Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The best podcast and live streaming gear (2020): mics, media, and more

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Although it is increasingly possible to record podcasts or broadcast live audio on smartphones, it’s often faster, easier, and generally more professional to create and deliver content on a personal computer. The good news is, it doesn’t matter if you have a PC or a Mac, and the vast majority of modern laptops and desktops are more than fast enough for the audio tasks at hand.

However, if you plan to stream live video or games from a PC, you will need a powerful computer that allows you to both play the game and run your streaming software. If you plan to record or edit video, you will also need a fast computer for rendering.

Here is our favorite gaming PCs right now, which are all up to the task. If you want a MacBook, check out our guide that breaks down, which is fine for you. Also consider build your own pc– it takes a bit more work, but you get what you pay for. But if you’re just doing audio recording and processing, one of the our favorite laptops (or really all modern computer) it will be fine.

Audio equipment you will need

Audio is the most important component. Here’s what you’ll need to make sure your podcast or stream sounds the best, from microphones to the right headphones.

USB microphone

Photograph: blue

Most of the built-in mics on headphones, phones, and laptops do the job for Zoom calls and meetings, but they don’t sound as good for podcast stories or feeds. The easiest way to upgrade your audio is to use a USB microphone. These mics plug directly into your computer and let you record audio with surprisingly high fidelity given their ease of setup.

There are a lot of good ones, but also a sea of ​​weird, off-brand models on retailers like Amazon. Avoid them. My favorites come from Blue and JLab Audio. Entry-level mics like the Blue snowball ($ 70) and JLab Talk Go ($ 49) are good options for beginners.

You can also get closer to true studio-quality sound if you opt for high-end models like the Yeti Blue X ($ 170) or the Jlab Talk Pro ($ 149).

An audio interface

Photography: Focusrite

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