The best mic is the one that you have. Don’t worry too much about purchasing something expensive or even purchasing a mic at all. Work with what you have and figure out ways to make it sound better. For example you can use your mobile phone because it has a mic and it can record what you are saying. Transom.org provides a useful explanation of voice recording gear for podcasting.
Most microphones will need to be connected to hardware that allows you to record what is being spoken into the mic. Some common recording hardware include: laptop computers, desktop computers, tablets, mobile phone, and portable recorder.
Recording and Editing Software
All-In-One Recording and Editing Service
These applications allow you to record, edit, and distribute your podcast all in one place. Most of them are free to use, with some limitations.
The tools featured in a software that is only for recording and editing a podcast are often more sophisticated in comparison what you will use in the all-in-one recording and editing services. Two recording and editing software available free of charge to MDC students and faculty are:
There are many other recording software options available that are not featured on this libguide. Transom.org provides a detailed overview of the various of editing software that are useful in podcast production.
Pay attention to the mic recording levels:
Most recording software will have a meter to indicate the sound level of the mic input. Check out the Audacity tutorials featured on this page for examples of how to record using a mic.
Wear headphones while recording
headphones will allow you to listen and monitor your sound level as you record
Perform a soundcheck (every time)
Soundchecks can be 30 seconds or less of speaking into the mic and listening back to the recording. You are verifying that the microphone(s) are working and that the software is capturing your audio input. Even the most seasoned podcasters can sometimes forget to plug in their mics before recording an episodes.
Record the room tone
This is a 15 second recording of the room/ environment before you start to record. This can be a part of your sound check or it can be something that you record separately. This sound recording will be important to reducing background noise later in the editing process.
Be still while recording
Microphones are powerful enough to capture small noises such as a chair moving. Being still will reduce distracting sounds from any fidgeting or movement that can be accidentally captured by the microphone.
Find a quiet location to record
Finding a quiet room can be difficult, even at a library. If you are recording at home, try and reduce background noise by using some of these tips: turn off you’re A/C, close windows, record during a time of day when there is little traffic outside. Recording in places where there are soft surfaces (bedroom and living room) is better than places where the surfaces are hard (kitchen and garage). Under blanket or inside of a closet full of clothes can also be a great spot.
Many podcasts you listen to will incorporate music to enhance the audio storytelling of the podcast. Music is often featured at the introduction of the podcast and the end of a podcast episode. Music can also be heard in the form of sound effects or background music which affects the mood and tone of the storytelling. Not all music is appropriate or available for podcasting. Most music (including sound effects) is copyrighted, which means that there are regulations and limitations on how you can utilize the sound. If a podcast is using copyrighted music or sounds without the appropriate permissions, it may be removed from the streaming platform and at risk of being penalized for copyright infringement.
The music and sound effects resources on this libguide are either license free or have creative commons licenses that allow you to utilize the music with proper attribution. All of these resources do not require payment to utilize the audio.
Introduction to Audacity Software & Setup
Recording Audio & Adjusting Sound Levels
Audio Editing Basics: Cut, Copy, & Paste
Reducing Background Noise
Layering Audio Tracks: Adding Music and Other Speakers