When you live and work in the world of audio, you want gear that helps you reach your full potential. Low-quality podcast gear or equipment that’s ill-suited for your environment can really hold you back. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a million dollars just to get decent sound, either. Knowing which products work best at home and which you can bring just about anywhere is the first step to planning out your equipment decisions.

Basic equipment

Whether you’re recording for millions or just getting started, the basic list of necessary supplies is the same. You’ll need a microphone, a stand for that mic, and a pop filter if you’re feeling fancy. With this basic podcast recording equipment, you’ll be able to record a good show and won’t need to spend hours in post production trying to fix audio problems. When you’re shopping for equipment, keep in mind where you’ll be doing most of your recording.

In your studio

You’ve got a lot more control over your home studio recording environment. Background noise filtering is less of a concern at your base of operations, so you can focus on finding a mic that will preserve your voice in high quality. Basic USB microphones can be purchases for very cheap and will serve you well if you plan on running a solo show with perhaps one guest at a time. But if you need to record from multiple microphones at once, you’ll be better off spending a little more and getting a decent XLR mic and combining it with an interface. You can find a decent XLR mic for under $100. For interfaces, be like Simplecast team member Aaron Dowd and look for used equipment to get it more affordable!

On the go

If your recording takes you outside your studio, then you’ll want what’s called a dynamic microphone, which will only pick up the noises closest to it, dampening all background sounds and instead broadcasting your voice. This is in contrast to condenser mics which, while more sensitive and smoother-sounding at high frequencies, are much more costly, and can be disrupted by temperature and weather, making them less than ideal for outside recordings.

Don’t forget the headphones!

Headphones can make or break your podcast. We’ve all had that initial moment of horror upon hearing our voices for the first time. When you listen to yourself only from inside of your own head, you lose track of what you sound like to others. Wearing headphones while you record allows you to hear yourself in real time, exactly the way your audience hears you. This allows you to tweak your tone, volume or anything else about your voice on the fly, without having to review and re-record (something that is rarely a possibility for podcasts). Headphones can also help drown out surrounding noises and distractions, allowing you to focus only on the tool of your trade: your voice.