Ready to start recording and producing your podcast? Getting setup for podcasting doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you may already have some of the podcast equipment needed – like your existing computer and internet connection for instance. We’ve put together a detailed list and explanation on how to choose the best equipment to start a podcast.
What equipment do you need to start a podcast?
- Internet access
- Recording and Editing software
- Audio Interface
- Pop Filters/Windscreens
- Headphone Amplifier
- Microphone Boom Arm/Mic Stand
Let’s discuss each item on the list further.
You will need a reliable computer to record, edit, and upload your podcast. Although most of us now have smartphones or tablets connected to the internet, it won’t be enough for podcasting.
Any PC or Mac computer you have now can be used to record a podcast. Give it a try first before you buy a new one right away. If it works, then make use of your current computer. But if you feel it doesn’t give you the quality you want, you can upgrade with a new computer that has more memory and a faster CPU.
Here are a couple of our recommendations.
Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage)
HP Spectre x360 Intel i7, Quad Core, 16gb RAM, 512gb SSD.
Audio quality should be your topmost priority. Your listeners might let you off for some issues with your podcast as you’re figuring things out, but poor quality audio makes your podcast hard for your listeners to enjoy.
Even for beginners, using the built-in microphone of your computer is not recommended – as the audio quality won’t be good enough. Invest in a good podcast microphone to get started.
If you’re just getting started, the easiest option will be a microphone that has a USB connection so you can connect it directly to your computer.
Later on, if you want to add a mixer or audio interface you can get a more expensive microphone with an XLR connection, which will plug into a mixer or recording interface.
Types of microphones
Also note that there are two types of microphones: dynamic and condenser. Dynamic microphones are good if you won’t be recording in a soundproof studio. These microphones are robust and have less feedback. They are also less expensive compared to a condenser microphone.
Condenser microphones, on the other hand, are more expensive and more sensitive with a higher dynamic range. (Dynamic range means they can pick up very quiet audio as well as very loud audio signals without distorting).
Consider the sound pickup patterns of your podcast microphone as well. The pattern can either be omnidirectional, bidirectional, or cardioid. These patterns tell you which area of the microphone picks up the sound. A cardioid microphone is a good choice if you aren’t in a soundproof podcast studio as it only picks up sound directly in front of it. If you have a co-host whom you will be sharing a microphone with, bidirectional is the best option for you.
These terms may seem confusing and overwhelming right now, but it is important to know the specs of your podcast microphone before you buy one.
The best USB microphone for podcasting
Best condenser microphone for podcasting
The Blue Yeti USB Microphone is an excellent choice if you’re getting started.
3. Internet Access
This may seem obvious, but having a reliable internet connection is very important when you’re starting a podcast. Especially if you are interviewing guests over Skype or Zoom as a slow internet connection can cause glitchy or poor quality audio which will be frustrating for your listeners!
Once you’ve finished recording your podcast, you’ll also need an internet connection to upload it and share it with your audience. Podcasts are usually large files, so a stable internet connection is needed to successfully finish your upload.
4. Recording and Editing software
There are free and paid options available
Paid versions with more advanced editing features and higher audio quality are also available.
Editing your podcast audio is not a requirement. Some podcasters feel like their voice is enough and their output does not need any enhancements. But, if you want to add pre-recorded intro, commercials, or audio clips in between, you will need software to edit your audio. This software is also know as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
Audacity is a free program you can start with. It’s pretty easy to use and has a lot of options for post-production. GarageBand is another option. It is pre-installed on Macs, so you already have it if you’re an Apple user.
If you want a few more features, We recommend Presonus Studio One – it’s a complete audio workstation – providing you with a full suite of multitrack editing and audio processing.
You don’t need expensive headphones to start a podcast. As long as it gets the job done, you’re good to go. Having headphones allow you to monitor the sound being recorded. You can easily spot and fix weird background noises. Without headphones, you can go on talking for hours only to realize during playback that there were hums and other noises in your background the entire time. You would not want your efforts wasted.
Soft-shell headphones – those that only have foam on the outside – are a no go. These headphones may cause feedback because they don’t suppress sound. Hard-shell headphones are suggested. They have sturdy rubber or plastic on the outside that effectively traps the sound and stops feedback. Feedback can occur if your microphone picks up audio that is being played back through your headphones.
Our recommended headphones for getting started are the Sony MDR7506.
If your budget stretches a bit further, then we recommend the Beyer Dynamic DT770s.
Adding a mixer to your podcasting setup can give you more control and makes your post-production life easier.
A mixer is particularly useful if you have a co-host or guest and are using more than one microphone. A mixer will allow you to mix multiple microphones or audio sources into a single track, which saves editing later on.
If you want to raise the volume for you or your co-host, fade out music while you are talking, or quickly mute if you need to cough or adjust your mic, a mixer has got you covered.
In terms of saving you post-production efforts, having a mixer will allow you to play music or sound clips while you are recording your podcast instead of having to add them after.
The Behringer Xenyx 802 is a great place to start – it’s very affordable with 2 mic inputs and 2 additional stereo inputs.
7. Audio Interface
Combined with a mixer discussed above, an audio interface manages the inputs, sound processing, and outputs of your audio equipment. It allows you to connect multiple input sources like microphones or musical instruments. An audio interface converts analogue audio signal into digital information and sends it to your computer.
For casual podcasters, you can start with a relatively cheap audio interface first or stretch out to a medium-priced one that balances cost and quality. Two channels is probably enough to get you started.
Read our detailed review on the best audio interfaces available for under $200.
8. Pop Filters/Windscreens
Windscreens and pop filters help prevent your microphone from picking up harsh noises. When you talk directly into the microphone, words with letters b, p, and t sound amplified. One workaround is to speak at the side of your mic instead of directly into it.
Or, you can invest in a pop filter. They’re relatively affordable and will help filter out the ‘pops’ that the strong consonants ‘b’, ‘p’ and ‘t’ can create in your audio. A pop filter also has the advantage of reducing saliva spray onto your expensive microphone if someone gets too excited!
9. Shock Mount
Shock mounts help to prevent vibration traveling from the mic stand to the mic’s diaphragm. As such, unwanted sounds from movements or accidental bumps on the desk are not picked up in your recording.
Some podcast microphones have shock mounts included, so make sure to check the specs and description of your mic beforehand. Before buying a shock mount, be sure to also check if it is compatible with the microphone that you have.
10. Microphone Boom Arm/Mic Stand
A microphone boom arm or a boom microphone stand enables you to position the microphone exactly where you want it.
And that’s the lot! Hopefully, this has been helpful. We’ll continue to update this article as we come across new equipment that will be useful for you as you get started with podcasting.