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How to build the perfect podcast setup

All the gear you need to create the next Serial

Video may have killed the radio stars back in the 1980s, but podcasts have brought them back – albeit in a slightly different way. Podcasts (or ‘episodic on-demand audio content’ if you want them to sound clinical and unappealing) are huge right now, and they’re something you can easily make at home, either alone or with a few like-minded friends.

To achieve a professional-sounding pod, all you need are some interesting ideas, a pleasant enough voice (although even that’s debatable) and a few key pieces of equipment. We can’t help with the first two points (that’s all on you, baby), but for the last one we’ve assembled the list below. Read on, start shopping and then get recording.

512 Audio Limelight

512 Audio Limelight microphone

The looks may hark back to yesteryear, but this XLR mic is very much built for the modern world. Its super-directional hypercardioid setup zeroes in on the speaker rather than picking up background noise and it has a pleasing proximity effect that gives your voice added weight if you get closer.

£110 | 512audio.com

Yamaha AG06MK2

Yamaha AG06MK2 mixer

This compact, high-quality six-channel mixer links up to your computer or iPad via USB-C, and thanks to its bus power supply it’s ideal for mobile studio setups. It has tons of connectivity, including two XLR microphone inputs, and the on-board DSP effects allow you to shape your audio on the fly by tapping a button.

£199 | uk.yamaha.com

RØDECaster Pro II

Rode ROdecaster 2 Pro front angle on red background

If you want a more podcast-focussed audio interface, this powerful all-in-one solution deserves a long look. Able to accept four XLR mics, USB, smartphone and Bluetooth inputs, it can record to microSD card as well as a computer, is powered via USB (meaning it can be used out in the field, not just at home) and features eight programmable sound pads for effects, jingles and more. The excellent on-board audio processing is a highlight too, allowing you to shape each channel’s sound with a host of voice-improving effects – including the legendary ‘Aural Exciter’ and the epic ‘Big Bottom’. Stop giggling at the back.

Read our full Rodecaster Pro II review.

£699 | rode.com

Focusrite Vocaster One

Focusrite Vocaster One lifestyle image on desktop

If you’re flying solo and recording your pod on the hoof, this tiny audio interface is ideal. With one mic input, out headphone output and much of the controls accessible via a companion app, it’s a stripped-back option but with over 70dB of gain it delivers broadcast quality sound.

£190 | focusrite.com

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Beloved of professional sound engineers and broadcasters all over the globe, these hard-wearing wired cans (also available in a Bluetooth-equipped version) produce impeccable sound across the range thanks to powerful 45mm drivers, and are built for serving up accuracy rather than bass-heavy ‘vibes’. They’re top class audio workhorses that’ll last you for years.

£145 | audio-technica.com

Pro-coustix Ultraflex Wedge tiles

Pro-coustix Ultraflex Wedge tiles

A bedroom isn’t quite as good as a studio when it comes to recording crisp, resonance-free audio, and that’s mostly because of the acoustics: hard surfaces cause sound to reverberate around the room, resulting in unwanted ‘colour’. You can avoid this by (a) recording your podcast wrapped in a duvet inside a wardrobe or (b) giving your room some acoustic treatment to deaden the reflections. This pack of dense foam tiles is cheap (there are 25 300 x 300mm tiles) and easy to fit.

£35 | pro-coustix.com

Hindenburg Pro

Hindenburg Pro podcasting software

Yes, you could record, edit and master your podcast using Garage Band, Audacity or another free audio app, but if you want something a bit meatier Hindenburg fits the bill beautifully. Designed specifically for podcast and broadcast radio production, it’s lean and focussed, trimming off the fat you’d find on music-centric DAWs. You can import audio or record straight onto it, and it adjusts audio specifically for voice – which makes everything sound a lot more professional.

From £8/month | hindenburg.com


BuzzSprout podcast hosting

For podding newbies looking for a hosting service, we suggest BuzzSprout. Despite having only been around for a few years, it’s hugely popular due to its simple, quick nature: just upload your podcast and it’ll do most of the legwork for you, submitting it to directories and (if you use the paid version) giving it a sonic polishing with its Magic Mastering feature. You can also add chapter markers and pre- and post-roll content, the latter being applicable to your old episodes as well as new ones.

From £Free | buzzsprout.com

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