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Getting the right podcasting equipment for your needs

One of the things that make podcasting so popular is how easy it is to create a podcast, there isn't a lot of equipment that you need. You actually don't have to buy any extra equipment to start creating a podcast because most people's computers come with a microphone and allow you to record audio. But people who are serious about podcasting usually end up spending a bit of extra money to upgrade their equipment so that they can get better audio for their podcasts. Remember there are millions of podcasts out there and people are going to listen to the ones that sound the best. So if you are trying to get more listeners you should first upgrade your equipment to help produce better podcasts.

Here is a list of basic equipment that most serious podcasters will end up using:

  • Microphone
  • Preamp
  • Digital recorder (or computer)
  • Headphones
  • Sound editing software
Now that you know about the basic equipment you need let's take a closer look at the equipment to see what will work best for you.
  • Microphones - this is probably the most important piece of equipment that you are going to need because it is what stands between your voice and the podcast. Currently there are two types of microphones that you can use for podcasting: condenser and dynamic. Condenser microphones use a capacitor to capture sound, which gives it a very broad frequency response, but it also requires a source of power, either battery or phantom power. Dynamic microphones measure the movement of a wire coil around a magnetic field as the sound waves move the wire, but it is cheaper than a condenser microphone and doesn't need the power source. But no matter which microphone you choose you should think about getting a pop filter, so that the microphone doesn't record the popping sounds from the escaped air when you say hard constants, such as p's. Or you can make something yourself by using an embroidery hoop and some panty hose.
  • Preamp - if you decide to go with a condenser microphone you are going to need a source of power for the microphone because they can not be plugged directly into the computer. The best way to get that "phantom power" is to purchase a preamp device. The preamp acts as an input controller between the microphone and your computer. But preamps also allow you to input any sort of sound into your computer, such as electric guitars or old eight track tapes
  • Headphones - once you get involved in creating podcasts you will realize how important a decent set of headphones are. Without headphones you can not monitor the podcast during the actual recording, which means that if you messed up or caught certain sounds you might not be able to edit them out and will have to start all over again. The most important thing in choosing headphones is that they will be comfortable for you to wear on your head.
  • Digital recorders - this is not needed unless you want to purchase a digital recorder so that you can record your podcasts in other parts of the house, other wise your computer is the best digital recorder you can have. But these digital recorders do have size limitations and high quality digital recordings tend to take up a lot of memory space.
  • Sound editing software - this is a must have when you are creating podcasts but the great news is that you can purchase high end software or you can choose to use free software such as Audacity for Windows. Many people who create podcasts are using Audacity for their sound editing software because it is a good program and is relatively easy for beginners, but includes advanced features for those who want them.

Just remember that getting the right podcasting equipment depends on what you are looking to do with your podcasts and what kind of a budget you are working with. The higher quality options are going to be more expensive, so if you are a novice user you probably wouldn't want to go that route, but if you take podcasting seriously and are trying to make money with your podcasts or just want to impress people then you should make that added investment in the more expensive equipment. It is entirely up to you.

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