That is a good question. We talk all the time about microphones and mixers, software and sound effects. But how much do we talk about the computer you are using to make your podcast? Not that much.
So let’s tackle that issue.
What is the Lowest End Computer you can use for a Podcast?
For this question, we are talking about an audio podcast. If you want to try and do video on an old machine, then good luck. You’ll have way too many problems.
As for the audio, recording is very low-key. I could probably pick up an old Pentium machine and install software to record with. The key is if you want to do more than just record your voice.
Some audio programs can keep voices separate. That way, post production could fix any problems of either voice.
The biggest thing to make sure of: Your sound card. If you can record audio at 24 bit, you will be able to capture the quality. It’s similar to compression in an MP3. The higher the bit rate, the better the sound. A sound card at 24 bit, 96,000 khz will collect the most data from the recording. Of course, the quality is completely up to the gear you own.
Does an iPad Record at 24 bit?
The 3rd generation iPad can. You would want to use a microphone that could also support 24 bit recording (for best performance). However, once it’s recorded, make sure it doesn’t convert to send, because it could knock the audio down to 16 bit recording.
If you don’t care about high fidelity in your podcast (after all, you will compress it to a 128 kbps MP3), then this nit-pick might be null for you.
Android tablets can vary on their audio capabilities. Read the specs to make sure what you are getting.
Optimal computer for Recording
If you have a machine with an i3 processor, 2 GB of memory, a decent hard drive, and just recording 1 voice – you will be fine. If you decide to multi-track record, then you will need a beefier machine. A $500 laptop or desktop could easily be used for podcasting.
What about Video Podcasting?
That gets into another can of worms. Now you are adding a video card into the mix.
If you are streaming, that same $500 computer might work fine. uStream or Livestream recordings work best when your data push is low.
If you are recording to something like Adobe Premier Pro, you will want to add a lot of power to your machine. Multiple core processors and a larger video card. More memory, too.
What about PC vs Mac for Podcasting?
There is no advantage to this. Mac and PC (with Windows) have programs you can install to podcast – some of them are free. Both Mac and Windows have video editing software. The biggest issue at this point is price. Macbook supports 24 bit audio, while some PC machine might have 16 bit soundcards installed. Best option for PC is to get a machine with either 24 bit audio, or no sound card – which you can then use an external USB or Firewire device (once again, PC must have Firewire ports).
Podcasting can happen from an old Radio shack tape recorder, all the way up to your top of the line PC. You might need more power if you do more than record audio. Otherwise, that PC stuffed in the corner of the closet could easily become the podcast machine.
Although, if you are serious about your podcast, you might want to have a more up-to-date machine.