The 5 Best Starter Microphones to Use For the Beginner Podcaster.
Updated: Jan 12, 2022
All podcaststers use microphones. You could be using a professional microphone, or you could be using your iPhone. Either way podcasters need a mic to record an episode. When you're first starting out it can be difficult, deciding which is the best option. Do you really need that $500 microphone to sound like the pros? The short answer is no, but I am here to help you navigate the tricky world of buying microphones when you're just starting out!
Before I get into the list, let's go over a few things that will help you decide which microphone to get. There are a lot of different factors that will help you decide which microphone to buy.
Where are you recording?
If you have a recording studio, perfect! But like most of us we don't have a studio waiting on hand to record in. If you are recording in your living room, or your bedroom that could be something to consider when buying a microphone.
What equipment do you already have?
Are you starting with simply just a laptop? Do you have an audio interface? Do you have a mic stand? All things to think about when buying your first microphone. A lot of mics come with pop filters now but if not that would definitely be something to consider buying with your mic, they are relatively cheap and can be a life saver.
Do you need a dynamic or a condenser mic?
You may not know the difference between the two and that's ok. Generally a dynamic mic is used for when you have a bit more background noise around, because dynamic mics only focus on what is directly in front of them, resulting in a more focused sound but a little less detail in recording. A condenser mic on the other hand takes in all the noise from the room, which can result in a distracting recording, but if you have a padded room or somewhere with a lot less noise, it picks up a lot more detail than a dynamic mic.
USB or XLR?
Which cable should you get? This one is a pretty easy decision. If you have an audio interface, or some sort of mixer than you definitely want to get an xlr cable and hook into that. That will provide you with much more control when it comes to input volume and you can adjust on the fly for when you have a guest that's a bit to loud at times. On the other hand a lot of people starting out don't have one of those right off the bat, so a USB cable might work better and be more convinient for them.
With all of that out of the way, let's get into the list!
1. Audio Technica AT2020 Cardoid Condenser XLR Microphone
XLR or USB (optional)
Review: This is the mic that I actually use for my podcasting. It's super affordable, and very versatile. The cardoid polar pattern helps reduce noise coming from the sides and rear of the mic. I get some very warm sounds from this mic and have not been let down by this mic yet. It does come with both a USB or XLR cable. It's definitely worth a look if you're looking for your first microphone!
2. Rode Procaster
Review: Rode is a staple in the audio world, it seems everything they come out with has a great reputation behind it. This mic is no different, it's made for voice recording, and boy does it deliver. While this mic is a bit more expensive, you really do get what you pay for. It has a built in pop filter, for the popping "p's". It also has a cardoid polar pattern for a more precise recording of your voice. Balanced, low impedence output, which means it's doing some of the compression for you before you get it to post production. This mic would be a fantastic edition to any studio, especially if you can spare a little right in the beginning.
3. MXL 990 Condenser Microphone With Shock Mount
Review: One of the best in mid-range priced microphones. It's hard to beat the sound that this mic produces. I've personally had quite a bit of experience with this mic and it really holds up. It holds a lot of detail in your voice, while not capturing too much of the background noise. It's hard to beat the value of this mic with the quality you get. Plus it comes with a shock mount, all for a pretty reasonable price!
4. Rode NT USB Versatile Condenser Microphone
Review: A great microphone for getting right into it. As soon as you receive this mic you can start recording. All you need to do is plug it straight into the computer and go. Comes with the signature, (in my opinion) cool looking rode pop filter. Has some great quality, again with the cardoid pattern built into it. Input and Output knobs right on the microphone, it's hard to find a better mic for just getting right into it without having to worry about any audio interface or mixer.
5. Audio Technica ATR-2100 Cardoid Dynamic Microphone
Review: A very affordable great mic for either a USB or XLR input. This mic has a built in headphone jack, which is perfect for monitoring yourself without any delay. It's a dynamic mic so your not going to get the warmth you would with a condenser but the crispness is all there. This is a great option for a mid-range priced mic for some great quality audio.
If you made it this far, consider reaching out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about great and creative ways to improve your podcast, or if you would like some help with your entire podcasting process, including launching your show, consultations, editing, or just a more personal conversation!