From time to time, I am asked what hardware and software I use to produce my weekly radio feature, the "Into Gaming Minute." (Shameless plug time. The IG Minute airs each week on the radio show "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline." Time varies, but they usually put it in the third hour. The show is heard over XM radio, about 120 regular radio stations, shortwave radio, and the American Forces Radio Network.)
Because the system I use is so inexpensive, and works so well for recording voice, it would be IDEAL for someone who wanted to start a podcast. Thus, I thought I would share.
First, the microphone. The Blue Snowball. $99 for a simple USB microphone that plugs in to any Windows or Mac computer, and it sounds GREAT! I use microphones in the radio studios that cost ten times as much and don't sound any better. The Blue Snowball is awesome. Buy one. That is all.
Next, software. WavePad Master's Edition. Versions are available for both Windows and Mac OS X. This software is simple to use and extremely effective for editing audio files of ALL types. After I trim down my radio features to fit the time limit, I run a High-Pass Filter at 100 Hz and Normalize to 100%. Those two things eliminate microphone "popping" and give it a strong but not overdriven sound level. NCH Software sells this program for $38 USD but they'll charge you in Australian dollars. With the way our US dollar is tanking these days, you should be prepared for the exchange rate to drive your price up just a little bit.
Using either my laptop or my desktop PC, I plug in the mic, record the feature, edit it with WavePad, and upload it to the radio network's servers. I never record in a special room, just my den/office at home, but the quality is almost as good as when I'm sitting in the soundproofed studio.
If you want to start a podcast, or audio recording of any kind really, check out these two products. Terrific stuff and very affordable.