How to Turn Your PC Into the Ultimate Podcast Studio
Whether you are a fan of true crime, cryptozoology, NPR (National Public Radio), politics, opinion, news, or virtually any other subject, there is a podcast that can satisfy your desires for education and entertainment. The podcasting format is more popular than ever before, thanks in part to the need for human connection and information sharing amid a global pandemic with many content creators stuck at home. If you are interested in getting started with a podcast of your own, your PC can serve as an excellent workstation with the purchase of a few simple accessories. Learn more about the best podcast accessories, including microphones, boom arms, digital recorders, acoustic blankets, and more.
Prepare The Environment Where You Intend to Create Your Podcast
Whether you work from home, have a hybrid position, or are fully back to work in a traditional office environment, you are keenly aware of how potential ambient noise pollution and poor acoustic design can overwhelm digital communications. For podcast listeners expecting a clear and consistent audio experience free from obnoxious intrusions or interruptions, having your PC surrounded by audio interference will hardly help you produce quality content.
It is important to note that using acoustic blankets is not meant to assist in soundproofing or to eliminate sounds but rather to provide sound treatment. Sound treatment refers to steps taken to achieve a “clean” vocal recording by eliminating or significantly reducing reverberation from being picked up by your microphone. Many models of acoustic blankets also come with metal grommets so that they can be easily affixed to walls and ceilings, but they also work well when simply draped over a doorway.
To achieve full soundproofing, you will also need to locate your PC in a solidly constructed environment made from robust materials, including concrete and thick glass.
Consider What Kind of Podcast Microphone or Recording Device is Best for You
Podcast microphones come in an impressive array of shapes, sizes, forms, and technical specifications, making it difficult for the novice podcaster to determine what setup will work best with their PC. There are three primary types of microphones used in the production of podcasts, namely USB microphones, XLR microphones, and digital recording devices, which offer the greatest degree of flexibility.
For those just starting out in the podcasting field and are interested in a platform focusing on online interviews, or monologuing as a solo host, USB microphones are an excellent entry point. These models of microphones plug directly into your PC for both access and power supply and typically employ condenser microphones as their means of recording.
XLR microphones can be either connected directly to your PC, or you can run them through digital recorders, mixers, and other audio interfaces for greater production flexibility and better audio recordings. If you are interested in purchasing an XLR podcasting microphone, you should strongly consider a model which comes with single or multiple pop filters. Pop filters prevent “plosive” sounds from words with k, t, and p from being registered by your microphone and causing unpleasant popping sounds, which are considered annoying and unprofessional.
Sometimes podcasters must go on location to secure an important interview or piece of information, which means you may not want to have to carry your PC with you everywhere you go. Several potential solutions exist to help resolve this issue, including purchasing digital recording devices that operate alone or in conjunction with your PC and purchasing specially made microphones and equipment to turn your smartphone into a mobile recording platform.
Investing in a Quality Boom Arm with a Shock Mount Will Save a Lot of Trouble
Although the quality of your recording equipment and your environment can significantly influence the quality of your podcast recording, it is crucial that you do not overlook the solutions that mechanical equipment can provide. For example, you can have one of the best microphones available and still run into issues that are caused by the device not being securely held in place by a boom arm. Believed to have been named for the spar of wood sticking out sideways from the mast of a ship, boom arms provide stability for your recordings by holding your microphone angled sideways, so you do not have to worry about keeping it steady.
While boom arms are incredibly useful, you should always ensure that any boom arm you use for podcasting also comes with a shock mount installed. These components can prevent audio interference caused by touching or otherwise manipulating microphones, directly or indirectly. Shock mounts are especially important if you are prone to moving around your recording area as you work or have your microphone set up on a table that might channel ambient vibrations. Audio interference, known as structure-borne noise, can be caused by contact with the microphone in any way, including cables brushing against the unit, the sounds of passing traffic, the wind blowing through an open gap, people walking heavily on nearby floors, and many others.
New podcasters should note that while many boom arms and shock mounts are designed only to be compatible with specific models of microphones, others offer broader compatibility with a range of units. In addition, while having the ability to swap out equipment as needed may be appealing, many universal shock mounts are not capable of holding specific microphones in place as securely as a purpose-built model.
If you dream of creating the next podcast sensation, investing in an ideal setup to use your PC as the ultimate studio is the logical next step. Be sure to check that all your devices are designed with compatibility in mind to avoid unnecessary costs and frustration and ensure a high-quality result.
About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.