I love my Heil PR-40 microphone. It’s the mic I use for ninety-five percent of all the podcasts I make. In case you’re wondering, that other five percent is when I am out on the road doing interviews and that’s when I use a great podcasting omni stereo lapel microphone from Giant Squid Audio.
There are two things about the Heil PR40 that I love:
- its got this great allround warm sound
- its dynamic mic so it doesn’t pic up a lot of background noise
Because the Heil is an analogue mic and not a USB mic, you have to plug it into a mixer or USB mic interface to connect it to your digital recorder or computer.
My set up is to record my show through a SoundCraft mixer , which are very popular in Sweden because they have such great preamps, going into a Zoom H4N digital recorder.
I use a Focusrite USB interface to link my Heil directly to my computer if I’m recording something like a voiceover straight into my Mac, and that works fine too.
What if You Can’t Afford a Heil PR40?
For me the only downside to the Heil is the price. Retailing at between 300-350 USD, many newbies will be put off.
Personally, I just jumped right in and bought one almost as soon as I realised a USB mic wasn’t going to cut it in terms of sound quality. But I appreciate that you might be looking for a cheaper alternative.
A slightly cheaper, but very good alternative is the Røde Procaster. Retailing at around 230 USD this mic reportedly gives your voice a warm, punchy sound. It’s also incredibly solid and durable and copes very well with being carted around everywhere.
I think the best alternative to the Heil, though, is the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic mic, which retails at under 40 USD.
The ATR2100 is a handheld dynamic microphone with USB digital output and XLR analog output which retails at . This means that you can use the USB to connect it to your computer for digital recording when you’re doing things like voicing over a screen cast tutorial or video-podcast. It even has a built-in headphone jack and a volume control to make it easier to monitor your recording.
If, like me, you prefer recording through an analogue mixer and mic-preamp to a digital recorder (I use the Zoom H4N) because of the control it gives you with your sound, and you can manually add things to the chain like compression or EQ, you can then use the XLR output to connect it just as you would a Heil PR 40.
I’ve recommended this mic to a lot of newbies and I’ve never had a complaint; however, those that do catch the podcasting bug often finally invest in the Heil because it’s so well-known amongst podcasters – particularly in the US.