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 get started producing a 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 good quality microphone for podcast recording.
That’s why we’ve rounded up best podcast microphones in 2020.
Condenser vs Dynamic Mics
Another point to consider is whether a condenser mic suits your needs, or whether you should be looking at a dynamic mic.
The difference between condenser and dynamic mics is in the way they capture audio. They both pick up a full range of audio, offer great sound quality and are good options for podcasting, though dynamic mics may be a little more easy to use.
The key difference between the two is sensitivity. Condensers (such as the Blue Yeti) are way more sensitive than their dynamic counterparts, which becomes more and more apparent the further away from the mic you move.
Because of that sensitivity, condenser podcasting mics can sometimes encounter issues in untreated rooms, where they pick up a lot of ambient noise (background noise). If you are working in a particular noisy or reflective environment, a dynamic mic may be more appropriate.
A condenser mic also requires a shock mount to isolate them from handling noise, which may make a dynamic mic (like the SM7B) a more easy to use option.
Both offer excellent sound quality and are great for podcasting, though condensers typically exhibit a wider frequency range particularly in the top end, making them a great purchase if you’re also planning on recording drums or acoustic guitar in addition to vocal tracks.
For the most part, professional podcasters tend to choose dynamic mics, like the Shure SM7B or Electo-Voice RE20. The reason? Many podcasters are recording in less than optimal environments, where background noise inside the room (like computer fans), and from outside the room (street noise etc), is a major concern.
Dynamic mics are much better at rejecting unwanted noise, making them the perfect choice for podcasters hosts, beginner and pro alike!
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.
In This Article –
- Top Pick: Shure SM7B
- Runner-Up: Electro-Voice RE20
- Best Under $200: Audio-Technica AT2035
- Best Budget (Analog) Pick: TONOR BM700
- Best Podcast USB Microphone: Samson G-Track Pro USB
- Best Budget USB Pick: Fifine USB Microphone
- Best for Male/Female Customization: Aston Stealth
Other Podcast Microphones We Reviewed
What Should I Look For In A Podcasting Mic?
When recording audio using a computer, it’s not just the mic itself involved. You need some way of converting the analogue audio signal into digtal (known as A/D conversion).
Traditionally, this is done via a sound card or audio interface, as is the case when using an XLR style mic like the SM7B
XLR mics have a 3-pin output that you connect via an XLR cable to an audio interface. The audio interface utilizes a built in preamp to amplify the mic signal, and then converts that signal to 1s and 0s via A/D conversion. It then connects to your computer via USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt.
USB mics, like the Blue Yeti, on the other hand have (you guessed it) a USB output, which plugs directly into your computer. Essentially what’s happening here is the preamp and conversion components are built directly into the mic body.
The main benefit of a USB mic is that it will be super easy to use, you simply plug it into your computer and get started. Comparatively though, XLR mics typically offer superior audio quality.
This, of course, isn’t always true. There are definitely USB podcasting mics on the market that out-perform some XLR mics. These tend to be cheaper XLR mics though, and as you get further up the price range you will notice a significant lift in audio quality, which makes XLR mics the professional standard for podcast recording.
Purchasing an XLR mic is often more expensive though, as it does mean you need to get an audio interface, which can be expensive. They offer more flexibility though, as you can later upgrade the mic while using the same interface.
Our Top Pick:
The Shure SM7B is almost a no-brainer pick for the best podcasting 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 SM7B microphone is responsible for.
The mic has also been used for recording several famous singers including Michael Jackson, and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis. It’s no wonder the mic is among the best podcast mics for starting a podcast or youtube channel in 2020.
This microphone has a wide frequency 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 frequency response settings.
There are some cool engineering and design features which further enhance its performance. With the SM7B you get a built-in pop filter, shock isolation (to eliminate mechanical noise transmissions), and superior shielding against common studio monitor interference. As with most podcast microphones on the pro end, this one’s an XLR type mic.
The cardioid polar pattern is a great 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 a good 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 SM7B is unlikely to fall behind for years to come.
Shure SM7B Key Features
- Premium build quality
- Built-in pop filter
- Wide frequency response range
- Bass roll-off and presence boost controls
- Maximum off-axis sound rejection
- XLR mic
Our Runner Up
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. It’s also great on low frequency instruments such as bass guitar and kick drums.
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. This is great for podcasters as it means your voice is heard loud and clear.
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. Want one yet?
Electro-Voice RE20 Key Features
- Midrange-optimized frequency response range
- Superior build and durability
- Variable-D technology
- Bass roll-off switch
- XLR mic
- Large diaphragm
- Internal pop filter
Best Under $200
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This Audio-Technica AT2035 provides an affordable condenser mic 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 a good option for podcasting, YouTubing, etc.
Purchasers get a custom shock mount 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. You might want to consider purchasing a pop filter though.
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 mic without spending hundreds more on a much more expensive microphone. The Audio-Technica AT2035 truly impresses in this $200 and under category.
Audio-Technica AT2035 Key Features
- Comes with isolating shock mount
- High detail, low noise, great sound quality
- Switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and 10 dB pad
- Smooth, clear audio capturing at a very reasonable price
- XLR mic
- Great results from a mic under $200
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 podcasting microphone may be out of your reach, with a bit of creativity you can go places with the best budget podcast 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’s still a good 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
- USB/XLR connection
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Optimized for vocal recordings
- Rugged stand and shock mount
- Good value for money
Best USB Microphone
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 mics for podcasts list!
Among other features, the Samson G-Track Pro packs in dual 1” condenser mic 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… so you can set the mic up however you want. 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 plug and play win that you’ll definitely want to take a look at.
Samson G-Track Pro Key Features:
- A USB mic combined with a built-in audio interface
- Stereo headphone output for zero-latency monitoring
- 3 selectable pickup patterns
- Built for the studio
- Contains a ¼” input so that another instrument can be plugged right into it
- Excellent for singer/songwriters
- Best of the USB mics
Best Budget USB Pick
USB microphones are popular for easy plug-and-play setups. The Fifine USB Condenser Mic 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 doesn’t need a power source, unlike many USB podcasting 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 great 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’ podcasting microphones out there, but it is one of the cheapest you can find without compromising clarity and consistency.
Fifine USB Condenser Microphone Key Features
- Condenser microphone
- Optimized for voice calls and recordings
- Cardioid polar pattern
- No external power source needed
Best 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. You get four voice modes with this 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 a good choice 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 podcasting 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.
The front of the mic features a built in pop filter too for reducing plosives, which is something you’ll want to avoid when recording a podcast.
Aston Stealth Key Features
- Passive and active mode
- Four voice modes
- Built-in class A preamp
- Twist ring mode switch
- Sleek design with custom mount
- XLR mic
- Built in pop filter
- 4 voice modes for optimal recording quality
It goes without saying that all podcasters should eventually transition to a podcasting microphone. While good podcast headsets can make your recordings sound professional, a premium podcasting microphone will always sound better.
However, a podcasting 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.
- audio book recordings
- broadcasting, etc.
3 Things To Consider Before You Buy
- Sound Proofing
- How The Mic Is Going To Be Used
What you spend on a podcast mic comes down to your budget, but as with anything, if you want to get a great quality mic, you’ll need to get your wallet out.
Buying an expensive mic isn’t essential, but as a general rule, the best microphones are the more expensive ones. Compared to the cheapest mics, a good (more expensive) podcast mic offers better sound quality, better handling of ambient noise, and greater recording capabilities.
Pick any one of these great podcast microphones and you’ll get excellent sound quality and recording capability.
But, if you fail to treat to your room, you could be wasting your time and money. Every room has a certain degree of ambient noise, which has the potential of leaking into your brand new mic and ruining your sound.
That’s the last thing you need in your podcast. You don’t want it to sound like you’re recording in the bathroom, and you certainly don’t want your listeners to hear your roommates making noise in the background.
So, it’s worth taking a look at how you might be able to sound proof the room you’ll be recording in. A little bit goes a long way toward getting the best sound quality for your podcast.
How It Is Going To Be Used
Something to consider is how many people you’ll be recording at any one time.
If your podcast only features you, you should be good. But if you’re likely to have guests on, or if you have multiple hosts, then you may need to consider one of these options:
- Handheld mic
- A mic with a figure-8 pickup pattern
- Purchasing more than one mic
Before buying a podcasting 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. You’ll want to consider
- Most Common Types
- Directional Capability
- Frequency Response
- What’s included?
Most Common Types
Most people end up choosing between condenser and dynamic microphones to record their podcasts. Condenser microphones are considered ideal by many due to their ability to capture the faintest of sounds without altering the pitch.Dynamic microphones are praised for their durability and ability to capture loud sounds in live shows. There are various subtypes of dynamic microphones, with proprietary or non-proprietary technology that aims to give users some specific advantage.That being said, most people still turn to condensers when aiming for high-fidelity recordings, and dynamic microphones when they’re trying to save money or get a microphone that’s suitable for more than one application.
What you’ll see in most podcast studios in terms of connectivity are cables. But, not just any cables. Good podcasts with premium production value will almost always favor professional XLR cables over USB cables.While a USB connection offers some advantages, such as easy setup and potentially not needing phantom power, XLR cables enjoy less interference and signal loss. This makes them more valuable for serious podcasters.
This refers to how the microphone prioritizes recorded sounds. For example, omnidirectional mics capture sound from all directions. Cardioid microphones, on the other hand, prioritize sound coming from the front instead of off-axis sounds.Because of this, cardioid polar patterns are preferred… since the point of most podcasts is to highlight the dialogue between the host and guests. The background noise is not important or desired most of the time.
While almost all microphones for podcasting will have a frequency response range that’s within the human hearing range of 20Hz to 20kHz, it’s important to understand that not all of them pick up midrange and high frequencies equally well. For a podcast, it’s important to find the best podcasting microphone you can afford that’s optimized to emphasize the midrange.
When you buy a mic, you often get more than just the mic. When weighing up different options, consider what’s included. Common examples include
- Pop filter
- XLR cable
- Mic clip
- Shock mount
- Carry case
- Sound card
What is a podcasting mic?
A podcasting microphone is a microphone designed and optimized for capturing clear dialogue with great accuracy. Unlike many other types of microphones, a podcasting microphone will always have a frequency response curve that emphasizes the midrange over the lower and higher frequencies.
When to get a podcasting mic
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 podcasting 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.
Do I need a microphone to record a podcast?
The short answer is yes. Even if you are capturing sound with your iPhone, you’re still using a microphone, albeit a built in one.
If you’re serious about capturing a good quality sound recording for your podcast though, you’re going to want, or rather, need, a quality podcast mic. Whether that’s a USB or XLR type is up to you, both offer great sound.
We didn’t just pull our top five picks out of thin air. We reviewed tons of podcasting 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.Blue Microphones Bluebird SL
Our first entry from Blue Microphones, the Bluebird SL makes for a great podcasting mic.
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.
Blue Bluebird SL Key Features
- Proprietary diaphragm for a more open sound
- -20dB pad
- High-pass filter
- Flat midrange
- Custom shock mount
- XLR condenser
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.
Rode Procaster Key Features
- Built-in internal shock mount
- Built-in internal pop filter
- Includes stand mouth, ⅜ inch adapter, and zip pouch
- Excellent choice for podcasting, YouTubing, or Broadcasting
- Come with a 10 year warranty
- Great quality XLR connector
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, so you know you’ll get a great sound recording every single time.
sE Electronics X1 Key Features
- 100Hz high-pass filter
- Optimized for speech recognition
- Unique condenser capsule
- -20dB pad switch
- All-metal chassis
- XLR mic for professional recording results
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.
sE Electronics sE2200 Key Features
- Two low-cut filters
- Extended dynamic range
- Optimized for close-mic vocals
- All-metal housing
- Curved metal pop filter
With almost no low frequency distortion and a floating capsule, the Audio Technica AT4033/CL provides some of the best noise isolation and vibration protection seen in podcast microphones. A good looking XLR mic that offers great sound and a professional quality recording.
Audio-Technica AT4033/CL Key Features
- Floating-construction capsule
- Custom shock mount
- TLM (Transformer-less technology)
- 80Hz high-pass filter
- Dust cover, mount, and case included
- Great XLR condenser
The Blue Yeti USB microphone comes with a tri-capsule array, which gives you enough versatility to record about anything. The mic even has gain control, a mute button, and a zero latency headphone output.
Though the Blue Yeti doesn’t come with a pop filter, it does a good job of eliminating background noise from your recording, offering great sound at a decent price.
With the Blue Yeti, you have multiple pattern selections with this microphone, including cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. A perfect option for podcasters, the Blue Yeti delivers awesome quality at an affordable price.
Blue Yeti Key Features
- On-board gain control
- Zero latency headphone output
- Compatible with Windows and Mac OS
- Pristine, studio-quality sound
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.
Shure MV5 Key Features
- Built-in headphone output for real-time monitoring
- Low profile, classic design
- Includes a MicroB-to-USB cable, as well as a MicroB-to-Lightning cable
- 3 DSP Preset Modes (Vocals, Flat, Instrument)
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.
Samson Meteor Key Features
- 25mm diaphragm
- ⅛” stereo headphone output
- Zero latency monitoring
- Classic, old-style look
Samson Go Mic
The Samson Go Mic offers great sound quality in a small form factor. This is a good choice those working in small environments due to its size, and ability to clip onto your laptop screen.
If you’re low on room, you might want to look at this mic. It doesn’t come with a pop filter, but this mic seems more geared toward those who need a compact design rather than a mic with all of the extras.
Samson Go Mic Key Features
- One of the best microphones for those working in limited space
- Excellent sound
- Plug and play operation means easy recording
- Low background noise
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.
Samson Q2U Key Features
- Plug and play design
- XLR and USB output
- Onboard ⅛” headphone jack allows for zero-latency monitoring
- Comes with a pop filter, a USB cable, and an XLR cable
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!
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Key Features
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Built-in headphone jack
- On-board zero-latency monitoring
- Simple to use: Plug-and-play design
What Other Equipment Do Podcasting Microphones Need?
This depends on a number of factors such as:
- If you are buying an XLR or USB mic
- If you are buying a dynamic or condenser mic
- If your room requires acoustic treatment
- What comes with your microphone when you purchase
For XLR Buyers
If you’ve decided to purchase an XLR mic for podcast recording, then there are a few things you’ll need:
- XLR cable
- Audio interface with XLR input
- Cable to connect your interface to your computer (not always included)
For Condenser Buyers
If you purchase a condenser mic then you’ll want to consider:
- Acoustic treatment for your room
- Pop filter if you don’t get one with the mic
- Mixer or interface with phantom, if its an XLR mic
For Those Who Need Acoustic Treatment
Depending on your environment, you may want to look at some acoustic treatment options to prevent background noise and reflections messing up your sound. This might include:
- Using cushions, blankets and soft furniture to soak up reflective sound
- Acoustic foam
- Bass traps
- Minimizing the amount of reflective surfaces in the recording room
Other Potential Purchases
A few other things you’ll want to consider purchasing, depending on what’s included with your mic:
- Microphone stand
- Pop filter
- Carrying case or bag
- Recording software
- Shock mount
Conclusion – Choosing The Best Podcast Mic
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 podcasting 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.
If you’re not sure if an XLR mic will suit your needs, you might want to look at a good USB mic such as the Samson G Track Pro or the Blue Yeti.