10 Best Beginner Podcast Mics
Have you always wanted to start a podcast, but don’t know where to start, or what you need? We’ll show you the 10 best beginner podcast mics, the ones that’ll truly give you a bang for your buck. Only the finest XLR and USB mics under $250.
What makes a successful podcast?
Successful podcasters all have 3 things in common: dedicated audiences, riveting content, and a quality podcast microphone.
You may be asking, “What is a high quality podcast microphone?”, or “How much does a podcast microphone cost?” A high quality mic produces broadcast-quality sound quality (like a radio show or your favorite podcast) and clearly picks up every sound you make (within range) during recording sessions.
If you don’t have a good mic, your audio quality will likely be bad, and if your audio quality is bad, people won’t want to listen to your show. Bad mics or faulty wiring may add extra annoying background noise, not clearly capture your voice, cut in and out, or just create poor listening experience.
If you’re using a bad mic, why make your life harder than it needs to be? Who wants to be stressed worrying if their audio quality suffices, or if they have to reschedule recording sessions?
How will a quality podcast microphone improve my project?
Recording on a quality microphone eliminates these anxieties. By using a good mic, you’ll get a cleaner, clearer signal, and therefore higher quality sound. This will significantly improve your projects’ overall quality and potential for success. Having a great mic is also key to any successful live stream projects. Here are some more tips for creating an amazing live stream experience.
Additionally, many radio shows and podcasts use premium background music. Good and fitting background tracks can really enhance your productions, and Soundscape offers over 20,000 tracks to choose from. Click here to learn more about our music licensing services.
But back to the matter at hand. There are 3 types of microphones: dynamic, condenser, and ribbon. We go over the differences between them in this article here. For now, we will focus on dynamic and condensers. We’ll include both USB and XLR mics.
XLR vs. USB: What’s the Difference?
USB and XLR have different electrical connections, meaning the plugs they use will look different and not fit in the same places. Because of this, you may need or want different gear depending on which mic you will use
A USB microphone will conveniently plug directly into a laptop, you guessed it, via USB. These microphones are great for beginning podcasters and YouTubers just starting out. They require little to no extra audio gear, and deliver fabulous results for low-level consumer items.
On the other hand, XLR mics don’t plug directly into computers. These mics and their cables will connect directly to audio interfaces and some high-quality cameras.
What’s an Audio Interface? Should I use one?
Audio interfaces act as an extension of your computer, converting your spoken words from audio to electrical signal in your DAW or recording software. Some provide phantom power, charge that allows condenser mics to operate.
XLR mics are professional-grade mics. You can find XLR mics anywhere, from live music settings, to film and TV sets, to radio and podcast studios. More adept and experienced creative use XLR mics. But, audiophiles and those who want to seriously dive deep in their projects should absolutely give these a try.
We’ve found the best podcast mics in 2021 – 5 XLR and 5 USB – so you have plenty of options to choose from. If you’re interested in mixing and recording tips to improve your audio quality, click here.
Affordable XLR Microphones
XLR Mic #1: Shure MV7X
The Shure MV7X is a classic broadcast mic, popular in the podcast and radio worlds. A dynamic with a cardioid pickup pattern, the MV7X is bound to produce fantastic results and crystal-clear audio. On top of that, the MV7X contains a built-in pop filter, so you can record right when you get it, and a shock mount. Coming in at $179, the MV7X is a more affordable yet quality spinoff of the heralded Shure SM7B, and proves to be a worthy competitor. Click here to check it out.
XLR Mic #2: Samson Q2U
Now if you’re in need of a versatile microphone, look no further! The Samson Q2U has you covered, boasting XLR AND USB outputs, so you can use it no matter what setup you have. Resembling a classic vocal microphone like the Shure SM58, this dynamic mic performs wonderfully as a handheld mic, and just as well in stand. The Q2U comes with XLR cables, a pop filter, and mic clip, providing you all the necessary gear you’ll need (besides your laptop & interface). Click here to see more.
XLR Mic #3: AT2035PK
Audio-Technica, a Japanese audio company, has exploded onto the music gear scene this last decade with fantastic headphones, speakers, and of course, microphones. The AT2035PK is no exception, as the cardioid condenser mic performs wonderfully in all settings, musical and broadcast. Audio-Technica’s AT2035PK boasts an impressive frequency response, capturing even low frequencies with ease. This podcast bundle pack, just under $200, includes the AT2035PK, along with ATH-M20 headphones, an XLR cable, and a studio boom arm that easily clamps onto surfaces, allowing for optimum mic positioning and recording quality. For newcomers, this is a great deal. If you are only interested in purchasing the mic (listed at $150), click here.
XLR Mic #4: Rode PodMic
Rode has produced top-end mics and audio tech gear for over 50 years. The PodMic is indicative of their reputation. The Rode PodMic is a studio-quality, radio-ready broadcast mic for the astounding price of $99! Like the MV7X, the PodMic includes an internal pop filter that minds your P’s and Q’s (literally), and absorbs vibrations that may disrupt your show through its internal shock mount. This fabulous mic would make a great addition to anyone’s show (or mic collection). Click here to check it out!
XLR Mic #5: MXL 770
Another fantastic mic with a price point under $100, the MXL 770 will not disappoint. This condenser mic, in addition to being a great vocal mic, is also great when it comes to recording strings, piano, and drums. That being said, this mic shines brightest in broadcast and podcast settings. At $75, the MXL 770 cardioid condenser is a lovely investment. As with all condenser mics, remember this mic will need phantom power to operate. Click here to read more on the MXL 770.
Best Beginner USB Podcast Mics
USB Mic #1: Rode Podcaster
Plug it in, baby! Here’s our first USB mic, the Rode Podcaster. This mic is used far and wide by the best of the best and the mediocre-est of the mediocre. Why? Because it’s a great USB mic! It uses a cardioid pickup pattern to capture the crispest audio quality among its competitors. Rode’s Podcaster would make a lovely addition to any podcast setup. Click here to view more.
USB Mic #2: AT 2020USB+
If the AT2035PK piqued your interest, but you don’t have an audio interface or have the budget to buy one right now, the AT2020USB+ is a wonderful alternative. Audio-Technica did it again with the AT2020USB+, a high-quality condenser microphone perfect for any beginner. The AT2020USB+ includes headphone jack so users can adjust volume and the mic signal itself. Audio-Technica prices this absolute treat at $120. Click here to see more.
USB Mic #3: Blue Yeti
Woah, hey, no need to scream, it’s a different Yeti (unless you’re doing voice-over work, then by all means, scream)! The Blue Yeti is one of the most popular USB mics on the market, and for good reason. Many consider it to be among the best beginner podcast mics, as its built-in adjustable stand, and broadcast-ready audio quality will show. Furthermore, users can switch the Yeti’s pickup pattern, ranging from omnidirectional to cardioid to bidirectional, making it perhaps the most versatile mic on our list. Listed at $110, the Yeti is worth every single penny. Click here to read more.
USB Mic #4: Razer Seiren X
The Razer Seiren X may be the most underrated mic on our list. This mic uses a supercardioid pickup patterns, so it does not pick up background noise behind or above the mic. Additionally, the Razer comes with a desk stand, making it perfect for podcasting and voice-over work. Priced at $89.99, the Razer is perfect for beginner and well-versed podcasters alike.
USB Mic #5: Rode NT-USB
We’re rolling down the Rode again with our last (but surely not least) USB mic, the Rode NT-USB. Rode’s NT-USB is designed for vocal, podcast, and instrumental recording. This cardioid mic comes with its own pop filter, case, USB cable, and tripod stand – all the essentials a beginner may need. Click here to view the NT-USB’s specs and here to purchase.
Those are our favorite and best beginner podcast mics!
In our experience, we loved every single one and would highly recommend any of them to you. Some of you may find other mics you’d consider to be the best beginner podcast mic. Everybody is different, and we’re interested if there are any you’d recommend we didn’t include in this article.
Let us know how these worked for you in the comments below! We’d love to hear your feedback.
We hope these help your podcast take off and find increased success. Cheers!
P.S.: Use this link here to get 25% off on all our licensing services! You can use any of our amazing tracks and help make your podcast a hit!