If you’ve been looking for the best podcast microphone setup to make your podcast sound professional, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything from the basics of a mic setup, the different types of microphones available, and our top 10 picks for the best podcast microphones in 2023.
The Basics Of A Microphone Podcast Setup
Before we get into the details of which kind of microphone is best for podcasting, let’s take a look at the basics. A typical mic setup includes an audio interface (to connect your mic to your computer), a digital audio workstation (DAW) to record audio files, a podcast mic, and a mic stand. Depending on your recording space, a pop filter may also be necessary to reduce unwanted background noise.
An audio interface is an essential piece of equipment for podcasting. It allows you to connect your microphone and other sound sources directly to your computer, providing unparalleled audio quality.
Audio interfaces come in a variety of designs, from USB-based models that plug directly into your computer’s USB port to more advanced ones with more inputs and outputs. They also feature built-in phantom power for use with condenser mics, allowing you to capture crystal-clear recordings without the need for an external power source.
Some even offer specialized features like low-latency monitoring or built-in effects processors. With so many options available, it’s important to choose one that meets both your budget and recording needs.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
A DAW is a piece of software used to record and edit audio files. It’s the cornerstone of any podcasting setup as it allows you to easily edit, mix, and master your recordings.
DAWs also have a wide range of features such as multitrack recording, automated faders, sound effects processing, and more. The recording process is simple: connect your microphone to your computer via a USB audio interface, set up a track in the DAW recording software, hit record, and start speaking or singing into the mic.
For podcasting, you want a microphone that will provide a clear, natural sound without sacrificing recording quality or performance.
There are several types of microphones available for podcasting, including dynamic mics (which are best for capturing speech), USB mics (for plug-and-play convenience), condenser mics (for achieving higher levels of detail and clarity in your recordings), and XLR mics (to capture audio with the highest possible fidelity).
A microphone stand or boom arm is essential for any audio recording setup. It allows you to position your mic in the optimal recording position and reduces unwanted noise from vibration. Stands come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from simple desktop models to large boom arms that can be suspended from the ceiling or attached to a wall.
For best results, you may also want to invest in shock mounts (which help reduce unwanted vibrations from reaching your podcast mic) or a built-in pop filter (which eliminates ambient noises such as plosives).
A pop filter is a device that helps reduce unwanted background noise, such as a plosive sound (the popping sounds made when pronouncing certain letters), ambient noise, and other unwanted sounds.
These filters are placed in front of the microphone and act like a net, blocking out these sounds while still allowing your voice to come through clearly. Depending on your studio space, you may want to invest in an external filter or one that comes built-in with your mic stand.
What Type Of Microphone Do I Need?
Now that you know the basics of podcast microphones, it’s time to decide which type of mic is best for your needs. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to upgrade your recording equipment, there are several types of mics available that can help you get clear audio quality and start recording right away.
XLR vs. USB (Connectivity)
XLR microphones are the go-to choice for professionals in podcasting and recording studios. They provide excellent audio quality, durability, and flexibility to capture audio in a variety of different environments.
One of the main advantages of XLR microphones is they require an external audio interface to connect them to your computer, allowing you to easily switch between different types of microphones without having to purchase additional hardware. Additionally, XLR mics come with built-in phantom power which allows them to be used with condenser microphones that require external power supplies.
It’s also worth noting that while they tend to be more expensive than other types of microphones, their professional-grade audio quality makes them well worth the investment for anyone serious about podcasting or music production.
A USB microphone is ideal for podcasting on a budget and provides an easy plug-and-play solution that requires no additional equipment. USB microphones connect directly to your computer via USB and don’t require an audio interface or cable, making them one of the most convenient options for podcasting.
A USB mic typically tends to be more affordable than other types of microphones, which makes them a great choice if you’re just starting out with podcasting. While they may not have the same level of audio quality as XLR mics, there are still plenty of high-quality USB microphones on the market that can produce excellent recordings.
Condenser vs. Dynamic (Sound Quality)
Condenser mics are great for capturing both speech and music with a high level of detail and clarity. They work by using an electrically charged capacitor to convert sound waves into electrical signals, which are then sent to your computer.
Generally speaking, a condenser microphone tends to be more sensitive than dynamic microphones and can capture a wider range of frequencies. This makes them ideal for recording podcasts in noisy environments or situations where you need to pick up subtle nuances in the audio, such as vocal inflections or background sounds. However, they require more power than dynamic mics and often come with a higher price tag.
Dynamic microphones are great for recording speech, vocals, and instruments with a lower level of detail. Unlike condenser mics, which use an electrically charged capacitor to capture sound waves, a dynamic mic uses a small diaphragm that moves back and forth to convert the vibrations into electrical signals. This makes them ideal for environments where there is a lot of background sound or loud music as they can reject unwanted sounds while still providing excellent clarity at close distances.
A dynamic mic requires less power than its condenser counterparts and is often more affordable, making them a popular choice among podcasters on a budget. These mics also tend to be more durable and resilient in tough recording conditions than other types of microphones.
It’s important to note when deciding between a dynamic or condenser mic that the audio quality of each will depend on the individual microphone and its capabilities. While a condenser mic offers greater detail, dynamic mics are still capable of producing a professional-sounding podcast.
10 Best Microphones For Podcasting
When it comes to podcasting, choosing the best microphone is crucial for achieving better sound quality. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best microphones for podcasting in 2023. From entry-level USB mics to professional-grade condenser microphones, here are 10 top picks for creating a great-sounding setup.
The AKG Lyra is one of the best affordable XLR mics available and an excellent choice for podcasting. It has a cardioid polar pattern that helps isolate your voice from background sounds and features a wide frequency response range for capturing accurate sound. The solid-body build ensures it’s durable enough to travel with, making it ideal for on-the-go recording situations. It also comes with an integrated shock mount and windscreen, so you can record without worrying about handling noise.
Heil Sound PR-40
The Heil Sound PR-40 is a professional-grade dynamic microphone that’s perfect for capturing detailed sound in both live and studio settings. Featuring a large 1.125″ diaphragm and low noise output, the PR-40 delivers excellent clarity even at close distances. Its wide frequency range of 30 Hz to 15 kHz also makes it suitable for recording instruments, vocals, and speech with equal accuracy. The robust shock mount design adds stability during the performance while the built-in windscreen helps reduce unwanted plosive sounds from interfering with your recordings.
The Shure SM7B is one of the most popular podcasting mics on the market. This durable and rugged microphone provides an excellent level of audio quality with its tightly controlled cardioid pickup pattern, making it great for reducing background sound and capturing speech. It also features a built-in windscreen and low-end roll-off switch to help you get broadcast-ready sound. The only downside is the hefty price tag, but if you’re looking for professional-grade audio quality then the Shure SM7B is worth it.
Type: USB + XLR/Dynamic
The Samson Q2U is a great value-for-money quality microphone that combines the convenience of USB with the audio quality of an XLR mic. This versatile microphone can be used with both a USB and an XLR cable, giving you maximum flexibility. It also features a high-pass filter and a -10dB pad switch to help you get exactly the sound you’re looking for. The only downside is that the audio quality isn’t quite up there with more expensive mics, but it certainly packs a punch for its price point.
The Blue Snowball
The Blue Snowball is a great entry-level USB condenser mic that provides clear and detailed audio quality. It features a cardioid pickup pattern to reduce background noise, and its compact design makes it easy to set up in any recording space. The only downside is that it doesn’t offer the same level of clarity as more expensive mics, but considering its affordable price point this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. If you’re looking for an inexpensive microphone to get started with podcasting then the Blue Snowball is well worth considering.
Blue Yeti Nano Premium
The Blue Yeti Nano Premium is an excellent USB condenser mic that delivers professional-level sound quality. It features a cardioid pickup pattern to reject background noise and its compact design makes it easy to transport for podcasting on the go. The mic also includes zero-latency headphone monitoring so you can hear yourself clearly when recording podcasts, as well as adjustable gain and mute buttons for added convenience. With its superior sound quality and ease of use, the Blue Yeti Nano Premium is an ideal choice for podcasters looking to take their audio production up a notch without breaking the bank.
The Rode Podcaster is a great option for podcasters looking for a reliable and professional-grade dynamic microphone. It features an ultra-precise cardioid polar pattern to reduce background noise, as well as a built-in pop filter to prevent plosives from interfering with your recordings. The mic also includes low-noise circuitry and an internal shock mount system to help ensure better sound quality.
This affordable and versatile mic features a wide frequency response range of 30 Hz to 20 kHz, making it ideal for capturing both spoken word and musical performances. The cardioid pickup pattern helps reduce background noise by focusing on the source sound, while the built-in low-cut filter helps remove any unwanted low frequencies. With its great sound quality, ease of use, and competitive price point, the MXL 990 makes a great addition to any podcaster’s setup.
Type: USB + XLR/Dynamic
The ATR2100 is an incredibly versatile podcast microphone that features both USB and XLR connections, making it great for podcasting as well as live streaming. It has a cardioid pickup pattern to help isolate your voice from background noise, while the built-in headphone jack allows you to monitor your recordings in real-time. The mic also includes adjustable gain control and a mute button so you can easily adjust levels without having to mess around with software settings.
The PreSonus PX-1 is an excellent condenser microphone that provides professional-level sound quality. It has a wide frequency response range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, making it perfect for capturing both vocal and instrumental performances. The cardioid pickup pattern helps to reduce background noise by focusing on the source sound, while the built-in high pass filter ensures only the clearest audio signals make it through. The mic also includes adjustable gain control and a mute button for greater control over your recordings. With its great value-for-money price point and superb sound quality, the PreSonus PX-1 is sure to meet all of your podcasting needs.
Other Equipment To Consider
Whether you decide on a dynamic or condenser mic, it’s important to consider other pieces of equipment that can help improve the sound quality of your recordings. A digital recorder, for example, is a great way to capture high-quality audio on the go, and many models feature built-in effects and editing capabilities for greater control over your recordings.
Investing in a complete podcast kit could be helpful if you want to start recording quickly without having to gather every piece of the audio recording tech yourself; these kits come with all the necessary components needed for podcasting including mics, cables, and an audio interface.
You can also read our full in-depth guide on The Best Podcast Equipment For Any Budget (Beginners & Pros)
At the end of the day, finding the best podcast setup for your needs will come down to personal preference and budget. Whether you’re a beginner podcaster or an experienced professional, there are plenty of great options out there to choose from that can help you make the most of your recordings. With the right equipment and a bit of practice, you’ll be able to take your podcasting setup to new heights in no time!