Podcasting 101: The Right Equipment for Your Podcast

The thing every podcast needs, no matter the genre: recording equipment. There’s a wide range of equipment quality, and the right equipment for you will depend on your budget and what you plan to do with your podcast.

Let’s start with the microphone. You could, in principle, use a built-in phone or computer microphone to record yourself talking, rather than buying a dedicated mic. The downside is the resulting quality: people will be able to tell that’s what you’re doing, and it may be harder to understand you. That said, if you’re on a budget or a tight schedule, or you want a kind of gritty found-audo-footage vibe to your podcast, this is an option!

If you are looking to invest in some dedicated recording equipment, though, you’ve got a number of options. Generally, the more you spend, the better sound quality you get, and the more control you’ll have.

There’s more to recording than just the microphone, though. You may need a stand for the mic (some come with their own, others don’t), and again it may come down to how you’ll use it. For versatility, a flexible boom arm is great, so you can use it sitting or standing (standing is often better for your voice, and reduces the chances of a squeaky desk chair disrupting your podcast).

You’ll also want a pop filter, to cut down on “plosives”--an audio artifact from speaking certain consonants, which can be distracting to listeners. Some microphones have them built in, but in our experience it’s still helpful to have an external one to be more thorough.

The main thing to keep in mind is what you’re hoping to do with your podcast. We at Faustian Nonsense started with a podcasting kit with a basic USB mic, a boom arm to attach it to a desk, and a pop filter. This works well for recording normal conversation--if you’re reviewing movies with a friend, or interviewing experts, or discussing true crime at a normal speaking volume, you’re probably fine using a basic set.

But here at FN, we were recording an audio drama (Jack Of All Trades, specifically). That means speaking at different volumes... and the occasional screaming. So we needed a better microphone, one that allowed us to adjust the gain (the input volume, so our screaming didn’t overload it), and an interface to go with it. (Hot tip: this microphone is known for being tough, so buying it used is cheaper and it works just as well as a new one.)

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Here you'll find the detailed progress of our self-challenge: to make our new podcast, A Midsummer's Quarantine, in time to release on Midsummer's Day (June 20). Keep checking back to see how we're do