Resources and links related to podcasting. Created for W/S/C 2018 but can be forked/added to as time goes on.
A copy of that presentation is available in this GitHub repo, or by clicking here. Amazon links do contain my affiliate link, feel free to strip that.
My (Current) Podcasts
Microphone Guides and Reviews
- The Wirecutter's USB microphone guide
- Marco Arment's Mega Podcast Microphone Review Roundup
- Jason Snell's Podcast Studio for under $100
- Dan Benjamin's Podcast Method Gear Guide
Podcasting Microphones I Recommend/Have Used
The Best USB Microphone for MOST podcasters is the Blue Yeti
The Blue Yeti at Amazon - $130 as of 3/18/2020 (Usually goes on sale during Prime Day and Black Friday)
This is my secondary microphone that I keep in my office at Microsoft. It's USB and has a number of different input modes (for podcasting, use the mode that looks like a butt) and includes a stand.
As of 3/18/2020, you can get a kit which includes a pop filter and a pair of headphones for $140 at Amazon
When my mom was a guest on Rocket, this is the setup we mailed her and that I was successfully able to get her to use. C-Mom approved!
Audio-Technica ATR2100x $100 as of 3/17/2020
The previous version of this microphone (the ATR2100) has received high marks from Jason Snell and Marco Arment. The ATR2100x is XLR and USB, so it's versatile if you have existing audio equipment or need to use a setup best-suited for XLR (such as multiple microphone inputs into one audio interface). It was recently updated and now includes USB-C support. You can read Jason Snell's review at SixColors.
You'll need to buy a microphone stand for this unit and a wind screen and may benefit from a shock mount. Jason Snell's $100 Podcast Studio post has good information.
When I built-out Mashable's podcast studio (which is just a bunch of microphones and a 4x4 USB mixer), we used the older ATR2100 in XLR mode.
The Rode Podcaster - $230 as of 3/18/2020. You'll need to buy a separate shock mount and some sort of mounting arm or stand separately. This is the microphone I have primarily used since late 2009.
I find the audio quality to be slightly better than the Yeti, but not enough to spend an extra $200 (once accessories are accounted for) for most users. If you're looking to upgrade to a quality, professional grade USB microphone, this unit has been great for me for nearly nine years and three cities.
Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Microphone - $330 as of 3/18/2020 for the microphone only.
Leo Laporte from TWiT uses this microphone in his studio and sent me one. It's a great microphone that I should probably use regularly.
This is an XLR microphone and WILL require an XLR interface/pre-amp to connect with your computer. The Scarlett 2i2 works well with this microphone.
This shouldn't be your first podcasting microphone. Get started first and THEN investigate in upgrading your gear if you get serious.
You need to use headphones while recording, both to be able to monitor your own input, and to be able to hear others without soundbleed.
You can use any 3.5mm headphones with any of these microphones. Your older iPhone EarPods or Android earbuds will work fine. If a microphone is built-into the microphone, there can occasionally be input issues with Skype, so make sure you're selecting the correct microphone input in your settings.
If you want an upgrade, any close-backed pair of over-ear headphones or earbuds will work just fine. Open-back headphones can cause audio bleed, which depending on your microphone, can lead to echos or distorted recording.
If you find yourself getting more into editing, it's worth investing in a good pair of studio monitor headphones.
The best studio monitors remain the Sony MDR-7506 headphones. For 29 years, these have been the headphones you see in every single studio, from the lowliest media company to iHeart Radio and every major broadcast network.
Sony MDR-7506 headphones - $88 as of 3/18/2020
I'm sure there are other perfectly good studio headphones (including the nearly identical Sony MDR-V6 -- those are often priced the same, but if there is a difference of ~$10 or more, buy whatever is cheaper)
Apps for Podcast Recording/Editing
- Audacity - Audacity is free and multi-platform and very powerful. Good for audio-recording and editing.
- GarageBand for Mac - GarageBand is free and very powerful. It sadly no longer includes a podcast project, but it's still a great app.
- Adobe Audition CC - If you have access to Creative Cloud, Audition is a great audio editor for the advanced editor.
- Logic Pro - Logic Pro X is probably overkill for most users, but if you get really into audio editing, it's great.
- Forecast - Free Mac utility from Marco Arment that makes adding chapters and exporting podcasts with proper meta-data a breeze.
- Audio Hijack - Rogue Amoeba's "jack of all trades" recording app for Mac makes it easy capture audio from multiple devices and places. $60 USD by itself, cheaper in a Rogue Amoeba audio bundle.
- Loopback - The modern update to the classic Soundflower kernel extension, this Mac app is the best way to trick an app like Skype into accepting what looks like one audio interface, but is really several. Useful if recording with multiple users in person, as well as on Skype, on a single machine. $99 USD by itself, cheaper in a Rogue Amoeba audio bundle. Loopback and Audio Hijack area available for $130 together.
- Soundflower and Soundflower Bed - These apps were the genesis of Loopback. No longer actively maintained, but the GitHub builds linked will work on macOS High Sierra.
- Reaper - Reaper is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux (Linux support is experimental) and is another professional digital audio editor (a la Audition or Logic Pro), but it is less expensive ($60 for an individual license) and has a really robust community of users. I haven't used Reaper myself, but it is well-regarded in the DAW space and is one of the few "pro" options with Linux support.
For Setting up a Remote Recording
For better or worse, Skype is still the best application for recording a podcast with lots of remote users.
You can theoretically use any multi-person chat system to record, but Skype tends to have the best audio quality (important if all parties aren't recording locally), is free, and has an array of plugins to make recording easier.
Multi-Ender Recording Method Apps
For optimum audio quality, each person on a remote podcast should record their audio on their own. A master Skype recording can be used for a backup, but in an ideal world, each person is recording from their own microphone directly to their computer.
Then, in editing, all of the files can be edited together for better quality.
This is known as the multi-ender method, and Jason Snell describes it in his podcast recording guide.
To record your own recording from your own microphone, there are lots of options:
QuickTime -- For Mac users, QuickTime is built-in to macOS and is a great, free tool to record your own audio.
Audacity On Windows or Linux, Audacity is great for recording your own audio. If you're recording multiple inputs from an external interface, Audacity is a great free tool too.
Ecamm's Call Recorder For Skype - $40 for Mac. Records local audio (it can also record video) and also records Skype audio from other users.
Auto-splits files, which is great for editing.
- MP3 Skype Recorder -- Freeware MP3 Skype recorder for Windows. Less advanced than Ecamm, but Windows!
Great links/guides, outlining the recording and editing podcasting experience.
- Casey Liss: How I Make Podcasts - From 2014 and still a great read.
- Jason Snell: Want to do a podcast? Don't be Intimidated - Great overview/tips
- Jason Snell: How I podcast: Recording
- Jason Snell: How I podcast: Editing
- Jason Snell: How I podcast: Live and in person
- The Six Colors podcasting tag
- Dan Benjamin's Podcast Method
- The Podcast Method podcast
- Podcast Guest Guide - Amazing resource from Antony Johnston. Pass to your friends who you want to guest podcast.
Podcast Hosting Providers
Non-exhaustive list of podcast hosts that support Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.
Look out for monthly upload quotas and look into their business model/whether they control your podcast's feed with Apple or Google.
Anchor.fm - Anchor.fm offers free hosting and supports the major podcast directories. It also has very nice apps for editing podcasts on mobile.
However, Anchor is a startup and its business model continues to evolve. You hand your podcast feeds over to Anchor and have to reach out to them to get them back if you want to switch podcast hosts.
I'm not saying not to use Anchor -- for many users, Anchor has the potential to be awesome. Just pointing out that when something is free, you risk becoming the product.
LibSyn - One of the oldest podcast hosts. Reliable, though pricey for what it offers. Be aware of potentially aggro sales people.
Blubrry - Another OG podcast host, maintainer of the excellent PowerPress WordPress plugin. Includes website.
WordPress.com - $5/month and up plans support audio uploading and can be used for podcasting.
Simplecast - $12 a month, unlimited uploads/bandwidth.
Squarespace - If you have a legacy Squarespace plan, they are a good/easy option for podcasting. Squarespace is likely too expensive to use primarily as a podcast host, but if you also want to use Squarespace as a website builder or store, it's a good option. You can use the code 'ROCKET' to get 10% off at sign-up.
You can also embed a podcast feed from any other service into Squarespace.
DIY Hosting Links
Of course, you can always host your own podcasts and craft your own XML feeds to work with iTunes and Google.
Submission Forms and Feed Info for Major Podcasting Directories
- Spotify's submission process - This points to the podcast hosting services that already integrate with Spotify and includes a form for hosts or individuals not on that list.
- Apple's Podcast Connect Help page
- Google Play Podcast Publish form
If you want to host yourself using existing hosting/VPS/etc., the easiest way to craft feeds is with WordPress.
- PowerPress WordPres Plugin - Maintained by Blubrry, but it does not require using their service,
- Seriously Simple Podcasting - Another WordPress podcasting plugin, this one is super simple.
Jekyll Podcast Feed - A setup for Jekyll to publish a podcast feed to iTunes.
ArrestedDevOps uses Blubrry for storage/serving, but still crafts their iTunes/Google feeds themselves using Hugo. Check out Matt's episode example for a feed example if you want to roll your own.
List of Podcast Ad Networks
Also search for royalty-free services (paid for free), that you can use on your podcast.
These are my links and references, but if you would like to add to this document, please open a PR or issue. Forks are also welcome.