In our illustrated guide, you heard that starting a podcast is super simple. It really is, but there are a few decisions you have to make before you can make it happen. One of the big ones - as you may have guessed – is what studio and podcast equipment your recording space will have in it.
Note: Don’t let the term “Studio” throw you. The beautiful thing about a podcast is you can do it anywhere. Apart from your computer or tablet, these are the 3 main pieces of audio and podcast recording equipment you need:
- Recording Software
Before you start Googling microphones and reading reviews, there’s some good news. Podcasters are pretty unanimous in their recommendations for great podcast recording equipment, so we’ve compiled a small list for you to help you get on your way. The podcasting software and recording equipment below are for your own benefit. Buzzsprout doesn’t make any commission from your purchase.
To start, keep in mind that one of the most important questions you need to answer is: “Why am I podcasting?”
Are you podcasting to:
- Try it as a hobby?
- Market your business?
- Make money?
Answering this question will help you decide whether to invest a chunk of money upfront for great quality podcasting equipment, or start with equipment that’s a little more basic while you get the hang of it.
It’s important to know at this point that the sound quality of your podcast pales in comparison to the quality of the content you’ll be providing your listener. Don’t get too bogged down when it comes to audio recording equipment and podcasting software.
The best advice we can give you is to begin podcasting by getting what you need, and start recording. Once you’ve got solid audio content you know conveys your message, look into podcast hosting (insert hyperlink to the home page here), and start growing your audience – it’s that easy!
For the Hobbyist
You’re here if you’re not sure how far you’ll take your podcast. You have a great idea, you want to produce it far into the future, but are just a little unsure. You don’t feel you need the best quality sound, and you want to minimize cost to keep your options (and possibly dignity) intact.
Hobbyist Package cost (Around $100)
Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Headset About $50 from Amazon
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone About $60 from Amazon
For the CommittedPodcaster
You are in this group if you’re looking to use your podcast as a tool for marketing a business or product, if you’re answering industry questions, or if you have a little bit of money and want to start out with great quality sound. For you, quality has to matter because you plan to put a lot of work into creating content and producing the audio – sounding professional is your primary objective, but you can’t afford to splurge too much.
For the Professional Podcaster
The professional podcaster doesn’t see money as something worth worrying about. You’ve got the capital to spend, and the desire to spend it. Podcasting isn’t going to be your hobby, or your side hustle. You see it as your calling, you’ve studied everything you can about it, and you are ready to invest heavily.
ProfessionalPackage cost (Around $420)
Audio-Technica ATH-M30X Pro Studio Headset Around $70 from Amazon
Microphone, Boom Arm, & Shock Mount
Rode Podcaster Booming Kit: Podcaster, PSA1 Arm, and PSM1 shock mount About $350 from Amazon
Free podcasting software can’t get cheaper. But don’t let the price tag make you think it’s subpar. Podcasters love using Audacity to get a quality podcast by recording to the software and making their edits before exporting. Cost = $0, and it works with both Mac and Windows operating systems. Amazing! Check out our Audacity tutorial for more help.
($0-$15 - Mac only)
GarageBand comes pre-installed on most Apple computers. If yours doesn’t have it, it’s a low-cost download and is perfect for recording and editing your podcast. Bonus: If you’re looking for a podcast music intro and you’ve got musical talent, GarageBand lets you play piano or guitar digitally, just by tapping. You can mix your music on the app, and you can even do it from your iPhone.
Mackie 402-VLZ3 Premium 4-Channel Ultra-Compact Mixer (About $99)
If you choose to buy a mic with an XLR connection, you’ll need a mixer to run the mic to. The mixer then runs to your computer or digital recorder. This little mixer is perfect for you. It gives you the ability to plug in 2 separate XLR mics (hello co-hosting!), is light, easy-to-use, and durable. With it, you’ll have greater control over the sound you record than if you just plugged a mic into your computer.
Roland R-05 Digital Recorder (About $189)
Although you can record, edit, and publish a podcast without a digital recorder, there are some great reasons for investing in this little guy.
- Backup. Computers crash and software quits unexpectedly, but a digital recorder is always reliable. Record your podcast to this fine piece of studio equipment, and you’ll never lose an episode.
- Live interviews. If you’re planning on making live interviews part of your podcast, this guy will ensure that you have quality sounding interviews every time.
Of course, there are cheaper options out there, but this is by far the most recommended recorder for podcast producers.
Looking for more?
We could give you a breakdown of the best equipment out there, but Cliff Ravenscroft A.K.A “The Podcast Answer Man” has put together a spectacular podcaster package ($1,599) that could be perfect for you!
Now that you’ve seen a wide variety of options, take a moment to think about who you are and how podcasting fits into your life. Realistically assess what your budget is, and what your level of commitment is, then make your choice. You don’t have to spend a fortune to become a professional podcaster - but you do have to start out with a few basics.