Equipment for your podcast production
Product Know-How 29.04.2020
Podcasts are in like never before. Across all age groups, this medium is becoming one of the most popular pastimes of the current era. Demand is huge – and so is supply. If you want to actively break into the podcast business, you need inspiration, a talent for speaking, and the right equipment. Here are a few tips for making your podcast production a real success.
Good things take time: the German podcast culture
It’s remarkable to watch the rebirth of a near-forgotten medium: the podcast. For years, podcasts languished, overshadowed by massive video streaming services, but then – probably due to the excess of binge-watching – they really took off around 2015. That was about 15 years after the first podcast was made.
There is a lot of interest in podcasts: According to one study, one in four Germans, or 26%, listens to one or more podcasts. This level of demand means there is fertile ground for the diverse range of podcasts from Germany. News, mysteries, knowledge, comedy, music, or sports – a whole host of podcasts are flourishing.
And successes like this follow an unwritten rule: “Where there is a success, there must also be an award.” And that’s why, on March 19, 2020, the very first German Podcast Award will be given out. It’s not just well deserved; it also has the added benefit of providing a quick overview of the wide range of podcasts available in Germany. After all, who would know right off the bat how many podcasts there are about music? Or sports?
Content is king
Content is king, and nowhere is that more true than with podcasts. Your key story – the central theme of your podcast – should provide enough material to discuss. That doesn’t mean the whole subject has to be dealt with in a single episode. Listeners actually expect a certain continuity, with multiple episodes. And the saying that “content is king” also has a mundane technical meaning that is especially common in the radio sector. Longer pauses make listeners think there is a problem with their receiver, or they might change stations right away. This is less of an issue with TV.
It is not uncommon for people to produce their own podcasts. A one-man show means less complexity, full control, and less equipment. But bringing partners or guests on board makes sense when the topic is supposed to be covered on a broader basis or considered from different perspectives. That doesn’t make a podcast less entertaining – quite the opposite, in fact!
How to make a successful podcast: suggested accessories
First off, all you actually need to make a podcast is a microphone and recording software. And yes, choosing the right microphone might be a higher priority than buying the rest of the accessories. The choice between a USB microphone and a traditional XLR wired microphone with audio interface isn’t just a matter of sound quality, but also a philosophical question. A USB microphone definitely keeps costs down.
Yes, in many cases all it takes to record a podcast is a microphone. But hey, in theory all it takes to play soccer is a ball, too. Then again, who plays soccer without cleats? With that in mind, let us present a couple of accessories:
#1 Mic Stands
The very first accessory we’d like to suggest keeps your hands free. To make sure your arms don’t get tired during recording while eliminating unnecessary noises from handling the mic and making sure you are always at the same distance from the microphone (which you will definitely appreciate during final mixing), we offer a range of potentially suitable microphone stands. Depending on your mobility needs and the space available at your recording site, you’re sure to find the right stand in our product range.
For flexible users:
Do you like to visit your features in person to record an episode of your podcast? Want to supply new content to your followers even when you’re on vacation? Then this compact tabletop stand is a real hit. The stand is just 23 cm long when folded and fits into any backpack. It weighs in at just 410 grams, making it a perfect travel companion. Fun fact: That’s lighter than most large diaphragm microphones. 😉
For those who like to be prepared:
For the utmost in authenticity, you try to record your podcast as an uncut version. To make sure this works smoothly and you don’t lose your train of thought, you’ve written your concept down. In these situations, the 25995 table stand really scores points. Its flat base makes the stand a perfect match for your notes. The boom arm is even more versatile, adjusting to your recording preferences, such as seat position and height. Plus, it really looks great!
For the professionals:
Incidentally, “podcast” is a combination of “pod” (the devices used back then, such as iPods) and “broadcast.” The last microphone stand we’d like to introduce is familiar from radio. Microphone arms can be attached to the edge of the table with a simple clamp. They are impressive for their high degree of flexibility. Since the arm can move in almost any direction, you can record your podcast in any position desired. It doesn’t matter whether you record your podcast on, under, or next to the table.
#2 Monitor stands
Once you wrap up your episode, the next step is to satisfy yourself about the mastered sound. Near field monitors like those used in a studio are a popular alternative when it comes to depicting the sound as accurately as possible. Monitor stands help you adjust your monitors even more precisely to your listening position. This is especially important when it comes to the seat position, meaning the listening angle and seat height. What is known as acoustic decoupling is an especially important factor. Speaker stands prevent vibrations from the speaker box from passing to the table. In the case of the K&M monitor stands, this is achieved by four rubber pads on the underside of the base plate. Acoustic decoupling is the only way to reach a valid judgment about the sound.
#3 Headphone table stand
Podcasts are a good solution for a number of everyday situations. From taking the train to commuting by car or flying to a vacation destination, more and more people are picking up their headphones for entertainment from the host of a podcast. Headphones are an important factor during production, too, if the people involved in the discussion are communicating virtually. Plus, they are a common alternative to near field monitors. To keep your headphones working fine for a long time, you should be sure to use a stand. It keeps your headphones safe and always within reach.
Last but not least, we’d also like to introduce an accessory for your microphone. The Popkiller is a foam filter stretched over a plastic ring and attached to the mic stand using a gooseneck and clamp. When a person speaks, currents of air are released. These currents can cause undesirable noises when they hit the microphone diaphragm. The thin filter used in the Popkiller slows these currents, enabling uniform sound.
All in all, you don’t need much gear for a podcast. Still, you shouldn’t skimp on accessories. They make both on-air time and subsequent fine-tuning of your recording software easier. Accessories also keep your products running smoothly for longer, so your hobby is more enjoyable.
Have fun! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or suggestions. We’re here to help!
And by the way, do you ever get hooked on a podcast and have to listen to it all the time? I asked my colleagues about their favorite podcasts. Jochen, Online Marketing Manager at K&M, is enjoying a podcast called “Lage der Nation” and the Online Marketing Rockstar Podcast. And since he is a soccer fan, he can’t miss the Eintracht podcast, which features news about the Frankfurt team. André, the graphic designer at König & Meyer, likes to listen to podcasts during his commute. He didn’t set out to find a specific podcast. Instead, he just listens to whatever interests him at the time.
As for me, I’m all about entertainment. Gemischtes Hack and Podkinski are two of my favorites. I also like the Tagesschau “Mal angenommen” podcast, and Herzrasen, which is about soccer, my all-time favorite.