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What are the best podcast microphones?

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My top three podcast microphone recommendations…

When you’re kick-starting your podcast it can be hard to know what equipment to buy because there’s so much out there.  Particularly when it comes to one of the most important items in your kit, your podcast microphone.

Some articles give 700 recommendations and if you’ve got no idea about recording you can end up more confused than when you started.

So I’m going to keep things simple and give you my top three podcast microphone recommendations….

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But first…why is a microphone important?

Your podcast microphone is one of the single biggest influencers on the quality of your recording so it’s important to choose a good one.  You could have the best content in the world but if the audio sounds crackly, or there’s a lot of distracting background noise, people won’t stick around to listen.

A high-quality microphone is often the difference between your show sounding like it’s a professional operation and a two-bit operation.  And that’s an important difference if you want a successful show.

The good news is high-quality doesn’t have to mean expensive.

How to record a podcast

Read

You need to think about where you record

The other thing that’s essential for high-quality audio is the right recording environment.  Because you can have the best microphone in the world but if you’re recording in a toilet it’s going to sound rubbish.

If possible, try and avoid rooms with reflective surfaces like tiles, windows or high ceilings.  This is because a good podcast microphone will pick up a lot of the room noise and if you’re in an echoey space it’ll not only be distracting, you’ll sound a million miles from your audience.

How to record high-quality audio at home

Read

What’s the difference between condenser and dynamic microphones?

If you’ve been researching mics you might have come across these two words – condenser and dynamic.

A lot of articles go into more detail than you’d ever need so here’s what you need to know…

Condenser microphones

These give a “richer” sound, which sounds like it would be better but actually, these microphones work best in a soundproof environment.  This often isn’t the kind of space most podcasters are recording in.

If you’re podcasting in your home office or loungeroom these mics aren’t going to be great because they’ll pick up a lot more background noise.

You’d be forgiven for thinking “well they’re more expensive so they must be better!”  But when you’re starting out a dynamic mic will usually be the best way to go.

Dynamic Microphones

These are great if you’re recording in a space that isn’t soundproof because they produce high-quality audio but don’t pick up as much background noise.

You still need to make sure your space is as good as it can be though. So don’t think you can get away with recording in your kitchen just because you’ve got a dynamic microphone.

What’s the difference between USB & XLR microphones?

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So which podcast microphones do I recommend?

Audio Technica ATR 2100

Don’t let the price tag fool you (I bought mine for AUD $95), this is a good quality mic.  It’s also great to travel with if you’re recording on the road.

It can be connected via USB or XLR cable which means you can plug it directly into your computer or an external recording device or mixer if you want to record that way.

To hear this microphone in action check out this episode of a podcast I hosted called Bach Chat (yes, I got paid to talk about the Bachelor).

Shure PGA58

This is the microphone I’ve used for years and will continue to use because I think it’s excellent.

It’s an XLR microphone so you can’t plug it directly into your computer but that doesn’t bother me because I do most of my recording on my Zoom H6.   Plus, if I want to record on my computer I just use my Zoom as an audio interface.

This just means I use it as a bridge between my XLR mics and the USB port in my computer by plugging the Shure PGA58 into my Zoom and my Zoom into my computer via USB.

These mics are also great to take out on the road and I’ve recorded interviews for my show, You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere in hotel rooms and echoey spaces and the result has been fab.

Rode Podcaster

This is a favourite among podcasters, probably because it looks pretty snazzy but also because it produces great sound.

It’s a USB mic so it plugs into your computer and most podcasters (myself included) attach it to their desk via a boom arm.  This means it’s not super portable (although you can buy a desk stand for it).

When it’s attached to your desk it also means it’s harder to wrap anything around it to create a mini voice-over booth, like I do with my PGA58’s.

Again, the space you record in will be important with this microphone.  I’ve found it picks up more echo and noise than my other mics so that’s something to be aware of.

And those are my top three recommendations!

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

2 Comments
  1. Elijah says:

    Hi there,
    What would be the mic you recommend if I’m planning to interview people (face to face, sitting next to me)? Can any of the mics you listed be connected to a phone if I want to do a video podcast?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Elijah! If you’re planning to interview people face to face my recommendation would be you get two Shure PGA58 microphones and a Zoom recorder. That’s how I record all my interviews face to face and it’s a perfect set up. None of the mics in this post will connect to a phone but I’ve got a podcast guide that gives some recommendations for phonemics, even though recording on your phone isn’t something I recommend for longer podcasts. You can find that at… http://podcastguide.com.au. Hope that helps.

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