YouTube Equipment for Beginners

Having a great idea for a YouTube channel is only part of the battle, actually bringing that idea to life can be a rough ride for some, and an expensive one if you don’t do your research.

Jumping into buying equipment without doing proper homework is one of the worst things you can do when getting started in YouTubing. For one thing, you probably won’t get the best gear for your videos, but you may also end up spending more money than you would have done if you’d researched a little. More expensive equipment plus inferior results are no one’s idea of a good result.

Fortunately, there is plenty of help out there, whether you are starting a new channel on a shoestring budget, or you have an enviable wad of cash to invest in your new life as a YouTuber.

And this post is one such example of that help. So let’s get helping!

How to Record YouTube Videos at Home 1

What Equipment Do I Need?

Covering every possible type of YouTube video out there would multiple posts, so in the interests of brevity, we’re going to break things down into distinct kinds of YouTuber—on-camera and off-camera.

These terms are not referring to you necessarily, but rather the presence of (or lack of) a camera in your setup. For example, if you created a channel where you filmed people while you interviewed them, but you are never onscreen, that still counts as an on-camera video.

Regardless of the fact that you are not being filmed, you still need a camera to create your videos, and that is the only relevant detail as far as this article is concerned.

Examples of off-camera videos include any kind of video where the visual component is handled entirely in software. This could include news breakdowns, top ten lists, trailer reactions, and much more.

It would be easy to assume that the difference is one needs a camera and one doesn’t, but the truth is there is a lot of related equipment that you will have to consider if you are going to be filming.

Soundproofing Tips for YouTubers 7

I Can’t Afford Lots of Equipment, Where Should I Focus?

Not being able to afford all the fancy equipment that the best YouTubers use is perfectly normal. Most people can’t. As your time on YouTube progresses, you may find your circumstances allow you to invest more in your channel. You may even find that the success of the channel itself is such that it can pay for that investment.

However, the future plays out; you will understandably want to know where to put your time, effort, and money in the beginning. So let’s get the obligatory caveat out of the way first.

All the high-quality gear in the world won’t help your channel succeed if your premise is terrible, or your heart isn’t in it. Making YouTube videos is not as easy many believe, and if you don’t want to do this, you will almost certainly fail. Success—especially in the form of financial gain—does not come quickly with YouTube and is far from guaranteed. So, if you head into this without really wanting to do what you are doing, you will likely end up as one of the millions of abandoned channels that inhabit the unsearched depths of YouTube.

Similarly, no matter how good your video looks, you will struggle to get traction with bad ideas. If your channel doesn’t grow the way you’d like, don’t fall into the trap of assuming it must be because you need a better camera or a new microphone.

Soundproofing Tips for YouTubers 1


Another trap that new YouTubers can fall into is assuming that you need to upgrade your setup. It can’t hurt, of course, but once you get beyond the beginner tier of YouTube gear, the cost of that gear starts to skyrocket.

Contrast this with the diminishing returns that better equipment will net your channel, and you have a strong argument for not rushing out to get that new DSLR camera.

In the beginning, only look to improve things that are objectively below par. If you are recording at 720p through a budget webcam, by all means, look to upgrade as soon as you realistically can. But if your video is fine, don’t stress too much about making it great.

If you need help to compare cameras, audio and other tools – check out my resources page where I have compiled a list of all my equipment and dream equipment for future upgrades.

Soundproofing Tips for YouTubers 5

Audio First

When it comes to equipment, your first priority should be audio. If you are making off-camera videos, then the audio will be your primary concern with regards to equipment anyway. However, even with on-camera videos, the sound is often more critical than video.

This is not an absolute statement, of course—if your video is unwatchable, that’s going to be a turn off no matter how good your audio is. But when you have below-average quality video and audio, it is quite often the audio that will make the difference.

I use a Boya By-MM1 Shoutgun microphone on my Canon 200D Camera. Its cheap, cheerful and very powerful. I did a full unboxing and review – you’ll be amazed how fluffy it is!

Consider this—can you think of a noise that rubs you the wrong way? Cutlery being scraped on a plate, for example. Or nails on a chalkboard. What about the sound of someone chewing with their mouth open? Most of us have a sound that cuts right through us. Now think about all the times you have watched a video in less than optimal conditions and been okay with it.

Your phone isn’t exactly ideal for watching video content. What about old 240p YouTube videos that you have sat through because the content is valuable to you?

Now, we’re not saying you should settle for 240p content, of course. But if your image is a bit fuzzy and dark, and your resolution isn’t quite 1080p, that might not be the turn-off you fear it will be. But if your audio is full of noise, artefacts, random background sounds, and unpleasant sniffles and lip-smacking, you will likely find viewers clicking away from your content very quickly.

One final thing to consider is your surroundings. If your recordings are picking up a lot of echoes, or you are getting lots of background noise from outside, you may want to look further afield than your microphone.

Things like acoustic treatment can significantly reduce echo, while a thick blind can reduce outside noise. If these are not practical solutions for you at this time, you could fashion some improvised acoustic treatment/soundproofing from thick blankets.

Video: It’s About More Than Just Your Camera

Once again, we’re assuming your camera is not absolutely shocking. If it is that bad, you should make that your next priority. If it is serviceable, however, but you feel you can do better, do not assume that buying a new camera is your only option.

Once you get deeper into filming techniques, you will quickly find that lighting is a crucial part of filming a video, and you may be surprised at how big a difference a fair-to-middling lighting setup can make to your video quality.

If you plan to continue improving your channel in the long term, you are going to need lighting at some stage. So, if your camera isn’t too bad, consider opting for lighting before upgrading your camera. It will almost certainly make a big difference to your shot, and you will be able to continue using the lighting rig when you do eventually upgrade your camera.

YouTube Equipment for Beginners: The Bare Necessities

So, we’ve talked about your microphone and your camera—two things you undoubtedly need to record video—but are there any other essential bits of kit you need when you’re getting started on YouTube? Yes! Well, kind of. There are essential bases you need to cover, though, like the thick blankets we mentioned above, you can probably make do with ingenuity if you have to.

Stability (Tripods and Stands)

Firstly, your cameras and microphones should be steady. If your camera shakes and there’s a mighty clang every time you catch your desk, it’s not going to make for a pleasant viewing experience. Consider getting a tripod for each, or even an adjustable arm if you can afford it.

Microphone shock mounts are very inexpensive these days, and many budget microphones also come with them. As for your camera, try to set it on something that isn’t likely to move while recording.

If you are filming in your bedroom and there are some questionable floorboards in there, don’t put it somewhere that will move when you shift your weight from foot to foot. You can make do with a pile of books or a shelf if you can’t get your hands on a tripod, the key is to make sure it’s a stable pile of books or shelf!

Your Set

Again, you can absolutely make do with a regular room in your home as a backdrop to your video, just put a little time into making sure it looks good on camera. But if you’re not happy with any of the options available to you, you might want to get a screen backdrop.

These tend to be plain black or white, though there is no set rule to what you should put behind you in your videos. You can even go green screen and get fancy with the recording software, but that’s a whole other topic.

Whether you opt for a physical backdrop, a screen, or a green screen, make sure that the backdrop is not distracting. If viewers attention is being drawn to something that is not relevant to the content, not only could they miss what you are trying to tell them, but they could become annoyed at the distraction.

Lights and Pop Shields

This section is a little bit of a roundup. Two things you should consider essential pieces of equipment that need adding to your setup as soon as possible are lights and pop shields.

The lighting we’ve touched on already. It doesn’t need to be a professional studio lighting rig, of course. Even a single inexpensive LED light panel will do wonders. And pop shields—small filters that sit in front of your mike to dampen the harsher blasts of air from your mouth (“plosives”)—can make a massive difference to your audio.

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The Secret Weapon

There is a device that most of us own that can, in a pinch, be the answer to all of your YouTube recording woes. If you own a relatively modern phone, you already have a device that is capable of recording both audio and video at a decent enough quality to get started on YouTube.

Is it as good as having a proper setup with lighting, acoustic treatment, and an expensive camera and microphone? No. But the quality of video a decent modern phone can output is leagues above most webcams on the market, and the audio quality is on par with a budget condenser microphone. You might even get a rudimentary lighting rig going with the flash on your phone, and the Internet is full of inexpensive stands, cradles, brackets, and holders for mobile phones. What’s more, you would have to spend a surprising amount of money on gear to match the quality of, for example, an iPhone X, or a Pixel 4.

Of course, using your phone is not ideal, but the takeaway here is that not having the best equipment should not be a roadblock to you bringing your ideas to life on YouTube. Success takes works and planning, sure, but you certainly won’t succeed if you don’t get started.


Having the right equipment is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all of YouTubing. If you are on a budget, plan where you put your limited resources first. Think about the areas your channel would most benefit from improvement, and start there. You can also check out this list of YouTube equipment for beginners as a good starting point, as it includes a nice range of options spanning a broad range of the price spectrum.

And if all else fails, use your phone, and don’t let a lack of equipment stop you from bringing your ideas to life.

Just remember, having the best equipment will only get you so far, and it won’t be that far if your videos are not engaging for your potential audience.


Soundproofing Tips for YouTubers

Soundproofing can be the secret weapon in a new YouTuber’s arsenal.

If you were to ask a significant sample of YouTube viewers whether they would prefer better video or audio from their YouTubers, the answer might surprise you for a video platform.

While there are undoubtedly channels where good video quality is essential (software tutorials spring to mind), there are a considerable number of channels where the video element really isn’t as important as you might think.

Vlogs, educational content, interviews, list videos, we could go on. The point is, for a vast chunk of YouTubers, sound quality is considerably more important than video quality (within reason, of course). This is because hearing is the primary sense being used.

Don’t believe us?

Soundproofing Tips for YouTubers

Think about all the times you’ve put a YouTube video on and ended up doing something else while it plays. Maybe browsing the web, writing an email, checking your phone.

Not only that, but think about how many times audible cues have grated on your last nerve. People chewing while they talk, tapping, distant car alarms—audible cues can be very annoying. This is especially true when it comes to unwanted echoes, artefacts, and overall poor audio quality in YouTube videos.

Many things contribute to poor audio quality, but we’re not going to get into microphones and audio interfaces here; that deserves a post of its own – or you can watch my deep dive video on my youtube channel.

So, before we get into some tips on soundproofing your recording space, let’s quickly go over why you might want to do this.

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Why Soundproof for YouTubing?

The most obvious reason, of course, is to get rid of external noise. No YouTuber wants to have to edit out the sounds of planes flying overhead, cars driving by, the next-door neighbour engaging in some late-night DIY or anything else of that nature. And your viewers certainly don’t want to listen to those noises.

Soundproofing can significantly improve your recording if you record somewhere that tends to have a lot of noise going on. But the benefits to soundproofing are not one-way.

In almost all cases (the exception being ASMR videos) whispering or quiet-talking should be avoided. At best, it’s just a little difficult to hear, but at worst it can be very annoying to some viewers (think the opposite of ASMR).

This shouldn’t be confused with low volume—it’s not the level of your audio we’re talking about. When you whisper or talk quietly, your voice is different. The quality that some people find annoying is not remedied by turning the volume up in your editing software.

But what does this have to do with soundproofing? Well, the most common reason for unintentional quiet-talking is environmental. For example, if your recording setup is in the room next to your parents, partner, or roommate, and you record late at night. The chances are, there’s not a lot you can do about the when and where you record.

But by soundproofing the space you record in, you will be able to make much more noise when you make a new video without worrying about annoying anyone around you.

Soundproofing Tips for YouTubers 2

Soundproofing Tips for YouTubers

We should state upfront that a number of these tips relate to the construction of the space itself—things like the walls, and floorboards. We understand that most people will not be able to implement all of these tips.

You would have to be building a studio from scratch, or tearing a room down completely to do that. Just know that implementing any of these tips should improve your situation with regards to soundproofing.

Squeaky Floorboards

You might be thinking, “but I don’t walk around when I record YouTube videos.” That may be the case, but very few of us sit or stand utterly still when we make videos. A creaking floorboard can be extremely annoying mid-video.

Unfortunately, there are no products you can go out and buy that will fix this problem, so you’ll have to get the tools out if you want to put an end to it. The first thing to check is what is causing the squeaking. If it is just a matter of loose boards themselves, you can usually remedy the problem with a few screws.

We say screws and not nails—as is probably currently holding your floorboards in place—because screws will not slide over time as nails do.

If it is the joists and noggins (the big pieces of wood your floorboards are attached to), then you might need some professional help. You will certainly need to lift your floorboards. They can usually be fixed with some L shaped brackets at the corners. If you do have to lift your floorboards, you may as well take this opportunity to re-attach them with screws.

Dotting and Dabbing: Don’t Do It!

Unfortunately, this tip is only going to be useful to people who are doing some serious renovation or perhaps building from scratch. “Dot and Dab” is a method of attaching drywall (or plasterboard, depending on where you are from) to the outer structure of your room.

It involves dabbing a healthy amount of adhesive in places (this would be the dotting) and then pressing the drywall up to it. As a means of attaching the drywall, it is inexpensive and effective.

Unfortunately, it creates a significant amount of hollow space behind your walls. In a room that has been wholly drywalled, this would essentially mean one large continuous echo chamber surrounding the place!

Acoustic Insulation

If you are renovating or building a new space and the walls will be framed out, you can take this opportunity to fill the spaces between your studs with acoustic insulation.

Acoustic insulation is denser than regular thermal insulation. It will provide you with built-in soundproofing that will stop sound from getting in or out of your recording space. There are different thicknesses available, and the width you need will depend on the thickness of your studs.

Resist the urge to buy insulation that is too thick and cram it into your walls. That could cause problems later down the line, as well as reduce the acoustic insulation properties of the material.


Birds, traffic, police sirens, inconvenient helicopter flybys—there’s a lot of unwanted noise that can get in through your window. It may not be ideal in hotter parts of the world, but the first thing you should be doing is making sure that window is closed before you record.

The cheapest solution would be nice, thick blinds or curtains. They won’t cut out all the noise, but they will make some difference.

If you’ve got a little more money to throw at the problem, consider getting a secondary glazing system, which is essentially a second window inside your existing window. The cavity created between this window and your current window makes for excellent sound dampening.

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Noisy Appliances

Washing machines are loud. We get it. Some washing machines could be at the other end of your home and still get picked up on a recording.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of us do not have the option to simply move the washing machine—or our recording space—to get around this problem. Though if you do, that would be the best solution.

Assuming you’re stuck, however, the first thing to consider is an acoustic mat under your washing machine. It will not cut the sound completely, but it will significantly reduce it. If your washing machine (or other noisy appliance) is not right next to your recording space, this might be enough.

If not, we’re sorry to say that your only practical option is to plan your recordings so that any noisy appliances are not running.

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Change Your Microphone

You might also consider a new microphone that is less prone to picking up the background noise. It should be stated that any built-in or inexpensive USB microphone will likely need upgrading as a matter of course.

But if your mic is picking up a lot of background noise, there may be an alternative model with a tighter pickup pattern.

I use a Boya By-MM1 on my DSLR Camera and this is great when I am stood in front of it recording in stable environment – I did a hands on review video and blog of the Boya BY-MM1 microphone with some interesting facts about its pick up pattern – You’ll me amazed the difference you can make when you match the right microphone to your set up.

In the same realm as a new mic, you could also consider turning your microphone’s input level down and having the mic be closer to your face, or speaking more forcefully. Or both.

If you do decide to go down this route, be sure to have a pop shield on your mic. It’s good practice to have one anyway, but if you’re going to be putting the mic closer to your face and speaking louder, you definitely need one.

Use a Noise Gate

A noise gate is a term given to software or hardware that cuts off audio completely when it gets below a specific volume. Using this, you can cut away the background noise by setting the gate to just above the level of the noise. It will then let the audio through when you speak, pushing the sound level above the gate.

There are a few different ways to employ a noise gate on your recordings. The simplest—yet most expensive—is to get an outboard noise gate device. You would run your mic signal through the gate directly, where it would gate the audio before sending it into your recording software.

Another alternative is live VST (Virtual Studio Technology) noise gates—a software alternative that works as you are recording. This has the advantage of giving you that live feedback, but it also adds strain on your computer.

And, finally, you could apply the noise gate after the fact. This is the cheapest option—free audio editor Audacity has this functionality built-in—but also the most time-consuming.

It is worth noting that if you have unusually high levels of background noise, a noise gate may not be the best option. The louder the gate has to be to cut the noise out, the more obvious it is when it activates. Not to mention, the noise will still be present when you are speaking.

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Acoustic Foam Tiles

The more initiated of you are probably yelling, “that’s not soundproofing!” right now. And you are right. Those eggbox-like foam tiles you see on YouTuber’s walls are not soundproofing. The job of acoustic tiles is to kill things like echo and reverb in a space.

Imagine you have a bouncy ball. If you bounce that ball on some smooth concrete, you’ll get some good height. If you take that same ball and bounce it on long grass, you’ll be lucky to get any height at all. Now imagine the ball is a sound wave, hitting the wall and bouncing off. Foam tiles work a lot like the grass.

By strategically placing foam tiles around your recording space (or just covering every surface if you can afford that many tiles), you reduce the amount of sound reflection.

If you can only get your hands on a limited amount of foam tiles, consider what kind of microphone you have before placing them. Many microphones have limited pickup around the back, so reducing reflections coming from that direction would be a waste of your tiles.

Carpets or Rugs (or Both!)

A good, thick carpet or rug can address issues raised both in the squeaky floorboards section, and the previous section on acoustic foam tiles. Like foam tiles, a thick carpet or rug will significantly reduce sound reflection, meaning less reverb and echo when you record.

It will also reduce the amount of noise made by you moving around the room. It won’t fix squeaky floorboards, but if you didn’t fancy pulling your floor up, a thick carpet or rug would muffle the noise it makes.

You could also take this one step further by installing some acoustic underlay, which will significantly reduce the amount of noise that gets through your floor.

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Microphone Shielding

Our last tip is ideal for people who can’t (or don’t want to) attempt any of the previous tips. Using a product like Kaotica’s Eyeball (or one of the considerably less expensive Chinese alternatives) you can isolate your mic from the outside world significantly.

These products are essentially a hollow ball of acoustic foam that your mic sits inside, blocking noise from all directions except the front. You will still need to worry about reflections from behind you, but the amount unwanted sound getting to your mic is significantly reduced. Just be aware that these are not compact items. You will need plenty of space around your microphone.

If you need any help in finding some of these upgrades then check out my resources page where I have selected some great discounts on products, soundproofing, microphones and more.


Improve Your Audio Quality – 5 YouTube Sound Tips

Improve Your Audio Quality — 5 YouTube Sound Tips 2018 // Video sound tips to master the perfect environment for better audio in your YouTube videos. Better audio on YouTube is normally favoured over quality video. A shakey video you can hear clearly is excusable, but painfully bad audio is unforgivable.

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