While it is increasingly possible to record podcasts or stream live audio on smartphones, it’s often quicker, easier, and generally more professional to create and stream content on a personal computer. The good news is that it doesn’t really matter if you have a PC or Mac, and the vast majority of modern laptops and desktops are more than fast enough for the audio tasks at hand.
However, if you’re planning to livestream video or games from a PC, you will want a powerful computer that allows you to both play the game and run your streaming software. If you plan to record or edit video, you’ll also want a speedy computer for rendering.
Here are our favorite gaming PCs right now, all of which are up to the task. If you want a MacBook, check out our guide that breaks down which is right for you. Consider also building your own PC—it requires a little more work, but you’ll get the best bang for your buck. But if you’re only doing audio recording and processing, any one of our favorite laptops (or really any modern computer) will do.
Audio Gear You’ll Need
Audio is the most important component. Here’s what you’ll need to make sure your podcast or stream sounds the best, from microphones to good headphones.
A USB Microphone
Most built-in mics on headphones, phones, and laptops do the job for calls and Zoom meetings, but they’re not quite as great-sounding for podcast stories or streams. The easiest way to upgrade your audio is with a USB microphone. These mics plug straight into your computer and allow you to record audio in surprisingly high fidelity given their ease of setup.
There are many good ones but also a sea of weird, off-brand models on retailers like Amazon. Steer clear of those. My favorites come from Blue and JLab Audio. Entry-level mics like the Blue Snowball ($70) and JLab Talk Go ($49) are good beginner options.
You can also approach real studio-quality sound if you spring for higher-end models like the Blue Yeti X ($170) or the Jlab Talk Pro ($149).
An Audio Interface