The reason we’ve chosen to go with this article title (note microphones plural) is because, as you might have guessed, there isn’t just one microphone that beats all other podcast mics. It really comes down to what’s best for your situation.
If you’re looking for a quick answer to what is the best podcasting mic, you probably want to go with the Shure SM7B. While in our opinion it’s the best microphone, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best one for you.
But for the majority of people reading this, you’ll fall into the same bracket – just starting out with podcasting, you’ll likely be recording in a non soundproofed room in your house, it’s yourself doing most of the talking – not multiple guests, and you will have minimal audio correction experience.
You’ll also be looking to get something decent for a reasonable price.
If this is the case, the Samson Q2U will cover all these bases. A quick decision will help you move on to getting started as soon as possible.
If however you have been Podcasting for a while, or want to learn more about the ins and outs of different mics, we’ll go into more detail on these points in the rest of this article.
Choosing the Right Podcast Microphone
When you start on the journey of looking for a mic, you’ll likely come across a lot of new terminologies like condenser microphones, dynamic mic, and XLR microphone. These can make it confusing to know what’s right for you. We’ll briefly cover a few of these terms to help make it clear what you’re looking for.
XLR vs USB
These are the two main approaches to connecting your podcast mic to your computer.
USB is a simple option that most people are familiar with with. These are simple plug and play mics which are great if you want to get set up quickly and don’t want to worry about purchasing additional equipment.
The downside of a USB microphone is when it comes to recording multiple people talking in different locations – for example if you’re interviewing guests.
This is where XLR connections can be more flexible. XLR microphones require some additional hardware (a mixer / audio interface for example) to connect to your computer, but this often allows you to connect multiple microphones at the same time.
For most people getting started, we would say a USB mic will suffice. The quality will be good enough – and at this stage the quality of your content is going to be what’s most important.
Dynamic vs Condenser
Dynamic mics and condenser mics capture sounds in two different ways. A dynamic microphone is good for capturing loud strong sounds, this makes a dynamic mic a great choice if you’re expecting some background noise, which you don’t want picked up.
You can also get much closer to a dynamic mic, which gives you a thing called the proximity effect, where the low end signals are picked up much better. This is something used frequently in radio.
Condenser microphones are more sensitive, they are good at picking up high frequencies as well as the low, which can give your voice a more natural, less bassy sound.
The downside of this is that they’re much more likely to pick up background noises you don’t want picked up, this includes ambient noise, and other co-hosts, if they’re in the same room. Because condenser mics are more sensitive, you’ll need a shock mount and boom arm to prevent any vibrations being picked up.
If you’re just starting out, and are thinking about recording a podcast in one of the rooms of your house, we’d recommend going for a dynamic microphone.
What’s the best podcasting microphone, regardless of price?
We have no hesitation in listing this as the best microphone, it’s great, and an industry standard.
We really don’t recommend this to the vast majority of people who want a podcasting microphone. The first downside is the price. It’s not the most expensive microphone out there, but it’s still more than four times the price of some of the other microphones in this article.
For most podcasters, you’d get a lot more bang for your buck (audio quality wise) spending your money on making your room a bit more soundproof. That’s a much better idea than spending money on a mic that will pick up every background noise and echo.
Secondly, this isn’t a beginner’s plug and play mic, you’ll want to be comfortable with audio correction and you’ll probably need a pre-amp, as well as a sturdy mic arm.
What’s the Best Podcasting Microphone Overall?
If you’re looking for the perfect balance of quality, ease-of-use, and price you can’t do much better than the RØDE PodMic.
Like the Procaster mentioned below it’s been built specifically for podcasts, which means the frequency response is perfect for picking up speech.
Because it’s an XLR mic you’ll need some sort of XLR interface to run it through, the Rodecaster pro is probably too much of an outlay for what most people need, but it does play very well with the PodMic.
What’s the Best USB Microphone for Podcasting?
The Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB will provide you with the professional podcast sound quality you need, at an entry level price.
One of the great things about this mic is that it has outputs for both USB and XLR, so if further down the line you decide you want to add multiple mics into the mix, you will be able to keep using this one.
What’s the Best Cheap Podcasting Microphone?
This is one of the cheapest podcast microphones that also brings with it a decent level of sound quality.
Like the ATR2100x-USB above it also has the added benefit of being a USB microphone as well as having an XLR connection meaning one less decision to make.
If you’re looking for a decent mic that performs above its price point then the Samson Q2U is the way to go.
What’s the Best XLR Podcasting Microphone?
This mic has a frequency response that is tailor made for picking up speech, and has an in-built pop filter. However, depending on how good you are at minimising plosives while you’re speaking you might still need to use an external pop filter.
Its cardioid polar pattern is pretty tight, so it does a fantastic job of blocking out background noise.
What’s the Best Lavalier Microphone for Podcasting?
It’s difficult to recommend a lavalier microphone for a podcast, as it’s dependent on what you want to use the lav mic for. Obviously, for most podcasting situations e.g. if you’re just recording yourself at home, we wouldn’t recommend one at all. For these situations you should be using any of the other podcast microphones we’ve recommended in this article.
However, if you need to do the occasional vox pop outside, or will want to occasionally record yourself while away from home you can’t go too wrong with the RØDE Go Lavalier.
It’s more plug and play than something like their smartlav+, and is much cheaper than more professional quality options.
So there you have our list of the best microphones for podcasting. Hopefully you’ve managed to find the right one to suit your needs.
Don’t forget that a good microphone doesn’t automatically mean a great podcast, so don’t get too hung up on which one to go for – our best advice is to just get going and start creating something great!