Hey! I hear you like podcasts, but how well can I really hear you when you’re using that built-in Samsung S-whatever iteration mic that you’re using? Well, if you’re looking to step up your game, you’ve come to the right place. Before we dive ears first into this “best” list, there are a few things we should clarify: like most things in life, price matters. So we’ve included a list of mics that run the gamut from, “even I, a recently employed college grad, can afford this” to “okay, okay … so how many souls do I have to sell in order to budget this into my workflow?”
Well, in order to break your options down, we have to clarify the difference between condenser and dynamic microphones. The former offers greater depth but are also much more sensitive. This may prove to be trying in most recording scenarios as condenser mics record more ambient noise. In order to take full advantage of them, it’s best to have a quiet room to work in. If you can manage it, condenser mics are great though.
Now, dynamic mics much less sensitive than their counterparts. This can be both good and bad as you don’t have to worry about as much background noise. However, they also tend to sound less rich than condensers. That being said, dynamic mics – as the name may imply – offer much more flexibility and leeway when it comes to recording habits.
For its compact design, the Shure SM7B is an insanely powerful microphone. Much like Nebraska, the Shure’s frequency response is flat and wide. The frequency response of this dynamic mic ranges from 50-20kHz with an impedance of 150 Ω. The cardioid polar pattern grants uniform recording, and its internals are no slouch either. It sports a new cartridge shock mount which prevents small movements from showing up in your recordings. So feel free to build a mote of laptops, lights, and monitors around this thing; the SM7B has no kryptonite.
The SM7B proves that professional doesn’t have to mean inconvenient. The yoke mounting makes for simple mounting and dismounting along with precision control of the placement within your workspace. There are also optional accessories, windscreens and replacement cartridges, to ensure optimal recording quality. The included pop filter helps to mitigate plosives, and protects the mic from any rogue spit.
The SM7B is well-built, making it ideal for podcasters who are committed to the longevity of their product.
Samson Technologies is renowned for their audio equipment and are used globally by professionals. If this is your first toe-dip into the world of podcasting, the Samson Go mic is a wonderful low-risk option to consider. The USB condenser style mic allows for complete ease of recording. Seriously, guys, recording could not be made easier. If I could figure it out, I have complete confidence that you can too. The frequency response is more than enough, ranging from 20Hz – 18kHz at 16-bit resolution. The Go mic also offers a cardioid recording option which is ideal for podcasting. And, it can record directly into whatever editing program you’re using. However, for better quality audio, prepare to shell out.
Blue Yeti’s mission is to make your recording experience as efficient and streamlined as possible with their USB microphones. Specifically the Yeti Pro offers “tri-capsule technology” which allows for quality a cut above your average USB mic for only a little more. You may adjust the gain, and headphone output volume via the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Additionally, there are four pattern modes with this mic allowing you to choose which one best suits your given situation. Cardioid is ideal for podcasts, as it allows you to record sound which is immediately in front of the mic. Stereo mode acts as one would expect: recording sound from the left and right channels simultaneously to provide a better illusion the listener is in the room with you. Omnidirectional mode will record 360 degree sound, and bidirectional will record sound from the front and rear regions of the microphone.
If you’re like myself, the RE20 is the studio mic of your dreams. The RE20 can capture a wonderfully wide range of frequencies (45Hz-16kHz) and doesn’t succumb to the proximity effect; in “explain it like I’m five” terms, this is when the subject gets closer to the mic, causing a bass-bump in the recording. This feature is great for those looking to record instruments such as a kick drum. But we’re here to discuss podcasting!
The RE20 is a broadcasting standard within the elusive “industry.” It is the epitome of what a cardioid microphone should be; the pattern control is remarkably consistent and neglects pickup of undesirable sound at the 180° axis. The blast and wind filter prevents “pops” or cackles, allowing the speaker to get as close as they desire without worrying about excessive post-production work. The filter also prevents vibration-cased resonance thanks to its internal shock mount mechanism.
Rode Microphone NT1-A (Kit)
Just like myself, the Rode NT1 has been around for over 20 years. The latest “A” model of the bunch is an unobtrusive and quiet piece of equipment; it emits an impressively small 4.5 dB of noise while recording. This is great for those moments when you find yourself needing to apply gain or set up complex EQ curves. The frequency response ranges from 20Hz-20kHz.
The NT1 uses a suspension-mounted HF6 capsule, allowing it to isolate its aluminum chassis’ natural resonance. This microphone is the whole package—literally. The NT1 kit includes a shock mount, and stainless steel pop filter to nudge you in the direction of podcast success. This microphone has been praised all over the internet and for good reason: it’s a keeper. So if you’re serious about podcasting, you should seriously look into the NT1 Kit.
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