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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lim

MF 410 : Podcasting in 2022: The basics on podcasting tech and software



Today, we take a look at the basics on podcasting tech, including hardware and software. In part 1, we take a look at podcasting hosting and hardware. Part 2 covers software for solo and interview podcasts as well as videocasts. Part 3 concludes with a look at editing, music, effects, and artwork. More at www.bemovingforward.com.


Moving Forward is also available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.


Podcasting tech

Before we start

If you're new to the podcast and want to learn about podcasting, I recommend you begin with the earlier episodes in this series. To recap and review:

As I've emphasized throughout, the planning stages for your show is more important than picking the right microphone and equipment. Remember, this is also an important "due diligence" process. You may decide that podcasting isn't for you or isn't the optimal medium to get your point and message across. Instead, you may find that writing (blogging, a book, etc.) or vlogging on a YouTube channel is a better fit. Before you spend a lot of money on equipment, make sure you have a solid arc planned for your podcast and that you do in fact want to go on this content creation journey. You don't have to be completely polished, perfect, or even entirely comfortable at this point. You just need enough inclination and desire to put your voice and message out there.


This is why practice is key. You don't need anything more than your smartphone or tablet or computer plus whatever standard earphones or earbuds you have on you. The point of the practice episodes is to get a feel for the medium. Also, keep in mind that some podcasts never go beyond the simplest form of tech. More on that in just a bit.


Once you've spent time in the planning stages and decide you want to proceed ahead, it's time to look at your tech philosophy.


Simple, complex, or somewhere in between

When it comes to podcasting, the tech and equipment range in complexity and cost. Some podcasts are recorded using nothing more than a smartphone and earbuds. Others are produced in sophisticated studio setups with equipment that would equal or surpass any mainstream radio station. For Moving Forward, I'm in between, leaning more towards the simple. My "studio" as it were consists of my Macbook, a nice microphone that uses a USB connection, and a popguard (foam cover for the mic head).


I recommend you do some research on podcast setups and see what's out there. Generally speaking, I think it's best to start simple and work your way up. Also consider your show and timeline. If you're producing a 10 or 20 episode show based on your exit strategy, then you probably don't need a lot of fancy or expensive equipment at this point or maybe at all. I'm a firm believer that any equipment you buy should have a long shelf life and that you should get as much ROI (return on investment) as possible. I use my computer and microphone for more than just podcasting. The later has and continues to serve me well for 400+ episodes and beyond that, for live streams and videos. I even recorded an audiobook with it in 2020.


Equipment options

Below are some recommendations for equipment that will produce great sound without breaking the bank. This is by no means an exhaustive or exclusive list. Do research and browse as there are tons of great mics and accessories that will work great for your show.


[NOTE: links to Amazon are affiliate links for which the author receives a small commission from purchases]


Option 1 (piecemeal):

  • ATR 2100x USB microphone: This is the updated version of the mic I use, which is the older ATR 2100 (which is no longer available to purchase new). The plastic tripod it comes with isn't very good so I recommend a stronger podcast stand or arm.

  • Foam cover (6 pack): This will protect the mic and reduce noise pops and sound artifacts.

  • Basic desktop stand: This is an inexpensive option if you just want a desktop stand to replace the plastic one that's included with the mic. Simply affix the mic, plop in front of your face and talk.

  • RODE PSA Microphone boom arm: This is the “Cadillac” of mic arms, considered one of the best in its price range. It clamps onto a table with full range motion without squeaks or noise. It's also noted for its durability and reliability.

  • RODE PSA1 Microphone boom arm: This is RODE's newest boom arm model, also excellently reviewed and recommended by many content creators.

Option 2:

  • ATR 2100x bundle: If you want a budget option with all of the basic equipment, this bundle includes a ATR2100x mic, shock mount, boom arm, and pop guard (which does the same thing as a foam cover).

Software

Hosting:

  • Anchor.fm: I recently migrated to this service which provides free hosting so I can upload sound or video files without having to worry about storage queues or math. Anchor is owned by Spotify, which supports both video and audio podcasts.

  • Prior to Anchor, I used a paid hosting service called Libsyn for the first 300+ episodes. They use a variable pricing plan based on monthly storage need. You can learn more about paid hosting and the basics on storage math on episodes MF 264 and MF 270. As with equipment, I recommend do your research on different host providers, pros, cons, cost, plans and features. Treat it like shopping for a cell phone plan.

Intro and Outro music, sound effects:

  • iMovie or GarageBand library (Mac) (free and royalty free).

  • Anchor library (free and royalty free).

  • There are also premium options out there, which you can research. You can also hire freelance musicians on marketplaces services like Fiverr and Upwork.

Artwork:

  • Canva (free and premium options)

  • Anchor library (free).

  • There are also premium options out there, which you can research. You can also hire freelance artists on marketplaces services like Fiverr and Upwork.

Recording interviews (audio or video):

  • Zoom (free and premium versions): note the free version has a 40 minute time limit.

  • Skype (free and premium versions): note, Skype to Skype calls are free but Skype to phone calls require Skype credits or a Skype premium plan, which you have to purchase. Also, Skype's native recorder may only work with Skype to Skype calls. For Skype to phone calls, you may need a third-party plugin such as Ecamm (affiliate link).

  • Anchor (audio only): Anchor has a built-in recording feature that works app-to-app. All parties need to have the app installed and set up an account.

Recording Solo podcasts (audio only):

  • GarageBand (Mac only) (free)

  • Audacity (Mac or PC) (free)

  • There are also premium options out there, which are paid or subscription based, which you can research. One popular example is Adobe Audition.

Editing:

  • GarageBand (Mac only) (free)

  • Audacity (Mac or PC) (free)

  • There are also premium options out there, which are paid or subscription based, which you can research. One popular example is Adobe Audition.

  • Anchor: Anchor has a native editor but it's very cumbersome and slow from the times I've tried it. I recommend recording and editing your podcast files separately.

  • Video podcasts:

  • There are tons of video editing suites out there, both free and premium for Mac and PC. For Moving Forward, I use iMovie which is native on the Mac.

A note about editing

Editing is both a skill and an artform. For the technical how-to on editing podcasts, check out episodes MF 268, MF 269, and MF 270. When I started Moving Forward, I spent a lot of time on what's called "post-production:" editing the episodes to sound really polished and professional. Over the years, as I improved as a podcaster and as I had less time to devote to post-production, I let go of over-editing. Today, I don't do much editing beyond the bare minimum. My recommendation is to learn the basics of editing but do it sparingly. Editing is not a hard skill to pick up but it's one that can suck you in, making you lose objectivity and taking the fun out of podcasting. You can easily fall into a rabbit hole and spend hours editing a 20 minute episode. This will increase the risk of burnout and giving up just as you're starting to gain momentum. Instead of spending a lot of time and energy on editing, focus it on improving with each episode. The point of this isn't to be perfect at launch but to develop your skills over time. I've discovered that less editing hasn't harmed my show or caused me to lose listeners. That's my two cents on editing.


Additional Podcast Resources

My books on Poshmark

The perfect white elephant gift or stocking stuffer

Check out the Moving Forward mini-series collection

Get your news with Morning Brew (free)

  • Morning Brew (affiliate link): a fantastic free newsletter that's a quick read and a great way to get your morning briefing on what's happening in the market, the economy, and the larger world.

What I’m reading / read

Audiobook narrated by John

Support the Podcast

  1. The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses -and- The Poshmark Journal for Individuals and Small Businesses are available on Amazon.

  2. The Corporate Cliches Adult Coloring Book: makes the perfect stocking stuffer or white elephant gift.

  3. Try out Audible (affiliate link).

  4. Try out Amazon Prime (affiliate link).

Connect

  1. Facebook

  2. LinkedIn

  3. Twitter

  4. Follow John on IG

  5. Follow John on Goodreads



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