TechJunkie Expert Recommendations
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Whatever method you use to record, there’s no doubt that a podcast produced with a respectable microphone sounds much more professional than one produced with a flimsy headset mic. After all, the microphone is what records your voice and converts its acoustic vibrations into digital bits.
But, with so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to find the best podcast microphones — even those who’ve been in the industry still sometimes get torn between brands.
Whether or not you’re new to podcasting, you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to buy the best mic for your podcast. We listed some of the best ones for you to consider.
This mic is perfectly suited to picking up vocals since it is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, which rejects most of the sounds in front of and behind it. Yet the Q2U performs better on this front than the majority of other dynamic-cardioid microphones.
Moreover, it manages “handling noise” effectively. Although mounting your microphones in a boom arm or stand is generally preferred, if you’re doing on-location interviews, holding the microphone might be more convenient.
The Q2U contains both an XLR and USB connector for connecting to your computer and a mixer or recorder, unlike practically every other microphone. You have a ton of versatility while recording your podcast thanks to this.
If something goes wrong when you’re using an interface to record a podcast, you can switch to USB and record directly into your computer. Similarly, if you are traveling and have your microphone with you, you have a better chance of finding a setup that will work for you if you need to make some last-minute recordings.
It’s a wonderful microphone for beginners because of this, among other things. With the bare minimum gear, recording through USB, you can get started. Yet this mic will develop with you as you do, perhaps purchasing a digital recorder or mixer. The audio quality will improve if you plug this into a top-tier audio interface with top-notch preamps.
The construction of this microphone feels respectable. Although the grill appears to be plastic rather than metal, the body of the device is made of metal. The front of the microphone has an LED light that turns on when the microphone is plugged into a USB port and getting power. Below that, there is an on/off lever that seems a little flimsy.
The microphone has a USB connector on the bottom that you can use to connect it to your computer. When the microphone is connected to your computer using a USB cable, there is a headphone jack that enables latency-free monitoring and audio playback. There is a volume control for headphones. The XLR plug, which is the last one, allows you to connect your microphone to an amplifier, mixer, or preamp.
The frequency response ranges from 50 Hz to 15 kHz, which is more than enough for a beginning podcaster or voice actor. Using this microphone, the voice sounds wonderfully clear and crisp, and the acoustic guitar also sounds rich and spacious.
Overall, it offers excellent sound via the USB function and still gives you the option to develop and acquire better microphone preamps or even utilize the microphone live.
The smartLav is a 3.5 mm jack, omnidirectional microphone that can be connected directly to the majority of smartphones, tablets, and computers. The microphone comes with a lapel clip that allows it to be attached to the wearer in various ways, making it perfect for recording stuff like speeches or interviews. Another option is to utilize it in place of a wireless audio system, which may run into the hundreds of dollars.
As an omnidirectional microphone, it can record sounds from all directions, making it perfect for recording conversation. There is not much of a change in the audio recorded if you turn your head away from the microphone or back and forth. A pop filter is provided to lessen wind noise as well as the wearer’s strong speech sounds.
Simply plug it in and start using the smartLav. Open the Rode Rec app, make any necessary level and setting changes, and then begin recording. For such a low-cost mic, the smartLav offers excellent audio quality. This incredibly portable option provides a sound that is unquestionably appropriate for video, podcasting, or interview purposes; however, it won’t replace a dedicated audio recorder.
One drawback of the smartLav approach is that there is no way to monitor the audio while recording; you must either visually check the levels or listen to the recording.
Overall, in comparison to a more expensive lapel mic or wireless system, the smartLav is an amazingly effective option that produces audio of very high quality for the price.
A cardioid condenser microphone with a frequency response of 30 Hz – 20 kHz is the MXL 990. A tiny increase in the upper frequencies can give your recordings a little extra oomph. This can make it a fantastic choice for the majority of mid-range instruments, especially for vocalists who want to give their performance a little more presence.
The 990 is a well-built microphone, despite the fact that its diminutive shape makes it easy to overlook. The entire layout lacks ornamentation. Although the mic’s maximum Loudness of 130 dB isn’t low, we wouldn’t recommend using it as a close-drum mic.
In terms of recording vocals, using this mic for recording voices in a studio is probably what comes to mind initially. A voice may sound a little more present and distinctive thanks to the tiny increase around 8 kHz, which can also assist to counterbalance the bass frequencies that become louder due to proximity effects. Although excellent in the studio, we might not necessarily trust this mic in a live scenario. Due to its sensitivity and maximum SPL, it would be suitable for a mellowed-out acoustic session but not for anything much louder.
Despite being a low-cost microphone, the MXL 990 outperforms many of its rivals. The 990 is arguably one of the most budget-friendly solutions available as a microphone, especially for vocalists and guitars.
The SM58 is a dependable piece of hardware in terms of build quality. Its understated style conveys the value of function over form. Cleaning and replacing the steel grille is made simple by its detachability. It has a spherical filter underneath that softens the harshness of plosives and fricatives, or sounds ending in p, t, and k or f and th, respectively. Even 54 years after its initial release, the microphone remains a need due to the tapering metal chassis’s durability. Moreover, it incorporates an internal shock-mount mechanism to lessen noises brought on by vibrations.
Since this microphone uses an XLR connector, a USB connection is not an option; instead, you must purchase an XLR cable. As a dynamic low-impedance mic (150), it doesn’t need much amplification or phantom power to provide a usable signal. This means that a pre-amp is not necessary. Yet it won’t hurt if you unintentionally turn on phantom power when connecting to the microphone. You will want an interface with an XLR input if you want to record directly to your computer. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is our fave. Software is required to alter the audio after that.
One of the top microphones in its class is the Shure SM58. Its frequency response (50Hz-15kHz) is designed to emphasize vocalists, which is why the bass is muted between 40 and 100 Hz. This is done to counteract the proximity effect, which occurs when the sound source is too near the microphone and amplifies the bass frequencies. When it comes time to edit, you won’t need to go overboard using a high-pass filter for your vocal recording, which is another advantage of the de-emphasized low notes.
You can tell this is a big, heavy beast of a microphone as soon as you open the box. Although it does require a good mic stand to keep it sturdy, the all-metal chassis assures you that it is built to last, as Rode gear typically is. It’s unfortunate that a stand isn’t included in the box, but we believe Rode assumes the Podcaster is an upgrade and that the user already has a stand or boom arm for the microphone.
Since the Podcaster is an end-address microphone, you must speak directly into it for optimal results. However, even with the built-in pop filter, we discovered that speaking slightly off-axis to lessen plosives produced the greatest results.
There aren’t many controls on the mic itself because the notion is that you’d use your recording software to check levels, but there is one LED that at least provides visual feedback if you’re beyond the limit. The 3.5 mm port for headphone monitoring and the volume control dial are the final features.
The Rode Podcaster has a pleasant pronunciation in the low and mid ranges and a pleasant glitter in the top end, giving it the silky smooth broadcast voice you’d expect.
Even though the Rode Podcaster is not a cheap mic, it still offers excellent value. It performs an excellent job of capturing a version of your voice that sounds amazing and is well-manufactured and attractively styled. The built-in pop filter and shock mount mean you won’t need as much additional equipment to take full advantage, and the USB connectivity means all you need to launch your own podcasting empire is the mic and a laptop.
The condenser capsules in the Blue Yeti provide excellent audio. With a plug-and-play USB connection, it’s also quite simple to operate.
But its variety of polar patterns is one of its greatest advantages. The Yeti provides options for recording in solo, face-to-face, two-person, and group configurations. As a result, it is adaptable and can handle almost any circumstance. When recording two persons or a group, you should grow comfortable getting near to the microphone because this is necessary for the highest quality sound.
Last but not least, the Blue Yeti includes a stand, making it a superb microphone if you want to start at the top without worrying about additional equipment. The Yeti may not quite rival the MXL990 or the Rode podcast microphones in terms of absolute quality, but its simplicity of use and complete independence make it a very serious option at this level.
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