Essential Podcasting Gear For 2021
Whether you’re looking to get into podcasting, or you’re an old hand, gear is one of the best parts of the craft. Audio gear is exciting because it’s constantly being evolved, refined and improved to reflect the way we use it. For example, as podcasting has taken off we’re seeing low cost, podcasting specific microphones, and a huge selection of audio interfaces under $500 which boast professional quality recording.
However, the constant evolution of gear can become overwhelming, especially if you’re new and just want to start podcasting. This is why I’ve put together this list of the essential podcasting gear for 2021. To keep it simple I’ve highlighted 2 options for each type of gear; one for those on a budget, and one more ‘professional’ product that I really like. Let’s get into it!
You’re not going to get far podcasting without a mic, and these are two of the best new mics on the market, both built specifically for podcasters.
I own lots of Audio Technica gear and I’ll continue to buy it. It’s made well, priced well, and always sounds great. The AT2040 is a large-diaphragm, end address, dynamic broadcast microphone, and it has a hypercardioid polar pattern for ultimate noise rejection.
This mic will sound great for different types of voices, and if you’re just getting into podcasting, you find it easy to get a good sound straight away. Priced at $219, the AT2040 is a great deal.
The MV7 is Shure’s answer to the popularity of dual XLR/USB mics among podcasters and is aimed squarely at the middle of the market, retailing for $449.
The MV7 is another end address, dynamic broadcast mic with all the features you’d expect, but where it really stands out is the touch-panel interface on the mic itself, allowing the user to control gain, headphone level, monitor mix, and mute in an intuitive way. Combine this with the included software for presets and audio enhancements, the MV7 is my pick for the ‘most desirable mic’ of 2021.
If you upgrade one part of your podcasting kit this year, let it be headphones. The better your referencing; the better you will sound.
Audio Technica again, but for that price/quality balance you really can’t go past the ATH-M headphone line.
The M30x features high-quality construction and excellent sound isolation, so you won’t have to worry about audio bleed being captured by your mic while recording. They’re also really comfortable, and fold up for travel.
If you’re just starting out or if you’re buying a few pairs for your podcasting setup; the ATH-M30x is the perfect budget-friendly headphones at $159 a pair.
If you’re looking to seriously improve your reference quality, why not go big and check out the Shure SRH-1540’s, which retail for $999.
These are professional quality studio monitoring headphones and feel like wearing sound-isolating pillows on your ears.
With a 40mm neodymium driver, aluminium yoke, carbon fibre cap and steel driver frame, the SRH-1540’s are perfect for recording podcasts and enjoying your favourite music in high definition.
Audio interfaces convert the analogue signal from your mic to a digital signal for your computer, which is why they are so important for quality podcast audio.
In researching this article I was tempted to go with different affordable interface options like the Motu M4 or the SSL 2+; both relatively new products from legendary companies. But ultimately, the best bang for your buck interface is still the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
I must recommend these units to someone new every week and if you’ve read anything about podcasting equipment before you’ll recognise the name. Simply put, the 2i2 will give you great quality sound, functionality and compatibility for $359, and you just can’t get better for that price.
If you’re looking for a few more inputs and outputs, and some advanced podcasting features, definitely check out an interface designed specifically for podcasting; the RODECaster Pro.
The RODECaster has 4 XLR inputs and 4 individual headphone outputs, trigger pads for SFX, jingles, music and ad’s (how cool is that?!), and Bluetooth connectivity for connecting remote guests via your phone.
Add built-in dynamic processing (compression and limiting) and the RODECaster Pro is worth far more than its $971 price tag.
You weren’t planning to hold that mic in your hand, were you? Boom arm stands are by far the best type of mic stand for podcasting, much preferable to short desktop stands and unwieldy stage stands. There’s honestly not a lot to say about boom arms, except that you should avoid the bottom of the range (I’ve learned that lesson). So with quality in mind, here are 2 of the best boom arm stands available!
Tascam makes quality products and the TM-AM2 is no different! At $89 this is the perfect podcasting companion.
I own a PSA1 stand and it’s been great. It’s sturdy, reliable, and retails for $157.95.
If you’re planning on hitting the road with your podcast, consider leaving the laptop and interface at home and taking a portable recorder. Handheld portables have come a VERY long way in the last few years and now offer recording capabilities comparable to desktop interfaces.
The Podtrak P4 has only been around for a year, and it’s already one of the most sought after pieces of gear for podcasters. Think of it as a mini podcasting studio that fits in your purse. The P4 has 4 XLR inputs, 2 tracks for remote call-ins, SFX trigger pads and individual headphone sends for each guest.
Seriously, for $359 this is the coolest podcast recorder on the market.
Zoom really has the portable recorder scene tied up. I’ve used an H6 for years and their new upgrade for that is the H8, which features 6 XLR inputs (2 are dual XLR-¼” combo), touch screen control, and 12-track recording at 96kHz.
Ok, so the H8 might be slightly overkilling for podcasting, but if you’re like me and want a dual-use portable recorder for band practices, location recording AND podcasting, then the H8 could be perfect for you. It’s also relatively affordable for the features you get, coming in around $750.
And there we have it, the essential podcasting gear for 2021! Hopefully, this has provided some useful information for some of you, and some motivation to upgrade to others! Happy podcasting!
About Kane Power
Kane Power is the owner and head engineer at Precision Podcasting and has over 15 years of experience as an audio engineer and is a podcast fanatic. His mission is to make podcasts sound better.
Check out more of his work here!