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What Podcast Equipment Do I Need to Start?

Podcast gear can be a minefield when you are starting out. How much do you spend? What microphone do you need? Should I buy accessories for it? In this article we show you the essential podcast equipment for any budget.

A $100 USB microphone, a pair of earbuds and a Welder account is all you need to get started. As your podcast grows and you want to invest more, you can start improving the type of microphone you have and get accessories to achieve better quality.

However, the content of your show is far more important than the equipment you use to make it, so don't fall into the trap of saying "I'll start my podcast when I have X mic" or getting frustrated when you see other podcasters with the latest and greatest gear. Unless of course you're an absolutely gear-obsessed like me and have way more microphones than any normal human would own.

Want to find out how to start your podcast from scratch? Our full podcast guide will help you out.

Microphones

The big decision! Which microphone should you buy for your podcast? There is not a "one size fits all" microphone that is perfect for everyone, but I have some good recommendations and some questions you can ask to help you decide which one.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want an XLR or USB microphone?
  • Does a condenser or dynamic microphone work better for your space?
  • What accessories do you need to make the most out of the microphone?

How much should I spend on a podcast microphone?

After about $100, it's hard to tell the difference between which microphone you buy. I found this when I was recording with my $100 Shure SM58 and switched to a $400 Shure SM7B (plus $300 of accessories) - I could barely tell the difference myself.

Free

I think any less than about $60 and you'll start to lose quality. I think it's important to have a good baseline of quality for your show as there is so much competition out there in 2021 (over 2 million podcasts).

If you don't have about $100 to buy a microphone, then you should absolutely just start for free using the tools you have available. Record into your computer or even use voice notes on your phone. Just make sure you're in a quiet room that doesn't echo too much.

$100 or under

This is the sweet spot for microphones. A nice combination of quality and price. The majority of my favourites fit in this category and you can get exceptional bang for your buck. My personal favourite is the Audio Technica ATR 2100x, as it's great value, is very forgiving and is the most compatible with any setup.

Here are some other options in the price range you can consider:

  • Shure SM58 ($100)
  • Rode NT-USB Mini ($100)
  • Samson Q2U ($80)
Our recommendation - Audio Technica ATR 2100x

$250 or under

This price range is tough to recommend. I've fluttered with microphones around this price and I'm never fully satisfied that the quality improvement justifies the price. That being said my current microphone is the Shure MV7, which is $250 and I really like it. It has good quality, it looks like the more expensive Shure SM7B (the Joe Rogan mic) and it is has both XLR and USB outputs meaning I can use it with all of my setups.

Here are some other options in the price range you can consider:

  • Rode Procaster ($200)
  • Rode NT USB ($160)
  • Samson Q9U ($250)
Our recommendation - Shure MV7

$400 or under (and beyond)

After around $400 you start to get into details in quality that are indistinguishable for most podcast listeners. It's a very safe bet to purchase a Shure SM7B for $400 and you'll be happy that there will be very few podcast rivals that will sound better. This is why you'll see this microphone on many popular podcasts, such as the Joe Rogan Experience.

Here are some other options in the price range you can consider:

  • Electro-Voice RE20 ($450)
  • Audio Technica AT4040 ($400)
  • Heil PR-40 ($330)
Our recommendation - Shure SM7B

Should I buy an USB or XLR microphone?

USB microphones are plug and play so are easiest to get started, especially if you are recording remotely. You do have a ceiling of quality because they don't make these too expensive.

XLR microphones use an interface (more on that later) to connect to your computer and convert the analogue XLR signal into a digital one. Most traditional ways of recording audio are with XLR, so you'll find your microphone to work with most audio specific devices and recorders.

Luckily for us, some clever brands are making mics with both XLR and USB outputs, meaning you have the best of both worlds. My 2 favourite mics both have this hybrid output.

Should I buy a dynamic or condenser microphone?

Another potentially confusing thing to navigate is dynamic or condenser, which is often only shown in the fine print of the product description, but it can make a huge impact on how your microphone sounds

Dynamic mics are more forgiving, often directional and give you that "radio" voice. A dynamic microphone would be better for a room which is not ideal recording conditions, such as an office.

Condenser mics are more sensitive, often require phantom power and require a well treated sound environment to sound good. These work best in a studio environment and will sound slightly better.

So, if you're recoding in a regular room or an office, get a dynamic microphone (most I've suggested in this article are). However, if you have a well-treated studio space then a condenser microphone may be the best option.

Should I buy a Blue Yeti?

James, you haven't mentioned the Blue Yeti once on this list, but it's the one I was thinking of getting? Well, dear reader, I have trouble recommending the Blue Yeti because I think there are much better options out there for the price. Blue's marketing team should be commended because they've done an incredible job making this microphone so popular. The main reason I can't recommend it is because it's a condenser microphone meaning it's not too forgiving. The table stand it comes with means many people just put it on their desk and usually results in the microphone being too far away to sound good. If you want your Blue Yeti to sound good, get a pop-filter to reduce the plosives and get a desk stand to bring it closer to your mouth (like the Rode PSA-1).

Our CEO Johan fell into the Blue Yeti trap and I couldn't let it slide:

What one should you buy?

If I was starting my podcast from scratch, I'd get an Audio Technica ATR 2100x. It's great value, sounds very good, has a microphone port for monitoring and I can use it with USB or XLR.

I currently use the Shure MV7 because it has all the features of the Audio Technica option, sounds marginally better and I like how it looks in my crispy high quality Welder recordings.

Here's an overview of our recommendations:

  • Budget USB - Rode NT-USB Mini, $100 (Dynamic)
  • Budget XLR - Shure SM58, $100 (Dynamic)
  • Budget XLR + USB - Audio Technica ATR 2100x, $80 (Dynamic)
  • Mid range XLR - Rode Procaster, $200 (Dynamic)
  • Mid range USB - Rode NT USB, $160 (Condenser)
  • Mid Range XLR + USB - Shure MV7, $250 (Dynamic)
  • Professional XLR - Shure SM7B, $400 (Dynamic)
  • Professional USB - There isn't one!

Other essential podcast equipment

Now the microphone is over and done with, let's go through what else you might need to make your podcast sound incredible. Some of this equipment will be depending on the microphone you buy, such as the interface

Headphones

Wearing headphones when recording a podcast is more useful than you might initially think. You can monitor your own audio to check your levels and when recording remotely you avoid any potential mic bleed (where you can hear yourself back from the guests microphone).

Any remote recording platform use echo cancellation technology to stop one person's audio being recorded from the other person's speakers, which makes the audio sound slightly compressed. Wearing headphones allows the echo cancellation feature to be turned off to get the raw quality.

You don't need to break the bank to get a good pair of headphones, in fact, any headphones you might have lying around (or just the earbuds that came with your phone) will be completely fine. I use the Audio Technica M50X, which are about $100, that give me excellent sound reproduction when I'm editing too (but are probably a bit overkill).

  • Existing earbuds ($10)
  • Audio Technica M50X ($100)
  • AirPods ($250)

Interface

An interface is required if you want to use your XLR microphone with your computer. It essentially converts the XLR signal into a USB one that is recognised by your computer. There are many difference options that come with different features and functionality, but you get what you pay for in terms of budget. If you buy a $400 microphone, don't ruin it with a $30 interface.

The most simple and effective interface is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. It's the interface you'll see many podcasters using, because it has 2 XLR inputs, headphone monitoring, line outputs and a USB-C connection to your computer. You can pick one up for around $150. There are some other fantastic options on the market that will work just as well as the Focusrite option:

  • EVO 4 USB Interface - $100
  • Audient ID4 - $120
  • Rode AI-1 - $100
  • PreSonus 24c 2x2 - $120

Recorder

If you record in person or maybe you'd like a local backup of your remote recording then a physical audio recorder might be useful for you. These recorders also allow you to record without a laptop so is perfect for a travelling setup.

I like the Zoom H6 which comes with 4 XLR inputs where you can record up to 4 people. This isn't cheap though, at about $400. If you're stretched for budget then take a look at the Tascam DR-60 which will be available for around $150.

If you'd like a full mixing setup, take a look at the Rode Rodecaster ($600). The Rodecaster is a pretty badass way of recording a podcast with a bunch of features that will make your life as a podcaster pretty cool.

Most mixers and recorders also have in-built interfaces so you can connect it to a computer and won't need a dedicated interface to record with Welder.

Some alternatives to the above:

  • Recorder: Tascam DR-60 ($150)
  • Mixer: Zoom Podtrack P8 ($500)

Accessories

Finally, some accessories that can enhance your recording. Some options are essential (depending on the microphone you buy) and others are useful if you're recording video or just want to bump up the quality.

Essential

  • XLR cables - $15. You'll need these to work with your XLR microphones. Don't go for the cheapest options, but anything over $15 will work well.
  • Mic desk stand - $10. I've used the low-cost Neewer Desk Stand for many years and they've worked an absolute treat.
  • Boom arm - $20. For many years I used this Neewer Boom arm which worked well for my lighter microphones. For an ATR 2100x or SM58, this will work great, but for a heavier microphone you'll want to upgrade. You can get a Rode PSA-1 or Blue Compass for $80, which will work a treat. I'm using Rode's stand in this video.
  • Foam pop filters - $1 - $15. A foam pop filter is absolutely essential for stopping those plosives from hurting your listeners ears. You can pick up a bag of these for a couple of dollars, but don't expect the greatest quality. Alternatively you can get a more premium option from Rode, the WS2 for $15 or so. - done

Useful, but not essential

  • Shock mount - $50. If you're using a particularly sensitive microphone or you often hear tapping from your desk, it might be worth picking up a shock mount to remove any micro vibrations. The Rode SM-1 is a good option here.
  • Cam Link - $20. If you record your show with video and you're investing in a DSLR, you can turn it into a webcam using a nifty $20 device. If you want a slightly higher-quality version then the Elgato Cam Link for $100 will be for you.
  • Teleprompter - $80. When recording with video you can use a teleprompter so you're looking directly into the lens.
  • Light panel / ring light - $50. In a particularly dark room it might be worth getting an LED light panel or ring light to improve the quality of your video.

A $100 USB microphone, a pair of earbuds and a Welder account is all you need to get started. As your podcast grows and you want to invest more, you can start improving the type of microphone you have and get accessories to achieve better quality.

However, the content of your show is far more important than the equipment you use to make it, so don't fall into the trap of saying "I'll start my podcast when I have X mic" or getting frustrated when you see other podcasters with the latest and greatest gear. Unless of course you're an absolutely gear-obsessed like me and have way more microphones than any normal human would own.

Want to find out how to start your podcast from scratch? Our full podcast guide will help you out.

Microphones

The big decision! Which microphone should you buy for your podcast? There is not a "one size fits all" microphone that is perfect for everyone, but I have some good recommendations and some questions you can ask to help you decide which one.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want an XLR or USB microphone?
  • Does a condenser or dynamic microphone work better for your space?
  • What accessories do you need to make the most out of the microphone?

How much should I spend on a podcast microphone?

After about $100, it's hard to tell the difference between which microphone you buy. I found this when I was recording with my $100 Shure SM58 and switched to a $400 Shure SM7B (plus $300 of accessories) - I could barely tell the difference myself.

Free

I think any less than about $60 and you'll start to lose quality. I think it's important to have a good baseline of quality for your show as there is so much competition out there in 2021 (over 2 million podcasts).

If you don't have about $100 to buy a microphone, then you should absolutely just start for free using the tools you have available. Record into your computer or even use voice notes on your phone. Just make sure you're in a quiet room that doesn't echo too much.

$100 or under

This is the sweet spot for microphones. A nice combination of quality and price. The majority of my favourites fit in this category and you can get exceptional bang for your buck. My personal favourite is the Audio Technica ATR 2100x, as it's great value, is very forgiving and is the most compatible with any setup.

Here are some other options in the price range you can consider:

  • Shure SM58 ($100)
  • Rode NT-USB Mini ($100)
  • Samson Q2U ($80)
Our recommendation - Audio Technica ATR 2100x

$250 or under

This price range is tough to recommend. I've fluttered with microphones around this price and I'm never fully satisfied that the quality improvement justifies the price. That being said my current microphone is the Shure MV7, which is $250 and I really like it. It has good quality, it looks like the more expensive Shure SM7B (the Joe Rogan mic) and it is has both XLR and USB outputs meaning I can use it with all of my setups.

Here are some other options in the price range you can consider:

  • Rode Procaster ($200)
  • Rode NT USB ($160)
  • Samson Q9U ($250)
Our recommendation - Shure MV7

$400 or under (and beyond)

After around $400 you start to get into details in quality that are indistinguishable for most podcast listeners. It's a very safe bet to purchase a Shure SM7B for $400 and you'll be happy that there will be very few podcast rivals that will sound better. This is why you'll see this microphone on many popular podcasts, such as the Joe Rogan Experience.

Here are some other options in the price range you can consider:

  • Electro-Voice RE20 ($450)
  • Audio Technica AT4040 ($400)
  • Heil PR-40 ($330)
Our recommendation - Shure SM7B

Should I buy an USB or XLR microphone?

USB microphones are plug and play so are easiest to get started, especially if you are recording remotely. You do have a ceiling of quality because they don't make these too expensive.

XLR microphones use an interface (more on that later) to connect to your computer and convert the analogue XLR signal into a digital one. Most traditional ways of recording audio are with XLR, so you'll find your microphone to work with most audio specific devices and recorders.

Luckily for us, some clever brands are making mics with both XLR and USB outputs, meaning you have the best of both worlds. My 2 favourite mics both have this hybrid output.

Should I buy a dynamic or condenser microphone?

Another potentially confusing thing to navigate is dynamic or condenser, which is often only shown in the fine print of the product description, but it can make a huge impact on how your microphone sounds

Dynamic mics are more forgiving, often directional and give you that "radio" voice. A dynamic microphone would be better for a room which is not ideal recording conditions, such as an office.

Condenser mics are more sensitive, often require phantom power and require a well treated sound environment to sound good. These work best in a studio environment and will sound slightly better.

So, if you're recoding in a regular room or an office, get a dynamic microphone (most I've suggested in this article are). However, if you have a well-treated studio space then a condenser microphone may be the best option.

Should I buy a Blue Yeti?

James, you haven't mentioned the Blue Yeti once on this list, but it's the one I was thinking of getting? Well, dear reader, I have trouble recommending the Blue Yeti because I think there are much better options out there for the price. Blue's marketing team should be commended because they've done an incredible job making this microphone so popular. The main reason I can't recommend it is because it's a condenser microphone meaning it's not too forgiving. The table stand it comes with means many people just put it on their desk and usually results in the microphone being too far away to sound good. If you want your Blue Yeti to sound good, get a pop-filter to reduce the plosives and get a desk stand to bring it closer to your mouth (like the Rode PSA-1).

Our CEO Johan fell into the Blue Yeti trap and I couldn't let it slide:

What one should you buy?

If I was starting my podcast from scratch, I'd get an Audio Technica ATR 2100x. It's great value, sounds very good, has a microphone port for monitoring and I can use it with USB or XLR.

I currently use the Shure MV7 because it has all the features of the Audio Technica option, sounds marginally better and I like how it looks in my crispy high quality Welder recordings.

Here's an overview of our recommendations:

  • Budget USB - Rode NT-USB Mini, $100 (Dynamic)
  • Budget XLR - Shure SM58, $100 (Dynamic)
  • Budget XLR + USB - Audio Technica ATR 2100x, $80 (Dynamic)
  • Mid range XLR - Rode Procaster, $200 (Dynamic)
  • Mid range USB - Rode NT USB, $160 (Condenser)
  • Mid Range XLR + USB - Shure MV7, $250 (Dynamic)
  • Professional XLR - Shure SM7B, $400 (Dynamic)
  • Professional USB - There isn't one!

Other essential podcast equipment

Now the microphone is over and done with, let's go through what else you might need to make your podcast sound incredible. Some of this equipment will be depending on the microphone you buy, such as the interface

Headphones

Wearing headphones when recording a podcast is more useful than you might initially think. You can monitor your own audio to check your levels and when recording remotely you avoid any potential mic bleed (where you can hear yourself back from the guests microphone).

Any remote recording platform use echo cancellation technology to stop one person's audio being recorded from the other person's speakers, which makes the audio sound slightly compressed. Wearing headphones allows the echo cancellation feature to be turned off to get the raw quality.

You don't need to break the bank to get a good pair of headphones, in fact, any headphones you might have lying around (or just the earbuds that came with your phone) will be completely fine. I use the Audio Technica M50X, which are about $100, that give me excellent sound reproduction when I'm editing too (but are probably a bit overkill).

  • Existing earbuds ($10)
  • Audio Technica M50X ($100)
  • AirPods ($250)

Interface

An interface is required if you want to use your XLR microphone with your computer. It essentially converts the XLR signal into a USB one that is recognised by your computer. There are many difference options that come with different features and functionality, but you get what you pay for in terms of budget. If you buy a $400 microphone, don't ruin it with a $30 interface.

The most simple and effective interface is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. It's the interface you'll see many podcasters using, because it has 2 XLR inputs, headphone monitoring, line outputs and a USB-C connection to your computer. You can pick one up for around $150. There are some other fantastic options on the market that will work just as well as the Focusrite option:

  • EVO 4 USB Interface - $100
  • Audient ID4 - $120
  • Rode AI-1 - $100
  • PreSonus 24c 2x2 - $120

Recorder

If you record in person or maybe you'd like a local backup of your remote recording then a physical audio recorder might be useful for you. These recorders also allow you to record without a laptop so is perfect for a travelling setup.

I like the Zoom H6 which comes with 4 XLR inputs where you can record up to 4 people. This isn't cheap though, at about $400. If you're stretched for budget then take a look at the Tascam DR-60 which will be available for around $150.

If you'd like a full mixing setup, take a look at the Rode Rodecaster ($600). The Rodecaster is a pretty badass way of recording a podcast with a bunch of features that will make your life as a podcaster pretty cool.

Most mixers and recorders also have in-built interfaces so you can connect it to a computer and won't need a dedicated interface to record with Welder.

Some alternatives to the above:

  • Recorder: Tascam DR-60 ($150)
  • Mixer: Zoom Podtrack P8 ($500)

Accessories

Finally, some accessories that can enhance your recording. Some options are essential (depending on the microphone you buy) and others are useful if you're recording video or just want to bump up the quality.

Essential

  • XLR cables - $15. You'll need these to work with your XLR microphones. Don't go for the cheapest options, but anything over $15 will work well.
  • Mic desk stand - $10. I've used the low-cost Neewer Desk Stand for many years and they've worked an absolute treat.
  • Boom arm - $20. For many years I used this Neewer Boom arm which worked well for my lighter microphones. For an ATR 2100x or SM58, this will work great, but for a heavier microphone you'll want to upgrade. You can get a Rode PSA-1 or Blue Compass for $80, which will work a treat. I'm using Rode's stand in this video.
  • Foam pop filters - $1 - $15. A foam pop filter is absolutely essential for stopping those plosives from hurting your listeners ears. You can pick up a bag of these for a couple of dollars, but don't expect the greatest quality. Alternatively you can get a more premium option from Rode, the WS2 for $15 or so. - done

Useful, but not essential

  • Shock mount - $50. If you're using a particularly sensitive microphone or you often hear tapping from your desk, it might be worth picking up a shock mount to remove any micro vibrations. The Rode SM-1 is a good option here.
  • Cam Link - $20. If you record your show with video and you're investing in a DSLR, you can turn it into a webcam using a nifty $20 device. If you want a slightly higher-quality version then the Elgato Cam Link for $100 will be for you.
  • Teleprompter - $80. When recording with video you can use a teleprompter so you're looking directly into the lens.
  • Light panel / ring light - $50. In a particularly dark room it might be worth getting an LED light panel or ring light to improve the quality of your video.

Welder is the easiest & most reliable way to record remote video podcast

Are you looking for a way to record your podcast in high-quality, remotely? Welder is the ideal podcast recording software for you. We are focused on helping you to create the best quality podcast recording possible.

We record your audio in 48kHz and video in up to 4k to ensure your podcast stands out. Wave goodbye to low quality and problems caused by poor internet connection, as Welder’s podcast recording software captures your files locally. Get the best possible quality from your setup
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