Podcasts are today some of the most successful content types. Popular podcasts are now an integral part of everyday life, and this is where critical conversations are happening.
Everyone from movie stars and comedians to thought leaders and presidents understands podcasts are an interesting and important way to communicate with the public. Podcasting is huge, and the only thing standing between you and getting the benefits of podcasts is quality podcasting equipment!
Let us help you choose the best podcast equipment for your needs.
What to Know Before Buying Podcast Equipment
However, before searching for the right podcast equipment on the market, here are a few things you should know. Addressing these concerns will help narrow your search and ensure the equipment you get works for your specific situation.
Your Commitment to Podcasting
Start by evaluating your intentions.
What do you expect to achieve?
Is this a temporary hobby?
Are you podcasting as a serious business?
For a hobby, start with inexpensive podcast equipment. You do not want to spend much on the equipment if you abandon the project after a short while.
However, if you are part of a team serious about podcasting, prepare a budget for high-quality equipment. Consider enrolling in a course on producing quality podcasts, such as the Podcast Domination.
The amount of money you spend on the equipment determines the individual units you can purchase. Remember that even a small budget is good for podcasting.
You will get plenty of affordable devices on the market with excellent quality. After all, many people podcast with a laptop and microphone only!
Number of People You’re Recording
The quantity of individuals you interview per session affects the number and type of podcast equipment you purchase. You need one mic if you are recording alone and more if you have guests or co-hosts.
Where You Record the Podcast
Recording in your private studio differs from recording in a busy public area. So you may require different podcasting gear depending on the location.
For example, a traditional mic will not help if recording while riding a bike. Instead, consider a lavalier microphone. Traditional mics are an excellent choice if you are recording in person, but you do not want something bulky.
The location also influences the acoustic treatment equipment you use. You do not need to control reverb when recording in a quiet room with soft surfaces. However, you want an acoustic reflection shield or paneling to maintain sound quality in a space with natural background noises.
Your Tech Comfort Level
Consider how comfortable you are using technology. If connecting tech, installing drivers, and configuring equipment is a hassle, you are better off starting with entry-level equipment. Go for USB plug-and-play units where possible.
More advanced equipment is excellent if you are comfortable hooking up multiple tech devices, enjoy learning about new systems, and can tweak settings. But ensure you understand the role of each device before buying it.
Will You Have a Video?
Some creators produce video podcasts that also capture images of the hosts. You upload the video online or edit it to add interesting visual effects. Video podcasts are excellent for squeezing more content into each session.
A camera, lighting equipment, and decent recording space are some things you need to create video content. Getting a non-distracting, quiet space, and a simple room partition is sometimes enough.
Essential Podcast Equipment
Before you join the podcasting superstars, you need to start with something.
You require an idea for the content you will produce and the basics of setting up your podcasting gear. Here is a thorough guide to the equipment to start a podcast.
Recording and streaming podcasts are possible using a smartphone. However, a good personal computer makes preparing, creating, and streaming professional podcasts easier and faster. You can use a Mac or PC or settle for a modern laptop fast enough to run the audio tasks podcasting requires.
For audio recording and processing, a modern computer will do. Some things to look out for before using a computer or laptop include:
- The operating system
- The processor or CPU in the computer (choose a triple-core processor)
- Amount of Random Access Memory (RAM)
- Amount of storage space available and type
- Ports available
However, you need a powerful computer to live-stream games or videos. You also require a fast computer for recording and editing video.
It is critical to note the software you intend to use for your podcasts. Some software, such as GarageBand and Logic Pro, only work with Apple computers. However, other options will run fine on Windows and Mac operating systems.
Audio Equipment for the Best Sound Quality
Here is what you need to ensure your podcast sounds the best.
XLR or USB Microphone
The perceived quality of a podcast revolves around quality audio. You want the audience to hear you loud and clear, so the quality of the microphones is fundamental.
USB microphones are budget-friendly and do not require additional equipment to work. A USB mic connects directly to your computer through the USB port.
XLR mics are more expensive and must connect to an interface, such as a mixer. However, the setup offers more options to adjust the sound quality before recording.
Podcasting microphones also capture sound differently. The main capture methods are:
- Condenser microphones—These are sensitive units capable of capturing all sounds, including background noise, making them suitable for controlled areas.
- Dynamic microphones—These mics do not capture delicate sounds and are perfect when recording more people in the same room. Dynamic podcasting mics are also ideal for podcasters looking to record in their DIY studio spaces.
A boom mount or mic stand is an excellent way of lifting the microphone off the desk and close to your mouth. The stand holds and positions the recording mic. Without it, your mic will pick up and record bumps, vibrations, and knocks that could ruin your podcast.
When choosing a stand, consider:
- Compatibility with your microphone
- Tallness scope of the stand depends on your needs
- A sturdy tripod or solid base
- Portability of the stand if you need to use it in various settings
Your mic is sensitive to sound that is not traveling through air. Shock mounts help minimize or prevent unwanted sounds moving the mic stand, tapping the desk, typing, and other small vibrations. Many mic manufacturers recommend a compatible shock mount or even add one to the mic’s packaging.
Shock mounts use suspensions to protect the mic from contact. You can mount the device onto your mic stand or boom arm. After mounting the shock mount, place the mic inside it, fasten, and you are done.
The bursts of air you produce when saying the Ps in Peter Pan are plosives. The sound they produce can be very distracting and disturbing on your podcast recording. A pop filter can help reduce the plosives, including Ks and Ts.
A pop filter also protects the mic’s capsule from moisture. Exposing the thin membrane and capsule to moisture may lead to reduced sensitivity and even affect the microphone’s effectiveness.
This is the bridge between your microphone and your computer. It converts the analog signal from the mic into a digital signal that the computer can use. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is one of the most popular audio interfaces for podcasts.
As mentioned earlier, some USB mics can plug directly into your laptop or computer. But adding an audio interface in the connection helps maintain audio quality instead of relying on the computer’s sound card for converting audio.
Many audio interfaces allow connecting multiple input and output devices so you can attach several microphones or instruments. Most interfaces also have pre-amps to crank the mic signal up and eliminate interference, jitters, and delays.
Like audio interfaces, mixers help improve audio quality by offering more control over things such as outputs, inputs, and sound levels. However, a mixer offers more control over what your computer is receiving. The sliders and dials on a mixer ensure that other sounds in your podcast do not overpower others.
Modern mixers have built-in Thunderbolt or USB to eliminate using a separate audio interface. A dedicated mixer is an option if you are only recording one or two sound sources.
Your mic needs to connect to your pre-amp, audio interface, or mixer somehow. You need the right cables for a quality podcast microphone setup. Choose a high-quality XLR cable for your microphones to reduce audio disruptions.
You can start with whichever headphones you have right now. While headphones are a non-negotiable essential for your podcast setup, you do not need to pay hundreds of dollars for a pair right now.
Standard Apple headphones or anything you currently have is enough. It is important for anyone recording a podcast to have their own set.
The headphone is an audio monitoring tool that helps you identify uneven microphone sound levels and overlapping noise. Choose a closed-back pair of headphones to prevent sound in the earpieces from spilling into your microphone. Also, choose over-the-ear headphones for better sound quality.
You also need a multi-channel headphone amplifier with multiple headphone jacks to maximize the sound quality potential for all your guests.
Additional Podcasting Equipment to Consider
The basic setup will help you start the podcast and run for months. But once you get a regular audience and want to monetize your show, you will require extra podcasting equipment.
Here is some equipment you should add to the setup once your podcast gathers steam.
Memory Storage Devices
You must export the heavy, raw audio files from your computer’s internal memory to an external hard drive. Doing this allows the computer to focus on importing, editing audio, and exporting it fast.
Start with an external but smaller size portable hard drive and upgrade later. You can also use USB flash drives for bringing, sharing, or submitting your content.
Some acoustic treatment is critical for your podcasting room. However, the extent depends on how much distraction is present. Remember to account for noise coming in from the outside as you explore the different acoustic treatment options.
Five popular strategies for soundproofing a room include:
- Adding mass by building a thick wall or applying wall padding
- Use denser surfaces to dissipate vibrations completely
- Keeping equipment away from wall surfaces to eliminate shaking that may cause buzzing sounds
- Fill air gaps by creating a room inside a room to block out and reduce external noise
- Install a dense door sweep to block out noise
Mobile Podcasting Gear
When you record podcasts on the go, you need to consider your mobile podcast setup. Here is how to record your podcasts away from the home base.
Digital Audio Recorder
A portable, reliable digital recorder is one of the first things to consider. However, make sure the recorder has an external microphone and can capture and save the audio on a microSD card.
You can use a phone as a convenient audio record, but the sound quality will not be great. Phones have their limits with capacity and quality.
Using a voice recorder for your mobile podcast sessions offers several benefits, including
improved mic quality for high-quality recording of your content
A portable digital audio recorder can record in multiple file formats for easy uploading and editing
The recorders have a better, longer battery life
If you still opt to use your phone, it is advisable to use an external mic. The best smartphone microphones come with convenient tripods for plopping up anywhere. Plus, you get better audio quality compared to that of the phone’s built-in mic.
You can connect most USB mics and USB audio interfaces to Android or iPhone phones using the right accessory. If you already have a mic you love, you may require an Apple Camera Connection Kit or a USB-A to USB-C cable to start.
You also have the option of using the headphone jack on the phone. The jack works seamlessly with 3.5mm audio cables.
Your digital recorder needs extra storage. Grab a few microSD cards so you never run out of space when recording the next explosive podcast in the field. However, make sure you check the maximum size your recorder works with—some allow up to 64GB.
While each podcast is different, here is a list of basic items you should add to your mobile podcasting setup:
- A backpack
- Durable microphones
- Extra cables
- Wind foam
Now that you have everything to start your podcast, it is time to record. However, you will need a Digital Audio Workspace (DAW) for capturing the audio and editing. You have several options available for both PCs and Macs.
Here are some popular recording and edition software to add to your podcast recording equipment list.
The software records audio only but is also one of the best tools for carrying out podcasts when you have co-hosts or remote interviews. Use SquadCast to record each individual on a separate track and achieve excellent audio regardless of the internet speeds.
You can pair SquadCast with Audacity to achieve a complete, but cheap, DAW setup.
This software is an industry favorite. Audacity is easy-to-use, offers all the critical features for capturing crisp audio and cleaning it, and it is free! Audacity is an excellent choice because you will not run into startup costs and you get many video tutorials to help you start your podcasting journey.
GarageBand is another easy-to-use software that is free to download. However, it only works on Mac computers and you cannot record guests on separate tracks. This should not be an issue when running a solo podcast.
The software is specifically for spoken audio. Hindenburg Journalist is available for Mac and PC users. You can record, introduce sound effects and music to recordings, and edit the files using various options. However, using the software will cost you.
This browser-based audio and video recording software is revolutionizing the podcast world. You can record high-fidelity audio and video, and Riverside is also a fairly priced but easy-to-use tool.
Finally, Adobe Audition is an expensive but advanced solution for experienced podcasters. The software boasts podcast-specific features that help improve your audio. However, the monthly subscription makes it a costly investment if you are not using Adobe Audition fully.
Podcast Hosting Platforms
Many people believe podcasters upload their content directly to apps such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts. However, RSS feeds distribute your podcast content. The hosting platform helps you create the feed and publishes new episodes to the listening platform automatically.
As you search for podcast hosting platforms, make sure you consider the provider’s:
- Bandwidth and download capabilities
- Integrations for content promotion
- Site creation options
Here are a few podcast hosting providers on the market.
An excellent platform to start with because they offer a free plan. Buzzsprout offers the basic requirements in the free tier to get your content out there. You can level up to the paid tiers for more features and bandwidth as your show gains popularity.
If you are looking to reach a bigger audience, grow your show, and make money, RedCircle can help you. The platform also links podcasters and publishers so they can connect and share content. Easy-to-use tools and a user-friendly interface make uploading and running your podcast show convenient.
Simplecast offers powerful tools for managing, distributing, sharing, and growing your podcast for just $15 a month. This platform powers some of the largest podcasting brands, including Facebook, Kickstarter, and Nike. Use the Recast feature to schedule and share podcast clips on social media.
Good internet is an essential item in your podcast equipment list. You use the internet for uploading your podcast, especially if you want to add the video podcast component.
The best internet speed is something over 12 Mbps download speed.
Buying podcasting equipment for an excellent setup is a major hurdle for many aspiring podcasters. Some options include paying more for a microphone or using a premium DAW service for post-production. While there is no wrong or right answer, the podcast starter setup should be custom to your needs and what you hope to gain from podcasting!
Are you trying to produce podcast content for the real estate market, but can’t achieve the quality you want? Invested Talent can help by creating quality content from your current podcast. Schedule a call today and let’s see how we can support your efforts.