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Accessible podcast equipment

Introduction

Depending on the device you use, there are a several options for accessible recording of podcasts and voiceover cues. I would recommend first reading the following two “Basics” articles, written by Peter Bosher, before coming back here for more specific information about podcasting. 

Software: Windows and Mac options

Whether you are a Windows or Mac user, you may wish to consider installing Reaper, which is an inexpensive but fully-fledged digital audio workstation that is widely used in professional broadcast settings. With some configuration as described in that article, Reaper can be very screen reader friendly. 

As a completely free alternative, you may wish to try Audacity, although it is worth noting that screen reader support is limited on the Mac version. For more information, check out our previous article on Audacity

For Mac users, GarageBand and Logic Pro are also worth considering. However, the user interface of these apps is geared towards music recording. Logic Pro is also more expensive compared to other platforms. You can read more about GarageBand and Logic Pro in this Logic-Band article on our website. 

Pro Tools is another professional option, which is widely used within audio post-production settings. The Mac version of Pro Tools is generally screen reader friendly, and there are tutorials available.

Another software worth considering is GoldWave. GoldWave prides itself on having been around for the last 30 years, and improving as the years go by. It seems to be fully accessible, and is used by many. JAWS scripts are also available to download. In more recent years, they have released GoldWave Infinity, which they claim can be accessed on multiple different types of devices, including Mac laptops/smartphones. GoldWave Infinity is great for podcasting, and voiceover work alike. 

Software: mobile device options

For iOS users, the most obvious application to use would be GarageBand. However, the complexity of navigation using VoiceOver may be off-putting to some. Please see our previous Logic-Band article, which covers resources on making GarageBand more accessible.

It would be worth considering alternative apps/software such as Hokusai 2 or Ferrite. Both were developed by the same company (Wooji Juice Ltd), and are fully accessible and affordable, with the pro version of Hokusai costing £9.99, and the pro version of Feerite costing £29.99 —both are a one-time charge. Which one you decide to use is up to you, however, Ferrite is arguably better, specifically for recording podcasts, especially since Hokusai seems to lag and crash when editing longer recordings, but feel free to read this comparison between Ferrite and Hokusai, published by Wooji Juice themselves to help you decide.

Another app worth mentioning, particularly if you don’t have access to a microphone or you are on the go, is Backpack Studio. Although its editing functionality is less in-depth than other options here, the app is easy to use, and offers a remote guest recording feature, and realtime effects processing.

Hardware

The main devices to consider are microphones and audio interfaces. Standalone microphones come in many shapes and sizes, but generally all employ an analogue XLR output. Popular options include the Shure SM7B and Neumann TLM-103, though less expensive microphones can still capture very usable results.  

To connect the microphone to your computer or mobile device, you will need to use an audio interface. Audio interfaces include a ‘preamp’, which amplifies the output level of the microphone to a usable range, and an analogue-to-digital convertor, which samples the analogue signal into a digital format that your computer or mobile device can record. 

For ease of use and portability of setup, some podcast creators prefer to use a digital USB microphone, which will include a built-in preamp, analogue-to-digital convertor and simple audio interface within the body of the microphone itself. Popular options include the Audio-Technica ATR2100X, Shure MV7, RODE NT-USB and Blue Yeti.

Closing thoughts

Once you have recorded some material, you will be ready to edit it. Please read the following article as a starting point: Basics — Editing

We hope you’ve found this article useful. Please visit our Audio Production page for more information on some of the software packages mentioned in this article, and recording and editing in general.

Thanks for reading! 

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Zenny Jabeera

Zenny Jabeera

I’m a singer/songwriter, and have been singing and writing from a very young age. I’ve had professional vocal training, and I’m hoping to release more of my own music. Sound without site will help me to connect with other musicians such as producers and instrument players, and will allow me to expand my network. I’m also hoping to learn more skills to better myself.