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A B&H Guide to Podcasting
An introduction to Podcasting equipment

By Sam Mallery

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A podcast is a homemade audio program that you create on your computer and share with the rest of the universe through the internet. All that is needed is a computer, some audio equipment, and compelling ideas. B&H is here to help you with the equipment.

When selecting equipment to buy, first determine two things:

What is the maximum number of people you are going to have speaking at the same time? A solo host who never plans on having guests needs different equipment than a host who plans on having guests.
Are you going to produce your podcast entirely at home, or are you going to need the ability to make recordings anywhere you travel? Portable battery-powered equipment differs from stationary studio equipment.

In order to bring your podcast into reality, you’re going to need to record your voice into your computer.

The four primary ways podcasters record themselves are:

Plugging a microphone directly into their computer’s microphone input. Keep in mind that not all computers feature built-in microphone inputs.
Using a USB microphone. Most computers have USB ports. This device is simply a microphone that plugs into your computer’s USB port. It will produce higher audio quality than using a built-in microphone input.
Using an “audio interface”. Think of an audio interface as a computer peripheral that enables you to plug-in good quality microphones. A nice audio interface will deliver the highest quality of sound for your production.
Using a portable recorder. These devices allow you to record anywhere you go

Consider getting an audio interface
Using a computer’s built-in microphone input or a USB microphone is a more affordable and simplified approach to recording. Unfortunately, they have a major limitation; you will never be able to use more than one microphone. Audio interfaces are more flexible. Some offer multiple microphone inputs and multiple headphone jacks. They also allow you to use better sounding microphones. Portable recorders offer mobility, but are limited by recording time, battery life, and flexibility. Ideally you’d have a portable recorder and a home set-up.

If you decide to use an audio interface, you’re going to need to purchase some microphones to plug into it. B&H sells a wide range of microphones to fit any budget.

You’re also going to need to own audio software that allows you to record, edit, and mix your project. A variety of audio applications are available at B&H for both Windows and Macintosh. Audio software takes a little getting used to, so be patient when you first get started. You will quickly realize that the creative possibilities are endless.

Use headphones when you record, this way you can monitor yourself as you speak into the microphone. For multiple guests it’s useful to own a headphone amplifier and extra pairs of headphones. You will need odds and ends like microphone cables, microphone stands, and good computer speakers. It also doesn’t hurt to own an iPod. You’ll want to hear the final product the way your listeners will.

B&H sells a variety of pre-packaged podcasting kits. They’re handy all-in-one solutions to get up and running.

Most importantly, don’t be intimidated by all of this unfamiliar equipment and software. Podcasting is an exciting and powerful new medium and B&H will be there for you, should you have any questions.

Feel free to speak to one of our Pro Audio experts at 1-800-416-5090!

Top Pro Audio categories:

- Recording
- Desktop Audio
- Keyboards & Synths
- ENG, EFP & Broadcast
- Live Sound & PA
- Accessories

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