The best podcast equipment isn’t a substitute for great content, but it’s a necessary consideration if you want your show to be a success.
Podcast hosting may seem simple: You find a friend, talk into a microphone, and BOOM. You’re a millionaire. That’s how it works, right?
The truth is that podcast recording is extremely complicated. It requires an extensive mix of skills, including creativity, ingenuity, working with recording software, managing editing software, marketing, and so much more. If you are going to be good at podcasting, you need the best equipment, and this applies to rookies and veterans alike. That’s why it is so important that you know what the best equipment is and where to get it.
The Best Computer for Podcasting
Fortunately, when it comes to podcasting, most computers can handle just about anything you throw at them. It doesn’t matter if you have an Apple/Mac or Windows system: What matters is that you know how to use it and that it can handle the right equipment.
The most important thing when it comes to selecting the right computer for podcasting is that you use a computer that can handle any digital audio workstation that you use. This means that it should be able to appropriately edit and mix recordings that you create. It should meet some minimum requirements, including at least 16GB of RAM and a modern CPU that has at least 2.5 GHz.
The Best Microphones for Podcasting
A microphone is quite possibly the most important piece of equipment you can purchase. Remember, when it comes to podcasts, people expect nothing but the best in terms of sound quality. Even if you are the best audio editor in the world, you’re not going to get anywhere without a high-quality microphone.
First, understand that there are many different types of microphones, including:
- Cardioid microphones are microphones designed to record sound when they are directly spoken into. They work well in some stage performances and have their use for podcasting as well, although their large size and the need to stay close to the microphone makes them somewhat incompatible with podcasting.
- Condenser microphones are large, thick microphones. These are most popular among stage performers. They can give extremely high-quality sound.
- Dynamic microphones convert sound into a type of electric signal, thus making it easier for a sound to be recorded and allowing for greater fidelity to the original signal in the sound. Dynamic mics are very popular and considered professional-grade.
- Lavalier microphones are microphones that plug directly into an audio mixer or recorder—the output pins directly onto a guest or host’s shirt.
There are also specific brands within the aforementioned types of microphones:
- XLR Microphones are professional-grade microphones and can record high-quality sound. They come with special cables and input/outputs that require specific equipment or adaptors to use.
- USB Microphones are microphones that plug directly into a computer for recording. USB Mics are relatively inexpensive and can incorporate a wide range of types.
Of these types, Shure microphones, such as the Shure MV7, tend to work best. The Shure MV7 was specifically designed for podcasts. Shure microphones are one of the more popular brands of microphones within the industry.
Depending on the podcast setup you are working with, you may have other options. For example, you may be able to use a boom arm to help you with recording. A boom arm will hold a microphone over your head and allow for easy recording of you and your guests, though it may also pick up background noises. You may also get a shock mount, which is a type of mic stand that can avoid and absorb any issues that may come from contact with a microphone.
The Best Audio Interface for Podcasting
An audio interface is what is responsible for taking your audio and converting it to a digital format that will allow you to edit it. You will need pro tools to truly make something that is of professional-grade quality, and others will listen to it. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a challenge: You need to make sure that your audio interface doesn’t actually lose any quality when you transfer the sound.
There are many options, and these options vary based on how many XLR and USB inputs you have. Examples include the Focusrite Scarlette Solo or Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. There are other options as well, including the Mackie Oynx or Universal Audio Apollo Twin.
The Best Mixer for Podcasting
A sound mixer is a workstation that allows you to alter specific sound levels, bring in pre-recorded announcements, or play music. These are usually digital audio workstations, although there are many types of alternatives available at this point. A podcast mixer is necessary in order to make adjustments to sound and ensure that the multiple microphones you are using can be put into the same audio recording. A good mixer can handle input from multiple sources, even if you are doing a remote recording or recording over a platform like Zoom. It should also have the right inputs and outputs to handle all of your audio needs – otherwise, you may need to purchase an adapter.
The best mixer here is the Rodecaster Pro. The Rodecaster Pro bills itself as an all-in-one solution, meaning that it is appropriate for beginners and experts alike. It has four XLR inputs, channels for remote recording, sixty-four sound pads (which can be used for special effects or other music), and much more.
Of course, these aren’t the only options. Other choices include the Presonus StudioLive AR8c, the Yamaha MG10XU, and the ArtTubeMix.
The Best Pop Filter / Windscreen for Podcasting
The terms pop filter and windscreen are interchangeable. They are the small filters that you see over microphones and are designed to protect the integrity of the sound from popping noises. These noises are typically caused by fast-moving air that comes from plosives, which are the noises that people make when saying certain letters, like “p” sounds.
It is difficult to determine what the best pop filter or windscreen is, as this truly depends on the type of microphone that you use. Pop filters are designed to fit over a microphone. As such, before buying a microphone, you should check and see what pop filters are compatible with that type. Potential examples include:
- Stedman Corporation Proscreen XL, which is a six-inch metal screen.
- Blue The Pop, which fits over a condenser microphone.
- Avantone PS-1 PRO-Shield, a relatively thin pop filter that fits over microphone stands.
The Best Headphones for Podcasting
Podcast headphones are required in numerous circumstances, particularly if you produce a professional-grade podcast. They can make it easy to hear and understand guests, callers, music, and your co-host. They may not be explicitly necessary if you are recording from a studio, but they can make it easier for you to completely understand all of the audio that is happening around you, including your own audio levels.
High-quality headphones have been available for podcasting and more for some time. Some of the best brands include:
- Sennheiser: Sennheiser is a leader in audio equipment and has a wide array of headphones available. Their professional line of headphones includes the HD 400 PRO, the IE 100 PRO, and the HD 280 PRO.
- Audio-technica: Audio technical has dozens of headphones available, including a wide array of studio-quality headphones that are explicitly designed for podcasting. They offer single and double ear models, including the BPHS2 and MPHS2S.
The Best Headphone Amplifier for Podcasting
A headset amplifier is a device that can raise the sound levels and quality of sound for use by headphones. In many cases, they are absolutely required by podcast hosts, particularly if you regularly engage in remote recording sessions and need assistance in understanding what a guest is saying. They are also necessary if you are attempting to raise the sound quality to something that you can easily edit later.
Headphone amps come in a wide array of uses and quality, including for under $100, under $200, and even portable amps. The most popular headphone amp is the Behringer MICROAMP HA400, which you can get for just $29 on Amazon. It has four headphone jacks, allowing you to easily raise and lower the signal and volume of four different inputs.
The Best Mic Stands for Podcasting
A microphone stand is exactly what it sounds like: A holder for your microphone. This is important for any microphone other than a lavalier, which attaches directly to the individual in question.
The mic stand that works best for you depends on the setup of your studio. There are tripod stands, tripod boom stands, desktop stands, and more. As such, you have to determine which mic words for your studio setup. If you are sitting down, a desktop stand will suffice. If you are standing, you may need a tripod stand. You will also need a microphone stand that you can adjust to meet your needs.
If you are looking for a great desk stand, the Gator Frameworks GFW-MIC series will fit your needs. A K&M Telescopic Boom is a great boom microphone stand.
The Best Shock Mount for Podcasting
A shock mount is a mount that your microphone will fit into, thus reducing vibrations and background noise. Most shock mounts also come with pop filters, making it easy for you to simply buy this mount in order to manage multiple needs. Shock mounts tend to be compatible with various microphone types, but you should always make sure that the kind you purchase will be compatible with your microphone.
In general, the best shock mount is the Rycote Invision USM Shock Mount. At $79 before shipping, it is not cheap, but it is well worth the price, as it comes with an easy-to-install suspension system and high-quality features that can improve the quality of your sound.
The Best Microphone Cables for Podcasting
Don’t underestimate the importance of microphone cables for podcasting and audio recording: All cables are not the same, and you’ll need high-quality XLR Cables to ensure that you can easily transfer sound from your microphone to your mixing equipment and your computer.
There are numerous brands that can provide you with high-quality cables, including Mogami and Hosa. They will work with any XLR microphone, although you may need an adapter to record with USB microphones.
You may think that you can simply record with Bluetooth and skip cables completely. Here’s the thing: Though our Bluetooth technology has come a long way, it doesn’t yet have sufficient audio quality to handle the kind of sound quality that your listeners will expect. As such, we do not recommend using a Bluetooth microphone or headset for your podcasting. At least for now, nothing beats a headphone jack and a high-quality set of microphone cables.
The Best Acoustic Treatment for Podcasting
Acoustic treatment refers to what you do to your room in order to make it more friendly for sound. Recording in a room that hasn’t been treated means that the walls will awkwardly reflect the sound, causing feedback and an echoing effect. This is not acceptable to most listeners.
There are many types of acoustic treatments that you can install in the room that you are recording your podcast in, turning any room into your own studio. This isn’t cheap, as you’ll have to buy a ton of fabric in order to fully cover your room, or at least as much of it as possible.
Possible options include Primacoustic London and ATS Acoustics. They come in numerous options, including sound panels that will absorb echos or fabrics that you can temporarily install over the walls of your house or office in order to make a proper studio.
The Best Editing Software for Podcasting
Editing software is critically important: It can help you reduce unwanted noises, eliminate background sounds, and cut clips for length and clarity. Indeed, without good editing software, there is no such thing as quality audio.
The editing software you use ultimately depends on a variety of factors. First, how comfortable are you with video editing, and is there a program that you have more experience with than others? Many people love the Adobe suite of programs, and if that’s the case, then Adobe Audition is probably for you.
Next, how much are you willing to pay for a high-quality editing program? Finally, what’s your skill level? Different programs work differently for beginners or experts.
This leads to a secondary question: How much editing do you truly need? Do you need a program that can add an ad or two and cut time, or do you need deep functions, like intensive sound design and mixing?
The four best options are:
- GarageBand is a leading editing package available for Mac and iOS devices. It bills itself as a “fully equipped studio” and allows you to easily adjust audio levels, add clips, and even insert music that you can create right from within the program.
- Audacity is an open-source editing software platform. Audacity is not as easy to use or understand as some of the other programs on this list, but it does have a large community of robust users who can help individuals learn how to edit programs. Best of all? It’s free.
- Pro Tools is an extensive editing package. It allows for 128 audio channels, remote editing, music creation, easy upload with many different platforms, and more. As the name implies, Pro Tools is made for professionals, which means that beginners may struggle with learning its various functions.
- Adobe Audition, which is editing software created by Adobe. It allows you to “edit, mix, record and restore audio.” If you are familiar with other Adobe programs, learning this one will be relatively easy. It also has explicit podcast functions.
The Best Website Hosting for Podcasts
Website hosting for podcasts can get interesting. On the one hand, the most important thing is that you upload your podcast to the various services that people use to listen to podcasts, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts. However, you still need your own website to link to the podcasts, have your contact information, and give more information about your show. There’s good news here: Most hosting services are free. Examples include:
- Podbean, which most users agree is the best service on the market. Podbean gives you custom themes and comes with a player that you can drop right into your own website. There are free and paid options, but the paid options will cost you as little as $9 a month.
- Blubrry, which has a slew of options that make it easy to upload content and host it. Users have a variety of monetization options on Blubrry, making it easy to turn their podcast into cash. There is no free option here, which may be a challenge to some podcasters, but the paid options run for as little as $12 a month.
- SoundCloud, one of the oldest podcast hosting platforms available. As such, it has deep integration options and a variety of features that make it more akin to iTunes. It hosts a ton of other music and podcasting, making it an ideal website for many. It allows for up to three hours of free podcasting.
What About Mobile Gear?
Sometimes, you can’t record in your podcast studio or recording studio, and when this happens, you need to be ready to adjust. This begs the question: How can you record a podcast on the move with more than just your iPhone and earbuds? What happens when you don’t have a professional microphone and all of your usual soundproofing? The kind of gear you grab will be vitally important.
The Best Digital Recorder for Podcasting
If you need to use a digital recorder or podcasting, you have many options. You will typically want a digital recorder that has built-in microphones, makes it easy to extract your recordings to a computer, and will protect your files. There are many such options, including The Tascam DR-05 or Zoom H1N. More expensive options can also be purchased that come with better features or higher-quality microphones. All of these options also come with external jacks, making it easy to hook up an external microphone.
The Best Microphone for Podcasting
When it comes to mobile gear for microphones, your options are limited, as the most high-quality microphones are also the largest. This means that you won’t be able to bring a microphone to many places. In instances like these, you’ll probably need to go with a lavalier microphone, as these are portable, can easily be moved, and will likely be able to easily jack into your digital recorder.
Like other microphones, Shure tends to offer the best potential options. The Shure MVL is Omnidirectional and noted for its high quality. Other potential options include the Audio-Technica PRO 70, Movo WMIC50, and Power DeWise.
The Best SD Card for Podcasting
An SD Card is a memory card that will fit into a portable device – like a digital recorder – and allow you to record files and extract them later. Fortunately, SD cards are relatively inexpensive. The most important thing is that you purchase an SD card that is compatible with your recordings and has enough file space to save all of your recordings. MicroSD cards tend to work well, including anything by Sandisk and Samsung. Depending on how much storage you need, you may be able to go as high as 256 GB.
Why Good Equipment Matters
All of this equipment can get expensive, but keep in mind that there are some alternatives: You can always get a podcasting kit – which has almost all of this equipment – for a relatively affordable price. A good podcasting kit may be expensive in total, but it will save you money in the long run, as you won’t have to spend as much time looking for equipment or shell out as many dollars for all of the recording and post-production equipment that you need.
This may seem like a huge amount of equipment, and there’s no question that all of this information can be daunting. However, there’s good news: Podcasting has become so popular that you should be able to get most of this equipment easily, even by ordering right off of Amazon or directly from the vendor. The above equipment works because it is highly versatile, has great value, and is appropriate for beginners or podcasting veterans. That’s why we have made all of the above recommendations and suggestions.