A podcast is a great and a fairly inexpensive way to create a brand (personal or entity) and reach out to people. But podcasting is not just about talking into a mic. There are certain minimum requirements and necessary equipment needed to create a highly effective and engaging podcast. For any amateur podcaster, a computer is their first podcasting gear. Most probably, they’ll record, edit and publish a podcast using their PC or Mac. A laptop or desktop computer is not mandatory, but then the podcasting methods become limited and the quality takes a hit too. In this article, we’ll learn the features/requirements a laptop needs for podcasting.
Which podcasting laptop do I recommend?
If you are going to be doing podcasting, a Macbook Pro like any of these options is going to be perfect for the job. There is a reason why Macbooks are considered the best laptops going!
I actually got my info from this best podcasting laptop article.
Computer Hardware & Software
If your computer runs Windows Vista, XP, 8 or 10 without any delays, your computer is then fit for podcasting, or it would be able to bear and manage the fresh audio load. Similarly, Macs that can handle OS 9 or later operating systems with aplomb should do good as well. Most computers that aren’t more than five years old should be fine. Windows XP is usually recommended as it’s much faster and easier to work with.
If the RAM is upgradeable, please go ahead with the upgrade as that would only make podcasting easier and smoother. Most audiophiles and professional podcasters have at least 8GB of RAM installed. Anything beyond 16GB is an overkill, however. At least, 2GB of memory should be free anytime to proceed with podcast processing. That said, a 2-4GB RAM stick should also suffice if you don’t usually multitask on your computer.
Since most modern-day computers come with a lot more than 100GB of storage space, hard drive should not be a major point of consideration, as storing processed files would not take more than 100GB of space on your computer, even if you have the habit of hoarding all your files. But if you see yourself podcasting for years to come, you’re a hoarder and you keep the original files without compressing them to MP3, then additional storage space in the form of an external hard drive is mandatory.
Another important thing your computer should have is a sound card, along with a line out and line in. Fortunately, most laptops and PCs come with sound cards built-in and also the mic and headphone lines. If you’re among the unlucky few and you have no option but to buy a sound card separately, then Creative Soundblaster Audigy 4 is recommended. Griffin iMic is another option, which is slightly inexpensive and connects by USB. It’s an audio device that adds a headphone jack and mic input to your laptop.
Recording or audio software is needed to record and edit audios. The software also helps when you would like to append outro or intro music to your recordings. Learning to use the software is similar to learning how to use a video editing software. Things could feel a bit complex in the beginning and you should give the process some time. However, things should be fine once you get hold of the basics.
There are quite a few options available, but the three most popular tools are Audacity, Adobe Audition and GarageBand. Audacity is free for both PC and Mac. The Adobe tool is not free but if you have already purchased Photoshop, then Audition should be part of the package. As far as GarageBand is concerned, it comes with the Mac preinstalled. These tools help when interviewing guests in person.
However, if you would like to interview people who don’t reside in the same country, state or city as you, you would need Skype. Skype is available for both business and personal use. If you’re going to use Skype for podcasting, then creating a dedicated Skype account for the purpose is recommended, as adding different individuals and interviewing them can really mess up your personal Skype account.
Most laptops have an inbuilt microphone, but that comes in handy or seems usable only during Skype calls or video calling. For podcasting, you must invest in a standalone, high-quality microphone, which you can plug into your laptop for feeding audio into the recording software. Microphones are sold in different price brackets. The more you pay, the better the quality (usually). But for podcasting, you can make do with an inexpensive microphone. You may choose between the Rode Podcaster or Blue Yeti USB.
If these microphones are not in your budget, then you can go with inexpensive variants but should not mind a slight but tangible dip in audio quality. For podcasting, it’s recommended to not have a 2-in-1 microphone-headphone setup. In other words, don’t use your headset microphone, as the quality would be noticeably bad. A smartphone microphone could be used too. Most top-of-the-line smartphones come with good microphones. If you own a flagship iPhone or an Android, try out its microphone. That said, the output may still not be close to studio condenser microphones.
Like the microphone, your Internet connection is also not one of the features/requirements a laptop needs for podcasting. But since you would need access to the Internet for uploading your podcasts and updating your website, we must talk about Internet connection too. “Internet connection”, within this context, purely means broadband connection. This means the setup would entail a DSL, T1 or cable Internet connection.
Mobile Internet can work but it’s not recommended as it could present reliability issues. And if you’re going to upload large files consistently, then mobile Internet connection would also turn out expensive. Mobile Internet can practically be of use only if used as a temporary or backup setup.
The Internet is needed if you plan to share your podcasts with the general public through media hosting. Media hosts are websites that you sign up with and upload your episodes to. Once you have a show on the host, your listeners would be able to subscribe to it and download your content, if they wish to. This works like YouTube channel subscriptions work. Podcasts can be hosted for free and then there are paid media hosts too. If you’re really serious about uploading your episodes, a paid subscription is recommended.