How I Podcast (my podcast toolbox)

how I podcast

Over the last few months I have been getting questions from people about how I podcast, what equipment/programs/services I use. I wanted to write up a post detailing all of that.

First-if you are thinking about podcasting, the answer is YES. You should absolutely jump into this. If you are in ministry, I think it is an imperative to explore the format. Ask yourself the question “How can I greater influence people in my community with a podcast?”

My Podcast Toolbox

Podcasting is a pretty basic enterprise. All you need is something to capture the sound (mic and a recorder) and something to edit (software). Let me show you a cheap way to get into it (cheap), what I use and then I will let you know what the pro’s use.

Many people start out with a USB microphone and a free audio program called Audacity. Just plug it into your computer and start recording. If you have a Mac, with GarageBand, I still recommend Audacity. It is that much better. Here are a few options for a USB Microphone.

Blue Yeti
Blue Snowball
Audio-Technica ATR2100 (This is the HOT podcasting mic right now. It actually uses both USB and XLR)

What I Use:
I spent several years doing professional sound engineering and I even dabbled in opening up a recording studio. After my first few podcast episodes, I knew I needed to step up my game. What I currently use is a modified version of the “Ravenscraft Rig” (which I will link to below).

SM58 Microphone. This is the industry standard vocal microphone. For podcasting, a dynamic microphone (vs. a condenser) works much better. Many USB microphones are large diaphragm condensers. They work great for singing, guitar playing, etc…but not for spoken word.

Soundcraft mixer. I plug my microphone and iPad into the mixer. If I do a Skype interview, I also route the audio through the mixer. (NOTE: you need to order have a mixer with inserts for compression.)

Behringher Compressor: This is the secret sauce. I run my microphone and the outputs of the mixer through the compressor. It levels out my audio and gives it a broadcast punch.

Tascam Recorder: This is a flash based hard disc recorder. It records everything that goes through the mixer. It allows me to do the Productive Pastor “live”, with little to no editing needed in post-production. (EDIT: I recently bought the Zoom H6N. It was a substantial upgrade, but I produce so much different audio I needed the flexibility. If you want to get into the cadilliac of hard disc recorders-I highly recommend it. It can record 6 tracks at the same time, has AMAZING onboard microphones and can function as a stand-alone audio interface connected to a computer.)

I use my iPad to play all of the audio clips during both shows. It helps me make a seamless recording instead of tons of audio edits.

Software: Currently, I use Adobe Audition for final mastering and mp3 exporting. You could just as easily use Audacity.

When I record an episode of The Threshing Floor, I record my audio through my podcast rig. The other hosts use different options and send me a file with just their audio. I mix them all together in Audition and export the final mp3.

Hosting: I use Libsyn for both shows. For a minimal amount of money, Libsyn hosts the files and sends them to iTunes. There are other ways of doing this, but I love how Libsyn doesn’t limit the amount of downloads. If 1 podcast is downloaded or 1,09987,0987234,9007932, it costs me the same amount of money. They also offer a great embed code for the blog posts.

If you just want to produce a sermon podcast, I still recommend Libsyn. Just upload your sermon file instead of an individual show.

The Pro Rig:
You might be wondering how you can make podcasting more complicated than the equipment I just outlined! The fact is, it really isn’t. Professional podcasters use almost the same setup, just with nicer microphones and mixers. Cliff Ravenscraft (the Podcast Answer Man) uses and sells a very similar setup. I just modified it a little bit and I think I am getting around 85% of the quality the pro’s get, for a fraction of the cost. The great thing is, I can add piece by piece and slowly upgrade my whole setup.

This is what I use to podcast. If you have any question-feel free to ask!

  • Pingback: Why Pastors Should Podcast | Chad BrooksWhy Pastors Should Podcast()

  • Love this dude. One note: that Peavy MIxer link is still to the Blue Snowball :/

    So I’m looking at a $300-ish for the whole cheap rig?

    • yeah-I am having linking problems in wordpress. It is getting messy.

      but the answer is yes, you can do it cheaply with a good amount of quality. It’s all about a dynamic mic and compression.

  • Shannon

    Chad, is it possible to use a iphone mic?

    • Shannon-I have in the past for short things-but I wouldn’t do it in the long run. Podcasts are getting big enough to where people care about your audio quality and will quit listening if things are hard to hear. But for short clips or a quick interview I don’t think it is that big of an issue.

  • What do you use to record your sermons?

    • Hey Jason-We have a hard disc recorder that goes through our soundboard.