Although you may not need to be an audio engineer to produce a podcast, the goal is to choose podcast equipment that will help to make your show sound professional. Don’t be the Blair Witch Project of podcasts – you want to ensure that your listeners can hear you clearly and that your show is high-quality so you can deliver your message.
Now that you know how to start a podcast, you need to decide what podcast equipment you are going to use to record your episodes. However, be mindful of the fact that you don’t have to buy expensive equipment when you’re just starting out. While there are many premium equipment options on the market, if you’re being price conscious you can get away with spending between $100 to $500 on your initial equipment.
In today's blog post we'll be outlining all of the podcast equipment that you can consider purchasing to get started. We've provided a range of mostly affordable options mixed in with higher end options. Remember that not all of these pieces of equipment are absolutely necessary for you to start your podcast.
Although you may not need to be an audio engineer to produce a podcast, the goal is to choose equipment that will help to make your show sound professional. Don’t be the Blair Witch Project of podcasts – you want to ensure that your listeners can hear you clearly and that your show is high-quality so you can deliver your message.
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. USB mics 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 that you can hear the audio as you record. A highly recommended and affordable USB microphone is the Blue Yeti. However, if you are open to spending a bit more, you can also take into consideration the Rode NT-USB Microphone, another high-quality USB option.
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. The main difference is that condenser exhibits more sensitivity to sound. An affordable condenser XLR microphone option is the MXL 990 Condenser Microphone. On the more expensive, high-end of the market, the Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone is a good choice for a dynamic mic.
As your podcast grows, you can graduate from USB to XLR mics, which are more technical and offer you more adjustability and capability. Another great option is buying a hybrid mic that is the best of both worlds and can act as both a USB or XLR mic. The Samson Q2U is a highly-recommended starter hybrid USB and XLR microphone. Another affordable hybrid option is the Audio-Technica AT2005.
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. The VIM VIP 3-in-1 cell phone and microphone stand is a nice option because if you have content you want to refer to on your cellphone while you’re recording, you can position it above your microphone. Another affordable microphone desk stand is the On Stage DS7200B. In terms of purchasing the right shock mount, usually the company that you buy your microphone from will offer one that is compatible.
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.
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. If you want to make sure your mic is picking up voices properly while minimizing background noise, you’ll want to have your headphones on. Wearing headphones is a simple way to monitor sound quality. For post-production these are going to be useful as well as for listening to your recording and audio editing. There are a number of inexpensive and premium headphone options that you can choose from depending on your preferences regarding sound quality, comfort, noise cancellation, and more.
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 the the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder which is affordably priced and delivers high-quality recordings. Another affordable and highly-rated digital recorder is the Tascam DR-05X.
This is another piece of podcast equipment that you can use if you’re recording with a XLR mic. It converts the analog signal from your microphone into a digital signal that your computer can then understand. If you’re using a USB mic you won’t need this. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is an affordable option as far as XLR microphone interfaces go. The Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 is another affordable option you can consider.
Mixers aren’t absolutely 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. Another reason you may want to use a mixer is if you want to use more than one mic. Lastly, a mixer is useful if you want to record your podcast episode live in real time including the music. A classic favorite among podcasters is the Behringer Xenyx Q802USB. If you’re a beginner, another great mixer option is the Mackie ProFX8v2.
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 popular ones like Adobe Audition and Garageband.
Now that you know what podcast equipment you’ll need to record your podcast episodes, you’re ready to get started!
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