Why Is A Good Microphone Important?
When you start a podcast, you want a platform to be able to share your ideas and create a following of people who are hooked to your content. One of the things that will influence how well or not people receive your podcast is your audio quality. Your audience has got to hear you loud and clear in the literal sense! That’s where the microphone comes in.
Your computer microphone won’t cut it. All movements and sounds in your surrounding will show up in your audio recording and distort it badly. A high quality microphone will eliminate these noises and separate your source voice to comeout clear and professional.
Also check our our related guide on the best podcast hosting in 2020.
Types of Podcast Microphone
USB Microphone: it works just like any other USB-enabled device; once you connect it into your computer with a recording software like Audacity, you are good to go.
XLR: these microphones use an XLR cable that plugs into an audio interface, the interface then connects to your computer from a USB. They are the best for producing high quality sound but are more expensive. For beginners who want to keep things simple, a USB mic might be more suitable.
What To Consider Before Buying A Podcast Microphone
- Directional capabilities
This is basically how well a microphone picks sounds from any direction, but it also means they can pick up noise (unwanted sounds) which you do not want to show in your podcast. Some mics record sounds from all directions while others pick from particular directions.
- Omni-directional-the ‘Omni’ means the microphone can record sounds from any direction; as a result, they can also pick up a lot of noises. These mics are best for broadcasting and reporting as opposed to podcasting.
- Bi-directional- these microphones pick sounds from different directions. They are popular with podcasts, especially interviews podcasts. They are among the most expensive mics in the market.
- Cardioids- these microphones are heart shaped, and the only sounds they pick are the ones coming from the front although they can still pick some sounds from the sides too. Cardioids are commonly used for music recording. They are a type of Condenser-USB microphones.
- Shotgun- these microphones have the best signal-to-noise ratio and produce the purest sound picked from the front. Shotgun mics feature a cardioid polar pattern that is directional, maximizing the sound quality from the front as well as keeping the sounds from the sides muffled. They are commonly used by videographers while mounted onto a DSLR.
- Microphone impedance
It refers to the microphone’s receptive ability in terms of sound signal or AC current. It is measured in Ohms. A good mic should have an impedance rating of 600 or lower which also means better audio retaining capabilities. A higher rating could indicate that the other mic components are of poor quality.
- Frequency response
This indicates the frequencies at which the mic can detect and pick audio sounds. In most mics, it is usually indicated on the packaging label when you purchase. Whereas it’s important to know the frequency range, it is more helpful to be able to pinpoint the specific frequencies that your mic will pick sounds. In this respect, you need to consider what you will be recording before you buy a microphone. For instance, if you will be recording vocals and guitars, a mic with mid or high-frequency response would be ideal.
You want to buy a mic that will serve you for the longest time possible. Dynamic podcast microphones are more durable than Condenser-USB mics, which get damaged from shocks and drops.
When it comes to podcasts microphones, dynamic mics provide great value for money, have a sturdy built, and are durable. However, it is hard to get replacement parts once damaged. On the other hand, USB-condenser mics are fragile and get damaged easily, but you can easily purchase parts from shops, so you won’t need to replace them.
Best Microphones For Podcast Reviews
#1. PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone by Heil
Many popular podcasters swear by this microphone, and although its sound output is great, it is actually overly hyped. The PR-40 is a dynamic microphone designed for professional and non -professional applications; you can do live sounds, commercial broadcast.
It performs better than most condenser microphones and can withstand huge amounts of SPL. For the output, there is an XLR plug at the bottom that you can hook to a recorder or mixer. It does not need any phantom power. If you plan to use it with a computer for your podcast, then all you need is to get a USB mixing desk with an XLR microphone input.
The only disadvantage is that it is heavily priced which may be discouraging for beginners, but if you are able to get your hands on it, then try it out.
#2. NTI- A Condenser Microphone By RODE
The NT1-A is another highly rated microphone among podcasters and for good reasons; it is relatively low priced and but gives professional-quality sounds full of warmth, extended dynamic range, clarity and high SPL. The Rode NT1-A is an XLR microphone with noise levels so low and very rich sounds.
When you purchase the pack will also include a shock mount and pop filter so if you are already armed with a mixer/interface to plug the XLR microphone, then you will be good to go.
The NT1-A is great for all podcaster amateurs who want to upgrade into professionals.
#3. Pro Caster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone By RODE
The pro caster microphone is tailor-made for frequency response, which means it works towards delivering crisp audios which is a huge plus for any podcaster.
The dynamic mic features a tight polar pattern, internal shock mounting capsule for reducing handling noises, and an internal pop-filter that reduces plosives sounds that could potentially distort your audio recording.
Another great feature is the solid built; a lot of customers swear it feels like a truck! That guarantees that it can’t be easily damaged from falls and will be durable.
We would recommend Rode Pro Caster mic to any podcaster who is serious about minimizing background noises to achieve clear professional qualitysounds. The price is a bit high but worth it.
#4. Yeti USB Microphone By Blue Microphone
USB condenser microphones are among the most commonly used for podcasting, and the Blue Yeti is one of them. It is loved for being reasonably priced but also coupled with great features that simply allow you to unpack it and start recording.
One of its best features is having three different condenser capsules all combined in one; allowing you to record in many settings. You can do a solo recording, two-person face to face recording, and group recording. It is so user friendly even for beginners; you can simply plug it into the computer via USB or use XLR output if you want superior quality sound. Unlike many others that will require you to purchase a stand separately, Yeti comes with its own stand.
When you consider its flexibility, ease of use, stand-alone ready to use and price, we think it’s great for podcasters. Be warned though; the microphone is heavy
#5. Hyper X Quadcast Microphone By Hyper X
Hyper X Quadcast is designed to function as an all-inclusive standalone microphone for streamers, gamers and podcasters. It has impressive features that help to eliminate noise such as the anti-vibration shock mount for reducing movement sounds, built-in pop filters for reducing muffling and pop noises.
The microphone offers you four polar patterns to choose from: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. To suit your desired sound, all you do is use the gain control to adjust sensitivity to any interfering noises.
The Hyper X Quad microphone also eliminates chances of unintentional recording. It has a Led indicator to indicate the status of the mic and turns red when you are ready to record. Also featured, is a tap-to-mute function that allows you to mute without delays.
Although you can use the microphone for podcasting, it is best suited for gaming and streaming.
#7. Go Portable Microphone By Samson
The Samson Go is a USB condenser microphone with two pick up patterns: cardioid and omnidirectional. The two options are great for recording single person podcasts or group podcasts, and acoustic instruments for your podcast. Of course it will also pick some unwanted noise, but they can be eliminated when you post the podcast, leaving you with clear good quality sound. The microphone also has an inbuilt headphone output that lets you monitor your voice as well as your playback recordings with zero latency.
Another great feature of the Go mic that many users adore is that it is compact and has a foldable design. So you are not limited if you are always on the move, you can carry your mic with you and record those ideas wherever you are.
We highly recommend the Samson Go mic for travelling podcasters, who also want a budget friendly mic that has good quality sound output.
#8. Razer Seiren Elite By Razer
This is one beautiful piece most users would agree. For podcast and streaming, it will give you rich, warmer and clean sounds because it has a dynamic capsule that ensures minimal electronic interferences.
Its best feature and probably why it’s so highly-priced, is the High Pass Filter Cuts for eliminating those low-frequency vibrations in the background that would otherwise make your recording not to be crystal clear.
We think it produces high quality sounds and is well built and beautiful, but the features are not worth such a hefty price.
#9. ATR 2100-USB Cardioid Dynamics USBXLR BY Audio-Technica
This handheld microphone has both USB and XLR output connections and extended frequency response making it suitable for podcasters to record their shows on computer or even connect to a sound system to record live performances, voice overs etc.
The cardioid polar pattern eliminates background noise that would be picked from the sides and rear, and isolates your desired source leaving your sound clear. However, because it is a dynamic mic, it does not have warmth.
A package includes a desk tripod stand, threaded clamp stand. Also, the mic has an inbuilt headphone jack that allows you to listen back and monitor the output with no delays.
ATR2100 is an affordable mic, easy to use, and has all the features anyone looking into podcasting would need.
#10. Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone By Blue Microphone
Isn’t it great to have a microphone that would produce not only high quality audios for your podcast record but also clear sounds when you record on Skype, YouTube, and FaceTime too? Well, that’s what the condenser capsule on Snowball allows you to achieve.
This USB microphone comes with a tripod stand, so you just mount it on your table, plug the microphone into your computer and start recording. That simple and fast! No setup drivers needed. You can also record instruments, vocals, and voice overs.
For people interested in starting a podcast or are already in podcast business but interested in changing their microphone, Snowball is a great choice. It is among the most affordable and the best in performance for its price range.
#11. AT2020 USB Plus By Audio Technica
It is a USB cardioid condenser microphone that will give you high quality professional sounds. With its extended frequency response, it will suit podcast recording even from a home studio.
Unlike dynamic mics, the AT2020 tends to produce a warmer sound which means you can record at higher volumes. The headphone jack lets you monitor and adjust the microphone output without any delays. At the same time, the mix control and volume controls allow you to blend your microphone signal and pre-recorded audios and adjust the volume to your liking.
Most users agree that the microphone is very well built, produces high quality audios and that you will be guaranteed of its durability. The price is a bit high, but reasonable.
#12. Aston Stealth
The Aston Stealth is in the high end range of cardioid microphones. It is a broadcast cardioid condenser microphone ideal for studio applications or live stage.
One of its outstanding features is the four settings; you can vary the voice into four different ways. It’s like getting four mics for the price of one. Other features include built-in Class A mic preamp which eliminates the need for gain lifting device and a unique Sorbothane internal shock mount. You can also use it with or without phantom power.
The mic has a sturdy built, features cutting edge technology, superb audio quality, and has great flexibility with user settings. With such features, it is no shocker that it’s very pricey.