17 Best Podcast Microphones for 2020 Starting Under $50
If you want to grow an audience, gain a voice in your market, niche, or community… and leave a meaningful mark on the world, then one of the best things you can do is start a podcast!
Thankfully, this isn’t a venture that needs to cost you a lot of money. In fact, some people podcast using nothing but their smartphones.
But you’ll also notice that the best podcasters all started to really pick up steam once they checked a few technical ‘boxes’ off in their own podcasting endeavors.
And the most important one of these ‘boxes’ to check off is a quality podcast microphone.
Using a high-quality microphone will help to give your audience a better experience. And clear, high definition audio will greatly enhance the chances that people will subscribe to your podcast and keep listening.
If you truly want to succeed in podcasting, a quality mic is an absolute must.
So we’ve compiled a list of the best podcast microphones on the market. Any one of these mics will do awesome things for your podcast. Leveling up your microphone is the single best way to level up your podcast game fast!
So let’s get to it, and start off with our top pick!
The Shure SM7B easily won our top-pick spot, mostly because it combines top-notch quality with a decent price point. It isn’t necessarily an ‘inexpensive’ mic, but it does fit into that middle price point that even aspiring beginners can access.
The 7 Top Best Podcast Microphones in 2019
Best Under $200
Best Budget (Analog) Pick
Best Podcast USB Microphone
Best Budget USB Pick
Best for Male/Female Customization
Our Top Pick:
The Shure SM7B is almost a no-brainer pick for the best podcast microphone due to its wide range of features and great optimizations that articulate the vocal range. Some of you may know it as the Joe Rogan microphone, as it is in fact the very mic that the actor, comedian and interviewer uses in the popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
One can’t argue about the immense popularity of Joe Rogan’s podcast. Apart from great guests, interesting conversation topics, and lots of humor, part of what makes it successful is the excellent production value. Most of it can be attributed to the great audio recordings for which the Shure SM7B microphone is responsible for.
This microphone has a wide frequency response range and is able to capture vocals cleanly. It has a midrange emphasis in the vein of all good speech-oriented microphones. It also comes with a graphic display for various response settings.
There are some cool engineering and design features which further enhance its performance. The SM7B has a built-in pop filter, shock isolation (to eliminate mechanical noise transmissions), and superior shielding against common studio monitor interference.
The cardioid polar pattern is an excellent choice too. It neglects off-axis or background sounds in favor of what comes directly out of the speaker’s mouth. Although it has a higher price tag, it’s an investment that will last for years due to its rugged construction and multiple layers of protection. What’s even better is that its high-end audio performance is so good that the Shure SM7B is unlikely to fall behind for years to come.
Shure SM7B Key Features
Our Runner Up
Our runner-up pick offers smooth, linear voice characteristics, along with a steel case and a ‘hum-bucking’ coil. It is perfect for instrument recording, but can also excel as a vocal mic for podcasting.
The Electro-Voice RE20 came in a close second to the Joe Rogan mic. In many ways, it is a much more versatile piece of equipment. Besides, its potential for multiple applications may make it more valuable for certain podcasters.
One of the best things about the RE20 is its Variable-D technology. This function allows users to circle around the microphone, when needed, without having to worry about any tonal shifts in their vocal recordings. For this reason, the RE20 is also a popular recording microphone for various string and percussion instruments.
The frequency response range (45Hz to 18KHz) is flat and wide enough for any podcasts. It is optimized for speech recognition and vocal clarity. All the emphasis is on the midrange, with just enough left over to provide resonance, clarity, and power for all types of voices.
If that’s not enough to convince you, then consider this: The RE20 is one of the oldest and more popular professional radio microphones in use today.
Electro-Voice RE20 Key Features
Best Under $200
Designed for critical home and studio applications, this large diaphragm condenser mic will capture smooth, natural sound for less than $200… making it optimal for those just getting started with a podcast!
This Audio-Technica AT2035 provides an affordable condenser microphone option that also packs in some pretty serious quality for the cost. It features a large diaphragm cardioid pattern, designed primarily to reduce the pickup of sounds from the sides and rear… making this an excellent option for podcasting, YouTubing, etc.
It comes with a custom shock mouth to provide isolation, and also comes with a switchable 80 Hz high pass filter. It is also rugged enough in its construction to be built to last… making it a safe investment for the budget-minded podcaster.
Many reviewers who have used this mic say that it can’t be beat for the price… and we would tend to agree. From the quality sound capturing, to the isolating shock mount, to the low price tag… you’ll be hard-pressed to upgrade from this one without spending hundreds more on a much more expensive microphone. The Audio-Technica AT2035 truly impresses in this $200 and under category.
Best Budget (Analog) Pick
Funding is a major issue for most people who are trying to build up their podcast. Sure, you can record a podcast anywhere, at home if you have to, but you still need the proper gear. While the best podcast microphone may be out of your reach, with a bit of creativity you can go places with the best budget microphone — the TONOR BM700.
For only a few bucks, the BM700 comes with a cardioid polar pattern that reduces off-axis sounds. It has a shock mount, an adjustable suspension arm stand, a pop filter, and even a windscreen. These are most of the accessories that you will need in your studio.
While the microphone itself isn’t built like a tank, most of its accessories are, which is impressive enough at this price point. The shock mount is solid metal and the stand spring is very rugged. One thing worth pointing out is that you will need phantom power, a good sound card, and a professional-grade XLR cable if you want to get the most out of the BM700.
Overall, the microphone is not too special or versatile, but if you’re a podcaster, you don’t always need that. Since the BM700 has been optimized for speech recognition and features enhanced midrange pickup, it can be the ideal choice for a low-budget podcast. If you plan on having more than one guest per show, TONOR BM700 a nice way to keep the show running without breaking the bank.
Tonor BM700 Key Features
Best Podcast USB Microphone
This is a high-quality USB mic and audio interface put together! It’s also affordable and sounds awesome, making it a ‘must mention’ in our list for best podcast mics.
The Samson G-Track Pro is essentially an all-in-one professional USB microphone with an audio interface built right into it. It was made for streaming, YouTubing, recording music, and podcasting, and definitely deserves a space in our top best podcast mics list!
Among other features, the Samson G-Track Pro packs in dual 1” condenser microphone capsules to give you omnidirectional pickup patterns. It has a ¼” instrument input for connecting instruments (like a guitar, bass, or keyboard), making it awesome for singer/songwriters.
It also has an ⅛” stereo headphone output, which you can use for zero-latency monitoring.
Of course, the Samson G can be omnidirectional… but it also has settings for cardioid and bidirectional pickup patterns… giving you the final choice in how it picks up audio. We love how it can be set up for interviews to capture high-quality audio from two different speakers.
If you’re looking for something high quality that is also surprisingly affordable, then the Samson G-Track Pro is a sure-fire win that you’ll definitely want to take a look at.
Samson G-Track Pro Key Features:
Best Budget USB Pick
Fifine USB Condenser MicrophoneBLURB: This plug-and-play USB microphone was built for use with Mac or Windows computers. Simple features and rugged durability make it a quality-packed purchase for the price point.
USB microphones are popular for easy plug-and-play setups. The Fifine USB Condenser Microphone is a great example of how you can create quality recordings on a budget, without too much fancy gear. It’s also cool that you can get this mic in either black or rose red, should you wish to add some color to the studio.
The microphone has a volume control and a mute knob. It obviously doesn’t need a phantom power source, unlike many USB mics, and it also features metal construction. It’s light but rugged and has great stability when mounted on the included tripod desk stand. The cable is 6ft long, which will give you enough range of motion in a small studio.
Fifine originally designed this mic for voiceovers and VOIP calls. Because of this, the frequency response range is optimized for speech recognition and clarity. As such, the microphone will work its magic in podcasts too. The Fifine USB Condenser may not be the most ‘premium’ microphones out there, but it is one of the cheapest you can find without compromising clarity and consistency.
Fifine USB Condenser Microphone Key Features
Best Podcast Mic for Male and Female Customization
The Aston Stealth is a very interesting microphone for podcasters. One of the top features is the built-in class A preamp. Another impressive feature is the switchable voice modes. There are four voice modes on the mic, as if there are 4 mics in 1, and each mode is optimized for specific tonal range, including two settings for vocals (higher and lower registers).
This microphone can work with or without phantom power. It can automatically switch between active and passive mode, which makes it one of the best choices if you’re constantly upgrading and experimenting with new audio equipment. You can count on the Aston Stealth to stay true no matter what.
But why is this the best podcast microphone for both gender customizations? Mainly because of its 4-in-1 voice mode. As you know, there are clear differences between male and female voices, especially in terms of frequency range. The Aston Stealth brilliantly enhances the articulation of male and female speakers, thus improving vocal clarity and accuracy.
Aston Stealth Key Features
Who Should Buy a Podcast Microphone?
It goes without saying that all podcasters should eventually transition to a podcast microphone. While good podcast headsets can make your recordings sound professional, a premium podcast microphone will always sound better.
However, a podcast microphone is not just for podcasters. Such a microphone can be used for any task or application that involves calls or vocal recordings — i.e. gaming, voiceovers, audio book recordings, broadcasting, etc.
Important Features to Consider
Before buying a podcast microphone, it is important to weigh the different features, price points, and options. You want to get the best bang for your buck, so it makes sense to shop around and see which features are the most important in your particular situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a podcast microphone?
A podcast microphone is a microphone designed and optimized for capturing clear dialogue with great accuracy. Unlike many other types of microphones, a podcast microphone will always have a frequency response curve that emphasizes the midrange over the lower and higher frequencies.
When to get a podcast microphone
It depends on the budget at your disposal. While you may be able to get one premium microphone right now, think before doing so. What about your guests? It’s always best to maintain a balance in sound quality so that you don’t sound too much better than other people invited to your podcast.
The best way to go about it is to get the same microphone for everyone. It will give you the most professional recording quality and make it easier to tweak the channels for a high-end mix. Get a microphone when you can afford at least two of them. Unless of course if you’re recording a strictly one-person show.
What is the best podcast microphone for beginners?
Since not all podcasts follow identical formats or are recorded in the same conditions, there’s not one model that will satisfy everyone. However, there is one type of microphone that is ideal for entry-level podcasters and those on a tight budget — USB plug-and-play microphones.
Some of these microphones come with their own preamp, which means that you don’t need anything else other than a computer, a pair of headphones, and the proper recording software.
Other Podcast Microphones We Reviewed
We didn’t just pull our top five picks out of thin air. We reviewed tons of podcast microphones before arriving at our conclusions. There are a few more products that didn’t make the top five, but we feel that they may offer a great deal of value to some podcasters. They are as follows.
The large diaphragm, high-pass filter, and smooth midrange recording make the Blue Bluebird SL a very interesting vocal mic. It has a more open sound than most podcast microphones and it can be useful in many live show situations.
The Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Mic features a tight polar pattern and tailored-for-the-voice frequency response. It is an ideal choice in just about any application where you need high-quality audio in a rugged, long-lasting shell. It has an internal shock capsule to keep handling noise to a minimum, but also features an internal pop-filter to reduce plosives.
The sE Electronics X1 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a 100Hz high-pass filter. Its unique capsule design is optimized for clear acoustics and speech recognition.
The sE Electronics sE2200 is equipped with class A electronics and optimized for vocal clarity. It uses two low-cut filters and a switchable attenuation pad (-10dB and -20dB) in order to deliver noiseless high-quality recordings. It can also be used to record instruments.
With almost no low frequency distortion and a floating capsule, the Audio Technica AT033/CL provides some of the best noise isolation and vibration protection seen in podcast microphones.
Other USB Mics
The Blue Yeti USB microphone comes with a tri-capsule array, which gives you enough versatility to record about anything. You have multiple pattern selections with this microphone, including cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. A perfect option for podcasters, this mic delivers awesome quality at an affordable price.
The Shure MV5 USB mic is certified for direct connection to any iOS device without the need for any additional adaptors or kits. This makes it an optimal choice if you’re running a MAC OS system, and need a high-quality, yet affordable USB microphone for podcasting, YouTubing, or other similar tasks. Includes an anodized aluminum desktop stand with an integrated thread mount.
The Samson Meteor USB condenser mic provides quality condenser sound with a plug-and-play USB interface design. It is classically styled, provides professional level audio, folds up for easy transport, has a built-in stand, and is built of die-cast zinc with a chrome-plated finish.
Other Handheld Mics
If you’re looking for a handheld mic for your podcast needs, then we would recommend this Samson Q2U Dynamic USB Microphone. This podcasting pack comes with the mic, a small desktop stand, and the capability to plug in either with XLR or USB technology. If you’re looking for well-rounded USB handheld that’s not terribly pricey, then this one should be on your radar.
This handheld dynamic mix has XLR and USB outputs, giving you more than one option for plugging it in and communicating with your interface. It also provides smooth, extended-frequency response, which is ideally suited to podcasting, YouTubing, home studio recording, and field recording. It is also quite popular for voiceover work!
When deciding to start a podcast, it can be a bit intimidating when you first look around at the different types of podcasting equipment available. With our list, you should be able to find a high quality podcast microphone to suit your needs. If you’re still unsure, we recommend having a look at the Shure SM78 Dynamic Microphone and the Electro-Voice RE20 Broadcast Announcer Microphone… as these are the two mics on our list that deliver the best quality for the money.