Hey, Billy here! Producer of The Jerry Brazie Podcast.
In our latest podcast episode, we talk about starting your own podcast. How you can get started for next to nothing. What we use to run our podcast and overall quality difference between the two.
In this article I will break down my recommendations for gear to start up your very own podcast. The Jerry Brazie Podcast has recorded almost 100 episodes at the time of this writing, and we thought we should share our opinions on getting started. Remember that for just a few hundred dollars you can have a very professional sounding podcast. And that’s important because listeners relate good sound quality to a good podcast.
Things to Discuss
- Podcasting Gear
- Microphone stands
- Audio Interface Devices
- Miscellaneous items
- Editing Software
- Show Hosting
There are a ton of options when looking into gear to start a podcast with. You can go extremely cheap, basically free. All the way up to spending tens of thousands of dollars. In this post, we will cover the main gear categories and give recommendations at several price points for each. It’s important to note we are not affiliated with any of these companies, we have never been given free gear and these links are not affiliated links. Just our experience from trying things out until we were happy with the results.
Another thing to note, the prices listed in this article are the prices at the time of writing and they may fluctuate up or down over time. Also, I do not claim this to be the best gear, the only gear or the gear you should get. I’m simply providing the list of items that we have used, are currently using, or that we have looked at for our own podcast.
I encourage you to take this knowledge and use it to fuel your search for whats best for your podcast.
The first thing you will need is a microphone. Microphones alone can range from free (using your cell phone or built in microphone) up to several thousand dollars for each mic.
With most production equipment you will notice a level of depreciating return for your investment the higher you go in price. The sound quality difference between some cheap desktop headphones with a microphone, to using $150 dollar dedicated microphones, will be a world of difference. But the quality difference between the $150 microphone and the $500 dollar microphone will hardly be noticeable if both are being used correctly.
One thing to note with quality microphones is they hold their value and generally work for a long period of time. The Rode NTG 3 was released in 2008 and 10 years later is still a favorite mic of many professional videographers.
With that said, lets get into it.
The cheapest microphones you can find are the ones laying around your house. A built-in microphone in your laptop, cell phone or camera. This is a great option for someone just wanting to try it out. Just start by doing some test recordings. The audio quality will carry no dynamic range (fluctuation of lows and highs in your voice) and will generally not give you a lot of options in post process editing.
There are a ton of microphones on amazon in the $10-$100 dollar price range, lets go over a few.
$22 – Cheap Lapel
$54 – Blue Snowball
$100 – Blue Yeti
$100– AT2020 XLR
$120 – AT2020 USB
$150 – Shure BETA 58A
$400 – Shure SM7B
Microphone stands are generally hooked to your desk or table and hold your microphone for you. Microphone stands are one of those items that feel like a good place to save some money. I don’t blame you, we started with the $10 newer stands. They do their jobs, they hold a mic, but they created a ton of extra noise! Every time we moved the mic or touched the table, it was picked up by the mic. Definitely worth investing a little more here. W use the Samson MBA 38s for $50.
$13.99 – Neewer Mic Stand
$49.99 – Samson MBA38
$99 – Rode PSA1
Audio Interface Devices
Depending on the type of microphone you choose for your podcast depends on if you need an audio interface. An audio interface converts an analog signal to a digital one your computer can record. Among other things it lets you record your audio if using an XLR Microphone.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a straight audio interface, all it does is convert your microphone for your computer to understand. So this device needs to be plugged into a computer to work and record.
The Zoom H series of devices are across, They are Audio interfaces, can pass audio from your microphone to your computer to record, or they can also be used as stand-alone portable recorders, recording straight to an SD card. The Zoom H6 is what we use. Definitely overkill for just a simple podcast, but its really helpful for getting high-quality audio on the go, recording videos and such.
$129 – Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
$249 – Zoom H5
$399 – Zoom H6
Batterys for Zoom
The Zoom devices can be powered by your computer when they are plugged in, but for mobile recording, you will need some AAs. If this is something you plan to use often, do yourself a favor and buy some rechargeable ones and a charger. This will save you a ton of money in the long run.
$13.99 – 4x AA Battery Charger
Cameras are obviously not necessary for a generic audio-only podcast. But for us, it was important to work video into everything we do. Also, if you are a guest on another podcast they may require you to have a video stream of some sort. A simple and free option would be your laptop webcam, assuming you have a laptop with a built-in webcam (most do). A step up from that would be a dedicated webcam. We currently use the Logitech C922 Pro webcams as extra camera angles in our podcast. They do ok, but the main thing to know here is cheaper the camera you have, the better the light should be to get the best results. Our main camera is a Canon 6D mk ii with a 16-35 mm lens. This is overkill for just a podcast but is a great camera for run and gun vlogs, and youtube videos.
$68 – Logitech C922 Pro
$1500 – Canon 6D Mk ii (Body Only)
Lighting is an area that’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on until you see the difference it can make. Cheap lights won\’t produce as good of color on video, this is tracked by a value called CRI. Also, different bulbs or lights can have a different color to them, represented as color temperature (Kelvin) where really orange lights are around 2k and really blue lights are around 7k. I\’ll include a chart to common lighting and their kelvin temperatures Here
So what does all this mean? At the very least you should try to match the temperature of the lights your using. Lights that are dimmable can really be helpful for getting good shadows without them being straight black. Finally, you should almost always diffuse your light. This is generally a transparent white film that goes between you and the light to help make it softer. Sometimes this is umbrellas like in this first option, or you can get it in just a big sheet. Here
We started with the Limo Studio Kit and quickly moved to Newer Cn-304 for our Key light (main light) and cn-160 for our fill (fill in shadows light). Recently we moved to the Godox Sl-60w for the better CRI value, no batteries to charge and strong power output.
We also included the Aputure 120D on this list, again overboard for a simple podcast but this is a lot of the big you tubers favorite light for video, so its worth a mention although significantly higher in price.
$22.99 – Newer cn- 160
$35? – Retired – Newer Cn-304
$28.99 – Newer CN 2x Battery’s + Charger
$159 – Godox SL-60W
$545 – Aputure 120d
This is the list of other assorted items that we use daily or are nice to have around.
$6.69 – 5-1 Aux Splitter
This is helpful for letting up to 5 people listen from one output headphone jack like on the H6.
$5.99 – 6ft Aux Extension cable
3.5mm Aux extension cable, for letting your headphones reach further!
1/4 (guitar plug) to 3.5mm (Aux jack) converter. This helps to plug cheaper mics, like the lapel mics into a audio interface device like the Zoom H6
$7.19 – Amazon Basics XLR cable
If you have XLR Microphones like the Shure 58 Betas or AT2020 XlR then youll need a XLR cable to plug your microphone into your audio interface device.
$10.96 – Pop Filter
Stop reading real quick and say ”POP” real quick. That extra force that your mouth makes when you make the ”P” sound, yeah that does not sound good in audio recordings. This thing helps remove it by putting some material in between you and the mic.
$7.60 – Foam Mic Covers
This is effectively the same thing as a pop filter but with a lower footprint, which is helpful for seeing us in the video version of the podcast.
$11.99 – Diffusion material
This is a big sheet of lighting diffusion material. If you can’t buy lights, throwing some of this over a light you already have will help make it softer.
No matter if you are doing an audio-only podcast or a video podcast, you will need some software and there are a ton of options. A free option for Audio recording and editing is Audacity, pretty well known and packed with program features. OBS would be used to live stream your podcast or record video from those webcams we mentioned above. Of course, there is always Adobe, which is what we use. Adobe is the industry standard for all things creative. Their Audio recording and editing program is called Audition, which you can pick up in the creative cloud for $20 a month.
Adobe light room and premiere pro are the applications we use to edit our podcast.
Free – OBS Open Broadcaster Software (audio, video recording / streaming software)
$20.99 / Month – Adobe Audition
When you create a podcast episode it needs somewhere to go. The process of saving the episode and its information to a web server then distributing it to the many podcast player sites through an RSS feed is considered hosting. There are many options for hosting your own podcast. You can host it yourself on your own website. You can use a manual host like Soundcloud, then distribute your RSS feed yourself, or you can get a host that does that for you.
Its a big debate in the podcasters community of which is the best hosting service. We personally use Libsyn, but there are multiple plans depending on the statistics we want, and how many podcasts we plan to do a month. From there Libsyn sends our podcast automatically to Itunes Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean and other podcast services.
A couple to take a look at:
Free – Soundcloud
Free – Anchor
Paid – Libsyn
Paid – Spreaker
So there you have it. A professional sounding podcast for pennies on the dollar. All in we figure you could spend a few hundred dollars to produce a competitive podcast. Remember, there are 100’s of thousands of podcasts, and more than half of them sound like they are done through a tin can, which immediately turns people off regardless of how good you are. So if you can, spend a couple of dollars and think of it as an investment in a great hobby.
Please let us know if you have any questions as we are always happy to help!