Best XLR and USB Microphones for Podcasts in 2021

Best XLR and USB Microphones for Podcasts intro image

Who would think podcasts would become so popular? We are living in an age with much better entertainment alternatives than radio and TV. Around 2008, I thought the audio-recording genre was slowly dying for good. Suddenly, podcasts and audiobooks boomed! Everyone was listening to them while driving, jogging, and cooking. A few years later, even my friends found it possible to make their podcast shows. I don’t blame them. Making your podcast is fun, entertaining, and lucrative. However, you have to go through all that research to find the right equipment for the job, especially when it comes to podcast microphones. 

DR

Having poor sound in a podcast show is like having unfocused, blurry video footage for a YouTube channel. It’s unprofessional, and it won’t make your audience want to stick around. Providing the best sound possible is essential, and contrary to popular thinking, it’s not as expensive as you might think. Before we get into the detailed guide on the best microphone for podcast recording, let’s take a look at why microphones are so important when starting your very own podcast show. 

In this article:

Why Does Having a Good Podcast Microphone Matter?

If you thought you could get away with choosing just any microphone for your podcasts, let me show you why that’s not quite right. Just think about it – a lot of the time, when you’re listening to a show, it’s seamless, and it flows, right? Well, it’s really because it wasn’t recorded on your old iPhone or headphone mic. Most of the podcast creators you’re listening to have done their careful research on microphones and have most probably invested in a professional mic.

Great microphones for podcast recording will isolate your voice, enhance the depth of your timber, and get rid of any unnecessary wind passing through your microphone, thus reducing the wind noise. If you’re planning on using your microphone for game streaming, for example, you might change the level of your voice frequently – from high frequency to a quiet and low voice. A great mic will automatically balance your voice and create a more well-rounded sound. If you’re listening to someone for hours, like you would in a podcast, and their audio isn’t optimized with the best USB microphone, you might even end up with a headache. So what goes on behind the small device that is a podcast microphone?

There is a small amount of physics behind microphones, and choosing the right type of mic is essential for that great level of sound you’re expecting. There are three primary devices of every single audio setup, whether you’re a streamer, podcast host, or someone who captures audio for any other reason. The first one is a great podcast microphone, the second one is a preamp, and the last one is the A-to-D converter (analog to digital converter). 

The microphone has a capsule inside, which picks up your voice and then converts it into an electronic signal. Every microphone gives out an almost inaudible signal, called a mic level, which needs to be transformed through a preamp. The preamp then transfers this mic level into a line level, turning it into an audible signal that we can all hear on our computers. The A-to-D converter then turns that level into a digital signal made up of ones and zeros. Pretty nifty, right?

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Now, you can transfer your voice to your computer, almost like magic! USB mics have all this technology packed inside one device, while XLR mics can provide superb sound quality. The battle between XLRs and USB microphones is never-ending, with opinions showering from everywhere. Despite that, I’m sure, by the end of this article, you’ll be able to choose the best microphone for podcast recording for yourself! However, you will also need to invest in additional equipment. 

Best Podcast Microphones at a Glance 

If you’re in a rush and want to get to the juicy stuff, here is a quick look at the best 12 microphones for podcast recording at a glance:

The Blue Yeti is one of the best USB microphones for the money. It not only sounds great, but it’s quick and easy to set up, and it’s trendy among YouTubers and podcast recorders. It’s a great starter mic with a lot more features packed inside than meets the eye. All this can be checked in the review below.
 
  1. Top Pick – Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording and Streaming on PC and Mac
  2. Best USB Microphone for Broadcast-Quality Audio – Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone
  3. Best 2-in-1 XLR/USB Microphone for Podcast Recording – Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone for Podcasting, Recording, Live Streaming, and Gaming
  4. Best Podcast Microphone Under $100 – Audio-Technica AT2020
  5. Best Professional Podcast Microphone – Electro-Voice RE20
  6. Best Microphone for Vocal and Instrument Recording – Heil Sound pr-40 Dynamic Studio Microphone
  7. Best Podcast Microphone Under $50 – Samson SAGOMIC Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone
  8. Best Podcast Microphone for Mac – Elgato Wave: 1 Premium USB Condenser Microphone and Digital Mixing Solution
  9. Best Inexpensive Podcast Microphone – Sontronics PODCAST PRO Red Dynamic Microphone for Podcast
  10. Best Beginner Podcast Microphone – Razer Seiren X USB Streaming Microphone Quartz
  11. The Best Cheap Podcast Microphone – Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic for Recording and Streaming on PC and Mac
  12. Best Podcast Microphone Under $200 – Audio-Technica AT2035

Top 10 Best Podcast Microphones – Reviews

The reviews below feature microphones for any pocket, need, and situation. These have been carefully selected by myself and the editors. Whether you’re on a budget or looking for the most professional piece of recording equipment, you’ll find the best microphones for podcast recording below!

1. Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording and Streaming on PC and Mac – Top Pick

Blue Yeti USB Microphone for PC & Mac, Podcast, Gaming, Streaming and Recording Microphone, with...
  • Custom three-capsule array: Produces clear, powerful, broadcast-quality sound for YouTube, game streaming, podcasting, Skype calls and music
  • Four pickup patterns: cardioid, Omni, bidirectional, and stereo pickup patterns offer incredible flexibility, allowing you to record in ways that would normally require multiple microphones
  • Onboard audio controls: Studio controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and microphone gain put you in charge of every level of the recording and streaming process

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Blue Microphones | Brand: Blue Microphones | Model: 988-000100 | Color: Blackout | Material: Metal | Connectivity Technology: USB | Connector Type: USB | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: 1 Lithium ion | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 58.90 oz. | Hardware Platform: PC | Polar Pattern: Multipattern | Warranty: 2-Year manufacturer warranty

For years, this fantastic USB microphone has been placed at the top spot for best USB microphone for podcast recording by experts, professionals, and amateurs alike. Podcasters, vloggers, and YouTubers all use this microphone, and it’s often rated five stars almost everywhere. What’s great about this mic is that it comes in many different colors on Amazon. Depending on your pick, it might even bring the price down substantially, especially if you’re not too bothered about the color of your recording mic.

Once you do your unboxing, you’ll instantly notice that the Blue Yeti isn’t a tiny microphone. Thus, it’s not a toy. It’s made of sturdy material, and it’s almost a foot tall. This fantastic USB mic is compatible with Mac and PC without installing any drivers or software. The Blue Yeti combines a minimalistic look with user-friendly features and high-quality sound. It’s also designed to be aesthetically pleasing. 

On the front of the mic, you’ll find the logo and a mute button that flashes red once you press it. It lights up the moment you connect it with your computer. You can also control your volume through the knob at the front. If you look at the bottom of the mic, you’ll notice there’s a headphone jack and a USB port. You can use your headphone jack to monitor your mic levels and listen to your computer’s audio. You can also let loose by removing just a couple of screws and mounting this excellent USB mic onto a professional studio mount. You can adjust the sensitivity of your mic through the Gain button at the back. Below that button, you’ll find the pattern selector, allowing you four different recording settings. I recommend the cardioid setting, which is perfect for voiceovers and podcast recording. Unlike the Abominable Snowman, this Yeti is for real and has to make it to your home.

Pros
  • Solid build
  • Many colored options
  • Best value for money
  • Simple and user-friendly
  • Great starting mic
  • Internal preamp
  • A-to-D converter inside
  • Condenser mic
Cons
  • Not portable

2. Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone – Best XLR Microphone For Broadcast-Quality Audio

Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone
  • Featuring a tight polar pattern and tailored-for-voice frequency response
  • Perfect for every application where a great sounding, rugged microphone with superior ambient noise
  • Internal shock mounting of capsule for low handling noise

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Rode | Brand: Rode | Model: PROCASTER | Color: Black | Material: Metal | Connectivity Technology: Wired | Connector Type: XLR cable | Power Source: AC | Number of Batteries: 4 AA | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 26.28 oz. | Hardware Platform: N/A | Polar Pattern: Unidirectional | Warranty: 1-Year

Now that we have had a look at the best USB mic, why not introduce you to the best XLR microphone for podcast recording? This excellent XLR microphone will come with a mount, a ⅝–⅜-inch microphone stand adapter, and a carrying pouch. This is a highly professional-looking mic with sturdy all-metal construction. Just bear in mind that the plastic mount it comes with isn’t shock-absorbent. However, if we look below the surface of this mic, you’ll be relieved to find that it comes with an internal shock mount and pop filter.

This dynamic microphone doesn’t require phantom power. Likewise, it has a cardioid polar pattern, which is excellent for recording voiceovers and podcasts. If you aren’t familiar with the cardioid system, it means that the mic automatically muffles any noise that doesn’t come directly in front of it. You can quickly test it if you try to speak behind it, and you’ll notice that your voice will drown out on the sides and back of the microphone. A lot of users love this setting because if you’re typing on a keyboard, moving a glass around the table, or your cat decides to randomly tap on the mic to say hey and ask for attention, you won’t be able to hear a thing! 

When you’re buying such a high-grade quality mic, you might start worrying about getting preamps and A-to-D converters to add to your audio equipment. This can get pricey, but you can bypass that by purchasing an XLR-to-USB cable. Just don’t buy a dirt-cheap one because it will mess with the quality of your audio. On the other hand, if you’re looking to expand your audio kit, you can upgrade even more with the right kind of equipment and bump up your quality. The Rode Procaster Microphone is excellent for both beginner audio content creators and professionals!

Pros
  • Internal pop filter
  • Broadcast and voiceover mic
  • Carrying pouch – travel-friendly
  • Internal shock mounting capsule
  • Sturdy metal construction
  • Perfect for pros and beginners
  • Dynamic mic
Cons
  • Trickier to use than USB mics

3. Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone for Podcasting, Recording, Live Streaming, and Gaming – Best 2-in-1 XLR/USB Microphone for Podcast Recording

Shure MV7 XLR/USB Dynamic Podcasting Microphone (Black)
  • Built-in headphone output allows for direct headphone monitoring while recording
  • Optimized frequency response for rich and natural vocal reproduction
  • Rugged all-metal construction for outstanding reliability

Last update on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Shure | Brand: Shure | Model: MV7-K | Color: Black | Material: Metal | Connectivity Technology: USB, XLR | Connector Type: USB, XLR Connector | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: 1 Lithium ion | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 36.96 oz. | Hardware Platform: PC, Smartphone | Polar Pattern: Unidirectional | Warranty: 1-Year

Why choose between an XLR and a USB microphone when you can have the best of both worlds? The Shure MV7 sounds phenomenal, and it’s known as groundbreaking for debuting as a mid-tier for microphones. It is also packed with other features. It’s flexible enough so that you can choose how you want to mount it – whether you’d like to attach it to a boom stand or you mount it from the bottom up using a table stand. 

Another great feature of this microphone for podcast recording is the windshield it comes with. It won’t pick up any wind or air from an aircon or fan, but it has a downside. If you put the mic at the front of your mouth closely and try talking, you will get many plosives. Thus, if you are planning some intense ASMR, I’d recommend you consider a different mic for this task. Other than that, if you place the Shure MV7 to the side or at an angle, it won’t pick up plosives from your consonants. It’s essential to keep that in mind. 

Other great settings are the touch control on the mic, allowing you to adjust the mix between your vocals and the audio you hear from your headphones. This is excellent if you want to listen to yourself or your guests when recording a podcast or if you’d like to control the volume of the game you are streaming.

Finally, I have saved the best for last – take a look at the bottom of the mic. Yes, you’ll find your headphone jack there. Better yet, this Shure MV7 comes with both a USB port and an XLR at the same time! This allows you to plug this microphone into anything you want, whether you’re using a mixer or just trying to connect it to your PC or Mac, nice and easy. This mic also allows you to upgrade with further add-ons like a mixer if you use the more professional XLR version. This microphone for podcast recording also comes with a desktop app, which enables you to play with the settings in more detail, while also choosing the sound and tone from different options such as “dark,” “natural,” and “light.” When it comes to selecting the best 2-in-1 mic, the ShureMV7 is a sure thing.

Pros
  • Touch panel toggle slider
  • Mic mute
  • Windshield
  • Adjustable volume, mix, and mic gain
  • Pristine
  • Voice isolation
  • Free desktop app for settings
  • Dynamic mic
Cons
  • No built-in shock mount

4. Audio-Technica AT2020 – Best Podcast Microphone Under $100

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone, Ideal for Project/Home Studio...
  • The price/performance standard in side address studio condenser microphone technology
  • Ideal for project/home studio applications; The noise level is 20 dB SPL
  • High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Audio-Technica | Brand: Audio-Technica | Model: AT2020 | Color: Black | Material: Metal | Connectivity Technology: Wired | Connector Type: XLR Connector | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: N/A | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 21.16 oz. | Hardware Platform: PC | Polar Pattern: Unidirectional, Cardioid | Warranty: 1-Year

This legendary microphone came out in 2004 (yes, 2004 – don’t let the name fool you). To this day, it remains one of the most popular microphone choices among customers. It’s one of the best affordable microphones, perfect for everyone who’s just starting recording audio of any kind. 

Audio-Technica also offers a USB version of this cheap microphone for podcast recording for those unable to invest in a mixer and deal with a short budget. The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a side-address-type mic, ideal for anyone who prefers to work with a boom arm. It’s also easy to attach and put aside on your desk. One of the main drawbacks of this microphone is the plosives popping noise when speaking near it, but that can be easily avoided by purchasing a cheap detachable windscreen, which will help you prevent that when recording. 

One of the main reasons this microphone became so popular is that it stands the test of time. It’s made of quality material, and you’ll often find it in the radio department on most university campuses. It’s practically idiot-proof. Bear in mind the microphone will require phantom power for you to use it. Phantom power is the power transmitter designed with +48V needed to operate condenser microphones with very high impedance, such as the AT2020. The AT2020 is a great mic that you can upgrade later on with an excellent professional mixer when that podcast of yours becomes super popular! It’s an essential feature, and you really cannot go without it, so have a bit of spare cash for that when buying this device.

Pros
  • Free mount and bag included
  • USB version available
  • Great side mic
  • Super affordable
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Amazing sound isolation
  • Extremely sturdy
  • Condenser mic
Cons
  • Needs phantom power to operate

5. Electro-Voice RE20 – Best Professional Podcast Microphone

Electro-Voice RE20 Broadcast Announcer Microphone with Variable-D
  • Professional quality dynamic cardioid microphone with studio condenser-like performance
  • The classic sound of FM radio voices with smooth, natural, and controlled sonic character
  • The Variable-D design and heavy-duty internal pop filter excel for close-in voice work, while an internal element shock-mount reduces vibration-induced noise

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Electro-Voice | Brand: Electro-Voice | Model: RE20 | Color: Gray | Material: Aluminum | Connectivity Technology: Wired | Connector Type: XLR Connector | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: N/A | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 16 oz. | Hardware Platform: N/A | Polar Pattern: Unidirectional | Warranty: 2-Year

If you have your eye on the Electro-Voice RE20, I applaud you for having such refined taste. However, you should start saving up as soon as possible because it’s the most expensive one on the list – and for a good reason. This is one of the best professional-grade microphones out there. It has an all-steel body, and it’s insanely durable. At the bottom of the microphone, you can find high-pass and low-cut filters for on-the-go adjustment. 

This cardioid polar pattern mic is perfect for voice recording and gives a classic radio feel to your voice. Even if you’re not in a studio surrounded by acoustic foam, this microphone will create that condenser-like studio performance everyone craves for. The Electro-Voice RE20 also has Variable D technology, decreasing the proximity effect, meaning that your bass is balanced even when you “eat the mic.” Since this is designed as a broadcast microphone, your voice will drop off as you move off-center, which is a desired feature to have, especially if you are planning on inviting more than one person for your podcast. 

This microphone sounds great whether you’re recording podcasts or are looking for background noise rejection. It’s built like a tank and is incredible if you’re multitalented and enjoy playing music. You can record instruments with this mic, and you won’t be disappointed by the results – trust me. The Electro-Voice RE20 comes in a nice carrying bag with hard-shell protection, and you also get a preinstalled mic mount with a ⅝- and ⅜-inch stand adapter. The only thing not to like about this mic is perhaps the color, but who cares? People will be listening to your voice, not looking at the color of your podcasting microphone, right? Your voice will sound divine with the Electro-Voice RE20.

Pros
  • Background noise rejection
  • Neutral frequency response
  • High-pass filter
  • Sturdy and heavy-built
  • Great bass balance
  • Condenser mic
  • Perfect for voice and music recording
Cons
  • Most expensive on this list
  • It needs a good-quality preamp

6. Heil Sound PR-40 Dynamic Studio Microphone – Best Microphone for Vocal and Instrument Recording

HEiL sound PR-40 Dynamic Studio Microphone
  • Generating element: Copper-wound dynamic with neodymium magnet structure
  • Body: Steel body with zinc die-cast bottom ring
  • Frequency response: 28Hz to 18kHz

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: HEiL sound | Brand: HEiL sound | Model: PR40 | Color: Champagne | Material: Metal | Connectivity Technology: XLR | Connector Type: 3 pin XLR | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: N/A | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 35.2 oz. | Hardware Platform: PC | Polar Pattern: Unidirectional, Cardioid | Warranty: 3-Year

I’m sure you’ll want to add the amazing Heil Sound PR-40 to your Amazon wish list the moment I tell you about it! This fantastic microphone for vocal and instrument recording has all-metal steel, zinc body, and copper-generating elements for the build. It surpasses most condenser microphones and can withstand vast amounts of sound pressure levels (SPL). 

There’s more than meets the eye. It also has a second windscreen inside the microphone (which you can’t see, so don’t go looking for it), as well as a piece of foam inside to help with any pops and plosives. Apart from that, the exterior design of this mic is pretty minimalistic. It doesn’t feature any buttons or toggle settings, keeping it neat. At the bottom, you’ll be able to find the XLR port. I have to say that if you were planning on using this mic as a side mic like the AT2020, you’d be disappointed to find that this is strictly an end-fire microphone. Thus, you’ll have to speak to the top of the microphone when using it at all times. Much like any other cardioid microphone, this one will also drown out your voice if you start speaking into the sides of the device.

The Heil Sound PR-40 mic creates a sophisticated broadcast tone, perfect for your future podcasts. I wouldn’t say it’s the best choice for a beginner podcaster unless you’re willing to spend the money on this device. In turn, though, you’ll be holding an extremely reliable device in your hands. If you don’t know about the Heil brand, it was created by Bob Heil, an American sound and radio engineer responsible for creating sound systems for Grateful Dead and The Who. He made his very own brand of microphones, aiming to provide professional-grade audio equipment. You’ll feel like a superstar once you get your hands on a Heil mic!

Pros
  • Professional-grade mic
  • XLR output
  • Condenser mic
  • Sturdy body
  • Perfect for live recording
  • Great for instrument recording
Cons
  • Pretty expensive

7. Samson SAGOMIC Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone – Best Podcast Microphone Under $50

Samson SAGOMIC Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone
  • Portable USB condenser microphone
  • Plug and Play Mac and PC compatible, no drivers required
  • Custom compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Samson | Brand: Samson | Model: SAGOMIC | Color: White | Material: Metal | Connectivity Technology: USB | Connector Type: USB | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: N/A | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 8 oz. | Hardware Platform: Laptop, PC, Camera | Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional, Cardioid | Warranty: 1-Year

Looking for a pocket mic that doesn’t feel like a plastic toy for a kid? The Samson SAGOMIC is one of the best pocket microphones for podcast recording that I have come across so far! It’s a USB condenser mic, making it perfectly user-friendly. The podcast microphone is compatible with both PC and Mac without installing any additional drivers or software. It has a metal body construction, giving it a bit of weight and base. 

The device comes with a Music Creator CD, which is software you can use to create music. The software isn’t that multifunctional, but it will introduce any audio recording newbies to the world of sound editing. This mic has both cardioid and omnidirectional settings so that you can use it for all your intents and purposes. Bear in mind the omnidirectional set is specifically designed to pick up noise around the room, so you can even use it for your podcasts. Just have your guests sit around the mic about two feet away, and you’ll notice the mic can record their voices perfectly well, too. 

You can also use this mic with a stand if you want, not just standing on its own with the clip. I would enjoy using this mic for gorilla interviews, especially if I am adventuring, as it can give off a documentary feel to your recordings. If you’re looking for the best portable microphones, we’ve got your back. We did a tremendous amount of research for on-the-go mics, which I recommend you check out!

Pros
  • Perfect beginner mic
  • Free music editing software
  • Portability
  • Versatility
  • Sturdy and built to last
  • 3 mic settings
  • Unique fold-up design
  • Extremely cheap
Cons
  • Not the most professional device

8. Elgato Wave: 1 Premium USB Condenser Microphone and Digital Mixing Solution – Best Podcast Microphone for Mac

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Elgato Wave: 1 Premium USB Condenser Microphone and Digital Mixing Solution, Anti-Clipping...
  • Condenser capsule with a tight cardioid polar pattern captures speech with precision
  • Use the Wave Link app to control Wave: 1 and up to 8 other audio sources, plus create 2 independent mixes
  • Up to 24-bit / 48kHz analog to digital conversion delivers lush detail

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Elgato | Brand: Elgato | Model: 10MAA9901 | Color: Black | Material: Alloy Steel | Connectivity Technology: USB | Connector Type: USB-C | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: 1 A | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 20.64 oz. | Hardware Platform: PC | Polar Pattern: Unidirectional | Warranty: 1-Year

Everyone loves the Elgato Wave microphone (even your feline companions), but why? Well, it’s decently priced for a USB microphone. It’s straightforward, user-friendly, and small in size. The Elgato won’t take up too much space on your desk because it’s pretty compact, and it will look amazing with its sleek all-black body, featuring just a single volume dial on the front of the device. 

Once you go ahead and plug in the USB-C cable, the button will glow up, creating an illuminated neon-colored ring. However, looks can be deceiving. This dial doesn’t control the overall volume. Instead, it will adjust your headphone output so you can monitor your audio better. You can also press the button and mute your mic. Another great thing about this mic is that you don’t need to have it fixed to the stand you purchased it with. If you’ve got your mic stand or boom arm, you can easily detach it from the small desktop stand. 

The Elgato Wave 1 has a cardioid pattern, so it’s designed primarily for speaking directly in front of it. If you’re planning to use that as a podcaster, it’s the perfect mic for podcast recording. However, as a gamer, you might still pick up some of the noise from your keyboard as you play. The good thing is that if you decide to bump up the volume to the max, you won’t hear any clipping or distortion, which is extremely impressive for a mic of this price range. I haven’t told you the best part yet. It comes with a digital mixing software compatible with both PC and Mac, and I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who’s just starting recording podcasts or voiceovers!

Pros
  • Perfect mic for novice podcasters
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Free digital mixing software
  • Detachable mic
  • Clipguard technology
Cons
  • Not as versatile as other USB mics

9. Sontronics PODCAST PRO Red Dynamic Microphone for Podcast – Best Inexpensive Podcast Microphone

Sontronics Podcast Pro Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone for Podcast and Broadcast, Red
  • Podcast Pro Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone for Podcast and Broadcast (Red) - Sontronics Lifetime Limited Warranty
  • Tight supercardioid dynamic mic with excellent side rejection
  • Professional quality voice reproduction for broadcast, podcasts, gaming in studio or on stage

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Sontronics | Brand: Sontronics | Model: STPODCASTPRORD | Color: Red | Material: Metal | Connectivity Technology: XLR | Connector Type: 3-Pin XLR | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: N/A | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 10.93 oz. | Hardware Platform: PC | Polar Pattern: Unidirectional, Supercardioid | Warranty: 2-Year

The Sontronics PODCAST PRO Red dynamic microphone is specifically designed to record spoken-word audio, such as podcasts, streams, voiceovers, and gaming. This is the most aesthetically pleasing mic on the list so far (in my humble opinion), and it’s packed with great features. This is a cardioid polar pattern mic, so expect excellent side rejection from this state-of-the-art microphone. 

Unlike other mics on the list, this one doesn’t have the sturdiest body, despite being made of metal throughout. It’s light, especially in comparison to the Heil mic, weighing about 310 grams in total. If you want to do a plosives test on any microphone, try saying the phrase “The small pup gnawed a hole in the sock” and hear the response. I’ll save you from guessing – it’s one of the best mics for podcast recording under 200 dollars!

The Sontronics Podcast Pro is an XLR mic and has a negative 50dB, so almost any preamp should drive it well. It’s excellent to build your kit around and has excellent background noise rejection. No external windshield is needed due to the tremendous internal pop filter, which does a fantastic job combating plosive sounds. It’s a first-choice XLR mic for YouTubers and one of the best microphones for spoken-word recording. You can check out the best microphones for YouTube that we reviewed and browse more options, too!

Pros
  • Internal pop filter
  • No windshield needed
  • Affordable XLR mic
  • Aesthetic design
  • Lightweight
  • Dynamic mic
Cons
  • Lack of shock isolation

10. Razer Seiren X USB Streaming Microphone Quartz – Best Beginner Podcast Microphone

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Razer Seiren X USB Streaming Microphone: Professional Grade - Built-In Shock Mount - Supercardiod...
  • The #1 Best-Selling Gaming Peripherals Manufacturer in the US: Source - The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Gaming Designed: Keyboards, Mice, PC Headsets, and PC Microphones, Based on...
  • Built-In Background Noise Reduction: Utilizes a supercardiod pickup microphone to eliminate distracting noises further away from the microphone for professional-grade stream audio
  • Built-In Shock Mount: Dampens vibrations to help protect against bumps for smooth and uninterrupted audio

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Razer Inc. | Brand: Razer | Model: ‎RZ19-02290300-R3M1 | Color: Quartz Pink | Material: Aluminum | Connectivity Technology: USB | Connector Type: USB | Power Source: USB | Number of Batteries: N/A | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 13.50 oz. | Hardware Platform: Universal | Polar Pattern: Super-Cardioid | Warranty: 2-Year

I adore this pink Razer microphone for podcast recording. What’s not to like? It’s pink (relax though, it comes in the classic black and green neon Razer version too), it’s lightweight, and it’s so darn cute on my desk! It has a plastic body and a metal grill. It’s definitely on the light side compared to other models on this list, but it makes sense not to have such a robust body for its purpose. It has a pretty minimalistic design, with just two buttons on the front – one for the volume of your headphones and a mute button underneath it. 

If you want to control the gain on your mic, you’ll only be able to do that through your computer’s audio settings. This is an excellent starter USB mic, which can be easily plugged into your computer through the USB port on the rear end of the mic, where you’ll also find a headphone jack and a ⅝ to ⅜ adapter you can attach to a boom arm. The Razer Seiren X mic also has a cardioid and super-cardioid pattern, which is excellent for recording podcasts, game streams, and anything related to voice recording. 

This mic is perfectly compatible with PC and Mac, provided you have Windows 7, 8, or 10 and Mac OS 10.8 or older. This mic doesn’t have shock isolation, so if you want to avoid the tapping sounds from your keyboard when gaming, as well as accidental bumps, I recommend you grab a mic stand or a shock mount. This will also bring the microphone closer to your mouth, meaning you won’t have to bump up the gain so much and have much better quality audio. There are plenty of affordable microphones stands you can choose from, and yes, we couldn’t help reviewing those either!

Pros
  • Aesthetic design
  • Supercardioid pattern
  • Lightweight design
  • Easy to set up
  • User-friendly
  • Perfect for voice recording
Cons
  • No shock isolation
  • No gain toggle

11. Blue Snowball Ice USB Mic for Recording and Streaming on PC and Mac – The Best Cheap Podcast Microphone

Blue Microphones iCE USB Mic for Recording and Streaming on PC and Mac, Cardioid Condenser Capsule,...
  • Custom condenser capsule offers crystal clear audio for Skype, Messages and FaceTime
  • Record vocals, create podcasts, and add narration to your home movies
  • Add crystal clear audio to recordings for YouTube; Frequency Response: 40 –18 kHz

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Manufacturer: Blue Microphones | Brand: Blue Microphones | Model: 988-000070 | Color: White | Material: Metal | Connectivity Technology: USB | Connector Type: USB | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: N/A | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 26.74 oz. | Hardware Platform: PC | Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omni | Warranty: 2-Year

From the same people who brought you Blue Yeti, I’d like to introduce you to Blue Snowball Ice, and I warn you now – you won’t be able to forget this mic. The body is entirely made of plastic and has a metal grille on the front, so it’s not the sturdiest mic. However, it’s lightweight and portable, so you can take it with you anywhere you go. The Blue Snowball Ice has one single cardioid capsule inside, so if you’re looking for an omnidirectional mic, you can also search for the Blue Snowball regular for that setting. 

Sure enough, the Ice USB mic is a better option for podcast recording, and it’s a highly cheap starting mic that works incredibly well as a voiceover mic or a video chat mic made to create crystal clear sound. However, its features don’t end there. If you’re into making your music and you want the best cheap podcast microphone, you won’t go wrong getting the Blue Snowball Ice. It won’t set you back by a lot, so it’s a win-win situation. 

Speaking of costs, many of you might ask: Why did you choose to review the Ice version and not the regular Blue Snowball mic? After all, the standard has more options for recording, right? Yes, that’s true, but the Blue Snowball Ice is cheaper and will save you between $15 and $20 in comparison. Many reviewers also complain that the regular Blue Snowball’s omnidirectional polar pattern is practically unusable, primarily if you aim to record a voiceover, podcast, or any professional voice recording. So for this article, if you’re looking for the best cheap podcast microphone, you’d be glad to save on the money and end up with the perfectly functional and affordable Blue Snowball Ice!

Pros
  • Light and portable
  • Cardioid mic
  • Extremely cheap
  • Easy to use
  • Perfect for beginners
  • USB output
Cons
  • Only one recording setting

12. Audio-Technica AT2035 – Best Podcast Microphone Under $200

Manufacturer: Audio-Technica | Brand: Audio-Technica | Model: AT2035 | Color: Black | Material: Metal | Connectivity Technology: Wired | Connector Type: USB | Power Source: Corded Electric | Number of Batteries: N/A | Battery Life: N/A | Item Weight: 14.22 oz. | Hardware Platform: PC | Polar Pattern: Unidirectional, Cardioid | Warranty: 1-Year

We already talked about the sibling of this Audio-Technica mic – the AT2020, so it would have been a shame not to include the newer AT2035 version. This is an XLR condenser mic (meaning it requires +48V phantom power to operate), so you cannot plug it directly into your PC or Mac. Likewise, it won’t work if you’re trying to be innovative and use an XLR to USB cable. Generally speaking, you will have to set aside a bit more money to operate this mic, which is why it ended up so low on our list. However, it’s not a bad mic at all, and it won’t disappoint. You can get insanely good audio quality using the AT2035. Just keep in mind that it will require you to start building an audio kit of your own, so set some money aside. 

What is excellent for the price you’re paying is all the nice things you get in the box – a professional-looking shock mount, a plastic version of a ⅝ to ⅜ stand adapter, and a lovely padded carrying bag. The microphone itself has an all-metal body and an excellent weight to it. There are also toggle options on the back of the mic, a 10-decibel pad (perfect for recording loud sound sources like electric guitars), and the second toggle, which is a low cut (meaning it cuts the low frequencies below 80 hertz). 

The sound of this podcast microphone truly is outstanding, both for your voice and any instruments you might want to record in the future. It can eliminate background noise, making it an all-around great mic, especially if you’re gaming and tapping loudly on that keyboard of yours. Be prepared to absolutely get what you pay for with this great Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone for podcast recording.

Pros
  • Free carrying pouch
  • Low-cut setting
  • 10-decibel setting
  • Free shock mount
  • XLR output
Cons
  • Requires phantom power

Choosing the Best Podcast Microphone Type

If you’re not sure which microphone to choose, here are a few tips you can reference while conducting your research.

USB vs XLR Microphones

Did you know that not all microphones can plug into a computer? I know this is groundbreaking news, but it’s true! So how can we distinguish the ones who can and the ones who can’t? Simply put, there are two types of mics – XLR and USB. 

Depending on how big a gear junkie you are, if you love building your kit and being in control of all settings, you know, a type-A person, an XLR is just perfect for you. It is considered that most audio professionals use XLR mics, but if you’re just starting out and on a small budget, there’s no reason to splurge on an XLR mic just yet. 

Also, if you’re a newbie podcaster and have no clue how to set up an XLR, or you don’t have the time to learn that yet, USB mics are easy to set up and highly user-friendly. Is there a difference in audio quality? Yes, of course, but the average listener rarely spots it. Another minor setback of USB mics is that not all USB podcast microphones plug into a Mac or PC. You might have to take out your spyglass and read the fine print to check if your favorite mic is compatible. If you can’t be bothered, we already have the top mic for Mac on this list to save you the trouble.  

Dynamic Mics vs. Condenser Mics

Knowing the difference between XLR and USB, you should have become a microphone output pro by now. So let’s take a look at a more advanced subject. What is the difference between a condenser mic and a dynamic mic? 

Dynamic microphones are equipped with a diaphragm, voice coil, and magnet inside each device. The magnet creates a magnetic field (what a revelation!). So what happens inside? Well, when a sound wave hits the diaphragm, the vibrations from the sound affect the voice coil, converting the movement through the magnet into electric signals. The result is the audio displayed on your computer or amp. Dynamic microphones tend to catch less background noise in your vicinity if you use one in a loud environment. You might notice you lack some richness and depth to your voice when using a dynamic mic. That’sThat’sThat’sThat’s mainly because they have a narrow frequency range. They are good as portable audio-recording solutions because they are self-powered. I would recommend them for on-the-go YouTubers or people who tend to record in a loud or busy environment.

How is a condenser mic different? Not by much. The condenser mic used to be a capacitor but gradually evolved to be called a condenser for its primary function – keeping everything tight in place. It also has a diagram case that boxes up everything, the diaphragm itself, and a backplate. When sound waves hit the diaphragm and travel closer or farther from the backplate, the sound signals get translated into electrical signals. Condenser mics, unlike dynamic mics, can be susceptible and tend to pick up more frequencies and create a more detailed recording. They have a problem picking up background noise, but if you know you’re working in a quiet place (which I recommend), they will add richness to your voice.

There’s something you probably don’t see written in many places. There are then two types of condensers, too. A standard condenser mic (which requires phantom power to operate) is called a biased condenser or true condenser. The second type is the electret condenser mic, also referred to as a permanently biased condenser. The second one contains a permanently charged mic capsule inside – but don’t be fooled. Regardless of the condenser capsule you have, at the very least, the circuitry will require some voltage to operate. 

Both condenser and dynamic mics are excellent tools and can create professional audio. What matters is choosing the right type of microphone for your needs and skill level. With this information, even as a beginner podcaster, you should be ready to press record! Almost.

Don’t Forget About the Podcast Itself

Before you press the big red recording button, make sure you have thought about the overall logistics for your podcast. Think about the ones on this list.

Format

Is this a podcast you’re recording on your own, where you talk about a subject you’re passionate about, like a review of your favorite books or films, for example? Or is it a podcast that has occasional guests? If so, you might have to invest in more than one microphone for podcast recording. This is typically a pricey decision, but it doesn’t have to be. Just promise me you won’t compromise the quality of your guests’ voices by giving them a cheap, poor-quality mic! 

You might also need to think about the location of your podcast. Have you rented out a studio? Maybe you have managed to equip yourself and are perfectly capable of recording at home? Or perhaps you’re shooting on the go. Regardless, consider your environment when buying a microphone and have a second read on the mic specifications to make sure you won’t be picking up much of the background noise wherever you are.

Equipment and Accessories

Mic stands, boom arm, and mixers are all pretty helpful when making your podcast. The difference between a boom arm and a mic stand is in the flexibility. Mic stands don’t bend in many ways and are typically used for standing, while boom arms can be pulled closer or further away from you and are perfect if you’re sitting down when recording. Make sure to grab a couple of those for yourself and your podcast guests. 

Some small mics can be clipped on, too. You have seen them on TV in interviews, for example. They’re called lavalier mics or lapel mics. They’re discreet and ideal for dialog recording. They tend to be polar pattern mics, so they pick up everything around them, including rubbing against clothes. Thus, if you move around too much, note that they’ll pick up the friction. 

You probably tend to think about that when it’s too late, but having enough data on your computer is essential too. Sure, audio files are nothing like video footage in terms of space, but they will take up space. If you prefer to keep your information accessible by other people, such as an editor or your guests, you can always invest in a cloud drive that can have your files stored indefinitely. Alternatively, you can use a local drive or external drive. 

Finally, have you thought about editing? Editing audio isn’t so bad, but you might need to purchase some mixing software. This means you can cut, rearrange, balance, and polish your recording. Sometimes, you can get free software with the microphone you buy, but it will be pretty basic and lack some functionality. If you’re looking for more advanced editing applications, Audacity, Avid Pro, GarageBand, and Adobe Audition are some of the most excellent software capable of delivering superb audio quality and are often used by professionals in the industry. There are also tons of videos online that can teach you the basics of editing audio, so don’t get discouraged! Just make sure to look for software that’s compatible with your operating system! 

Location

I already mentioned the location briefly, but if you’re planning on using spare space in your home for podcast recording, make sure to soundproof it as best as you can. Buying some acoustic panels or acoustic foam is a great way to reduce echo in your room. There are many DIY videos on YouTube on how to make acoustic panels yourself if you can’t spend too much money on them. I also recommend drawing a sign saying: “Shhh, I’m recording!!” and taping it to the door of your impromptu recording studio. It truly saves lives, and it eliminates the toilet flushing sounds from next door. 

Number of People 

Depending on the number of people you’ll be recording with, things can get complicated and more expensive as the number of guests rises. If you’re planning on recording with a friend and forming your very own podcasting duo, you can go halfsies on the costs of equipment and software. Above all, you can create an entertaining podcast for your listeners.

Usually, there are more people than meets the ear when it comes to recording podcasts. True professionals might have a producer on hand who is troubled by the specifics around recording, such as the schedule and editing, for example. If you don’t have a producer, try and find a way to keep track of your podcast’s time, tone, and pace. You don’t want one episode to be 15 minutes long and another an hour, right? You don’t want people sleeping while listening or, worse, turning their back to your podcast just because of inconsistency.

Recording with more people usually means complex editing too. So, you might have to call that old media graduate friend of yours and ask for some tips on syncing audio and correcting mistakes as they go along. Maybe you have a friend who is willing to edit your audio for free and add it to their CV? Time to give them a call! 

Budget or Price Range

Listen, whatever they tell you, a podcast doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. You will be compromising with the sound at first, especially if you’re starting, and that’s okay. If it’s you and another person, all you have to do is grab two of those Blue Snowball Ice mics, get some free software, and start talking. It’s your content that matters the most. Maybe think about what makes your podcast unique. Do you have a catchy jingle? Are you covering funny or serious subjects? Is it a controversial podcast?

On the other hand, if you’re always one to invest a lot in their craft and can afford to buy the right equipment from the get-go, getting a mid-range XLR, a mixing board, and some decent software can be a good idea. You might have to set aside around $300, but you’ll sound amazing, no doubt. If that’s what you want, please be my guest! People on the Internet and online have started to value audio quality, so you won’t be wrong going for mid- or high-end microphones for your inspiring new podcast from the start. 

Here’s a quick overview of prices, so you don’t get scammed by fakes on the Internet:

  • Fake made-In-China mics: $10–15 
  • Low-end mics:  $40–99
  • Mid-range mics:  $100–150
  • High-end professional mics – $150–400
  • Boom arm: $15–60
  • Mic stand: $14–20
  • Audio mixer: $60–140
  • Preamp: $17–90
  • Phantom power: $20–40

Now that you know the average prices, you know what reliable equipment to look for and the average price range that mics go for. There will be no scamming you! Don’t be fooled by small prices. Saving money usually means saving on quality too. So long as you stick to this pricelist, you won’t be disappointed. Happy shopping!

Conclusion

I hope you found this helpful article! The best thing you can do for yourself is to understand how mics work before you buy any. As long as you know the audio “lingo,” you’ll be aware of precisely what you’re buying and what to expect from a mic even before it gets sent to your door. There are podcast mics for all budgets and needs on this list. Likewise, if you’re looking for the best microphone for speaker presentations, allow me to redirect you to our next article!

You’re finally ready to start your podcast! I wish you good luck and remember to enjoy every second!

Best Selling Podcast Microphones

Last update on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Cite this article as: Jim Peterson, "Best XLR and USB Microphones for Podcasts in 2021," in My Speech Class, September 9, 2021, https://www.myspeechclass.com/podcast-microphone.html.