Ready to start a podcast? Let’s dive into the essential podcast equipment you need to get started and optional equipment you can invest in once your podcast takes off.
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You’ve got a great podcast idea. You’ve already outlined your episodes, and you’re ready to start recording. All you need is the right podcast equipment.
But what do you really need? And what is just a nice-to-have? Let’s dive into what type of podcast equipment you need to get started and what optional equipment you can invest in once your podcast takes off.
Getting started with podcast equipment
It’s always tempting to buy the premium, top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art equipment. However, if this is your first rodeo or you’re working with a tight budget, you don’t need the best of the best to create a great podcast.
To get started, you’ll need a microphone, computer, headphones, recording software, and a podcast host. Some of this you may already have, and there’s a good chance that what you do have is just fine to get started. Anything beyond these basics is a bonus that will allow you to take your podcast to the next level.
If you’ve already got a season or two under your belt and your podcast is doing well or you’re monetizing your podcast, it makes sense to invest more in your podcast. But if you’re just starting a podcast for fun or it’s your first season, all you need is the basics.
1. Soundproof recording space
You can create your own recording space with soundproofing material like foam wall panels.
Renting a recording studio for your podcast is probably overkill, especially if you’re just getting started and have a small budget. Honestly, many professional and popular podcasts aren’t recorded in one anyway. However, for the best sound quality and minimal amount of background noise, you’re going to need some kind of soundproof (or at least sound-minimized) space.
For some, a soundproof space might look like a closet, bathroom, or any other small space where you can record with minimal background noise. If you want to upgrade your recording space, you can invest in soundproofing foam panels for the walls, which dampen the noise. If you’re not ready to commit to installing foam panels on your walls, you can also opt for a foldable panel that’s not a permanent fixture.
If you already have a powerful laptop or PC, you can probably use it for podcast editing.
While it’s certainly possible to record your podcast on your smartphone, it’s much easier with a good laptop or desktop computer. Having a fast, quality computer is especially important if you plan on live-streaming your podcast, including video, and/or editing your podcast material.
Since you’ll be using your computer for more than just recording and editing your podcast, find one that meets your needs across the board.
Blue Yeti is an affordable microphone that’s popular with podcasters—newbies and pros alike!
A microphone is one of the most important pieces of podcast equipment you’ll need before you get started. Even if you have a microphone on your headphones or laptop, you’ll likely still need to invest in a microphone if you want your podcast recordings and streams to be clear and crisp.
A USB microphone is the easiest and most affordable option for those who need to upgrade their mic. The USB mic plugs right into your computer with no complex or lengthy setup. And it allows you to record audio in high fidelity so everything sounds professional.
Here are our top 3 choices for podcast mics, with one for every experience level:
- Samson Q2U: This is a great mic for beginners, and it’s going to give you a much better sound quality than the microphone built into your computer or the one on your headset. At just $69.99, it’s an affordable investment for newbies.
- Blue Yeti: For the intermediate podcasters, you can’t go wrong with the Blue Yeti. With this mic, you’ll get studio-quality recordings, no matter where you’re recording. It’s also great for reducing background noise. You can pick one up for $129.99.
- Shure SM7B: If you’re a podcasting pro who is ready for an upgrade, the Shure SM7B is a powerful mic used by top podcasters like Joe Rogan. This microphone offers crystal clear sound and serious noise cancellation. At $395, this is definitely one for serious podcasters.
If you’re using more than one microphone or using an XLR mic, you’ll want to get a mixer like Focusrite Scarlett 18i8.
A mixer is not a necessity for recording podcast episodes. However, you may want to consider getting one if you’re using multiple microphones or want to record live and in real-time. You’ll also need a mixer if you choose to use an XLR microphone.
If you need (or decide) to invest in a mixer, you’ll find them with a number of different channels. You’ll need one channel for each microphone. Finding a mixer with two headphone outputs allows two people to monitor the recording and mixing at once.
While you can use earbuds while recording your podcast, an over-ear set of headphones will give you better noise cancellation.
You’re going to need a good pair of headphones so you can listen to what you’re recording. Noise cancellation headphones will allow you to listen closely to your audio without outside distractions. You’ll want a pair of hardshell headphones with a durable plastic or rubber outside as these will best be able to suppress sound so you can avoid feedback.
While you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of headphones, it is worthwhile to invest in a quality pair. If all you have are earbuds, these can work, especially if they have noise cancellation capabilities.
Note: If you decide to use a mixer, you’ll need to purchase headphones you can plug into the mixer. Earbuds may not be as effective.
Recording and editing software
Adobe Audition is a popular recording software for those who want to take their editing to the next level.
Recording software makes it easier for you to record, edit, and mix your podcast content. There are a lot of options out there, but again, you don’t need to go wild with an expensive option, especially if you’re just getting started.
If you are not technologically-inclined, opt for a software that’s built for beginners. But if you have some editing chops, you can do a lot of fun stuff with more advanced tools. These typically have cool features like reducing background noise, adding compression, and unifying the sound across different recordings.
Looking for recording software recommendations? Check out our 10 best podcast recording software and apps.
Once you publish your episode to your hosting platform, the host pushes it out to different directories.
Once you’ve recorded your podcast episodes, you need to get them out into the world. That’s where podcast hosting comes in. Once you publish a podcast episode to your host, the hosting service then automatically generates an RSS feed. You can submit this feed to different directories like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Amazon Music.
Technically, you could host your podcast on your own on a WordPress site. However, it’s more tedious and it will cost you way more time and money than using podcast hosting. Not to mention, you won’t be able to get the same visibility you will with a podcast host.
If you haven’t found a podcast hosting service yet, check out our list of the best podcast hosting for free and paid options for quality podcast hosting.
Optional podcasting accessories
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what podcast equipment you need to get started, let’s talk about optional accessories. While you absolutely don’t need these accessories to record a great podcast, they can help you take your recordings to the next level.
- Pop filter. The pop filter helps prevent the popping sound that happens when air moves faster through the mic when the speaker pronounces consonants. The pop filter is fairly inexpensive and helps improve the quality of your audio.
- Mic stand. Many USB mics can fit right on a desk or table without taking too much space. But a mic stand gives you more flexibility in where you can place the mic, allowing you to get the best sound possible.
- Shock mount. A shock mount keeps the microphone from moving while you’re recording. Movement from the mic can create a rumbling noise that can negatively impact your recording.
- Portable recorder. If you’re going to be recording your podcast on-the-go, you may want to pick up a portable recorder. This is a great option for those who are doing on-site interviews or if you have to record while traveling.
What to consider before you invest
But wait! Before you go out and buy that podcast equipment, let’s talk about some important things to consider before you invest:
- Experience. New to podcasting? You probably don’t want to invest too much right away. Start with less expensive equipment options and hold off on the optional accessories until you know that podcasting is something you’ll be doing for a while.
- Budget. Just because you have a lower budget doesn’t mean you can’t get quality equipment. Opt for the best equipment options in your price range, and know that you can always upgrade later.
- Podcast format. Will you be doing an audio-only podcast? Or will you also include video? The format of your podcast will inform what kinds of equipment you need so make sure you decide on this before you start investing.
- Public or private. Private podcasts have recently become popular with entrepreneurs who want to deliver exclusive content to their communities. While this decision may not impact equipment, it will determine what type of hosting you need.
- Tech savvy-ness. If you’re not super tech-savvy, then there’s a good chance you won’t need the top-of-the-line equipment the pros use because you probably won’t be able to get the value out of it anyway. Think about this before you buy.
Now that you know what podcast equipment you need and what equipment is a “nice-to-have,” you can make smart decisions about where to invest your money and what you can wait on investing in.
Need help getting started with your new podcast? Check out this killer post on how to record a podcast.