Podcasting offers a unique creative opportunity to engage audiences associated with your business, personal brand, set of interests, or sense of humor.
With no restrictions, you can quickly enter the podcasting scene and start creating content to distribute to a global audience. But with so many podcasts online today, it is essential to maintain a high-quality sound in your recording. How is that done? It's simple, through a professional microphone.
There are endless post-production software programs that allow you to edit audio or video and platforms like Zencastr to make the recording process more accessible. But, no matter what you do, you won't be able to create the best possible sound if you start with a low-quality recording or through using the wrong microphones.
Navigating the world of microphones can be complex since there are numerous technical elements to consider when ensuring you are selecting a product geared toward your needs and not the needs of a pop singer performing to a live audience of 10,000 people.
This article will review everything you need to know about microphones for recording podcasts, including:
Why it is essential to choose the best microphones for recording that suit your needs.
What criteria to consider when you are choosing a mic.
Our top choices of the best microphones for recording when it comes to quality, price, and purpose.
What is a podcasting mic?
As you know, mics are used for various purposes, including at-home podcasting, live events, music, and emceeing. The products on the market, therefore, have features that are specialized for these various circumstances and can break down into the following categories:
Condenser microphones: This mic is often more sensitive to sound and provides a higher output level to avoid hissing sounds. Plus, they capture high frequencies best, which means they are crisp and clear, but it also means that when recording at home, it could pick up too much background noise like ventilation or air conditioning, as a result.
Dynamic microphones: These mics are the ones you see on stage when you go for a live music gig. They can handle high volumes and cover up the higher-frequency sounds that a condenser mic may amplify.
Ribbon microphones: Finally, there are ribbon microphones that use old technology, are fragile, and cannot necessarily capture higher volumes of sound. Typically, the mics you choose will be either condenser or dynamic. Still, it is good to know that ribbon mics are out there and sound engineers often use them since they capture rich detail.
Why choosing the right podcasting mic is important
Getting set up with the right equipment to suit your needs and circumstances is essential. With the right technology, you can transform your production quality into a professional-grade output, even if you are recording in your bedroom. Here are the ways that a podcasting mic can affect your overall result:
The mic controls the overall sound quality
While effective and creative editing can achieve a lot, ultimately, the mic is the source of the fundamental quality of your product and will determine your baseline. You can't turn an inferior quality recording into a perfect one, so you need to start at the strongest place possible.
Sets the tone for your entire podcast
The mic will establish your podcast's level of professionalism and set the tone for your brand and episodes. You can create the complete package by choosing a mic that matches your intentions.
Can deter listeners if chosen incorrectly
Do you have the patience to listen to sound recordings that are cracked, popping, or glaring with noise? No? Neither does your audience. If you don't value the sound quality of your podcast, you will be ignoring the entire audience experience and putting yourself at risk of creating a product that no one can tolerate to listen to simply due to its sound quality.
Options for customization
Mics come with options and settings that allow you to customize to your needs, so choosing the right one will allow you to use features that can enhance the overall outcome of your show and conversation.
Factors to consider when choosing your podcasting microphone
There are endless variables to consider when looking through types of microphones for recording, but the following attributes are the most important and are at the foundation of any good microphone for recording:
Polar patterns: This refers to the direction and area from which the mic picks up sound and essentially covers the noise reduction work. Some mics, called omnidirectional mics, capture sound from all directions, which means that sometimes, they pick up too much background noise in the space and are not ideal for at-home live recording. Cardioid mics capture most of their sound from right in front of them, and super cardioids and hyper cardioids pick up sound from an even narrower range in front of them, which makes them ideal for when the speaker isn't moving much.
Price: Dynamic mics are often cheaper than condensers and can require a less elaborate setup because they are unlikely to pick up a ton of background noise. So, you may save money with this option because you won't need to invest in soundproofing for the recording space.
Pop filtering: When you listen to a recording or live speaker over a mic, have you ever heard the loud and explosive sounding 'p' and 'b' sounds? This popping can be stopped by a pop filter and helps raise the quality of the overall sound. Listeners will drop off if your 'p' and 'b' sounds startle them every time you speak.
Sound customization options: Because you may be recording a podcast in your bedroom, living room, or, if you're a pro, in an actual recording studio, you'll need a mic that can compensate for your environmental conditions and the attributes of your voice. Some mics provide more options than others regarding voice enhancement, room noise control, low-frequency reduction, and clarity enhancement.
Best microphones for recording podcasts
Here are the eight microphones for recording that we recommend above everything else on the market for podcasters focused on quality, convenience, and affordability.
For use as a solo or group recording device, choose Blue Microphone Yeti USB.
For the best starter pack, choose Rode NT USB.
For the best sound quality when it comes to spoken word, choose Rode Procaster.
For mobile podcasting, go with the IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2.
For a budget-friendly option, go with the Razer Seiren X.
If you have a bigger budget, go with the Shure MV7.
This is a highly regarded microphone for podcasters and is known for its high-quality, immense versatility, and portability. This mic is typically reserved for those with a higher budget or podcasters who take their craft seriously. With a desktop app for audio processing, rich vocal sound, and a durable metal frame, this mic is meant to last any long-term podcasting career.
Features: USB or XLR connection, dynamic mic, cardioid polar pattern, touch panel controls, headphone output.
Price point: $200-$300
Pros: High-quality and versatile.
This mic was specifically built to produce exceptional quality spoken word. Marketed initially as a broadcast microphone, the Rode Procaster manages to filter out background and ambient noise better than many of its competitors to keep the recording sounding crystal clear.
Relevant features: Internal pop filter, includes stand mount, XLR connection, dynamic mic, cardioid polar pattern.
Price point: $100-$200
Pros: Built-in shock mounting, a durable frame, handles ambient noise well.
Cons: Not as versatile as other options on the market.
Because of its convenient desk setup, this mic is an ideal choice for podcasting in a fixed location.
It is a robust starter pack that includes all the tools you'll need, including the pop shield and desk stand, and even works with iPads. It is known to capture rich and dynamic sound from speakers and allows guests to get close to the mic without blowing out their 'p' and 'b' sounds.
Relevant features: USB connection, condenser mic, cardioid polar pattern, including a pop shield, ring mount, and desk tripod stand.
Price point: $100-$200
Pros: Versatile, sounds more professional than the absolute entry-level options.
Cons: More expensive than other USB-only mics.
This microphone is popular among YouTubers and streamers on Twitch. Its excellent quality allows you to rotate through multiple settings while remaining easy to use.
Plus, this is one of the cheap microphones for recording compared to others on the market. Because of its bidirectional or omnidirectional options, this mic can be used effectively for group and solo recording, making it a one-stop shop for many users.
Relevant features: USB connection, condenser mic, bidirectional and omnidirectional cardioid polar pattern, includes microphone stand.
Price point: $100
Pros: Versatile, durable, affordable.
Cons: USB only.
This mic is excellent for music and instrument recording as well as use in a live environment. So, if you are going to be using your mic for many purposes, this might be your best option.
It has a unique shape that helps with high-frequency sounds and helps it to produce a more professional outcome.
Relevant features: XLR connection, dynamic mic, cardioid polar pattern.
Price point: $200-$300
Pros: Range of settings and frequency response.
Cons: Too large to serve as a handheld.
This mic is the only handheld on our list and is perfect for podcasters on the move or those who create content by interacting with people live across the world. It is also great for travel since it can connect to mobile devices and suits podcasters with a limited budget while providing decent quality and clarity in every recording.
Relevant features: USB connection, condenser mic, cardioid polar pattern, including a tripod and carrying case.
Price point: $100-$200
Pros: Accompanied by apps.
Cons: Not as great for stationary setups.
This mic is a convenient solution that comes fixed on a stand to allow for quick plug-and-play. Plus, its cardioid polar pattern does an excellent job at curating the recording sound and eliminating unnecessary background noise.
The movable stand enables you to change the mic's angle and adjust the overall mic's recording direction. It looks sleek and clean, which also makes it well-suited for streaming or video podcasting.
Relevant features: USB connection, condenser mic, super-cardioid polar pattern, includes microphone stand that is movable and adaptable.
Price point: $70-$100
Pros: Affordable and compact.
This mic comes equipped with everything you need to record right away, including a boom-stand arm and a pop filter to keep your sound quality above the standard. This smaller and lesser-known brand provides exceptional quality at a low price.
Relevant features: USB connection, condenser mic, super-cardioid polar pattern, includes boom arm and pop filter.
Price point: $60-$100
Pros: It comes with everything you need.
Cons: Lesser-known brand.
A final note on improving the sound quality of your podcasts
Finding the right podcasting microphone is only half the battle. You also need to have the right tools to make sure that your podcast show sounds professional and engaging. We won’t get into too much detail, but here are some tools that you can use to make sure that the quality of your show is on par with the quality content you create:
Record your podcast using Riverside.
Remove filler sounds from your recording in seconds using AI with Cleanvoice.
Edit your podcast recordings using Descript.
Distribute and publish your podcast on every platform using Zencast.
Start creating professional-quality podcasts
There are endless options when it comes to the microphones available on the market today. Each one offers a different set of features and attributes that can help to elevate the quality of your podcast recording.
Focus on selecting an item that fits in your budget, suits the needs of your recording environment, and fits with your setup—whether it is solo, multi-person, mobile, or stationary.
Once you have the necessary equipment, use our software at Zencast to to host and publish your podcast on every platform