Picking the Best Microphone for Podcasting

Picking the Best Microphone for Podcasting

It’s easy enough to understand the appeal of podcasting. It’s a more engaging way for you to communicate with potential customers, as it feels more natural to hear your voice than to read your words on a screen. You can easily pace yourself and emphasize various words. People can listen to you while they’re working on their computers or while driving.

It’s simple for you to set up a podcast, compared to the setup required for a video. Of course, to maximize the potential of this type of communication, you need to pick the best microphone for podcasting that suits your requirements.

Podcasting Microphone Buying Guide

But how do you pick the best? Price isn’t always the only factor to consider, since picking a cheap mic can cost you more in terms of podcasting quality. On the other hand, just because a microphone is expensive doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s also excellent for your needs.

Here are some factors you need to consider:

  • Picking up the sound. Your voice should sound rich and full regardless of where it’s coming from. The mic shouldn’t also require you to focus on a much smaller area of the mic so you don’t get noticeable variations in sound level, as most people find this difficult to do. People tend to move their heads a lot. A mic can be bi-directional, so you can place it in the middle of an interview. Or it can even be multi-directional, so it can pick up the voices in a large meeting.
  • Noise reduction. Standard microphones can pick various vibrations, so you need a mic that filters out these noises. Often a mic can pick up lots of low-frequency vibrations that can really screw up the quality of your podcast.
  • Dynamic or condenser. Sound quality and noise reduction depend greatly on whether you pick a dynamic or condenser microphone. The basic difference between the two is that the condenser mic tends to pick up vocal nuances much better, though it also picks up a lot of background noise as well.
  • Easy setup. It should be simple enough to connect the mic to your computer and to adjust its position. Some mics are easy enough to connect through USB, though others may require a special adaptor.
  • Easy controls. There should be no trouble adjusting volume and gain levels, and you should be able to mute the mic quickly when you need to. It should also be possible to customize the sound.
  • Accessories. Some of these mics come in a package, including various stands and mounts and even accessories that act as filters.
  • Durability. It would be nice if the mic doesn’t wear down after regular use. It’s also better if you have a mic that still works even after you accidentally drop it.

5 Best Microphones for Podcasting

Let’s take a quick look at some of the best options you have for a podcasting mic:

#1 Blue Yeti USB Microphone

This is an absolute online bestseller for podcasting microphones, and it’s easy enough to see why. That’s literally true since its retro design looks great, and it’s available in different colors.

Features

  • This is a USB mic that doesn’t need any driver to install, and it works for Windows or Mac PCs.
  • It offers several recording modes. It can record when you’re directly in front of it, or you can set the recording mode to stereo, bidirectional, or even multi-directional.
  • The simple controls let you adjust the headphone volume and microphone gain, and you can mute it instantly too.
  • You can adjust the angle of the mic, and then secure it in place with screws. You can also remove it from its base for field recordings.
  • It’s backed by a 2-year warranty.

Pros

  • The retro design encourages people to talk more, because it just looks like those old-school microphones of yesteryear.
  • The setup is wonderfully easy, so you minimize the frustration of getting started.
  • Controls are easy to use, so you can customize the settings that are appropriate for your needs.
  • Adjusting the angle is simple, too.
  • The quality of the sound is great, and it can give listeners an “in the moment” feeling when listening to your podcasts.

Cons

  • The shockmount needed to filter ambient noise is optional.
  • You also need to buy a pop filter to filter exploding “P” sounds.
  • It’s a bit heavy, so field use isn’t really all that easy.

Summary

For many new users to podcasting, this is a terrific buy. Everything is easy, from setup to controls, while the quality of the sound is great for the price. It even looks fantastic, and your podcast can feel like an old-timey interview set during WWII. It can pick up your voice from a foot or two away, and so you can relax and talk naturally.

All you really need to do is to get the pop filter installed so you can make your voice sound more professional, and you’re good to go.

#2 Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone

If you’re the lone speaker in your podcast and you’re having trouble keeping out the ambient noise, this Procaster may be the best solution for your problem. Rode mics are well-known for their high-end sound quality, and this will get you to sound like a real pro. Rode does offer a PODcaster microphone model, and you’d think that it’s this other mic with its USB connectability which would be best suited for podcasting.

But the Procaster tends to get the lion’s share of the attention due to its excellent features.

Features

  • It’s tailored for voice, with an internal pop filter that reduces explosive P sounds. What you get is broadcast-quality sound.
  • It’s designed to reduce ambient noise pickup, so it offers terrific noise rejection.
  • Its construction is completely made of all-metal, so it’s really designed to last. While it does come with a standard 1-year warranty, it’s possible to extend the warranty to 10 years.
  • It comes with several accessories, including a stand mount, a zip pouch for transport, and a ⅜-inch adaptor.

Pros

  • The resulting sound quality is amazing, you won’t end up embarrassed by how you sound over the podcast.
  • This works well when you’re worried about ambient noise that can louse up the podcast, such as cleaning noises from other rooms or traffic sounds from outside. It focuses solely on your direction, so the noises from other directions re summarily rejected.
  • This will last for a long time.
  • You have some accessories to enjoy.

Cons

  • The 10-year warranty isn’t automatic.
  • It’s not USB-enabled.
  • You still need to get a shock mount separately.

Summary

It’s a step above the entry-level mics—that’s for sure. Its sound quality is so good that the value for money proposition is amazing. It’s basically a mid-range podcast mic that offers high-end voice quality so you sound like a professional broadcaster.

Of course, this does have its own set of drawbacks. There’s no mic that’s perfect. This is ideal if you really want to make sure your voice sounds good, without going over your budget in the process. At the same time, it’s also more suitable for various settings that can have lots of ambient noise to distract from what you’re saying.

With this Procaster, you simply end up with a professional-sounding podcast.

#3 CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone

Now for some people, there’s no large budget for a podcasting studio. In fact, podcasting may even be more of a lark than a serious marketing tactic. But just because your budget is limited doesn’t mean you need to use just any standard microphone or that you have to use a microphone that’s a little more than a toy.

Instead, you can just use the CAD U37.

Features

  • This is a big condenser microphone that you connect to your PC via USB. It’s compatible with both Windows and Macs, and you don’t even need any special software to install it. Plug it in a USB port, pick it as the input for your recording, and you’re good to go.
  • It comes with 2 switches at the front. One switch lets you adjust the sensitivity of the mic, so you can put it on the “0” position for normal voices and “-10” for very loud voices and noises.
  • The other switch lets you control the bass pickup. For most cases you can have it on “normal bass” mode. But you can set it to “bass reduction” mode to reduce the recording of low frequencies, or if you’re worried about ventilation or wind noise.

Pros

  • This is extremely easy to set up, with no fuss whatsoever. The USB cable is even 10 feet long so you have lots of options as to where to put the microphone. A desktop mic stand is even part of the purchase.
  • It sounds great for speeches and for singing, as well as for instruments.
  • With the two switches, you have options for noise reduction so that you don’t end up with loud noises and deep frequencies marring the podcast.

Cons

  • There’s no instant mute button. To adjust the mic properties you have to use your computer. There isn’t even an on/off switch.
  • Noise reduction features can end up lowering the quality of the voice recording as well.
  • It’s not really meant for field work at all.

Summary

Constantly balancing the voice quality and the noise reduction can be done more easily with post-production editing software. This means that for live podcasts, this can be a problematic option for you. However, for recorded podcasts that you can clean up afterward, this is a perfectly viable choice with your limited budget.

You can end up with pro-sounding podcasts without spending too much, as long as you can fix any issues with post-production editing.

#4 Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone

Audio-Technica offers a cheaper AT2020USBi model, and there’s an AT2005USB model too. So first remember that you need to get the AT2020USB+ (the one with the plus sign). All these models have the critically acclaimed sound of the AT2020 mic, but the USB+ model is what you need to get for your podcasts.

Features

  • This is connected to your PC through USB, and it’s perfectly plug and play.
  • It’s a cardioid mic, so you don’t really need a sealed studio to minimize the noise. It will focus on the sound coming from a single direction.
  • It comes with a headphone jack with volume control. This allows you to directly monitor your mic signal without a half-or full-second delay that’s very common with PC monitoring.
  • There’s also a mix control feature that lets you mix your mic signal with pre-recorded
  • The accessories included in your purchase includes a pivoting stand mount, and adapter, a tripod desk stand, a 10-foot USB cable, and a soft protective pouch.

Pros

  • The setup is no-fuss easy.
  • With the headphone jack, you can monitor the signal with no delay.
  • The sound quality is terrific if you’re the only person talking.
  • You get lots of goodies among the accessories.

Cons

  • For interviews and group meetings, it’s not such a good mic to use.

Summary

This can be a great podcast mic to get if you’re only getting a mic for yourself. It’s so easy to set up that you won’t end up getting frustrated. The cardioid design cuts down on ambient noises on the recording. The sound quality is frankly fantastic, so you’ll end up with a truly professional sounding podcast that will wow your listeners.

#5 Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, Cardioid

This is the budget version of the Blue Snowball, which means you don’t need to splurge for your podcasts if you don’t have the money. It’s possible to get this in a package with either the arm stand or the pop filter, but even as is, it offers lots of benefits for podcasters.

Features

  • It does come with its own adjustable stand, and you only need to plug the USB cable into the PC to use it. That’s all you need to use this at home or in the office, with your desktop PC, or with a laptop.
  • It offers 16-bit pro-quality audio that lets you use it with Skype or for voice-over video narration. Obviously it’s also useful for podcasts too.
  • This cardioid mic can pick up your voice without having to be set up too near your face.

Pros

  • Considering its low cost, the quality of the podcast sound is amazing.
  • It’s extremely easy to use, so podcast newbies have a mic that’s both simple and affordable. The setup is no trouble either.
  • It also works well as a Skype mic, so it’s not limited in how you use it. It’s also great for gaming and for adding voice-overs for your videos.

Cons

  • It doesn’t have any omnidirectional mode, so it’s not perfect for interviews and group discussions.
  • You’ll need to add a basic acoustic shield plus a pop filter for optimal quality.
  • The USB cable is only 6 feet long, not 10 feet.

Summary

If you do have a limited budget for a podcast mic, this works very well. That’s mainly because the sound quality you do get with the iCE doesn’t sound cheap at all. Instead, it sounds much more professional and rich.

You do need to keep the ambient noise to a minimum as it doesn’t have the -10dB pad that can minimize noise pickup. You also don’t get the omnidirectional mode for group discussions. But if it’s just you doing all the talking, you just need this iCE to do your recording.

Final Verdict

So which one should you get? Ultimately, this is your choice. We’ve narrowed down your options so that you only have five models to choose from. Make your choice depending on your budget and the type of usage you envision for your podcasts.

However, if you want a definitive recommendation, we don’t have any problem suggesting that you get the Blue Yeti first. The main reason why it’s so popular and highly acclaimed is that it’s simply that good, and at its price range it’s undoubtedly terrific. With the Blue Yeti all your immediate concerns are addressed. It’s easy to setup, and you have all the various controls you can easily access.

You can have different modes to choose from, so you can talk all by yourself, do an interview, or have a group discussion and this one mic can do it all.

This will work very reliably and it will last for a long time. It even looks fantastic. It’s easy enough to overlook the importance of a mic’s visual appeal until you encounter the retro design of the Blue Yeti. Its old-school charm encourages you to speak well, and the resulting recording can really boost the quality of your podcasts.

Many consider the Blue Yeti as the best microphone for podcasting, and very likely you’ll end up a fan when you use it too.