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Podcast Studio Setup: Home vs Rented? [5 factors to help you decide]

May 23, 2024 Deciphr AI
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The question of where to record your podcast can be as critical as the content itself. 

Believe it or not, the place you choose isn’t just a background detail. In fact, it’s what shapes the sound of your voice and the auditory experience of your listeners. 

Listeners even think speakers with low audio quality are less likeable, according to a study

Not everything can be “fixed in post”. So, do you convert a corner of your bedroom into a home studio, or do you shell out cash for a podcast studio rental

In this guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of both options, helping you make an informeddecision on your podcast studio setup.

What Do You Need to Set up a Podcast Studio?

Before you start dreaming of microphones and mixers, let's talk about the basics. These are often overlooked but are foundational to your podcast studio setup.

Budget

Setting up a studio is an investment. Costs can range from a few hundred dollars for a basic home setup to thousands for a professional-grade studio. 

To save, start small with essential items and upgrade as your podcast grows. Keep an eye out for bundle deals or second-hand equipment to stretch your budget further.

Time

Setting up a studio isn't a plug-and-play affair—it requires effort. From researching equipment to soundproofing your space, invest time into creating a space that meets your needs.

Space

The physical location of your podcast studio is important.

Consider the acoustics of the space and the potential for interruptions. And if you're thinking about a rented space, factor in travel time and accessibility.

How to Setup a Podcast Studio?

With the basics out of the way, let's get into your unique recording needs and the gear you should have, be it for a home podcast studio setup or a podcast studio rental.

Understanding Podcasting Needs

Building your podcast studio setup starts with understanding your needs. 

Are you a solo act, or do you have co-hosts and guests? Do you want a video option for that growing YouTube audience, or is audio your sole focus? The complexity of your setup will vary based on these factors.

Here’s a few examples to put things into context: 

  • Videocast: You'll need a space with good lighting, a backdrop, and a camera setup.
  • Multiple Co-hosts: A larger table, multiple microphones, and a mixer to handle several audio channels.
  • Remote Guests: A computer setup with stable internet, and software like Zencastr or SquadCast to ensure HQ recordings.

Podcast Studio Equipment List 

Equipping your studio with the right tools is like laying a brick—essential for building a dedicated podcast space. Here's what you'll need.

Microphone

A high-quality microphone is non-negotiable. A rule of thumb: The condenser mic is great for studio-quality sound, while a dynamic mic can be better for noisy environments. Here are 6 mic reviewers worth checking out to help you make a purchasing decision.

Headphones

Closed-back headphones allow you to monitor your audio in real-time without bleed-through into the mic.

Audio Interface

A good interface converts your mic’s analog signal into a digital one for your computer to understand. 

Recorder/Computer

Reliable recording software is the backbone of your setup, be it on a dedicated recorder or a computer. Don’t forget software like Audacity or Adobe Audition, too! 

Mixer

A mixer allows you to control levels and inputs on the fly. It’s especially nifty for podcasts with multiple audio sources.

Acoustic Treatment

Foam panels, bass traps, and diffusers can greatly improve the acoustics of your space, leading to better sound quality.

Consider this list your essential checklist if you’re going the home studio route. Or, keep these gear in mind when considering options for podcast studio rentals.

Home vs Rented Space: Which One to Choose? 5 Factors Before You Decide

Home vs Rented Space

Choosing between a home setup and a podcast studio rental is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Let's weigh up 5 key factors to help you decide.

Setup Cost

Costs should always be part of the equation.

Home setups mean you'll slowly build your arsenal of tech. A home studio is typically a one-time investment. Buying the gear you need can be expensive upfront, but it’s yours for good. 

On the flipside, rented spaces come with a recurring cost. You need to consider your budget and how often you’ll be recording.

Keep in mind: Cost isn't just about money—it's also about the time and effort you'll invest. Renting might be pricier, but it also comes with the bells and whistles you need with zero setup time. 

Just a food for thought! 

Sound Quality & Acoustic

Your listeners are here for the crystal-clear sound. 

Podcast studio rentals are acoustically treated, offering pristine sound quality right off the bat. You're more likely to get those crisp, clean records without the echo of your laundry room. 

Home setups require more DIY soundproofing.  You might need to get creative with blankets and foam to dampen echoes. But with the right tweaks, you can come close to professional quality.

Flexibility & Convenience

Podcasting is a long-term gig, so consider which option best fits your routine.    

If you're juggling podcasting with a day job, a home studio lets you record whenever a burst of inspiration—or free time—strikes.  Recording at home also means you don't need to commute.  

Renting requires planning and could clash with your personal schedule. There's also travel time to factor in. On the bright side, it does provide a dedicated, distraction-free environment.

Podcast Studio Equipment

Are you ready to geek out on gear?  

Home setup means building your arsenal of tech can take time. You'll be buying and assembling your gear piece by piece, which can be daunting to non-techie folks.

On the upside, a podcast studio setup at home means you can choose whatever fits your needs and budget.

Renting places you in a candy store of high-end equipment, all included in the price of admission. But, if you're particular about your equipment, you might need to bring your own tools.

Networking

No man (or podcaster) is an island. You need guests, sponsors, mentors, and a supportive community to help you get by.

At home, you’ll need to work a bit harder to build that community. But nothing's impossible and you can definitely find your crowd online, too. 

Renting can put you in the same room as other podcasters and professionals in your city. Still, not a lot of podcast rental studios have an active community, so be sure to do your research on that.

Top 3 Pros and Cons Of Setting up a Podcast Studio at Home

Remember those five factors? Keep that in mind as we get into the nitty-gritty of a home podcast studio setup.

Top 3 Pros and Cons Of Setting up a Podcast Studio at Home

Pros

Cost-effective

Setting up a home studio isn't chump change. With the average podcast studio costing between $2,000 to $5,000, it's an investment without a doubt. But once that's done, you're set for the next five to 10 years. Over time, investing in your home setup pays off. 

Seamless Experience

With a podcast studio at home, you have full control of your schedule. No more scrambling to book slots or bearing the brunt of rush hour traffic. This level of ease can get you into a state of flow.

If you’re feeling energetic, you can jump straight to editing your episode. You can even get your marketing work done in 7 minutes with Deciphr AI.

Customizable at Any Time

Design and upgrade as you like. Want mood lighting for the vibes? Go for it. If you're particular about gear, add it to your cart and watch it arrive at your studio. A home setup also offers leeway for change—if you want to start doing video, you can customize for that, too.

Cons

Limited Space

Not everyone has room for a dedicated podcast studio setup. Your "studio" might also be where you sleep. You'll need to strike a balance between work and rest. That’s easier said than done.

Hard to Soundproof

Not a lot of people know how to setup a podcast studio at home. Soundproofing alone can be like trying to silence a bustling coffee shop with a pair of earmuffs. It takes research and diligence to get it right.

Domestic Distractions

Ever tried to record a deep, philosophical episode while your dog relentlessly squeaks their favorite toy? Home life doesn't pause for recording.

Top 3 Pros and Cons Of Renting a Podcast Studio

Next, let’s talk about the upsides and downsides to a podcast studio rental.

Top 3 Pros and Cons Of Renting a Podcast Studio

Pros

Professional Environment

The acoustics are perfect, the mics are set, and the soundproofing is impeccable. It's a plug-and-play scenario. Walk into a rented studio, and you're equipped with the best. 

Networking Opportunities

A rental studio is like a co-working space for podcasters. The person you share a nod with today could be your next big interview guest.

No Maintenance Needed

Equipment upkeep and studio maintenance aren’t on your plate. You can focus purely on recording A-grade episodes. 

Cons

Higher Costs

Rental fees can add up, especially if you’re a frequent podcaster. While renting offers a lot, it also costs a lot. It's not just the session fee; it's also the commute and the coffee you buy on the way.

Commute Time

Depending on the studio's location, you might find yourself stuck in traffic, watching precious recording time tick away. A lot of studios don’t allow rescheds or refunds, either.

Scheduling Constraints

You're at the mercy of the studio’s calendar. You can't just record when the mood strikes. You have to book in advance and sometimes compete for prime time slots.

What is the Best Place to Setup Your Podcast Studio?

Deciding on the best place for your podcast studio is a game of details. Let's break it down.

Home Studio

If a home studio is calling your name, think strategy. Start by scouting the house. That cozy corner in your study or the alcove beneath the stairs could be potential goldmines for sound. 

Test the acoustics—clap your hands, snap your fingers, or grab your mic and do some test recordings. Listen for echo. Is your voice bouncing off the walls like a rubber ball? That's a no-go. You want a soft, muted sound. Think walk-in closet, not bathroom.

You also want to look for the quietest spots. Can you record at any time without a car horn or a barking dog in the background?

Rented Space

If you're all about that crisp, professional sound, renting is worth a look. But be smart about it. 

Consider the logistics: How far is the studio from your home or office? Is it a breezy walk or a grueling commute? Drive or take the train to the studio at different times of the day to get an average. 

Remember, your slot is sacred. If you're late, you lose that time. And time is your most valuable resource. So, plan ahead. Aim to arrive relaxed, not rushed. Your recordings will thank you for it.

Which Podcast Studio Setup Is Really Right for You?

Bottom line: The right podcast studio setup is one that aligns with your goals, budget, and preferences. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but by considering the factors discussed, you're all set to make an informed decision. 

Whether you decide to cozy up at home or go pro with a rented space, your podcasting adventure is uniquely yours. Choose the path that feels right, and let your voice be heard.

If you want to maximize each and every one of your recordings, consider uploading them to Deciphr AI to get reels, audiograms, and marketing content that’ll last you a week or two.