Freeware Solutions for Building Your Podcasting Studio

Starting your first podcast can be daunting. Perusing microphones and equipment, while fun, can be disheartening as the cost quickly becomes prohibitive. But one need not get discouraged, as it is possible to get started with a very small (or no) budget. Many of the things you will need can be obtained for free and in this article we’ll show you where to find the tools you need. 

When it comes to microphones you can be looking at spending anywhere from 10s of dollars to 1000s, but the cell phone in your pocket already has a pretty decent mic built-in, and it’s good enough to get you started. Most cell phones will also have a built-in recording app, and there are plenty you can download for free. If using these go into the settings and make sure to set the sample rate and bit depth as high as possible.

Once you have made your recording it’s time to edit the recording into the beautiful finished product that will be your podcast. Fortunately from here on out everything you’ll be needing can be downloaded for free, and many of the tools we’ll be discussing are powerful and versatile. 


Digital Audio Workstations are where all of your editing will take place (they can do much more than this, but that is for a later article). You’ve probably heard of DAWs such as Protools or Logic. These programs are great and if you can afford them you’re in business. However, there are several freeware DAWs that will do the trick just fine. 

Audacity is a robust freeware DAW that is a perfect place to begin and will serve most of your needs. It also has the advantage of being easy to learn, and while outside the scope of this article there are a wealth of tutorials and articles about using this powerful software. I recommend reading the manual before getting started (as with all DAWs) and if you really want to do a deep dive it is also possible to learn Nyquist (programming language) and write your own plugins. 

Audacity can be downloaded for free here:

(Note: While Audacity has been stable and safe for many years, recently some security issues have raised concerns with the latest version, older versions should be fine – find our more here

Reaper is another great DAW that can be downloaded for a free 60 day evaluation. Reaper serves many of the same functions as Audacity with the added advantage that it is also capable of MIDI. If you plan on making music for your podcast Reaper is a great option because of the MIDI function. If you happen to code in Python – Reaper is also capable of integration and you can code and customize your own software.

The Reaper trial can be downloaded for free here:

PLUGINS and other tools

Once you learn the ropes of your DAW you will probably want to use audio effects plugins to help shape and clean up the sound your recordings. Audacity comes with a great suite of effects plugins and generators (mainly used for synthesis). Beyond the ones that come built-in with the program an additional bundle of plugins can be downloaded here:

Another particularly useful tool for cleaning up vocal recordings is the Spitfish de-esser from Digital Fish Phones. De-essers help eliminate sibilance, lispiness, and smakiness – all of which can improve the quality of your recording.  The same company also makes a freeware compressor and gate which you may find useful. You can download all of them here:

If you are looking for more free audio tools check out for all kinds of software that you may find useful, from effects plugins to virtual instruments. 


Once you’ve recorded and edited your podcast it’s time to release it into the world. There are a variety of hosting platforms, many of which have monthly fees. To get started for free is a perfect solution, however this site will not connect you to podcast directories such as itunes, googleplay etc. Despite this downfall it is still worth hosting your podcast on this platform, as the more places your podcast is available the more potential listeners will find you.

Podomatic has a free plan to get you started and can connect you with the most popular podcast directories. It is worthwhile to go through the process of setting these up as the majority of your listens will occur through the directories. This last step can be a bit tricky at first but is essential to getting your podcast to the widest possible audience.

Eventually, if you stick with podcasting you’ll probably want to upgrade your studio. But don’t let lack of funds stop you from creating your first show. The above mentioned tools are all free and are more than enough to get you started. 

Jean-Paul L. Garnier

Jean-Paul L. Garnier lives and writes in Joshua Tree, CA where he is the owner of Space Cowboy Books, a science fiction bookstore, independent publisher, and producer of Simultaneous Times podcast. In 2020 his first novella Garbage In, Gospel Out was released by Space Cowboy Books and in 2018 Traveling Shoes Press released Echo of Creation, a collection of his science fiction short stories. He has also released several collections of poetry: In Iudicio (Cholla Needles Press 2017), Future Anthropology (currently being translated into Portuguese), and Odes to Scientists (audiobook - Space Cowboy Books 2019). He is a two time Elgin Nominee and also appeared in the 2020 Dwarf Stars anthology. His new collection of SF poetry, Betelgeuse Dimming has just been released and is available as a free download audiobook / ebook at He is also a regular contributor for Canada’s Warp Speed Odyssey blog. His short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in many anthologies and webzines.