Build a Home Studio

podcast studio, build a home studio

It’s time to build your podcast studio.  Well, if you are interested in building a “recording studio quality” home studio for under $500 to start your podcast, everything you need to know is on this page.  Some things to note:

There are a lot of ways to build a home studio for podcasting

This is my way.  This is my studio and I stand behind the products below.  You can just as easily go out and buy a $30 USB mic and be done, but for me, I wanted higher end without breaking the bank.  I find it interesting that people still think you have to spend thousands to get professional quality.  You don’t.  And you will see with my studio.

“Recording studio quality” and what this means

“Wow…your studio sounds amazing!” Is a statement I have heard multiple times from people I do voiceover work for.  Then I send them a picture and tell them how much I spent…they’re baffled. When I built my home studio, I consulted with broadcast engineers and recording studio experts to help build out my studio.  I wanted (and needed) great quality for podcasting as well as voice-over work.  While you might not have a need for VO work, this studio gives you high-end studio quality for under $500.

A Good Computer

When I tell people that a good studio can cost less than $500, I am assuming you already have a computer. Whether you are a Mac person or PC, it doesn’t matter, as long as you have a computer that has decent RAM and a decent Hard Drive. Even at MP3, a lot of audio files will take up space.

A “Home” Studio that’s portable.

I decided that I wanted a studio that I could take with me if I needed to (I took it to Podcast Movement this year) that would maintain a high level of quality.  You might not need portability…until you do.  If you get the chance to lock in a high-profile interview but you have to go to them, you want to make sure your equipment is ready to go.

Links Below

These are affiliate links using Amazon.  I am doing this because everyone has affiliate links.  I will say again, these are my products that I use and I have a studio that I stand behind.

STUDIO BUILD OUT –

USB INTERFACE

After consulting with broadcast engineers, this piece of equipment is the key piece.  This allows you to plug in your mic (using XLR cables) into a device that creates a perfect sound.  This device also gives you 48V Phantom Power if you use a higher-end mic.  I use the Scarlett 18i8 because I wanted the 4 XLR inputs (for four mics) but the Scarlett 2i2 works just as well plus it’s USB powered for extra portability.

MICROPHONES

I am going to suggest THREE microphones you can use to start off.  These microphones are all good and serve specific needs.  They all work and get you started on a path to record your first episode.

HEIL PR-40

This is the microphone I used for most of the time working in radio.  This is a workhorse mic and I find that it’s the gold standard for podcasters.  While the price point is a little higher, it’s worth every penny.  You might not want to start with this mic and work up to it, but if you’ve got the budget, you can’t beat it’s quality.

SAMSON MTR 231

This is the mic I currently use.  While it is the first time I have used a Samson mic in my career, I have been very happy with it.  It is a Condenser mic (so it will pick up a lot of background noise if your room isn’t quiet) but it’s great for podcasting and doing VO work.  If you don’t plan on doing voice over work, you don’t need a condenser mic, but they can a real richness if used properly.

SHURE SM-48

Here’s the “steal” in the mics department.  This mic from Shure is a great little mic.  Perfect for you doing your show or for interviewing.  It’s “guts” are very similar to the higher-end Shure mics, but for around $30, this mic is a workhorse.  Also, if you look closely at the mics used in shows like The Voice and America’s Got Talent, you will see the slightly higher end, wireless version of this mic.  For the money, you can’t beat it.

MICROPHONE CABLES

As much as I look around at other “gurus” touting their home studio build outs, rarely (if ever) does anyone mention mic cables.  And this could be the difference between your studio sounding good and bad.  There is this thing called, “latency” when it comes to recording studios.  I can pretend to tell you everything there is to know about latency and distortion, but I am not an engineer. What I will tell you is if you don’t want an annoying “buzz” in the background, use good mic cables.  For the price, invest in a good mic cable.  I have used Monster cables for both my home studios and have found them to be great.

MIC BOOMS AND MIC STANDS

This is personal preference.  I use a floor stand (listed below) because I do most of my recording standing up. (As a coach…I recommend you stand to record…keeps energy up) This kind of mic stand also allows for sitting.  However, you might prefer sitting at your desk and a desk boom will work.  This is your preference and this isn’t expensive.

ADOBE AUDITION VS. AUDACITY

You will need audio editing software and I choose Adobe Audition.  Why?  Two reasons – it’s what I am used to and with a photographer wife and graphic designer son, having the Adobe CC suite is perfect.  Audacity will do the trick, but for $20/month, I am an Adobe fan.

PODCAST HOSTING

Use Libsyn.  They’re the best and they offer multiple options for service. I am sure you can find a good host in other services, but I am very happy with Libsyn and recommend them to all potential clients.  Plus, for $10-15 a month, I can be guaranteed that my show will always download and no servers will crash.

WORDPRESS SITES AND HOSTING

Themes are personal preference.  I like my theme and site from Organic Themes but their support has left a little to be desired.  You can look around for a theme that’s functional and fits your style and go for it…don’t overthink this part.  HOSTING – I have used BlueHost for years with other sites.  Love them…and their support is first-class.

WEB DESIGN AND GRAPHICS

If you can afford it, I strongly recommend purchasing some great stock images for web design and social media.  I used Shutterstock (Adobe CC has stock images as well) and paid their monthly subscription for two months.  When you consider you get 25 images a day, you can really stock up on images for all sorts of use.  It’s not cheap, around $250 a month, but you will have so many uses for it.

I prefer to do most of the website work myself so that I can learn how to do it, but if you are looking for complete build out, or finishing touches, I recommend MegansMind – this girl is a rockstar and can do what you need!

There you go…a studio you can build for under $500.  If you have any specific questions, please feel free to email me at shark@zensharkmedia.com and I will answer you right away.  Thanks!