Affordable Podcast Gear - Quality Podcasting on a Budget

I've created a lot of screencast videos over the past few years and I've slowly added gear to my setup that was affordable and also helped increase the quality of my recordings dramatically.

This same setup can be used to record great sounding podcasts, hence the title of this entry.

Choosing the Right Microphone for Your Podcast

One of the best investments you can make when getting into podcasting is a good sounding mic. Depending on what your budget is and what type of room you have will greatly affect which microphone is best for you.

I started out using the Blue Snowball. It's pretty cheap and can get you a great sound if you don't have too much echo or room noise. If you only have $100 to spend on your entire setup, I think this mic should be at the top of your list.

Another good option is the Snowball's larger sibling, the Blue Yeti. I personally don't like the Yet's design or stand, but it will sound a bit more full than the Snowball and is still quite affordable, coming in around $120.

The mic that I currently use, and absolutely love, is the Rode Procaster. The biggest "feature" to make note of is it's dynamic capsule. It has an amazing sound and great noise rejection, allowing you to capture high quality audio without having to build an entire home studio. Room treatment is never really a bad idea, but for those of us living in apartments or rental properties it's not really an option. So choosing a microphone like the Procaster is a wise choice if you want broadcast quality audio and you don't have the perfect room to record in.

Choosing a USB Audio Interface

If you're using a microphone like the Blue Snowball or Blue Yeti you won't need an audio interface, since they have built in USB connections. But if you choose to purchase the Procaster or any other XLR microphone, you'll need an audio interface of some kind. There are a lot of cheap USB mixers out there, but most of them don't have a great pre-amp and can be a bit bulky.

I use the Blue Icicle. It has a pretty decent pre-amp and comes in a very small package. I'm not a huge fan of the big blue LED's, but they do help remind you that the device is plugged in. It's also fairly inexpensive, about the same price as an entry level USB mixer. It isn't the best option if you need to plug multiple microphones into your computer, but if you're like me and mostly record by yourself, it's a great option.

Affordable Microphone Boom Arm

If you plan on recording on a regular basis, I highly recommend purchasing a microphone boom arm. It will lift the microphone off of your desk and allow you to move it around freely, very handy for longer recordings. The tried and true option is the Rode PSA1, but that's about $100. It has a great build quality and comes with Velcro straps to attach your XLR cable to it cleanly and easily.

If you're like me and want to save money, I've been very happy with my budget friendly $20 boom arm I ordered off of Amazon. I've owned it for a little over two years and haven't had any issues.

Free Audio Recording Software

Once you have the necessary gear, you will need software to actually record the audio. If you're on a PC Audacity is a great choice. It has all the features you will likely need and  is totally free.

If you're on a Mac you can download Garage Band and start recording in minutes. Garage Band has a great UI, but it can still be a bit overwhelming if you're just starting out. I recommend checking YouTube for a quick walk through to help get you going.