The 5 best microphones for podcasts
Want to buy a podcast microphone but don’t know which product to choose? There’s plenty on the market.
This comparison will help you to better understand the technical criteria of each microphone, adapted to your situation, your equipment and your project.
A good craftsman needs good tools. Your microphone will be yours. More than an object, it will be an extension of your voice or your musical instrument.
This guide will give you some pointers to help you find what you’re looking for in the jungle of podcast microphone ranges.
- The most popular: The Blue Yeti USB Microphone
Among streamers and podcasters, the Blue Yeti USB microphone is undoubtedly the most popular in the world. It’s easy to see why.
Its big plus point is its multi-directivity. It has 4 directional modes, cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo, making it ultra-polyvalent and effective in all situations.
Whether you’re recording vocals or instruments, the Blue Yeti will adapt to deliver clear, powerful sound.
To get the most out of it, however, you may need to purchase accessories such as a support arm, which are relatively expensive.
In terms of design, it again stands out for its functionality. The microphone can swivel to follow the sound source without latency, thanks to its adjustable stand.
Finally, to go with a high-performance product and impeccable design, the free Blue VO!CE software supplied with the microphone is a great asset.
As well as fine-tuning the microphone settings, it adds a playful touch with enhanced effects, advanced modulations and even HD audio extracts.
plug and play
triple capsule technology
4 directional modes
adjustable desk stand
blue VO!CE software
price of accessories
directivity management can be complicated
directionality adjustment knobs on the back of the microphone
- The best entry-level microphone : The ATR 2100x-USB
The Audio-technica ATR2100X-USB microphone is currently the best microphone on the market at under €100.
This product has both USB and XLR output connectors. This is a definite cost advantage.
Beginners will be able to use it initially on USB-C directly on their computer, and will then be able to connect it on XLR to a mixing desk once they have perfected their knowledge of sound settings.
No need to buy new equipment.
It’s a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pick-up pattern, ideal for podcasts at home.
This entry-level microphone combines the same sound and usability qualities as a high-end microphone, but at an affordable price. That’s why it’s a regular favourite with buyers.
Windows and Mac compatible
only one recording mode
- The best high-end microphone : The Shure MV7
The Shure MV7 is probably the most suitable high-end dynamic microphone for podcasting. It stands out for the quality of its voice reproduction, particularly during studio recordings.
In fact, this model is often cited as one of the best rap microphones. It is a dynamic cardioid microphone.
Its many assets include hybrid connectivity, so you can use it in digital mode with a micro-usb cable (3 m Micro-B to USB-A cable and 3 m Micro-B to USB-C cable supplied with the product) or in analogue mode with its XLR output.
You’ll want to use this option if you’re recording musical instruments.
It’s also multi-platform, so you can connect it directly to a Mac, PC or tablet running iOS or Android.
A dedicated application available on the brand’s website will allow the more experienced among you to choose the microphone’s technicalities and sound options.
If you activate the automatic mode, the application will select the best microphone characteristics for your audio use.
To adjust the microphone directly, the brand has chosen to include a touch-sensitive control panel on this model instead of physical buttons. This can be a little confusing to get used to.
The Shure MV7 is also an excellent choice for mobile users, thanks to its compact size (164 x 153.6 x 90.2 mm with stand).
Its metal casing may be a little heavy, weighing in at 550g, but it’s sure to be sturdy when you’re on the move.
All in all, the ShureMV7 is a top-of-the-range microphone specially designed for voice recording (podcasts, voice-overs).
It’s ideal for beginners looking for a quality product that’s easy to use, but will also appeal to more experienced users thanks to the possibility of individual customisation via the ShurePlus MOTIV application.
perfect for beginners
easy to transport
ideal for voice recording
impractical touch-screen control
its weight (550 g)
few accessories included at a high price
less suitable for music recording
- The best USB microphone: The Rode NT-USB
The Rode NT-USB is a condenser microphone with a cardioid directional characteristic, perfect for sound sources coming from the front.
It is therefore particularly suitable for voice recordings. The tripod supplied will also enable you to record your musical instruments easily.
As its name suggests, it connects via USB to platforms running Windows, macOS and iOS. The long cable (6 metres) makes it very practical to use.
It can also be used with iPads, but you’ll need a compatible USB adapter to connect them together.
The Rode NT-USB is a plug and play microphone. Just plug it in and start using it. This makes it ideal for beginners and mobile users alike.
On the other hand, by not providing a dedicated application, the brand leaves users free to choose their own recording software and make sound adjustments via it.
The best thing about this microphone is its excellent sound reproduction. The sound is clear and natural, and thanks to its pop filter, it doesn’t suffer from the recurrent problems of this type of microphone, such as hiss and plosives.
Its technical characteristics also make it an excellent microphone for recording loud vocals. It’s excellently made, with an atypical appearance that’s a welcome change from the usual spherical shapes.
Its smooth black metal shell gives this product a very designer finish.
All in all, the Rode NT-USB is an excellent mid-range model that will delight you with its perfect voice recording capabilities.
ease of use
long USB cable
excellent sound clarity
easy to transport
iPad compatibility requires an adapter
no dedicated software
See the price
- The best XLR microphone: The Shure SM 7b
This microphone is used exclusively with an XLR output. It’s a dynamic model with a cardioid pick-up pattern. In fact, it’s perfect for voice and speech recordings.
A legendary model, the Shure SM 7b is unanimously acclaimed in studios and on radio. Its extended frequency response means it reproduces voices and sounds naturally.
It’s ideal for musicians, especially for recording and amplifying acoustic instruments.
It’s a versatile product that will also work well if you’re recording in noisy environments.
The shure SM7b reduces background noise exponentially, so you can focus at the right moment.
The only downside is the low output sound, which can nevertheless be easily adjusted by plugging the microphone into a good mixer.
effective even in noisy environments
anti-electromagnetic interference shielding
excellent sound reproduction
XLR cable not supplied with the basic model
weak output sound
To make sure you select the best podcast microphone from the wide range of products available on the market, there are a number of criteria to be aware of and take into account.
Depending on how you plan to use the microphone, they will be decisive in your choice.
Directionality will determine how your microphone receives the sound you produce. This is a fundamental characteristic when choosing a microphone.
A microphone with a cardioid or unidirectional pick-up pattern will mainly pick up sound coming from the front. It will pick up a little sound coming from the sides, but this will be very anecdotal.
Cardioid mode is suitable for solo podcasts. You’ll need to consider another mode if there are several of you hosting the podcast.
A microphone with omnidirectional reception will pick up sound from all sides equally. This is an ideal mode if there are more than two people interacting around the microphone.
The bi-directional pick-up pattern will pick up sound from the front and back of the microphone. It’s perfect for interviews.
Finally, stereo mode is best suited to musicians. This mode picks up sound over a wide area and reproduces it naturally and realistically.
In the podcast microphone range, you can choose between a USB microphone and an XLR microphone. The main difference between these two connectivity systems lies in the way they are connected.
A USB microphone is plugged directly into your computer. It’s very easy to use, so it’s more suitable for beginners.
The XLR, on the other hand, is almost always connected to an amp or mixer. It is from this mixer that you make your own settings.
For this reason, it is often preferred to USB by professionals. Expect to pay more if you choose an XLR microphone.
Dynamic or condenser microphone
If you’re planning to host a podcast while talking or singing, a dynamic microphone will be more suitable than a condenser microphone, as it’s perfect for recording very close sounds.
It will also be better at handling large volumes of sound such as guitar amps or wind instruments.
Condenser microphones are best used in the studio or for recording acoustic guitars or drums, because they produce a clear, natural sound.
In terms of budget, dynamic microphones are more affordable than condenser microphones because they are simpler to design.
Where you record your podcast
This is a very important criterion, as it can change everything in terms of recording quality and sound reproduction.
If you’re hosting your podcast from home, as is most often the case, you’d be wise to choose a dynamic microphone with a USB output.
More compact and easier to plug in and unplug, it will also be more effective at recording your voice without it being interfered with by your surroundings.
If you’re able to record in a studio, condenser microphones with XLR outputs are the way to go. Bear in mind, however, that they will require a greater financial outlay.
Finally, if you’re planning to record your podcast outside, you’ll obviously need equipment that’s suitable for outdoor recording, including accessories such as a windscreen to limit the impact of certain noises such as wind or movement.
In this context, the omnidirectional mode will be preferred for your microphone.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to know anything about audio software to use a microphone?
It all depends on the model you choose. USB microphones are relatively simple to use, and the software supplied is designed to suit most people, including beginners.
Conversely, models with XLR connectivity need to be connected to a mixer or amplifier. These two devices require a higher level of knowledge and are often used by professionals.
Is it necessary to invest in a top-of-the-range model to get impeccable sound quality?
There are a huge number of podcast microphone models on the market, with a wide range of features.
The advantage is that there is also a very wide price range, and you can find a really high-performance model for a reasonable price.
However, a top-of-the-range model is still a good investment if you plan to use it regularly.
Note that most microphones come with a manufacturer’s warranty of up to 3 years.
The wide variety of podcast microphones on the market means you can find the product that’s best suited to your situation and use.
You’ll want to enhance your voice or your music by choosing a microphone that reproduces recorded sounds as clearly, cleanly and naturally as possible.
For everyday use, it’s best to opt for a versatile microphone that performs well in all situations.
Unsurprisingly, the Blue Yeti Microphone USB is a real favourite. Not to mention the fact that it’s the best-selling microphone in the world, it’s still the product that’s best suited to the diverse needs of its user.
High-performance, practical and fun, it has everything you need to become the key to your success.