If someone's asked you to pick a car, before you have even learned how to drive, what would you say? Do you need an SUV, a cross-over, a tiny city car, or a big truck. Do you buy it new, lease it, or ask your mom for her car. What about all the add-ons and options? So much to choose from, so little time! Much the same way, podcasting gear can be intimidating. Lucky us though, it's actually quite easy. There are multiple options, but I would recommend just three to get started, and as you podcast and learn more about the art, yourself, and where you want to take your podcast, we can circle back and discuss more options.

Option 1 - Monologue on a budget

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Dead-simple microphone with good sound and everything that you need inside the box. Take it out, plug it in to your laptop, and you are ready to record a podcast. On a Mac, you can use Quick Time for the simplest way to record, or open Garage Band and get a little creative. Either way, you can start recording right away.

Option 2 - Interview your friends

Zoom H6 mixer. Buy two microphones above, and use the XLR cables (included) to connect it with this Zoom recorder. Read the manual, and play around for a few minutes before your first show. Zoom will record the sound from both microphones, and save it to an SD card as either multiple tracks (if you want to have more control), or as a single, mixed track, if you want to immediately upload and publish your podcast. All in all, this is the minimal viable portable setup that will record all your shows flawlessly, and enable you to publish fast. Don't forget to buy a good, fast SD card to go along.

Option 3 - You've got money, a sense of style, and you are in it for the long run.

SHURE SM7B is the Rolls Royce of podcast microphones. I have written about it before, and why I upgraded from a cheaper microphone, and now that I have it, I can tell you it's worth it. Unfortunately for your wallet, it's not enough to just get the $400 microphone. To make Shure sound right for podcasts, you would also need a cloud filter amplifier, one for each microphone, and a couple of microphone stands as Shure does not stand on its own. So when all is said and done, you are looking at about $800 on top of your H6 recorder. Does it sound good thought? Oh yeah, take a look at some episodes of Below the Line podcast. James is using Shure + Zoom to record all his in-person guests, and it sounds great!

Conclusion

If you are just starting out, and just want to dabble into podcasting, Option 1 ($80) can get you 80% of the way. Even if you are recording an interview, you could pass the microphone around, and get the quality good-enough to release a few episodes. After all, starting and actually releasing an episode is more important than what gear you are using to do it. On the other hand, if the money is not an issue, you might as well do it in style, pick either Option 2 ($450) or Option 3 (~$1200) and enjoy every minute of it. p.s. And of course, if you want to edit your sound quality without spending hours doing it manually, sign up for ClipGain.io and do it automagically!