4-Step Computer Security Upgrade
Learn to encrypt your files, secure your computer when using public Wi-Fi, enable two-factor authentication, and use good passwords.
When I was trying to figure out what kind of equipment we needed to start podcasting, I was frustrated by the lack of a good just-get-this-stuff list so I didn’t have to research what to get, buy it, realize it’s the wrong thing, then buy something else. Fortunately that only happened a couple of times. To save you the same frustrating experience, here is my just-get-this-stuff list, which is also what we are using right now to record the Lawyerist Podcast.
- Blue Snowball. You can get better USB microphones (like the Blue Yeti, for example), but the Snowball delivers good sound at a good price.1 If you are still podcasting in a year, treat yourself to a top-of-the-line mic like the Heil PR-40.
- Mic boom. Your mic should be 6–12″ from your mouth, and the tiny stand that comes with the Snowball just isn’t big enough. This boom lets you keep your mic at the ready, and you can swing it out of the way when you aren’t using it.2
- Pop filter. If you are close to your mic like you are supposed to be, your Ps and Bs will create unpleasant pops on the recording. To eliminate them, get a pop filter. This one is cheap and gets the job done.
- Headphones. The sound from your speakers can feed back into your mic, so wear headphones. It doesn’t really matter what kind, but the Wirecutter (which I tend to go with) recommends the Bose SoundTrue headphones.
- Audio switch and patch cable. This makes it easy to switch between your speakers and your headphones. Just plug your computer’s audio out into the back, your speakers into one side, and your headphones into the other.
- Skype. In order to call phones (land lines work best unless the other person also has a good-quality mic and a fast Internet connection), you will need to buy Skype credit or just subscribe to one of the calling plans, which start at $2.99/month for the US and Canada.
- Pamela (Windows) or Call Recorder (Mac). These apps work with Skype to make it easy to record calls. Make sure you set the audio quality to uncompressed.
- Audacity. There are plenty of other sound recorders and editors out there, but Audacity is free, has lots of features, and gets the job done. Plus, it’s very widely used, which means there are plenty of tutorials out there for you to learn from. If you aren’t going to record calls and just need to record your own voice, you can do it using Audacity.
- Libsyn. You need a podcast host to store your audio files and serve them up to iTunes and wherever else you want to publish them. There are other podcast hosting platforms out there (SoundCloud has a program in beta, for example), but we went with Libsyn because it is cheap, it has been around forever, and it is used by many of our favorite podcasters.
I think that’s everything, and if you get all this stuff, your podcasting setup will look pretty much like Aaron’s and mine.