The 6 Best Podcast Microphones + How to Pick Yours [2021]

As we run profitable boot camps with aspiring podcasters and develop our personal podcast household right here at SPI, the subject of podcasting tech has by no means been extra well timed. And on the subject of tech, a very powerful $$ you plunk down shall be in your podcast microphone. There are extra podcasting mics on the market than you'll be able to shake a pop filter at, and it’s simple to get overwhelmed, particularly when you’re out there on your first one. Read on for a information to among the hottest podcasting mics at totally different worth factors to assist you decide in your subsequent recording tech funding.

Before we get began, although, a pair issues to remember!

First off, it is inconceivable to evaluation each mic on the market, so I’m simply going to deal with a couple of of the preferred ones at totally different worth factors.

Second, one beauty of podcast microphone buying is that it’s simple to pay attention and comparability store from the consolation of your own home workplace: simply hop on-line and seek for audio samples! I’ve included a couple of on this article from Pat’s YouTube microphone opinions.

Okay, right here’s what to anticipate on this publish:

A Good Mic Is No Excuse for a Bad Podcast (But It Helps)The Podcast Mics for Getting Started and Sounding GoodThe Podcast Mics for Getting Serious and Not Breaking the BankThe Podcast Mics for Taking Things to the Next LevelMic Check, Better Understand Your Mic Tech: Podcast Microphone Terms and FeaturesSounding Even Better with Your New Podcasting Mic

[Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.]

A Good Mic Is No Excuse for a Bad Podcast (But It Helps)

You most likely knew this, nevertheless it bears saying: even an amazing mic received’t save a mediocre podcast. 

As podcaster extraordinaire Randy Wilburn stated in his interview on the weblog in 2020, “If you do not have nice content material, I do not care. You can have fifty Heil PR 40s in your workplace. It’s not gonna matter as a result of no person’s gonna pay attention.”

And he is proper. That stated, the bar for audio high quality on podcasts has been raised lately. Thankfully, except your funds is actually tight, there’s no purpose you'll be able to’t sound fairly darn good. And sounding fairly darn good begins with—you guessed it, a top quality podcasting microphone. (That means, no, the headphones that got here along with your mobile phone or that headset you used for convention calls again in 2012 ain’t gonna lower it.)

If that is your podcasting setup, I really feel dangerous for you, son. Fresh apple, although.

With that out of the way in which, learn on as I cowl some stable podcasting mic choices from $50 to $300+. I’ve additionally embedded Pat’s video opinions of a number of of the mics so you'll be able to truly hear what they sound like and make up your personal thoughts.

The Podcast Mics for Getting Started and Sounding Good

We’ll begin off with two favorites that are available effectively beneath $100: the Blue Snowball Ice ($50) and the Samson Q2U ($60 to $70).

Blue Snowball Ice

The Blue Snowball Ice is a stable starter mic. It’s not going to blow your socks off, nevertheless it’ll even be apparent to your viewers that you simply’re not utilizing your laptop computer’s built-in mic. If you’re on a funds, the Ice might be simply the ticket.

Mic sort: Condenser (cardioid), USB.

Pros: Affordable. Definitely a step up audio quality-wise out of your inner mic or an affordable exterior one.

Cons: You must be near the mic to get the very best sound—however look ahead to distortion, too. Minimal choices (no acquire management, headphone enter, or mute button). Only captures 44.1kHz/16-bit audio. Placement will not be adjustable when utilizing the included stand. Some customers report construct high quality points.

Best Podcast Microphone 🎤 (Under $75 + USB) (ATR-2100, Samson Q2U, Snowball Ice)

Samson Q2U ($60)

The Samson Q2U may be the very best podcast mic worth on the market. If you’re trying on the Blue Snowball Ice, I strongly suggest you take into account throwing down one other few clams to get the Samson. 

Mic sort: Dynamic (cardioid), USB/XLR.

Pros: Includes USB and XLR outputs, plus a headphone jack. Comes with a desktop tripod stand, extension piece, mic clip, windscreen, and USB and XLR cables. And in contrast to the ATR2100x’s (see under), these equipment are fairly sturdy.

Cons: None, actually. It received’t blow you away, however is that what you’re on the lookout for at this worth level?

Which Mic is Best? Battle of the USB/XLR Combo Mics (Under $100) for Podcasting & Live Streaming (ATR-2100, ATR-2100x, Samson Q2U)

The Podcast Mics for Getting Serious and Not Breaking the Bank

The Samson Q2U is nice. It’s actually arduous to beat at its worth level. But as your podcast begins to take off and also you get extra recording reps beneath your belt, you may end up wanting a bit one thing additional within the audio high quality division. Thankfully, there are alternatives that provides you with the enhance you’re in search of with out breaking the financial institution. 

ATR2100x-USB ($99)

This subsequent mic is actually near the Samson Q2U when it comes to audio profile. I believe the ATR2100x sounds a bit higher—it’s as much as you to determine if it’s value the additional $40. It additionally comes with an adjunct package, however let’s simply say the equipment don’t appear to have been constructed with robustness in thoughts.

Pros: Subtle however noticeable sound high quality enhancements over the Samson Q2U, and a stable improve over its beloved predecessor, the ATR2100. Connects by way of USB-C and XLR.

Cons: Costs $30-$40 greater than the Samson. Accessories should not so nice.

New ATR 2100x USB-C (Mic Test & Review) – Audiotechnica ATR-2100 Replacement – Podcast Gear

Blue Yeti ($130)

The Blue Yeti is among the hottest podcasting mics round, and for good purpose. It provides stable sound, sturdy construct high quality, and flexibility in a classy bundle. It’s pricier than the ATR2100x, nevertheless it provides extra choices when it comes to polar sample, so you should use it for solo recording, one-on-one interviews, and even roundtable discussions.

Mic sort: Condenser (cardioid, omnidirectional, determine eight, stereo), USB.

Pros: Sturdy. Includes acquire management, headphone enter (with quantity management), and mute button. Four recording modes provide you with appreciable versatility.

Cons: USB solely. Pricier than the superb ATR2100x. Prone to desk bumps when you use it with the desk stand (get that increase arm!).

The Podcast Mics for Taking Things to the Next Level

If you’ve been podcasting for some time and are able to up your audio high quality sport, then it’s time to enter the realm of XLR mics. This is the place the worlds of podcasting and professional audio intersect and your choices widen much more.

This can be the place issues get dearer, each when it comes to the microphone itself and the extra gear you’ll must make it work along with your podcasting setup. Any XLR mic goes to wish an extra interface to amplify the mic’s sign in order that it’s loud sufficient to truly work with.

Heil PR-40 ($329)

The Heil PR-40 is solely a great-sounding mic. It’s generally thought-about probably the greatest dynamic microphones you will get at its worth level. It’s additionally a really quiet mic, which will be good—it received’t add a lot if any hum to your recordings—and dangerous—you might have to spice up the sign with a preamp or mixer to acceptable ranges, and it could choose up extra ambient noise consequently.

Mic sort: Dynamic (cardioid), XLR.

Pros: Designed to be used with spoken phrase, with a wealthy low-end frequency response. Quiet—the PR-40 introduces little or no self-noise.

Cons: Pricy. Needs an influence enhance to get loud, and a sound-treated surroundings to keep away from choosing up room noise.

Shure SM7B ($399)

The Shure SM7B is one other well-built, fantastic-sounding mic, nevertheless it does are available at a worth tier above the Heil, and also you’ll clearly must consider the price of a preamp. The preinstalled pop filter is a pleasant contact, although. Some customers report further sound high quality advantages from utilizing a mic activator (primarily an amplifier simply on your microphone), however that’ll add one other $60 to $200 to your buying cart.

Mic sort: Dynamic (cardioid), XLR.

Pros: Lauded for its vocal replica (which is sweet when you’re podcasting!). Offers three frequency response modes. Comes preinstalled with a pop filter. Well constructed.

Cons: Pricy. Heavy.

Mic Check, Better Understand Your Mic Tech: Podcast Microphone Terms and Features

Before we depart, let’s cowl some technical terminology you need to know to help in your seek for the proper podcasting mic.

Boom arm: an adjustable arm that attaches to the mic and offers you flexibility in inserting itCondenser mic: also referred to as a capacitor mic, generally used to seize vocals and excessive frequencies as a consequence of its larger responsiveness to the nuances of sound waves. Condensers are typically extra delicate than dynamic mics.Dynamic mic: dynamic mics use magnets to show sound waves into electrical indicators (mainly, the alternative of a speaker). They’re typically much less delicate however extra sturdy than condenser mics.Frequency response: the vary of audible frequencies, from low to excessive, that a microphone will choose up.Mixer: a console that permits you to enter audio from numerous sources, then mix, course of, and monitor the audio from these sourcesMic activator: a sort of amplifier designed so as to add acquire to the sign from a low-output microphonePolar sample or mode: how a lot audio sign shall be picked up by the microphone from totally different instructionsPop filter/windscreen: a meshed filter that reduces extreme pressures on the mic from the breath and vocal plosives (“p,” “b,” “ok,” and so on. sounds)Preamp: brief for preamplifier, a tool that amplifies low-level indicators (comparable to these from an XLR mic) to “line” degree to be used in recordingShockmount: a mount that dampens vibrations that may be picked up by the micUSB: Universal Serial Bus, a connector that permits you to plug your podcast mic instantly into your laptop (“plug and play”)XLR: a three-pronged connector typical in studio/stage microphones that requires an extra interface (comparable to a mixer or preamp) to make use of the mic along with your laptop

Sounding Even Better with Your New Podcasting Rig

Speaking of podcasting tech, I undoubtedly suggest choosing up a couple of equipment on your mic to make your podcast recording go smoother, particularly: a increase arm to simply place the mic, a shock mount to scale back undesirable vibrations, and a pop filter or windscreen to scale back breath blasts and plosives. Here are some stable choices:

Finally, recording along with your new mic isn’t nearly plugging it in and hitting file. Here are some ideas and techniques that can assist you take advantage of out of your new funding.

Top 10 Podcast Recording Tips to Sound Like a Podcasting Pro—UPDATED!

Podcasting is among the strongest methods to construct your model and viewers. Here are ten 10 recording ideas for producing skilled, partaking episodes that can preserve your listeners coming again for extra.

AP 0797: How Can I Improve How I Sound on a Microphone?

Here are some nice ideas for sounding higher with what you’ve obtained. (Spoiler: follow.)

Finding the Right Fit For You and Your Podcast

We’ve solely scratched the floor of what’s on the market on the subject of podcast mics, particularly when you’re able to enterprise into the world of XLR and preamps. When I used to be recording for Flops, I used a Sterling Audio ST55 XLR mic right into a Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB interface. I like the general sound they produced, however the combo of a finicky condenser mic and adjustable preamp meant quite a lot of tweaking mic placement and enter ranges to make issues sound excellent.

So who is aware of, possibly subsequent time (Flops season 2? ¯_(ツ)_/¯) I’ll choose up one thing a bit extra plug and play. The Samson Q2U, maybe? Time will inform. In any case, I hope this publish has helped you decide about your first (or fifth) podcast microphone!

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