The most fundamental item needed for making a podcast is an audio recording gadget. Obvious, of course – to create an audio recording, you need to capture your banter somehow!
Audio equipment comes in lots of types, from easy to use Dictaphones to full-quality expert sound recorders. Furthermore, your computer system could form part of your audio equipment – it’s easily feasible to create a regular podcast making use of just a laptop computer and it’s inbuilt mike.
For a really good outcome, it’s usually best to have, at a minimum, some kind of simple mobile audio recording gadget. Without a recorder that you can carry about with you, you’ll be stuck, chained to your home computer setup, for the majority of your podcast production. Specifically when you’re looking at recording a group, that’s frequently not the best option.
It’s worth investing more than just the minimum on your new audio equipment as the quality is really dependent on how much you spend. Even jumping above the fifty pound mark will normally take you in to the realm of high quality recorders, and it’s easy to spend a bit more than that if you make the effort!
For my lower cost machine, I go with the Sony IC Recorder (ICD-UX71). This sets you back around £60 to £70 and also presents a top quality feature set music for the price. It has a USB output on the base so you can easily plug it directly in to your laptop, and it has an extra mike outlet so you can easily plug a better quality mic in at a later date, if you determine that the internal one isn’t quite up to scratch.
For a more top end recording tool – greater quality sound and even more audio recording possibilities, you might consider the Roland R-05. It goes for about two times the price of the Sony, but I’ve used it a lot and think it’s an excellent bit of kit. The solid performance is undoubtedly better than the Sony, although to some it might only be recognizable when you examine them side by side, as both are such good quality that it’s hard to hear the difference otherwise.
The Roland is about £140 on Amazon and would certainly do the job for just about anyone, almost up to audio professional level.
Unlike the Sony, the Roland has a USB connector in the form of a cable, so you can plug it directly in to your system. Like the Sony, though, it has an outside mike outlet so you can easily plug in a much better external microphone if you decide to go even higher quality in future.
For the better device – higher quality audio and more features – you would definitely be looking at the Roland R-05. It just outperforms the Sony – as you would expect given the price difference. But, to be honest, as I mentioned earlier, it’s still a close race, unless you’re comparing them side by side.
If you’re new to pocasting, get yourself a Sony, see how you like it, and, if you’re still keen, you can upgrade in future. Good Luck!
For more info on Podcasting, I found a good resource over at The Podcast Host. Have a look at their guide on How to Podcast.