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As podcasting continues to grow, there is an overwhelming number of options for podcast equipment that you can buy (at all different price points), but what do you actually need?
In the over four years I’ve been producing my podcast, Beyond Influential, I know a quality podcast is not about buying the most expensive equipment. And if you’re just getting started, you definitely don’t need a complicated setup or access to fancy recording studios. You can get started by investing in a few key pieces, and then add to it as your needs evolve.
Important Tip: Know your budget. You’ll want to consider how much you’re willing to invest before you make a final decision on what to buy.
To make it easy for you, I’ve curated my best recommendations for both beginners and seasoned podcasters. This checklist of podcast equipment suggestions includes options that work whether you’re recording remotely or in-person, and for all budgets.
Your Ultimate Podcast Equipment Checklist
Computers | Microphones | Pop Filters and Windscreens | Headphones | Mic Stands, Booms, and Shock Mounts | Digital Recorders and Audio Interfaces | Podcasting Accessories | Recording and Editing Software | Podcast Hosting
>> You can find all of my recommended podcast equipment in my Amazon store HERE. <<
Technically, you don’t need a computer in order to record your podcast, but you will definitely need one if you plan doing your own editing or recording remote interviews. When looking for a reliable computer, specs to consider include: a fast processor, enough RAM to keep your computer from slowing down or freezing (especially during the editing process)—I recommend at least 8GB, although 16GB is better, and a large hard drive to store all your raw and edited media files. If you’re curious, I use a MacBook Pro.
Apple MacBook Pro
With a 10-core Apple M1 Pro CPU, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB Solid State Drive, this computer will be able to handle anything you throw at it.
Apple MacBook Air Laptop
This MacBook Air is a great entry-level computer that will still be able to handle your podcasting needs. It comes with an Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD Storage. You can see all the specs here.
Sound quality is the most important element that will make or break your podcast out of the gate. Even the best and most compelling content can’t compete with awful sound quality. It is essential that your sound is crisp and clear so your listeners stick around.
A good microphone is easily the most important piece of equipment you can invest in. Luckily, a great microphone does not need to break the bank, and there are plenty of options under $100.
USB vs. XLR
When looking at mics, there are a couple factors to consider. There are two major types of outputs—USB and XLR. A USB microphone is convenient because you can plug it directly into your computer without the need for additional external audio equipment. An XLR output provides a cleaner, more balanced sound and is necessary for using more advanced equipment in the future. I personally recommend investing in a microphone that has both USB and XLR outputs so that as you grow your podcast and invest in upgrading your equipment, you won’t have to buy a new one.
Condenser vs. Dynamic Microphones
The other big consideration is whether to go with a dynamic vs. condenser microphone. I want to make this easy for you. You might see discussions about whether a condenser microphone or dynamic microphone is better. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know there was a difference (and most podcasters I know don’t know either). That being said, dynamic microphones are the most commonly used in podcasting because they are better at blocking out background noise and reverb.
Here are microphone recommendations that fit a variety of budgets:
Microphones Under $100
Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
If I had to pick only one mic to recommend, it would be the ATR2100x-USB. I don’t know of any podcast equipment list that doesn’t include this quality and budget-friendly microphone.
I’ve been using this microphone since I’ve started my podcast and it doesn’t let me down. It is extremely popular among both beginning and seasoned podcasters alike, including Tim Ferriss of The Tim Ferriss Podcast.
It not only gives you professional-quality sound, but is versatile with both USB and XLR outputs, which gives you the option of plugging directly into a computer or to a recording device depending on your podcast setup. This mic is portable and comes with a tripod desk stand and three connecting cables. At under $100, this is my favorite microphone recommendation.
Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
The Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone is another great option in the under-$100 range. It also happens to be the mic that Jordan Harbinger of The Jordan Harbinger Show Podcast uses.
Samson Technologies Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone
This is another great USB/XLR microphone. It also comes with a mic clip, desktop mic stand, windscreen, and cables. This beginner-friendly pick is a good option if you want to start a podcast but aren’t ready to invest in pricier high-end options.
RØDE PodMic Cardioid Dynamic Podcasting Microphone
This budget-friendly microphone has been specifically optimized for podcasting, and includes an internal pop filter and internal shock mounting. It only has an XLR output, so you will need a separate audio interface to connect to your computer.
Microphones Over $100
Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone
The MV7 is a dynamic microphone with both USB and XLR outputs so you can use it with either your computer or professional interfaces. It also features an Auto Level Mode designed to help compensate for less-than-ideal recording setups and acoustics.
RØDE Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Microphone
The Procaster Microphone is another XLR-only option that filters out background noise and, like the RØDE PodMic, has an internal pop filter and shock mounting. It also comes with an extended 10-year warranty when you register your microphone.
Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone
If you’re curious which microphone is used by veteran podcasters like Joe Rogan, Dax Shepard, and Marc Maron, it’s the Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone. When it comes to high-fidelity, reliable microphones, the Shure SM7B is it.
This XLR mic is designed to capture a warm, natural sound, and it has an internal pop-filter and air suspension. It also has electromagnetic shielding to block computer hum and other undesirable background noise.
It does require other equipment to boost the audio output and connect to your computer, and needs to be situated very close to your face while recording (this is why Rogan is constantly reminding guests to keep the mic close to their mouths). However, it also creates superior, crisp audio recordings. If you want to invest in high-end, reliable podcast equipment, this is the microphone to check out.
Pop Filters and Windscreens
No matter which microphone you go with, you’ll want to make sure you have a pop filter or windscreen. A pop filter noticeably improves your sound quality by reducing or eliminating the “popping” sounds that come from saying plosives (i.e. in the English language, the consonants are b, p t, k, d, g).
Many say this is optional, but I believe this is a necessary and very affordable investment that makes a big difference. One note: many of these pop filters and windscreens come in different sizes, so make sure to check that you get the right one for your mic.
Dragonpad USA Microphone Pop Filter
This fabric pop filter is a common style you have probably seen in videos and is commonly used in recording studios. Aside from this Dragonpad pop filter, you can also find highly-rated versions from Aokeo, EJT, and InnoGear.
Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter
You can also get metal pop filters like this Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter if you want to invest in higher-end equipment. A metal pop filter is more transparent than a fabric one, so if you are reading a script while recording, it will be easier to see. They also tend to be better build quality than their fabric counterparts and are easier to clean.
On-Stage Foam Ball-Type Microphone Windscreen
If you are using a handheld mic like the Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB, you will want to check out this style of windscreen. You can also get them in a 5 Pack from Mudder. For under $5, this can make a huge difference in your audio quality.
Aokeo Three-Layer Metal Mesh, Foam, & Etamine Microphone Windscreen
This pop filter wraps halfway around the mic to provide more coverage, and it fits many different mics. You can also find a similar pop filter by PEMOTech right here.
If you want to get high-quality audio when recording your podcast, a good pair of headphones is high on the list of equipment you need. Headphones allow you to monitor the audio while you’re recording. You’ll be able to notice if your or your guest’s mic is picking up any background noise or popping, or if the sound is muffled. It’s much better to catch any small issues at the time, rather than realizing in the editing stage that you need to re-record the whole episode because of an audio issue.
Headphones also help prevent feedback and echoing, which can happen when your mic is picking up sound from the speakers. Headphones isolate that sound so your mic only picks up what you want it to, and when it’s time to edit your audio, good headphones will allow you to catch subtle details you may otherwise miss.
When it comes to choosing the right headphones, there are a huge number of choices. Aside from your budget, you will also want to consider factors such as comfort, weight, and style. Here are some top picks to consider.
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
These ATH-M30x headphones offer a lot of value at a very affordable price and are a great option if you’re just starting out and looking for a budget-friendly pair.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
These ATH-M50X Headphones are the higher-end version of the ATH-M30X mentioned above. They offer excellent sound isolation and audio clarity, and are made with upgraded materials for more durability and comfort. If you have a little more to invest, these are a great alternative to the ATH-M30X.
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones
The HD 280 Pro headphones are a top pick for podcasters. They give an accurate representation of your audio, and at just under $100, these headphones are a great option, whether you’re just starting out or you’re an advanced podcaster. (They also happen to be the headphones Joe Rogan uses on his show!)
beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Over-Ear Studio Headphones
Beyerdynamic is well-known for their quality audio equipment, and these headphones are no exception. With clean, high-resolution sound, they are excellent for both recording and editing your podcast audio. Their over-ear design and soft velour ear pads make long sessions comfortable.
A Note on Noise-Canceling and Wireless Headphones
While noise-canceling headphones can be great for listening to music and podcasts, when it comes to recording, they aren’t the best option. They work by capturing and inverting outside noise, and that can result in compressed audio.
Wireless headphones have some lag, which means you won’t be hearing your audio in real time while recording. They also don’t connect to many of the digital recorders or other hardware you may need. Wired headphones are a better option for recording your podcast.
Mic Stands, Booms, and Shock Mounts
When it comes to high-quality podcast recording, another recommended accessory that makes a huge difference in sound quality and comfort is a mic stand or boom mount. They allow you to position the microphone closer to your mouth without having to hold it the entire time, and they reduce the chance of bumping the mic while you record.
InnoGear Adjustable Desktop Microphone Stand
When I started podcasting, I used these adjustable weighted microphone stands, which help prevent the mic from tipping over. I still bring them with me if I’m traveling or doing an on-location interview.
For my current at-home podcast setup, I use this InnoGear Microphone Boom Arm Suspension Stand below.
InnoGear Microphone Boom Arm Suspension Stand
Another microphone accessory to consider is a shock mount. Shock mounts connect to a boom arm and use suspensions to help minimize low-frequency vibrations that can ruin a recording.
Microphone Shock Mount for Samson Q2U, ATR2100-USB, AT2005-USB and 28mm-32mm Dynamic Mics
Shure MV7 Shock Mount
Digital Recorders and Audio Interfaces
A digital recorder lets you record on the go with or without a computer. The recommendations below also act as an audio interface which converts your analog audio to a digital format your computer can access.
If you are just starting out with podcasting, you do not necessarily need to invest in a digital recorder yet (unless you plan on recording on the road).
However, if you are serious about podcasting, I’ve found that my Zoom H6 Recorder has been a wonderful investment. It’s not only convenient for travel, but it also lets me control each person’s audio input and record them as separate tracks. It also acts as a second recording medium so I always have a backup. The sound quality from this is excellent.
When choosing a digital recorder, you may want to consider factors like size, portability, and convenience; whether it has integrated storage or if you need to a memory card; what other devices it works with, and battery life. Following are a few highly-rated options at different price options.
Zoom H1n Portable Recorder
The Zoom H1n has an integrated microphone and is small enough to slip in your pocket. You can also connect an external mic and headphones via 3.5mm jack. It’s best for one-on-one in person discussions. If you are just starting out, or record on the go away from a computer, this may be a great option for you.
Tascam DR-05X Portable Handheld Digital Audio Recorder
The Tascam DR-05X is a compact and easy-to-use entry-level model that’s great for roundtable discussions. It can record to WAV or MP3 to a microSD card, has integrated omnidirectional mics, and can also connect to external mics with a 3.5mm stereo mic/line input, and it connects to your computer via USB.
Zoom H6 6-Track Portable Recorder
The H6 is the recorder everyone uses, including me. You can record directly to an SD card, and you can attach up to four XLR mics to it. It’s portable and easy-to-use on the go. It also serves as an audio interface to your computer.
RØDE RØDECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio
If you are investing in high-end recording equipment, the RØDE RØDECaster Pro has many features, including 4 high-quality mic channels, automatic level setting, 8 programmable sound effects pads, and more. It works well for live podcasts, and it can record to a microSD card, and can connect to your phone via Bluetooth for remote interviews. You can see all the features here.
Once you’ve chosen your hardware, make sure you have the accessories you need. Here are some important ones to consider.
12 Pack Acoustic Foam Panels
If you’re designating one room specifically for recording, you’ll want to make sure it’s soundproofed and set up to minimize echoes and other background noise that can negatively impact your audio quality. These acoustic treatments will help you do that. And if you need more, you can grab a 48 pack here.
If your microphone doesn’t come with cables, make sure you order them separately. Depending on how many microphones you will be using, and what type of microphone, you may need USB cables, XLR cables, or something else. Check the documentation for your mic to find out what you need, and make sure to get one that’s long enough for where you’ll be recording your podcast. Here are some common cables I use.
Amazon Basics 6-Foot XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable
Hosa CMP-110 1/4″ TS to 3.5 mm TRS Mono Interconnect Cable, 10 Feet
If you will be taking your equipment when you travel (or anywhere else outside of your normal recording location), a hardshell case to protect your gear is a good idea. Here are a few options—just make sure to check that it’s the right size for your chosen mic, digital recorder, and other accessories you may need.
Hard Case Compatible with Audio-Technica ATR2100 USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
CASEMATIX 12″ Customizable Foam Case for Portable Electronics
Pelican 1120 Case With Foam
Other Helpful Accessories
Anker 7-in-1 USB Hub
It’s always good to have a USB Hub in case you need to connect more peripherals to your computer. This one by Anker has USB-C, USB-A, and 4K HDMI ports, microSD and SD card readers, and 100W Power Delivery to charge your devices.
Apple MJ1M2AM/A USB-C to USB Adapter
If your computer doesn’t have USB-A ports (like the new MacBook Pro), having a USB-A to USB-C adapter on hand is a must if you have a USB microphone, digital recorder, or other peripherals.
SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC Card
You’ll likely need an SD card if you are using a digital recorder. This one by SanDisk is reliable and you won’t need to worry about running out of storage space in the middle of an episode. Grab two while you’re at it because you should always have a backup.
LaCie 1TB Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD USB 3.0
Audio and Video files can rapidly fill up your hard drive. Having an external drive on hand to store older files you’re not currently working with (and just to back up your computer in general) is always a good idea. The 1TB LaCie Hard Drive and the Seagate 2TB Hard Drive are both great options.
Panasonic eneloop Power Pack: 8AA, 4AAA, and Advanced Battery 3 Hour Quick Charger
Many portable digital recorders use traditional batteries when recording on the go. You never want to be in a situation where the batteries die in the middle of a recording session. Since you don’t always know how much recording time you’ll get off of a set of batteries, grabbing some rechargeable ones and keeping an extra set on you will ensure you never run out of power when you need it.
Recording and Editing Software
There is a wide variety of software you can use for recording and editing your podcast. Below are the most popular and highly-recommended options that will work for any budget.
Recording with Video Capabilities
Just about everyone is familiar with Zoom these days, and it’s a great way for beginners to record audio (and video, if desired) for their podcasts and interviews. Recordings can be saved to the cloud or your desktop, and downloaded to import into your editor of choice.
Similar to Zoom, Skype is a call and video platform that has call recordings and many other features.
Riverside.fm is an excellent choice for beginners or advanced users (the chart-topping How I Built This with Guy Raz uses Riverside.fm). It’s easy to use and allows you to record studio-quality audio and video. Video can be recorded locally up to 4K.
If you are looking for recording software that works well for remote interviews, this platform is good option, and they have multiple subscription options so you can find one that works for you. It’s great for creating social content to promote your podcast, and you can also livestream to Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, LinkedIn simultaneously. You can try it out an record up to 60 minutes for free.
SquadCast is another wonderful option that lets you record high-quality audio and video. You’ll never have to worry about losing content files because SquadCast automatically records to the cloud continuously throughout the recording session as backup in case local recordings fail. It also has automated post-production through Auphonic, which uses AI to mix and master your audio for you.
Check out SquadCast yourself with a 7-day free trial.
Audio Recording and Editing
Audacity is a free, open source, multi-track audio recorder and editor. It’s easy to use, and available on Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.
GarageBand is a free basic audio recorder and editor for macOS, iPadOS, and iOS. It’s great for beginners.
Adobe Audition is a feature-packed audio editor. It’s best for those with some editing experience as there are so many tools it takes a while to learn it.
Check out Adobe Audition here.
Logic Pro is one of the most comprehensive audio recording, editing, and mixing platforms available and is relied upon by many professionals. However, it’s only available for Mac.
Pro Tools is an audio and music editing software designed for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering audio. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
Regardless of the equipment you choose, you need a way to get your podcast in front of people! This is where podcast hosting comes into play. There are a wide variety of platforms that allow you to upload your podcast audio files and distribute them to the major players. Many also include analytics and monetization tools.
When looking at these podcast hosting options, consider factors like the upload volume, storage space, analytics features, as well as upgrade options to determine what best fits your needs. Please note the pricing noted for each platform below is based on a monthly payment, but many of them offered discounted rates for annual plans.
I have been using Libsyn since I started podcasting. Libsyn has been a pioneer in the podcast space—they launched the first podcast hosting website service in 2004, and they’ve continued to be an industry leader. Libsyn offers everything from customized embeddable players to analytics to monetization tools and more.
Pricing: Basic features starts at $5/month, and advanced features start at $20/month
Get two months free with code FREE2MONTHS.
Kajabi is already well-known in the online education space, and they have also recently added podcast hosting to their services. It distributes to the major podcast players and also allows you to create monetization opportunities through memberships and private, paid podcasts.
I personally love Kajabi. I use it to host my courses, and I can attest to the fact that they have some of the best customer service I’ve seen from any SaaS company. They also really listen to customer feedback and implement requested changes and updates.
Even if you’re not interested in podcasting right now, if you’re an entrepreneur, influencer, or trying to use the online space to monetize, you should definitely take advantage of their free trial to see their capabilities firsthand. Kajabi normally offers a 14-day free trial, but you can get 30 days free with this link!
Kajabi currently doesn’t have a podcasting-only plan. Kajabi was created as an all-in-one solution for the online entrepreneur. All the plans let you create courses, memberships, and newsletters, and include the ability to send unlimited marketing emails, create web pages, and more. Kajabi is a good option if you are interested in some of these other features.
Pricing: $149/month and up.
Start your 30-day free trial here.
With powerful reporting, easy publishing, podcast directories, and promotion and monetization tools, Buzzsprout makes podcasting easy. Buzzsprout is one of the most popular options for podcasters because of its ease of use and customer service.
In order to help podcasters monetize, they have created the “Buzzsprout Affiliate Marketplace” for their users where every company has to meet a strict set of criteria to be included (i.e. high-quality products, a reputable company, offer an exclusive deal to Buzzsprout podcasters, payout affiliate earnings in cash, and waive any “level of influence” requirements).
What does this mean? Any Buzzsprout podcaster, no matter how big or small, can become an affiliate for each of these companies so you can start monetizing immediately. Best of all, Buzzsprout does not take a commission from any of your affiliate sales so you can make as much as possible from every purchase one of your listeners makes using your affiliate link.
Use this link to try Buzzsprout for free, and if you upgrade to a paid plan, you’ll receive a $20 Amazon gift card!
Pricing: Plans start at $12/month.
Try Buzzsprout for free.
Anchor by Spotify
Anchor by Spotify is a fully free hosting platform that has everything from easy built-in recording and editing tools so you can easily create and publish episodes to analytics and monetization capabilities.
Click here for more details.
Transistor offers unlimited podcasts and episodes, private podcasts, detailed analytics, a built-in podcast website, dynamic ad insertion, and more. You can get a 2-week free trial, and get two months free when you sign up for an annual plan.
Pricing: Starts at $19/month
Start your free 2-week Transistor trial here.
With Castos, you can get a custom website, automatic podcast transcriptions, analytics, YouTube republishing, and more. And if you use WordPress for your site, they have a highly rated free plugin that makes integration seamless.
Castos has a 14-day free trial. When you sign up for a paid plan, you can get two months if you choose to pay annually.
Pricing: Starts at $19/month
Check out Castos and start your free trial.
Captivate believes all podcasters should have access to the features that truly help them grow their show without limitations, which is why the only difference between their plans is the amount of monthly downloads that are included.
With unlimited uploads and storage, wide podcast distribution, extensive analytics and listener demographics, embeddable players, and more, Captivate has a lot to offer.
Pricing: Starts at $19/month
Click here to learn more and get a 7-day free trial.
PodBean offers unlimited storage and bandwidth, distribution, analytics, monetization options, and more. PodBean is a great option for beginners with its friendly plans and pricing.
Pricing: Starts at $9/month
Check out PodBean here.
>> You can find all of the podcast equipment recommended above in my Amazon store HERE. <<
If you enjoyed this post, check out these blog posts and Beyond Influential episodes:
How to Start a Podcast: From Idea to Launch
What I’ve Learned From Starting a Podcast
Ep. 154 The Perfect Pitch: Hollywood Insider Tips on How to Network with the A-List & Land Your Dream Guests with Christopher McDonald
Ep. 150 Travis Chappell on How to Launch, Grow, and Monetize A Successful Podcast
Ep. 100 The Evolution of the Beyond Influential Podcast With Chris Mann
Ep. 167 Behind the Scenes of the Beyond Influential Podcast: Getting Started, My Interview Process, and How I Pitch & Connect with Dream Guests