How to Pick a Podcast Microphone That Works for You – Smart Passive Income

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How to Pick a Podcast Microphone That Works for You – Smart Passive Income


As we run profitable boot camps with aspiring podcasters and develop our personal podcast household right here at SPI, the subject of podcasting tech has by no means been extra well timed. And in the case of tech, crucial $$ you plunk down will probably be in your microphone. There are extra podcasting mics on the market than you may shake a pop filter at, and it’s straightforward to get overwhelmed, particularly in case you’re out there to your first one. Learn on for a information to a few of the hottest podcasting mics at completely different value factors to assist you decide in your subsequent recording tech funding.

Earlier than we get began, although, a pair issues to remember!

First off, it is unattainable to assessment each mic on the market, so I’m simply going to concentrate on a number of of the most well-liked ones at completely different value factors.

Second, one beauty of podcast microphone procuring is that it’s straightforward to pay attention and comparability store from the consolation of your private home workplace: simply hop on-line and seek for audio samples! I’ve included a number of on this article from Pat’s YouTube microphone critiques.

Okay, right here’s what to anticipate on this put up:

  • A Good Mic Is No Excuse for a Unhealthy Podcast (However It Helps)
  • The Podcast Mics for Getting Began and Sounding Good
  • The Podcast Mics for Getting Critical and Not Breaking the Financial institution
  • The Podcast Mics for Taking Issues to the Subsequent Stage
  • Mic Test, Higher Perceive Your Mic Tech: Podcast Microphone Phrases and Options
  • Sounding Even Higher with Your New Podcasting Mic

[Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.]

A Good Mic Is No Excuse for a Unhealthy Podcast (However It Helps)

You in all probability knew this, nevertheless it bears saying: even an amazing mic gained’t save a mediocre podcast. 

As podcaster extraordinaire Randy Wilburn mentioned in his interview on the weblog in 2020, “If you do not have nice content material, I do not care. You’ll be able to have fifty Heil PR 40s in your workplace. It’s not gonna matter as a result of no person’s gonna pay attention.”

And he is proper. That mentioned, the bar for audio high quality on podcasts has been raised in recent times. Fortunately, until your price range is basically tight, there’s no motive you may’t sound fairly darn good. And sounding fairly darn good begins with—you guessed it, a top quality podcasting microphone. (Which means, no, the headphones that got here together with your cellular phone or that headset you used for convention calls again in 2012 ain’t gonna minimize it.)

If that is your podcasting setup, I really feel dangerous for you, son. Recent apple, although.

With that out of the way in which, learn on as I cowl some stable podcasting mic choices from $50 to $300+. I’ve additionally embedded Pat’s video critiques of a number of of the mics so you may really hear what they sound like and make up your individual thoughts.

The Podcast Mics for Getting Began and Sounding Good

We’ll begin off with two favorites that are available in properly below $100: the Blue Snowball Ice ($50) and the Samson Q2U ($60 to $70).

Blue Snowball Ice

The Blue Snowball Ice is a stable starter mic. It’s not going to blow your socks off, nevertheless it’ll even be apparent to your viewers that you just’re not utilizing your laptop computer’s built-in mic. Should you’re on a price range, the Ice may very well be simply the ticket.

Mic sort: Condenser (cardioid), USB.

Execs: Inexpensive. Positively a step up audio quality-wise out of your inner mic or an inexpensive exterior one.

Cons: It is advisable to be near the mic to get one of the best sound—however look ahead to distortion, too. Minimal choices (no achieve management, headphone enter, or mute button). Solely captures 44.1kHz/16-bit audio. Placement isn’t adjustable when utilizing the included stand. Some customers report construct high quality points.

Greatest Podcast Microphone 🎤 (Underneath $75 + USB) (ATR-2100, Samson Q2U, Snowball Ice)

Samson Q2U ($60)

The Samson Q2U is perhaps one of the best podcast mic worth on the market. Should you’re trying on the Blue Snowball Ice, I strongly advocate you think about throwing down one other few clams to get the Samson. 

Mic sort: Dynamic (cardioid), USB/XLR.

Execs: Consists of USB and XLR outputs, plus a headphone jack. Comes with a desktop tripod stand, extension piece, mic clip, windscreen, and USB and XLR cables. And in contrast to the ATR2100x’s (see under), these equipment are fairly sturdy.

Cons: None, actually. It gained’t blow you away, however is that what you’re in search of at this value level?

Which Mic is Greatest? Battle of the USB/XLR Combo Mics (Underneath $100) for Podcasting & Stay Streaming (ATR-2100, ATR-2100x, Samson Q2U)

The Podcast Mics for Getting Critical and Not Breaking the Financial institution

The Samson Q2U is nice. It’s truthfully laborious to beat at its value level. However as your podcast begins to take off and also you get extra recording reps below your belt, you would possibly end up wanting slightly one thing additional within the audio high quality division. Fortunately, there are alternatives that will provide you with the increase you’re looking for with out breaking the financial institution. 

ATR2100x-USB ($99)

This subsequent mic is basically near the Samson Q2U by way of audio profile. I feel the ATR2100x sounds slightly higher—it’s as much as you to determine if it’s price the additional $40. It additionally comes with an adjunct package, however let’s simply say the equipment don’t appear to have been constructed with robustness in thoughts.

Execs: Delicate however noticeable sound high quality enhancements over the Samson Q2U, and a stable improve over its beloved predecessor, the ATR2100. Connects through USB-C and XLR.

Cons: Prices $30-$40 greater than the Samson. Equipment should not so nice.

New ATR 2100x USB-C (Mic Take a look at & Evaluate) – Audiotechnica ATR-2100 Alternative – Podcast Gear

Blue Yeti ($130)

The Blue Yeti is likely one of the hottest podcasting mics round, and for good motive. It presents stable sound, sturdy construct high quality, and flexibility in a classy bundle. It’s pricier than the ATR2100x, nevertheless it presents extra choices by way of polar sample, so you should use it for solo recording, one-on-one interviews, and even roundtable discussions.

Mic sort: Condenser (cardioid, omnidirectional, determine 8, stereo), USB.

Execs: Sturdy. Consists of achieve management, headphone enter (with quantity management), and mute button. 4 recording modes offer you appreciable versatility.

Cons: USB solely. Pricier than the wonderful ATR2100x. Vulnerable to desk bumps in case you use it with the desk stand (get that increase arm!).

The Podcast Mics for Taking Issues to the Subsequent Stage

Should you’ve been podcasting for some time and are able to up your audio high quality sport, then it’s time to enter the realm of XLR mics. That is the place the worlds of podcasting {and professional} audio intersect and your choices widen much more.

That is additionally the place issues get costlier, each by way of the microphone itself and the extra gear you’ll must make it work together with your podcasting setup. Any XLR mic goes to want an extra interface to amplify the mic’s sign in order that it’s loud sufficient to truly work with.

Heil PR-40 ($329)

The Heil PR-40 is solely a great-sounding mic. It’s generally thought of probably the greatest dynamic microphones you will get at its value level. It’s additionally a really quiet mic, which could be good—it gained’t add a lot if any hum to your recordings—and dangerous—you will have to spice up the sign with a preamp or mixer to acceptable ranges, and it could decide up extra ambient noise in consequence.

Mic sort: Dynamic (cardioid), XLR.

Execs: Designed to be used with spoken phrase, with a wealthy low-end frequency response. Quiet—the PR-40 introduces little or no self-noise.

Cons: Pricy. Wants an influence increase to get loud, and a sound-treated setting to keep away from selecting up room noise.

Shure SM7B ($399)

The Shure SM7B is one other well-built, fantastic-sounding mic, nevertheless it does are available in at a value tier above the Heil, and also you’ll clearly must think about the price of a preamp. The preinstalled pop filter is a pleasant contact, although. Some customers report further sound high quality advantages from utilizing a mic activator (primarily an amplifier simply to your microphone), however that’ll add one other $60 to $200 to your procuring cart.

Mic sort: Dynamic (cardioid), XLR.

Execs: Lauded for its vocal replica (which is sweet in case you’re podcasting!). Presents three frequency response modes. Comes preinstalled with a pop filter. Properly constructed.

Cons: Pricy. Heavy.

Mic Test, Higher Perceive Your Mic Tech: Podcast Microphone Phrases and Options

Earlier than we go away, let’s cowl some technical terminology you need to know to help in your seek for the right podcasting mic.

  • Increase arm: an adjustable arm that attaches to the mic and offers you flexibility in inserting it
  • Condenser mic: also referred to as a capacitor mic, generally used to seize vocals and excessive frequencies as a consequence of its higher responsiveness to the nuances of sound waves. Condensers are usually extra delicate than dynamic mics.
  • Dynamic mic: dynamic mics use magnets to show sound waves into electrical alerts (principally, the alternative of a speaker). They’re usually much less delicate however extra sturdy than condenser mics.
  • Frequency response: the vary of audible frequencies, from low to excessive, {that a} microphone will decide up.
  • Mixer: a console that permits you to enter audio from numerous sources, then mix, course of, and monitor the audio from these sources
  • Mic activator: a sort of amplifier designed so as to add achieve to the sign from a low-output microphone
  • Polar sample or mode: how a lot audio sign will probably be picked up by the microphone from completely different instructions
  • Pop filter/windscreen: a meshed filter that reduces extreme pressures on the mic from the breath and vocal plosives (“p,” “b,” “okay,” and so on. sounds)
  • Preamp: brief for preamplifier, a tool that amplifies low-level alerts (akin to these from an XLR mic) to “line” stage to be used in recording
  • Shockmount: a mount that dampens vibrations that is perhaps picked up by the mic
  • USB: Common Serial Bus, a connector that means that you can plug your podcast mic straight into your pc (“plug and play”)
  • XLR: a three-pronged connector typical in studio/stage microphones that requires an extra interface (akin to a mixer or preamp) to make use of the mic together with your pc

Sounding Even Higher with Your New Podcasting Rig

Talking of podcasting tech, I undoubtedly advocate selecting up a number of equipment to your mic to make your podcast recording go smoother, specifically: a increase arm to simply place the mic, a shock mount to cut back undesirable vibrations, and a pop filter or windscreen to cut back breath blasts and plosives. Listed below are some stable choices:

Lastly, recording together with your new mic isn’t nearly plugging it in and hitting document. Listed below are some ideas and methods that will help you take advantage of out of your new funding.

High 10 Podcast Recording Tricks to Sound Like a Podcasting Professional—UPDATED!

Podcasting is likely one of the strongest methods to construct your model and viewers. Listed below are ten 10 recording ideas for producing skilled, participating episodes that may hold your listeners coming again for extra.

AP 0797: How Can I Enhance How I Sound on a Microphone?

Listed below are some nice ideas for sounding higher with what you’ve obtained. (Spoiler: follow.)

Discovering the Proper Match For You and Your Podcast

We’ve solely scratched the floor of what’s on the market in the case of podcast mics, particularly in case you’re able to enterprise into the world of XLR and preamps. Once I was recording for Flops, I used a Sterling Audio ST55 XLR mic right into a Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB interface. I like the general sound they produced, however the combo of a finicky condenser mic and adjustable preamp meant numerous tweaking mic placement and enter ranges to make issues sound excellent.

So who is aware of, perhaps subsequent time (Flops season 2? ¯_(ツ)_/¯) I’ll decide up one thing slightly extra plug and play. The Samson Q2U, maybe? Time will inform. In any case, I hope this put up has helped you decide about your first (or fifth) podcasting mic!



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