Whether you’re just starting a podcast, or looking to take your show up a notch, a great microphone will always be your trusty ally. That’s why it’s so important to always choose the right one for your needs. So, today, we present to you three great microphone options to consider.
We started recording our 12 Questions interviews recently, turning them into a weekly podcast, so we thought we’d look for a great mic to get us going. We’re not going to tell you which one we ended up with in the end, but here’s three different options to look at, whether you’re just starting out (on a budget) or looking to get more serious.
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But don’t just take our word for it! The secret to finding the right product for you, is always about doing the research – keeping in mind your immediate needs.
We’ve done ours.
Entry Level – On A Budget: Audio-Technica ATR2100 USB/XLR Microphone
Looking for good audio quality for a great price? Well, the ATR2100 offers just that – and more. It’s a very versatile cardioid dynamic microphone, offering both USB and XLR output. USB is great for digital recording (just plug it into your computer) and XLR is the usual connection to sound equipment (the kind used in live performances). Ideally suited for podcasting, voiceovers, field recordings, home studio recordings, as well as on-stage use, the ATR2100 offers “smooth, extended frequency response,” ideal for all uses.
It’s a great microphone to start out with, since it offers a pretty serious bump up in quality over your standard microphone on your computer, mobile phone, or headset. It also offers a cardioid polar pattern that will generally make it easier for you to use, as you don’t have to find an extremely quiet place to use it effectively. The pattern reduces unwanted sounds from the sides and rear, making it truly versatile.
If you’re not recording on your computer, just plug it into a mixer or a digital recorder, and you’re set to go. The ATR2100 comes in at a very competitive price – under $100 – even with some extras.
Mid Level – High Quality: Rode Procaster Dynamic Podcast Microphone
The sound quality in this category is pretty much all you need, except if you want to set up professional recording. If you’re just starting a podcast, this is pretty much where I’d begin.
The Rode Procaster seems to be the best option to me in this category. It’s another dynamic microphone perfect for podcasting, but it doesn’t break the bank. Sure, you can add all sorts of extras to really get the results you want, but you can pretty much use it as it is. And yes, it’s a big step up from entry-level microphones. It’s also an XLR microphone like the ATR2100, but it’s dynamic too, which means it will not need phantom power. It doesn’t offer a USB connection like the ATR2100, so if you’re looking for a USB-alternative, you can always get hold of the excellent Rode Podcaster.
The Procaster offers broadcast quality sound, balanced, low impedance output, and even has its own built-in pop-filter to reduce plosives. Both the Procaster and the Podcaster retail for just above $200.
Professional Audio: Heil Sound PR40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone
Although you’re unlikely to ever need this kind of kit, here’s the Heil PR40 for your consideration. The price point pretty much doubles, but you will be getting a serious microphone that can be used in a professional studio. It does however perform pretty well in other situations as well.
Again, you will not require phantom power, but you will be getting a very wide frequency range, and professionals have been referring to it as a “thoroughbred work-horse” of professional sound recording. And no. At this price-point you are not going to be using the USB port on your computer.
The Heil Sound PR40 costs just over $300 with no extras added. And yes, you’re going to need those extras.
Which would you choose?