A computer, internet, and a broadcasting platform, such as Live365, are the absolute essentials to get started broadcasting, so let's talk about equipment that isn't essential. You can likely start an internet radio station with the equipment you already own, but that extra equipment is what takes your station to the next level. With that said, we are going to break down those couple extra pieces of equipment that you can add in to improve your setup.
If you want to have complete control over your audio, you need to be able to monitor it using headphones. You are able to monitor what the audio is like as well as ensure that your setup is working properly. Earbuds can certainly work, however, over-ear headphones are recommended for the best results. Some great headphones include:
- LyxPro HAS-10 Closed Back Over-Ear Headphones
- Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Headphones
- Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones
- Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
- Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones
To see a list of some top-rated headphones, click here.
A microphone is obviously essential for doing live or recorded talk pieces. If you are just starting out, some quick options to test out are built-in mics, earbuds, and headsets. However, built-in mics, earbuds, and headsets will provide the lowest audio quality. So, a traditional microphone is your best bet at getting awesome sounding audio and it is an essential piece of equipment, especially if you are serious about continuing with talk pieces. Whether you choose a dynamic or condenser mic is up to your discretion. Dynamic mics tend to provide warmer and more focused sound whereas condenser mics provide a brighter and clearer sound. Also, the power source, XLR and USB, tend to dictate your options. Condenser mics are usually USB powered and you can find both condenser and dynamic mics that are XLR powered, but these require additional power sources. Some high quality microphones are:
- Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone
- Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone
- Blue Yeti USB Microphone
- Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone
- Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone
- Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Cardioid Studio Microphone
To see a list of some top-rated microphones, click here.
Microphone Boom Arm/Mic Stand
A microphone boom arm or a mic stand can be helpful so that you can move the mic around and adjust it to your liking. Also, it helps to clear up table space so that you can better utilize the space that you have for your setup.
- Boom Arm: NEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm Stand
- Boom Arm: RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm
- Mic Stand: On Stage DS7200B Adjustable Desk Microphone Stand
- Mic Stand: K&M 23325 Table/Floor Microphone Stand
Note: Boom Arms tend to be a bit pricey, so mic stands are a very affordable alternative. Also, you may need to purchase mic clips/clamps to accompany your microphone setup, so read the product description fully to ensure that you know what is included with your purchase.
Shock mounts help to prevent unwanted sounds in your recording, including movements of the mic, tapping, typing, and other vibrations.
- Rode PSM 1 Shockmount
- Note: This shock mount is only compatible with some microphones, so read the specifications carefully.
- RODE SM6 Shock Mount with Integrated Pop Shield
Note: Sometimes these are included with your mic, so be sure to check the description of your mic beforehand. Also, most shock mounts need to be compatible with your specific microphone.
Pop Filters/Windscreens help protect your microphone from picking up any harsh noises. For example, when you say the letters b, p, and t, there are bursts of air that the microphone picks up. Adding this to your setup helps to keep your audio levels under control so that those bursts of air do not show up on your recording. Some good options are:
- Pop Filter: Premium 6-inch Pop Filter
- Pop Filter: Stedman Corporation Proscreen XL
- Windscreen: AT2020 Foam Windscreen
A mixer gives you more control over levels, inputs, outputs, etc. This device receives audio from a variety of sources, mixes them, and outputs various channels in a consistent way that you control. If you want to improve the quality of your audio, adding a mixer to your setup can really help you gain the control to take your radio station quality to the next level.
- Mackie PROFX8V2 Mixer
- Behringer XENYX 1202FX
- BEHRINGER XENYX 1204USB
- Mackie PROFX8V2 8-Channel Compact Mixer
4. Microphone Processor
A microphone processor helps even-out audio, minimize background noises, and clean up the signal. In particular, this piece of equipment can help you gain the "radio sound" so that you always sound top-notch and can focus on your broadcasts instead of tinkering with levels, editing, soundproofing, and so forth. Some great microphone processors (which include mic preamps) are:
Adding some soundproofing to your studio can really help to improve audio quality if there is a lot of reverb or echo.
Bonus: Third-Party Software & Computer Monitor
In order to go live on your station and to gain even more control of your stream, third-party software is needed. For more information on third-party software and using it with Live365, see this page.
Additionally, you may want an extra screen or 2 when broadcasting to have a complete view of your audio as well as anything else that you want to view while on-air.
So, there you have it! 5 must-have pieces of radio equipment to add to your setup, as well as a couple extras that you may find useful. As mentioned, these are not essential. And, if you are looking to upgrade your setup, you absolutely do not need to buy the most expensive piece of equipment or multiple pieces at once. In fact, investing over time is your best bet. So, do your research to figure out what your setup needs most, and invest into that one thing for now. You'll be shocked at the positive difference one piece of equipment can make in your setup.
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Article Image: João Silas via Unsplash.