Pop into a podcasting forum and ask about the right podcast kit and you’re sure to set off a few arguments. Some will tell you that for a podcast starter kit, your equipment doesn’t matter, it’s all about compelling content. Others will tell you to go out and spend a small fortune on all the best gear.
The real key is balance. As a business podcast, you’re going to be held to a higher standard than a typical hobbyist. That said, you don’t have an unlimited budget. Below, we break down our list of quality and affordable gear that’s perfect for the business podcast use case.
Podcasting may be an audio-focused medium, but getting the most out of one requires utilizing video as well.
Our suggestions here are cameras that come in around $500 (far below the price of a typical DSLR) and provide good video quality alongside usability. After all, you’re not looking to master professional photography, you need quality video for your podcast.
Small, light, and packing quality optical image-stabilized video, it’s clear why the Sony a5100 is a favorite choice amongst people looking to create simple videos. Most criticisms focus on the lack of an audio input jack (but you’ll want to use an independent recorder, more on that below) and the lack of 4K video (which is overkill for a straightforward business podcast).
Similar to the Sony a5100, this Canon takes great stabilized video and lacks an audio input jack. One area where it stands out is in its autofocus, which depending on how much movement you plan to have in your videos might be useful. But overall, it’s a similarly priced camera with all the same advantages for recording a business podcast.
Speaking as someone who’s recorded well over 100 podcast episodes, trust me you do not want to have to re-record something you thought was done. Besides wasting time, it’s deeply demoralizing and makes it difficult to get the same energy. That’s why these tools exist.
Camlink (also can be used for live streams)
Instead of relying on your camera’s memory card, if you’re doing stationary recording it’s best to connect directly to your computer with an HDMI cable. This means the files are recorded directly onto your computer. This setup can also allow you to automatically back these files up to the cloud using something like dropbox.
If you’re going to be using a camera to record anything longer than a few minutes, you need a dummy battery. These units fit into the spot for a regular battery but instead of getting power from a cell they plug into the wall like any other appliance. This saves you money on batteries and lets your camera run and record for about as long as you want without overheating issues.
The first thing to note here is that just about any tripod will do fine for shooting stationary video. That said, if you’re a bit more ambitious and would like to get some smooth pans or tilts, you’ll want a quality video tripod.
An ideal choice if you’re looking to incorporate smooth camera pans into your videos. It’s tilting action isn’t quite as good but will still do in a pinch.
If you’re okay spending a bit more (though still less than true professional gear) and want the buttery smooth movements you get from a professional fluid head, this is an excellent choice.
If you’re using a camlink (and you should be) then the editing and recording software is just as important to ensuring you can easily record high-quality videos.
Most camlink hardware will have accompanying software. It’s generally pretty straightforward. The software will let you use your computer as a viewfinder and even allow you to adjust most of your camera’s settings to get your shots just right.
OBS software (LUTs for video podcasts)
Open Broadcaster Software is the free open source alternative to whatever might have some with your Camlink setup. One of the benefits to OBS is the inclusion of LUTs, which are essentially video filters to give your recordings the specific look and feel you’re looking for.
It’s too easy to get caught up in video, but nailing the audio of your show is crucial. This is especially true if you’d like to repurpose your video into a podcast. Having quality audio is one of those subtle things that tells your audience that you’re a professional and are worth paying attention to.
One critical thing to point out is that this is a condenser microphone (as opposed to a dynamic one). Condenser mics are better at picking up more subtle sounds like your voice as opposed to something like a rock band. It’s also going to therefore pick up less background noise, making editing much easier. This model offers great bang for the buck if you’re going to be able to be physically close to the mic while you record.
If you don’t want a microphone visible while recording and don’t want to invest in a boom mic or worry about a lapel mic, the Zoom H1 is ideal. It’s a simple unit which can easily capture multiple people speaking (for interviews) and can record natively or stream onto a computer. Zoom is a well respected brand in the podcasting space for a reason, it makes great products.
If you’re using a mic that has an XLR cable (like the Audio Technica above), you’ll need a mixer. Just be sure it’s a quality one. Even an excellent microphone will sound poor on a bad mixer (a lesson I once learned the hard way).
If you’re going to be using more than one mic at a time (or even foresee that as a possibility) it makes sense to invest in a decent 4 channel mixer like this one. You don’t need dozens of knobs like you see in recording studios, but a unit like this has quality internals for good sound and the few essential controls you need.
The Zoom H6 is a truly unique piece of kit, combining the ability to record directly like a Zoom H1 with the ability to plug up to 4 mics in through XLR inputs. That combination makes this a powerhouse tool that gives you an incredible amount of flexibility.
Please don’t make my mistake and think the old mic stand leftover from your dad’s college band is going to be enough. If you’re going to record with a condenser mic up close, you need a stand to get it into a comfortable position. Even a few centimeters can make a big difference in how you sound.
That said, there’s less of a difference between brands in this category. We would recommend finding something well reviewed by people creating the kind of content you’re looking to create.
Once you’ve got your gear set up, it’s time to start recording. This part can seem overwhelming, but if you take it one step at a time you can figure it all out.
Tips for recording with your camera
Use your laptop as your hard drive to avoid camera cuts
Even with the biggest memory card, there’s always a concern about running out of space and losing footage. Using your (hopefully much larger) laptop hard drive as the original storage location gives you the peace of mind to let the camera run. Plus, you save time by avoiding the step of transferring the files.
Game Capture HD or OBS (you can record video/audio)
If possible, you’ll want to design your setup so your audio and video are recorded together in one program. This avoids having to sync up the audio with the video later on. OBS and Game Capture HD are some programs which can do this. Alternatively, you can record audio separately with Audacity and combine it later.
Record at 50 or 60 FPSin 1080p (HD)
As mentioned above, 4k just isn’t necessary for a business podcast or show. 1080p at 50 or 60 frame per second is going to give you great looking and smooth visuals. Better yet, it will take up substantially less space on your hard drive.
Tips for recording with your microphone
Whether you only want to record audio or would like to edit your audio separately to create a podcast, you’ll need the right software to do that. Fortunately, there’s free software out there that has all the features you need for this.
This is the software I’ve used for more than 7 years and is surprisingly powerful for being free. It makes editing straightforward and has more advanced features you want like the ability to clean up background noise.
Mac users will be familiar with this powerful software that comes on each machine. It has just about all of the same features you’d be using on Audacity but is a bit easier to use thanks to Apple’s focus on software usability.
No more excuses, it’s time to start something!
Now that you’re familiar with all of the basic gear you need to start a business podcast, it’s time to ditch your excuses and start creating. All together, you can have a professional setup ready for around $1,000. If you want help from our seasoned team, set up a brainstorm session and we’ll see how we can help you build something amazing.
On the other hand, if you're a small business or individual looking to create a cheap podcast setup, check out this guide now!