When you’re trying to create a podcast you need the best podcast equipment to ensure your message is heard loud and clear and your listeners are enjoying a high-quality sound. Here’s all the gear you need…
When you’re creating your first podcast, there’s a range of essential podcast equipment that you need to get started. But fear not, it’s actually smaller list than you’re probably expecting! You essentially need a microphone, a set of headphones, a mixer or audio interface, some software and something to record your podcast on like a laptop or computer - and you'll be happy to know, it doesn't have to cost much at all!
Here at PMT, we get a lot of questions regarding what you need for podcasts, how much podcast equipment costs, how many microphones you need for a podcast and what the best mixer for podcasting might be. So today, we thought we’d answer these questions and show you some of our favourite options to help you get started on your way to podcast super stardom!
First thing’s first…
What equipment do I need for a podcast?
There are a few essential items you need when you’re looking for podcast equipment. Here’s a short list:
1. A microphone
You need a microphone as the internal mic in your laptop or phone is not going to cut it in terms of quality – basically your podcast is going to suck if you rely on anything but a good quality condenser mic. So, make sure you get one or two. We’ve talked through a few options further down, but we recommend the Aston Origin, Shure Motiv MV5, Shure SM7B and sE Electronics X1 S for starters.
2. Microphone stand or boom
You’re probably going to be sitting down while you’re doing your podcast, so we think you’ll need a desktop mic stand. The likes of TOURTECH make very budget friendly, but extremely high quality stands.
Here’s a few options:
- TOURTECH TTS-MI1110BK Desktop Microphone Stand
- TOURTECH Low Profile Microphone Boom Stand
- TOURTECH Desktop Microphone Boom Stand
- TOURTECH Low Profile Telescopic Microphone Boom Stand
3. A pop filter
A pop filter is essential as it cuts out all the hard “P” noises which are called ‘plosives’. They also stop any heavy breathing coming through – which happens more often than you may think and it sounds really weird!
- Samson PS01 Pop Shield
- Aston Shield GN Premium Pop Filter and Gooseneck
- Aston SwiftShield Premium Universal Shock Mount and Pop Filter Set
4. A set of headphones
To ensure you’re getting the levels correct and you can hear everything that’s going on clearly, you need a good set of comfortable, over ear headphones. The key point is that they need to be comfortable as you’ll no doubt be wearing them for quite some time.
5. XLR cables
If you don’t already know, XLR cables connect your microphone to your audio interface or mixer. With this in mind, you need good quality cables that you can rely on, that will stop any interference creeping in and last a while.
- TOURTECH N-Series Deluxe 3ft XLR Microphone Cable
- Orange Tangle Free 20 Ft Mic Xlr/xlr Cable Black Woven
6. A mixer or audio interface
You’re probably wondering whether you need an audio interface or a mixer to start a podcast, but the fact is you can use either. An audio interface that you’re likely going to use for podcasting will have either 1 or 2 inputs and have good, but fairly restricted control over your sound including different frequencies etc. whereas a mixer will give you more control over your levels, inputs and outputs on the actual unit. We’ve covered the best audio interfaces and best mixers for podcasting a little further down, but we definitely recommend the PreSonus Audiobox USB 96 audio interface and the Rode Rodecaster Pro mixer for starters.
7. Recording software
You don’t have to pay for recording software at all if you don’t want to as the likes of Audacity and Garageband are totally free. However, if you have a musical podcast or you want to double up and start producing music, we recommend something like Cubase or Reason.
8. A hosting site for your podcast
If you don’t already have a website, you need somewhere to host your podcast. The likes of Soundcloud is free as is Castbox. Shop around too because you don’t always have to pay for hosting – these two options are just two examples of free hosting sites and are very reputable.
9. ID3 editor
An ID3 tag allows you to tag your podcast with stuff like the title of your podcast, number and any guests you may have. This allows search tools to find your podcast. So for example if you’ve just interviewed Post Malone, you can put the likes of “Post Malone Podcast” into the code and allow people to find you easily.
10. Your own website
Because you need one! It’s not essential, but if you’re serious about your podcast this is a great way to promote it and show that you’re legit.
How much does podcast equipment cost?
That depends on what gear you go for, but when you look at it, not as much as you think! You can still get the best podcast equipment on a budget.
With the likes of the PreSonus Audiobox USB 96 Studio Recording Package, you can get a full podcast set up including mic, headphones, XLR cables, software and audio interface from as little as £175. If you already have a set of headphones and you just want to mix via the computer – which is fine, a good microphone like the Shure Motiv MV5 digital condenser podcast mic is as little as £95, so you’re not spending a great deal.
Here’s a few of our best options to give you an idea of prices and how much podcasting equipment costs.
Best Microphones For Podcasts
You’re probably wondering how many microphones you need for a podcast. That is essentially down to you, as it depends on whether you think you’ll have guests in your studio. If it’s just you in the studio and you’re interviewing people online then you only need the one microphone. Going to have guests on your podcast? Then we suggest getting two microphones in case you either have a guest or your cat knocks over your mic into a fish tank and you need a spare – hey, it happens!
Here’s a selection of (what we think are) the best microphones for podcasts
1. sE Electronics X1 S Condenser Microphone
Budget friendly at just over £100, all metal construction and a hand made gold sputtered capsule – the sE Electronics X1 S Condenser Microphone is a perfect addition to your podcast set up. You have -10 dB and -20 dB pad switches so you can enjoy an extended dynamic range, which is perfect if you happen to have someone with a voice as powerful as Brian Blessed calling in for a chat.
2. Shure Motiv MV5 Digital Condenser Podcasting Microphone
The clue is in the name with this one! The Shure Motiv MV5 Digital Condenser Podcasting Microphone is a dedicated podcast microphone at a budget friendly price. It comes complete with a built-in stand and Micro-B-to-USB cable for connection to a PC, Mac or Android device (with optional Micro-B-to-LTG cable for connection to Apple mobile devices available) so you can enjoy high quality recordings wherever your set up may be. You don’t need a mixer thanks to the headphone in which allows you to monitor your sound directly on the microphone.
3. Shure SM7B Dynamic Studio Microphone
The Shure SM7B is an industry standard podcast microphone used by professional podcasters and radio stations all over the world. You get noise-free vocal clarity as it has been designed to shield against any interference from studio monitors and speakers whilst the detachable wind shield stops all plosive sounds so you can talk freely and enjoy a warmer tone when you’re recording close-talk vocals. The SM7B has also been designed with a specific bracket that ensures a clearer cable management and allows for attachment to a boom stand.
4. Aston Origin Cardioid Condenser Microphone
The Aston Origin is a high-performance condenser microphone which has been nominated for, and won, several awards thanks to its superb sound quality that sets it apart from any other microphones within its price range. This is beautifully suited to podcast vocals and an essential piece of podcast equipment due to the fact the isolated body produces zero handling noise, produces crystal clear audio quality and it’s got a built-in pop shield!
Want more? Read our blog on the best podcast microphones.
Best Mixer For Podcasting
If you want to go down the mixer route, there are few benefits here as you have better physical control over your sounds and in some instances, pads to trigger jingles – so it depends on what you need. There is a world of options open to you that are currently battling for the title of best podcast mixer, but we’ve picked out 4 that we think you should consider looking at when you’re creating your perfect podcast set up.
1. Rode Rodecaster Pro
The Rode Rodecaster Pro completely simplifies the mixing process and essentially turns your podcast area into a radio station, complete with easy access to FX, trigger pads and more.
This has been designed specifically to make your life easier when you’re putting your podcast together. You have the ability to record directly to SD card or your DAW software, 8 faders to control your levels, 4 mic inputs as well as 4 headphone inputs. You also get 8 programmable pads for jingle playback which you can record directly from the mixer or drag and drop via the free software you get with the unit. If you’re taking calls you can connect your phone via the AUX in and enjoy the Mix Minus feature which automatically prevents echo which can sometimes occur during calls. It’s everything you need in one place and easily a contender for best mixer for podcasting.
2. Soundcraft Notepad 8-FX Mixing Desk with USB and FX
The Soundcraft Notepad 8-FX Mixing Desk with USB and FX is great if you have multiple guests and if you want to achieve superb sound quality without relying on DAW’s that are plugin-heavy. You have 8 channels at your disposal, two of which are mic channels, all with renowned HARMAN digital signal processing as well as USB connectivity so you can record straight to a DAW via PC or Mac.
There’s mic and line level connectivity options so you can create live shows with instruments if you wish, as well as built in FX and a master level. The near indestructible design is ideal for portable situations and the easy to use, user friendly layout is easy to get used to. There is only one headphone out though, so you will need a headphone splitter to provide sound to your guests.
3. Alto Zephyr ZMX52 5 Channel Mixing Desk
If you’re only recording one microphone (at the moment) the Alto Zephyr ZMX52 5 Channel Mixing Desk is one of the best small mixers for podcasting and an essential piece of podcast equipment. Fear not if you need to record more than one mic as there’s an XLR to jack adaptor for that!
This is a little different as it uses a dedicated stereo output to send your audio to a recorder so keep that in mind, but if you have an audio interface already, that’s not a problem.
You have 5 channels to use, all with an assortment of EQ and level options without becoming overbearing, and there’s also connectivity to your MP3 player, CD players, or audio from a DVD player via the CD/TAPE input. This is geared more towards the musicians and those who want to broadcast their music, but podcasters, videographers and home studio owners out there will still find it particularly useful
This is a highly portable and highly controllable mixer for podcasting that won’t break the bank!
4. Roland GO:Mixer Pro
No one said your podcasts couldn’t be portable! The Roland GO:Mixer Pro has been designed specifically for podcasting recording on the move when all you have to hand is a smartphone and a microphone.
This is an ideal option for podcasters who record video at the same time and who want to be able to create wherever and whenever inspiration strikes thanks to the battery powered operation. You have multiple inputs including a microphone input, pin mic as well as line level and media player inputs – everything you need to create live recordings and record video at the same time. The plug and play design means you can start creating straight away, especially as you get all the connection cables you need to connect to your Android and iOS devices. Perfect for live streams and some of the best podcast equipment for those with bands!
Best Audio Interfaces For Podcasts
If you want to go down the audio interface route and mix your sessions via your PC or Mac, which is totally fine, then you need something that’ll provide your DAW with high quality audio to record. There are a few options that we’d recommend, and we’ve actually covered some of our favourite audio interfaces in a previous blog, but if you’re in need of the best audio interface for podcasting, these are some of your best options.
1. Presonus Audiobox iTwo Audio Interface
We think the Presonus Audiobox iTwo Audio Interface is one of the best audio interfaces for podcasting for a number of reasons; the budget friendly price tag, 2 x Combo XLR/1/4” Jack Inputs and hi resolution/sample rate audio capture, especially.
We love this highly portable interface (which is built like a tank) as it is compatible with most DAW’s so you’re good to go with your existing setup, or if you’re just starting out, you’ll appreciate you get Studio One 3 Artist Software included. There’s zero latency monitoring so there’s no horrible echo when you’re talking which makes it one of the best audio interfaces for live recording.
There’s a headphone output so you can keep track of your mix as well as USB connectivity so you can record straight to your PC or Mac.
2. Roland UA-S10 Super UA USB Audio Interface
Whilst we’re talking portable audio interfaces for podcasting, the Roland UA-S10 Super UA USB Audio Interface is an ideal option that is sleek, easy to use and offers beautiful sound quality straight out of the box.
This is one of the best audio interfaces for podcasts as it provides Audiophile sound quality with 1-bit DSD and 32-bit PCM playback via the 4 x inputs. You also have total control over your sound via the large multi-function knob and recessed illuminated buttons – just select your input on the module by pressing the buttons and you can make edits on the fly. You also have 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch jacks for headphones so you can monitor your signal and provide playback for guests.
3. Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 MKII USB Audio Interface (2nd Gen)
If you want to record multiple guests at the same time via an audio interface, you’ll enjoy having the 4 mic inputs in the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 MKII USB Audio Interface (2nd Gen). There are 4 x combi inputs each with their own gain knobs, so you can change levels easily whilst enjoying 48V phantom power for your condenser mics, as well as 4 x extra line inputs on the back – which will totally come in handy if you’re running a musical podcast with guests playing instruments.
You have two headphone inputs so your guest can monitor in real time, and each headphone output has independent volume controls too. You get award winning preamps, a load of software and all the cables you need to connect to your computer – a great audio interface for those serious about their sound and easily one of the best audio interfaces for podcasting.
Best Podcast Equipment Packages
If you want to get pretty much everything you need to start crafting a podcast in one go, we recommend going down the complete package route. These are some of our favourite podcasting packages.
1. PreSonus Audiobox USB 96 Studio Recording Package
The PreSonus Audiobox USB 96 Studio Recording Package is packed with everything you need to start recording. In this very budget friendly package, you basically get a portable studio! You get a free license for Studio One Artist software, a studio quality condenser microphone, a set of HD7 professional monitoring headphones and the PreSonus Audio Box 96 USB audio interface itself, so you can start creating your award-winning show straight away! This is by far some of the best podcast equipment you can get your hands on.
2. Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio Recording Bundle (2nd Gen)
Next up we have the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio Recording Bundle (2nd Gen). This is perfect if you want to record podcast shows on your own without any guests as you only have one mic input. However, if you’re a singer-songwriter and you want to be able to record music at the same time, you’ll appreciate you have another line level instrument input at your disposal too! This podcast equipment package includes Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite, so you’re all set for software, a CM25 condenser microphone, microphone cable, studio quality headphones and the renowned Scarlett interface with award winning preamps. You’re vocals will sound crystal clear!
3. Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package
The Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package includes a studio grade quality Rode NT1-A microphone, pop shield, 20ft XLR microphone as well as a protective pouch to keep the dust off your mic when you’re not using it. This is a nifty package for those just starting out in the world of podcasting, or those who already have a bunch of podcast equipment and just want to step up their game with a quality mic package.
4. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 MKII Studio Recording Bundle (2nd Gen)
If you want to be able to record two people at once, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 MKII Studio Recording Bundle (2nd Gen) is one of your best options. Again, you have the award-winning preamps built in, but the major difference here is that you get 2 x combi jacks that can accommodate microphones and line level instruments. This means you can easily record two speakers at once and still enjoy studio quality sound. Just add an extra microphone and you’re good to go!
Shop a full range of studio equipment over at PMT Online today or call in to your local PMT store to speak to our home studio experts about your needs - we'll help you find what you need whether it's a microphone or a complete selection of podcast equipment to get you on your way!