Looking to get started on your own podcast? We’ve had 3+ years of doing Clear To Send and we’d like to share our experience and insight into what works for us. We’ve included a list of equipment, software, and services that we use to produce our podcast.
Here’s a layout of our setups at home.
Audio Technica ATR-2100
A versatile microphone for any person getting started in podcasting. This is a good quality sounding microphone to start with that doesn’t break the bank. It’s what you call a cardioid microphone, perfect for starting a podcast. The cardioid microphone pattern grabs audio directly pointed at your mouth. Before investing more into podcasting, give this microphone a start. We use this microphone when we travel as well because it is light and easy to pack. All you need is a USB cable. It can scale when your podcast grows with it’s capability of using an XLR connection to a mixer.
Another USB microphone that packs a good quality sound. What’s nice about the Blue Yeti is it can be optimized depending on how you’re doing your podcast. If you’re doing a solo recording, you can change the pattern to pick up audio in front of the microphone. If you’re doing an interview style podcast recording, it can change to a bidirectional pick up pattern. Or maybe you’re doing a roundtable type of podcast. The Blue Yeti can be placed in the middle of the table and change to an omnidirectional pattern.
When we decided to step up our audio quality, the first microphone we acquired was the Rode Procaster. This is truly a podcasting microphone that has such great dynamic range. It gives you that great radio personality type of voice for your podcast. It’s a dynamic microphone with high quality sound but it does come at a higher price. If you’re serious about podcasting then this is the microphone for you. It’s been used for more than a year of podcasting at Clear To Send. Word of caution, using this microphone will require a pre-amp and a mixer. It will add some complexity to your podcasting setup.
Pre-amps and Audio Interfaces
As we mentioned above, the Rode Procaster needs a pre-amp. A pre-amp is used to process the signal coming from a microphone. Some microphones have a weak signal when plugged directly into a mixer. The pre-amp can change some of the tonal characteristics of your voice and increase the signal going into a mixer. It’s definitely more for the advanced podcaster but worth taking a look if you want that quality audio.
The Focusrite Scarlett USB interface can also come with built-in pre-amps. We use this when we travel and plug in microphones to increase the signal going into our recorder. It’s a neat, lightweight, USB interface that can be used in your home studio or on-the-go.
Behringer Q802USB 8-Channel Mixer
This was the first mixer used for Clear To Send. Why do you need a mixer? If you have a microphone that uses an XLR connection or maybe you need to bring in other guests for your podcast. We needed to use a mixer to bring in our guests via Skype. In order for all participants of your podcast to hear each other, a mixer is required to bring that all together.
Tascam DR-40 or Zoom H4N
We use a dedicated recorder to capture all our audio simply because we don’t trust computers. You can record directly onto your computer using any audio applications but we just don’t like the idea of applications crashing during a recording.
We used Audacity for over a year because it was free. It does all the basics needed to put a podcast together. It’s fairly easy and straightforward to learn how to use the application. Audacity works on any operating system, imports your audio files, and can export it into the format you need for publishing. Try this application out first before using any other software. You can record directly to your computer through Audacity.
Another free application which comes installed on macOS. There’s a podcast template which you can start your podcast on. It’s easy to use and has everything you need to get started. Garage Band allows you to record your audio directly to your computer.
A paid application with a lot of bells and whistles. There are advanced features to help improve the quality of your podcast. Like the other software, it can record your audio directly to your computer. With Adobe Audition, there are ways to automate some tasks involved with producing your podcast and features which help bring out the sound, add metadata, and more. Worth checking out once you get further along in your podcasting.
The most common application used to bring on another guest remotely. The audio quality of Skype is not the best but it gets the job done very easily without any extra costs involved. You can record yourself and your guest directly with any of the applications listed above. There are also plugins which can be used within Skype to record the guest’s audio separately from your own.
At Clear To Send, we use Slack for a lot of our recordings. There’s a 3 hour difference between us and usually our episodes involve just the two of us. We start up a call within Slack, without video, and just record the audio. We find the audio quality to be better than what you get from Skype.
While it’s possible to host your own audio files, we wouldn’t recommend it. If you have shared hosting, you’ll get hit with an increase in bandwidth. Downloads of your audio files will also slow down your host. The best way to host your podcast’s audio files is with a dedicated service specialized for podcasts. We use Libsyn to host all our audio files. Even though the podcast is listed in iTunes or Google Play, the directory references back to our podcast feed hosted at Libsyn. You have the ability to schedule the release of future episodes and get statistics such as your download count.
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Clear To Send hosts the website with Siteground. We use them for reliability, uptime, and we have not had any issues.