Top 20 Best Microphones For Podcasting (All Budgets) In 2020


Since their invention in 2004, podcasts have been steadily increasing in popularity. Fortunately, podcasting has a low barrier of entry (unlike radio and television). This means that anyone with a great idea, a microphone, a recording device, and access to the internet can start a successful podcast. In this article, we’ll talk about the top 20 best microphones for podcasting regardless of your budget.

Note that the list has both XLR and USB microphones. A USB mic can be an excellent option for some podcasters and these mics are generally simpler to use and less expensive.

The top 20 best microphones for podcasting in 2020 (from least expensive to most expensive) are:

  1. Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 (XLR)
  2. Samson Q2U (XLR/USB)
  3. MXL 990 (XLR)
  4. Shure SM58 (XLR)
  5. Neat Beecaster (USB)
  6. Marantz Professional MPM-2000U (USB)
  7. Blue Yeti (USB)
  8. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ (USB)
  9. Audio-Technica AT2035 (USB)
  10. Rode NT-USB (USB)
  11. Shure Beta 58A (XLR)
  12. Rode NT1-A (XLR)
  13. Rode Podcaster (USB)
  14. Blue Yeti Pro (XLR/USB)
  15. Rode Procaster (XLR)
  16. Electro-Voice RE320 (XLR)
  17. Heil PR40 (XLR)
  18. Apogee HypeMiC USB (USB)
  19. Shure SM7B (XLR)
  20. Electro-Voice RE20 (XLR)

Let’s start by discussing the factors that make a great podcasting microphone along with the other essentials before getting into each of these microphones in greater detail.

JUMP TO THE TOP 20 BEST MICROPHONES FOR PODCASTING (FOR ALL BUDGETS) IN 2020

Shure, Blue, Audio-Technica, Rode, and Electro-Voice are featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

Neat and Heil are featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.


What Factors Make A Great Podcasting Microphone?

Though there aren’t any strict quality regulations on podcasts (yet), it’s still important to have a strong audio quality standard so your content stands out (and is actually listenable). Remember that podcasting is more than just content. It’s an audio product and crafting the best podcast requires proper tools!

When it comes to choosing a podcasting microphone, we should be looking for a mic that will pick up voices with clarity and accuracy and reject the background noise of the recording environment.

Though a lot of this has to do with the voice of the podcaster and the environment in which they record in, it also has to do with microphone selection.

Some important factors to consider when choosing a podcasting microphone are:

  • Directionality: is the microphone more sensitive in a single direction? Will pointing the mic at the podcaster help bring out his or her voice while rejecting sounds from around the space?
  • Sensitivity: will the microphone only pick up sound when it’s positioned close up or will the mic pick up all the nuance of the room?
  • Mounting: how is the microphone held in position? Is it susceptible to mechanical vibration and noise?

Other factors to consider are:

  • Output connection: does the microphone connect via USB or XLR?
  • Transducer type: is the microphone a dynamic or condenser mic?
  • Price: does the microphone fit within your budget?

Let’s talk about each of these factors in a bit more detail:

Directionality

Directionality refers to the direction-specific sensitivity of a microphone. This is typically specified as a polar pattern, which gives us a 2-dimensional representation of a mic’s directionality.

When looking for a podcasting microphone, unidirectional cardioid microphones are preferred. They are most sensitive to the front (where they point) and actually reject much of the sound from the rear.

Below is a graphic of the top-address Shure SM58 and its cardioid polar pattern:

Supercardioid and hypercardioid microphone polar patterns are tighter (more directional) that the cardioid but exhibit a small lobe of sensitivity to their rear (rather than a null point). Either of these 3 polar patterns works great for podcasting.

Omnidirectional and bidirectional mics could work in some podcasting situations but are best avoided.

To learn everything you need to know about microphone directionality and mic polar patterns, check out my articles A Complete Guide To Directional Microphones (With Pictures) and The Complete Guide To Microphone Polar Patterns.

As an aside, it’s often better to use a top-address microphone (the polar pattern’s primary axis is through the top of the mic) rather than a side-address mic (the pattern’s axis is through the side of the mic). This is simply because the top-address is more intuitive when it comes to pointing the mic in the right direction.

In this article, I’ll note when a microphone is side-address.

For more information on top-address and side-address microphones, check out my article What Are Top, End & Side-Address Microphones? (+ Examples).

Sensitivity

Note that we’re not talking about a microphone’s sensitivity rating here but rather sensitivity in general.

To learn about microphone sensitivity rating, check out my articles What Is Microphone Sensitivity? An In-Depth Description and What Is A Good Microphone Sensitivity Rating?

When on a budget, it’s tough to construct or rent a soundproof space or even to acoustically treat a room.

With a poor recording environment, a sensitive microphone’s output signal could include all the tiny sounds within a room or even an entire building and beyond. A leaky faucet, refrigerator hum, furnace, air conditioner, roommates chatting. You name it, a sensitive microphone will capture it.

It seems kind of odd but a less sensitive microphone (like a moving-coil dynamic) may very well be a better bet for recording podcasts in less-than-ideal environments.

That being said, if you have a soundproof room or even an acoustically treated space, a more sensitive microphone (like a condenser) may capture the voice with greater clarity, picking up a wider frequency range and more of the detailed nuances of speech.

Mounting

If you’re recording a podcast for any length of time, chances are you’d want the microphone to be mounted properly on a mic stand. The alternative would be to hold the microphone the entire time which would be tiresome and not nearly as consistent.

Regardless of if you use a regular mic stand or a boom arm, there are two main ways to mount a microphone:

  1. Mounting via a microphone clip: this is essentially a clip that connects to the stand and holds the microphone in place. These work well for positioning the mic properly but will also allow mechanical vibrations and noise to be transferred into the mic signal.
  2. Mounting via a shock mount: shock mounts effectively hold a microphone in place at the end of a mic stand while also isolating the microphone from mechanical vibrations and noise.

Shock mounts are most often the better choice for their noise reduction.

To more in-depth reads on mic clips and shock mounts, check out my articles What Is A Microphone Clip? (Physical And Electrical) and What Is A Microphone Shock Mount And Why Is It Important?

XLR (Analog) Vs. USB (Digital)

There are a few reasons why a podcaster would rather an XLR or a USB microphone.

I believe the primary reason has to do with budgeting. USB mics have built-in analog-to-digital converters and can connect directly to a computer. If you’re recording your podcast onto a computer (or another device with a USB input), then a USB mic is a simple and cost-effective option. Just plug the mic in and you’re good to go!

XLR mics, on the other hand, output analog audio signals and require a separate audio interface to convert their audio to digital for use inside a computer.

A big con of USB mics is that, because they are their own audio interface, it is difficult (if even possible) to connect multiple USB mics to a computer at once.

With enough mic input on an interface, we can have as many XLR mics connected to a computer at once as we want.

So if your podcast has a solo speaker and you’re on a budget, a USB microphone is probably a great choice for you. However, if you’re recording two or more people at once and have a bit of extra cash, XLR mics (with their necessary audio interfaces and cables) would work best.

For more info on analog and digital mics as well as XLR and USB mics, consider reading the following My New Microphone articles:

Are Microphones Analog Or Digital Devices? (Mic Output Designs)
Why Do Microphones Use XLR Cables?
Top 9 Best USB Microphones (Streaming, PC Audio, Etc.)

Dynamic Vs. Condenser

When deciding whether to purchase a dynamic or condenser microphone for your podcast there is one primary factor to think about: sensitivity.

As mentioned above, condenser microphones will pick up more than dynamics. This is great if the only sound is the voice of the podcaster, but can be disastrous if the recording environment is poor/loud.

Of course, there are many other factors to consider. For example, condenser mics have wider frequency responses and faster transient responses than dynamics. Other examples are that dynamics are more durable but require more gain than condensers.

With all that being said, the primary concern is the recording environment. If you’ve got a great space, then a condenser will sound better on your vocals. If your space is even slightly noisy, a dynamic mic is generally your better bet.

To learn more about the difference between dynamic and condenser mics, read my article Differences Between Dynamic & Condenser Microphones.

Price

Podcasts have enormous earning potential. However, there’s is a ton of work to be done in the early stages with no incoming payments to make this work. Therefore, price and budget should be factors in your decision.

For more information on microphone prices, check out my articles How Much Do Microphones Cost? (With Pricing Examples) and Top 20 Most Expensive Microphones On The Market Today.


Other Essentials For Making A Podcast

I promise we’ll get to the microphones soon but first let’s quickly go over the other podcasting devices that are not microphones.

Let’s break these devices into essentials (required devices) and beneficial (optional devices):

What extra microphone accessories do we need and which would benefit our podcasts?

Essential Podcasting Gear (Required)

  • Recording device (often a computer running a digital audio workstation)
  • Mic cable
  • Audio interface (for digital recording)
  • Microphone preamplifier (available in the audio interface)
  • Phantom power (or another power source) for condenser microphones (typically available from the audio interface)

Recording Device

To produce and release a podcast, we must first record the audio. It goes without saying that we would need some sort of recording device.

Often times this is a computer but it can also be a portable field recorder. Because podcasts are inherently digital, I would always suggest recording digitally from the get-go.

Mic Cable

A microphone needs cabling to connect to an audio interface and recording device.

With USB microphones, this is as simple as a USB cable from the mic to the computer or digital recording device.

With analog mics, this means an XLR cable to connect the mic to the interface or field recorder as well as a USB cable to connect the interface to the computer.

To learn about my recommended mic cables, check out My New Microphone’s Best Microphone Cables.

Audio Interface

When using XLR microphones, we need an audio interface to effectively convert the analog mic signal into a digital signal for the computer.

Additionally, audio interfaces will have varying numbers of mic inputs and so multiple mics can be connected to a computer with an interface.

To learn about my recommended audio interfaces, check out My New Microphone’s Best Microphone Audio Interfaces.

Microphone Preamplifier

Regardless of the recording device, audio should be at “line level.” Line level is a nominal signal strength (+4 dBu) that audio devices use to record, mix and process audio.

Microphones, however, output mic level signals which are much lower than line level. These signals require preamplification (from mic preamps) to become line level for proper use in other devices.

Luckily audio interface mic inputs will nearly always provide a preamplifier to apply gain to the mic signal.

USB microphones have internal preamps to boost the analog signal before the ADC. This further simplifies the podcast recording set up.

To learn about my recommended mic preamp, check out My New Microphone’s Best Microphone Preamplifiers.

Phantom Power

If we are using condenser microphones (or any active microphone for that matter), we need to supply it with appropriate power.

Phantom power is the most common method of supplying power to condenser microphones and is a necessity if we choose a phantom-powered condenser microphone as our podcasting mic.

To learn everything you need to know about microphones and phantom power, check out my article What Is Phantom Power And How Does It Work With Microphones?

Beneficial Podcasting Gear (Optional)

In addition to the essentials, there are other pieces of gear that will help tremendously in creating the best podcast possible.

  • Mic stand/boom arm
  • Pop filter and/or windscreen
  • Shock mount
  • Acoustically treated space and/or an isolation shield
  • Headphones and a headphone amplifier
  • Signal processing (can be done within the digital audio workstation software)

Mic Stand/Boom Arm

With a mic stand or boom arm, we can position a microphone in a set location to best serve the podcasters. This certainly beats holding the microphone the entire discussion.

Microphones are held within mic clips (or shock mounts) that thread onto boom arms and mic stands.

To learn about my recommended mic stands and boom arms, check out My New Microphone’s Best Microphone Stands and Best Microphone Boom Arms, respectively.

Pop Filter And/Or Windscreen

A pop filter between the podcaster and the microphone can work wonders in eliminating plosives (the “pops” that happen on hard consonants that overload the mic).

The con of pop filters is that they tend to be big (6″ in diameter is normal) and may eclipse podcasters’ eye contact when used in group discussions. Clever positioning is sometimes required.

As for windscreens, they do help somewhat to reduce plosives but are mainly used to reduce wind noise in a microphone’s signal. If you plan on recording outside, a windscreen in practically a must!

To learn about my recommended pop filter and windscreens, check out My New Microphone’s Best Microphone Pop Filters and est Microphone Windscreens, respectively.

Shock Mount

Microphone shock mounts are similar to mic clips in that they allow a microphone to attach to a mic stand or boom arm.

The major difference is that a shock mount will utilize two pieces connected by an isolating material (like elastic). The outer piece of the shock mount threads onto the mic stand or boom while the inner piece holds the microphone. This mechanically isolates the microphone from the stand/boom and everything else in the environment, helping to reduce rumble and noise in the mic signal.

To learn about my recommended microphone shock mounts, check out My New Microphone’s Best Microphone Shock Mounts.

Acoustically Treated Space And/Or Isolation Shield

An acoustically treated room will reduce the amount of noise within the space while also reducing reflections in the space. This helps tremendously to lower background noise in the signal and the dreaded slapback delay effect of small rooms.

An isolation shield is placed in the rear of a microphone. It essentially reduces the amount of a vocalist’s voice that hits the reflective surfaces of a room while also reducing the reflections from coming back into the mic. These shields are meant for singers and may not be beneficial to discussion-based podcasts because they are big and eclipsing (much more so than the pop filters).

To learn about my recommended microphone isolation shields, check out My New Microphone’s Best Vocal Microphone Isolation Shields.

Headphones & Headphone Amplifier

It’s sometimes nice to hear ourselves when we’re recording. Headphones allow us to hear ourselves and our fellow podcasters with ease.

Headphones are necessary when podcasting with someone over a call. In this case, we need to hear the person on the other end of the line but we also don’t want to get bleed in the microphone.

A headphone amp is required for headphones and is often designed into an audio interface.

Signal Processing

In the mixing stages, signal processing can help to add that professional shine and sparkle to your podcast. Consider using EQ and compression on the voice tracks and a limiter on the master when mixing your podcast.


Top 20 Best Microphones For Podcasting (For All Budgets) In 2020

Once again, here are the top 20 best microphones for podcasting in 2020 (from least expensive to most expensive):

  1. Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 (XLR)
  2. Samson Q2U (XLR/USB)
  3. MXL 990 (XLR)
  4. Shure SM58 (XLR)
  5. Neat Beecaster (USB)
  6. Marantz Professional MPM-2000U (USB)
  7. Blue Yeti (USB)
  8. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ (USB)
  9. Audio-Technica AT2035 (USB)
  10. Rode NT-USB (USB)
  11. Shure Beta 58A (XLR)
  12. Rode NT1-A (XLR)
  13. Rode Podcaster (USB)
  14. Blue Yeti Pro (XLR/USB)
  15. Rode Procaster (XLR)
  16. Electro-Voice RE320 (XLR)
  17. Heil PR40 (XLR)
  18. Apogee HypeMiC USB (USB)
  19. Shure SM7B (XLR)
  20. Electro-Voice RE20 (XLR)

1. Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 ($29.99)

First up is the Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 (link to check the price on Amazon). This cardioid dynamic microphone is super-inexpensive and naturally sounds good on vocals.

Behringer Ultravoice MX8500

Designed to be a budget option of live vocal performance, the XM8500 has a natural presence boost to help vocals cut through dense/loud mixes without having to have tons of gain applied.

This same presence boost can help in podcasting to accentuate speech intelligibility.

The moving-coil transducer cartridge (the element that converts sound to audio) is internally shock-mounted to help lessen handling noise and other forms of mechanically induced sound.

This cartridge is housed behind a pop/wind filter grille. However, I would still recommend trying a pop filter when using this mic.

The MX8500 is a dynamic XLR mic and so you’ll have to speak close to it and apply some gain from your preamp/interface (which involves getting an audio interface). However, because it’s dynamic it will likely reject the subtle noises in the environment more than a condenser would.

Note that the XM8500 isn’t the quietest microphone but for the price point, it cannot be beaten!

For a bundle, check out the Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 bundle (link to check the price on Amazon). It’s got everything you need to get started recording a podcast on your laptop (minus the laptop and digital audio workstation software). It includes:

  • Behringer XM8500 microphone
  • Behringer UMC204HD preamp
  • Behringer HPM-1000 headphones
  • 2 x 20ft XLR cables
  • K&M microfibre cloth

2. Samson Q2U ($49.99)

The Samson Q2U (link to check the price on Amazon) comes in at number 2 on this list and is the second-least expensive. Samson’s Q2U is a cardioid dynamic microphone with an on/off switch and an XLR and USB output, making it very flexible in a multitude of podcasting setups.

For example, we could simply plug the 2QU directly into our computer for recording via USB (mini-USB connection) or we could plug it into a mixer and digital recorder via XLR.

The digital output of the Q2U has a bit depth up to 16-bit and a sample rate of 44.1kHz/48kHz.

Samson Q2U

The internally shock-mounted dynamic cartridge portrays a cardioid pattern. This makes the mic excellent at rejecting background noise (especially from the rear). Whether we’re holding the Q2U in our hands or positioning it on a mic stand or boom, this mic will resist the sound of mechanical noise in its signal.

Although the Q2U is fairly forgiving of less-than-ideal recording environments, it’s critical to monitor recording to ensure the background noise is not overly present in the mic signal.

If you’re interested in a full bundle, check out the Samson Q2U bundle (link to check the price on Amazon). This package includes:

  • Samson Q2U microphone
  • Microphone clip
  • Knox Boom Arm
  • Knox Pop Filter

Note that if you wanted to use the Q2U (or multiple Q2Us), you’d need to invest in an audio recorder or an audio interface for your computer.


3. MXL 990 ($69.99)

The MXL 990 (link to check the price on Amazon) is the first condenser microphone on this list. This inexpensive large-diaphragm condenser mic has a cardioid polar pattern and easily outperforms the other condensers at its price point. It connects via XLR.

MXL 990

MXL’s 990 model sounds crisp on vocals but can suffer from the “cheap condenser sound” whereby the high-end is over-represented in the signal. Doing a bit of soundproofing in the room will help to mitigate this high-end harshness while also subduing background noise. This bit of extra work can help tremendously in allowing the 990 to shine.

It’s important to note that the MXL 990 is a side-address microphone so we speak into its side (the MXL logo is the front) rather than into its top.

For a nice bundle, check out the MXL 990 bundle (link to check the price on Amazon). It includes everything you would need other than an interface:

  • MXL 990 microphone
  • MXL shock mount
  • Knox Gear boom arm
  • Knox Gear pop filter

4. Shure SM58 ($87)

The Shure SM58 (link to check the price on Amazon) is an industry-standard live vocal microphone. This cardioid moving-coil dynamic mic also holds its own in the podcasting world. It is a jack-of-all-trades in terms of capturing the human voice.

Shure SM58

The SM58 has a boost in the presence range that aids in improving speech intelligibility. It also works quite well in poorer recording situations due to its low-sensitivity dynamic element and cardioid pattern.

This microphone is top-address and is easy to position in the proper direction. The XLR connection of the Shure SM58 means you’ll need an audio interface to connect it to your computer.

Check out this great podcasting package that features the Shure SM58 (link to check the price on Amazon):

  • Shure SM58 microphone
  • Microphone clip
  • On-Stage MS7701B Euro-Boom microphone stand
  • 25′ XLR cable

5. Neat Beecaster ($99.99)

The Neat Beecaster (link to check the price on Amazon) is an interesting microphone design intended to be an all-in-one solution for your podcasting needs.

Neat Beecaster

The Neat Beecaster has a USB output with 24-bit/96 kHz digital audio quality. It acts as its own interface and connects directly to a computer (or digital recorder with USB input). Note that it’s difficult (if possible) to connect more than one of these mics at once.

This multi-pattern microphone features 4 proprietary internally shock-mounted 25 mm condenser capsules. This allows for mono, stereo, wide stereo, and focused stereo recording. For podcasting, we’ll primarily stick with the mono (cardioid) pattern, though it’s good to have options.

The internally shock-mounted capsules do a decent job of protecting the microphone from mechanical noise. This plays into the design of the Beecaster’s built-in boom arm. I still would advise being cautious of hitting/touching the surfaces near the mic.

As a condenser microphone, the Beecaster has great potential to capture the nuance and character of the human voice. However, it will also pick up background noise in less-than-ideal environments so care should be taken when using this mic.

In addition to all of this, the Beecaster also has a built-in headphone amplifier with volume control for zero-latency monitoring. Simply plug your headphones into the standard 1/8” (3.5 mm) headphone jack on the front of the base.

The headphone amp lets us monitor our mic signal in real-time with no delay from the computer’s processing. This comes in handy when listening for extraneous noise in the mic signal during recording.


6. Marantz Professional MPM-2000U ($134)

The Marantz Professional MPM-2000U (link to check the price on Amazon) is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and USB output.

Marantz Professional MPM-2000U

This microphone connects directly to a computer via USB. Its built-in ADC outputs professional 48kHz / 16-bit sampling rate digital audio.

The 2000U punches above its weight class in terms of audio quality. For an inexpensive USB microphone, this mic is a steal for your podcasting needs. It delivers clean, crisp voice recordings; its shock mount lessens mechanical noise, and its polar pattern focuses on the intended voice while rejecting extraneous sounds.

The Marantz Professional MPM-2000U is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top 12 Best Microphones Under $150 For Recording Vocals and Top 9 Best USB Microphones (Streaming, PC Audio, Etc.).


7. Blue Yeti ($149.99)

The Blue Yeti (link to check the price on Amazon) is perhaps the most popular USB microphone on the market today. It’s a multi-pattern condenser microphone that features a tri capsule design that allows for cardioid, figure-8, omnidirectional and stereo pickup patterns. As previously mentioned, cardioid will be the preferred pattern for podcasting though other patterns could also benefit a podcast recording.

Be sure to speak into the side of the Yeti rather than the top since it is a side-address microphone.

Blue Yeti

The Blue Yeti is a USB mic which means it can plug directly into your computer, simplifying the recording set up. However, because the Yeti acts as its own interface, we can only utilize one Yeti at any given time. The Yeti outputs digital audio at 16-bit 48 kHz.

A built-in headphone amp with 1/8″ (3.5 mm) input jack allows for zero-latency monitoring. Plug your headphones in, adjust the volume, and listen to your mic signal with no delay.

As for sound quality, the Blue Yeti is a condenser and so it’s sensitive to the intended voice as well as any background noise. As always, try to improve your recording situation as much as possible when using a condenser mic.

The Yeti sounds a bit bright compared to the top-of-the-line professional voiceover mics but for the price, this mic sounds great. Due to the popularity of the Yeti in podcasting, many listeners are actually accustomed to listening to the “brightness” of this mic.

If you’re looking for a podcasting bundle that includes the Blue Yeti, click here. This package incorporates the following:

  • Blue Microphones Yeti
  • Knox Gear boom scissor arm
  • Knox Gear pop filter
  • Knox Gear Blue Yeti microphone shock mount
  • Tascam TH-03 closed-back headphones

8. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ ($149)

The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ (link to check the price on Amazon) is a large-diaphragm side-addressed condenser with a cardioid polar pattern with a USB output and 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz digital audio.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

In addition to a zero-latency headphone amp with a 1/8″ (3.5 mm) headphone jack, the AT2020USB+ is also equipped with a mix control knob, allowing us to blend the microphone signal and pre-recorded audio.

The AT2020USB+ comes with a mic clip and desktop stand for easy setup and the USB output makes connecting this mic to a computer a walk in the park. That being said, I’d recommend using a boom arm or mic stand with a shock mount (Neewer has a great budget option on Amazon) to properly hold the AT2020USB+ in place.

This USB mic has a condenser capsule and is quite sensitive to sound throughout the acoustic environment. As with all condensers, care should be taken to reduce extraneous noise so that it does not become overly apparent in the mic signal.

If you’re looking for a bundle, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ bundle (link to check the price on Amazon) includes everything you need except for the computer/recording device:

  • Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
  • Microphone clip
  • Knox Gear boom scissor arm stand
  • Knox Gear pop filter
  • USB cable

9. Audio-Technica AT2035 ($149)

The Audio-Technica AT2035 (link to check the price on Amazon) is very similar to the AT2020USB+ but has an XLR output and a few extra signal processing options built into its design. It is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a side-address cardioid polar pattern.

Audio-Technica AT2035

The AT2035 features a built-in high-pass filter switch that removes frequencies below 80 Hz from the mic signal. This helps to remove mechanically induced rumble and noise in the mic signal while also mitigating the proximity effect (a bass boost in directional mics that happens as the sound source gets closer to the mic).

This mic also features a 10 dB pad to bring down the level of the mic signal before it gets outputted. Though podcasters often don’t get too loud, this could help to avoid overloading the mic and preamplifier.

Audio-Technica makes a custom shock mount that is included with the purchase of their AT2035. This provides superior isolation from handling noise and other mechanical noise, effectively keeping the mic signal clean.

As for sound, the AT2035 is accurate and rather smooth considering its price. You can expect great audio when using this mic for your podcast so long as the background noise is minimized when recording.

To take a look at a full set up for your podcast audio, the Audio-Technica AT2035 bundle (link to check the price on Amazon) includes:

  • Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone
  • Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB audio interface
  • Knox Gear suspension boom scissor arm
  • Knox Gear pop filter
  • 25′ XLR cable

With the inclusion of an audio interface, this bundle has everything you need to get started minus the computer/recording device.


10. Rode NT-USB ($150)

The Rode NT-USB (link to check the price on Amazon) is Rode’s primary USB microphone. It is a large-diaphragm side-address condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern. Its digital audio quality is 16-bit 48 kHz.

Rode NT-USB

The Rode NT-USB comes with a custom pop shield, tripod desk stand, ring mount, storage pouch and 6m (20’) USB cable to get you started. If you’ve got a bit more in your budget for upgrading the setup, I’d recommend investing in a boom arm and shock mount. More specifically, I’d recommend the Rode PSA1 swivel mount (link to check the price on Amazon) and the Rode SMR (link to check the price on Amazon).

When it comes to sound, the NT-USB is clean and smooth, picking up voiceover clearly with great accuracy. Its pop filter reduces plosives (vocals pops) and its cardioid polar pattern focused on the person speaking while rejecting sound from the rear.

A zero-latency headphone output is built-in for direct monitoring of the mic signal (1/8″ or 3.5 mm headphone jack).

If you need a microphone and headphone combo, I’d suggest taking a look at this Rode NT-USB bundle (link to check the price on Amazon). It includes:

  • Rode NT-USB microphone
  • Rode pop shield
  • Rode tripod desk stand
  • Rode ring mount
  • Rode storage pouch
  • 6m (20’) USB cable
  • Tascam TH-03 headphones
  • 1/8″ TRRS to 1/4″ TRRS adapter

11. Shure Beta 58A ($159)

Let’s start the second half of this list with the Shure Beta 58A (link to check the price on Amazon). We can tell by the name that this microphone is an evolution of the Shure SM58.

The Beta 58A is a supercardioid moving-coil dynamic microphone. It has a tight polar pattern that helps tremendously in capturing the intended podcaster while rejecting background noise. Its stronger magnets allow a great output of the intended source without the increase of background noise in the signal.

Although this microphone doesn’t come with any optional switches, it is still a versatile performer. It sounds excellent on practically any voice due to its low-end roll-off and presence boost. It has an internally isolated element and a wind/pop screen in its head grille. That being said, the mic could benefit greatly from a pop filter.

This microphone is an ideal candidate for those of us on a budget and a less-than-ideal recording environment.

Shure Beta 58A

For a recording bundle to get you started with the Shure Beta 58A, check out the Shure Beta 58A bundle (link to check the price on Amazon). This package includes:

  • Shure Beta 58A microphone
  • Microphone clip
  • Mic stand
  • Storage pouch
  • XLR cable

12. Rode NT1-A ($195)

The Rode NT1-A (link to check the price on Amazon) is one of my all-time favourite budget condenser microphones. It is a simple large-diaphragm side-address condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and an XLR output.

The Rode NT1-A sounds great on the vast majority of voices and can really be an invaluable tool for your podcasting audio setup.

Rode NT1-A

This mic has a very low self-noise and high sensitivity rating and so excels in acoustically treated rooms. It is sensitive enough to pick up background noise across walls into other rooms and so it may not be the best choice for podcasting in noisy environments.

Note that placing more than two NT1-A (or any sensitive condenser mics) in close proximity may cause phasing issues as they capture the voices of other “unintended” podcasters.

Rode’s NT1-A comes with its own custom shock mount/pop filter combo which helps tremendously in capturing clean vocals from the very start. The only con of this is the relative size of the NT1-A and its mount which may become annoying when producing conversational podcasts.

All that being said, the NT1-A sounds awesome and has an excellent cost-to-performance ratio. If you have a nice recording area and are only recording one or two people, the NT1-A (or a pair of NT1-As) may become your best friend(s)!

It’s nice to be able to buy everything you need with one click. Check out this Rode NT1-A bundle (link to check the price on Amazon) which includes:

  • Rode NT1-A microphone
  • Tripod base mic stand
  • Rode pop shield
  • Rode shock mount
  • 20′ XLR cable
  • Dust cover
  • Instructional DVD with recording tips

13. Rode Podcaster ($228.99)

How could I not include the Rode Podcaster (link to check the price on Amazon)? I mean it’s got the term “podcast” in its name!

Rode’s podcaster is a top-address dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and a built-in analog-to-digital converter that outputs 18-bit resolution, 8-48kHz sampling digital audio. With the Podcaster, Rode has combined broadcast-quality audio with the simplicity of USB connectivity.

Rode Podcaster

The podcaster sounds present, clean and professional on all voices. Its dynamic element effectively captures the intended voice while rejecting much of the background noise in an environment.

The Podcaster includes a sturdy RM2 microphone ring mount. However, for podcasting, I’d suggest grabbing the Rode PSA1 swivel mount (link to check the price on Amazon) and the Rode SMR (link to check the price on Amazon) as well.

As with many of the USB microphones on this list, the Podcaster has a built-in headphone amp with 1/8″ (3.5 mm) jack for simple zero-latency monitoring of the mic signal. With this monitoring, we can easily listen in to our recording live to ensure we’re getting the quality we want.

The Rode Podcaster bundle (link to check the price on Amazon) includes:

  • Rode Podcaster microphone
  • Rode PSA1 boom arm
  • Rode PSM1 shock mount

14. Blue Yeti Pro ($249)

The Blue Yeti Pro (link to check the price on Amazon) is an improvement upon the Blue Yeti mentioned earlier in this list.

This microphone maintains the tri capsule design capable of achieving cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo pickup patterns. The big improvements come in the form of a better 24-bit 192 kHz analog-to-digital converter and the extra XLR output.

A USB/XLR output offers the simplicity of a USB mic with the versatility of an XLR mic. As a starter mic, the Yeti Pro is an incredible choice.

Blue Yeti Pro

The Yeti Pro is a side-address microphone so we speak into the side of it.

Its sound is smooth, bright and works well to pick up speech with clarity. Whether we choose the USB or the XLR output, the Yeti Pro delivers quality audio and helps our podcast sound great.

As always, we must note that this mic is a condenser and so it will be sensitive to all sounds in the environment. It’s often best to treat your space acoustically if you’re going to use a condenser mic to record your podcast.

In USB mode, the Yeti Pro’s internal headphone amp offers zero-latency monitoring via a 1/8″ (3.5 mm) jack. As discussed, direct monitor helps remarkably to hear how our podcast is sounding during recording and if any adjustments are needed.

Check out this Blue Yeti Pro bundle (link to check the price on Amazon) for a great starter kit. It includes:

  • Blue Yeti PRO XLR & USB microphone
  • Blucoil Audio 6-inch pop filter
  • Blucoil Audio 10-foot XLR cable
  • 5 Pack of Blucoil cable ties.

15. Rode Procaster ($288.95)

The Rode Procaster (link to check the price on Amazon) is like the big brother XLR version of the aforementioned Rode Podcaster.

Rode’s Procaster is a top-address moving-coil dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern.

Rode Procaster

The Procaster boasts a high output level while also being able to reject much of the environmental noise in a room. In this way, it’s kind of like the best of both worlds between a condenser and dynamic microphone.

As for sound quality, the Procaster suits podcasts beautifully and is reminiscent of high-end radio broadcasting microphones.

The XLR output of the Rode Procaster makes it a much more versatile mic that the Podcaster though the design does do away with the headphone monitoring option. To listen in real-time to the Procaster, we’ll have to monitor from the audio interface or recorder.

To learn more about a great package, check out the Rode Procaster bundle (link to check the price on Amazon). This bundle includes:

  • Rode Procaster microphone
  • Rode PSA 1 mic boom arm
  • Rode PSM 1 shock mount

16. Electro-Voice RE320 ($299)

The Electro-Voice RE320 (link to check the price on Amazon) is another awesome moving-coil dynamic microphone for recording podcasts.

EV’s RE320 is a large-diaphragm dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and XLR output.

Electro-Voice RE320

The RE320 features Electro-Voice’s patented Variable-D (Variable-Distance) technology that takes sound in through the vents along the mic’s length and uses wave interference to effectively eliminate the proximity effect.

No proximity effect means that there will be no overbearing bass boost if we move too close to the mic which allows for a more consistent audio capture in our podcasts.

As for sound, the Electro-Voice RE20 has a slight boost in the low-end to help bring out the gravitas of our voice. It also has a boost in the presence range to accentuate speech intelligibility. Between these peaks, the RE320 sounds very natural. Together, this really helps bring voice recording to life.

Critics of this microphone argue that the mic sounds overly bright. However, this is relative to the better-known Electro-Voice RE20. When comparing this mic to a budget condenser, it actually sounds quite tamed in the high-end.

As for pick up, the 320 is very effective at capturing sound in the direction it points and great at ignoring the tiny extraneous noises of an environment.

The RE320 also features a low-cut to help reduce low-end rumble and mechanical noise in the mic signal.

The Electro-Voice RE320 bundle (link to check the price on Amazon) includes:

  • Electro-Voice RE20 microphone
  • Electro-Voice 309A shock mount
  • On-Stage MBS5000 boom arm
  • 20′ XLR cable

One con about the Electro-Voice RE320 and other dynamic microphones on this list is their low output. Low microphone output signal levels need more preamp gain to be used in our podcasts. Since podcasting is often conversational, the sound sources (podcasters/conversationalists) are often relatively quiet (compared to a snare drum, for example).

This means we need lots of gain that many preamps cannot fully provide. Therefore, it’s common to have an in-line gain stage before the audio interface or recording device’s preamp.

One very popular preamp is the Cloudlifter CL-1 (link to check the price on Amazon) which is capable of boosting the mic signal by 25 dB before it reaches the main preamp.

Cloudlifter CL-1

17. Heil PR40 ($329)

The Heil PR40 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a very popular broadcasting microphone on radio and so it stands to reason that it would be a great choice for recording podcasts.

Heil Sound’s PR40 is a top-address dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and XLR output.

Heil PR40

Let’s start by stating that the PR40 has one of the widest frequency response ranges of any dynamic mic on the market. It sounds wonderfully natural which plays a big role in capturing clean voice recording for a podcast.

The low-mass diaphragm further improves the clarity of the mic due to its accurate transient response.

On voices, the PR40 easily outperforms most of its competition.

The dynamic element is internally shock-mounted for improved rejection of mechanical noise. This mic is also designed with a dual-mech screen in its grille to help minimize vocal plosives at the diaphragm. This noise reduction is a key factor in recording clean podcast audio.

Speaking of noise reduction, the cardioid pattern means the PR40 will capture in the direction it points and reject sound from the rear (and the sides but to a lesser extent). The dynamic element, though sensitive, will aid in mitigating background noise in the mic signal.

All-in-all, the Heil PR40 is an excellent choice for a podcasting mic.

The Heil PR40 bundle (link to check the price on Amazon) includes:

  • Heil Sound PR 40
  • Microphone clip
  • Padded vinyl carrying case
  • Heil Sound PRSM shock mount
  • Labor Auray BA-2EN C-clamp Boom arm
  • Kopul Studio Elite 10′ XLR cable

18. Apogee HypeMiC USB ($349)

The Apogee HypeMiC USB (link to check the price on Amazon) is perhaps an unusual choice for a podcasting mic at this price range but is definitely worth discussing.

Apogee’s HypeMic is a small-diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and USB output.

Apogee HypeMiC USB

This microphone outputs professional quality 24-bit 96 kHz digital audio. As with many USB mics, it also offers a built-in headphone output (1/8″ or 3.5 mm jack) for zero-latency monitoring. The blend feature allows us to listen to pre-recorded audio along with our live recording which may come in handy in certain podcasting situations.

The Apogee HypeMic comes with an included tripod, pop filter and carrying case. Though these additional pieces are nice to get started, I’d recommend getting a mic stand or boom arm to hold the mic in place rather than relying on the desktop stand.

The biggest highlight of the HypeMic is the built-in analog compressor. This compressor has 3 distinct settings:

  • Low: minimal compression helps to shape vocals and instruments in music recordings.
  • Medium: a fair amount of compression sounds great on most podcasts, interviews and streaming in order to make speech more present.
  • High: high compression will get us that big in-your-face announcer voice.

Compression helps tremendously in improving the presence and quality of a podcast recording. Usually, this is done in post-processing or during a recording with other pieces of gear or digital plugins. With the HypeMic, we can do it directly within the microphone!

So with the Apogee HypeMic, we get a microphone, interface and compressor within one unit. This simplifies our setup tremendously and makes the HypeMic a great choice for the more simplistic style of podcast.

As for audio quality, the HypeMic is a condenser. It sounds incredibly clean on vocals but may also pick up too much background noise to yield a good podcast product. To add insult to injury, compressing the signal may even make these extraneous noises more apparent in the signal.

To keep with the theme of offering a bundle, the Apogee HypeMiC USB bundle (link to check the price on Amazon) includes:

  • Apogee HypeMic USB
  • USB Micro-B to Lightning Cable
  • USB Micro-B to USB Type-A Cable
  • USB Micro-B to USB Type-C Cable
  • Tabletop Tripod
  • Mic Stand Adapter
  • Pop Filter
  • Carry Case
  • Polsen HPC-A30 headphones
  • Scissor boom arm stand

Apogee is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Audio Interface Brands In The World.


19. Shure SM7B ($399)

The Shure SM7B (link to check the price on Amazon) is perhaps the most popular podcasting microphone in the world.

This top-address dynamic microphone has a cardioid polar pattern and XLR output.

Shure SM7B

The SM7B excels on voice recording due, in part, to its smooth frequency response that only adds the slightest accentuation in the speech intelligibility range.

Additionally, its cardioid element is internally shock-mounted and isolated from mechanical noise. At the same time, it’s sensitive to sound on-axis while it rejects off-axis and background noise.

The air suspension shock isolation and the pop filtering grille eliminate both mechanical noise and breathiness. This allows words to get through without the plosives, sibilance and breath that come with them.

All these factors are critical in capturing the best possible voice audio in your podcast. The Shure SM7B has them all!

The major flaw of the SM7B is its inherently low sensitivity. Often time we need more gain than a regular preamp can provide. In most cases, the SM7B will benefit from an in-line gain stage like the aforementioned Cloudlifter CL-1 (link to check the price on Amazon).

For a bundle that includes the SM7B and CL-1 mic activator, check out this Shure SM7B bundle (link to check the price on Amazon). It combines:

  • Shure SM7B microphone
  • Shure SM7B swivel mount
  • Cloud Mic Cloudlifter CL-1 Single Channel Mic Activator
  • On-Stage MBS5000 boom arm
  • H&A pop filter
  • 20′ XLR cable

20. Electro-Voice RE20 ($449)

At the final, most expensive spot, we have the famed Electro-Voice RE20 (link to check the price on Amazon).

This microphone is a top-address dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern.

Electro-Voice RE20

As with the aforementioned EV RE320, the RE20 exhibits no proximity effect due to EV’s patented Variable-D technology. This helps improve the consistency of the recording especially when the podcaster(s) vary their distance from the mic throughout a recording session.

The RE20 features a low-cut to help reduce low-end rumble and mechanical noise in the mic signal. This mic even has a built-in humbucking coil to reduce electromagnetic noise in the mic signal.

The directional pattern and lower sensitivity of the dynamic capsule allow the RE320 to capture more on the intended sound source and reject much of the background noise.

The frequency response of the RE20 is very flat and sounds incredibly natural on voices (more natural than the RE320). This factor, combined with the lack of proximity effect, makes it my favourite mic for podcasting. It makes speech sound full and present yet natural and clean.

Because the RE20 is an XLR mic, we can have multiple mics in use at the same time so long as our interface or recorder has enough inputs. Since the RE20 excels at rejecting off-axis noise, placing several in close proximity should not even cause any serious phasing issues.

If you’re looking for a bundle, check out the Electro-Voice RE20 bundle (link to check the price on Amazon). This excellent package includes:

  • Electro-Voice RE20 microphone
  • Microphone clip
  • AuraySSM-BC10 Shock mount
  • Auray BA-2EN boom arm
  • Kopul Studio Elite 10′ XLR cable
  • Stand mounting adapter
  • Plastic foam-lined case

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