Podcasting is one of the major pillars of content marketing, right next to YouTube and blogging. It holds a HUGE space in both creative and content marketing worlds right now, and there are many reasons to consider starting a podcast of your own.
But with that being said, podcasting is unique in that you really need to have a few pieces of quality gear to make it work.
Yes, you can podcast with your smartphone… but a little bit of money spent in the right place can really level-up your game by 1000%.
And the key component to this is choosing a top microphone for podcasting.
USB microphones are especially useful for podcasting because they make it easy to record audio right to your laptop or computer. But if you don’t buy a good one, you may end up having more problems than it’s worth… So, with that being said, here are the best USB microphones for podcasters in the market right now.
Best USB Microphone for Podcasts: Samson G-Track Pro
The Samson G-Track USB microphone is best for podcasting mostly for all of the awesome features it packs in at such a reasonable price. It is truly an all-in-one, professional-grade USB microphone, and literally seems to have been designed with podcasters in mind!
In This Article
- Our Top Pick: Samson G-Track Pro
- Runner-Up: Blue Yeti Nano USB Microphone
- Best Budget USB Mic: Fifine K699 USB Podcast Mic
- Best Handheld USB Mic: Samson Q2U USB Mic
- Best USB Mic for iOS and PC: Shure MV5
|Top Pick||Samson G-Track Pro|
|Runner Up||Blue Yeti Nano USB Microphone|
|Best Budget Pick||Fifine K699 USB Podcast Mic|
|Best Handheld USB Mic||Samson Q2U USB Mic|
|Best USB Mic for iOS and PC||Shure MV5|
It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand why the Samson G-Track Pro earned the top pick for the best USB microphone for podcasting. This mic is premium quality inside and out. It’s a condenser microphone which means it will capture sparkling vocal recordings every time.
The Samson G-Track Pro is the best among all the microphones USB setups for podcasting because it has very low latency as well as an option for zero-latency monitoring, thanks to its 1/8” headphone output.
It’s also one of the few USB microphones that offer multiple recording and pickup modes.
The microphone can be used for mono or 2-track recording, and can be configured for one of three pickup patterns.
- and omnidirectional
The Cardioid is best for most Podcasts
One of the great things about the G-Track Pro is its ability to reject off-axis sounds when using the cardioid pattern. Even something as punchy as keystrokes near the microphone are unlikely to show up in your recordings.
Because of this, the cardioid pattern will be the most useful for most podcasters. However, you may be able to get away with using a single G-Track Pro for a podcast that involves two or three people, as even in the omnidirectional pickup mode, the microphone can boost the presence and emphasize the midrange frequencies across various distances providing quality vocal recordings.
And the bidirectional mode will capture two voices conversing across a table with ease.
The microphone’s durability is also unmatched. This is one of the best-built USB condenser microphones with a very rugged housing and mount.
Samson G-Track Pro Key Features
- Premium build quality
- Lag-free monitoring
- Headphones output and instrument input
- Dual track recording
- Three pickup patterns
The Blue Yeti Nano is the smaller and more economical version of the Blue Yeti condenser microphone. This USB microphone for podcast setups is good because it’s better equipped to handle vibrations. It features a volume dial on the front, both cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns, and the ability to support sample rates of up to 24-bit/48kHz.
Small Yet Powerful…
It’s a tiny mic that’s capable of latency-free headphone monitoring. It packs quite a bit of punch too, in the sense that it’s much closer in audio quality to an analog microphone with an XLR connector than most entry-level to mid-priced USB mics. The Yeti Nano can also be used with the Sherpa software if you want to tweak its sensitivity. Unlike its big brother, this mic doesn’t have a dedicated gain knob.
An Appropriate Range Of Frequencies…
All in all, the Yeti Nano can do just about anything you could ask of a podcast microphone. It has an articulate midrange and clear highs, and it also manages to record deep voices. It does all of this without sounding bassy in any way.
Blue Yeti Nano Key Features
- Cardioid and omnidirectional patterns
- Great shock and vibration resistance
- Zero-latency headphone monitoring
- Dedicated software
- Good handle on low-register voice recordings
This easy-to-use, plug-and-play condenser microphone will give you a definite boost in audio quality at a price that is accessible to even the tightest budgets!
The Fifine K699 USB podcast microphone is more than just the best condenser USB microphone for podcasting that you can buy on a tight budget. It’s also one of the better options for close proximity vocal recordings. The sound quality is surprisingly good, and the cardioid pickup pattern performs better as you get closer to the microphone. Also worth mentioning is the lack of distortion and feedback.
Minimal Post Production Work…
As most ideal podcast microphones, the Fifine dynamic USB mic can handle high gain with limited feedback thanks to its larger diaphragm. The mic also does a good job of capturing low register sounds without much need for software tweaking.
No Struggles With Setup…
You might also appreciate, as we did, the all-metal construction which improves the durability of the microphone. The 6ft cable should be more than enough for most home podcast studios and even larger professional studios. Last but not least, the FiFine K699 microphone is basically a plug-and-play device, which means that you don’t need a phantom power source to use it.
Fifine K699 Key Features
- All-metal construction
- No phantom power source needed
- Cardioid polar pattern
- High-sensitivity and optimized for vocal recordings
- Adjustable tripod desk stand
The Samson Q2U is the best usb/xlr microphone for podcasting because of its simple design and top-quality audio and; being a dynamic microphone, provides incredible elimination of background noise.
Being a handheld microphone it has good live performance qualities but delivers even better performance in a studio setting. It has a cardioid pickup pattern which is why it does a great job of rejecting off-axis sound, despite its lower price tag. It also comes equipped with a 1/8” stereo output for zero-latency monitoring and doesn’t require any special drivers or a dedicated external amp to work its magic.
Reliable Pop Filter…
As with all good podcast microphones, the Samson Q2U also has a built-in pop filter. What makes this dynamic mic different than others of its kind is its two connection options. You’ll find that the Q2U comes with both USB and XLR connectors. The sound quality is nothing short of impressive, as the Q2U boasts a narrower frequency response range that is optimized for midrange frequencies.
Samson Q2U Key Features
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Zero-latency headphone monitoring
- Optimized for midrange
- Built-in pop filter
- USB or XLR
The Shure MV5 is by far our favorite bullet microphone for podcasting, check availability on Sweetwater here.Yes, it’s a USB microphone, but you can’t argue with the sound quality. Like most ribbon microphones, the Shure MV5 is characterized by its low sensitivity and superior recording detail.
Got a PC? No Problem!
Another awesome detail with this mic is that you can also use it on Windows Systems. This makes it great to use with recording DAWs and software like Audacity, even if you are running Windows.
Varied Modes For Versatility
Room noise or off-axis sounds won’t be an issue with this device. The unidirectional MV5 captures little to nothing coming from sources other than the speaker’s mouth. Interestingly enough, the budget-friendly microphone also comes with three presets for vocals, instruments, and flat recording. It’s a bit more versatile than expected, especially given its Apple-only compatibility.
Lag-free monitoring is also an option. The stereo output is great to use during live podcasts. The Shure MV5 microphone can apply its own compression, EQ, and limiting, as there are no dedicated knobs to control all that. The amount of software tweaking should be minimal due to the midrange-friendly tuning of the vocals preset when recording.
Shure MV5 Key Features
- Made for Apple
- Three preset modes
- Lag-free headphone monitoring
- Built-in EQ and compression features
- Superior build quality
There are many categories of people that can make use of a podcast microphone — gamers, podcasters, broadcasters, singers, narrators, voiceover actors, and pretty much any other offshoot. That being said, USB podcast microphones might not be for everyone.
It’s Not A Catch All…
For example, if you’re interested in recording an album, a USB microphone may not be the ideal choice. But, if you plan on interviewing people for a living or recording audiobooks, the plug-and-play functionality alone can be a massive advantage and time-saver.
Convenience and Quality
Obviously, the sound quality should be your main concern. But, determining the quality of a microphone is not that easy, since there are many factors that affect it. The good news is that you shouldn’t worry too much about the cable or connector.The USB vs. XLR debate shouldn’t be as heated as it is today for the simple fact that most USB mics use the same condenser mic elements as classic microphones. That has a bigger say on the sound quality than any cable or connector.To top it all off, most of today’s USB microphones come with a real-time monitoring function that’s good enough for podcasting.
For all things voice-related, such podcasting, one thing always remains true of all mics — the cardioid polar pattern is superior to anything else. A cardioid pickup pattern doesn’t pick up most of the off-axis sounds, such as those coming from the sides, underneath, and behind the microphone. It concentrates on the sound coming from the front, which is of course where the podcaster is positioned most of the time.
Since most podcasts are recorded in studios, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to pay a premium for a rugged microphone housing. Build quality is important, but it shouldn’t trump more important features like the pickup pattern, sound quality, or frequency response.
The Importance of a Pop Filter
Most microphones that are designed for voice recordings should come with a built-in pop filter. This type of filter takes care of ‘plosives,’ which are sounds that involve T, K/C, and P (for the English language) and have an explosive-like quality to them.The pop filter ensures that everything sounds natural and that any plosives in the dialogue aren’t enhanced or emphasized. This won’t just make the recording sound better on its own, but should also reduce the amount of post-recording tweaking and mixing.
Below you’ll find some of the typical questions we get with regards to mics, recording vocals and overall podcasting issues…
What microphone should I use for podcasting?
There are actually quite a few factors that you should consider before making a decision. Everything matters to some degree, from the type (condenser or dynamic) to the pricing. However, there are two constants when it comes to podcast microphones.
First of all, the microphone should be optimized for capturing and emphasizing midrange frequencies. Secondly, a cardioid polar pattern will almost always be the best solution.
Our favorite USB mic for podcasting, by far, is the Samson G-Track Pro USB Condenser Microphone. This mic gives you everything you need, and seems to have been specifically designed with podcasting in mind.
Is a USB microphone good for recording vocals?
Contrary to popular belief, USB microphones can be just as good as their XLR counterparts when it comes to recording sound. There isn’t too much signal loss when recording vocals. And, the most important component when it comes to audio quality is not the connector itself, but rather the condenser capsule. USB and XLR microphones can share the same high-end capsule if you look past the entry-level microphones.
What are the advantages of USB microphones for podcasting?
By far the biggest advantage of USB microphones is their ease of use. USB microphones are also known as ‘plug-and-play’ microphones. This is one of the reasons why many amateur and professional podcasters choose them — they’re easy to set up, easy to use, and require less technical knowhow to optimize. Of course, the relatively lower prices don’t hurt either.
We reviewed a lot more podcast headsets before we settled on our top five picks. Although not all of them were up to our standards, there are five more picks that those who are serious about enhancing their podcast’s production value might be interested in.
Coming up with our top five picks was a fun, but lengthy process. We reviewed more than just the above five USB microphones for podcasting purposes. Needless to say, not all of them could make the top five. Here are three more alternatives that came really close, which we feel are worth mentioning.
It features a flat frequency response, compatibility with both Windows and Mac, and allows for zero-latency monitoring.
- Flat frequency response
- Lag-free monitoring
- Sensitive condenser microphone
- Studio-quality midrange optimization
- Sleek chrome finish
It can be used with a USB or XLR cable, depending on your preference and existing equipment. The off-axis sound rejection is very impressive, as is the extended frequency range.
- Handheld dynamic microphone
- Dual connectors
- Extended frequency response
- Lag-free monitoring
- Cardioid polar pattern
It has internal shock mounting as well as a built-in pop filter that cleans up the sound and helps maintain speech clarity.
- Tight cardioid pattern
- Stand mount included
- Rugged housing
- Built-in pop filter and shock mounting
- Emphasized midrange
The microphones reviewed here each offer something unique to anybody who might be on the lookout for a decent quality podcasting microphone.
They have similar features overall, but they are also varied in their own specs… and you get to decide on one that suits your needs the best. If you’re looking for a premium mic, the Samson G-Track Pro USB Condenser Microphone comes out on top, with the Blue Yeti Nano USB Microphone not far behind.