The Ultimate Guide [Updated 2023] – Smart Passive Income
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If you’re just starting out with podcasting, it’s super important to have the right gear. That’s why we’ve put together a list of five fantastic equipment kits for beginners. These kits come with everything you need, like microphones, headphones, and recording software, to make sure your podcast sounds awesome.
We consulted our thriving community of entrepreneurs—many of whom have successful podcasts!—over at SPI Pro for this article.
While a lot of podcast gear guides will suggest mics and other equipment by price, this guide functions a little differently. Each of these kits represents an ideal podcast equipment list based on a certain persona. Is audio quality absolutely paramount to you, or do you need to sound good on a budget? Are you on the go a lot, or recording out of your office? Do you record in person, with more than one guest, or do you only record your podcast over the internet?
Whatever your “persona,” this article will give you, if not a shopping list, at least a good starting point.
Click a link below to jump to the kit that best describes you.
The JetsetterThe AudiophileThe Frugal PodcasterThe In-Person HostThe YouTuber
Note — the price for each kit was calculated before tax and shipping. Prices are an estimate only and may have fluctuated since this article was written.
On Blue Yetis (A Resounding “No!”)
I have to get something out of the way before we continue. When I polled our SPI Pro community on their favorite podcasting mics, there was one throughline: definitely not a Blue Yeti.
If you’re unfamiliar with Blue Yeti microphones, their popularity is understandable at first glance. At under $100, they seem to offer an all-in-one solution, coming with a built-in stand and an attractive design (even in flamingo pink).
But the response from our Pros couldn’t be clearer.
The Yeti slamming ranged from phrases like “mine broke in under one year” to “I hate them” and “great advertising budget, cheap price point.” “It’s designed to bring the audience into a fun environment,” said one Pro, “which most people aren’t in… unless you’re in your backyard with your goats and chickens and talking about farm life.”
The Jetsetter: A Mic Kit for Podcasters in Motion
For podcasters on the go, it’s important to have lightweight, portable equipment that can easily be taken from place to place. Here’s the ideal kit:
Mic: The Rode VideoMic NTG is a shotgun mic made for cameras, but at 3.32 ounces, it’s the perfect microphone for on-the-go podcasting as well. You can connect it directly to your laptop or smartphone.
Stand: At 4 oz, the Rode Tripod Mini Stand is the perfect stand for an on-the-go podcast kit.
Headphones: The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones offer great sound quality and are also foldable, making them easy to pack and take on the go. As with any of these kits, having a solid pair of studio monitor headphones is critical so you can get a good idea of how your recording will sound in real-time.
Remote Recording Solution: A solution like Squadcast is essential for remote podcast recording, and both offer high-quality audio and video recording capabilities. There are some differences between both platforms which may or may not be negatable depending on your situation (if you want the sharpest-possible video, only Riverside can record simultaneously in 4k, for example). As the differences would be best covered in a second article, we’ll leave it to you to decide—both are excellent options at similar price points.
With this podcast kit, you’ll be able to produce high-quality podcasts no matter where you are.
The Audiophile: A Podcasting Setup for Discerning Ears
For podcasters who are serious about audio quality and have an unlimited budget, here are some high-end equipment options we recommend.
Mic: A toss-up between the Shure SM7B and the Heil PR40!
The Shure SM7B is popular for a reason: it has excellent sound quality and noise reduction design. It is a cardioid dynamic microphone that captures a warm, natural sound and has a pop filter and shock mount to reduce plosives and isolate the microphone from vibrations. Its performance is further enhanced with a bass roll-off and mid-range boost.
The Heil PR40 is also a great choice for audiophile podcasters, featuring a wide frequency range and low self-noise. It also has a unique design that helps reduce pops and plosives, making it a great choice for podcasters who are serious about audio quality. If you’ve tuned into any of Pat’s live streams or The Smart Passive Income Podcast, this is the mic you’re hearing!
(Note that either of these mics will require an XLR cable.)
Mount: The Gator Frameworks Deluxe Desk-Mounted Boom Stand allows you perfect, stable adjustment for your mic. Set your mic up on this stand, plug it in, and never look back.
Preamp: The Audient iD4 MKII is a great choice to pair with the Shure SM7B because it provides high-quality preamps and offers phantom power, which is necessary to power the SM7B. Additionally, the iD4 MKII has a low-latency headphone output, which is critical for real-time monitoring during recording sessions.
Headphones: The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Studio headphones are widely considered to be some of the best in the industry, offering superior sound quality and comfort. They are a classic option that have been used in recording studios for years and are a great choice for podcasters who want to ensure they can hear every detail.
Remote Recording Solution: Squadcast.
With this setup, your podcast will sound as good as anything you hear on the radio!
The Frugal Podcaster: A Mic Kit for Budget-Conscious Podcasters
If you’re looking to start a podcast on a budget, there are a number of great equipment options available. Coming in at under $100, this kit will make your podcast sound great with minimal gear.
Mic/Stand: The Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB — at $79 (as of March, 2023), not much beats this mic at this price point. It offers excellent sound quality and is versatile enough to work with both XLR and USB connections, plus it comes with a simple folding stand*. That means you can plug it directly into your computer and get down to business.
Pop Filter: The Aokeo Professional Microphone Pop Filter — for about $11, it’s a no-brainer. A pop filter is used to prevent plosive sounds (such as “p” and “b”) from being picked up by the microphone. Without a pop filter, these sounds can be picked up as loud, unpleasant bursts of air, which can be distracting and make the recording more difficult to listen to. Don’t skip this piece.
Headphones: Whatever you already have! 😄 You likely have a pair of AirPods or other headphones and, since this is a budget kit, we’re not including a dedicated pair of studio headphones.
Remote Recording Solution: If you’re on a budget and need to record guests remotely, you may be tempted to use Zoom for remote recordings. We strongly advise against this though; the subscription cost of Squadcast is well worth the investment. Trust us, your editor (which is probably you) will thank you!
With this setup, you’ll be able to produce high-quality podcasts without breaking the bank.
The In-person Host: A Podcast Kit for Eye-to-Eye Magic
$500 – $1600+ (depending on mic selection and number of guests)
For podcasters who record in person with guests, it’s important to have equipment that can capture high-quality audio from multiple sources. Of course, you’ll want to tailor this package to your specific situation, depending on how many guests you usually record with.
Here are some equipment options to consider:
Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder: This recorder is perfect for recording in person, with its ability to record up to six tracks simultaneously. It also has four XLR/TRS inputs, making it easy to connect multiple microphones.
If you want something that’s a cut above the rest in this department, we definitely recommend the Rodecaster Pro II, which includes sound pads, phone connectivity, and a range of sound effects. It also has a large, easy-to-use touchscreen that allows you to control all of its features.
If your live podcast is exclusively a one-on-one situation, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a fantastic option. It’s an affordable, two-channel audio interface that offers excellent sound quality and is easy to use.
Any of the mics mentioned so far are great options for in-person recording, but here’s a little roundup:
High-end: Without a doubt, the Shure SM7B is your pick of choice. A couple (or more) of these puppies and your in-person recordings will sound about as good as they possibly could!
Medium: Shure’s MV7X is another solid option. With voice-isolating technology and an all-metal construction, the MV7x is designed with podcasters and vocalists in mind. And at less than half the price of the SM7B, they’re a bit more budget-friendly too. (Note—the MV7 is a slightly different design, as you can connect it via USB. However, at this price point, we recommend some MV7Xs combined with a solid preamp or audio interface.)
Budget: Again our pick is the Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB. With a price point around $80, this is hard to beat for budget options.
Monitor Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Studio Headphones.
Cables: Pig Hog PHM10 8mm Tour Grade Mic Cable, XLR 10ft – 2-pack. (You may want longer cables depending on the space you’re recording in.)
Clamp-On, Boom Stands: Gator Frameworks Deluxe Desk-Mounted Boom Stand
Desktop Stands: InnoGear Desktop Microphone Stand (2-pack)
The YouTuber: An Add-On Kit for Video Podcasters
Add $850 to any of the above kits.
YouTube recently announced that they’re bringing podcasts to their YouTube Music streaming service. With the option to switch between video and audio-only consumption, lots of podcasters feel it’s necessary to record video with every episode too. This is our recommendation for a video podcasting add-on kit, the perfect compliment to your mic setup.
Camera: The Canon EOS M50 Mark II with 15-45mm lens offers great autofocus and high-quality video in one simple package.
Stand: The SmallRig Camera Desk Mount has an adjustable height of 13-35 inches, allowing the stand to clamp onto just about any desk.
Lighting: The Elgato Key Light Air is a great lighting option for YouTube podcasters. It’s a compact and lightweight lighting solution that can be adjusted using the Elgato Control Center app. It has a built-in diffuser for creating soft, even lighting, and comes with a desk mount for easy positioning. Plus, it’s portable.
Remote Recording Solution: Squadcast.
With this setup, your podcast will not only sound great, but it will also look great on your YouTube channel.
No matter what your podcasting needs are, there is an equipment kit out there that is perfect for you. By investing in the right gear, you can ensure that your podcast sounds great and is enjoyable for your listeners. With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to find the perfect equipment kit to take your podcast to the next level. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start podcasting!
And if you’re new to podcasting and want to seriously up your game, the All-Access Pass might be your best move. Through community-powered learning, you can work alongside other podcasters, get access to our full course library (including the wildly popular Power-Up Podcasting), attend workshops, and much more.