The Best Podcast Microphones For Any Budget In 2023
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I’m here to help you unleash your vocal superpowers and take your podcasting game to new heights. Are you ready for the ultimate mic drop moment?
Picture this: You’re sitting in front of your shiny podcast microphone, ready to record your latest episode. But wait! Are you using the right microphone to capture the full richness and resonance of your voice?
In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the world of podcast microphones, exploring a plethora of options that cater to every budget and style. From the quirky and budget-friendly to the high-end powerhouses, we’ll cover it all.
And guess what? You won’t need a degree in sound engineering to understand it all – I promise to keep it light! We’ll uncover the secrets behind dynamic and condenser mics, break down the differences between XLR and USB connectivity, and even explore the mystical world of polar patterns.
So, whether you’re a podcasting newbie, an aspiring radio host, or a seasoned audio wizard looking to level up your game, this guide is for you. Get ready to discover the podcast microphones that will transform your podcasting experience from “meh” to magnificent.
Are you excited? I know I am! Get ready to rock your podcasting world as we embark on this epic microphone adventure together.
Now find the best podcast microphone and make your voice shine like a podcasting superstar!
Types Of Popular Podcasting Microphones
A condenser mic, also known as a capacitor microphone, is a type of microphone that uses a capacitor to convert sound waves into an electrical signal.
- Sensitivity and Accuracy
Condenser mics are highly sensitive and capable of capturing subtle details and nuances in sound. They provide a more accurate representation of the recorded source, making them ideal for capturing vocals and acoustic instruments.
- Low Noise
A condenser mic has a low self-noise level, which means it can capture audio with minimal interference or background noises. This is particularly important for capturing quiet or delicate sounds.
While condenser microphones can be durable, they are generally more delicate compared to other dynamic microphones. Care must be taken to handle and store them properly to avoid damage.
A dynamic microphone is a type of microphone that uses a moving coil magnetic diaphragm to capture sound. Dynamic mics generally have a cardioid polar pattern, which means they are most sensitive to sound coming from the front and reject sound from the sides and rear.
- Resistant to moisture and humidity
A dynamic microphone is less sensitive to moisture and humidity compared to other podcasting microphone types, making them suitable for outdoor or high-moisture environments.
- Minimal power requirements
Dynamic mics do not require phantom power or batteries to operate and can be directly connected to audio devices or mixers.
- Heavier and bulkier
Due to their construction, dynamic microphones are generally heavier and bulkier than other types of microphones for podcasting. This can make them less suitable for applications that require lightweight and compact setups.
Dynamic or condenser mic?
Condenser microphones are known for their sensitivity and accuracy in capturing sound. They are commonly used in studio recordings, podcasting, and capturing vocals or acoustic instruments.
On the other hand, dynamic microphones are more rugged and durable, making them ideal for live performances, outdoor recordings, and environments with high sound pressure levels. They can handle loud sound sources without distorting the audio.
A USB microphone is a type of microphone that connects directly to a computer or other USB-enabled device with a USB port and USB cable.
- Easy setup
A USB microphone is a plug-and-play device, meaning it is ready to use without the need for complex setup or driver installation.
USB microphone microphones are often compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry and transport. They are suitable for on-the-go recording or for those who need a portable podcast microphone.
- Lower quality
Compared to professional studio setups, they may not match the level of audio quality and versatility offered by high-end studio microphones and professional audio setups.
An XLR microphone is a type of microphone that uses an XLR connector for audio connectivity. XLR stands for “eXtended Length Run,” and it is a three-pin connector commonly (XLR cable) used in professional audio applications.
- Professional Quality
XLR mic is known for its high-quality sound reproduction. It is often used in studio recording environments and live performances where capturing accurate and detailed audio is crucial.
XLR mics are compatible with a variety of accessories and peripherals commonly used in professional audio setups.
- Additional Equipment
The need for an audio converter or mixer adds to the overall cost of using XLR microphones. This can be more complicated compared to the plug-and-play nature of USB microphones.
USB Mics Or XLR Mics
USB mic offers convenience and simplicity in the recording. They feature an integrated analog-to-digital converter and connect directly to a computer or device via USB. USB mics are ideal for users who prioritize ease of use and portability.
XLR podcasting mics are the industry standard for professional audio applications. They utilize the XLR connection, requiring an audio interface or mixer to convert the analog signal into a digital one.
The best podcast microphone is the one that depends on your specific needs, level of audio production expertise, and budget also. Together we will find out these highly-recommend podcasting microphones based on your budget!
Best Budget Podcast Microphones
I’m going to introduce you to two podcasting microphones that won’t break the bank, both priced under $100.
Best Buy Price: $79.99
First up, we have the Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB, a gem of a podcast USB mic. This dynamic mic offers great quality and versatility, making it a good microphone for podcasters on a budget. Let’s check out the pros and cons of this podcasting microphone!
This podcast mic offers numerous advantages:
- Sound quality: The ATR2100x-USB delivers crisp and clear audio, capturing your voice with impressive clarity and warmth.
- Dual connectivity: It offers both a USB mic and XLR connection and XLR analog output, providing flexibility for beginners who want a plug-and-play operation or more advanced users who prefer professional setups.
- Portable and durable: With its sturdy build and compact size, this portable podcasting microphone is perfect for podcasters who are always on the go.
- Budget-friendly: Priced under $100, it offers exceptional value for the good audio quality it delivers.
It’s worth noting that this USB mic has some limitations you should be aware of:
- Handling noise: Like many dynamic microphones, the ATR2100x-USB can pick up handling noise if not used with care. Using a shock mount or a stable stand can help minimize this issue.
- Limited accessories: While the microphone itself is fantastic, it comes with fewer accessories compared to some other options in the market. You might need to purchase additional items like a windscreen or a pop filter separately.
Best Buy Price: $69.99
Next on the list is the Samson Q2U, a microphone that punches above its weight in terms of performance. This dynamic mic is another fantastic choice as a budget podcasting microphone that podcasters looking for affordability without compromising quality.
Some of the advantages of this budget microphones are sound quality, dual connectivity, included accessories and beginner friendly:
- Sound quality: The Q2U offers rich and warm sound reproduction, ensuring your voice comes through with great clarity and depth.
- Dual connectivity: Similar to the ATR2100x-USB, the Q2U provides both XLR and USB connections, giving you the flexibility to connect to your computer or audio converter.
- Accessories included: Unlike some other budget microphones, the Q2U comes with a range of accessories, including a desktop tripod stand, a mic clip, a USB cable, and a foam windscreen.
- Beginner-friendly: With its easy setup and user-friendly design, the Q2U is perfect for podcasting newbies who want a hassle-free experience.
Here are a few drawbacks of the Samson Q2U:
- Build quality: While the Q2U is generally sturdy, some users have reported that the podcast microphone body feels a bit less robust compared to higher-end options. However, with proper care, it should serve you well for a long time.
- Sensitivity to plosives: Without a pop filter, the Q2U can be sensitive to plosive sounds like “P” and “B” sounds. Definitely invest in a pop filter to minimize this issue and enhance the recording quality.
What is the best budget podcast microphone?
The Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB and the Samson Q2U are two top-budget podcasting microphones and USB mics under $100. Whichever one you choose, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your podcasting journey without breaking the bank.
More Tips for your budget: Expert Tips To Create A Successful Podcast on a Budget
We’re jumping into the mid-range microphones, priced between $100 and $200. It has a moderate price but can elevate the quality of your podcast audio to the next level.
We are going to see two fantastic options together, considering their pros and cons!
Best Buy Price: $99.99
First up in the mid-range category is the Audio-Technica AT2020, a condenser podcast microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern that delivers professional-grade recording quality without breaking the bank. Here are the pros and cons of this XLR mic for podcasting:
Features that make the microphone so popular:
- Studio-quality sound: The AT2020 captures every nuance of your voice with exceptional clarity and detail, ensuring your podcast episodes sound professional and polished.
- Versatility: This XLR podcasting mic performs well in a wide range of recording environments, making it suitable for podcasters who record in different spaces.
- Durability: Built with high-quality materials, the AT2020 is designed to withstand the test of time, ensuring you have a reliable microphone that lasts.
- Value for money: Priced in the mid-range, the AT2020 offers exceptional audio quality for its price point, making it a solid investment for podcasters seeking an upgrade.
Some users have been left unsatisfied due to these;
- Sensitivity to background noise: As a condenser microphone, the AT2020 is more sensitive and might pick up background noise if you’re not in a controlled recording environment. Using a pop filter and considering acoustic treatment can help mitigate this issue.
- Requires phantom power: The AT2020 requires +48V phantom power to operate, so you’ll need an audio interface or mixer that can provide this power source. Keep in mind that this adds an additional expense if you don’t already have a compatible setup.
Best Buy Price: $249.99
Next on our list is the Rode NT1, a renowned condenser microphone that has gained popularity among podcasters and professionals alike.
Users appreciate the Rode NT1 for the following advantages:
- Exceptional quality: The NT1 delivers stunning high-quality audio, capturing your voice with incredible clarity, warmth, and accuracy. It reproduces your vocals with professional-grade precision.
- Low self-noise: It includes an internal pop filter to minimize plosives. The NT1 boasts an incredibly low self-noise level, making it perfect for recording in quiet environments and ensuring your podcast audio remains crystal clear.
- Robust build: With its solid construction and high-quality components, the NT1 is built to withstand rigorous use, ensuring it remains a reliable companion throughout your podcasting recording journey.
- Complete package: The NT1 comes bundled with essential accessories, including a shock mount, pop filter, and dust cover, saving you from additional expenses.
There are some acceptable drawbacks within the price range of Rode NT1:
- Price: While the NT1 falls within the mid-range category, it leans toward the higher end, making it a more significant investment compared to other options. However, the audio quality and durability justify the price for those seeking top-notch performance.
- Phantom power requirement: Similar to the AT2020, the NT1 requires +48V phantom power, so you’ll need a compatible interface or mixer to use this podcasting microphone effectively.
The Audio-Technica AT2020 and the Rode NT1, are two outstanding mid-range podcast microphones that will elevate your podcast audio to new heights.
Consider your budget, recording environment, and desired quality when making your choice. Now, go and create amazing content that will captivate your listeners!
Now I’m going to go into the high-end territory with two exceptional podcast microphones that will make your audio shine.
These microphones may have a higher price tag, but trust me, they deliver incredible quality.
Best Buy Price: $399.99
One of the best podcasting microphones in the high-end category is the legendary Shure SM7B, a dynamic microphone that has become a staple in the podcasting and broadcasting world.
- Unmatched quality: The SM7B is renowned for its warm, rich, and detailed sound reproduction. It captures your voice recording with exceptional clarity and depth, ensuring professional-grade audio.
- Background noise rejection: Thanks to its excellent off-axis rejection, the SM7B minimizes unwanted background noise, making it ideal for recording in less controlled environments.
- Durability and reliability: Built like a tank, the SM7B is known for its rugged construction and reliability. It can withstand the demands of regular use and travel, making it a long-lasting investment.
- Versatility: This XLR microphone excels not only in podcasting but also in various other applications such as broadcasting, voiceover work, and musical recordings.
- Requires a powerful preamp: The SM7B has a low output level, meaning you’ll need a high-gain preamp or an audio interface with sufficient gain to achieve optimal volume levels. Make sure your setup can accommodate this requirement.
- Price: The SM7B falls on the higher end of the price spectrum, which might be a barrier for podcasters on a tight budget. However, its exceptional quality and durability justify the investment for those seeking top-notch performance.
Neumann U87 AI
Next on our list is the legendary Neumann U87 AI, a condenser microphone that has become the gold standard of a microphone for podcasting. Brace yourself for some audio excellence!
Some outstanding advantages of this podcast mic are:
- Impeccable sound reproduction: The U87 AI delivers an incredibly transparent, detailed, and natural sound that is second to none. Your voice will shine with pristine clarity and precision.
- Versatility and adaptability: This podcast microphone offers multiple polar patterns (omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8), allowing you to tailor the pickup pattern to your specific recording needs.
- Craftsmanship and build quality: Neumann is synonymous with exceptional craftsmanship, and this podcast mic is no exception. It is meticulously engineered and built to last, making it a lifelong companion in your podcasting journey.
- Aesthetic appeal: Let’s not forget the U87 AI’s iconic design, which adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to your podcasting setup.
However, you have to be aware that the Neumann U87 AI still has some drawbacks:
- Price: The U87 AI resides in the upper echelon of microphone prices, making it a significant investment. However, it’s worth noting that its unparalleled sound quality and craftsmanship justify the price for those seeking the pinnacle of audio excellence.
- Sensitivity to room acoustics: As a highly sensitive condenser microphone, the U87 AI can be more prone to capturing room reflections and background sounds. Utilizing proper acoustic treatment and recording in a well-treated environment is crucial for optimal results.
The Shure SM7B and the Neumann U87 AI, are two high-end podcast microphones that will take your audio to celestial heights.
Consider your budget, desired quality, and recording environment when making your choice. These podcast microphones will give you an incredible quality that your listeners will appreciate.
Other Things To Think About
In addition to choosing the right podcasting microphone, there are several other factors that play a significant role in achieving optimal sound quality for your podcast. Here are some important considerations:
Pop Filters and Windscreens
These accessories help reduce plosive sounds (such as “P” and “B” sounds) and minimize unwanted breath noise.
Some podcast microphones come with a built-in pop filter, which can be a convenient feature for podcasters. These built-in pop filters are designed to reduce plosive sounds directly at the microphone capsule, eliminating the need for an external pop filter.
Windscreens, also known as foam covers or microphone covers, are accessories designed to reduce wind noise and minimize plosive sounds when recording audio. They are commonly used in outdoor or windy environments, as well as in indoor settings to provide an additional layer of protection against unwanted noise.
Podcast Microphone Technique
Proper podcast microphone technique can make a significant difference in sound quality. Maintain a consistent distance from the microphone, avoid unnecessary movements, and position the microphone correctly to capture your voice accurately.
Mic Placement and Positioning
Experiment with microphone placement to find the sweet spot that best captures your voice. The angle and distance from the microphone can affect the overall sound quality and tonal balance.
Audio Interface or Mixer
Invest in a good-quality audio interface or mixer to ensure accurate signal conversion and amplification. These devices can provide better control over your audio levels and offer features such as phantom power for condenser microphones.
Boom arm or mic stand
It serves the purpose of holding and supporting microphones. A boom arm is a flexible arm attached to a base or clamp that allows you to position the microphone freely in various directions. A mic stand, on the other hand, is a stationary stand with a vertical pole and a round base. It provides a stable and fixed position for your microphone.
Find out more! Podcast Equipment for Beginners
Post-Processing and Editing
Utilize audio editing software to enhance your recordings further. I recommend you use Descript. You can adjust levels, remove background noise, equalize the sound, and apply other effects to optimize the overall quality of your podcast audio.
By considering these factors alongside the best microphone options for podcasting, you can choose the microphone(s) that best suit your specific podcasting needs and create high-quality audio recordings.
Related Post: How To Edit A Podcast – 5 Easy Steps
Best Podcasting Microphone Summary
The combination of factors is very important
Remember, achieving excellent sound quality is a combination of using the right equipment, creating a suitable recording environment, and employing proper techniques during recording and post-processing.
Paying attention to these additional factors will help you deliver a polished and professional podcast to your audience.
Thoroughly explore suitable microphone models
No matter the budget or level of expertise, finding the right microphone is crucial for capturing the richness and resonance of your voice.
Consider your budget, recording environment, and desired sound quality when selecting the perfect microphone for your podcasting journey. Remember that the “best” microphone ultimately depends on your specific requirements and preferences.
It’s essential to test and compare different models to find the microphone that suits your voice, recording environment and desired podcasting style.
With the right microphone by your side, you’ll be equipped to create amazing content that captivates your listeners and takes your podcasting experience from “meh” to magnificent.
Start your podcast now: How To Start Your Podcast | Best Podcast Course For Beginners In 2023
Smarter Podcasting Microphone Recs (enhanced)
Niall Mackay: [00:00:00] Welcome to Smarter Podcasting. I’m Neil McKay, the podcast guy, and I’m sharing my wealth of experience and insights into the world of podcasting.
If you’ve ever dreamt of starting your own show or taking your existing podcast in New heights, then you’ve come to the right place. My podcasting generally began with a Vietnam podcast in 2019, and it’s been an incredible ride ever since. After I lost my job in the pandemic, I decided to turn my passion and my hobby into a business and launched 7 Million Bikes Podcast.
Podcasting has changed my life and I now work full time to help others achieve that dream too. I work with clients around the world from Vietnam to Israel, the Netherlands and the UK and the US in a host of diverse fields from marketing, [00:01:00] tourism and a personal favorite of mine, Through this show, Smarter Podcasting, I’m thrilled to pass on all the valuable lessons I’ve learned and help you navigate the exciting world of podcasting with confidence.
In every episode, I pour my passion and expertise into providing practical tips, expert advice, and inspiring stories that will fuel your podcasting ambitions. I understand the challenges you face as a podcaster. Believe me. I still face them to this day. And my goal is to equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to succeed.
I founded 7 million bikes podcast to help you save the time and stress needed to create and develop your podcast. I offer a comprehensive step by step podcast course for beginners that covers everything from concept development to recording, editing, and publishing. You’ll gain the confidence and skills to create top notch [00:02:00] content that won’t captivate your audience.
And I regularly update my blog too with a treasure trove of insightful tips to help you build your audience and connect with your community. I genuinely care about your podcasting success, which is why I also offer a free consultation to understand your unique goals and tailor my guidance specifically to your needs.
No two podcasts are the same and I’m here to ensure your podcast thrives in its own unique way. But, Smarter Podcasting is more than just a podcast and a blog, it’s a thriving community of like minded individuals and businesses all working towards podcasting success. One of those people is Annie Huang, who’s just passed the pod fade milestone of publishing her 11th podcast episode called The Aspiring CMO.
And if you’re like me and you’re thinking, what the hell does CMO stand for? It stands for Chief Marketing Officer. She is an unbelievable podcaster, very [00:03:00] talented and wants to conquer the marketing world. And she had a question for me about her new podcast.
Anii Hoang: Hey Neil, I really enjoy your episodes on this podcast.
And my question is, is that how do you not get stuck on the numbers? I just started my podcast and I tend to just look at the numbers all the time. It got more and more listeners and I think it’s kind of driving me crazy. I don’t know. What’s your advice
Niall Mackay: on that? This is a great question and thank you Annie so much for asking it because I think every new podcaster goes through this and I absolutely went through this in the beginning.
I’ve even made memes about this phenomenon. I remember being in the beginning and refreshing it every couple of minutes, going back to the browser, hitting refresh, checking, it’s gone up by one! Yes! Oh my goodness, it’s gone up by five! It’s completely normal to do that, and I think it’s just something that, as you do it for longer, you’re gonna do it less.
But this is my third podcast that I’ve started, and I’m still falling into the same trap, [00:04:00] and still do the same thing. Maybe not as much as before. I think the biggest thing is to make sure that you realize what are good podcasting numbers. And I’m excited to actually share this with people today because for my first few years of podcasting, I kept asking myself the age old question, I think many podcasters do, Are these numbers any good?
And then when I found out what good podcasting numbers mean, I was beyond excited and I’m extremely excited to share with you today. So I always refer to the Buzzsprout stats because they’re my podcast host of choice since the very beginning and when I found this data It blew my mind So the biggest metric to look at is how many downloads you get in the first seven days after publication I’ve spoken to podcasters before and they tell me their numbers and like yeah, but I’m sure it’s gonna go up soon Sadly, it won’t.
You’re probably going to get about 70% of your total downloads in the first day of publication, probably 90% in the first week, and then it’s going to trail off after that. If you [00:05:00] look at any graph of your podcast stats, it’s going to be the same for every episode. Now, one of the crucial things to remember is, and I found this out recently, why it’s important to keep creating content and keep building episodes, and you will see your download numbers go up over time.
Is that once you build up that back catalog, people are going to find that content and listen to it. So your overall numbers will go up, even though every episode might not be massive each time, but these episode download numbers. So these are what Buzzsprout has shared just recently. And I’ve tracked these numbers over many years and they don’t change too much.
If you get just 31 downloads in the first 7 days after publication, you’re in the top 50% of podcasts in the world. If you get over 113 downloads in the first 7 days, you’re in the top 25%. 462, the top 10%. 1, 100, the top 5%, and if you’re getting over 5, 000 downloads in the first [00:06:00] seven days, you are in the top 1% of podcasts.
Now, remember, if you’re in the top 1% of anything in the world, you are doing incredible. If you’re in the top 5%, you’re doing unbelievable. If you’re in the top 10%, you’re doing absolutely fine. But even if you’re getting just 31 downloads in the first seven days. You are in the top 50% of podcasts in the world.
That is incredible. I think it’s difficult because as podcasters, we often compare ourselves to YouTube and we often compare ourselves to other podcasters like maybe Joe Rogan, the Tim Ferriss show, the, the diary of a CEO and we know these podcasts with massive numbers, millions of downloads. These guys really, really are in the top 1%.
That’s how they can make so much money through ads. For the majority of podcasters, they’re going to be down in that lower level. So I think it’s really important as a podcaster to just look at your numbers , and celebrate success, whatever they are, even if they’re only 10 in the first seven [00:07:00] days, that is 10 people who are consuming your content.
That is incredible. Imagine if you were standing in a room and you had 10, 20, 50, a hundred people all listening to you. And the biggest difference with podcasting. is the amount of engagement and depth of connection that you get with your listener. Around about 80% of people who start a podcast will listen to the end.
Now compare that with YouTube, where some of my videos get 4%. And now I’m pretty bad at YouTube, I don’t focus on that, but only 4% of that content is consumed, compared to 80% on a podcast. And even a great YouTube video is probably only going to get about 40 to 50%. So the difference with podcasting is the numbers are lower, but the engagement is higher.
But the biggest point is, celebrate those numbers, whatever they are. Do the whole thing of keep refreshing it, it’s cool, it’s cute, it’s awesome. We all do it in the beginning, you should do it, it gets you excited. And when you stop getting excited about [00:08:00] podcasting, you should just stop doing it altogether.
So keep doing it, have fun, and celebrate your successes.
Picture this, you’re sitting in front of your shiny podcast microphone, ready to record your latest episode. But wait, are you using the right microphone to capture that full richness and resonance of your voice? In this episode, I’ll explore a plethora of options that cater to every budget and style.
From the budget friendly to the high end powerhouses we’ll cover it all. And guess what? You won’t need a degree in sound engineering to understand it all. I promise to keep it light, I don’t have one either. It’s one of the most commonly searched terms is podcasting microphones and it can be overwhelming and confusing.
I’ll try to explain it as simply and easily as I can in just under 30 minutes. I’ll compare dynamic and condenser mics, break down the differences between [00:09:00] XLR and USB connectivity. so whether you’re a podcasting newbie and aspiring host or a seasoned audio wizard, looking to level up your game, this guide is for you. Get ready to discover the podcast microphones that will podcasting experience from meh to magnificent.
Now, let’s find the best podcast microphone and make your voice shine like a podcasting superstar. Before we dive into the different types of podcasting microphones, let’s take a moment to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type. This will help you make an informed decision when choosing the right microphone for your podcast.
So first up we have the Condenser Microphone are highly sensitive and capable of capturing subtle details and nuances in sound. They provide a more accurate representation of the recorded source, making them ideal for capturing vocals and acoustic instruments.[00:10:00]
However, they can be more delicate compared to dynamic microphones storage to avoid damage. On the other hand, we have the dynamic microphone. Dynamic mics are resistant to moisture and humidity, making them suitable for outdoor or high moisture environments. They’re also more rugged and durable, making them ideal for live performances and environments with high sound pressure levels.
However, they can be heavier and bulkier compared to condenser microphones, so it might not be suitable for lightweight and compact setups. Now let’s talk about connectivity options. So you have the USB microphones, which connect directly to a computer or a USB enabled device, which provides a really easy setup and portability.
USB mics are often compact and lightweight, making them suitable for on the go recordings. However, they may not match the audio quality and [00:11:00] versatility offered by high end studio microphones and professional audio setups. On the other hand, we have XLR microphones. Which use an X L R connector for audio connectivity.
That’s the little three pins, three plugs that you see on the end of a microphone. Used the stage performances. X L R. Mics are known for the professional quality and compatibility with a variety of accessories and peripherals commonly used in professional audio setups. The downside is they do require additional equipment such as an audio converter or a mixer, which adds to the overall cost and a little bit extra complexity of the setup.
I started off with a USB Blue Yeti mic, which did the trick for me at the time, but looking back, the sound quality wasn’t great and it took a lot of extra work in post production to bring that sound quality up to being anything near worth being published. XLR microphones are a little bit more expensive.
You do [00:12:00] have to buy the mixer. I recommend buying the PodTrak P4 by Zoom, which will set you back a couple of hundred dollars, but it’s extremely portable, meaning you can record anywhere on the go with an XLR microphone and the sound quality is delicious. So now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore some of the best podcast microphones for different budget ranges.
And we’ll start with the budget friendly options that won’t break the bank. As you’ve heard me say on this podcast before, if you’re a regular listener, I am Scottish and I do not like to spend money. This microphone I’m using right now, the Sure SM 57 is loaned to me by my friend, the music producer Louis Wright. Saves me paying for it, and it works amazing.
and I cannot recommend this mic highly enough. It’s a true force to be reckoned with, with its unrivalled performance, durability and versatility. First and foremost, it excels in capturing pristine sound quality. All for around [00:13:00] 100. It’s dynamic microphone design allows it to handle high sound pressure levels with ease, but you’re not really going to need that as a podcast unless you’re screaming into the microphone, which I doubt you are.
But it does ensure you get crystal clear audio reproduction. And it is known for it’s legendary durability, and if you’re, if you’re clumsy like me, that is important. It is built like a tank. This microphone can withstand the demands of rigorous use from rock stars, so I’m sure it can survive the occasional accidental drop that I often do.
It’s the kind of microphone that does stand the test of time. I’ve been using it for years companion throughout your podcasting journey.
One of the standout features is its remarkable versatility. polar pattern, it minimizes unwanted background noise and it ensures that your voice is taking center stage. So whether you’re recording in a controlled studio environment, Or venturing into the great outdoors, or recording like me in a [00:14:00] big, open, tiled, shiny room.
The sound quality is going to be amazing. What are the drawbacks? Well, with any microphone, the SM57 has a few things you need to think about. It’s focused sound capture can be a double edged sword, as it does require careful positioning and technique to capture multiple voices, which I wouldn’t recommend with one mic.
Or, if you do turn away by accident and you’re not talking right into it, you’re gonna lose that sound quality immediately. However, these minor limitations are easily outweighed by the overall performance and reliability of the SM57.
As I said, I’ve been using it for years, for the price, the value, the durability and the quality. This would be my recommendation, but it is up to you and your budget and also your circum and also your circumstances. Another great recommendation is the Audio Technica ATR2100X USB. This will cost you about [00:15:00] 80 and this is a dynamic USB microphone.
Now it offers really great quality and versatility and it delivers crisp and clear audio which is going to capture your voice with impressive clarity and warmth. Now the good thing about this is it offers both USB and LXR connections which provides flexibility for beginners and advanced users. It’s also got a portable and durable design and this makes it perfect for podcasters on the go.
Now you may be thinking, what is a podcaster on the go? Well, many people might want to go and do interviews in the field. Or if you’re somebody like me who works with different clients, I often have to go to their offices or on site and record them there. The downside is it can pick up handling noise if not used with care.
So. As I mentioned in the last podcast about the setup that you need, make sure you have a good microphone stand or boom arm.
Another great budget option is the Samsung Q2U. Priced at about 70, this dynamic microphone punches above its weight [00:16:00] in terms of performance. It offers a rich and warm sound reproduction, with included accessories such as that desktop tripod stand, which is going to help with handling noise, a mic clip, a USB cable, and a foam windscreen.
If you’re unsure what a foam windscreen is, go back and listen to the previous episode where I explain everything you need for your setup. That’s going to help take away the plosive sounds like the p and the b, which you shouldn’t be getting a breath of air in your ear right now because I’m using a foam pad right now.
The Q2U is beginner friendly and it’s perfect for podcasting newbies who just want a hassle free experience. But do be aware that it may be sensitive to those plosive sounds without a pop filter and some people have reported that the body feels a little less robust compared to higher end options.
Moving on to the mid range category. Priced about between 100 to 200, I’ve two fantastic options for you that are going to elevate the quality of your podcast audio. [00:17:00] My first recommendation is the Audio Technica AT2020. This will set you back about 100 and is a condenser podcast microphone that will deliver studio quality sound.
Capturing every nuance of your voice with exceptional clarity and detail. The at 2020 is versatile and performs well in different recording environments. This durability ensures it lasts and it offers excellent value for its price. However, it may be sensitive to background noise and you’ll need an audio interface on Mixer that provides plus 84 V Phantom panel.
My second recommendation in the mid-range category is the Road N T one. Priced at 250, this renowned condenser microphone offers exceptional quality. It reproduces your voice with professional grade precision, the NT1 comes bundled with the essential accessories that you’d need, saving you from additional expenses, which is always good. However, it does fall towards the [00:18:00] higher end of the price spectrum, it does require phantom power, similar to the AT2020.
if you’ve got the budget, we’re going to jump up and look at the high end territory with two exceptional podcast microphones that will make your audio shine, but will also set you back a little bit. My first high end recommendation is the Shure SM7B, and love them or hate them, as used by the one and only Joe Rogan.
This will set you back about 400, but this legendary dynamic microphone is a staple in the podcasting and broadcasting world. It will deliver unmatched quality, capturing your voice with warmth, richness and exceptional clarity. It has what’s called excellent off axis rejection, which what that does is captures your voice and minimizes unwanted background noise.
Making it ideal for recording in less controlled environments and most podcasters, let’s be honest, [00:19:00] are recording in less controlled environments. I’ve done voiceovers and going into a voiceover studio is one of the most amazing things in the world and as an independent podcaster, you’re like, man, I wish I could do all my podcasts in here.
But again, that’s going to set you back some extra money. So save that money and invest in a good microphone and you’re still going to get great audio. And, like I talk about in every episode and on every blog post, make sure you use Descript or other AI tools to increase the quality of the sound of your podcast.
So coupled with a good microphone, a bit of AI, and a bit of patience, you will get studio sound quality without having to be in the studio. Another great thing about the SM7B is it’s built like a tank and offers, and offers versatility for various applications. However, it requires a powerful preamp for optimal volume levels and it does fall on the higher end of the price spectrum.
Finally, we have the Neumann U87Ei. This [00:20:00] iconic condenser microphone is the gold standard for podcasting and you’ll see why the price of over 2, 500. It offers impeccable sound reproduction capturing your voice with transparency, detail and natural warmth. The U87Ei is known for its versatility.
versatility, craftsmanship, and aesthetic appeal. It comes bundled with essential accessories, so it means you have everything you need as soon as you get it out of the box. But it does require a significant investment due to its price, and it may be more sensitive to room acoustics.
Alongside choosing the right microphone, There are several other factors that do play a significant role in achieving optimal sound quality for your podcast. So don’t run out and buy the Neumann U87 AI for over 2, 500 and think that’s it, the sound is going to be amazing. There’s a few other things you need to consider.
And as I said, go back to the previous episode where I cover everything you need [00:21:00] for a podcast setup. One of them was a pop filter or a windscreen and these are accessories that help reduce those plosive sounds I mentioned. Also minimising unwanted breath noise that… As a podcast editor, you hear it a lot.
The breath in. Maybe you can hear that, maybe not. But these are essential for improving the audio quality. And some microphones do come with built in pop filters, so check that out when you do buy the microphone. Another thing that’s overlooked is proper microphone technique. Make sure you maintain a consistent distance from the microphone and avoid unnecessary movements and positioning.
Things like avoiding unnecessary movements and positioning the microphone correctly can make a significant difference in sound quality. As my sound producer and friend Lewis Wright recommends, you want to be about a fist’s length away from the microphone, or even closer. One time I was recording a client, and he loved to talk in his chair, and move right back, and lift his head right back up, and continue the [00:22:00] conversation while he talked to the ceiling. to continually tell him to look back into the mic. So mic placing is really important. And make sure as well, you’re not touching it lots.
I’m using a boom arm because I like to talk with my hands, I will knock the boom arm. But I’ve got it set up that you shouldn’t be able to hear any vibrations right now. But if you do knock it, Take a breath and just restart your sentence again, so that you can edit it out later.
And as I mentioned, if you do decide to go with an XLR mic, then you do want to get a good quality audio interface, like the Zoom H5 or H6. Or my recommendation is the PodTrak P4, also by Zoom, because of its ease of use and its lightweight. And as I just mentioned, make sure you get yourself a boom arm or a mic stand.
A mic stand takes up a bit more flow space and a bit less adjustable. With the Bootmom, I’ve got it attached to my desk and I can easily move it when I need to. And lastly, maybe the most important thing out of [00:23:00] everything is the audio editing software that you use. This can really further enhance your recordings.
You can adjust the levels, remove background noise, equalize the sound and apply other effects to optimize the overall quality of your podcast audio. And that is why I’m a massive proponent and advocate for Descript. I am not an audio engineer and I used to have to send off my podcast to Lewis Wright and ask him to enhance the audio because he is an audio genius.
That wasn’t his full time job, he was helping me out, and sometimes I had to wait 2 or 3 days till he had the time to send that back to me, which completely messed up my schedule every single time. I’m not an audio engineer, and it’s not my strength, and I didn’t have the time to learn those techniques.
Then, when I started using Descript, they added the Studio Sound feature. This is where AI really is starting to take off. Thanks to using AI technology, you can press a button. you can [00:24:00] take any audio and enhance the quality. Now studio sound isn’t perfect. I use it with lots of different clients and sometimes it doesn’t work.
If you’re using a blue Yeti microphone in the middle of two or three people, like you have a guest or two people on your show, the sound is not going to be great. It’s not perfect, it’s not gonna turn these three people all sitting a meter away from a microphone in the middle of the room and suddenly they all sound like they’re Joe Rogan.
And when people laugh especially, or talk over each other, the AI seems to get a little bit confused, and so the audio quality will drop to the point where you probably don’t even want to use it. But, if you have a good microphone, good microphone technique, a boom arm, and a pop filter. Like everything I’m doing right now, and then turn on the studio sound, you’re gonna get really good audio quality.
And it is for that reason that I’m an affiliate with this script, so go in the show notes, check it out, you [00:25:00] get an hour for free anyway. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. If you do like it and you sign up, I’ll get a commission at no extra cost to you. So there you have it, that is my guide to the best podcast microphones for any budget in 2023.
Remember, achieving excellent sound quality is a combination of using the right equipment, creating a suitable recording environment, and employing proper techniques during recording and post processing. I hope this episode has helped you in choosing the perfect microphone for your podcasting journey.
Please leave me a message, just like you heard Annie at the beginning of the show. There is a link in the show notes for SpeakPipe. It’s so easy to do, you can leave me a message or a question and I will get back to you on the next episode. So get out there and go and create amazing content for your listeners and please share it with me so I can hear what you do.
If you do have any questions or need further guidance on [00:26:00] podcast setup ideas, Or for the guidance on anything podcasting, please don’t hesitate to reach out. As I said, I do offer a free consultation. I’m here to help you on your podcasting journey and provide the support you need to succeed. And before we wrap up, I want to remind you to check out my website at 7millionbikes.
com for more resources, courses, and services to elevate your podcasting game. Thank you for tuning in today. Your support honestly means the world to me. And if you have enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe to Smarter Podcasting, and if you have the time, leave a review to help other people find the show as well.
Your feedback really helps me improve and reach more aspiring podcasters like yourself.
and make sure you don’t miss the next episode where I’m gonna dive into finding the perfect podcast headphones. Until then, keep podcasting, keep growing, and keep sharing your unique voice with the world. This is Neil McKay, the podcast guy. Remember, your podcasting journey is an [00:27:00] adventure, and I’m here to guide you every step of the way.
Keep creating, keep evolving, and keep podcasting smarter. Till next time, cheers.