Podcast Method

Dan Benjamin's Podcast Equipment Guide, based on his experience as podcaster and founder of 5by5 and Fireside.

I’m Dan Benjamin. I started podcasting in 2006 and went full-time in 2009 when I started the 5by5 Podcast Network.

I’m also the founder of Fireside, a podcast hosting and analytics platform I created to make podcast hosting easy, reliable, and fun.

Find me @danbenjamin on Twitter.

A Note About This Guide

What follows are my recommendations for the best, most reliable, and best reviewed gear for several different types of podcaster (entry level, intermediate, pro, mobile, group, etc.). To make things as straight forward as possible, instead of offering many different alternatives, I've provided just one set of recommended gear for each level, representing my suggestions for the best and most affordable equipment available. My hope is that you find this guide helpful, and that it saves you from making the time consuming and often costly mistakes I've made along the way.

Many of the links below are affiliate links. If you use them when you buy, I'll get a small kick-back, and you will receive my eternal gratitude.

If this guide is useful to you, please consider supporting my work on Patreon.


Jump to the section you're most interested in.

  1. Entry Level Gear
  2. Intermediate Gear
  3. Pro Gear
  4. The Mobile Rig
  5. Multi-Person Studio
  6. Software (coming soon)
  7. Hosting (coming soon)
  8. Sound Baffling (coming soon)

Entry Level Gear

I want everybody to podcast, and the lower the barrier of entry into the medium, the better. Fortunately, all you really need to get started is a mic and some headphones. That's good, because most new podcasters out there are hesitant, unable, or unwilling to drop a lot of cash on gear. I was too!

The equipment listed below makes an excellent starting point for most beginning podcasters or those on a tight budget. The mic doesn't need a pop filter, comes with a stand. and the headphones plug in to the mic for monitoring.

Microphone Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone $87.95
Headphones Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones $24.50

Intermediate Gear

So you like podcasting and are sticking with it, and you want to get a little bit more serious. It's time to upgrade to a dynamic mic, a boom so you can get comfortable, an audio interface, and a set of headphones.

Microphone Audix D2 Dynamic Microphone $109.03
Interface Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface $99.99
Boom MXL Mics Professional Articulating Desktop Microphone Stand $54.99
Headphones Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Headphones $46.00
Cable 6 Foot XLR Male/Female Microphone Cable $7.79

Pro Gear

Okay, you're serious, and you need some serious gear. This is the best out there, without going overboard.

Microphone Heil PR-40 Mic, PRSM Shockmount, PL2T Boom, Cable $449.00
Interface UA Apollo Twin MKII Solo $699.99
Headphones Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone $79.99
Cable 6 Foot XLR Male/Female Microphone Cable $7.79
Mute Switch Pro Co Sound CDSS Short Stop Mute Box (Optional) $76.53
Power Furman PST-8D 8-Outlet Power Conditioner Strip (Optional) $159.00

The Mobile Rig

Lots of people have asked me about the ideal mobile rig, something they can take with them when traveling or recording "on-the-street" interviews. This small, portable setup is also very affordable, making it a good budget rig as well.

Microphone Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone $99.00
Recorder Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder $199.00
Storage SanDisk 32GB SD Card $12.95
Headphones Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones $24.50
Cable 3 Foot XLR Male/Female Microphone Cable $6.99

Multi-Person Studio

If you're in a situation where you would like to record multiple at the same time and in the same location, you'll need to spring for some specialized gear instead of the audio interfaces I listed above. Pick one from the liste below based on your budget. The Scarlett 18i8, the less expension option, lacks a lot of the power offered by the higher end option, but it should work for most budget-concious podcasters.

Even though it's much more expensive, I recommend the UA Apollo 8 if you can afford it. Its amazing range of plugins and the power and time-savings they offer in pre-production cannot be overestimated. This is what we use at 5by5.

Audio Interface/Mixer

Affordable Interface Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface $347.77
Expensive Interface UA Apollo 8 DUO Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface $1999.00

Studio Gear

Recording multiple people at once requires some additional gear.

Headphone Amp Behringer 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amplifier $24.99
Power Furman PST-8D 8-Outlet Power Conditioner Strip (Optional) $159.00
Cable Hosa TRS Balanced Interconnect Cable, 10 feet $6.45

Host Gear

Each in-studio host will need one set of items below.

Microphone Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone $327.00
Shockmount Heil PRSM-B Shockmount $105.00
Stand Proline MS112 Desk Boom Mic Stand $31.99
Mute Switch Pro Co Sound CDSS Short Stop Mute Box (Optional) $76.53
Headphones Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone $79.99
Cable 6 Foot XLR Male/Female Microphone Cable $7.79

Thank You

I hope this guide is helpful to you, and I'd love to hear about your experiences with this and other gear, as I’m always hoping to improve this guide. I’m @danbenjamin on Twitter.

Please consider a donation if this guide was helpful to you.

© 2017 Dan Benjamin