  2. Trim starting/ending of audio file with Audacity
  3. Add audio to SoundCloud and add episode metadata

And listed below are the professionals and cons:



  • Audio high quality is suitable however not nice. Earbud kind microphones will not be designed for prime quality and you may often inform when somebody has used them to document. On condition that podcasts are all about audio, it’s arduous for me to commerce off audio high quality.
  • Internet hosting limitations imply you may solely get a couple of episodes up. However that’s an issue for down the highway, proper?
  • Modifying is mostly a third-order problem, however there may be one state of affairs the place it may be vital—when you might have a foul web connection. Unhealthy web connections can introduce delays and cross-talk. These issues may be mitigated when modifying (I give an instance here) however solely with higher software program.

Past Free

Past the free workflow, there are a variety of upgrades which you can make and you may simply begin spending some huge cash. However the one actual improve that I believe it’s essential to make is to purchase microphone. Surprisingly, this doesn’t must value a lot cash. The perfect podcasting microphone for the cash out there may be the Audio Technica ATR2100 USB micrphone. That is the microphone that Elizabeth makes use of on the The Effort Report and Hilary makes use of on Not So Standard Deviations. As of this writing it’s $65 on Amazon, however I’ve seen it for as little as $40. The advantages of this microphone are:

  • The audio high quality is excessive
  • It isolates vocal audio rather well and doesn’t choose up numerous background audio (good for noisy rooms like my workplace).
  • It connects on to a pc by way of USB so that you don’t want to purchase a separate USB interface.
  • It’s low-cost

The issue with getting “higher” (i.e. dearer) microphones as that they are usually extra delicate, which implies they choose up extra high-frequency background noise. Skilled microphones are designed so that you can be working in a sound-proof recording studio surroundings during which you need to choose up as a lot sound as attainable. However podcasting, usually, tends to happen wherever. So that you need a microphone that may solely choose up your voice proper in entrance of it. Technically, you lose a little bit high quality this manner, but it surely’s equally annoying to have numerous background noise.

Now that you just’ve obtained a microphone, it’s essential to stick it someplace. Whilst you can all the time simply maintain the microphone, I’d suggest an adjustable stand of some type. Desk stands like this one are good as a result of they’re adjustable however they do require you to have a semi-permanent workplace the place you may simply preserve it. The principle level right here is that podcasting requires you to sit down nonetheless and discuss for some time, and also you don’t need to be uncomfortable whilst you’re doing it.

The final improve you’ll possible must make is the internet hosting supplier. SoundCloud itself provides a vast plan however I don’t suggest it because it’s probably not designed for podcasting. I exploit Libsyn, which has a $5 a month plan that needs to be sufficient for a month-to-month podcast. In addition they present some first rate analytics which you can obtain and browse into R. What I like about Libsyn is that they do one job and so they do it rather well. I give them cash, and so they present me a service in return. How easy is that?

That’s it for now. I’m comfortable to make extra suggestions concerning software program and {hardware} (be at liberty to tweet me @rdpeng), however I believe what I’ve obtained right here ought to get you 99% of the way in which there.

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