Budget podcast starter kit for 2021

Budget podcast starter kit for 2021

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:

  1. A computer or all-in-one podcast production studio
  2. A microphone
  3. A USB interface
  4. A USB cable for the interface (usually supplied in the box)
  5. A male to female XLR cable (included with our choice of microphone)
  6. A microphone stand (a desktop stand comes with our choice of microphone) or boom arm
  7. 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.

Budget podcast starter kit: Rodecaster Pro
The Rodecaster Pro: A one stop shop alternative to using a desktop or laptop computer.

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.

Budget podcast starter kit: Marantz MPM-1000
Marantz Professional MPM-1000

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

  1. Premium brand
  2. Great sound quality in both highs and lows with very little hiss
  3. Established reputation with many positive reviews online
  4. Durable construction
  5. Looks far more expensive than £50
  6. 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.

Budget podcast starter kit: M-Audio M-Track Duo
M-Audio M-Track Duo

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

  1. Excellent, clean preamps
  2. Big, smooth dials
  3. Dials on the top are much easier to access than on the front
  4. Incredible value for money at around £50
  5. Light weight and easily transportable
  6. 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.

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

  1. Solid build quality
  2. Has been around for some time with many positive reviews
  3. Excellent pre-amps
  4. 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)
  5. 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.

Audacity is a free fully featured podcasting program

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.

Short Film for the Papal Visit

Short Film for the Papal Visit

Chapterhouse was engaged to develop a short cinematic film for the Irish Bishops’ Response to Drugs and Alcohol (IBDI). The film features young people from Newry Cathedral Parish participating in a youth programme.

The film will be played to an expected audience of half a million people on big screens before the Papal Mass at Phoenix Park, Dublin on Saturday 26th August 2018. The film will also be shown during the IBDI workshop at the World Meeting of Families congress as Dublin’s RDS.

Filmmaking on a budget: LED lighting for film and video

Filmmaking on a budget: LED lighting for film and video

LED lights for filmmaking and video production are now super-affordable and hugely convenient because of their safety, portability and battery power. In this post, we’ll review three of the best lights for under £50. Want some powerful tips on how to make great videos for social media? Click here.

Advantages of LED lights for filmmaking or video production

  1. They’re cheap. Every one of these lights costs less than £50!
  2. They’re safer than traditional hot lights like redheads or blondes as they don’t generate anywhere near as much heat and there are no cables to trip over.
  3. They can be powered by batteries, which means that you aren’t tied to plug sockets.

Disadvantages of LED lights for filmmaking or video production

  1. Budget models can’t hope to come anywhere close to traditional hot lights for sheer lighting power. If you’re trying to light an expansive location like a church or hall, you’ll need redheads like this great set for less than £100 or blondes or Fresnels.
  2. Because they aren’t usually super high-powered, they will need to be placed closer to your subjects.
  3. The quality of the Tungsten light colour will vary greatly between models. Some have plastic Tungsten filters that slide in front of the light. Others have dedicated Tungsten temperature LED beads. The latter usually produce better results.

The best Key Light for less than £50

YONGNUO YN-216 LED Studio Video Light for filmmaking
YONGNUO YN-216 LED Studio Video Light

YONGNUO YN-216 LED Studio Video Light

In a nutshell:

YONGNUO YN-216 is a fantastic little spot light for filmmaking or video production, featuring 216 high-luminance LED beads. It really is super bright. It is compact, sturdy and well-made. It’s the perfect all rounder for video lighting. It features three power supply options: AA batteries, Sony NP-F batteries or a mains power adaptor (not supplied). The light can be installed directly onto a DSLR or camcorder using the supplied hot/cold show mount. It can also be mounted on a standard light stand using the quarter twenty thread. The light comes with four colour temperature filters. Unbeatable value at less than £50.


Light Source: 216 led beads, Luminance Angle:55°, Colour Temperature 5500k, Average Service Life: 50000H, Colour Rendering Index: < 90%, Power: 13W, Weight: 515g, Lumen: 2000 LM,

Supplied Accessories:

1 x YN-216 Led light, 4 x Color temperature filters ( Blue, White, Orange, Red ), 1 x User Manual


The best Fill Light for less than £50

YN300 Air Pro LED light for filmmaking
YN300 Air Pro LED light

Yongnuo YN300 Air Pro LED Video Light with 3200-5500K Variable Colour Temperature

In a nutshell:

The YN300 Air has a built-in milk defuser that produces soft light with a wide illuminating angle. Featuring variable colour temperature, this great little light produces the best quality light for filmmaking of any of the three units in this post. It makes an excellent fill light when used at a close distance. It features an LED display on the rear and a dial that allows you to dim the light and modulate between daylight, tungsten or a mixture of both. A number of buttons allow you to make other easy adjustments. You can mount the light directly onto the hot shoe of your DSLR or camcorder (not powered) or to any standard light stand, using the supplied mount. It’s super easy to use, is highly adjustable, well-made and durable. If you prefer to use AA batteries, or if you don’t want to invest in a new battery and charge system, we recommend the Neewer® 6pcs AA Battery Replacement Mains Supply NP-F970 NP-F550. This handy little adapter opens up to accept six AA batteries. It then slots into the NP-F socket and works a treat. It works out much cheaper than buying NP-Fs at a bargain price less than £10The YN300 Air is an unbeatable value at less than £35!

Full Specifications:

Light source: 96LED beads, Colour temperature: 3200K-5500K, Output power: 18W, Lumen: 2000LM, Average service life: 50000H, Luminance angle: 100°, Colour rendering index: greater than to 95, Power supply: 1 NP-F lithium battery or external 8V, 5A DC power (no power source or battery included), Dimensions: Approx. 210x175x62mm, Weight: Approx. 500g.

Supplied accessories 

1x YN300 Video Light
1x A shotgun style handle that can mount on a light stand
1x Mounting fixture
1x Table stand
1x User Manual in English

A carry pouch is also included withe the YN300 Air


The best Background Light for under £50

Neewer CN-160 Ultra High Power LED Light for filmmaking
Neewer CN-160 Ultra High Power LED Light

Neewer CN 160 Dimmable Ultra High Power LED Panel

In a nutshell:

The Neewer CN 160 is a powerful, lightweight and durable little light for filmmaking and it’s a real bargain at less than £30. It’s strong enough to separate your subject from a wall or backdrop. It’s also a very useful general purpose light for use when filming on location after nightfall. It’s also super convenient to power as it accepts 6 AA batteries. It can also run on Sony NP-F batteries and, using a supplied adaptor, several other camera batteries. The light features a rotating dial switch for switching the power on/off and dimming. There is also a battery power indicator. We love this little light and it’s popularity is no surprise given its rock bottom price at less than £30.

Full Specifications:

Maximum Power: 9.6 Watts, Colour Temperature: 5600K (3200k w/ filter), Luminous flux: 660 lm, Run time: 60 – 80mins on AA alkaline batteries, Illumination: 900Lux (1m), 240Lux (2m), 120Lux (3m), 70Lux (4m), 40Lux (5m), Effective distance: 6m / 20ft, Material of the Lighting’s Shell: ABS Plastic, Size: 141 x 62 x 150 mm, Weight: 8.57oz

Supplied Accessories:

Neewer CN160 Light, One Tungsten Coloured Filter and one Diffusion Filter. (Supplied in a plastic wallet.)
Battery adaptor for various camera batteries, Hot shoe mount. (Can mount on a standard light stand via quarter-twenty screw.)

Bonus Video:

Check out the competition with this great video from ‘DSLR Shooter’:

Great low budget sound equipment for filmmaking

Great low budget sound equipment for filmmaking

Audio is just as important as video!

It’s very easy to start making your own films now that most smart phones and DSLRs are capable of recording HD or even 4K footage. Beginning filmmakers have a tendency to place all their attention on capturing the best possible image, but they may fail to understand that audio is just as important as the visuals. Many beginning directors will rely solely upon the internal microphone on their phone or camera. In most circumstances, this will not produce acceptable results. It is common to end up with audio that is inaudible, muffled, echoey, dominated by background noise or completely marred by wind noise. In this blog post, we’ll cover the very best low budget sound equipment for filmmaking. Want some power tips for making great videos for social media? Click here.

Poor audio can totally ruin a great film

Recording dialogue and other sound on location is challenging and requires careful planning, preparation and the use of specialist sound equipment for filmmaking. Luckily, you don’t need to have a huge budget to capture high quality audio.

The best affordable sound equipment for filmmaking

Everyone knows about the excellent sound equipment for filmmaking made by RØDE, but their products are very expensive for a beginning filmmaker who has to make their budget stretch to cover a camera, lighting and sound equipment. Luckily, there is another company that makes excellent microphones at a much lower price point: BOYA.

Lapel (or Lavalier) Microphones

BOYA BY-M1 sound equipment for filmmaking

The BOYA BY-M1 3.5 mm Lavalier Microphone for Smartphone and DLSR (with microphone input) is an excellent lapel microphone. It is perfect for YouTubers or if you are recording interviews with only one person. It’s an excellent value at less than £15.

The BOYA BY-M1 is an Omni directional lavalier microphone, designed for Smartphones, DSLR, Camcorders, Audio recorders PC etc.
It has a stated Omni pickup pattern, for full 360° coverage.
Best of all, it has an integrated 6-meter (20″) cable which i much longer than that supplied with the much more expensive RØDE version. You really need this length if you are connecting to your camera or smart phone. It connects with a 3.5mm plug to the headphone socket on your smartphone. For DSLR users, this microphone includes battery power so that it will work with cameras that are not capable of supplying ‘phantom power’. The mic comes with a lapel clip, a foam windscreen, a 1/4″ adapter, and an LR44 battery. Sometimes, you’ll even find free carry pouch in the box. It’s probably best to contact the seller to check if a pouch is included before buying.

If you’re going to be shooting outdoors, we recommend that you buy a ‘dead cat’ or ‘furry’ wind shield for your lavalier microphone. This great option costs less than £10.

Click here for a great video showing you how to mount a lav mic.

Shotgun Microphones for Boom or general use

BOYA BY-PVM1000 sound equipment for filmmaking

A boom mic is a directional microphone mounted on a pole and held just out of the camera frame, usually above the heads of the subjects. Boom mics are probably the most used sound equipment for filmmaking or TV.

The BOYA BY-PVM1000 XLR Condenser Microphone is an excellent broadcast quality shotgun mic. It’s perfect for use as a boom mic or for mounting on your camera. It’s an incredible value at less than £50. It comes supplied with a mount to attach it to a boom pole or mic stand and a ‘dead cat’ windshield that will minimise wind noise when shooting outdoors. It also includes a 1.5 M Cable, a sponge wind cover, jack adaptor, a shock Mount,  four replacment rubber rings for the shock mount and a carry punch.

It can be connected to most DSLR cameras and smart phones. (Check that your DSLR has a mic input before buying.)

Looking for a boom pole? Many people will simply make their own, but this excellent option costs less than £30.

Digital Audio Recorders (DARs)

Tascam Dr-40 sound equipment for filmmaking
Tascam Dr-40

The great news for budget-strapped filmmakers is that you can use most smart phones to record sound directly from either of the BOYA microphones outlined above by using the iOS ‘Voice Memos’ app or, for more control over settings, using the Voice Record Pro app. Similar apps are available for Android.

If you want to take your sound to the next level, you will want to invest in a digital audio recorder. Many filmmakers will use a camera-mounted mic and a separate digital audio recorder connected to an external microphone. These professional audio recorders afford maximum control over audio, allow the microphone operator to get the mic closer to the subjects and provide a useful backup copy.

We recommend the hugely popular Tascam Dr-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder. It’s no small-change purchase at just under £160, but it’s money well spent as this recorder will be able to cope with your equipment upgrades as your filming career progresses. It is a handheld 4-track recorder with two adjustable condenser microphones and XLR / 1/4″ mic/line inputs with phantom power. The dual recording mode captures a safety track at a lower level to avoid distortion. The recorder boasts a stated 15-hour battery life from three AA batteries.  It uses SD/SDHC cards, supporting cards up to 32GB. You can easily connect your Boom Microphone or Lav Microphone or other sound equipment for filmmaking to this device. This Tascam recorder is an investment that you won’t regret making.

Bonus video:

Check out this great YouTube course to learn how to get better sound: