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Podcasting Equipment on a Budget

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Podcasting Equipment on a Budget


We started our Travel Couple Podcast back in 2017. After a long time thinking of our concept and how we were going to execute it, we came to the fun part of shopping for equipment.

There is a wide range of pricing when looking at podcast equipment. Podcasting equipment can really become expensive in a hurry. When you are first starting out and it is just a hobby or you are testing the podcasting waters, spending hundreds of dollars on a microphone can really hurt your pocket. Let alone the hosting plan, headphones, computer, and other things you will need to get started with your podcast.

That is why we came up with this idea for a post. This is a culmination of podcasting equipment on a budget that is necessary, with some things that are nice-to-haves sprinkled throughout. We try to look at equipment that is both on a budget and will provide good quality. Some things on this list are even free!


Podcasting Equipment on a Budget

 

The Best Podcasting Equipment on a Budget

Table of Contents

  1. What You Need for Your Podcast
  2. Best Podcast Hosting on a Budget
  3. Best Podcasting Microphones on a Budget
  4. Best Podcast Headset on a Budget
  5. Best Podcast Recording and Editing Software on a Budget
  6. Best Call Recording Software on a Budget
  7. Best Latptop for Podcasting on a Budget
  8. Conclusion

 

What You Need for Your Podcast

Let us jump in by going through everything you need for your podcast, as well as the nice-to-haves that we mentioned earlier.

  • Podcast Hosting

  • Every podcast needs somewhere to live online. If you have a website already, that is great. However, if you upload your audio to your website then it will slow down to a crawl when loading. This will in turn hurt your user experience causing people to leave without your page fully loading or even hurt your search engine optimization.

    Therefore, uploading your audio to a host just as a website is also hosted will help save you space and provide you with other tools to get your podcast online and to analyze the statistics that come with it.

  • Laptop

  • You will need a laptop to plug your microphone into and to record your conversation with your audience. Your computer just needs to be powerful enough to run your editing and recording software. Most of you will already have something you can use for this which is great.

  • Microphone

  • You will want a condenser microphone and most likely USB to save some money on purchasing other equipment to get your microphone connected to your computer. Getting the right microphone at the right price is key to your budget as they can quickly get expensive.

  • Pop Filter

  • A pop filter is a good accessory to increase your sound quality by reducing the bass pop of the “B” and “P” sounds where your mouth pushes out a quick burst of air. An inexpensive way to really help your sound quality.

  • Boom Microphone Arm (Nice-to-have)

  • This would help you if you wanted to sit hands-free and adjust while recording for a lengthy period of time. They attach to your desk and you attach your microphone and pop filter to it and do not have to worry about your microphone set up while recording.

  • Headphones

  • You will want some good headphones where the sound wont bleed into your microphone recording causing an echo. This is also something that you could possibly use your headphones from your smart phone, but will likely eventually want to invest in something else.

  • Editing and Recording Software

  • Getting the right editing and recording software is key to make your podcast sound like it has been professionally put together and really appeal to your audience.

  • Call Recording Software

  • Having the right call recording software will save the headaches should you be interviewing someone to be on your show. I have had a lot of problems with this part of the podcast process.

 

Best Podcast Hosting on a Budget

Podcast hosting allows you to publish your podcast online without taking up space on your website, if you already have one, that can really slow your website down. It also offers several other services, but this is the main one.

We already covered the best podcast hosting in a previous post with great detail after comparing 10 companies and their hosting plans, what is included, and their terms and conditions regarding your content.

However, we will provide you with the obvious choice for the most budget-friendly podcast hosting company to choose. That would be Anchor.

Anchor is a free podcast host, editor, and recorder all-in-one. You really cannot beat it if you are looking for a free host for your podcast, though it would be beneficial to you to understand their terms and conditions before signing up (as you should with anything). Fortunately we did this for you in our post on the best podcast hosting linked above.

For a host that is reliable at an affordable price, we recommend the industry leader Libsyn. They have been hosting podcasts for more than thirteen years now and it is where we host our Travel Couple Podcast. We have nothing but good things to say about this company and would not hesitate to recommend them to you for your podcast hosting if you want to take your podcast more seriously.

If you want to sign up with Libsyn and receive the current month plus the next month for free use promo code:


mike

We receive a small commission if you use this code which helps us continue to post this content, as well as provide you some value with a couple of free months. Make sure to use it on the 2nd of the month to maximize the free earnings you will receive.

Another host that we recommended included an all-in-one podcast hosting, website hosting, and website creation with Podcast Websites (Follow our link and use code HOSTME for $10 off per month for life on your plan). Not necessarily a budget plan, but it has everything you need at an affordable price and if you want to take your podcast seriously.

Though a website is not a necessity as your podcast host should come with a simple one page website, it is something you will want to invest in later for sure.

 

Best Podcasting Microphones on a Budget

When choosing a microphone you need to know which type of microphone is best for podcasting. There are two main types of microphones including:

  • Condenser
  • Dynamic

The type of microphone that you are looking for is the condenser microphones. This is because they are much more sensitive to sound and that is what we want for the highest quality. They are also more sensitive in general so you need to take good care of them. Whereas dynamic microphones are less sensitive to sound and can handle more abuse which is why they would be used for instruments.

Next, we need to think about how we will hook up that microphone to your computer to record. There are two ways of doing this. Either we can purchase a USB microphone that will plug directly into your computer and you can use a software to record or you can purchase an XLR microphone that will plug into a mixer or preamp that you will also need to purchase.

Because this post is about following a budget and trying to be as minimalist as possible, we are going to opt for the USB microphone. The difference being control on a hardware level (you can still have control on a software level) and minute differences in sound quality.

Best USB Mic for Podcasting

Let us take a look at three different levels of a budget for podcasting microphones without exceeding $100 USD. Like with most things, the more you pay the better the quality. However, you will eventually reach a point where the quality raises by a diminishing amount as the price raises higher and higher.

With that being said…

  1. Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone

  2. We us an Audio-Technica for our podcast recordings. It is not the same one, but we are extremely happy with our microphone. This one would be a great addition for any budget podcaster, though definitely on the more expensive end of the budget end. However, anything higher in cost than this microphone and you are starting to get into that territory of the quality raising by a diminishing amount relative to the cost. This is why we would recommend this one for the higher end of the budget podcast equipment.

    The microphone also features a plug-in for your headphones and volume control so that there is no delay between your speaking and what is being heard in the headphones. Not a necessity by any means, but more so a nice-to-have.



  3. Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, Cardioid

  4. A cool design mixed with a nice price point for something that still puts out good audio quality. This is definitely the perfect USB microphone for any budget podcaster entering the space. It is a trustworthy name that provides a great product.



  5. Fifine Metal Condenser USB Microphone

  6. At the lowest price point while still providing sufficient audio quality would be this choice. Though we have never tested this microphone out for ourselves so we cannot exactly speak to the audio quality, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive for the low price point that it offers. There is nothing wrong with starting out with inexpensive before upgrading later in your podcasting journey.



Along with your microphone, you will want to make sure that it comes with a USB cable to plug the microphone into the computer. A stand would be nice to have, but not a necessity as you can always hold the microphone if need be. One more thing that would definitely be good to have would be a pop filter. A pop filter will help improve your audio quality by decreasing the explosive bass that comes from sounds that start with a “P” or “B”. These sounds allow more air to come through that cause this explosive bass sound to be captured by your microphone. However, a proper pop filter will help keep this from happening and they are not expensive.



A nice-to-have to go along with your microphone set up is a boom stand that will allow you to adjust your microphone while you are recording should you be recording for a lengthy period of time. These are inexpensive and good to attach to your desk. However, they would not be good for traveling with.



Best Podcast Equipment Packages on a Budget

If you do not like the idea of purchasing everything one-by-one, you can opt for an all-in-one podcast studio package. It is still a fairly inexpensive way to enter into the podcast world, but just know that you are getting a very basic set up that wont have the best sound quality and only include one microphone input.



 

Best Podcast Headset on a Budget

You probably have a headphone set that you can use like the ones that came with your smart phone or another pair that you have laying around. These will do just fine and will save you a few bucks as well. Eventually you may want to upgrade to a better quality over the head type headphone set that will really make you fee like a real podcaster. However, at this stage it is not necessary.

With that being said, if you do not already have some headphones that you can use for podcasting, we have two options for you.

  • Sony MDRZX110NC Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones

  • These are fairly basic entry level over-ear noise cancelling headphones that are on the market, but on a budget these are the best that you can get. A good name with a compact design that still allows you to take them on the road with you. You can get them with a mic as well should your good microphone break and you need to resort to a lesser quality microphone in a pinch.



  • TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

  • For a more portable piece of podcasting equipment to take with you on the road, these will act as noise-cancelling ear buds that will fit nicely into your bag. Nothing fancy about them other than they provide good sound quality, eliminate noise, and a built-in microphone should your good microphone break while traveling with it and if you find yourself in a pinch.



 

Best Podcast Recording and Editing Software on a Budget

Obviously recording your podcast is important, but editing your podcast is just as important to get it feeling polished and professional to your listeners. Editing out background noise or reducing the gaps in between sentences can really help make your podcast listenable. Adding in an intro and outro to your podcast can really add that touch that makes it unique to yourself.

To do this requires you to invest in some recording and editing software. Luckily there are some free options available! Audacity is a free open source software that is really incredible and easy to use. It is what we edit and record our intros and outros on. I used it well before podcasting and will continue to use it for my audio needs.

If you have a MAC then you probably know that you have GarageBand available to you for free. That is also a useful tool for recording and editing your podcast.

 

Best Call Recording Software on a Budget

If your podcast involves you interviewing somebody that is not in the same location as you, then you need some more software to be able to call them and record that call.

Traditionally we used Skype for this. It is free and somewhat reliable (though there is the odd issue). We also used a recording software that worked with Skype called Pamela, but have since moved on from it because it is no longer compatible with Skype’s newest upgrade (still salty about that). It was good because it recorded in WAV form which captured high quality sound that allowed you to edit afterwards, whereas recording in MP3 loses some of that quality as it is compressed to make the file smaller.

Now, we still use Skype but we use a software called MP3 Skype Recorder. It is inexpensive and provides fairly good audio quality. However, you can also use Zencastr which we have used in the past for free. It provides up to 8 hours of free recording per month and up to two guests. The audio quality is a little bit better than using MP3 Skype Recorder, but I still had some troubles with using it as I sometimes do with Skype.

Ultimately the best option is to interview somebody in the same location as you so that you can make sure they have a proper microphone to speak in to and you get the best recording possible. However, these are the best options on a budget to do interviews.

 

Best Laptop for Podcasting on a Budget

For what you will be doing with your podcast, your laptop is not going to need to be super powerful. We have talked about purchasing a USB microphone so we know that your laptop will need to have at least one USB port. We have also talked about software, so we know that our laptop will need to be powerful enough to meet their minimum requirements.

Audacity recommends 4GB or RAM and 2GHz processor speed. By no means a big ask. Zencastr recommends you to use Google Chrome, have 20GB+ of available disc space, and 4GB+ of RAM. This pretty much eliminates you purchasing a notebook. Skype requires you to have 512MB of RAM and a processor speed of 1GHz. Also not a lot to ask for. Besides this you should be running a fairly recent Windows operating system of at least 7.

When looking at all of this, you have a lot of options to choose from. We are basically looking at a computer with more than 20GB of hard drive space (for Zencastr alone), at least 4GB of RAM, and a processor speed of 1GHz.

You may have a laptop brand that you trust, so you will likely be able to find something with that brand to fit these requirements. We enjoy our HP laptops. We are Windows people through and through that do not believe in the overpricing of MAC laptops. HPs have served us fine in the past and continue to serve us well moving forward.

  • HP Stream 14″ HD Laptop

  • If you are looking for something to get in inexpensively and to serve the purpose of getting by, this would be the laptop for you. It has everything you need and it is extremely portable should you be taking your podcast on the road. Be patient with it if you are going to load it up with audio files. It would be better to purchase a hard drive separately to store your massive files so that you do not slow this laptop down.

    With the minimum requirement of 4GB of RAM and 64GB of hard drive space, it will get you by with your podcast recording and editing.



  • HP 17.3″ Laptop

  • If you are looking for a laptop to serve more of a purpose other than just getting by, then you should look for an upgraded version of the bare minimum. With this HP laptop, you are looking at a bigger everything. That includes size and weight if you want to travel with your podcasting equipment.

    It has a better processer and speed, 8GB of RAM and 1TB of hard drive space. Still, I would recommend a portable hard drive to back up your



    Regardless of the size of hard drive space that your laptop offers I would recommend a portable hard drive to back up your files at all times. I have had my computer fail on me in the past and have lost some interviews that I wish I had not. Do not let this happen to you and keep your files safe.



 

Conclusion

As you have probably noticed with this post, there is a lot you will need to get organized for your podcast and some things that will set you back some money. However, we hope that this list helps organize yourself and provides you with a guide of the best podcasting equipment on a budget.

Podcasting is really rewarding and is one of the best things that I have ever started. It has helped me improve my speaking, add a skill set of interviewing to my arsenal, meet incredible people and introduce them to my audience, and just enjoy what I do online so much more.

We hope that you will feel the same about your podcasting journey.

 

Looking to get started with your podcast, we really recommend that you get your podcast started off right and hold yourself accountable. This book by John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneurs on Fire really helps you do just that to make sure your podcast is the best it can be and that you continue your podcasting journey.



 

We would love to know what podcasting equipment you are using and what you think of it. Leave a comment below!

 

Have a comment or something to add to this article? Leave a comment below or send us a response by contacting us.

 

Check out more on our podcasting posts here.

 

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