I’ll admit, when I first got into podcasting, I was overwhelmed by the idea of setting up a studio. My background in radio and music made me think I’d need a state-of-the-art space loaded with tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear.
I just wanted to record a show, man. Not build a whole recording studio in my basement – let alone spend the money. Fortunately, I remembered a phrase common to us in the broadcasting and music space: if it sounds good, it IS good. “Sounding good” doesn’t depend on fidelity. A high-fidelity recording of a lousy performance is lousy. An imperfect recording of a good performance can still easily “sound good”.
I realized, with the right home podcast studio ideas and some creativity, I didn’t have to spend my life’s savings. These days, an investment of only a couple hundred bucks can give you the ability to cleanly capture audio at home, at the office, or on the go.
Related: Podcast Gear Budget Challenge
The costs of renting a studio every week/month can add up fast. When your friends stop by, and you absolutely need a space to record, wouldn’t you rather have it ready?
Don’t worry. It’s not as hard or expensive as it seems. Just follow these home podcast studio ideas to get started.
1. DIY Podcast Studio: Soundproof Your Space
Yep. Of all the podcast studio design ideas, this is the important one right here.
I’ve realized that splurging on the best mic and equipment won’t make a shred of difference if my space isn’t soundproofed.
For anyone working on a budget, follow these tricks to DIY a podcast studio:
- Start with a dedicated space – the smaller, the better – to “contain” the sound.
- Add weather stripping to the front door.
- Line the hard floors with area rugs or blankets (and ceilings if neighbors like to vacuum at the perfect time).
- Prop old mattresses against the walls (but please don’t dig them out of the trash just for this).
- Hang thick curtains in front of the door.
- Add a draft stopper to the bottom of the door.
- Hang soundproof curtains over the windows or install clear window soundproofing inserts.
- Hang artwork, tapestries, or blankets over the walls.
- Buy acoustic panels. Really, they’re not that much money and the value you receive in relation to the little money that you spend is off the charts. I bought these foam absorbing panels and glued them to these foam core boards using this spray adhesive. It was an inexpensive, fun project that exponentially tightened up my room. They look cool too!
2. Podcast Studio Equipment
Now it’s time to add some equipment to your home podcast studio design. We put together a whole list of home podcast studio ideas for equipment, so we won’t dig too deep here.
Since we’re talking DIY podcast studio equipment, let’s go over the basic must-haves that work best for beginners on a budget.
Microphone: Microphones are definitely the most expensive pieces of podcast studio equipment – but for good reason.
The bad news is multiple mics and a simple mixer like this one are a necessity if you’re recording with multiple people. The good news is this USB mic includes a built-in condenser, pop filter, and everything else for a great price.
Podcasting starter bundles like this are also readily available. Find one that best suits your needs.
Headphones: I’m gonna warn you right now: You aren’t going to like it, but listening to yourself as you record is necessary. Sorry, those Airpods or earbuds won’t cut it. Buy some closed-back, over-the-ear headphones. Even an inexpensive set of headphones will work. I’ve used these for podcasting, radio and voiceover work for years. Pro tip: use them for music listening as well.
Pop filter: Budget podcasters don’t even have to worry about spending money on a pop filter until they’re ready because it’s easy to make one entirely out of paper. Yup. Brilliant, right?
3. Podcast Studio Furniture
Now that we’ve gotten the technical stuff out of the way let’s jump into the fun part: podcast studio furniture!
It might seem like a perfect idea to move your most comfortable office chair to the DIY podcast booth but think over this decision carefully. Does it make fart noises when you move around? Squeak? Rock back and forth on uneven legs?
If so, it won’t work for your home podcast studio ideas.
As far as a podcast desk goes, something round or oval-shaped is ideal because those shapes work well for encouraging conversation. You want to be close enough to your guests to maintain an environment suited for a conversation, but far enough away to isolate each microphone from picking up unintended noises. If my voice is being picked up by my mic AND the guest mic, I’d need to make an adjustment. One voice, one mic.
Tuning a room to capture audio correctly is far easier than fixing it in post-production.
4. Essential Podcast Software
I always see newbie podcasters overlook this part. They assume that free audio software is readily available online – not so!
Once the recording is complete, comprehensive software to edit and layover sound is critical. Now, I’m not saying you need something insanely difficult to use with a ton of details. It should absolutely be easy to use, but it should also provide the necessary podcasting tools.
Audacity offers free software to download – but it doesn’t include access to licensed music, effects, and other podcast-specific tools. Podcave does this at no extra cost to subscribers, and we even provide a place to upload and store your podcasts once you’ve got a finished product on your hands.
Chances are, your laptop came pre-loaded with some audio editing software. I use a “Late 2013” model MacBook Pro and it came with Garage Band. I’d use it if I had to, but I’ve been using Adobe Audition before it was Adobe Audition. Shout out to my Cool Edit Pro users!
5. Other Handy Podcast Studio Design Ideas
Of course, this stuff isn’t essential, but it can definitely come in handy. Over the years, I’ve noticed it’s the little things that help me record seamlessly.
- A wall-mounted TV, Chromebook, or tablet for recording Skype calls with guests (and actually seeing them while they talk). You likely already have this stuff. Use it!
- A Chromebook for each host and guest. Why do I keep saying Chromebooks? They’re cheap, and you really only need them to access the internet in a pinch when the conversation demands a Google search to identify that ONE song or fact you can’t think of. Any laptop will work.
- Coffee pot. Need I say more? Just don’t make the coffee as you record. Unwanted noise.
- Have glasses or bottles of water handy for both you and guests.
- Tripod for a phone to record the show and upload it to YouTube.
Put Your Home Podcast Studio Ideas into Action
The most important thing to have is a dedicated space. Just start with a soundproofed space and start building up from there. We have a highly-successful podcave user that records in his closet and his audio is airtight!!
Don’t overthink the equipment. Rig anything you want to your heart’s content – if it sounds crystal clear, that’s what matters!