There is no such thing as the best microphone for podcasting.
Your choices will differ depending on your setup, recording environment, skill level, and budget. That said, some options are better than others and you should have a basic understanding of a few things. The following are some of my favorite microphones and why I like them.
One aspect you should know is the difference between dynamic and condenser mics. Dynamic mics are more affordable, rugged, and direct. Condenser mics are typically more expensive, fragile and sensitive. Many people suggest condenser mics over dynamic mics, but I disagree with this for a few reasons. The main reason being that condenser mics pick up EVERYTHING. Unless your recording area is a professional sound booth, a condenser mic will pick up all of your room noise- creaky chairs, computer fan hum, cars driving by outside- you name it.
Dynamic mics are perfect for recording in less than ideal settings i.e. our home studios. They offer quality sound with a higher degree of control over room noise.
These are the lower-end and higher-end mics I would consider purchasing:
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
Nice sound for the price point. XLR (for plugging into a mixer) and USB (for plugging into a computer) outputs. Trustworthy company.
Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Vocal Microphone
This is the industry staple for live performances. Reasonably priced, high quality, and very durable. This would easily fulfill your podcast needs.
Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone
This is one of the best rated dynamic mics around. Used by successful podcasters like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire, and Cliff Ravenscraft from the Podcast Answer Man.
Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone
This is another very popular choice used by podcasters like Joe Rogan. It’s grown in popularity over the past several years.
Audio-Technica AT8035 Shotgun Microphone
This mic should be considered if you record a lot in the field or on-location. While it is a condenser mic, its purpose is to capture audio in the field. It’s the same mic Alex Blumberg used in the first season of StartUp. This mic works well for many videography setups as well.
Personal Thoughts: While most people suggest the high-end options like the Heil PR-40 and the Shure SM7B, that’s not where most people need to start. I use the Shure SM58 for all of my vocal recordings and have never had an issue. It’s the same mic I’ve owned for 10+ years when I started gigging as a musician and I’ve podcasted with it for over 5 years. It has a great sound and even better price point. For about $100, you can’t go wrong.
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