If you're about to get started in the world of podcasting, then one of the first steps is to get your podcast equipment sorted. How much kit you invest in depends on how serious you are about podcasting and how much budget you have to play with, as if you're just dabbling or wanting to cut costs, then all you really need to get started is a computer and a microphone!
But as you progress on your podcasting journey, or if you're already committed to making a professional quality podcast, there are a few extra investments worth making to improve the sound quality and the process of recording and editing your podcast.
Let's take a look at all the beginner's podcast equipment you might need to get started.
First things first, you'll need something to record your podcast with. This could be a phone, a digital recorder, or a computer, but it's much easier to record and edit a podcast on a computer, so we'd definitely recommend having one of those at your disposal!
To ensure good audio quality, a good microphone is an essential piece of podcasting equipment. You can pick up a USB microphone for as little as $50, or you could spend a little more on an XLR mic that's better at eliminating background noise (but note, you'll need an audio interface or mixer if you go with an XLR. More on that later).
Co-hosting your show or inviting guests on? You don't necessarily need two microphones on the go - you can get by using one. But if you want to have more control over the sound quality, it's best for everyone to have their own microphone.
A microphone stand (or boom arm) helps to raise the mic closer to mouth level, which improves the quality of the sound. Using a stand also eliminates unwanted movement and handling noise, and you're less likely to knock the mic when it's raised off the desk!
Sarah McDowell, cohost of the podcast SEO Mindset and SEO Manager at Captivate Audio, says a boom arm is one of the most important pieces of podcast equipment for beginners: "Microphone stands are good for keeping the microphone in one place when you are recording, but I would recommend getting yourself a boom arm. It has a bigger range of movement, meaning you can find that perfect position (which is usually a fists width away from your mouth), no matter if you're standing or sitting."
Wearing headphones while you record helps you to hear exactly what's being captured - so you can hear if you need to adjust your volume or tone, or get closer to the microphone. They also help when it comes to listening back to recordings and editing your podcasts too.
You don't need to fork out for anything fancy - the headphones you already have will do the job! But if you need a new pair, or if you need to get an extra pair for guests (it's vital they wear them too), then go for a pair of over-ear headphones, as these offer better sound quality than in-ear options.
A camera is a must-have piece of video podcast equipment for beginners! If your smartphone has a high-quality camera, that might be enough to get you started. Alternatively, invest in a webcam that you can mount on your computer or a video camera for the highest quality.
Interfaces and mixers aren't essential pieces of podcasting equipment for beginners if you choose to use a USB mic - and just one of them. They do become necessary, however, if you opt for an XLR mic or if you want to use multiple microphones.
Essentially, an audio interface converts analogue audio signals from a microphone input into digital signals that can be processed by a computer, while a mixer allows you to connect multiple microphones and other audio sources easily.
Pop filters reduce the plosive sounds we make when saying certain words (generally involving the letters p, t, k, b, d, g, like "please", "kid", or "bag"). Some microphones come with a built-in pop filter, but if yours doesn't, this is a great piece of podcast equipment that guarantees a smoother sound.
This is another of Sarah's top pieces of podcast equipment: "I'd recommend anyone starting a podcast gets their hands on a pop filter, as they seriously help with audio quality when you're recording, meaning that you spend less time on the editing process. The pop filter helps to reduce or eliminate 'popping' sounds when you say words that have hard constants, which isn't pleasant for listeners to hear."
That's the hardware covered, now onto the software! You'll usually only need one piece of software for both recording and editing: Audacity is a free audio recorder and editor that's super easy to use, or if you have a budget to work with, then Adobe Audition is a more advanced option and costs $20.99/month.
Discover the best recording and editing software for podcasters.
Once you're ready to publish your podcast, you'll need to upload it to a hosting platform like Buzzsprout, Transistor or Anchor. They'll generate an RSS feed for you (an RSS feed is the standard way to syndicate content to podcast directories), which you can then submit to your chosen podcast platform, whether that's Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud or YouTube.
Adding a transcription to your podcast has numerous benefits, from boosting SEO and growing your audience to improving accessibility. You could transcribe the podcast yourself, or you could save yourself hours of work by using an AI-powered transcription tool like Transcribe, which provides you with high-quality transcriptions in a matter of minutes.
Find out more about how to transcribe a podcast.
Assuming that you already have a computer to use, a typical podcast budget for beginners could start at $50 for just a microphone. If you want to invest in some extra kit, then at the lower end of the scale you should budget around $200 for podcast equipment. Of course, you can always go for higher-end gear, or upgrade it later on if you decide you need a better-quality kit.
How much should you budget?
Microphone stand $20-150
Audio interface/mixer $100-500
Pop filter $5-20
Recording and editing software $0-40/month
Podcast hosting provider $0-20/month
Transcription software $0-10/month
And there you have it, a full list of podcast equipment for beginners, plus an idea of what you should budget to get started! For more tips to help you on your podcasting journey, check out our other podcast guides, including 10 unique ways to promote your podcast.