From unsolved murder mysteries to self-help, there’s a podcast for everything, which helps to explain why it’s such a popular way to consume information. According to the Media Nations 2019 report by Ofcom, 1 in 8 of us in the UK are listening to podcasts on a weekly basis.
That’s more than 7 million people tuning in every single week. The convenience of listening to podcasts shouldn’t be overlooked either – it’s certainly better than looking at your phone whilst driving. So what are the tech essentials for starting your own podcast?
Getting started as a podcaster
Podcasting has seen remarkable growth with a 24% increase over the past year, and statistics which have more than doubled from five years ago. It’s a good time to give your audience what they want. If you’re not familiar with podcasting then the concept might seem daunting. And expensive. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be.
Essential tech for starting a podcast
You’re likely to already have a computer, or access to one. Starting your podcast without a laptop isn’t impossible, but it’s much easier to upload and edit on a bigger screen than on a mobile phone.
Podcasts are an audio medium which means good sound quality is absolutely crucial. Even if the content is great, listeners will turn off if the quality is too poor. Again, if you’re new to this, shopping for a microphone is about to open up a whole new world of jargon. Our quick fire tips:
- Don’t rely on inbuilt device microphones, the quality tends to be poor.
- Look for a wide signal-to-noise ratio which balances voice and background noise.
- Consider a cost-effective package which includes things like shields, stands and carry cases.
- If you’re going to be interviewing or having conversations, opt for an omnidirectional microphone which supports sound from front and back. They’re also much more tolerant if you shift around whilst talking, which avoids any ‘tick-tocking’ for the listener. (This is where the audio plays through one earphone or speaker at a time in sequence, left ear – right ear – left ear – right ear. You don’t want to make your audience feel seasick!)
- Look out for one which comes with a pop filter to help dampen harsh sounds like P’s and K’s.
- Don’t forget your USBs or cables to connect to your computer or device.
Good quality headphones
How many times have you heard your own voice back and recoiled in horror? Yep, us too. Headphones will help you hear what other people do so that you can adjust your tone and volume accordingly whilst talking. You’ll often be able to adjust levels digitally in software afterwards, too (we’ll get to that).
If you are going to be recording interviews or creating podcasts with multiple people, you’ll need a few sets of headphones. It’s also worth picking up an audio-splitter which enables you to connect multiple sets of headphones through one single headphone jack.
Once you’ve got the physical gear, spend a bit of time getting to grips with how it all works, especially with the software side of things. You might need:
- An online video chat account, such as Skype, for recording audio from online interviews and remote dialogue.
- Recording and editing software to capture and edit the audio, such as Adobe Audition or GarageBand.
- An ID3 editor so you can store metadata such as titles, artwork, and track numbers in the audio file. This helps the search algorithm, as well as being nice for the listener when they look at their screen, and see what’s playing.
- Cloud storage so you don’t cripple your hard drive saving everything.