How to build a profitable podcast.
Podcasting is exciting, and you will have a lot of fun creating content, but it can be sometimes daunting.
Scratch that; it is always daunting when you do not know what to do or the next step to take.
One such task for aspiring podcast hosts and producers is identifying the equipment they need to start a podcast.
While this is easy once you understand the process and requirements of producing top-quality content, it can be intimidating if you aren’t familiar with the equipment or technical jargon.
The necessary equipment, tools, and software you need to begin are all available depending on the level you are looking to begin at.
Another reason podcasting newbies fear taking the leap into real podcasting is the constant updating of podcasting software, tools, and equipment.
That internal conviction that you have reached the best deal and have the best possible equipment is key to being happy with your setup.
This post will help you through all of these decisions and save you valuable time.
Because we are aware that we all have varying budgets, we have also put together some equipment packages for different levels of budget.
But before we proceed to the critical equipment you need and the packages for different budgets, I have to remind you of something important.
To create an awesome podcast, you need two things:
Great content is what keeps your audience glued after producing a quality sound with good equipment. If you do not have great content, all of the excellent equipment and setup I am about to show you will not take your podcast to the heights you desire.
You can read up on how to structure and create great content for your show here
If you have been searching the internet for the podcast equipment used by the biggest podcasters out there – you might be feeling a little intimidated and put off starting your podcast.
The good news is that you do not need to spend huge amounts of money to start on the level of those big podcasts. All you need is some essential pieces of equipment to make you sound professional as you put out great content, such as:
Having a reliable PC is vital for podcasting. You will need a digital audio workstation (DAW) for the production of your show. The recording and editing software you will use to make your show sound professional and clean must be installed on your PC.
There are lots of PCs available on the market that will get the job done for you. It makes no difference if it’s a Mac or PC, a Desktop or a Laptop. What’s important is that you feel comfortable using it.
It would be best if you also considered some factors before getting a computer. Some DAW software works on a specific OS. GarageBand and Logic Pro, for example, only work on iOS. However, most editing software works on both Windows and iOS.
Also, it would be best if you considered how mobile you want to be with your podcast. If it is a show that will need to be recorded outdoors or require visiting people, you might prefer to use a laptop rather than a desktop, as it is designed to be mobile.
Some of the things to consider in a computer before buying it include the processor, the amount of memory it has, and the type and amount of USB ports it has built-in. As a beginner, you should be OK with 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD storage, and a 3-core processor, as long as you are only using it for podcast recording and editing at the time.
Here are some excellent recommendations:
If you are a lover of Windows PCs, and you want a professional machine, the Dell XPS computer is a good option for you. It has 16GB RAM and an Intel Core i7 processor. These specs are good enough to run the best tools and apps you will need for podcasting. The XPS has several options, including some cheaper ones that will fit into any budget.
Apple released the M1 chip (Apple Silicon) recently, and it came with a lot of built-in power. Although you will need to splash some cash on the Mac, it is always worth it. The MacBook Air has both the Intel and M1 models, and both will run your tools and apps well.
This laptop is a good option for anyone working on a tight budget. It has a great battery life, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and a fast quad-core processor. The range of USB ports is also great.
This desktop computer is excellent for beginners. It has 256GB storage, 16GB RAM, a good range of USB ports to accommodate your mic and other tools, and a six-core processor.
This laptop is also for Mac lovers, and it will cost some money, but it really delivers. The 512GB SSD storage allows you to save a lot of work, and it will work for 10 hours straight after a full battery charge. The MacBook Pro is a great option especially if you prefer macOS editing software.
The microphone you use for podcasting is arguably the most significant determining factor of your podcast’s overall sound quality. If you get a good microphone, it will save huge amounts of time during post-production. Choosing the right microphone to use is where it gets tough.
Aside from sound quality and price, the choice of the microphone is also based on the connection it uses. There are USB Microphones and XLR microphones. For sound quality, microphones are divided into condenser versus dynamic.
This type of podcasting microphone connects directly to your computer through the USB port. Podcasting newbies prefer it due to the simplicity in connecting the mic and the PC. It also requires less equipment as there is no need for an interface or a mixer. However, some USB microphones are pricey and compromise sound quality for ease of use.
XLR microphones are used by advanced podcasters that want a professional setup. An XLR microphone has a 3-prong connection. It connects to a mixer which in turn connects to the PC. This is the type of microphone you will find in professional podcast studios. They typically cost more than USB microphones but the sound quality is usually excellent.
This type of podcast microphone has a higher sensitivity to environmental noise and high frequencies. They pick up the slightest sound, but they sound crisp. You will typically find this type of microphone in professional recording studios and with full acoustic treatments (soundproofing).
This type of podcasting microphone has less sensitivity to surrounding noise. However, they usually have layered sound, and they produce a less crisp sound compared to condenser microphones. Beginners typically use the dynamic microphone in the podcasting industry in personal DIY studios.
Here are some recommendations based on the above-listed factors:
This microphone is unique, as it supports both XLR and USB connectors. It is a dynamic microphone, and it is excellent at eliminating background noise compared to others. You can record on location with people or in a room that isn't soundproof, and be assured that it will not pick up a lot of background noise.
The Blue Yeti is quite popular among podcasters. It is a USB microphone famous for its versatility, durable design, and ease of use. It has the added benefit of a built-in stand, so you don't need to get a frame for it. All you need to do is plug it in and start recording. It has condenser capsules that help your voice sound crisp and clear.
Asides from being easy to set up and use, the Yeti offers flexibility in pickup patterns. It could be set up as stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bi-directional.
The Rode Procaster is an XLR microphone. You will need an audio interface to record your sound. This might prove costlier, but it produces a great sound. When compared with pro microphones that offer a similar level of sound quality, you will realize what good value for money the Procaster represents. It is a dynamic microphone, so it eliminates background noise to a great extent. It also has an in-built pop filter that helps to eliminate plosives.
Mixers are very useful, especially for podcast shows with more than one host and guests. If you are using an XLR microphone, a mixer is a must-have. Mixers help to minimize the post-production work.
There are many advanced mixers on the market, but you have to pay attention to two essential features. The AUX out and the number of channels are vital features you must always look at in a mixer.
Here are some excellent mixer recommendations for you:
This mixer includes automatic compression, good pads that allow integration of pre-recorded sounds, Bluetooth to receive phone calls, and several other great features. It has four headphone inputs, four XLR inputs, eight sound pads, faders, a touchscreen with many parts, and a microSD card slot, among other features.
This mixer is excellent for both live performances and recording. Four XLR inputs have a 3-band EQ, the AUX/FX, compression control, panning, and faders. It also has a 100Hz low-cut filter push-button. It is easy to adjust sound levels, with every channel getting 60mm faders.
This mixer will do an excellent job for shows that need multiple channels and full mixer features. It would be challenging to use up the number of channels on this mixer during one show, as it has six channels controlled by faders. There is also an extra one in case the need arises. Four of the six channels are phantom-powered XLR channels.
Headphones are a must-have for your podcast, but that doesn't mean you have to overspend on them. For podcasting newbies, almost any type of headphones will do at the start. However, always make sure that everyone present during the recording session has their own set of headphones.
When you buy headphones ensure that they cover your entire ear. These over-ear headphones offer a better quality of sound than the in-ear alternatives.
Here are some of our recommendations for headphones:
These headphones are some of the best you will find on the market for home recording and studio monitoring. The price tag is not exorbitant, and they offer good quality for a relatively cheap price, proving that quality does not always have to cost the earth.
Built to last, the ear cups are replaceable, and the design is generally rugged. The sound they produce is crisp and clean, and they have thinner earpads than most models, making them more comfortable to wear over long recording sessions.
These headphones have an incredibly stylish design, but they are more than just a fashionable choice. The quality of the sound they produce matches the appearance. They are also affordable despite having several premium features. The plush ear pads and snug fit makes them comfortable to wear. Furthermore, the battery life is incredible at 12 hours. They are fully rechargeable, meaning you don't need to buy batteries.
These Headphones are budget-friendly and deliver a significantly good sound. With over-ear pads and closed backs, they help to cancel external noise and reduce noise bleeding. You can rotate the leather cups, and they are very lightweight.
Despite the bass not being the best, they offer good value for money.
Like the mixer, the headphone amplifier makes your audio clearer. However, unlike the mixer, it doesn't require as much power. The headphone amplifier boosts weak audio signals to a satisfactory level.
If your podcast involves interviewing people, then you need a headphone amplifier. In most cases, people like their headset volume to be different. While one person might like their headset to be on a low volume, another person might be like it popping. This is why a headphone amplifier is essential. Each person has control of their volume and can set it to a level that suits them.
In some cases, the guest might bring their headset along, and the specs might be different. Without the headset amplifier, they will not be able to control it.
Here are some headset amplifier recommendations for you:
The PreSonus HP4 is a good-looking headphone amplifier and has everything needed to fit into any studio. It is a four-channel headphone amplifier with a solid metal build. It has enough room for headphones, a monitor set, and four headphone outputs. With each one having a firm and smooth volume dial for precise adjustment.
The mono button, the monitor mute button, and the volume dial all control the monitor output. The PreSonus HP4 4CH Compact is a quiet and portable headphone amplifier. It is also super-reliable.
This headphone amplifier offers excellent value. It has the 1/4" and 1/8" outputs and inputs, which means there is no need for adapter usage. It also offers high output, low distortion, and low noise and works with almost every type of device you want to connect it to.
Each headphone output has a separate level control. This amp also works with custom earpieces.
The Behringer Ultra-Compact 4CH is perhaps the best budget-friendly headphone amp you will find. It works well for a mini-home studio offering an ultra-compact system. The amp produces a high audio quality with almost every brand of headphones out there. There are separate level controls for each channel, and it works fine no matter the volume level.
The pop filter/windscreen is useful in a podcast setup. They help reduce plosive sounds such as the ones made by the letters T or P. the pop filter is usually a mesh screen or foam fixed on the microphone's front. At the same time, a windscreen is placed over the top of the microphone.
In some cases, the podcast microphone comes with this equipment, but in cases where they do not – they are not expensive to buy. It is advised that you have this equipment if you want a smoother sound.
Here are some recommendations for you:
This foam windscreen will fit most of the standard microphone sizes and comes in three colors for you to choose from. All you need to do is place it on your microphone.
This pop filter has an easy setup, and it works well for a lot of microphones. It is a combination of foam and metal layers that helps you produce the best vocal recordings.
This is a mesh pop filter, and it easily clips to any mic stand. You can bend it at a 360-degree angle, and this allows for ease of use.
Having a microphone stand or a boom mount helps solve the problem of having to raise the mic from the table to be closer to your mouth. It is an essential piece of equipment as the vertical alignment of your mouth impacts how you sound.
When you use a mic stand, you reduce the possibility of knocking your mic or having it hit something during recording. There are several options in the market, and most of them will do the job.
Here are some recommendations:
This mic stand has a solid base that gives it excellent stability and can reach up to 23 inches of verticality. There are two adjustable points, and its compactness makes it suitable for almost any podcast setup.
If you want flexibility, then this is the one for you. This boom mount is very strong despite the flexibility and is made of steel. It can be attached to any type of table. It is best suited for use in a relaxed recording setting.
Without this software, you cannot record your podcast. It is called the digital audio workspace, and you need it to record and edit your audio. It doesn't matter if you use a PC or a Mac; there are several options for you to choose from.
There are a variety of cheap software packages available to you that will do an excellent job. Which one you need will depend entirely on how much post-production you intend on doing.
Here are some recommendations for you:
This editing tool is only for Apple users. It is pre-installed in Apple's MacBook Air laptop and MacBook Pro. If you own a Mac, you should check out this editing tool.
It is free to use and download, and it also helps you to record and edit on the go.
This editing tool is another good option for new podcasters because even seasoned podcasters use it thanks to its simplicity. It might not have all the features you can find in other editing tools, but it does the job well, and it is totally free. You can use it on the Mac and all types of PCs.
Descript works differently from other types of editing tools as you can edit both audio and video. It edits your audio as you edit the audio transcript. It allows you to cut, paste, and delete written transcripts that will modify the recorded audio.
As a professional podcaster, if you create a recording environment that helps capture good sound, it makes your job easier during post-production. A quality recording environment reduces reverberations and takes away ambient room sounds like hiss from electrical appliances.
There are some materials you will find around you that will do an excellent job for this. Full bookcases, heavy comforters, mattresses, rugs, even recording in a closet full of clothes will all help to reduce the surrounding noise.
If you are a podcast newbie, the DIY route might be better at the start. Use a closet full of clothes and keep the door closed before recording.
In cases where you want to build a studio in your space, you should invest in good acoustic treatment as it will help your equipment to produce better sound quality.
Auralex is the top player in acoustic treatment, which means it might be a bit pricey. The panels fit well behind multiple mics as they are portable.
The Foam Factory has acoustic treatments in different sizes and types. It is also quite affordable and can fit into an entire room.
This acoustic treatment is best for rooms with lots of sound-absorbing furniture, such as carpet and bookcases. It is also great for podcasters that are always on the move, as it attaches to the mic stand for easy installation.
A digital recorder helps you record wherever you find yourself and interview people outside of your studio environment.
Here are some recommendations for you:
This digital recorder is quite affordable and records high-quality sound in mono or stereo. The level of quality it offers for the price makes this digital recorder an excellent option for any podcaster.
It is easy to operate and quite functional and is about the size of a handy mic.
Like the H1N, this digital recorder is quiet and affordable. It offers exceptional quality, and it is easy to use.
This equipment is an excellent option for producers that want versatility. It is easy to use on the go and also works well as a studio device.
A podcast hosting platform is where the listening public will access your podcast. It ensures proper distribution after publishing your content. When you want to use a podcasting platform, you must consider the bandwidth capabilities and the storage level—likewise, the analytics features, website creation, and content promotion options.
There are several hosting platforms out there, but you need the best one if you want your audience to always find you and never miss a thing.
Here are some recommendations for you:
bCast is a great hosting platform for your podcast. bCast offers you growth analytics, dynamic content insertion, auto option, and excellent distribution. The best feature of the bCast hosting platform is simplicity. Whether you are a podcast newbie or a seasoned podcaster, bCast has the tools to cater to your needs. With experience working with many podcasters and podcast shows, you can be assured they know what you need.
Using bCast means you will have all the tools to grow your podcast rapidly.
We know it can be hard when starting as a new podcaster. It is also fair to say that podcasters have varying budgets for podcast equipment at the start.
You do not need to worry, as you can always get equipment no matter your budget level. We have come up with these packages for different budget levels.
You might not sound the best initially, but you need to put your content out there, and it must be audible.
When setting out as a podcaster, getting equipment for your podcast is one of the most mentally daunting tasks. The first thing to do is consider your budget and equipment requirements according to your preferences after doing thorough research.
No matter your budget, there will always be a decent set of equipment that is within your price range. We hope this list helps you.