One of the most frequent questions I’m always asked from new podcasters here in Africa is: Paula, What equipment should I buy?
And my first response is always the same: what is your budget?
I’ve been podcasting for three years now and I finally feel that I have my process, and my equipment down! But when I first started I also fell down the rabbit hole of trying to pay top dollar for equipment and services here in Kenya…(unnecessarily so, I found out the hard way).
I recorded the first season of my podcast in a studio in Nairobi and dropped a bomb to do it. After crunching the numbers, I quickly realized that it was not sustainable to keep doing this. If I kept this up, I would not be podcasting for much longer.
So I decided to invest in my own equipment with a budget in mind. Working within my budget was one lesson I had to learn and it something I stress to all my Podcast From Scratch students (and if you’ve ever attended one of my masterclasses).
So this is my full equipment list as of March 2021 plus where I bought each item. Hopefully, it’ll inspire your own equipment list as you build your own collection.
All prices are listed in dollars.
Audio-Technica ATR2100 Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Mic (Retails USD$79.95)
Although I have the very famous Blue Yeti mics I actually prefer this mic. This is a really popular dynamic microphone. Dynamic mics are great for louder environments because they won’t pick up as much ambient noise so it worked for me recording from home. I bought this used on Amazon for about $50. It’s a great mic at a great price. It’s also super versatile—you can use it as a USB mic, or you can use an XLR cable to plug it into a mixer.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface (Retails USD$195.99)
So I plug my ATR2100 to my laptop via an XLR cable to this mixer. I bought the Focusrite second-hand on Craigslist almost five years ago when I lived in the US for $95. It was such a great deal! The guy I bought it from was a musician and also threw in three extra XLR cables for me. It comes with a USB code for me to connect it to my laptop. My best investment yet.
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone (Retails USD$130)
I have had these for years and I don’t remember how I got them to be honest (maybe a leftover from a job?!)…but they still work. Always use headphones when recording and editing (preferably closed backed ones, but start with what you have)
I bought a bunch of these for $6 each from Amazon some years ago. They make all the difference
My DAW (digital audio workspace) setup
Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software (multi-track audio editor and recorder) for Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux. I have been using Audacity since the beginning for recording my audio and it has always worked as a charm. I also teach recording and editing for my Podcast From Scratch students with Audacity.
Adobe Audition (Subscription: USD$31 per month)
Because of my background in video, I have always been partial to Adobe products. I first learned to edit videos on Adobe Premiere. When I am in season, I subscribe to Adobe Audition and batch edit my episodes. I then cancel the subscription until I next need it.
So that’s my list! I hope it gives you a sense of what it takes for me to put together my podcast, but again… it is different for each person and this works very well for my budget.
I’d love to hear what equipment you have and where you bought it, especially if you are living in an African country (make sure you include your city). Comment below to help a new podcaster looking to purchase equipment.