I get a lot of emails from people asking about podcasting. The questions are usually something like "How do I get started podcasting?" Or… "What equipment do you use to record RED Podcast?"
And sometimes, people ask, "Is it possible to do a podcast for $100 or less?"
The answer is yes, assuming you already have a computer you can use to record and distribute your audio files.
Option 1 - Audio-Technica ATR2100 - About $65
If you have a computer, Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone is the only piece of hardware you need to get started podcasting. It's a solid and flexible mic that will grow with you. It has both USB and XLR connection options, which allow you to plug it straight into your computer or use a standard mixer or digital audio interface. There's also a built-in headphone jack, which makes recording interviews with Skype a breeze.
The ATR2100 comes with necessarily cables and a small, somewhat helpful tripod stand.
What it sounds like:
Option 2 - Samson Q2U - $60
The Samson Q2U is very similar to the ATR2100. It also has both USB and XLR connection options, so it will work for you if you want to record directly into your computer or use a standard mixer or digital audio interface.
Audacity - Free
Audacity is free recording software and it's amazing. I like it so much that I continue to use it for podcasting even though I have "better" options like ProTools and Hindenburg Journalist.
I like (and recommend) Audacity because it's simple enough that you can learn the basics within an hour or two, but powerful enough that you can take it as far as you want to go.
Auphonic - $11/month
Auphonic is post-processing software that will clean up your audio files and make you sound great. It you have more than one host or are doing an interview, it make sure your levels are balanced. If you have background noise, it will reduce it.
For $11/month, you get nine hours of "processing time" each billing period, meaning you can upload nine hours of audio you want Auphonic to fix. This is more than enough for most podcasts.
If you only need a couple of hours of processing time per month, there's a free option.
I run every episodes of Build A Big Podcast and RED Podcast through Auphonic. Here are the output settings I use, which allow for small, fast-downloading files.
Skype - Free
Skype is the best way to interview people remotely. If both sides have a good mic, such as the Audio-Technica ATR2100, your recording will sound great.
Call Recorder - Various Pricing
Call Recorder (Mac) or Pamela (PC) are two options for recording the interviews you do via Skype.
Libsyn - Free for the first month, $5/month (and up) after that
If you compress your audio files via Auphonic, you may be able to get away with using the $5/month plan, which allows you to upload up to 50mb of content each billing period.
Use promo code "big" to get your first month free.
It's easy to spend money and convince yourself that the same thing as doing the work necessary to have a better podcast. It's not.
Creativity trumps equipment.