Best Podcast Microphone

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Microphone 1

Your microphone is one of the most important items in your podcasting kit and can be a strong foundation to the overall podcast quality. Having the best podcast microphone is a superb way of giving your podcast the additional quality it needs to be successful.

It’s very easy to pick up a microphone online that plugs straight into your laptop or PC, but depending on your preference, you may want to invest in a little bit more to get a better sound.

How to choose a podcast microphone?

Polar pattern

The polar pattern is the area in wich the microphone picks up sound. For example, some microphones will record everything around them, while others will only pick up the sound thats directly infront of them. 

Here are the patterns:

Cardioid – picks up sound generally from the front

Super Cardioid – picks up sound from the front, but more targeted

Omni Directional – picks up sound all around the microphone

Bi-directional – picks up sound from the front and the back, but not from the sides

For podcasting, you’re generally going to be looking for a cardioid microphone, but you could have uses for the other patterns in carious situations. Some microphones come with various pattern choices so that you can change as needed, so keep an eye out for those if you think you’d have use for more than one pattern.

Type of capsule

The capsule you choose will affect the tone quality of the audio. There are generally three categories available to you:

Dynamic – these are the microphones you’ve generally seen on stage everywhere held by the MC. They’re very durable and can take a lot of sound and noise. If you’re recording lound noises this is the capsule for you.

Condenser – Condenser microphones are more sensitive than dynamic microphones and suited for quieter, detailed sounds. If you’re fans of ASMR, then you will have seen condenser microphones being used in those recordings.

Ribbon – More uncommon than the first two, ribbon microphones record high-frequency detail very well, such as drumming. 

For podcasting, you’re probably going to be looking for condenser microphones as they’re better suited to normal spoken speach frequencies. This will mean that monitoring sound levels and not shouting too much during your recording will be really important to get the best sound. 

But don’t worry if you’ve got your heart set on a dynamic microphone, they’ll give you great results as well, esspecially if your podcast involves a lot of shouting, singing or recording louder noises.

Connection

You have two main connection types, USB and XLR. 

USB – USB microphones use an USB connection to plug directly into a port on a computer and don’t need anything else. They have historically been a budget option with less quality than traditional microphones, but USB microphones today really to pack a punch and can rival any microphone. The high end USB microphones esspecially really do produce high quality audio.

XLR – Next is the XLR connection, the traditional microphone connection, and you’ll have seen these in studios or at music concerts. An XLR microphone will usually have very high quality sound, but will need more power to acheive this. You will usually need a mixing desk or a dedicated audio recorder to be able to use the microphone. These microphones are better than USB microphones, but also need more investment to get it all working and sounding correctly.

For podcasting, we find that USB microphones do a great job and come without the hastle of having to set up and maneging the extra equipment. Of course, if you’re an established podcaster looking for the highest possible sound quality, you may be looking for an XLR set up with all the bells and whistles.

Device power

Make sure that your device can handle the power needed to power the microphone you choose.

Traditionally, most podcasters use a PC or a laptop to control the recording of the podcast as they’ve not only usually got enough power to run everything but to also edit afterwards with ease.

You may want to aim for an USB microphone for safety as you know they’ll run fine from your device. USB microphones are usually very easy to set up and should normally be a plug and play scenario.

For podcasting, nearlly all USB microphones will work perfectly with any laptop or cumputer without haslte. If you’re looking at an XLR microphone be aware that it might need additional items such as phantom power to function at full power. Yes, it’ll usually cost you more to get an XLR microphone set up, but the quality will be far superior.

Accessories

Take 5 minutes to check out those additional things you’ll need before starting, or you may be caught out down the line. 

Remember, microphones don’t usually come with stands, shock mounts or pop sheilds included, so you might need to buy them them additionally.  

Or if you’re unsure, we’ve listed a few things here for you.

Related Article: What you need before starting a podcast

Budget

Decide on a budget. As with everything, you have different options available to suit all kinds of budgets. These days, a microphone is an integral part of your podcast kit, and we recommend you dedicate a decent amount of your budget on this element.

In the list below, we’ve included a range of price brackets, but we have avoided the super budget options as we don’t believe that they’re worth it at all. You need at least some quality in your sound or you might aswell use your mobile phone microphone. Even if you jump in with a cheap microphone- you will probably end up having to buy a better microphone because of the poor quality.

 Essentially, if we name it here, it should do well for you.

Best Podcasting Microphones

We’ve listed a few suggestions for the that should help you decide on the best podcast microphone for you.

Pros

  • A good, integrated gain control
  • Up to four recording modes
  • Offers great value for its price

Cons

  • No multiple head setup

The most popular podcast microphone right now and we would also claim the best podcast microphone allround. 

Blue Yeti delivers fine quality audio with a wide range of recording modes, condenser capsules, and a stand. You could easily connect it to another device and play/record.

The microphone boasts an USB connection and has a built-in gain dial for recording distant or quiet sounds.  It is a THX certified high quality microphone, discreet enough to filter out background noise while giving you a clean representation of your voice.

Pros

  • Brilliant, clear audio quality
  • It comes with a pop filter and stand
  • Background noise is easily filtered out

Cons

  • Tripod may be slightly unstable
  • Stand picks up unnecessary sounds including table knocks and keystrokes
  • Only has one polar pattern

We really like the Rode NT. It boasts briliant sound quality, comes with a pop shield, already has a stand and has its own set of controls on-mic.

The Rode is an UBS microphone that comes with a headphone jack, on-mic mix control, pop shield, zero latency stereo headphone monitoring, zip case, desktop stand and a lengthy USB cable of course. 

Its specs include cardioid polar patterns and Frequency range of 20Hz – 20KHz. You can easily set it up, simply plug it to your chosen device and press ‘record’.

Pros

  • High quality audio
  • Pop filter built in
  • Looks solid and neat

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • XLR connection

The Shure SM7B is growing in popularity with podcasters, even though it’s literaly only a microphone with no bells or whistles. But waw, it doesn’t need anything – it’s sound quality is worth every single penny. 

It’s not a new microphone, but as podcasters are developing and looking for higher quality, this price bracket is attracting more and more trying to find the differential.

Pros

  • Great recording quality
  • It is light, portable and neat

Cons

  • Very sensitive
  • XLR output only

You may be more familiar with the very popular earier model, the AT2020, but the newer AT2035 model does not dissapoint. They’ve improved the diaphragm and got rid of the fiddly on mic controls. This cardioid is now a very solid microphone ready to do business.

But be warned, it’s incredibly sensitive and powerful.

Pros

  • It has an internal pop filter and shock mount
  • Absence of digital signal processing
  • Has a zero latency headphone jack

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • XLR output only

This is another lovely looking USB microphone. 

It’s a great condenser microphone, which is good if you’re not in a professional recording studio. It delivers good value and quality, picks up much less background noise, and enables you use a mixer and digital recorder.

Also contains an inbuilt pop filter to help neutralize unnecessary plosives.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Looks great
  • Easily portable, can be carried along for use in different places

Cons

  • Lack of gain control/adjustment on the mic itself
  • It records, easily picks up background noise
  • Has known connection difficulties with some devices

The Samson Meteor is another powerful podcasting device with one of the largest condenser diaphragms at 25mm. Designed and made with aesthetics in mind, it is a sleek looking microphone with good colour, and sits comfortably on a tripod stand. 

Behind the microphone is embedded the USB for attachment to a computer, iPad or Meteor. There is a volume control dial for the headphone, a mute button, and a 3-colour LED light(which indicates power status, mute activation, and high volume) on the anterior.

Pros

  • Great audio quality
  • Stylish and modern looking
  • Value for money

Cons

  • XLR output
  • Colour scheme might not be to everyones taste…

The Neat Kingbee is a powerful condencer microphone with great audio quality. Yes, the style and colur scheme is a hit or miss, but this microphone is certaily value for money.

This is a company ran by the same team that create the Blue range before they were bought. So, well worth keeping an eye on how the company develops.

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Versatile; can be used for a great number of purposes
  • Value for money

Cons

  • It does not have a storage case
  • No in-built pop filter
  • Its sensitivity may cause interference

The Samson Q2U is the ideal device for you if you just started off with podcasting. It has got a great audio quality when compared to a phone’s microphone or headset microphone. 

The Samson Q2U comes with a 3.5mm headphone plug as well as volume adjustment. It has two output systems – XLR and USB, which lets you do various things such as running a Skype video call or attaching it to your computer. 

Alongside the output, it comes with desktop stand and its extension, mic clip and microphone in its pack. 

This microphone is ideal for a beginner podcaster to learn about both USB and XLR outputs which will allow you to easily switch out for any microphone in future.

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Decent audio quality
  • Very portable

Cons

  • Audio not crystal clear
  • Pickup volume not huge

Blue’s Snowball is a budget option that could do the trick if you want to get from A to B whilst skimming a little bit on quality. The pickup isn’t fantastic at range, but if you’re up close you will get a decent sound quality.

Pros

  • Easily copes with high frequency detail
  • An all-rounder type of microphone
  • Adequate bass extension for bass instruments and kick drums

Cons

  • Acoustic Treatment is required
  • An additional pop filter may be needed
  • Not recommended for a professional studio

The Heil PR40 has a great frequency range of 28Hz – 18KHz. It has got an internal ‘breath-blast filter’ and comes with a swivel stand adaptor. It is one of the best dynamic mics in tonality and versatility. It is built to resist very high SPLs, and its low weight and large size of the microphone aspect gives it a natural, quality sound. 

Its got an internal filter that helps keep plosives at a minimum. It is not a great fit for working in a professional environment, and is therefore unnecessarily expensive for this reason, especially when compared with other products.

Pros

  • Warm sound, extremely sensitive
  • Decent price
  • It has a flat frequency response

Cons

  • Due to sibilance problems you may require an additional pop filter
  • Heavy due to its metallic body
  • It needs an extra device to make up for phantom power

The Rode NT1-A is a popular high-end condenser diaphragm, and low self-noise microphone which carries a warm, deep sound with it. Another product from the RODE microphones company, it is cardioid(which means it records sound from one direction, the front) and comes with a shock mount, an XLR cable, alongside a pop filter. 

It is very affordable for a quality condenser microphone, and gets you more bang for your buck.

Pros

  • Highest sound quality 
  • Made for professionals
  • Great frequency range

Cons

  • Requires extra equipment to use it
  • Expensive

The Electro-Voice R20 is one of the best microphones for podcasting. It is specially built to record voice and its mic is dynamic. It has a really cool transient response, great frequency range(which suggests that it can hear more) and a cardioid polar pattern built to reject unwanted sound(s). 

It is not a USB microphone, meaning it won’t plug into an external device and being an XLR mic, you would require a digital recorder, mixer or interface. Designed for professional podcasters, it has a sweet sound quality and is regarded as one of the best.

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3 Comments

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[…] your audio may suffer. You can buy a good quality microphone or headset for under £100. See our recommended microphones article for […]

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[…] see our recommended microphones, please see our Best Podcast Microphone […]

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