This is a living gear guide based on the stuff I’ve battle-tested over years of podcasting.
- The Fifine Studio USB condenser microphone is a decent budget mic. At £30 it’s a good starter as you don’t need any more kit.
- The Røde NT1-A is sturdy, reliable and versatile. At over £130 it’s a big step up, but if you’ve got the means, it’s a great pick. As it’s an XLR mic, you’ll need a mixer or a USB audio interface, like the PreSonus AudioBox iOne. The mic also comes with a pop shield, a shock mount and a stand.
- The Heil PR 40 is the mic to get if you’re ready to up your game. You may also need something to boost your signal as it needs a lot of gain, so consider a preamp or the Cloud Lifter — which uses your mixer or USB interface’s phantom power to provide extra gain, which would normally be reserved for a different type of mic — to add that extra gain before it enters your DAW. At closer to £300, it’s the mic for the committed podcaster, and it’s trusted by the pros.
USB audio interfaces
If you’re not using a USB microphone, you’ll need one of these to connect the XLR output of your mic into the USB input of your computer.
- The Behringer 302USB Xenyx is a little mixer with a single XLR input. It can take other inputs as well, but for taking a single mic input that doesn’t need too much gain, it’s fine, but might add a little digital noise if your mic signal isn’t strong enough.
- The PreSonus AudioBox iOne is a solid, single-mic interface and preamp, that doesn’t require any drivers to use.
- The Behringer X1204USB Xenyx is the kind of thing you might consider if you’re recording multiple voices at once over Skype, and you want to employ the mix minus technique (where you send the finished audio (your voice plus any audio from your computer) minus the caller’s voice to Skype, so the caller doesn’t hear their own voice routed back through your mixer). It also provides phantom power, so if you’re using a condenser mic, this will power it.
- I recommend the Sony MDR-7506/1. They’re very affordable, and they sound great. More importantly, they make bad audio sound bad, which is what you need to hear when editing.
You don’t need to spend that much on headphones, because your listeners won’t, but you should listen on more than just a pair of studio headphones. Make sure your audio sounds good on budget earbuds as well.