PQT – Focus Your Podcast’s Budget

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Podcast Quick Tips Most podcasts are a hobby endeavor which usually means budgets for gear, websites, software and everything else involved in making a podcast is limited. When deciding where to put your money first, focus on the elements of your podcast that are most likely to affect the overall quality of your show.

The best place to start is your microphone. This is likely the single largest factor in getting a good sounding podcast. The best budget microphone on the market, as of the date of this post (02/15/13), is the ATR2100 from Audio Technica.

For less than $50 U.S., you get a dynamic mic (best for the typical podcast studio) that produces excellent audio quality (on par with the infamous HEiL PR40) and plugs directly into your computer via USB.

If your budget was only $50 (the minimum I would recommend to start a podcast) you could add free editing software (Audacity on Windows/OSX) and you’d be ready to record a quality sounding podcast.

When you’re ready to upgrade your studio (mixer, audio interface, etc) the ATR2100 can make the transition with you employing an XLR connection alongside the USB. Your original investment is not wasted because this mic can grow with your studio.

So when it comes time to decide where to put your money, start with the mic (where the audio gets in) and upgrade from there. Next, if you decide to integrate a mixer into your production, there are affordable, quality options. Lastly you can think about upgrading your software to paid apps like Adobe Audition.

If your starting budget is larger than $50 and you want to get more gear, you’ll still want to start with the micrphone. The particular model you purchase might depend on what other gear you want to get with it. If you had $200 to spend you could still get the ATR2100 and have $150 to spend on a mixer and required cables.

Shift your budget around but prioritize the most critical elements so that your podcast will be a quality production from day one.

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About Ray Ortega

Full-time podcast producer and host of The Podcasters' Studio and Podcasters' Roundtable, I enjoy sharing my ten years of experience making podcasts to help others improve or start their own show.

  • Ray… this is such a good topic. I have seen many podcasters and even educators choose equipment over choosing a good mic.

    I believe that the two biggest things that make a great podcast are 1. Content and 2. Mic's.

    Bravo on a great topic this week.


    • Thanks Jeff, I really appreciate you following along. A good content/quality blend will take you far. Have fun.

  • Thanks again for recommending the ATR2100 a while back. I really couldn't be happier with it.

  • So, 50 bucks is the least you recommend as a budget for a potential podcast. Been reading your blog for quite a while now and I really want to start this, in my native language of course since my spoken English sucks, as far as I know there isn't such a thing in my country, its something completely new and I might get some popularity. I have both host and domains, so this won't be the problem, the real investment will be the gear.

    • Christian with the ATR2100 that is on my gear page http://thepodcastersstudio.com/gear you will spend less than $50 and you can plug it directly into your computer and record via free software like Audacity or Garageband if you're on a Mac.

      Gear does not have to be a big expense. The key is to get started. I look forward to hearing that you launched your first show soon!

  • Hi,

    Reading your blog fascinates me and dears the best out of me. How can you make a podcast out of a football analysis session with a presenter and up to 4 guests in the studio?

    Now, the setting is different from the conventional and more like a TV sports analysis setting, e.g. “Soccer saturday” on Skysports. How can you get the into a podcast?

    What kind of gears are needed and what will be the likely cost implication?


    • You'd need a mixer with 4 XLR inputs. You can get some affordable models from Behringer. Use free recording on your computer (Audacity) and you'll need a microphone for each person. I'd suggest the ATR2100 that you see on my gear page on this website. As for gear, that will be a great start and you'll be on your way to a podcast!

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