Choosing the perfect microphone is a critical decision for any podcaster. It's not just about finding the most expensive or feature-packed option; it's about understanding your needs and finding a microphone that complements your voice, budget and recording environment.
Here at Memberful, we understand the importance of selecting the perfect podcast mic for your business. After all, we run a podcast too!
in this comprehensive guide, we unveil the top contenders, ensuring that you deliver the best podcast for your community. Let’s dive in!
Looking for more introductory information about starting a podcast? Check out our guide How to record a podcast: Tips and tricks for audio success or learn how to build the perfect content creator kit at What is a content creator kit?.
Condenser vs. dynamic: Deciphering the difference
Before diving into our top picks, it's crucial to understand the distinction between condenser and dynamic microphones.
Condenser microphones are renowned for their sensitivity and accuracy in capturing nuanced sounds, making them ideal for studio setups. This might be best if your podcast is focused on conversations between two or more people.
On the other hand, dynamic microphones excel in handling high sound pressure levels, making them perfect for live recordings and versatile environments. This would be best if your podcast reports on live events.
Factors to consider when choosing a microphone
Here are a couple of things to bear in mind when you are looking for the perfect podcast mic:
The polar pattern of a microphone determines how it captures sound. The most common patterns are:
- Cardioid: Picks up sound primarily from the front, minimizing background noise.
- Omnidirectional: Captures sound from all directions, making it suitable for group recordings or ambient sounds.
- Bidirectional (Figure-8): Records from the front and back, ideal for interviews.
Consider your budget, but remember that a higher price tag doesn't necessarily equate to better quality. There are excellent microphones available at various price points.
Decent mid-range podcast mics range in price from around $50 to $1,000 although some high-end podcast mics might cost around $3,000 – and some professional-level microphones can cost over $10,000! It's important to set a budget before you start shopping, so that you don't overspend.
Choose between USB and XLR microphones based on your recording setup. USB microphones are plug-and-play, while XLR microphones offer more versatility and are often used in professional setups.
Top contenders for podcasting microphones
Prices correct at time of publication
Selecting the ideal mic for podcasting depends on various factors, including your recording environment, budget, and personal preferences. If possible, test different options or speak to podcaster friends to determine which microphone aligns best with your podcasting goals.
1. Rode PodMic – $99
The Rode PodMic is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern. It's designed specifically for podcasting and broadcasts, and it offers excellent sound quality at a very affordable price.
Key features of the Rode PodMic include:
The PodMic has a warm, full-bodied sound that is perfect for capturing the nuances of speech. It is also able to handle high SPLs without distorting.
The PodMic has an internal pop filter to help reduce plosive sounds, which are those harsh 'p' and 'b' sounds that can ruin a recording.
The PodMic comes with a swing mount that allows you to easily position the microphone where you need it, as well as an internal shockmount to help isolate it from vibrations.
For more information, go to rode.com >.
2. Shure MV7 – $349
The Shure MV7 is a hybrid microphone that can be used as a dynamic microphone or a condenser microphone.
It has a cardioid pickup pattern and offers excellent sound quality in both modes. This is the microphone we use here at Memberful!
Key features of the Shure MV7 include:
Dynamic capsule technology handles loud sound levels without distorting, making it suitable for streaming and gaming.
Voice-isolating technology reduces background noise, ensuring your vocal performance remains clear and focused.
The ShurePlus MOTIV app provides advanced audio control, allowing you to customize the mic's settings and adjust equalization, gain, and compression.
The MV7 mic is Zoom Certified, ensuring seamless compatibility with Zoom virtual meetings and conferencing platforms.
For more information, go to shure.com >.
3. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ – $165
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is a condenser microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern. It's a popular choice for podcasters because it offers excellent sound quality at a reasonable price.
Key features of the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ include:
The AT2020USB+ inherits the quality of the AT2020, a studio-level condenser microphone. It produces audio with extended frequency response, ideal for capturing spoken word.
The USB connection eliminates the need for external interfaces or preamps, making it a plug-and-play solution with computers and laptops.
The built-in headphone jack with adjustable volume allows for direct monitoring of your signal without latency or lag.
For more information, go to audio-technica.com >.
4.Logitech Blue Yeti – $159
The Blue Yeti is a condenser microphone with four pickup patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid, bidirectional, and stereo.
It's a versatile microphone that can be used for a variety of tasks, including podcasting, streaming, and voice acting.
Key features of the Logitech Blue Yeti include:
This mic offers four polar patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid, bidirectional, useful for capturing everything from a single person talking to a group of people playing acoustic instruments.
The Blue Yeti connects directly to computers via USB, eliminating the need for external audio interfaces or preamps.
The Blue Yeti features direct-access controls for gain, mute, and headphone monitoring, allowing for quick adjustments during recording.
The Blue Yeti includes a built-in pop filter to minimize plosive sounds, reducing distracting "popping" sounds.
For more information, go to logitechg.com >.
5. Electro-Voice RE20 – $269
The Electro-Voice RE20 is a well-established dynamic microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern. It's a professional-grade microphone that's known for its excellent sound quality and durability.
Key features of the Electro-Voice RE20 include:
The RE20 employs a Variable-D capsule, which provides a wide, flat frequency response and excellent rejection of off-axis sound.
This makes it ideal for capturing clear and focused vocals without picking up unwanted background noise.
The RE20 features an internal pop filter that reduces plosive sounds, the sharp 'popping' sounds that can occur when pronouncing consonants like 'p' and 'b'"
This prevents harshness and ensures a clean and natural vocal recording.
Wide frequency response
The RE20 boasts a wide frequency response of 45 Hz to 18,000 Hz, capturing a full range of frequencies without coloration.
This allows it to reproduce voices, instruments, and sound effects accurately and naturally.
For more information, go to electrovoice.com >.
6. Neumann U87 Ai – $3299
The Neumann U87 Ai is a condenser microphone that is considered to be one of the best microphones in the world. It is known for its warm, rich sound and its ability to capture all the nuances of a performance.
Key features of the Neumann U87 Ai include:
The U87 Ai utilizes a large-diaphragm condenser capsule, which captures a wide range of frequencies with exceptional clarity and detail.
The U87 Ai offers three polar patterns: cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional.
This versatility allows you to tailor the microphone's pickup pattern to the specific recording or sound reinforcement application.
High SPL handling
The U87 Ai can handle high sound pressure levels (SPLs) without distortion, making it ideal for recording loud instruments and vocals.
For more information, go to neumann.com >.
7. Sennheiser MK 4 Digital – $375
The Sennheiser MK 4 Digital is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern. It features a 1-inch true condenser capsule for a warm, rich sound with excellent detail and clarity.
Key features of the Sennheiser MK 4 Digital include:
The MK 4 Digital utilizes Sennheiser's Varimotion capsule technology and a large-diaphragm condenser capsule, which ensures a smooth and consistent frequency response over the entire audio spectrum with high fidelity audio.
The exceptionally low self-noise level makes it suitable for recording even the quietest sounds without introducing unwanted noise.
High SPL Handling
This mic can handle high sound pressure levels (SPLs) without distortion, making it ideal for recording loud instruments and vocals.
For more information, go to sennheiser.com >.
FAQs about the best microphone for podcasting
How do I set up a microphone for podcasting?
Setting up a microphone involves connecting it to your recording device, adjusting the gain, and positioning it correctly. Ensure that you're in a quiet environment and test the recording levels before starting.
Can I use a smartphone as a podcasting microphone?
While smartphones have built-in microphones, they may not offer the audio quality needed for professional podcasting. Consider investing in an external microphone for better results.
Should I invest in additional accessories for my microphone?
Accessories like pop filters, shock mounts, and foam windscreens can enhance your recording quality by reducing plosives and background noise.
How do I maintain and clean my microphone?
Use a gentle brush or compressed air to remove dust and debris from the microphone grille. Avoid blowing directly into the microphone as moisture can damage the internal components.
Can I use a microphone for remote interviews or co-hosting?
Yes, consider using a microphone with an omnidirectional pattern for group recordings or invest in a mixer to accommodate multiple microphones.
Conclusion: Best microphone for podcasting
Selecting the best microphone for podcasting is a crucial step towards producing high-quality content. Consider your specific needs, recording environment, and budget to find the perfect fit. The options presented here are not only industry leaders but also cater to a spectrum of preferences and budgets.
With the right microphone in hand, you'll be well on your way to creating engaging and professional podcasts that captivate your audience. Happy podcasting!
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