So you’ve decided to take the leap and launch your own podcast, but you’re not sure what equipment you’ll need to get started? We’ve done the research so you don’t have to and our kit comes in at a total cost of around £100! Read on to learn more.
What you need to start a podcast:
- A computer or all-in-one podcast production studio
- A microphone
- A USB interface
- A USB cable for the interface (usually supplied in the box)
- A male to female XLR cable (included with our choice of microphone)
- A microphone stand (a desktop stand comes with our choice of microphone) or boom arm
- Software to record, edit and publish your podcast
First things first
Assuming that you already have a computer, or an all-in-one podcasting solution, everything on our list comes in at a total price of around £100. If you don’t yet have a suitable computer, the first item on your wish list will be either a computer or all-in-one podcasting solution to record and edit your Podcast.
We’re not going to give any advice here as to which computer you should buy, as you’ll find that information in many other places online, but there is an alternative to buying a computer.
Best alternative to using a computer for your Budget podcast starter kit: The Rodecaster Pro
If you don’t have a computer, and you don’t want to break the bank buying one, there is an excellent all-in-one alternative: The Rodecaster Pro. The RODECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio is designed to simplify podcast production whilst delivering superb audio quality. It supports up to four presenters, as well as offering easy Connexion to phone, USB and Bluetooth sources. Eight programmable pads offer instant playback of sound effects and jingles. Podcasts can be recorded directly to microSD card, or to a computer via USB. Ease of use is assured, with intuitive controls and large full-colour touchscreen. It’s usually priced around £500. This device can work with or without a computer. You’ll still need to be able to connect to an internet-connected device to share your podcast online or stream live.
Best microphone for your budget podcast starter kit: Marantz MPM-1000
Marantz is a long-established German company that has a very strong reputation for making premium quality high-end, home hifi equipment. Forget about the cheaper, bargain basement microphones you’ve seen on Amazon and eBay, the MPM-1000 studio condenser mic is highest quality podcasting microphone you’ll find for less than £100. Better still, it’s often priced at less than £50.
The MPM-1000 studio condenser mic is perfect for podcasting, vlogging and streaming, YouTube projects or capturing high-quality audio from vocalists, melodic instruments, percussion, drum kits and more.
At the heart of the MPM-1000 microphone is a 18 mm pure-aluminium-plated condenser capsule with a directional cardioid polar pattern. The result? You only capture what you want to, with perfect recreation of every subtle nuance of the source audio – All with minimal interference from unwanted ambient noise.
The MPM-1000 comes with a foam windscreen, a shock-mount, a desktop tripod stand, and an XLR cable.
What we like about the MPM-1000
- Premium brand
- Great sound quality in both highs and lows with very little hiss
- Established reputation with many positive reviews online
- Durable construction
- Looks far more expensive than £50
- Comes with a shock mount, tripod stand and XLR cable
Best USB interface for your budget podcast starter kit: M-Audio M-Track Duo
What is a USB interface? Put simply, it’s a box that allows you to connect professional XLR microphones to your computer using a usb cable. It usually has one or two microphone cable inputs. We recommend you buy at least two inputs, so that you can have a guest or second presenter on your show.
Brand new for 2021, the M-Audio M-Track Duo – USB Audio Interface is the cheapest high quality USB interface on the market. It’s currently on sale for around £50. Launched just prior to Christmas 2020, the M-Audio M-Track Duo – USB Audio Interface is a highly portable recording audio interface. It offers 24-bit/48 kHz audio quality, is lightweight, compact and easy to use. It’s suitable for Mac or PC. It features two of M-Aduio’s ‘Crystal’ Preamps with phantom power for your microphone. M-track Duo is completely powered by USB, which makes it portable and perfect for anyone on-the-go. Throw it into your bag, grab a laptop, and create your next podcast, song, or mix, anywhere you want.
Bonus: The M-Track Duo comes bundled with a free software suite. Whether you’re a Podcaster or Beat Maker, this software suite won’t disappoint – Includes: Pro Tools | First M-Audio Edition, MPC Beats, Xpand!2, Eleven Lite guitar amp plugin and 20 AVID plugin FX.
What we like about the M-Track Duo
- Excellent, clean preamps
- Big, smooth dials
- Dials on the top are much easier to access than on the front
- Incredible value for money at around £50
- Light weight and easily transportable
- Excellent free software bundle
An alternative USB interface at a slightly higher price: Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD
The M-Audio is a brand new device with very few reviews. We have one and we love it, but if you prefer to buy something that’s been around for a while and has a sturdy reputation based on user reviews, then we recommend the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD.
For around £10 more, The Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD 2 has two Midas designed Mic Preamplifiers with +48 V phantom power, Zero-latency direct monitoring while recording and powerful headphones output with Level control and Direct Monitor select.
What we like about the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD
- Solid build quality
- Has been around for some time with many positive reviews
- Excellent pre-amps
- Built in PAD function on both pre-amps. (Pads reduce signal levels before the active amplification process in order to avoid overloading the microphone circuitry)
- Separate clip and input LED indicators
Software: bundled or free-to-use options
If you decide to buy the M-Track Duo you will be able to download several free pieces of software. The main one is ‘Pro Tools – First M-Audio Edition’. This is a light version of the industry standard software used for professional podcasts. In common with all professional sound recording programs, there will be a steep learning curve in finding your way around it. Luckily, there are lots of tutorials on YouTube.
The Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD does not come bundled with any software. This isn’t a problem as there is a fantastic free option that has been around for many years.
Audacity is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.
It’s a free, open source, cross-platform audio software solution.
Software – a paid professional alternative: Adobe Audition
Adobe Audition is a comprehensive toolset that includes multitrack, waveform and spectral display for creating, mixing, editing and restoring audio content. This powerful audio workstation is designed to accelerate video production workflows and audio finishing — and deliver a polished mix with pristine sound.
Adobe Auditon comes as part of Adobe Creative Cloud Suite which is a monthly subscription service. The suite includes all the big hitters for professional creative software, including Photoshop, Premier and InDesign.
Normal prices vary from around £420 annually. If you are a student or teacher, you can get a much better deal at around £165 annually.
If you decide to buy the MPM-1000 studio condenser mic and the M-Audio M-Track Duo you will have everything you need for around £100. If you chose to go with the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD you will need only around £10 more. You can add a second microphone kit if you want to have a second presenter or a guest on your podcast. That’s really all you need.
All prices correct at time of publication: January 2021. This post contains affiliate links for Amazon that will earn us a small commission at no cost to you the buyer. We do not receive sponsorship or reward for recommending these products.