Every man and his dog seems to have a podcast – but why? It’s not surprising when you consider the fact that launching a podcast is a fantastic way to grow an audience and loyal following for your business. Of course, the first thing you need to record a podcast is a microphone! Here, I will give you a rundown of the best podcast microphones for every budget.

The important decisions before you choose a microphone.

When I was starting my podcasting journey with Publish, Perish or Podcast, I felt completely overwhelmed by the terminology, features and technical aspects of choosing a microphone.

Here are the top three aspects that you need to consider before buying your microphone. I will explain everything

  • Dynamic or condenser? This is usually a matter of personal preference, but podcasters need to have an idea of what sort of sound quality they want. Dynamic sound can be more focused, but it usually has a warmer quality. Condenser mics are bright and clear, but they can also pick up more ambient noise. It’s all about finding the tone that you want.
  • XLR or USB? Do you want something that you can plug into your computer or do you want something that uses additional power? Deciding on your power source will dictate a lot of your options, as well as the microphones you have to choose from. Most USB mics are condenser mics, so keep that in mind. XLR will require additional power sources, but you can find both condenser and dynamic mics suited to it.
  • What’s your price range? For most podcasters, this is what makes or breaks a buying decision. If you’re trying out your first podcast, it’s best to start off with something a bit more affordable before investing in more advanced microphones or audio production software. The truth is, you might not need it. However, if you are more experienced in audio production and have high standards for sound quality and control, then it may be in your best interest to choose something that’s a bit more high-end.

Microphones

Rode Procaster

  • Featuring a tight polar pattern and tailored-for-voice frequency response – this means that it is best used up close and with a voice.
  • About $200 (check price on amazon – it changes regularly)
  • Features an internal pop filter – so no need to buy an extra one! Saving about $20.
  • All metal construction – so you can chuck it in your bag and trust that it’s going to survive the trip!

I have a soft spot for anything made by RODE. They seem to “get” their customers needs and provide the perfect solutions to the content their customers are creating.

This microphone cannot be connected to a computer via USB it has an XLR connector (the three little pins one). If USB connectivity is important for you, check out the Rode Podcaster. It is essentially the same mic but you can connect it straight to your computer!

Reviews online mention a lot of bass (or low notes) coming through the microphone and some report that it may also be a little on the quiet side. This is easy to fix with a little postproduction in your favourite audio editing suite.

The bottom line

This microphone is a great option for the money if you want to produce professional-quality recordings. However, the cost will soon add up if you have to buy additional microphones for multiple hosts or guests.

Blue Yeti USB Condenser Microphone

  • About $150 but check on Amazon as the price regularly changes.
  • Yeti uses Blue’s proprietary tri-capsule technology – this just means that you can make it suitable for multiple recording situations.
  • It does not require installation – simply plug it into your computer’s USB port (no XLR port)

This microphone has got four recording patterns. This means that you can adjust the recording pattern for a range of situations. For podcasting, you’d likely be using cardioid mode, for solo recording and Bidirectional mode if you are interviewing a guest (just make sure that you have fresh breath, first!).

Check out the four recording modes below:

Screengrab from Amazon

Among some of the drawbacks, reviewers have said that this microphone is bulky and heavy making it more suitable for tabletop use rather than carrying around to record people. And some have reported that the dial to switch among the modes is really tough to turn.

The bottom line

The Blue Yeti USB microphone is an inexpensive option that’s feature-rich and a versatile option. It plugs directly into the computer and will work if you are not planning on carrying it around a lot.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone

  • About $150 but check the price on Amazon as it changes regularly.
  • Connects to USB
  • Headphone jack with volume control allows so you can hear yourself while recording.
  • Comes with a tripod desk stand with folding legs – fine to start with but is cheap…

This is a good podcasting microphone if all you are doing is recording podcasts and a single voice. The online reviews say that the mic is very sensitive so consider that if you are recording in a slightly noisy environment.

The bottom line

Go with this mic if you want something slightly cheaper than the Procaster and don’t need a large array of recording options. Put this on a boom stand and it’ll be perfect to record for Youtube too!

Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

  • Goes for about $100 but check the price on Amazon as it changes a lot.
  • The cutest most portable microphone on the list!
  • Custom compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk
  • Ideal for voice recognition software, iChat, VoIP and webcasting

This must be the cutest most portable microphone that I have ever used! Even though this mic is considered to be portable some of the reviews online say that it feels cheap and not up to the portability it promises. You cannot place the microphone on a stand because it lacks a universal screw adaptor.

The bottom line

If you are doing a load of “sit at a table” interviews or need an extremely portable microphone you really can’t go past this bargain. I think the use cases for a microphone like this re limited but it is worth considering if you want something small, portable, good sound quality and inexpensive.

Audio- Technica ART2100-USB

  • About $100 on Amazon – check out the price though it changes regularly.
  • Dual USB digital output and XLR analog output
  • Smooth, extended frequency response ideally suited for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording, voiceover, and on-stage use
  • Built-in headphone jack allows you to directly monitor your microphone output.
  • Recording pattern reduces pickup of unwanted sounds from the sides and rear.

This, my friends, is the microphone that I use to record publish perish or podcast with two friends. It is probably the best feature-rich microphone you can get for the price. I am very happy with the quality of the sound recording and the fact that I have both options for USB and XLR recording.

This microphone has been dropped, carried in a bag and carried all over the country without a hitch. Some people have reported that the USB connector has slipped into the microphone body but largely the online reviews show that people are happy with the microphone. Oh, the stand that comes with the microphone is a little cheap – get another one!

The bottom line

this is the one I have used the most. I’m very happy with it..if you are looking for one of the best podcast microphones at this price point, look no further!

Next steps?

Check out my other blogs on podcasting mistakes people make, my two people full podcasting kit and how to make your podcast sound professional.

If you’d like some more help, get in contact with me!