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How to Start a Podcast on a Budget

06/07/2022

Starting a podcast can be difficult. There’s so much gear out there – how do you know what you need to start your podcast?

Luckily, we’ve put together this guide to help you pick out the best gear at a reasonable cost. If you’re just starting out with your podcast or thinking about starting one, check out our How to Start a Podcast in 2022 guide. 

What do I need?

Audio quality for a podcast is important, it keeps your audience engaged in your content. Bad audio quality, on the other hand, can drive the listener away from your podcast.

Here’s a list of the gear you need to get started:  

If you are still unsure about where to start, we recommend checking out our Podcast Gear Guide.

Buying these items can be expensive. You want to make sure you’re not paying too much but still getting exactly what you need for your podcast.  

Microphones

Microphones come in a wide range of prices, from cheap to really expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, looking for a microphone with USB capabilities is the best choice.

USB microphones allow you to connect the microphone directly to the computer without using an audio interface – they have one built in. This can be controlled with dials on the microphone or with dedicated apps. The only other thing you need is software to capture the audio.

On the other hand, there are inexpensive, high-quality XLR microphones available that are perfect for podcasting, but you also need to consider the cost of the audio interface.

Some microphones like the Shure MV7 feature both XLR and USB, so you can start off using the USB and then move onto the XLR when you purchase an audio interface. 
 
If you’re not worried about spending too much on a microphone, check out our Guide to the Best Podcasting Microphones.

Shure MV7

The Shure MV7 is a microphone designed for crisp, clear vocals. It has voice isolation technology which blocks out any unwanted noise when recording – this is perfect if you’re podcasting in an untreated room.

The MV7 is a budget-friendly USB and XLR microphone which alleviates the need for an audio interface. Additionally, it comes with the Shure Motiv app, meaning setting up and getting a good sound for your podcast is effortless.  

The MV7 is one of many podcast microphones out there. Other inexpensive podcast mics include:  

MV7

 

Shop now | Podcasting microphones 

Audio interface

An audio interface is needed when you’re using a microphone that does not have a USB output. Connect the microphone to the audio interface using an XLR cable, the interface will then connect to the computer via USB, allowing the computer to record your audio.

We recommend getting a two-channel interface so that you have the choice of two microphones – perfect for doing a podcast with more than one person.

Some single channel interfaces can be useful. For example, the Shure MVi Interface‘s small size makes it easy to take anywhere, and it’s suitable for both computer and smartphone. 

One of the most common audio interfaces used for podcasting is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. And the reason for its popularity is its budget-friendly price-point.

Focusrite Vocaster 

Focusrite have also just released a brand new interface – the Vocaster – that is specifically designed for podcasting. It’s packed with features that will help you create a great podcast:

  • Over 70dB of gain – Get the best out of any mic, no booster needed. 
  • Auto Gain – Set your level in seconds, let Auto Gain do the work while you speak.  
  • Enhance – Select one of three presets and make your voice stand out.  
  • Mute – Cut out unwanted interruptions. 
  • Bluetooth connectivity – Connect your phone via Bluetooth or a single TRRS cable and capture the whole conversation, or play music and other high quality audio from your device straight onto your show. 
  • Camera connectivity – Send high quality audio straight to your camera with a single TRS cable. 
  • Stereo loopback – Send audio from your computer and stream straight onto your show.  
  • Easy Start – Focusrite’s tried-and-tested Easy Start tool will have you on air in minutes. 
  • Software – Includes Hindenburg Lite, three months of SquadCast Pro + Video, and six months of Acast Influencer. You can also try Hindenburg Pro for six months, free. 
  • Vocaster Hub – Set your levels, enhance your sound, route audio from your phone and computer, and hear your Show Mix. 

If you’re just starting out or even if you’ve been podcasting for a while, this audio interface is a great way to take your podcast to the next level.

When looking for an interface, it’s best to keep in mind how many inputs you may need. If you’re recording with four people, make sure your interface had four microphone inputs. As expected, more inputs means a higher price-point

Here are some more budget-friendly interfaces we recommend:  

Vocaster 1

 

Shop now | USB audio interfaces 

Headphones

You need to make sure that you can monitor your sound while you record the podcast, so that you can fix any issues as they arise. 

If it sounds good in your headphones, it’ll sound good to your audience.

When recording a podcast, it’s best to use closed-back headphones so that the sound doesn’t bleed through the headphones and get picked up by the microphone.

Shure developed their SRH440A headphones for podcasters. They give a flat frequency response that is perfect for listening back to vocals. Plus, they’re light and comfortable to wear during long sessions.

Other headphones we recommend include: 

 

Shop now | Closed back headphones 

Recording software

Some audio interfaces come with recording software, but if you’ve chosen a USB microphone then you’re still going to need some software to record with. There are tons of free recording software out there, such as Audacity or Reaper.

If you own a Mac, it’s likely that you already have GarageBand, which is perfectly usable for recording your podcast.

Free software for your podcast will work when you’re just starting out, as there won’t be that much audio to edit. However, if you’d like something a bit more “professional”, take a look at the following:  

Podcast bundles

The best way to get the most out of your budget is to look for podcasting bundles. They provide everything you need in one package.

Focusrite have put together a package that includes their brand-new audio interface.

The Vocaster One and Vocaster Two bundles offer incredible broadcast audio quality to get you up and running with your podcast in no time.

In the Vocaster One kit you’ll find a Vocaster One interface, Focusrite DM1 dynamic mic, HP60v closed-back studio headphones, and cables.

The Vocaster Two bundle includes the same items but replaces the DM1 Microphone with the premium DM2 Broadcast microphone. 

Vocaster

 

Shop now | Podcasting bundles 

Find out more

We hope that this guide has helped you when it comes to buying budget-friendly gear for your podcast. Keep in mind that sometimes buying the “cheapest” gear isn’t necessarily the best idea, as you may end up spending more in the long-run if you want to upgrade.

With any of our suggestions, your podcast is sure to sound amazing, but remember that your content should always be your priority. To learn how you can make your podcast the best it can be, check out our How to Start a Podcast in 2022 guide.

Brand Manager

From selling out Local Leeds Venues and performing at Slam Dunk Festival, Jordan has performed with a number of bands as a session musician and as a songwriter. He has a huge passion for guitar and live sound, working as a live sound engineer for a number of venues throughout Yorkshire.

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