The best budget podcast gear

Podcasting Feb 05, 2020

When I first started out with podcast production, I didn’t know where to start. There were so many different options, mic setups, recorders – it was overwhelming. Luckily enough for me, I enlisted the help of Colin from The Podcast Host who was able to come up with the best gear for the lowest price. Since we’ve launched our new podcasting service, I thought I’d share the story of finding my first podcast setup on a budget.

Requirement: A 2 mic setup, high quality

Budget: £330

When I was browsing the different options online I stumbled across Colin’s website and shot him a long and in-depth message, which essentially said:

“How much is it to buy a high-quality, low budget studio?” and “What is the best starter kit to get me going?” - My message to Colin

Colin replied to me within a couple of hours with the following suggestions

  1. Get 2 Shure SM58s (XLR Mics)
  2. Get 2 Rode PSA 1 Boom Arms
  3. Get a recorder; Zoom H6 is a great option
  4. A headphone splitter (for monitoring)
  5. A couple of sets of headphones
  6. Consider acoustics for future

I went away and thought this would be great to get us started and had a little look online to see how much this would cost:

Total: £610

This was almost double my intended budget, so I needed to figure out a way that this could be cut down and still get a high-quality podcast produced. Out of interest, I thought I would consult one of my friends who creates music for a living to see what sort of gear he would use and if there was any overlap.

Here was my conversation:

Straight off the bat, he said that he used the Shure SM58 so I think these mics were going to be a no-brainer for me. However, taking up £200 of my budget and I still needed to find a way to record the audio and mount the microphones. So I asked him what interface he uses to record and capture the audio.

He mentioned that he used a ‘Focusrite Scarlett 2i2’. I did a little digging and found that a dual input Focusrite Scarlett would do exactly what I needed and it was on Amazon for just £109. The Zoom H6 would be a good option going forward, but as long as I had my laptop on me then the Focusrite Scarlett would be perfect for me to start out podcasting.

The final challenge was finding a way to mount the microphones so that we didn’t have to hold onto them. The Rode boom arms were a great option but dropping £120 on something that would be more of a long-term, more fixed solution did not seem sensible. So I jumped on Amazon and found two desk stands for just £6 each to put the Shure SM58s on (the microphones come with adjustable mounts to place onto the stand).

And that was the setup complete. I had everything we needed to start recording a podcast at the best possible quality. Here’s a list of what we bought and the total cost:

  1. 2 x Shure SM58 = £198
  2. Focusrite Scarlett = £109
  3. 2 x XLR Cables = £10
  4. 2 x Desk Stands = £12

Total Cost = £329

For just £329 I had a setup that could produce excellent quality podcasts, for what I think is a really reasonable price to get started.

The final step in producing this podcast was to figure out how I actually get the recording from our new equipment to the computer and then to post online. Luckily enough, this is completely free to do.

First, get yourself Audacity and then use Anchor to create and distribute your podcast. Of course, give us a shout if you need any help with this.

Now you might be wondering “What sort of audio quality will £330 get me?”. Take a listen to a recent episode of the Marketing Mashup podcast and let me know what you think.

James McKinven

I'm the founder of Striqo and host of the Marketing Mashup podcast. My goal is to get as many people using video and podcasting in their marketing machine.

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