THE BEST MICROPHONE FOR RECORDING PODCASTS
THE best microphone for recording podcasts on the market
Podcast microphones are always a discussed topic in our world. Each podcast has its own personal favorite, and there’s a lot of debate about what level of quality you need to run a decent podcast.
Lots of Podcasters recordings with people in different locations, using tools like Skype and Google Hangouts, so connection quality can be more important than your microphone. Others play in person, so the environment and microphone technology play a role. But you record, it is not denied that a podcast recorded on a decent quality microphone is massively more professional than anyone who bleats on a tinny headset microphone. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
If you look for the quality of your set, we have compiled a list of the best microphone for recording podcasts on the market today. It contains three different levels, Entry Level, High Quality, and Pro. You can find all the details on each level below. But let’s start with a quick overview – look beyond to find out why. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
THE BEST MICROPHONES FOR RECORDING PODCASTS SUMMARY
What are the best microphones for recording podcasts on the market? For us, the best budget level is the Samson Q2U microphone, and for higher quality, look at the Rode Procaster (or Rode Podcasts for USB only). So, if you go on a pro, we recommend Rode NT1-A or Shure SM7b.
Input level: Samson Q2U
Rode Procaster / Podcasts
WHY IS A GOOD MICROPHONE IMPORTANT?…Best microphone for recording podcasts
It seems obvious, but it’s a good question – why bother to invest in a best microphone for recording podcasts?
Well, it’s the microphone that has the greatest effect on the quality of your recordings. It’s the microphone that captures your voice and translates it from physical sound waves to digital bits and bytes. A good microphone can cost hundreds of pounds, but fortunately there are many much cheaper options. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Just to tell you that all the product links in this article are linked links. That means we get a small commission if you buy something, but it doesn’t cost you extra. Don’t worry, we are always honest, open, impartial with our reviews – we only recommend the good things – but this affiliate income helps us keep the site up and running. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
ENTRY LEVEL PODCASTING MICROPHONES….Best microphone for recording podcasts
Don’t let the phrase “Entry level” put you off – I only recommend good quality kits! These are relatively inexpensive, though, and very easy to set up, so they fit well for beginners. But I know many a veteran podcast who still use this set, even years down the road. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Samson Q2U – best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Samson Q2U podcasting microphone
The microphone that I often recommend people start with is Samson Q2U. This is a very versatile little animal, both XLR and USB. There is also a significant quality increase over a cheap headset microphone or your internal microphone. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Dual output (XLR and USB) means that in the early days you can connect it directly to your computer via USB, recording to Garageband or Audacity. Or use the USB microphone to run a Skype call or a Zoom chat.
So later on your journey, when you get a mixer or a decent digital recorder, you can switch to XLR, which is just the type of cables that pro audio equipment uses. The other advantage is that you can back up your recordings by sending to both. This means that even if a device crashes / runs out of batteries, you still have a copy of your session. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
ATR2100 – best microphone for recording podcasts ?
ATR2100 An alternative, and very similar microphone, is the often mentioned ATR2100. There is not much to tell between the two, and Samson is usually cheaper, so it’s all to cost the day.
Another great thing about both the Samson Q2U and the ATR2100 is that they are ideal for going out and about, capturing live audio interviews. You will find a guide we have written about this topic, and how ATR / Samson fits into the interview setup here: Face to face Podcast interview. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
HIGH QUALITY PODCASTING MICROPHONES….Best microphone for recording podcasts
The right microphone for podcasting These microphones are as good as anyone needs for podcasting up to six or seven characters. The microphones in this section are within the normal Podcaster budget and provide good quality recordings to boot. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The next level up is professional equipment. It is the microphones that would like to put out a pro-studio. But at that level, be prepared for some serious cash outlay. Unless you live off your podcast (and even if you’re …), the microphones in this section will do the job perfectly. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The Rode Procaster – best microphone for recording podcasts ?
My pick of the podcast microphones at this level is the Rode Procaster and a USB option in the form of Rode Podcaster. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Rode Procaster is an excellent dynamic podcast microphone. This is what we use in our podcasting studio right now. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The price is definitely crawling a bit when you include the tripod and shocked, but you will notice a significant difference if you compare it directly to one of the input level microphones above. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Podcast microphone The Procaster is an XLR microphone, like the MXL990 below, but it is a dynamic microphone while the XLR is a capacitor. To know the difference, take a look at the article. But the result is that Dyamic mics is better if you are not in a processed recording studio. They pick up less background noise and are more forgiving in your average study or office, which is what we most record! Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Dynamic microphones also do not need phantom power, and you can connect it to a 1/4 “jack as easy as XLR. So you have a little more flexibility in how it can be used. Rode has even created a built-in pop filter so you have some help with plosives. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
If you want this level of quality but you know you never use a mixer or digital recorder, then the Rode Podcaster microphone can be the perfect choice. It’s similar to Procaster, but it’s a top-quality USB microphone instead. It’s a cut above the Blue Yeti below, for me, but of course a price to reflect it. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The Rode Podcaster is again a dynamic microphone, while the Yeti is a capacitor. So, podcasts have an advantage in more noisy, or less conscious and treated rooms. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
MXL990 – best microphone for recording podcasts ?
MXL 990 Podcasting Condenser Microphone
Talking about condenser microphones, at this level you can start getting some decent. The MXL990 was the first condenser microphone I owned and I loved it. I used it for my entire recording, for about 2 years. It is ridiculously good value at about £ 70 / $ 70 and it was worth every penny at the time. Although it is a capacitor, it was decent in a normal office room, not picked up too much by the room noise. So this is a good choice if you have a reasonably quiet place and you are looking for a rich budget on a budget. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Remember, this is an XLR microphone, like the Procaster above, so you need a mixer and / or a top-digital recorder. As always, I’ve written up a podcasting mixer guide if you want to go that route. There are certain pros and cons and they are not for everyone, but it is worth investigating. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
I recently heard Rob from Podcast411 and Libsyn enthusiasts about the MXL990, so I’m glad I’m in good company of liking this podcasting microphone. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Shure SM58 – best microphone for recording podcasts ?
I must mention the podcast microphone workhorse which is the Shure SM58, just incase you are looking for a high quality microphone that is more mobile. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The SM58 is a handheld microphone that is more commonly seen in music events, held in the hand of a screaming singer. They can be dropped, pounded, drowned and still survive, and they are perfect for anyone who wants to do more and for admission than in-studio. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
We use Shure SM58 with a Zoom H5 or Zoom H6 recorder for all our interviews (see more about the setup here). If you think you want to get your microphone on the road and can budget for a good digital recorder too, then this may be the choice for you. It will work just as well in the studio, mounted on a tripod, because when it’s the better choice. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The Blue Yeti – best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Blue Yeti Best Podcasting Mics
The latest in this group is a USB capacitor microphone which is one of the most popular podcast microphones in the world. Of course, the Blue Yeti comes in at around £ 100 / $ 100 (note: currently discounted to less last time I saw …). Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Yeti offers high quality sound thanks to the capacitor caps and is incredibly easy to use with a USB connection. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
One of the biggest benefits, though, is the range of recording patterns. It offers settings for solo recording, two-person recording and face recording. So, it is flexible and can adapt to just about any situation. Keep in mind that to get the best possible quality, you need to be pretty close to the microphone, so get ready to be quite cozy when registering 2 people or groups. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Finally, the Blue Yeti comes with its own stand, so it’s a good first step if you want to jump into the high end and not have to worry about accessories such as stands. I’ve written elsewhere about the Blue Yeti and there are various accessories, so please check out that article for more information. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The Yeti may not exactly match the MXL990 or Rode mics for pure quality, but the ease of use and the fact that it is completely stand-alone make it a very serious choice at this level. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
If you want to look at another very similar option that we have played with lately, Shure MV5 is definitely tickling our fancy. It’s a bit cheaper than the Yeti, and much more portable. Thus, I mean it doesn’t feel like a brick in your bag, like the Yeti! Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Stand your Mic
When it comes to microphone shots, if you want to mount the Podcast microphone, I’ve written about microphone boom arms here. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
PROFESSIONAL LEVEL PODCAST MICROPHONES….Best microphone for recording podcasts
At this level, we are starting to make some serious money. These are microphones that don’t look in place in a pro recording studio, after all. I would say, seriously, this is overkill for almost everyone, even if you send to millions. For example, take Tim Ferriss – millions of downloads per episode and still recordings on an ATR2100 or an SM58 most of the time, last time I saw. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The first option is quite expensive for what you get and the other needs a super quiet environment and great microphone technology. For both, it’s actually very dependent on your voice, how good a result you get. But hey, I know you like love just as much as me, so you’re probably thinking about them. Sometimes you just want a treat! So, let’s have a look. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Heil PR40 – best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The PR40 is touted by many high-level podcasters as a go-to microphone for anyone who wants the best sound they can get. I will not deny it is a good microphone but I would say it is a bit overhyped. Sound quality is good, and it is very good for the non-professional environments most of us record. of your voice and they are much cheaper. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
But it is hugely popular and for some people it makes a very good sound. So, if you can get your hands on one to test it out, either borrow or sell and return, then definitely try it. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Shure SM7b – best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The SM7b is a legendary microphone in the industry. These are a discerning audio files that hold great attention, one of the best of the breed. And yes, it actually lives up to the hype – it’s a fantastic microphone. Again, with the qualifier that at this level you should shop and test them with your own special voice. Some people will find that even the most venerable microphones do not work for them, and a cheaper alternative gives the best sound. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The problem with SM7B is that it needs a truly professional environment. It picks up a lot of background noise, and it is completely unforgiving with poor microphone technology. This will pick up all your lip flaps, breathing, pops and sibillants, and then you need to know how to handle them all. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Assuming you can do that, though, and you can afford the cost, this is a hell of a microphone. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Red NT1-A – best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The Rode NT1 A podcast microphone Rode NT1-A appeared as a surprising entry in our statistics survey last year, and proved to be the most popular high-end podcast microphone among our respondents. It’s not surprising when you hear the quality it offers, combined with a relatively low price for a microphone at this level: £ 160 / $ 220. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
NT1-A is a super-low noise XLR microphone, with a very rich sound behind it. The package comes with a bumper and a pop filter, so all you need is a microphone and recording system (recorder or mixer) to get it up and running. If you really want to go pro, and you have a mixer / interface to plug it in, then this can be a great starting point! Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
DYNAMIC US CONDENSER MICROPHONES FOR PODCASTING?….Best microphone for recording podcasts
Okay, I’ve talked a lot about dynamic microphones and condenser microphones over – so what’s the difference? Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
If you want the added depth of Podcast, it might be worth going for a condenser microphone, but with some warnings. Condenser microphones work in a completely different, indescribable way, but enough to say, they introduce a higher level of quality to your footage. But, and this is the key, it only applies in the right context. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The problem is, because of their sensitivity, condenser microphones tend to get a lot of background noise. This means you need a nice, quiet recording environment to take advantage of the quality they offer. They also tend to be much more fragile, so they are not good for carrying around your bag.Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Samson C01. The other disadvantage is that capacitor microphones need external power. This usually comes through a phantom power supply, supplied by either a mixing table, your digital recorder or a battery in the microphone. Digital recorders or mixing tables are good investments even though they provide much more flexibility, but it is also an extra investment.To be honest, for most Podcasting setups, mixers tend to be overkill. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Essentially, if you want the best quality but plan to just record from your desktop, use a microphone stand in a quiet environment, and a condenser microphone can be good for you. A good example of an entry level condenser microphone is the Samson C01u and it is USB by default. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Of course, the alternative is a dynamic microphone. Dynamic microphones are actually the opposite of everything I’ve described above. They record a narrower frequency range, and it may also sound a little less rich. They detect less ambient noise, so you need to be right near the microphone. But because of both of these features, they can be beautiful and quiet, and forgive much worse recording environments. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
CONCLUSION – HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PODCAST MICROPHONE ….Best microphone for recording podcasts
The short answer
If you want:
The best microphones for recording podcasts !!
good quality, good value and flexible: Samson Q2U or ATR2100
High quality, easy to use: Rode Podcaster or Blue Yeti
High quality and use with a mixer or audio interface: Rode Procaster or Rode NT1-A
The long answer
The two factors that determine which is best microphone for recording podcasts and to go for :
Your recording environment
Buy as expensive a podcasting microphone as you can afford. As with everything, the more you use, the better the quality you get. But this only goes up to a point. You get perfect results with Samson Q2U, so if that’s your budget then start here and move on. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
While upgrading, you can spend hundreds, but you need a lot of knowledge and more professional support equipment to take advantage of the quality offered by something like Shure SM7B. Save it for a couple of years on the line when you’ve become an audio production guru, and stick to something like the Rode Podcaster microphone or the Blue Yeti USB Microphone for now. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
The question of dynamic vs. capacitor microphone comes down to where you usually record and how much set you want to use.
If you have a nice, quiet regular recording room, then a condenser microphone can be worth buying. You will not be able to take it anywhere easily, and you will need the mixer or digital recorder to power, unless you find a battery powered microphone. But the depth of your recordings will be good and you will definitely stand out. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?
Whatever you choose, enjoy it, and remember that we have quite a few articles on the podcast equipment section if you start thinking about other things, such as mixers, recorders, or tripod. Best microphone for recording podcasts ?