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Best Podcast Equipment: Must-Haves for Any Budget Setup (2024)

Discover the best podcast equipment for a high-quality professional or beginner setup. No matter your budget, we cover the top podcasting gear for 2024.
Stephen Robles
Video & Podcast Creator
Published:
January 21, 2021
Last Updated:
February 22, 2024
9
min
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

Choosing the right podcast equipment can either make or break your podcast quality. 

Although, this doesn’t mean creating a podcast equipment setup needs to be intimidating. Whether you’re a beginner or professional, you can read through our essential equipment checklist to find out all the ins and outs of what you’ll need to record your podcast.

We’ll walk you through the best podcast equipment for every budget, from podcast microphones and shock mounts to podcast recording software. 

What basic podcasting equipment do you need to start a podcast?

To begin with, we recommend you start with the following podcast equipment:

  • Microphone(s)
  • Headphone(s)
  • Recording device or computer
  • Recording and editing software or a digital audio workstation
  • A camera (if recording video)

Other recommended, but not absolutely vital, gear includes:

  • An audio interface or mixer 
  • A pop filter
  • Lighting
  • A Mic Arm
  • A shock mount 

We’ll go into each of these in more detail. If you’re strictly looking to purchase podcast equipment under $100 we have a separate guide for you. If you’d like to assess a range of budgets, read on for the best podcast equipment for beginners and pros alike.  

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Best podcast equipment essentials for a beginner or pro setup

Microphones 

Your microphone is one of the most essential, if not the most critical, podcast equipment. First, you’ll need one microphone for each host, but before buying anything, there are a few factors to keep in mind.

What to consider:

  • Dynamic vs. condenser mics: Condenser microphones generally produce higher-quality sound, but they’re more sensitive and not ideal for noisy environments. Dynamic microphones are more affordable, don’t need external power, and are better for louder environments as they’re less sensitive and won’t capture as much noise.
  • Polar pattern: Your mic’s polar pattern or directionality is where your microphone picks up sound. We dive into this in our podcast microphone guide, but simply put, cardioid microphones pick up sound from the front and are better for most podcast setups.
  • XLR vs. USB connection: It might be easier for beginners to use a USB microphone. USB microphones connect directly to your computer or any other power source with a USB input, meaning it’s a simple set up. XLR mics require an external power source such as an audio interface. This means a more advanced setup, but you can have more control over recording, and you can add more microphones without needing a lot of USB ports on your computer. 

Some of the best podcast microphone options you can try include:

Best Podcast Microphone Recommendations per Budget:

Budget-friendly podcast microphones

  • Pyle PDMICR42SL Classic Retro Microphone (XLR): This dynamic Pyle Classic Retro microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and has a built-in pop filter to reduce popping noises. The unique, retro look makes it stand out from other mics at its price point. It uses an XLR connector.
  • ATR2100-USB (USB): The ATR2100-USB is a cardioid dynamic, handheld microphone with both a USB and an XLR output. Since this mic plugs directly into your computer, you can use it without recording software.  

Best medium-budget podcast microphones:

  • MXL 990 Condenser Microphone (XLR): The MXL 990 can produce professional sound quality for digital and analog recordings. This mic has an XLR output. It also comes with a shock mount, included in the price as a bonus. 
  • Blue Yeti USB Mic (USB): Blue Yeti has a reputation for its quality products that are affordable and easy to use. This mic is no different, and some podcasters swear by it. It comes with adjustable polar patterns, but is rather sensitive and not ideal for a noisy environment.

Blue Yeti USB podcast microphones in silver black and blue.
Blue Yeti


Best high-end podcast microphones

  • Shure MV7 (Hybrid): The Shure MV7 microphone is for podcasters at all levels. It has both a USB as well as XLR output and it has automatic features to help reduce unwanted background noise when recording. 
  • Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Cardioid Studio Microphone (XLR): Consider the Heil PR 40 if you're looking for a complete upgrade for your equipment. Though a little pricey, this stylish mic comes with a microphone arm and a shock mount.
Hungry for more information? We wrote a guide to help you choose a podcast microphone. You can also do a quick mic test to check out your equipment.

Headphones 

Up next: Headphones. This essential equipment for podcasters allows you to monitor and adjust the sound quality as you record. You'll also use them while editing your podcast. You can find great podcast headphones for any budget.

What to consider:

  • Wireless vs. wired: While wireless headphones give you more freedom to move around without cables, they also rely on battery and can cause a delay in the audio you hear. We’d say wired may be better. 
  • Open back vs. closed back: Open back allow air to pass through your audio cups, making everything sound better. Though, they’re susceptible to audio bleed, in which case closed-back headphones are better for podcasting.
  • In-ear vs. on-ear vs. over-ear: This comes to preference, but over-ear headphones are generally the most comfortable for more extended listening periods.

Best Podcast Headphones per Budget

Best budget-friendly headphones

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M30x: Great for podcasters just starting, these Audio-Technica headphones give you excellent value for money in that you get comfort and functionality at a low cost. 
  • Shure SRH440: Another budget-friendly option, the Shure SRH440 headphones, are well-reviewed and optimized to work with many professional audio devices. 

Best medium-budget headphones

  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO: These Beyerdynamic headphones should be at the top of your list if you seek comfort. These versatile headphones connect to the mobile, studio, and other audio devices. 
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x:The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones are similar to the  Audio-Technica ATH-M30x of the same series. Although, the M50x headphones have an extended frequency range and offer the option to go wireless.
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3.0: These Sennheiser headphones are a great investment, whether a beginner or advanced podcaster, with noise-blocking features, wired and Bluetooth options, and long battery life. 
Audio Technica ATH-M50x podcast headphones
Audio Technica

Best high-end headphones

  • Sony MDR1AM2/B: When you’re ready for an upgrade, these lightweight Sony headphones enable you to hear sounds across the entire spectrum that you may miss with lower-quality equipment. 
Read over our list of the best podcast headphones for more options.

Podcast recording and editing software

Put podcast software at the top of your list. The right software can take your show from ehh to great when you record a podcast. First, you'll want recording software to capture your content, second, you'll want to edit your podcast. Luckily, some podcast software offers you recording and editing in one place.

What to consider:

  • Remote vs in person: If you're recording with remote guests, choose software specifically for this, preferably with local recording. Not only will this lead to a simplified remote setup, but you'll get studio-quality results without worrying about your internet getting in the way.
  • Resolution: It won't help if you've got tip-top equipment but your recording software can only capture minimal quality. So ensure your software can handle high-quality resolution. (We'd say aim for at least 1080p video and 44.1kHz audio, but you're best off with 4K video and 48kHz audio).
  • Features: This includes editing and recording features, but think about additional features that are important to you. For example, perhaps you'd like transcripts or screen sharing?
  • Ai tools: Ai is all the talk right now, and there's no reason not to use it for podcasting. See what Ai features podcast software offers to streamline your workflow.

Best podcast recording and editing software

Riverside (Free and paid plans)

Riverside is an excellent choice for beginners or advanced users. This video creation software offers studio-quality audio and video recording, plus a seamless editing experience, packaged in one. You can start with Riverside's free plan or only pay for what you need as you can choose between multiple subscription options that work for all budgets. 

Some key features include:

  • Studio-quality recordings with up to 4K video and 48KhZ audio uncompressed files.
  • Local recording so all files are captured directly on your device and the resolution is unaffected by internet connection. 
  • More editing control with separate audio and video tracks
  • Remote recording with up to 8 participants 
  • Text-based video and audio editor so editing your recordings is as easy as going through a transcript. Simply delete text in your transcript and the the editor removes the matching video and audio in your recording.
  • Highly accurate AI transcriptions available in over 100 languages
  • The ability to use your phone as a (secondary) webcam. This is a great feature if you’re recording on a budget and have a good phone camera.
  • Magic Clip tool to repurpose your long-form podcast into short shareable social media content, with just one click.

If you want access to all this and more, you can sign up on Riverside for free!

Audacity (Free) 

Audacity is an excellent choice if you're new to podcasting. You can sign up for free. However, you won't get some of the features offered by other podcast software. 

GarageBand (Free)

Ideal for beginners, this free software supports basic edits. You can move different audio segments around in the order you'd prefer.

Adobe Audition (Paid)

This podcast equipment offers a decent range of control over editing audio. Though it's packed with great features for the price, this option is recommended for those with experience as it can take a while to learn how to use it. 

Hindenburg Journalist (Paid)

This expensive software suits professional podcasters and radio journalists. Consider investing in this if you already have a well-established show. 

Pro Tip: Make sure audio sounds clear

What do they all have in common when you look at the top shows on Spotify or iTunes? Quality audio. All of them have one thing in common: quality audio. No one wants to sit through a podcast full of background noise, popping sounds, or fuzziness. You can deliver an explicit, professional-sounding podcast using the right recording software.

Audio interface

An audio interface allows you to easily connect your equipment to your computer. It basically converts your recordings into a digital format that your computer can read. It’s important if you’re using XLR microphones or plan on recording with multiple speakers and want separate tracks. While its not necessary, especially if you’re using a USB mic, it can simplify your recording process.

What to consider:

  • Inputs: Make sure for every pair of headphones and mic, you have a suitable connection input.

Best podcast audio interfaces per budget

Best budget friendly audio interface:

  • Midiplus Smartface II Audio Interface: This Midiplus audio interface works with most computer operating systems and will provide beginners with the basic features needed for podcast setup. 

Best medium budget audio interface:

  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface Bundle: Though a little pricey, this Focusrite bundle is a great value because of all of the equipment that you get in addition to the audio interface itself.

Best high-end audio interface

  • MOTU 8pre USB: Best for those looking to upgrade podcast equipment, the MOTU 8pre has as many as 16 inputs. 
Read our guide about podcast mixers to help you choose between an audio interface and an audio mixer.

Mixers 

These are not mandatory for a basic podcast gear setup, but you may want to use a mixer if your show has multiple hosts or guests. Mixers also help when you plan to record different types of audio.

What to consider:

  • Channels: Pay attention to the number of channels it can accept so you have enough.
  • Preamps: This takes your audio signals and amplifies it so your computer or recording device can read it.
  • Compatibility: Make sure your mixer is compatible with other equipment.

Best podcast mixers per budget

Best budget friendly  mixer:

  • Behringer Xenyx 802: A great starter piece, this mixer suits new podcasters on a budget. The Behringer Xenyx 802 provides eight inputs with noise-canceling features and two mic preamps. 

Best medium-budget mixer:

  • Allen & Heath ZEDi-10: Allen & Heath has a range of quality mixers, and this mid-level option has features that allow you to identify and eliminate low-frequency noise. This Alien and Heath model also has four USB inputs and four USB outputs, making it a good option if you use a lot of USB equipment. 

Best high-end mixer:

  • Rode RODECaster Pro: Specifically designed for podcasters, the Rode RODECaster Pro provides excellent functionality. Ensure that you have a use for all of its features so that you're not paying for something you don't need. 
RODECaster Pro mixer for Podcasters
RODECaster Pro
Consider buying a mixer but not sure if you need one? Read our guide about podcast mixers.

Video Cameras 

Adding a visual element to your podcast keeps listeners engaged and allows you to produce many types of entertaining content. You can find thousands of options when it comes to podcast cameras; the more you invest, the better quality you'll get.

What to consider:

  • Resolution: Not all cameras record in the same resolution. We’d suggest a camera with a minimum of 1080p Full HD, or even better with 4K resolution.
  • Type: You can choose from a DSLR, webcam, and even camcorder. Our guide covering the best cameras for podcasting goes into the pros and cons of each. What you choose depends on your preference, but we definitely suggest you use a dedicated cam over your built-in laptop cam. 

You can do a quick free webcam test to check your equipment.

Best podcast cameras per budget

Best budget-friendly podcast camera

  • Kickteck Full HD 1080p: New to podcasting? This Kickteck camcorder is an excellent place to start as you can get quality videos and images for a low price. Consider this camcorder if you don't want to invest much in video equipment upfront. 

Best medium-budget podcast camera

  • Sony HDR-CX405/B: The Sony HDR-CX405/B camera suits podcasting beginners or those with a moderate experience level. One of the great features of this camera is the record time—it will allow you to record uninterrupted for hours. 
  • Panasonic HC-V770 Camcorder: The Panasonic HC-V770 is an excellent camera for podcasters looking to live stream because it has WiFi functionalities. Although, it is a bit more of an investment than other basic podcast cameras.  
The Panasonic HC-V770 podcast camcorder
Panasonic HC-V770

Best high-end podcast camera

  • Nikon COOLPIX B500: Consider the Nikon COOLPIX B500 if you’d like to upgrade and spend a little more on your video recording equipment. 
Tip! If you don’t want to invest in a camera, you can likely use your smartphone as a camera and still get professional-quality footage. Many smartphones can record in up to 4K resolution, and you can get a mount to place one on your laptop easily.

Lighting 

Are you using cameras? You'll need lighting to make sure your listeners can see you (and so that you look great, of course).  When looking for essential podcast equipment, a lighting kit isn’t always the most necessary item because you can use natural light or even a simple ring light. Although, a proper lighting kit surely makes a big difference if you’re shooting in a darker environment.

What to consider:

  • Color temperature: The color of your light can either be warm or cool, which will create a different aesthetic. While we suggest you go for something in the middle, the most important tip is to ensure all your light sources are the same color.
  • Soft vs hard lighting: Hard light creates sharp shadows, whereas soft light gives your subject a smooth edge. For this reason we suggest a soft light for your podcast setup.
  • Three-point lighting: A three point lighting setup, is one of the best ways to light up a subject. You'll want a key light as your main source of light, a fill light to fill up shadows and a back light to fix make the subject pop from the background.

Best podcast lighting kits per budget

Best budget-friendly podcast lighting kit

  • Fancierstudio Lighting Kit 2400 Watt Professional Video Lighting Kit: This affordable Fancierstudio lighting kit will give you all of the basics you need to get started with your podcast setup.

Best medium-budget podcast lighting kit

  • Neewer 2 Packs Dimmable Bi-Color 480 LED Video Light and Stand Lighting Kit: The Neewer lighting kit gives you a range of lighting options using an LED panel that adjusts quickly and suits different lighting needs.

Best high-end podcast lighting kit

  • GVM RGB LED Video Lighting Kit, 800D Studio Video Lights with APP Control: You'll get complete control over how your viewers see you with this GVM kit, which has eight different types of light and APP control.

Pop Filter

Pop filters are not an essential part of podcast recording equipment. Although, they are pretty affordable and do make a difference in making your sound a lot smoother. Pop Filters act as a barrier between you and your microphone to reduce plosive sounds.

What to consider:

  • Materials: Most pop-filters are made with either nylon or metalic mesh. Nylon is cheaper and less durable but it still effectively reduces popping. Metalic filters are more durable, but they tend to be smaller.
  • Size and shape: Firstly make sure your filter fits your mic, but also the bigger and round your filter is, the more range you have to move around when talking into your mic.
  • Mount:  Essentially, you just want to ensure you have a suitable mount that you can clip to your mic stand.

Best podcast pop filters per budget

Best budget-friendly pop-filter

  • Nady MPF-6: The Nady MPF-6 is an affordable pop filter with a swivel mount for easy adjustment and positioning. Its gooseneck clamp fits any stands with a diameter of up to 1 inch.

Best medium-budget pop-filter

  • Shure PS-6 Popper Stopper: The Shure PS-6 is compatible with most stands and is adjustable, making it a flexible pop filter to use. It has a gooseneck mount with a clamp which makes it easy to clip onto your mic stand.

Microphone Arm or Stand

You and your hosts don’t want to hold your microphone during the entire recording session. An arm will prop up your mic. It also prevents extra sound and alternating volume levels from a mic moving around.

What to consider:

  • Type: We cover this in detail in our mic stand guide, but think about your set up here. For example, if you're recording at a table then a desktop stand should be good.

Best podcast microphone arms and stands

Best budget-friendly microphone arm

  • TONOR Studio Suspension Scissor Boom Arm: This TONOR mic arm will get the job done for those just starting. It's adjustable and comes with adapters to work with various microphones and shock mounts.

Best medium-budget microphone stand

  • Gator Frameworks Deluxe Desk-Mounted Broadcast Microphone Boom Stand: The Deluxe Frameworks microphone arm adjusts 360 degrees while producing minimal noise. This durable microphone equipment mounts to all sizes of desks and tables. 

Best high-end microphone arm

  • CUIJU Adjustable Microphone Arm: The CUIJU Adjustable Microphone Arm mounts to any surface or can stand alone with the provided mic stand. It adjusts quickly and locks into place to keep it still while recording. It also comes with a shock mount. 

Shock Mount

The shock mount attaches the microphone to the mic arm. While recording, it holds the microphone steady and prevents unwanted noise in your recording. 

What to consider:

  • Compatibility: Above all, make sure that your shock mount is compatible with the microphone you use. If you want more flexibility, you can always try a universal mount.

Best podcast shock mounts per budget

Best budget-friendly shock mount

  • LyxPro MKS1-B Condenser Spider Microphone Shockmount: The LyxPro MKS1-B is designed for condenser mics and has built-in anti-vibration and isolation features to reduce unwanted noise. This shock mount provides excellent value at a low price point.

Best medium-budget shock mount

  • Sabra Som SSM-1: You can use this adjustable Sabra Som shock mount with any type of microphone, and it fits all mic diameters up to 2". 

Best high-end shock mount

  • Rycote 44901 Invision USM: This is another universal shock mount that works with any type of mic. The unique shape of this Rycote shock mount prevents microphones from recording unwanted noise from mics moving around.

Portable Digital Recorder 

Not necessary for the initial podcast setup, a portable digital recorder makes sense if you record audio on the go.  These recorders often include built-in microphones and usually don't need to connect to a computer or mixer, making them more portable.

What to consider:

  • Recording quality: Just like your microphone and camera, you want to ensure your recorder captures good quality content. Aim for at least 44.1kHz audio and try choose a recorder that offers lossless WAV files.
  • Storage: Check how much storage you have available to you on your device, or see if you can add a memory card.

Best podcast digital recorder per budget

Best budget-friendly podcast digital recorder

  • ZHKUVE Rechargeable Sound Audio Recorder: This ZHKUVE portable recorder plugs directly into a USB port to easily transfer audio files. 

Best medium-budget podcast digital recorder

  • TASCAM DR-05X Recorder: This TASCAM recorder is easy to use and records audio in high quality MP3 or WAV formats. It can record up to 96 kHz and acn even operate as a USB audio interface. This means it can convert recorded sound into a suitable format for your computer to read. 

Best high-end podcast digital recorder

  • DYW Portable Digital Voice Recorder: Anyone who plans on doing a lot of on-the-go interviewing should consider investing in this DYW recorder. It's simple to use and has noise reduction features.

What to consider when choosing your podcast equipment bundle:

While you have different considerations for each type of equipment, you also need to think about your general setup. Here are a few things to look into:

No. of guests

You’ll likely record your podcast with various guests, and you should keep this in mind when purchasing podcast gear. 

If you plan to record in a podcast studio setup with 2 or more people, ensure your equipment supports multiple ports. In this case, getting a mixer or interface that supports as many mics as required is best. As for mics, headphones, and other individual equipment, just get 2x, 3x, or 4x, whatever suits your needs.

Remote vs. In-person

If your guests are joining you remotely, you may want to consider buying equipment to send to your guests. Not all guests have good-quality gear, which could lead to lower-quality recordings. 

It’s also important to factor what software you use for your remote recordings. Many rely on internet connection, often leading to glitches or low resolution. Your best bet here is to use local recording software that captures everything directly to everyone’s device while uploading files online to the cloud.

Recording environment

Other setup aspects to consider include the environment you’re recording in. Perhaps you need more of a portable setup if you’re recording on the go. Or, you may want to think about the noise level in your recording environment. This will be important for choosing a microphone as each one picks up sound differently and you’ll want to ensure it suits your surroundings.

Budget

Lastly, it’s a good idea to have a budget. Before you go and buy expensive podcast equipment, you’ll want to decide on a budget that works for you and your co-hosts. 

Especially if you’re a beginner, start with the basic podcast starter kit and remember that higher costs don’t always mean better quality. Maybe you’ve been in the game for a while and can afford some pricey, high-tech equipment. Whichever the case, start with a number that fits your budget. You can always upgrade and buy more as your audience grows.

FAQs on Podcast Equipment Essentials

How much does it cost to start a podcast?

The honest truth is you can start a podcast for free, but we recommend investing in at least a good microphone, headphones as well as recording software. These are your two most essential pieces of equipment to start a high-quality podcast. Overall, you can get a microphone for around $100 or more, headphones for around $50 or more, and recording software, like Riverside, often offers a free plan if you really need to budget. In total, you can start a podcast for as little as $150-200 dollars but we do recommend investing more if you’re really interested in growing your show.

Do I need special equipment to do a podcast?

Technically, you can record a podcast from a computer or a phone without any special equipment. You can simply record with your built-in recorder, but this won’t necessarily do the best job. For the best results though we recommend getting a quality microphone, headphones, and specialized recording software to begin with. As you grow, you may want to build up your podcast equipment bundle with more microphones, a mixer, and more items from our list above. 

Can I do a podcast by myself?

Yes! You can totally create a podcast on your own. We recommend you think about your podcast topic and podcast format first, to make sure your show is suitable as a one-man show.Wrap Up

The right podcast equipment gives you the tools to launch your show. Start with budget-friendly microphones, headphones, and recording software. You can always upgrade with enhanced tools, like visuals and portable mics, as you grow your audience. Just a little investment can go a long way to making your podcast kit set up a success.

Wrap Up

The right podcast equipment gives you the tools to launch your show. Start with budget-friendly microphones, headphones, and recording software. You can always upgrade with enhanced tools, like visuals and portable mics, as you grow your audience. Just a little investment can go a long way to making your podcast kit set up a success.

Once your equipment kit is all setup, you’re ready to start recording. What are you waiting for? Start creating podcasts with Riverside today!

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