July 9, 2024

Best podcast equipment for beginners (that won't break the bank)

You don't need to spend a lot to start a podcast. Here's the best podcast equipment for beginners that will give you quality without the spend.
July 9, 2024

Best podcast equipment for beginners (that won't break the bank)

You don't need to spend a lot to start a podcast. Here's the best podcast equipment for beginners that will give you quality without the spend.
July 9, 2024
Evan Lian
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Transcriptions

Whether you're looking to share your expertise, tell stories or build a community, podcasts are a powerful medium. But when you're just starting out, navigating the sea of choices—for gear, software, and everything else—can be overwhelming.

In this article, we'll recommend some of our favorite podcast equipment for beginners, including a few different options for:

  • A microphone
  • Headphones
  • Recording software
  • Hosting platform
  • Some nice-to-haves

TL‎;DR: The best complete podcast setup for beginners

If you want to skip the window shopping, just grab the gear listed below and you'll be well on your way to recording high-quality podcasts.

  • Microphone: Blue Yeti Nano ($84.99)
  • Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M20X ($49.00)
  • Recording and editing software: Descript (Free plan available)
  • Hosting platform: Spotify for Podcasters (Free)

Best podcast microphones for beginners

Let's start by saying: you don't need the Joe Rogan microphone. I repeat: you do not need the Joe Rogan microphone. As a beginner, you just need something that sounds good and won’t break the bank.

USB microphones are a great place to start because they're easy to use, budget-friendly, and simple to set up. A decent USB mic with proper placement will get you pretty far. Descript's Studio Sound will get you the rest of the way so your audio quality is indistinguishable from your favorite podcasts.

1. Samson GoMic

Samson GoMic


The Samson GoMic is a super portable, super affordable condenser mic that clips onto your computer or laptop. You can record audio with two different pickup patterns for simple podcast interviews or voiceovers, and it has an adorable form factor that fits in the palm of your hand. While it might not win over audiophiles, it's a major improvement from recording into your computer's mic.

Price: $29.99

2. Blue Yeti Nano

Blue Yeti Nano

Logitech's Blue Yeti Nano is the little sibling to the mega-popular Blue Yeti. Both are condenser mics with multiple pickup patterns and a USB interface, but the Nano is considerably smaller and lighter than its predecessor—some cheaper mic stands have struggled holding up the weight of the Blue Yeti.

At a smaller weight, footprint, and price tag, the Blue Yeti Nano manages to be just as capable at capturing high-quality sound, making it an excellent USB mic for beginner podcasters.

Price: $86.99

3. RØDE Podmic

RØDE PodMic

If you've got room in your budget, you might want to consider an XLR microphone. XLR mics record audio with lower latency (i.e. delay in the audio signal getting to your computer) and a richer sound. While XLR microphones can get very expensive, the RØDE Podmic comes in at a price comparable to higher-end USB microphones.


Just note, you'll need to invest in an audio interface to record with XLR, which is its own expense. But it also leaves runway to upgrade and expand your podcasting setup as you go.

Price: $99.00

Best headphones for beginners

Headphones allow you to monitor your sound in real time. And if you're recording remotely, they'll prevent feedback and echoes from your computer. Sound quality is obviously the most important thing when you're choosing headphones, but you'll want to consider factors like comfort and durability as well.

1. Tascam TH-02-B Studio Headphones

TASCAM TH-02 Studio Headphones

The Tascam TH-02-B studio headphones are a budget-friendly choice for new podcasters looking for something affordable. They've got decent sound quality for the price but the padded ear cups are relatively small which can be uncomfortable for extended use.

At a low price point, the Tascam TH-02 B's are a good value for casual listening or basic studio use. They're also a good choice when you need pairs for multiple people while recording.

Price: $20.52

2. Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M20X headphones are another solid choice for beginners, offering decent performance and comfort at a reasonable price. They have a clear, natural sound that's good for editing podcast audio and feel less flimsy than the Tascam TH-02-B.

These are Audio-Technica's entry-level studio monitors, and they're a smart investment for beginner podcasters. But for better sound quality and comfort, models like the ATH-M30X or ATH-M40X may be worth considering.

Price: $49.00

3. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones

For podcasters willing to invest a bit more, Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones come highly regarded. They give you accurate sound reproduction so you can trust what you're hearing in your headphones.

The HD280 Pros have ample padding for extra comfort and the ear cups are larger and fit snugly to block out external noise, although the clamp pressure may take some getting used to.

Despite their professional-grade performance, these headphones remain accessible for those looking to invest in quality audio gear.

Price: $89.99

Best podcast software for beginners

Now that you've got the podcast gear to record your show, you'll need something to record and edit your audio in. There's lots of recording software out there, but luckily there are plenty of inexpensive and user-friendly options for you to choose from.

1. Descript: Best all-in-one podcast recording and production software


Descript video editor interface

Descript takes all the complexity of audio and video editing and makes it as simple as updating a text document. No more staring at waveforms; just upload your recordings to transcribe them or record audio and video right in the app. Then just cut, copy, and paste to start editing like a pro.

Descript also eliminates all the monotonous parts of podcast production, like removing filler words, enhancing your audio (thanks to Studio Sound), writing show notes, and finding engaging clips for social.

Price: Free plan available; paid plans start at $15 per month

2. Audacity: Best free recording & editing software

Audacity is a free, open-source audio recording and editing software that's available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The program includes basic tools for audio like multi-track editing, noise reduction, and some audio effects. Being an open-source project, there's no official customer service department, but there's extensive community support and a plethora of online resources which make it easy to learn as you start to your podcasting journey.

Price: Free

3. GarageBand: Best free software for Mac users

GarageBand user interface

As the name implies, GarageBand is built with musicians in mind—it even has a library of virtual instruments—but its intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate. It has loads of tools for recording, editing, and mixing audio, and robust mobile versions on iOS and iPadOS for making podcasts on the go.

Price: Free on Apple devices

4. SquadCast: Best for remote recording

UI screenshot of remote recording in SquadCast
‎You don't have to settle for Zoom's glitchy, digitally flattened audio. SquadCast is a cloud recording studio that allows you to capture high-quality audio and video remote interviews, right in your browser.

Recordings are saved locally with progressive uploads to the cloud so you never have to worry about connectivity issues—even if your guest's internet cuts in and out, you're left with a stellar recording. Best of all, SquadCast seamlessly integrates with Descript and comes included on Descript paid plans.

Price: Free plan available; paid plans start at $15 per month

Best podcast hosting platforms for beginners

Choosing the right podcast hosting platform is crucial for podcasters looking to store, distribute, and eventually monetize their content. Each platform has its own mix of analytics and monetization tools—not to mention different learning curves—but these free or inexpensive options are more than enough to get you started.

1. Spotify for Podcasters

Screenshot of Spotify for Podcasters dashboard
Source: Spotify for Podcasters

Spotify for Podcasters (formerly known as Anchor) is a free, unlimited hosting service that offers basic analytics, monetization features, listener engagement, video podcasts, and even some light recording and editing tools to help you create podcasts on the go.

You'll be able to distribute your show to major podcast platforms, manage multiple shows, and even incorporate music from Spotify's expansive catalog. The best part is that Spotify for Podcasters is completely free: there are no paid plans, although there is a 250MB limit for audio files.

Price: Free

2. Acast

Source: Acast

Acast is another popular podcast hosting service that helps you host and distribute your show to major platforms with both free and paid plans.

The free plan includes unlimited hosting and basic podcast website features, but episode uploads are limited to 150MB. Paid plans start at $14 per month, adding automated distribution, monetization potential, and more advanced support.

Price: Free plan available; paid plans start at $14 per month

3. Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout Advanced Podcast Statistics
Source: Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout is a hosting service aimed at helping podcasters launch their show. Like the other options listed, it distributes to major podcast platforms, provides analytics, monetization features, and unlike many other hosting services, has no annual contracts.

The free plan includes two hours of audio each month but deletes episodes after 90 days, while paid plans start at $12 per month, offering more audio hours and additional features like Magic Mastering.

Price: Free plan available; paid plans start at $12 per month

Nice-to-have podcast equipment for beginners

These are by no means necessary, but they can make your recording experience a lot smoother and save you some headache in post-production.

1. Pop filter

Aokeo pop filter product image

Pop filters block out those pesky popping sounds from hard-hitting consonants like "p" and "b." A little goes a long way here and can make a dramatic difference in the end result. This Aokeo pop filter has a dual-layer nylon mesh screen and a gooseneck arm that's easy to bend and attach to any microphone.

Price: $9.99

2. A microphone stand or boom arm

InnoGear Low Profile Mic Arm Boom Microphone Stand for Fifine AM8 K669B  Elgato Blue Yeti HyperX QuadCast AT2020 Shure SM58 SM7B, with Shock Mount  Mic ...

A microphone stand or boom arm stabilizes your mic and reduces handling noise. We like this low-profile InnoGear boom arm because it keeps both your desk and view uncluttered, and can be easily adjusted without having to twist or loosen anything.

Price: $29.69

3. A webcam or webcam app

Camo - Giving you video superpowers

Webcams empower you to add video to your show so you can reach listeners on video-forward platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. There are plenty of affordable webcams out there, but you likely already own an incredibly powerful camera in your pocket.

Apple's Continuity Camera allows iPhone users to connect to Macs as a webcam for free. If you aren't fully entrenched in the Apple environment, you can purchase a lifetime license to Camo for $99 to accomplish the same thing without the OS restrictions.

Price: Free to $99.99

FAQ

What is the best equipment to start a podcast?

The best equipment to start a podcast is what fits in your budget! At the very least, you'll need a microphone, headphones, recording and editing software, and a hosting platform to get started.

Do podcasts make money?

Yes! Podcasts make money through sponsorships, running ads, listener donations, premium content subscriptions, and selling merch. It can take time to build an audience and start earning, and that also doesn't have to be the goal.

What to avoid when starting a podcast?

Avoid hyper-focusing on equipment when starting a podcast. Invest in reliable equipment that fits within your budget and spend your time planning the content of the show, sticking to a regular release schedule, and finding ways to reach like-minded listeners that will enjoy the topics you cover.

How much does it cost to start a podcast for equipment?

The cost to start a podcast for equipment can vary, but a good podcast setup will run you anywhere from $100 to $500. This includes a USB microphone, headphones, and basic recording and editing software. Adding accessories like pop filters and microphone stands can add to the cost as well.

Evan Lian
Evan Lian is cartoonist for The New Yorker and co-host of the podcast, Two Dudes Watch Cartoons.
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Best podcast equipment for beginners (that won't break the bank)

Whether you're looking to share your expertise, tell stories or build a community, podcasts are a powerful medium. But when you're just starting out, navigating the sea of choices—for gear, software, and everything else—can be overwhelming.

In this article, we'll recommend some of our favorite podcast equipment for beginners, including a few different options for:

  • A microphone
  • Headphones
  • Recording software
  • Hosting platform
  • Some nice-to-haves

TL‎;DR: The best complete podcast setup for beginners

If you want to skip the window shopping, just grab the gear listed below and you'll be well on your way to recording high-quality podcasts.

  • Microphone: Blue Yeti Nano ($84.99)
  • Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M20X ($49.00)
  • Recording and editing software: Descript (Free plan available)
  • Hosting platform: Spotify for Podcasters (Free)

Best podcast microphones for beginners

Let's start by saying: you don't need the Joe Rogan microphone. I repeat: you do not need the Joe Rogan microphone. As a beginner, you just need something that sounds good and won’t break the bank.

USB microphones are a great place to start because they're easy to use, budget-friendly, and simple to set up. A decent USB mic with proper placement will get you pretty far. Descript's Studio Sound will get you the rest of the way so your audio quality is indistinguishable from your favorite podcasts.

1. Samson GoMic

Samson GoMic


The Samson GoMic is a super portable, super affordable condenser mic that clips onto your computer or laptop. You can record audio with two different pickup patterns for simple podcast interviews or voiceovers, and it has an adorable form factor that fits in the palm of your hand. While it might not win over audiophiles, it's a major improvement from recording into your computer's mic.

Price: $29.99

2. Blue Yeti Nano

Blue Yeti Nano

Logitech's Blue Yeti Nano is the little sibling to the mega-popular Blue Yeti. Both are condenser mics with multiple pickup patterns and a USB interface, but the Nano is considerably smaller and lighter than its predecessor—some cheaper mic stands have struggled holding up the weight of the Blue Yeti.

At a smaller weight, footprint, and price tag, the Blue Yeti Nano manages to be just as capable at capturing high-quality sound, making it an excellent USB mic for beginner podcasters.

Price: $86.99

3. RØDE Podmic

RØDE PodMic

If you've got room in your budget, you might want to consider an XLR microphone. XLR mics record audio with lower latency (i.e. delay in the audio signal getting to your computer) and a richer sound. While XLR microphones can get very expensive, the RØDE Podmic comes in at a price comparable to higher-end USB microphones.


Just note, you'll need to invest in an audio interface to record with XLR, which is its own expense. But it also leaves runway to upgrade and expand your podcasting setup as you go.

Price: $99.00

Best headphones for beginners

Headphones allow you to monitor your sound in real time. And if you're recording remotely, they'll prevent feedback and echoes from your computer. Sound quality is obviously the most important thing when you're choosing headphones, but you'll want to consider factors like comfort and durability as well.

1. Tascam TH-02-B Studio Headphones

TASCAM TH-02 Studio Headphones

The Tascam TH-02-B studio headphones are a budget-friendly choice for new podcasters looking for something affordable. They've got decent sound quality for the price but the padded ear cups are relatively small which can be uncomfortable for extended use.

At a low price point, the Tascam TH-02 B's are a good value for casual listening or basic studio use. They're also a good choice when you need pairs for multiple people while recording.

Price: $20.52

2. Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M20X headphones are another solid choice for beginners, offering decent performance and comfort at a reasonable price. They have a clear, natural sound that's good for editing podcast audio and feel less flimsy than the Tascam TH-02-B.

These are Audio-Technica's entry-level studio monitors, and they're a smart investment for beginner podcasters. But for better sound quality and comfort, models like the ATH-M30X or ATH-M40X may be worth considering.

Price: $49.00

3. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones

For podcasters willing to invest a bit more, Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones come highly regarded. They give you accurate sound reproduction so you can trust what you're hearing in your headphones.

The HD280 Pros have ample padding for extra comfort and the ear cups are larger and fit snugly to block out external noise, although the clamp pressure may take some getting used to.

Despite their professional-grade performance, these headphones remain accessible for those looking to invest in quality audio gear.

Price: $89.99

Best podcast software for beginners

Now that you've got the podcast gear to record your show, you'll need something to record and edit your audio in. There's lots of recording software out there, but luckily there are plenty of inexpensive and user-friendly options for you to choose from.

1. Descript: Best all-in-one podcast recording and production software


Descript video editor interface

Descript takes all the complexity of audio and video editing and makes it as simple as updating a text document. No more staring at waveforms; just upload your recordings to transcribe them or record audio and video right in the app. Then just cut, copy, and paste to start editing like a pro.

Descript also eliminates all the monotonous parts of podcast production, like removing filler words, enhancing your audio (thanks to Studio Sound), writing show notes, and finding engaging clips for social.

Price: Free plan available; paid plans start at $15 per month

2. Audacity: Best free recording & editing software

Audacity is a free, open-source audio recording and editing software that's available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The program includes basic tools for audio like multi-track editing, noise reduction, and some audio effects. Being an open-source project, there's no official customer service department, but there's extensive community support and a plethora of online resources which make it easy to learn as you start to your podcasting journey.

Price: Free

3. GarageBand: Best free software for Mac users

GarageBand user interface

As the name implies, GarageBand is built with musicians in mind—it even has a library of virtual instruments—but its intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate. It has loads of tools for recording, editing, and mixing audio, and robust mobile versions on iOS and iPadOS for making podcasts on the go.

Price: Free on Apple devices

4. SquadCast: Best for remote recording

UI screenshot of remote recording in SquadCast
‎You don't have to settle for Zoom's glitchy, digitally flattened audio. SquadCast is a cloud recording studio that allows you to capture high-quality audio and video remote interviews, right in your browser.

Recordings are saved locally with progressive uploads to the cloud so you never have to worry about connectivity issues—even if your guest's internet cuts in and out, you're left with a stellar recording. Best of all, SquadCast seamlessly integrates with Descript and comes included on Descript paid plans.

Price: Free plan available; paid plans start at $15 per month

Best podcast hosting platforms for beginners

Choosing the right podcast hosting platform is crucial for podcasters looking to store, distribute, and eventually monetize their content. Each platform has its own mix of analytics and monetization tools—not to mention different learning curves—but these free or inexpensive options are more than enough to get you started.

1. Spotify for Podcasters

Screenshot of Spotify for Podcasters dashboard
Source: Spotify for Podcasters

Spotify for Podcasters (formerly known as Anchor) is a free, unlimited hosting service that offers basic analytics, monetization features, listener engagement, video podcasts, and even some light recording and editing tools to help you create podcasts on the go.

You'll be able to distribute your show to major podcast platforms, manage multiple shows, and even incorporate music from Spotify's expansive catalog. The best part is that Spotify for Podcasters is completely free: there are no paid plans, although there is a 250MB limit for audio files.

Price: Free

2. Acast

Source: Acast

Acast is another popular podcast hosting service that helps you host and distribute your show to major platforms with both free and paid plans.

The free plan includes unlimited hosting and basic podcast website features, but episode uploads are limited to 150MB. Paid plans start at $14 per month, adding automated distribution, monetization potential, and more advanced support.

Price: Free plan available; paid plans start at $14 per month

3. Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout Advanced Podcast Statistics
Source: Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout is a hosting service aimed at helping podcasters launch their show. Like the other options listed, it distributes to major podcast platforms, provides analytics, monetization features, and unlike many other hosting services, has no annual contracts.

The free plan includes two hours of audio each month but deletes episodes after 90 days, while paid plans start at $12 per month, offering more audio hours and additional features like Magic Mastering.

Price: Free plan available; paid plans start at $12 per month

Nice-to-have podcast equipment for beginners

These are by no means necessary, but they can make your recording experience a lot smoother and save you some headache in post-production.

1. Pop filter

Aokeo pop filter product image

Pop filters block out those pesky popping sounds from hard-hitting consonants like "p" and "b." A little goes a long way here and can make a dramatic difference in the end result. This Aokeo pop filter has a dual-layer nylon mesh screen and a gooseneck arm that's easy to bend and attach to any microphone.

Price: $9.99

2. A microphone stand or boom arm

InnoGear Low Profile Mic Arm Boom Microphone Stand for Fifine AM8 K669B  Elgato Blue Yeti HyperX QuadCast AT2020 Shure SM58 SM7B, with Shock Mount  Mic ...

A microphone stand or boom arm stabilizes your mic and reduces handling noise. We like this low-profile InnoGear boom arm because it keeps both your desk and view uncluttered, and can be easily adjusted without having to twist or loosen anything.

Price: $29.69

3. A webcam or webcam app

Camo - Giving you video superpowers

Webcams empower you to add video to your show so you can reach listeners on video-forward platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. There are plenty of affordable webcams out there, but you likely already own an incredibly powerful camera in your pocket.

Apple's Continuity Camera allows iPhone users to connect to Macs as a webcam for free. If you aren't fully entrenched in the Apple environment, you can purchase a lifetime license to Camo for $99 to accomplish the same thing without the OS restrictions.

Price: Free to $99.99

FAQ

What is the best equipment to start a podcast?

The best equipment to start a podcast is what fits in your budget! At the very least, you'll need a microphone, headphones, recording and editing software, and a hosting platform to get started.

Do podcasts make money?

Yes! Podcasts make money through sponsorships, running ads, listener donations, premium content subscriptions, and selling merch. It can take time to build an audience and start earning, and that also doesn't have to be the goal.

What to avoid when starting a podcast?

Avoid hyper-focusing on equipment when starting a podcast. Invest in reliable equipment that fits within your budget and spend your time planning the content of the show, sticking to a regular release schedule, and finding ways to reach like-minded listeners that will enjoy the topics you cover.

How much does it cost to start a podcast for equipment?

The cost to start a podcast for equipment can vary, but a good podcast setup will run you anywhere from $100 to $500. This includes a USB microphone, headphones, and basic recording and editing software. Adding accessories like pop filters and microphone stands can add to the cost as well.

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