Are you feeling lost with what kind of hardware you need to start a podcast? Do you want to improve the show you already have? Whether you're trying to get your show up and running on a budget or you're ready to upgrade your equipment, you can find all the information in this article. We did the research so you don't have to.
We will break down and discuss the main components of each essential piece of hardware that will help bring your podcast to the next level.
Our first piece of advice is to create an overall budget for your kit.
The size of your kit, and what equipment you need will depend on a few different factors.
Consider how many hosts and guests you plan to have. Each host should have their own microphone and headphones as well as each guest. Also, keep in mind if you have multiple guests you will require a pre-amp to handle multiple inputs.
Whether you will have a set recording space or if you will be mobile. If you are mobile you will need less hardware but that is easy to pack and assemble each time you record.
Your experience level. As your podcast grows and your skills grow, you will naturally want to upgrade your equipment. Keep in mind that, when you're a beginner you might want to avoid splurging on big-budget hardware as it is usually more advanced and you wouldn't be able to take full advantage of it.
Our second piece of advice is to carefully consider the environment you wish to record in.
Your space should be furnished, quiet and away from any street noise. No amount of high-end equipment will remove loud background noises or reverb, so to avoid this please make sure and check out our blog here regarding room acoustics.
What equipment do I need to start a podcast?
We would recommend attaining at least the following pieces of hardware:
A Camera (for video recordings)
If you have a budget of around £100 we will have a designated article for you very soon. Turn on post notifications for our social media accounts to get notified when new blogs are released.
You will need a minimum of one microphone per speaker on your show. When searching for a mic you may be overwhelmed with some of the terms, as things can get very technical. There are 2 main types of podcasting mics, a condenser and a dynamic microphone. They both have different attributes, and each serves a purpose in the podcasting world. For a more in-depth guide on the differences go check our podcast microphone guide here.
For people who need a remote setup, you will most likely sway towards USB microphones (plug-and-play). USB mics plug directly into your computer or laptop and you will therefore not need a pre-amp. If you are going down the XLR microphone route, you will need to connect to an external power source, referred to as a pre-amplifier. This is a slightly more advanced setup but you will usually get rewarded with high-quality recordings. It will often be easier to record with more microphones using a pre-amp as you won’t run out of USB ports on your computer.
Some of the best podcast microphone options you can try include:
Omoton USB (£)
This is one of the most budget microphones you can buy which will still offer decent recordings. In this package, you will get a pop filter and windshield cover to stop plosives or if you want to record outside. If your total setup budget is under £100 this can be a great option for you without investing too much money.
Blue Yeti USB Mic (££)
Another very affordable microphone that is also USB ready. The Blue Yeti microphone is world-renowned for podcasters and gamers who are starting off. You will get a decent-quality recording for a reasonable price.
Shure MV7 (£££)
The Shure MV7 is used across the globe and is used by beginners to highly experienced podcasters. Much like its more expensive brother (SM7B) you can still get a very clear recording with a lot of the same audio characteristics for a better price.
Headphones are useful for podcasters as they stop your microphone from picking up what you're listening to. Any headphones can solve this issue. Some of the best brands are Audio Technica, Sennheiser and Sony. Listening through your headphones will allow you to better hear what the microphone is picking up so you can adjust audio levels, saving you time when editing.
What is an audio interface? In simple terms, it is a device that easily allows you to connect your equipment to your computer. It converts your instrument's signal into a digital format that your computer and software can read.
If you plan on using an XLR microphone you should add this to your setup to simplify the process of recording. Note: It won't be necessary if you are using a USB mic!
M-Audio M-Track Duo (£)
If you're on a budget this is a great piece of hardware, you can pick one up for around £50 and is a no-brainer for beginners. This M-Track duo audio interface will work with most computer systems including; Windows, Mac OS, or iOS (using Apple's Lightning > USB 3 Camera Connection Kit). It will allow you to record 2 microphones simultaneously and will provide you with all the basic functions for beginner podcasters.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface Bundle (££)
Slightly more expensive is the Scarlett 2i2 by Focusrite, coming in around the £100 mark. With this interface, you will gain higher performance as well as a cleaner recording. Focusrite also offers a podcasting bundle which includes headphones and a Microphone for around £200. This is a great bundle for beginners or intermediate podcasters wanting to increase show quality.
Rode RODECaster Pro (£££)
The RODEcaster pro is designed especially for podcasters and has amazing functionality. You get more than just a standard audio interface, it comes with inbuilt easy-to-use sliders to ensure volumes are correct as well as effects pads to trigger audio clips during your recording. This will cost you around £500 so it wouldn't be recommended for beginners, but instead for more experienced podcasters looking to give their show the most professional
A great way to increase your reach is by adding a visual element that in turn keeps your listeners engaged throughout the show. Another advantage to having video footage is being able to create promo videos for your shows and using it as content for your social media. One episode can give you a week's worth of content that will boost online engagement and increase the shareability of your podcast. Many of the most successful podcasters will continue to promote a single episode over the coming weeks/ months to increase listenership.
When shopping for podcasting cameras you'll find A LOT of options so here are some options to fit a range of budgets.
Your smartphone & Camo Studio (£)
Did you know that your smartphone can be used to record your podcast? Camo Studio is a piece of software that will allow you to convert your device into a fully workable 4k webcam. Giving you the same great results which are similar to cameras worth over £300. This app comes as either a paid subscription at £35 a year, £4.50 a month or one upfront cost of £70. Camo Studio is a great option for anyone with a high-end phone.
Logitech C920 (£)
A very cheap entry for anyone who wants to get into video podcasting with a low budget. The Logitech webcam will give you good-quality video and images. You can get one for under £70 from amazon and with its great reviews, it is a good place to start for beginners.
Logitech BRIO (££)
An upgrade from the C920 is the Logitech BIRO. This compact webcam is a good allrounder for those who want a very minimal setup. With the benefit of a good internal microphone, this upgrade is great for those who are constantly on the move. You can shoot speeds up to 90fps and the lens will provide a clear image. For those of you who will be sitting close to the camera, this is a good option as you can choose from 3 FOV (field of view) settings.
Canon EOS M50 (£££)
Canon has an exceptional reputation for great-quality cameras. So the EOS M50 is our final recommendation. This comes with an EVF, a fully functioning touchscreen, a 24MP APS-C sensor, and a single dial control. With its higher price tag (£700) and advanced technology, we recommend this camera for experienced users so you can take full advantage of everything it has to offer.
Every podcaster will have a different budget and depending on your experience the equipment you need will vary. A good thing to keep in mind what direction you want to take your podcast in. Do you make it for fun with friends or are you looking to expand and monitise your shows? Investing in your podcast will inevitably increase the listenership, but at what cost? Steve Barnett spent over £40,000 creating his setup. The costs can seem endless but remember that if you are new to podcasting, start with what you have! You can always upgrade as you develop your skills and grow your following.