How to Record a Podcast [Tips, Equipment, Software and More]
So you want to start a podcast. You’ve already done the research and know what to cover. Now you’re ready to start recording. But how do you get started? What software should you use and where do you record it?
Yes, recording the first few episodes is always the hardest. To simplify this task and get it right the first time, we’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to record a podcast.
Know your budget
You probably won’t make any revenue from your first few episodes, especially if you don’t have an audience such as an email list or social media following.
Some podcasts go viral and get traction immediately, but that is rare. It is more likely your podcast’s downloads will grow over time, and it will take you several episodes to generate sufficient revenue.
That is why you should determine your budget in advance. Figure out how much money you need or are willing to invest in creating one episode. Then plan how many episodes you will record over the next six to twelve months. Finally, you can calculate how much it will cost you to record all these episodes.
Choose a location
If you have the money to go all out, you can rent a recording studio. This can cost between $20 to $200, depending on the price per hour and the number of hours you book.
Professional studios will have all the equipment you need, so you don’t have to buy any equipment if you plan to always record in a studio. Some even offer video recording. They also have soundproofing to ensure you have a disturbance-free recording.
To find your recording studio, you can just do a Google search or use a site like PeerSpace. On PeerSpace, podcast studios list essential details such as the size of the studio, equipment available, and if there are other amenities such as parking and dressing rooms.
Studios also go into detail about the precautions they’re taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Another good studio renting site you can compare is Podcast Rental.
Setting up your home recording studio
If renting a professional studio is not an option, here are some tips for setting up a podcast studio in your home.
Find a quiet space. If you live by yourself, most rooms in your house will do fine. But if you live with friends or family, you’ll need to find a room where no one will disturb you, and you won’t bother them either. Avoid rooms with windows facing the street and those sharing walls with rooms that friends and family frequent. There needs to be enough space for a table, a chair, your laptop, and other equipment. If you plan to interview guests in person at your studio, you’ll need extra space for them as well.
Soundproof the space. The better you soundproof your studio, the better your recording will be, and the less time you’ll spend editing. Avoid using a completely empty space because it will make your recording echoey. If you want to go all-in, you can install soundproof foam panels on your walls. But if you want something more budget-friendly to start, you can cover the walls and other hard surfaces with blankets. You could also place a soft carpet on the floor and add other sound absorbers like pillows to the room.
Place your equipment. You can place the equipment in your studio after you set up everything. If you plan to use the room for other purposes, make sure you can easily remove your equipment after each recording session.
You don’t have to always use a professional setting like this. Depending on your podcast topic, you can also go somewhere quiet outside and record your podcast. Many successful podcasters record episodes outdoors. The background noises from nature can also please listeners. A popular one you might want to check out is Overheard at National Geographic.
They do a lot of field recording and the episodes are very informative!
Pick the right podcast microphone
If you’re setting up your home recording studio, you will need to invest in a microphone. And even if you decide to rent a professional studio, having your own podcast microphone could come in handy for impromptu recording sessions.
Here are the top three microphones in different price ranges. Pick the best microphone according to your budget. You can always upgrade later.
1. Maono AU-A04
The Maono AU-A04 is a good beginner-level podcasting microphone. Not only is it affordable, but it is easy to use. Simply plug it into your laptop’s USB port to use it. There’s no need for any driver software or an external sound card, and it works with Microsoft, Mac, and Linux.
The microphone has a foam windscreen and pop filter that help record crystal clear audio. It’s pretty sturdy as it is made entirely of metal. It records good quality sound, but it isn’t as great as a high-end microphone. Another good microphone you might want to check out that’s in a similar price range is Blue Snowball.
Best suited for: Newbie podcasters looking for something inexpensive and easy to use.
2. Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone
The Rode Procaster is a broadcast-level microphone, which makes it ideal for podcasters and radio hosts. If you’re serious about recording high-quality audio and have the budget for it, you should consider it.
It’s got a tight polar pattern, internal shock mounting, and an internal pop-filter that ensure clear voice with noise reduction. You get a stand mount and adapter along with the mic. There’s a zip pouch which makes it easy to carry around. You also get a 10-year warranty when you register the product.
This version has an XLR male connector, but there’s another version that connects with a USB.
The main drawback is that it is heavy. It weighs 1.64 pounds. And of course, it is expensive.
Best suited for: Podcasters who want to record professional-quality podcasts.
3. Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone
If you want the best microphone for podcasting and don’t mind the price, this is the microphone you should check out. Many top podcasters like Joe Rogan and Brittany Luse use it.
It’s popular because its dynamic cartridge with flat, smooth, wide-range frequency response produces clear speech. It includes electromagnetic shielding, which reduces hums and other noises produced by your computer and other equipment.
You also get a detachable windscreen, cover plate, and a 2-year warranty with the microphone.
The main drawback of the Shure SM7B is the price. It’s not as expensive as a high-end microphone that costs thousands of dollars, but it is still pretty pricey. It also weighs over two pounds.
Best suited for: Experienced podcasters looking for the best podcasting microphone.
Write a basic script
Being spontaneous can make a podcast fun, but you also want to structure it to ensure you cover everything. Before you start, conduct some research on the topic and write a basic script.
This script is just to give you some direction; you don’t have to adhere to it strictly. It can be on a piece of paper or on something like Google docs—whichever you prefer.
A script can be particularly helpful if you’re interviewing a guest. Before you speak to them, visit their website and social media profiles to learn about them and their interests. If they’re an author, read their book(s). You can also listen to other podcasts they’ve been a guest on.
Then write a list of questions you and your audience will like. You can also directly ask your listeners what questions they would like you to ask before the podcast. This can help you attract more listeners.
Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions no one else asks. But be polite and not too forceful as they’re your guest, and it is important to treat them with respect. These extra steps will help you cover more things that other podcasts don’t. It will help you stand out and grow quickly.
Record and edit your podcast
Finally, it is time to record your podcast. If you follow the above procedure, pick a good microphone and record in a quiet room, you will have a clear recording that requires minimal editing. But here are some top podcast recording tips to get even better results.
Prepare your room. If you have pets, put them in another room so they won’t disturb you. You can even get someone to watch them, if necessary. Also, if you live with other people, ask them to keep the noise down for the next hour or however long you plan to record.
Position yourself. Factors such as how far you sit from the equipment and the distance between your mouth and microphone will affect the volume. To maintain a consistent volume throughout, keep your mic, chair, and yourself in one place. This reduces the need for lots of volume adjustments during editing.
Warm-up. You’ll feel more confident about your podcast if you warm-up before you begin. You can start with some vocal warm up exercises. After that, you can go through the script and the list of questions you plan to ask.
Run a test. While warming up, you might want to record yourself for a minute or two to check if everything is working smoothly. You can also listen to the audio to see if there are any disturbances. You can fix issues with the equipment and software beforehand and spend less time editing the recording later.
These four tips, along with the earlier ones, will ensure you record a clear podcast. After that, editing is very straightforward. First, use good audio editing software to get rid of background noise. After that, remove mannerisms like “ahs” and “ums” as well as any unnecessary content segments.
Top podcast recording software
Just like a microphone, good recording software will make a massive difference in audio quality. Some software even possess advanced editing features. Here are a few you should check out.
BounceCast is a recording and editing software for podcasts. You can record and edit audio for videos as well. It has some AI features that will automatically enhance your audio and save you time. It also includes an intelligent soundcheck that helps determine the recording environment. It will even present warning messages to ensure you position the mic correctly and adjust the input level.
You can also manually edit the audio. But the drawback is that it doesn’t have a lot of advanced editing features. It’s more of an audio trimmer.
Best suited for: Amateur podcasters new to recording and editing audio.
Pricing: The paid plan costs $9.99 per month or $99 per year. However, you can get it at a discounted rate of $59 per year on AppSumo. You’ll be grandfathered into this price every year. There’s also a free plan.
If you are on a tight budget, Audacity is a free audio recording and editing software worth trying. It has many features that you only get with paid software, but it is not a specialist podcast recorder like BounceCast.
It lets you record live audio with a microphone or mixer. There’s a level meter that monitors volume levels during and after recording to ensure you maintain consistency. You can also add music from its library.
The main con of this software is that it often has bugs, and there’s no direct support.
Best suited for: Podcasters on a tight budget.
3. Adobe Audition
If money is no issue and you want something advanced, try Adobe Audition. It will help you record professional quality audio. It works with a wide range of recording hardware. Connect your device to your laptop, and Adobe Audition will automatically recognize it and update the audio preferences and drivers. You can also change these settings manually.
Adobe Audition has several advanced editing features that help you identify and fix flaws. But all these features come at a high price, and it can take time to master the software.
Best suited for: Professional podcasters who want an advanced podcast recorder and editor.
Pricing: It costs $20.99 per month, with a free seven-day trial. You can also get it with Creative Cloud for $52.99 per month.
For a list of more tools, check out our post on the best free and paid podcast recording software.
Now go record your podcast episode
Recording and editing a podcast requires a lot of effort. It can take several hours of work to create an hour-long episode—especially for first-timers. But after you get the equipment; software; and practice, you’ll work out a system and things will get easier. Plus, when you start generating more revenue from your podcast, you can focus on the fun creation part and leave the editing to a professional editor.
To help simplify the podcast creation and promotion process, invest in the best software. We know how expensive this can become, but thankfully, we have great lifetime deals on several top software, templates, and courses in the AppSumo store. .