So you’ve decided that you want to set up a professional podcasting studio, but what do you do first? Purchasing the equipment and accessories you’ll need to offer first-rate podcast services is not that difficult, especially because there are so many ways to find and purchase these items. Knowing exactly what you need is the first step, and that’s what this article is here to help you do.
Must-Have Podcast Studio Equipment
Naturally, you’ll have to start with a good computer because without that, nothing else will matter. You’ll need a good-quality microphone because the mic on your computer simply won’t do. Buy an analog or USB microphone that plugs directly into your computer, or even XLR microphones if more than one or two people will be joining the podcasts.
As far as the headphones go, this is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you’ll need for your studio. For podcasts, you’ll need closed-back headphones to reduce spillage or leakage of sound. The good news is that there are headphones specifically designed for podcasting purposes and they come in a variety of price ranges.
Next, you’ll have to look for both a mixer and an audio interface. Make sure that the mixer is a digital audio workstation (DAW) that allows you to electronically mix and master several audio channels at a time via your computer. Mixers are similar to audio interfaces, and the latter is necessary because they are what connect the audio signals coming from the microphone to the computer so you can upload and mix the sounds.
Your recording software is also important. Oddly enough, you can get some of this software for free (check out Adobe Audition) but it’s best to do your research first so you’ll know what will work best for your particular computer. Just as with the hardware, recording software varies in its features and price so do your due diligence before making a final decision.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you have all of the cables and cords you’ll need to set up all this equipment. Good-quality XLR microphone cables are a must. Don’t opt for the cheap ones or you’ll be unhappy with the results. Instead, go for the mid-range cables so the sound and videos are just what you want them to be.
So to recap, here is what you’ll need for your podcast studio to start out:
- USB/XLR microphones specifically made for podcasting
- Closed-back headphones that keep your sound crisp and clear
- High-quality digital audio workstation (DAW) and a good mixer to bring everything together
- Free or purchased recording software made just for your computer
- Mid-range or higher-end XLR microphone cables to connect all of your equipment properly
Optional Equipment to Improve a Podcast Studio
There are other pieces of equipment that aren’t a necessity but make a podcasting studio look and feel much more professional and efficient. You can purchase several microphone accessories that enhance the microphone’s quality for your podcasts, including:
- Pop filter or windscreen, which improves the quality of all vocals
- Sturdy mic stand for better positioning of the microphone
- Shock mount to reduce vibrations that can be heard in the mic
In addition, a preamp will add some extra gain to the quality of your recording signal, enhancing the overall quality of your microphone. And best of all, they aren’t usually very expensive. You’ll also need a headphone splitter/amp because each speaker on your show has to have its own headphone monitor. Make sure that you get an amp with four or more channels and that can accommodate more than one headphone jack. This way, each of your headphones will sound remarkable.
A portable recorder is also convenient for those times when you intend to do a podcast outside of your studio. Many of them double as audio interfaces and can therefore be connected right to your computer via a USB device. Audio clip players, such as MP3 players, are also very convenient when you want to share video clips. Finally, sound conditioning devices, such as sound-proofing materials that greatly reduce echo and reverb and are usually attached to the walls, can result in a much clearer, mumble-free sound.
So to recap, additional equipment and accessories that you might want to consider for your podcast studio are:
- Microphone accessories such as stands, shock mounts, and pop screens
- A good preamp or vocal processor to improve overall sound quality
- Amplifier or headphone splitter with at least four channels
- Portable recorder to take with you on remote podcasts
- An MP3 player or other device to share audio clips
- Sound conditioning materials such as devices placed on the walls to reduce reverb and echo
Your Podcast Studio Must-Haves
- Best Option: MAONO Microphone Kit, $80: This is a complete kit with condenser microphone and a USB data port for a convenient plug-and-play design. Compatible with most operating systems, you can use it on your PC or Mac computer and even your mobile phone with an extra step. It even comes with a convenient carrying case.
- Budget Option: FIFINE Microphone, $39: A great condensing recording microphone for Mac or Windows, it comes complete with a USB device for ease of use. It also comes with a six-foot cord for convenience and works great with Cortana, Discord, voice recognition, and voice chat.
- Best Option: Audio-Technia ATH-M30x Studio Monitor Headphones, $69: With an advanced build quality, these closed-back headphones offer specially made voice coils that provide superior professional quality at a price that even novices can afford.
- Budget Option: Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones, $20: These are high-quality closed-back headphones that offer a compact design, padded ear foam for extra comfort, and an extra-clean sound, including great highs and a rich bass response. It even comes with a snap-on adapter to make sure that they fit comfortably.
Mixer and Audio Interface
- Best Option: Behringer Xenyx 8-Input Mixer, $89: This is an analog mixer that offers extra-low noise capability and a rich, warm sound regardless of what’s being recorded. It comes with one auxiliary return for FX applications or to be used as a separate stereo input, and one post-fader for FX send per channel to go with external FX devices.
- Budget Option: Rockville Mixer, $35: This device allows you to add up to eight podcasting microphones and has a dual-power supply so it will work 24/7. You get two master knobs so you can adjust the output volume on each channel as well as a compact design that makes it easy to use every time.
- Best Option: Acoustica Mixcraft 8 Home Studio, $30: With this software, you can organize samples, arrange instruments and MIDI data, create your own unique arrangements, and access the Alpha Sampler so your sound is even more enhanced. You can even add text titles and scrolling texts if you like.
- Budget Option: NCH Software, $Free: Published by the same company that makes excellent transcription software, you can download this software directly to your PC or Mac and pay nothing for it. You can use it to easily edit your music and audio tracks and enjoy personalized special effects, duration amounts, and even voice adjustments.
Cables and Cords
- Best Option: Mogami Gold Studio XLR Microphone Cables, $50: You can get these cables from 2 feet to 100 feet in size so they can accommodate both novices and professional recording studios. Wired with high-definition microphone cable, they offer a quiet recording environment and an enhanced range of sounds.
- Budget Option: GLS Audio Microphone Cables, $14: With a heavy-duty flexible rubber jacket and a 25-foot length, these cables provide noise-free, great-quality sound with dual copper conductors and shields for both great performance and the ease and convenience that you deserve.
Podcast Studio Optional Equipment
- Best Option: InnoGear Microphone Stand, $26: This package has everything that you need for your podcasting studio to succeed, including a microphone stand, pop filter, and foam windscreen for your mic. The spring is strong and stops the microphone from shaking and it is able to clip to any desktop up to two inches thick.
- Budget Option: ZaxSound Microphone Tripod Stand with Anti-Vibration Mic Holder, $20: This is a professional stand that can accommodate most large microphones and is adjustable both for the height and the angle. It also has a long goose-neck design to keep the mic still for long periods at a time.
- Best Option: Tascam iXR USB Audio Recording Interface, $179: A very thin and attractive interface, the Tascam interface makes it super easy to record vocals, instruments, and much more. It comes with its own software that can be used for both Mac and Windows computers and it allows for professional services on the go.
- Budget Option: Pyle 2-Channel Audio Mixer, $61: Offering great output for both beginners and experts, the Pyle audio mixer has USB capabilities and jacks for XLR and 1/4-inch microphones. Perfect for DJs and podcasters, this mixer allows you to connect to either a PC or a Mac and even has an LED light that lights up when the main output is too high.
- Best Option: ART HeadAMP4 Stereo Headphone Amplifier, $80: This is an 8-output, 4-channel amp that has both 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch outputs and inputs as well as an extruding stackable metal case that protects the amp and allows it to last for a very long time. It is great for both home and studio projects.
- Budget Option: Neewer Super Compact 4-Channel Headphone Amplifier, $24: Power up to four headphones and four different volumes with this inexpensive but high-quality amp. Lightweight and compact, you can easily carry it wherever you go. It provides great audio performance and ultra-low noise capability.
- Best Option: Zoom H4n Portable Recording Device, $180: This recorder has combo XLR and 1/4-inch inputs and offers 4-channel recording. It is lightweight and easy to take with you from one location to another and the USB capability allows for ease of use and convenience.
- Budget Option: Sony ICD-PX470 Portable Recorder, $50: You can always trust the Sony name and this recording device is no exception. It offers a built-in USB connector, adjustable mic range, and up to 55 hours of battery life. It also comes with everything that you need to begin using it immediately.
Audio Clip Player
- Best Option: AGPTEK MP3 Player with Sweatproof Silicone Case, $33: Small but powerful with a simple layout and second-to-none ease of use, this MP3 player can clip on to just about anything. It offers 16GB of memory and Bluetooth capability. If you use earphones, you get up to 24 hours of audio play and it comes with many useful functions as well.
- Budget Option: Dyzeryk MP3 Player with USB Flash Drive, $15: Available in seven different colors, this MP3 player offers great sound quality and an 8GB memory capacity. It contains a chip to reduce outside noise and is light enough to carry it with you anywhere. Enjoy lossless music for up to ten hours with this high-quality MP3 player.
- Best Option: Ocean Blue Co. Foam Wall Panels, $116: This 48-pack of foam tiles offer excellent soundproof capability for your studio, and it even comes in more than ten color combinations. The foam panels absorb sound efficiently and can accommodate both home and professional use.
- Budget Option: Siless Acoustic Panels for Soundproofing Your Studio, $25: These high-density soundproof wedges are perfect for both home and studio use and they are some of the most cost-effective studio-quality soundproofing tiles on the market. They are also super easy to install.
Once you make up your mind that you want to give your podcast studio a more professional look, you’ll need to take the task seriously and buy professional-grade equipment and accessories. Making professional podcasts isn’t complex but it does require the right equipment so that the final product is something you’re proud of. Fortunately, most of these items can be purchased for a reasonable cost. Once your studio is all set up, you likely won’t have to replace any of the items for a very long time so you’ll be all ready to go.