Best Equipment for Radio Stations

Professional station owners need the best equipment for radio broadcasts, that’s why we’re going to show you how to create a studio suitable for several microphones, a call in facility, and multiple playback audio channels. All of this will be routed in through a mixing desk to give you complete control over your live broadcasts.

Summary

  • Equipment List: A full list of equipment mentioned in this article.
  • Mixing Desk: What the hub of your station can do and how it can control mixes.
  • Microphone: 2 of the best condenser and dynamic microphones available.
  • Boom Arm & Shock Mount: How to stabilise and move your microphone freely.
  • Microphone Processor: Amplify your voice and give it a bit more punch with a processor.
  • Headphones: Studio grade headphones used by professionals broadcasters in the industry.
  • Soundcard: Expand your setup with an external soundcard for more channels.
  • Cables: The many assorted cables you need for your equipment.
  • Equipment Setup: How to setup all your equipment.

Equipment

Here’s the best equipment for radio broadcasts we used to setup an advanced station.

  1. Computer / Laptop: MacBook Air.
  2. Mixing Desk: Behringer DX2000USB Pro Mixer.
  3. Microphone: Blue Spark.
  4. Boom Arm: Rode PSA1.
  5. Shock Mount: Samson SP01.
  6. Microphone Processor: DBX 286S.
  7. Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT770.
  8. Soundcard: External 7.1 Surround Soundcard.
  9. Cables: x1 Headphone to jack L/R – x1 Jack headphone adapter converter plug – x2 XLR to XLR (male to female) – x1 Male USB A to Male USB B – x1 Audio Line In (Phone Cable).

Mixing Desk – Behringer DX2000USB Pro Mixer

Let’s start with the hub of any radio studio, the mixing desk. We recommend the Behringer DX2000USB Pro Mixer as a good option, which has plenty of inputs to power multiple mics and full length faders to give you precision control.

Behringer DX2000USB-Mixing Desk

The DX2000USB takes in different audio channels and pushes them together ready for broadcasting out online. This model offers 7 channels – 2 are preamp phantom power microphone connections, ideal for you and a guest; the remaining 5 can be used to hook up to your computer, or external devices such as CD players. The DX2000USB retails at $310 / £250.

Microphone – Blue Spark

The Blue Spark is an advanced condenser microphone ideal for studio setups as it’s highly sensitive and provides a great warm sound, so it’s perfect for spoken word.

Blue Spark Microphone

Sensitive condenser microphones like this are great for picking up every little bit of audio from multiple people, instruments, and any other noises in your studio. The Blue Spark retails at $240 / £190.

On a side note, there’s the Rode Procaster dynamic microphone as an alternative if you’re in a loud area. As opposed to the Blue Spark, it only focuses on audio directly in front which helps eliminate background noises.

Boom Arm & Shock Mount – Rode PSA1 & Samson SP01

A boom arm and shock mount are tools used to maneuver and stabilise your microphone. A swivelling boom arm can be adjusted for height and direction so it can be quickly moved on the fly. The shock mount secures your mic in place and can be adjusted in different directions.

Rode PSA1 Boom Arm & Samson SP01 Shock Mount (Close Up)

With the Rode PSA1 you can attach the boom arm to the edge of your table and use the cable ties for a cleaner looking setup. The Samson SP01 fits with the Blue Spark to reduce vibrations for better sounding audio. Rode PSA1 retails at $90 / £70 – Samson SP01 retails at $40 / £30.

Microphone Processor – DBX 286S

The DBX 286S is a microphone processor that gives your audio a grander feel. It functions as a power supply for condenser mics and has features to enhance your voice like a de-esser which removes unwanted “S” noises and cleans up bad signals.

DBX 286S Microphone Processor (Close Up)

Essentially the microphone processor gives audio clarity and a warm presence that amplifies your voice. The DBX 286S retails at $190 / £135.

Headphones – Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (80 OHM)

The DT770 (80 OHM) are professional broadcasting headphones that are popular within the radio industry as they’re comfortable for long periods of time and have a long cable.

DT770 80OHM Headphones (Close Up)

As they cover the ears most sounds are muffled to reduce outside disruptions. DT770 retail at £135 / £110.

Soundcard – CSL 7.1 Surround Soundcard

An external soundcard is just like an internal one as it offers multiple channels to connect up and manage devices like a sound system, headphones, CD players, and more.

7.1 Surround Soundcard (Close Up)

Basically the more channels you have then the greater flexibility and devices you can map to your mixing desk. CSL 7.1 surround soundcard retails at $25 / £20.

Cables – Assorted Cables

x1 Headphone to Jack L/R

Headphone to Jack L_R

x1 Jack Headphone Adapter Converter Plug

Jack Headphone Adapter Converter Plug

x2 XLR to XLR (Male to Female)

XLR to XLR Cable (Male to Female)

x1 Male USB A to Male USB B

Male USB A to Male USB B

x1 Audio Line In (Phone Cable)

Audio Line In (Phone Cable)

How Everything Fits Together

As the mixing desk is the centre hub of your radio station equipment, everything connects through it and subsequently to your computer. Here’s the step by step process of how the equipment hooks up together.

  1. Computer / Laptop -> Mixer (Male USB A to Male USB B, should be included with Mixer).
  2. Mixer -> Headphones (jack headphone adapter converter plug).
  3. Mixer -> Microphone Processor (XLR to XLR – male to female).
  4. Mixer -> External Soundcard (audio line in).
  5. Microphone Processor -> Microphone (XLR to XLR – male to female).

Your final setup when everything is connected together should look something like the diagram below.

Advanced Radio Equipment Diagram

Sound travels from your microphone, enhanced through your mic processor, controlled on your mixing desk, monitor on your headphones, add additional devices through your soundcard, and manage audio on your laptop and out to your radio station.

Best Equipment for Radio Broadcasters

Now that we’ve shown you the best equipment for radio broadcasts, it’s time for you to tell us what you’re currently using. What equipment do you use for your station? Let us know in the comments below.


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Comments

comments

5 Comments Best Equipment for Radio Stations

  1. Ojok Moses Ricky

    Thanks Jamie-
    The list is helpful. Is there a website that sells used equipment like the ones you listed? I wonder whether any professional broadcaster (s) may be in a position to give out any used equipment to me especially the ones they are not longer using. I want set up a small radio in my locality. If there is someone who may help, please keep me informed. I always follow your post from Northern Uganda.

    Reply
    1. Jamie Ashbrook

      My pleasure Ojok. If you’re looking for used equipment then search in your local area or online (eBay, Gumtree, etc) – Alternatively ask around on places like Facebook and Twitter as there’s always someone selling equipment they don’t need anymore.

      Reply
  2. Ojok Moses Ricky

    Greetings Jamie-
    Thanks for your return note. Will check through those websites and also try asking well established stations for any used equipment that can be given out. Keep up your good work!

    Reply

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