Are you planning to start a podcast? Getting a podcast equipment kit will help you save money and time, as you’ll get all the equipment you need for podcast recording in one go without having to worry about compatibility and missing items.
It’s not uncommon to feel intimated by the amount of research and information necessary to build your own podcast starter kit. Especially at the beginning, you’ll need new equipment that will help you create high-quality audio easily and without spending a fortune.
Luckily, podcast equipment bundles do most of the work for you by providing all the equipment you need for your show in a kit that’s within your budget. Whether you’re looking for a podcast starter kit or need to upgrade your existing recording equipment, there are bundles for all levels that can meet the needs of beginners and professionals alike.
In this article, I’ll analyze what’s included in the podcast starter kit and look at some of the best podcast equipment packages on the market. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to recording gear, so I’ll divide my favorite choices into beginner, intermediate and professional.
Podcast equipment packages include all the podcasting equipment you need to record professional-quality audio for your show. Generally, the best podcast starter kits consist of a microphone, a USB audio interface, studio headphones, and recording software.
Although they’re often called podcast starter kits, these bundles provide equipment that can deliver professional results regardless of your skill level, with each item communicating with the rest of the kit seamlessly.
With the podcast bundles, manufacturers aim at attracting podcasters who don’t want to spend time building their own podcast setup but would rather have everything set and ready for the recording session.
A good podcast starter kit comprises not only hardware but also software. As you’ll see below, most bundles offer a lite version of some popular digital audio workstations, so you can begin recording as soon as you set up your equipment.
Equipment bundles for podcasting and music recordings are identical. The equipment necessary for recording high-quality audio is the same, with the only difference being the type of microphone you’ll need.
Large-diaphragm condenser microphones are ideal for voice recording, while a dynamic microphone is more versatile and ideal for recording musical instruments. If you’re a musician, you can easily convert your home recording studio into a podcast studio, as long as you have all the audio gear we’ll talk about below.
If you have limited experience in audio recording, a podcast starter kit will save you time and money. Choosing the right microphone, studio headphones, audio interface, and DAW, while making sure they’re all compatible with each other and you have all the necessary cables can be daunting at best.
Building your own recording studio from scratch can be an exciting experience, but it’s something you should do when you have the knowledge necessary to buy the right items for your purpose and recording environment. It takes time, and most likely, you’ll end up spending more than you planned. Nevertheless, it’s the only way you can create a sound that’s uniquely yours.
With a podcast starter kit, you can avoid spending hours researching the best recording tools and focus on what’s most important: the content of your show. As you’ll see below, these packages feature equipment that’s easy to use and will work straight out of the box. Furthermore, it’s likely you’ll also save some money in the process by buying everything you need in one go and in a convenient bundle.
Since all you need to start a podcast are three or four items, most podcast equipment bundles offer the same kind of equipment. The main differences lie in the audio interface, which can have one or multiple inputs, the quality and quantity of the microphones provided, the DAW and different plugins included, and if the studio monitors and headphones are included.
If you want to buy everything in one go, then look for a podcast starter kit that includes all the equipment mentioned below. Some items, like the mic stand or the pop filter, may seem unnecessary compared to the rest, but they’re just as fundamental.
Rest assured that a cheap microphone stand that doesn’t absorb vibrations will compromise your recordings sooner or later. It’s always worth it to find a stand with a shock mount. I can always notice when a host doesn’t use a pop filter and wonder why they don’t spend $20 to avoid recording all those disturbing plosive sounds.
If the budget is tight, then opt for a bundle with one microphone, a USB audio interface, headphones, and a DAW. Bear in mind, though, sooner or later, you’ll need to buy the rest of the equipment if you want your podcast to sound professional.
You’re not going anywhere without a podcast microphone, so this is always one of the main items included in podcast kits. The market of mics for podcasters is saturated with high-quality and affordable models, so having these bundles definitely helps narrow down the selection.
Check out our 10 Best Microphones for Podcasting list!
What you’ll get is either a USB microphone or a studio condenser microphone; while the former is easier to use and can be connected directly to your PC without an interface, studio condenser mics are the podcasters’ favorite as they’re ideal for recording vocals transparently.
Most studio condenser XLR microphones can connect to your PC via XLR cables and an audio interface. You’ll need to install the interface first and then connect the XLR mic to it via the XLR cable provided.
Simply put, the audio interface is a device that translates your voice into digital bits, allowing your PC to “understand” and store this data. Often, a USB interface determines the audio quality of your recordings as much as the microphone you use because thanks to it you’ll be able to make quick adjustments to the microphone’s input and upgrade the quality of the recordings.
Another reason why having a USB interface is crucial is that it allows connecting and recording additional mics simultaneously. If you have a co-host or multiple guests in person, you can’t record your show without an interface.
Since I assume you won’t be recording music, the USB interface you need doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Nonetheless, it has to be intuitive, and you have to be able to make adjustments in real-time using knobs and monitor volumes via a VU meter.
Surprisingly, some bundles don’t provide mic stands, so make sure you go over the bundle’s description before purchasing it. Mic stands may seem the least technical item included in this kit, but they’re fundamental in guaranteeing the audio quality of your show for a variety of reasons.
A good-quality mic stand prevents vibration, therefore ensuring your movements won’t have an impact on the quality of your recordings. Furthermore, they’re quite customizable, meaning you can adjust distance and height so that they won’t obstruct you during the recording sessions.
Microphone stands come in many forms. Boom arm stands are highly versatile and are the professionals’ favorite choice. Tripod stands are a more affordable choice and can provide professional results.
If budget is not an issue, I’d suggest investing a bit more and getting a boom arm stand: it’s sturdier and less affected by vibrations. Plus, the boom arm looks extremely professional, especially if you’re also using a video camera to record your show.
A pop filter is one of those inexpensive items that can upgrade your radio show. Pop filters basically prevent plosives sounds (caused by words starting with hard consonants such as P, T, C, K, B, and J) from generating distortion during the recording sessions.
Sometimes pop filters are not included in the podcast equipment bundles, but don’t worry: they’re inexpensive and can work with any equipment, so just go and get one after buying your podcast starter kit in case it’s not included. You’ll hear the difference in sound quality right away.
Some condenser microphones come with a built-in filter, but often they can’t block loud plosives. I suggest you stay on the safe side and buy a filter before recording your first episode.
If you’re a DIY kind of person, you can make your own pop filter. Good luck!
A Digital Audio Workstation is the editing software you use to record sounds. The average podcast starter kit comes with a light version of one DAW or another, giving you the chance to start recording right away using professional software.
DAWs are recording and editing software that are used mainly by music producers; therefore, they have some tools that, as a podcaster, you’ll never need. When it comes to recording a podcast or radio show, it’s better to keep the workflow simple, with a DAW that offers the necessary tools without looking overcomplicated.
Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools are some of the most common recording and editing software included in these packages. They’re both easy to use and have everything to meet the needs of even most professional podcasters.
If for any reason, your podcast starter kit doesn’t come with a digital audio workstation, you can always get one for free, like GarageBand or Audacity. Both software are ideal for podcasters and super easy to use.
Overall, any DAW would meet your podcasting needs. Mastering Pro Tools to record a podcast seems a bit of an overkill to me; nonetheless, it’s a fantastic workstation that can definitely help you upgrade your show in the long run.
The most significant difference between studio monitors and a standard hi-fi system lies in the fidelity of the playback. Studio monitors reproduce the audio in the most authentic way, without enhancing particular frequencies in order to make songs more captivating.
When creating a home recording studio for your podcast, you’re looking for studio monitors that fit well within your environment. If you record your podcast in a room smaller than 40sqm, a pair of studio monitors of 25W each will suffice. If the room is bigger than that, you’ll need more powerful studio monitors to compensate for the sound’s dispersion.
Creating the perfect balance between music, voices, and ads is much easier using your studio monitors as you’ll hear better how the sound propagates and which frequencies sound higher than the rest.
One thing worth mentioning is the importance of letting your ears rest. Using headphones all the time has an impact on your ability to hear some frequencies in the long run; therefore, if you’re planning to make podcasting your profession, consider investing in a pair of professional studio monitors. You’ll thank me in twenty years.
The same concepts valid for studio monitors work for studio headphones too. Transparency in audio reproduction is crucial, and especially when you’re mixing your show before publishing it, you want to hear exactly how it sounds like.
You can still mix your first podcast episode using your Beats headphones if that’s all you have; however, let me advise against it. Headphones designed for regular music consumption enhance the lower frequencies, meaning the sound you’ll hear while recording and editing your show is not how your audience will hear it.
The question you should ask right now is: how can I create a sound that works well for all the people listening to my show on cheap headphones, professional hi-fi systems, cars, and so on? This is when the transparency of your studio monitors and headphones comes into play.
If your show sounds well on studio equipment, it’ll sound well on all playback devices. If you use headphones that interfere with the sound frequencies, a good-quality audio playback is not guaranteed.
When buying new headphones, you should pay attention to their audio fidelity and comfort. Since you’ll be wearing them every day for hours, having studio headphones that reproduce sound frequencies perfectly and fit well is a crucial element for the success of your show.
While you can, in principle, record a solo podcast just with a USB microphone, you can’t do that if you have multiple people speaking. If you’re inviting people to your studio to record an interview show, you’ll need an interface with as many XLR microphone inputs as the speakers you invited.
Furthermore, each guest must have their own dedicated microphone. If you were planning to save money by putting your three guests in front of a single microphone, stop right there! It’ll sound bad, and most likely, you won’t have guests on your show ever again.
Planning in advance is crucial. If your intention is to have guests or co-hosts, you should buy a podcast starter kit with an audio interface with 3 or 4 XLR microphone inputs and just as many mics. It’ll definitely be more expensive than purchasing a single-input interface but less than having to upgrade part of your equipment once you decide to upgrade your recording equipment.
Recently, I helped a start-up set up their podcast, and the CEO was adamant about using a Tascam recorder to record their interviews. Tascam recorders are amazing tools, and I’ve been using one to record my band’s rehearsals for years.
However, I wouldn’t use them to record a podcast: to achieve optimal results, a speaker should have the microphone placed right in front of them, to avoid unwanted background noise being recorded and guarantee a balanced volume between different speakers. This is just my opinion.
You can start a podcast with less than $100, but it may be difficult to achieve high-quality recordings if you don’t invest in professional equipment.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can buy a $50 USB mic, use a free DAW like Audacity, your laptop, and you’re all set. When the audio equipment is not professional, your postproduction skills must compensate for the poor audio recordings.
There are a lot of free or affordable tools to enhance your sound, but you’ll need to learn how to use them, and that takes time. Is it worth it? It might be, but you’ll need to decide for yourself and find out how serious you are about starting a podcast.
As you’ll see below, the podcast starter kits I recommend cost between $250 and $500, which I think is the amount you should spend if you want to achieve professional sound quality. It’s not a huge investment, and it’ll save you plenty of time because the equipment is easy to use with each item perfectly compatible with the others.
You can also spend thousands of dollars on professional audio interfaces with multiple inputs, mixers, professional studio monitors, a few large-diaphragm condenser microphones, the best DAWs and plugins, and studio headphones. That’s hardly a podcast starter kit!
I think it’d be a waste of money if you just started your show, but if you have money and want the best audio without making any adjustments during postproduction, such an investment would make sense.
Find the meeting point between your budget, audio production skills, and ambition. Once you realize what you can do with the money and knowledge at your disposal, you’ll be able to find the perfect podcast bundle for you.
The three bundles I selected are divided based on your experience level. I chose these three kits because of their versatility and reliability: the brands included in these bundles are some of the best in the audio recording industry, so whichever you choose, I’m confident it’ll be the best podcast starter kit for your needs.
Focusrite is one of those brands that made professional audio recording accessible to everyone, so I highly recommend all their product. The Scarlett 2i2 is a reliable and versatile audio interface with two inputs, meaning you can record up to two microphones simultaneously.
The studio bundle comes with a professional large-diaphragm condenser microphone, perfect for voice recordings. The studio headphones provided, the HP60 MkIII, are comfortable and offer the authentic sound reproduction you need for mixing your radio show.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio offers a three-month subscription to Pro Tools, plus a plethora of plugins you can use for free to enhance your sound quality. If you just started your podcasting adventure, this is the best podcast starter kit on the market.
If you read some of my previous articles, you know I’m a big fan of Presonus. Their products, from studio monitors to their DAW Studio One, are top-notch but affordable, and their podcast equipment bundle is no exception.
The bundle includes a 2×2 audio interface, a large-diaphragm LyxPro condenser mic, a pair of Presonus Eris 3.5 Studio Monitors, a mic stand, a pop filter, and the amazing Studio One Artist, the world-class DAW developed by Presonus, so you can start recording your podcast right away.
The Presonus Eris 3.5 Studio Monitors are great for mixing and mastering audio, offering aspiring podcasters transparent audio reproduction with exceptional clarity that’ll help you scrutinize your podcast thoroughly. However, if your podcast studio is in a big room, you may need bigger studio monitors to analyze your recordings during postproduction.
Mackie is a worldwide leader in producing professional audio equipment, and their most affordable podcasting bundle offers everything you need to record a podcast professionally. The bundle comes with the Big Knob Studio, Mackie’s iconic audio interface: loved by sound-makers worldwide for its versatility and minimal design, Big Knob Studio will help you adjust your recordings in real-time even if you have limited experience in audio recording.
The kit provides two microphones: the EM-91C Condenser Mic is the best choice for recording vocals, while the EM-89D dynamic mic is a versatile option that can be used to capture musical instruments or a guest speaker.
Mackie’s CR3-X are some of the best studio monitors you can find: their neutral sound reproduction is well-known among musicians and audio engineers. Combined with the MC-100 studio headphones, you’ll have the power of a professional recording studio in your home.
Podcast equipment bundles incredibly simplify the hardware selection, which means you can focus more on the content of your show.
My recommendation when buying a new studio bundle is to look for equipment that can be expanded easily. If you’re planning to have co-hosts and speakers in the future, purchasing a single-input interface won’t suffice (unless you’re using remote guests), so plan in advance and buy your equipment accordingly.
My last recommendation is, don’t get disappointed if your first recordings don’t sound as pristine as you hoped. Even if you’re using the best podcast starter kit out there, there is always a steep learning curve when recording audio, so make sure you take your time to get to know your tools, improve your environment, and do research online on how to enhance your sound.
As you can see, there are options for all budgets. The most affordable price option I recommended in this article, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio, costs less than $300. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can look for even cheaper options online. They might not provide you with the professional results you’re looking for, but they would be good enough to start building your own podcast starter kit.
Good luck, and stay creative!
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