Do I Need an Audio Interface for Podcasting? (Explained for beginners)

By Bob •  Updated: 05/06/21 •  9 min read

When you’re podcasting, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to audio.

It would help if you had a good microphone, a recording program on your computer, and an audio interface for podcasting.

Suppose you have all three of those things in place already, then great! But if not, here’s what you should know about the importance of an audio interface for podcasting before making your purchase decision.

Is an audio interface required for podcasting?

Yes, it is one of the essential things for podcasting is audio.

It would help if you had a good microphone, a recording program on your computer, and an audio interface to connect them all.

An audio interface allows you to plug in microphones and instruments so that they can be recorded digitally through your computer’s system.

The sound quality will depend on how much money you spend. Still, even the cheapest interfaces are better than simply using a USB mic or laptop’s internal mic without any external hardware.

Many people might think it isn’t necessary to get one when starting small with podcasting because it may seem like too big of an expense at first glance – if this sounds like something that applies to you, then keep reading!

Audio interfaces can be a worthwhile investment if you’re looking to record music or podcasts professionally.

Still, they also make it easier for someone who doesn’t have the money or time to invest in more expensive equipment. 

They can capture audio sources that would otherwise require another microphone and put them through your computer’s system, saving space and reducing clutter. 

If you decide podcasting is something you want to do long-term, you might want to invest in an audio interface because it can be used for more than just podcasting.

How do I record a podcast using an audio interface?

  1. Get a microphone, such as the Audio Technica AT 2020 XLR Cardioid Condenser Microphone or Shure SM57
  2. Connect your audio interface to your computer via USB. If you’re using an external audio interface with preamps and inputs for gear like guitars and synths, use a digital audio cable instead of going through analog connections (which could introduce noise)
  3. Open up GarageBand on Mac or Audacity on PC
  4. Highlight all the tracks in turn by clicking them one at a time
  5. Click “Create Podcast” before saving it in your podcast directory
  6. Click “Publish”

Will an audio interface make my voice sound better for podcasting?

An audio interface will not make your voice sound better for podcasting, but it does have some benefits.

An audio interface will provide you with more options in terms of connectivity and outputs when creating podcasts.

For example, many interfaces offer XLR inputs that are very useful if you’re recording two people simultaneously or want a mix-minus feed (this means that one person’s mic gets recorded on another track).

The best part about an audio interface is that it can be plugged into headphones – this means no feedback issues from other sources like monitors or speakers!

What recording equipment do I need to podcast?

An audio interface is not the only piece of equipment you need to podcast.

You also want a microphone (manually recording yourself with just a laptop does work, but the sound is not enjoyable for the listener).

What kind of mic do I get? A condenser or dynamic? What about XLR vs. USB mics? What are their pros and cons?

These questions all depend on your budget for the podcasting project.

If you don’t have much money, then it’s more likely that you’ll use an inexpensive USB-powered mic like this one: [The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+].

Are USB mics good for podcasting?

USB microphones are becoming more popular because they’re convenient, easy to use, and affordable.

If you want your audio quality to be professional level then it’s recommended that you invest in a USB microphone like the Blue Yeti Pro which has multiple settings for sound quality.

One good reason why a USB mic is popular is that they are inexpensive, which makes them an easy choice for podcasting.

There is some debate over whether using a USB mic has advantages in quality over other types of microphones because it doesn’t use analog circuitry (which introduces noise).

Do USB microphones need software?

Yes, they do.

The audio from a USB microphone is raw and needs to be processed with software.

The most common type of software used for podcasting is DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) like Adobe Audition or Logic Pro X.

These work on your computer by editing sound files, recording audio directly into the program, applying filters and effects then exporting it as an MP3 file which can, in turn, be uploaded to any hosting service you prefer including SoundCloud etc.

The USB interface is only used for plugging into a computer and converting analog sound into digital audio signals that can be recorded by software programs such as Audacity or GarageBand on Macs, or Adobe Audition on Windows computers.

USB mic vs XLR mic

One of the most common questions I get from podcasters is: “Should I use a USB mic or an XLR microphone?” This can be answered with one word – depends.

It really boils down to what you want your podcasting set up to look like and how much money you have available for equipment.

Usually, if someone asks this question they are just starting out in podcasting and don’t know where to start as far as gear goes.

I always recommend that new podcasts start off by using a USB mic because it’s cheaper than an XLR mic (assuming both mics sound good) but still provides great audio quality for recording narration only type shows such as interview podcasts, storytelling style podcasts, educational programs, etc…

What are the benefits of using an audio interface with a microphone?

The benefit of using an audio interface is it allows you to record a podcast without the need for other equipment.

Some audio interfaces come with software, so they will enable you to do editing and mixing on your computer.

Some features that are included in some audio interfaces include headphone connections that avoid feedback, pre-amplifiers for increased volume control, and phantom power for condenser microphones.

There may be additional add-ons like MIDI ports or ADAT light pipe connectors, depending on what type of sound card you have installed on your computer already.

The cost can vary widely from under $100 up to over $1000 based on the quality of components used and how many inputs there are available such as XLR microphone jacks, vocals, a USB microphone should do the trick.

– If you need two mic inputs: To record vocals and one instrument at once, an audio interface with a stereo input might be more appropriate for podcasting purposes.

– If you have plans to record instruments or other people’s voices in addition to your voice: You may want something like an XLR microphone preamp that has phantom power so it can handle both types of microphones (XLRs are typically used by musicians).

-If you’re recording multiple sources simultaneously and plan on doing some mixing and editing yourself, for podcasting purposes, using software is sufficient, but if you already use Pro Tools or Logic Studio as part of your workflow, then investing in their hardware would make sense.

-If you want to record at the same time as a video camera: Look for an audio interface that comes with two inputs so you can plug in both your microphone and the output from your camera’s mic – or if possible, use a mixer instead of an audio interface.

Benefits of podcasting without equipment 

You’ll only need one input (your voice) which will be significantly cheaper than multiple inputs such as microphones and speakers.

If you do not care about editing, later on, this may be enough for what you need!

With some software programs like Garageband available for free on most computers, it is relatively simple to set up recordings with no extra gear involved.

This also means there are fewer pieces of equipment to buy or manage.

You will not need to worry about making your podcast available for streaming online, a complex and lengthy process that requires paying for hosting services, registering domains, etc.

Recording audio files on the computer saves you from carrying heavy equipment to record “on the go”.

This also means you won’t have to deal with sound quality issues such as background noise when recording outside of your home studio!


The answer here really depends on what type of podcasting setup you’re trying to create – if all you want is an easy way to capture voice recordings at home without any post-production editing, then there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be enough.

If, however, like most podcasters, you are using a podcast as an audio blog to promote your business and want the best sound quality possible, then you’ll need to invest in expensive equipment.

The next step is figuring out what your needs are as a podcaster – how many microphones do you need?

Do you have any plans for recording instruments or vocals (which may require special equipment)? What kind of computer resources will the audio interface need access to?

This list should help get your thinking started deciding which type of audio interface best suits your podcasting needs!

If you need a single mic input: For podcasting, starting with just one microphone and not expecting to record instruments or vocals, the Behringer UMC204HD Audio Interface is probably your best bet.

The next step is figuring out what your needs are as a podcaster – how many microphones do you need?

This list should help get your thinking started deciding which type of audio interface best suits your podcasting needs!

If you only plan to use one mic at a time and don’t expect that number to ever-increasing, this would be worth looking into.