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This is a living gear guide based on the stuff I’ve battle-tested over years of podcasting. I’ve highlighted in bold the kit I’m using right now, in 2021.

Fifine Studio USB condenser microphone

Microphones

  • The Fifine Studio USB condenser microphone is a decent budget mic. At under £40 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 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 Røde Procaster is the mic I currently use. It’s a good-sounding dynamic mic, at an affordable price. Because it’s XLR like the NT1-A, you’ll need an audio interface to go with it.
  • 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.

Behringer 302USB Xenyx

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 U-PHORIA UM2 is a simple-to-use USB audio interface. If all you need to do is plug in an XLR mic and hear yourself and anyone you’re guesting with, this is the one you buy. It’s also the one I use.
  • 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.
  • The Rødecaster Pro is a super-fun USB audio interface, mixer, and solid state recorder all-in-one. If you’re recording with multiple people in the same room, it’s a great buy as you can pack this and a bunch of mics in a gym bag, and record your entire episode onto an SD card. You can also bring in phone calls via USB or Bluetooth, and the eight touch pads are loaded up with sounds you can customise (you can even create multiple sound banks and easily page between them).

Sony MDR-7506/1

Headphones

I use and recommend the Sony MDR-7506/1. They’re 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.

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