Discover the must-have podcast equipment for brands to launch a successful show. From microphones and headphones to mixers and editing software, explore the gear that will elevate your podcasting game.
When it comes to audio quality, here’s a good rule of thumb: don’t be the Blair Witch Project of podcasts.
The found-footage horror film, released in 1999, quickly became a cult classic, despite its seemingly low-budget production values. Its grainy, shaky cam shots and muffled audio contributed to the movie's chilling and immersive atmosphere, but let's be honest, it's not a production style you'd want to emulate for your podcast.
Just like the ill-fated filmmakers in the Blair Witch Project needed to invest in quality equipment to capture their vision, podcasters must ensure that their audio quality doesn't leave listeners lost in the auditory equivalent of those dark, twisted woods.
When it comes to producing your branded podcast, many companies will opt for working with a podcast agency. This allows you to have a vendor that covers areas such as strategy, podcast production, audience growth, and measurement, giving your team expert help and freeing up time.
Typically, your podcast agency will be able to purchase your equipment for you or at least point you in the right direction.
But whether you’re looking to get ahead or are producing your branded podcast in-house, this guide to podcast equipment will cover everything you need to create a high-quality show and have listeners coming back to that crisp audio.
Let’s get into it.
Before we jump into specific mics our audio engineering team recommends, let’s quickly break down the two most common types of podcast microphones on the market:
USB microphones are considered a great piece of podcast equipment for beginners because they’re the easiest way to record high-quality audio recordings on your computer and aren’t very expensive.
They are also highly portable – just plug it straight into the USB jack on your computer and it’s all set. Often USB mics also have a headphone output so you can hear the audio as you record.
Here are some USB microphone options we recommend:
As your podcast grows, you can graduate from USB to XLR mics, which are more technical and offer more adjustability and capability.
The main difference between XLR mics and USB mics is the way they connect.
XLR mics have 3 prongs and therefore won’t connect directly to a computer. Instead, you'll need to plug your XLR mic into an interface like a mixer, and then plug the interface into your computer.
A key distinction between XLR microphones is whether they are condenser or dynamic microphones – which we explained above.
One thing to note when it comes to XLR mics, is some require a higher amount of power to sound good. So you'll want to double-check that your interface can provide the power required. If not, you'll need a CloudLifter adapter to give you a boost.
Here are some of our favorite XLR microphones:
A mic stand keeps your microphone stable and the shock mount will minimize background noise that you may not even notice.
For example, typing on the computer is a minor sound, but the microphone will still pick it up. Using a shock mount helps to keep the impact of noises like that to a minimum (so you can be taking those notes in the background while going unnoticed).
Here are some mic stands we suggest:
A pop filter is a little filter made out of metal mesh or perforated metal that you put over a microphone. They help to prevent that popping sound that comes from air blasts when you pronounce certain words – plosives such as “p” and “b” sounds.
This piece of equipment helps to make your show sound more professional. No need to make a big fuss over this piece of equipment, you can simply purchase the pop filter with the best reviews on Amazon.
We do caution, however, that pop filters aren't a perfect tool for preventing pops, but they do a good job of forcing you to not get too close to your mic.
Some of those harsh “p” and “b” words can be edited in post-production but only to a certain extent. So making the small investment for a pop filter is well worth it.
This may seem like a simple piece of podcast equipment but don’t underestimate how important a good pair of headphones can be to your podcast recording.
For instance, you’ll want to make sure your mic is picking up voices properly while minimizing background noise, so you’ll need to have a decent pair of headphones on.
Ultimately, wearing headphones is one of the simplest ways to monitor sound quality.
There are several inexpensive and premium headphone options that you can choose from depending on your preferences regarding sound quality, comfort, noise cancellation, and more.
Here are some top options:
Overall, we can’t reiterate enough how important it is to use a pair of headphones. Even in a crisis if your favorite pair of headphones broke 10 minutes before a recording, grab a pair of Apple headphones to put on.
If you’re not ready to invest in a microphone, there are other pieces of podcast equipment you can use to record and store your audio.
Smartphones really can do anything these days, even record your podcast episodes. You can typically do this straight through a recording app on your smartphone. Another option is to use your computer's microphone to record your episodes directly and store them right on your computer.
Alternatively, you can consider purchasing an actual digital recorder. This type of recorder is especially useful if you want to record or conduct interviews on the go.
Some popular options are:
But having a quality microphone and recording device whether that be a laptop or digital recorder are your best options.
This is another piece of podcast equipment that you can use if you’re recording with an XLR mic. It converts the analog signal from your microphone into a digital signal that your computer can then understand.
Please note that if you’re using a USB mic, you won’t need an interface.
Here are some trusted interface options:
Audio mixers aren’t necessary for recording your podcast episodes. They are similar to interfaces in the sense that they convert the analog signal from your microphone into a digital signal, but they also give you more control over audio levels and other aspects of the sound.
However, we do caution that not all mixers can replace an interface. Some analog mixers need to be run through an interface.
Beyond that, you may want to use a mixer if you’re using more than one mic. Lastly, a mixer is useful if you want to record your podcast episode in real-time and want the ability to add elements like sound effects and music live.
Here are a couple of mixers you can’t go wrong with:
This particular piece of the equipment puzzle may not be as obvious, but after you record your podcast episodes, you'll likely want to edit out parts of the audio, add music, and more.
To do this, you need to either find a free tool or purchase a piece of software to help you edit.
There are many options to choose from, including:
Quill Tip: If you’re interested in a comprehensive review of the best free podcast editing software, check out our complete guide.
As we mentioned earlier, all areas of the podcast production process can easily be covered by your podcast agency.
At Quill, we ensure all clients and guests have the equipment they need before joining any episode recording. We’ll also work with your host and guests to prep them before the interview, ensuring they’re as comfortable and confident as possible since confidence brings the best sound and content quality.
If you’re interested in exploring what working with a podcast agency could look like, chat with our team at Quill!
The right podcast equipment is paramount to delivering high-quality audio content that captivates your audience.
Whether you're a seasoned audio pro or just starting, investing in quality microphones, headphones, audio interfaces, and editing software is crucial.
With the right tools and knowledge, you're well on your way to crafting engaging and professional podcasts that will leave a lasting impact on your listeners.
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