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The best essential equipment you need to start a podcast

There is some essential podcast recording equipment that you need in order to get started with producing your own podcasts – a microphone, headphones, audio recording and editing software, and a device to record your podcast on like a tablet, laptop or desktop computer. More advanced users may want to buy an XLR microphone, audio interface, mixer, and a microphone stand. You also need a podcast hosting platform to host your show.
We have compared and analyzed a dozen websites – from Amazon to Wirecutter – for their recommendations and ratings for podcast recording kits and set-ups and compiled the results into this guide for you.
The terms Condenser and Dynamic refer to two different ways microphones are built, and function. Both types of mic have their potential pros and cons. In general, dynamic mics are often more durable and can handle high volumes without distortion. Condenser mics, on the other hand, are often capable of recording a more crisp and detailed sound.
You don’t have to pay for recording software at all and can use free audio editing software like GarageBand (Mac or iPad) or Audacity (PC) to start recording or live streaming. However, if you have a musical podcast or plan to start producing music, you might want something professional like Cubase or a full suite music production software like Reason.
Tip: Always wear headphones when recording to make sure you don't introduce feedback into your recording.
– Budget options for podcast starter equipment set
– Semi-pro podcast recording kits
– Professional podcast recording kit
– Best podcasting microphones
– Podcasting accessories

Budget options for podcast starter equipment – $35-$45

MAONO 192kHz/24Bit Condenser Microphone all-in-one KitThe set includes 1 USB condenser microphone, full metal arm stand, shock mount, metal pop filter, table mounting clamp, USB cable and manual. Plug and Play: No need for driver software or external devices. The microphone can be immediately recognized by Mac or Windows systems and begin recording in less than one minute. It is a great choice for beginners. Combine with free audio editing software like GarageBand (Mac or iPad) or Audacity (PC) and you are ready to start recording or live streaming.∼$45
NAHWONG 192KHz/24Bit Condenser Recording Mic KitKit includes condenser microphone, metal shock mount, adjustable suspension scissor arm stand, desk mount clamp, pop filter, foam mic cover, USB A to B cable and manual. The microphone can be immediately recognized by Mac or Windows systems via USB 2.0 port. Another great choice for beginners. Combine with free audio editing software like GarageBand (Mac or iPad) or Audacity (PC) and you are ready to start recording or live streaming.∼$47
TrophyRak TR-PRO-057 USB Condenser Microphone KitPlug-and-play with both Mac and Windows computers via USB. Kit contains the microphone, Metal Shock Mount, Scissor Arm Stand, Desk Mount Clamp, POP Filter, Foam Mic Cover, 1.5M USB A to B Cable and User Manual. As with the two options above, another great choice for beginners. Combine with free audio editing software like GarageBand (Mac or iPad) or Audacity (PC) and you are ready to start recording or live streaming.∼$37

Semi-pro podcast recording kits – $100-$350

MAONO Zero-Latency 192KHz/24Bit Condenser MicEquipped with Studio Headphones: Proprietary 50mm large-aperture drivers and deep, accurate bass response bring you a treat of your ear. Advanced active noise reduction technology makes you focus on what you want to hear. Foldable, flexible and skin texture design, more durability and comfort! What's more, MAONO provides one more adapter(3.5mm to 6.35mm plug), which you can connect to a mixer. Plug-and-play with Mac, Windows or Linux systems; No need for driver software or external devices. Kit includes Wired Headphones, Condenser Mic, Adjustable Scissor Arm Stand, Metal Shock Mount, Pop Filter, Foam Mic Windscreen, Table Mounting Clamp, USB-B to USB-A Cable, 3.5mm to 6.35mm Adapter and Manual. ∼$108
PreSonus Studio Recording Package A complete, all-in-one out-of-the-box recording package. Seamlessly integrated with the included PreSonus Studio One Artist music production software, the Studio 26c interface works with virtually all Mac and Windows recording software. The pack includes an AT2020 cardioid condenser microphone, a pair of ATH-M20x professional monitor headphones and a studio boom arm threaded with a XLR cable.∼$350

Professional podcast recording kit – $1300+

For a custom-made recording kit you need a microphone, a USB interface for your microphone, a preamplifier for voice processing and noise removal, a microphone boom arm and professional audio editing software.
Shure SM7B Broadcast Microphone Bundle with Microphone BoomThe SMB7 cardioid studio microphone delivers warm and smooth audio reproduction in close-proximity studio and vocal applications. Features include wide-range frequency response, bass roll off and mid-range control, and internal air suspension shock isolation.∼$500
dbx 286s PreamplifierThe dbx286s is a full featured Channel Strip Processor that delivers a studio quality microphone/instrument preamplifier and four processors that can be used independently or in any combination. The dbx 286s provides you with all the mic processing you need in one box, with the shortest, cleanest signal path to keep your music sounding its best.∼$255
Scarlett 18i8 USB Microphone InterfaceThe third-generation 18i8 has a way in for everyone, with four mic/line inputs, two of which double as instrument-ins, and four fixed line-ins. Then, you have four balanced line-outs and speaker switching plus two independent headphone outs to monitor, mix and play back however you want. Whatever you’re recording, wherever you are, you can take your whole studio with you.∼$420
Blue Microphones Compass Microphone Broadcast Boom ArmCompass is a premium tube-style desktop boom arm with internal springs and built-in cable management, ideal for broadcast applications like game streaming, podcasting, voice-over, and more.∼$100
Audio Editing SoftwareLogic Pro for Mac ($280); Adobe Audition for Windows ($21/month subscription).∼$100

Best podcasting microphones

Audio-Technica ATR2100xFor the Hobbyist: Handheld dynamic microphone with USB-C digital output and XLR analog output. Durable metal construction for long-lasting performance with smooth, extended frequency response. USB output connects to your computer (Windows and Mac) for digital recording, while the XLR output connects with your sound system’s conventional microphone input for use in live performance. Built-in headphone jack lets you monitor directly from the microphone. Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of unwanted sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of desired sound source. Sturdy tripod desk stand with folding legs.∼$79
Samson Technologies Q2UFor the Hobbyist: Professional handheld dynamic microphone with USB digital output for connecting to a computer and XLR analog output for connecting to a mixer, audio interface or portable PA system. Dynamic microphone capsule with a cardioid pickup pattern. Recording and Podcasting Pack includes everything you need to start recording great sounding projects: an extended desktop stand with mic clip that positions the microphone close to the sound source, a pop-filter for reducing p-pops, and USB and XLR cables.∼$69
Ride Pro caster Mid-range: Built specifically for vocal recording, and more specifically for speech. It’s pitched as a broadcast microphone, which means it could feasibly be used for TV, radio or other high-pressure situations. It features a tight polar pattern and tailored-for-voice frequency response. It also features an internal pop filter to minimize plosive sounds that can overload the microphone capsule and distort the audio. Its high output dynamic capsule and balanced low impedance output make it an ideal broadcast and voice over microphone.∼$182
Blue Yeti X Professional Mid-range: Whilst the Rode Pod caster above is a Dynamic, the Blue Yeti is a Condenser. The Blue Yeti is one of the most popular USB podcast microphones in the world. It is a state-of-the-art USB microphone for professional-level productions. The four-capsule array inside Yeti X delivers Blue's legendary sound with greater focus and clarity than ever—in four versatile pickup patterns The high-res LED audio meter and illuminated multi-function smart knob let you monitor and adjust your voice level in real time providing precise control over your sound. ∼$170
Shure MV7For the Power User: The MV7 is a dynamic microphone with both USB and XLR outputs for use with computers and professional interfaces alike. Connect via USB and explore additional set-up features and Auto Level Mode within our ShurePlus™ MOTIV app, to control your vocal tone, and distance from the microphone. With Auto Level Mode, you can let the microphone do the work for you. Also in the box: Micro-B to USB-C Cable (10ft) and Micro-B to USB-A Cable (10ft).∼$249
Heil Sound PR40 For the Power User: The Heil PR 40 microphone boasts the widest frequency range of any dynamic mic in the Heil PR series. The PR 40 incorporates Heil's understanding of phasing plug placement, along with the use of a very large (1"), low mass diaphragm, and custom magnet metals housed in a specially designed microphone body. The PR 40 diaphragm is shock mounted such that it is completely de-coupled from the anodized Champagne matte-finished steel body. ∼$329
Ride NT1-A For the Power User: The Ride NT1-A cardioid condenser microphone has become an industry standard; delivering the warmth, extended dynamic range, clarity and high SPL capability typically only featured on some of the world's most expensive microphones. With a self-noise level of only 5dBA it is widely recognized as one the world's quietest studio microphones. A studio grade pop shield and shock mount is included, along with a premium 20-feet microphone cable, dust cover, and an instructional DVD packed with recording tips. ∼$220

Podcasting accessories

Cloudlifter Pre-AmplifierCloudlifters are essentially no-frills, no controls, low-noise mic preamps designed to be used in line with low-output dynamic mics and, more specifically, with passive ribbon mics. Uses Phantom power to give passive mics up to +25dB without passing Phantom power on to mic.∼$149
Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD Audiophile 2x2, 24-Bit/192 kHz USB Audio Interface with Midas Mic Preamplifiers. Record the perfect vocal right to your computer-based DAW thanks to the 2 astonishingly pure, world-class Midas-designed mic preamps, which include +48 Volt phantom power for condenser microphones, all going through studio-grade 24-Bit/192 kHz converters for the best possible sound quality. ∼$89
Focusrite Scarlett SoloThe 24-bit/192kHz converters of this microphone preamplifier give your recordings clarity and detail. The Scarlett Solo bundle comes with the Hitmaker Expansion, an unbeatable range of tried-and-tested studio tools from some of the biggest names in the business. The Hitmaker Expansion includes: Antares Auto-Tune Access, Relab LX480 Essentials, Softube Marshall Silver Jubilee 2555, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2, Brainworx bx_oberhausen, Three Month Splice Sounds Subscription, Brainworx bx_console Focusrite SC, Focusrite Red Plug-In Suite, Brainworx bx_masterdesk, Ableton Live Lite, Three Month Avid Pro Tools subscription.∼$120
RødeCaster Pro Podcast Production StudioThe world's most powerful all-in-one solution for podcasting. Designed to offer superb audio quality and expansive features while being incredibly easy to use, it's the ultimate tool for beginners and professionals alike. Featuring four microphone inputs with studio-grade preamps for recording crystal-clear audio, smartphone, USB, and Bluetooth channels for seamlessly integrating remote guests, eight sound pads for triggering music and sound effects, powerful audio processing at the touch of a button. 8 programmable sound effects pads allow instant triggering of SFX, music, and more; record audio direct to the pads from any input or add files from your computer.∼$580
Heil Sound PL-2T Overhead Broadcast BoomThe Heil Sound PL-2T overhead boom uses a system of perfectly balanced internal springs rather than the unsightly, mechanically unstable outboard springs used on booms of much lesser quality. Handles microphones up to 3-1/2 pounds in weight.∼$115
Elgato Wave Mic ArmBroadcasting Boom Arm with Cable Management Channels, Desk Clamp, 1/4" Thread Adapters, Fully Adjustable.∼$105
OneOdio Studio Monitor & Mixing Headsets with Noise IsolationLarge, 50 millimeter speaker unit drivers combined with neodymium magnets; powerful bass, clear vocal, and crisp high tones form stereo sound. Comes with detachable standard-sized 6.35mm & 3.5mm plug and coiled cord (9.8ft Stretched) ∼$36
PreSonus HD7 Professional Monitoring HeadphonesWhether you’re monitoring, tracking, mixing, or just listening for pleasure, you can expect impressive sonic performance from these professional-quality headphones. They deliver natural, warm, clear sound and take advantage of a semi-open sound chamber to deliver exceptionally deep low frequencies. ∼$65