Your First Episode: Podcast Recording Hardware

Now that you’ve passed the planning stage of your podcast, it’s time to record your first episode. Just for review, make sure you have the following:

  • A name for your podcast
  • A purpose statement for your podcast
  • A topic you want to talk about in your first episode
  • A script (It doesn’t have to be long; one page is a good start.)

Are you ready to record? You’ll need a few things.

Computer

You probably already have this.

On the PC side, anything running Windows XP or higher should work fine. I recommend having at least 2 GBs of memory so your computer will be able to easily process the audio as it is being recording. You can check the amount of memory your PC has be clicking Start > right-clicking My Computer > and clicking Properties.

The amount of memory your computer has will appear beside Installed Memory or RAM. You can get by with 1 GB of memory, and some experts say 512 MBs is good enough for podcasting, but in this area, more is better. (On newer Windows models such as Windows 10, you will have to right-click on Start before accessing My Computer.)

Additionally, your PC should have at least 3-5 GBs of free hard drive space, a soundcard, and microphone or headphone jacks. Most PCs come with this already, so you should be good to go.

Most Macs running OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) or above will work fine for podcasting. Snow Leopard comes with 1 GB of memory and 5 GBs of free disc space.

Mic

The next thing you need is a high quality microphone. The built in mic on your laptop may be good for Skyping, but it is terrible for podcasting.

Samson C01U USB Mic
The Samson C01U USB Mic is great for podcasting.

If you are pressed for cash, you can get by with a cheap mic picked up from Walmart. That’s how I got started. But the two most highly-recommended microphones are the Samson Co1U Studio Condenser Microphone and the Blue Yeti USB Microphone.

I have used the Samson Co1U for years now, and it works great. It currently costs $80.99 on Amazon.com. It comes with a tripod stand, a swivel mount, and a user manual. It is a USB-based mic, so it is relatively easy to set up. The first version of the mic is still available on Amazon for $55.99. This version comes with a free copy of the Cakewalk Sonar audio recording and editing program. I don’t know how long this version will be available, but it’s a good steal right now. You can find out more about this mic at the Samson Tech website.

The Blue Yeti USB Microphone is available on Amazon for $114.93. I have never used it personally, but many successful podcasters recommend it. It is pretty much a plug-and-play deal and may be even easier than the Samson to set up on your computer.

Windscreen/Pop Filter

A windscreen on a Blue Yeti mic.
A windscreen on a Blue Yeti mic.

A windscreen is a foam cover that goes over the top of the microphone to mute breathing noises from being recorded. A pop filter is a foam screen that blocks the popping noises that are made when you make the p-sound into the mic. Both of these things can be annoying to the listener, and having a windscreen and/or pop filter can set you apart from amateurs.

Windscreens and pop filters are pretty cheap. You can buy a Samson mic package which includes a pop filter for $106.95 on Amazon. You can get a windscreen independently for the Blue Yeti microphone on Amazon for $12.95.

This post is a part of the PODCASTING FOR MINISTRY blog series.

Click here to view all posts in the series.
Click here to view the table of contents for this series.

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