The Very Best Microphone for Podcasting

Heil PR 40When it comes to successful podcasting, your mic is everything. The golden rule is to invest as much as you can afford in your microphone.

It took me a couple of days to realise this; when I started podcasting I bought a condensor mic but I realised almost immediately that it picked up way too much background noise so I quickly switched to a dynamic mic.

You’re Microphone is Everything

31JXtiHix-L._SL250_Update: May 2014. I moved over to the Electro Voice RE-20 in the Autumn of 2013 as I was looking for a high-end mic that wasn’t so strong on the “s” sounds in my voice. I found the Electro Voice RE-20 to be my favorite mic and have been using it since then.
Here’s what it sounds like:

Everything You Need to Know in 20 Seconds

If you want to record straight into your computer you can get great sound with a high-end USB mic like the Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone.

ref=as_li_tf_il-1The Røde plugs and plays with your computer with no hassles or set up and will produce awesome sound as long as you’ve got plenty of soft furnishings in the room that you use it. Carpets and heavy curtains will help cut out some of the hollow feel of sound bouncing off the walls that your sensitive microphone will pick up.

The other option is to go with an analogue dynamic microphone like the Shure SM58 or high-end Heil PR-40 if you prefer.

focusrite scarlett 2i2You need to run a dynamic mic through an analogue mixing desk and can either record directly into your computer or onto a digital recorder. If you want to use your dynamic mic with usb a great option is to use a preamp like the Focusrite 2i4.

The Very Best Podcasting Microphone in More Detail

USB mics

Originally USB mics tended to be dismissed as they didn’t produce very good sound, but in the last year or so increasingly sophisticated, high end USB mics have appeared on the market offering some excellent sound quality.

For starters, you really should avoid USB headset mics. They’re intended for Skype conversations or online gamers and typically just don’t produce quality audio for recordings.

You get lots of breath sounds and lip-smacking which can distract your listener. If you do insist on using a USB head mic, make sure you position the mic just to the side of your mouth. This way you won’t create all those popping sounds when you say words beginning with “p” or “b”. This will also cut down on the sound of you breathing.

In the early days of podcasting it was generally acceptable to produce a relatively low-fi show with poor audio. Nowadays with increasingly sophisticated equipment available at a low price, it’s harder to demonstrate your professionalism if your audio is poor. That’s not to say there aren’t exceptions to the rule; but I do think the entry level is getting higher.

Some experienced podcasters will warn you off USB mics flat out, arguing that they pick up too much background noise, unwanted lip smacks, the sound of your breath and just about anything else going on in your studio.

Others will encourage you to start off with a USB mic to get a feel for podcasting, perhaps suggesting you invest in something like a Blue Snowball USB Microphone. Whilst this is a great mic, USB mics are usually condenser mics and pick up an enormous amount of unwanted background sound like unwanted lip smacks, the sound of your breath and just about anything else going on in your studio. My choice of USB mic for voicing over videos is the Röde Podcaster. It’s a dynamic usb mic and is good, but tends to be very sensitive if you’ve got the input up too much.

Sound Sample Using the Røde Podcaster

Dynamic Mics

Dynamic mics, typically used by audio professions for live situations on stage and for vocals, are robust and well suited to podcasters. As many are A bi-directional they only pic up sound from the front and back, but not the sides, making them ideally suited to the typical podcasting environment you’re likely to have, helping you keep background noise down.

The lower end dynamic microphone mic I recommend is a Sure SM 58, which some of my clients have used to good effect. It currently retails for between 50-100 USD depending on where you are in the world. Another option is the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic mic

Sound Sample Using the Shure SM 58

At the other end of the spectrum check out the Heil PR40, one of the most popular high end mics amongst podcasters. This is the mic I use and definitely my vote for the very best microphone for podcasting.

Click here to Get More Podcasting Tips.

NB: If you want the benefit of a dynamic mic that can also double as a USB mic you might want to check out Blue ICICLE’s recently released USB converter. It allows you to connect a dynamic mic to your computer.

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  • http://seanclark.com Sean Clark

    Have you tried the Samson Go Mic? 

    It’s a great USB alternative, especially if you’re out and about a lot. http://www.samsontech.com/samson/products/microphones/usb-microphones/gomic/

    Used by the guys at the I Love Marketing podcast amongst others and it sounds great.

    • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hej Sean, That’s a great tip. I will look into that.

      Personally, I only use a USB mic (The Röde) for video voice overs because it makes things simpler; I always use the Heil for my podcast because the sound quality is awesome. Sure, it can take a bit of time getting used to a mixing board but I find going with a dynamic mic via the board into a digital mixer is the way to go.
      Thanks for sharing your tip.

    • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      I missed this comment. Sorry Sean. Got crunched by Akismet. Thanks for the great tip about the mic. I’ve ordered one to try out. 

    • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hey Sean, 
      I went out and got one of these. Great tip! Thanks for sharing this. 

  • http://seanclark.com/ Sean Clark

    Have you tried the Samson Go Mic? 

    It’s a great USB alternative, especially if you’re out and about a lot. http://www.samsontech.com/samson/products/microphones/usb-microphones/gomic/

    Used by the guys at the I Love Marketing podcast amongst others and it sounds great.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hej Sean, That’s a great tip. I will look into that.

      Personally, I only use a USB mic (The Röde) for video voice overs because it makes things simpler; I always use the Heil for my podcast because the sound quality is awesome. Sure, it can take a bit of time getting used to a mixing board but I find going with a dynamic mic via the board into a digital mixer is the way to go.
      Thanks for sharing your tip.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      I missed this comment. Sorry Sean. Got crunched by Akismet. Thanks for the great tip about the mic. I’ve ordered one to try out. 

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hey Sean, 
      I went out and got one of these. Great tip! Thanks for sharing this. 

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

    Hey Jon,

    Thank you for inspiring me to do podcasts from my bed.

    Yep. I’m going to start podcasting on my laptop under the sheets in my bed so that I’m surrounded by softness, AND comfortable as hell. Maybe my laying down while talking will do something to calm my nerves too. Hahaha!

    Oh, and thank you so much for sharing your microphone choice. I agree this isn’t something to cheap out on. And $200 bucks isn’t bad at all.

    • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hey Lewis,
      Thanks for stopping by. What’s your podcast called ? Is it on iTunes yet?
      I find sticking a heavy wool blanket over my head gets the best sound in my office, but it’s not so easy to manage a mixing board :=)

      • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

        Hey Jon,

        A few weeks ago, we did our first one and it’s only on our site. It was in a room with nothing soft around and with a so-so Logitech mic. We both tag-teamed the same mic so you can probably hear all kinds of sound difference.

        We went to do the podcast in this ninja studio at shared workspace but wussed out when we couldn’t get the tech to work right and just did it from our computer in our home office.

        It sounded horrible compared to pro shows you hear but the content was grade A.wesome! And it will get better. Either we’ll figure out how to use the studio or poke some holes in the my old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle blanket that we drape over our head to get the intimate in the studio sound down. :)

        • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          Lewis, sounds fun! Let me know if you get the show out to iTunes.
          :=)

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    Hey Jon,

    Thank you for inspiring me to do podcasts from my bed.

    Yep. I’m going to start podcasting on my laptop under the sheets in my bed so that I’m surrounded by softness, AND comfortable as hell. Maybe my laying down while talking will do something to calm my nerves too. Hahaha!

    Oh, and thank you so much for sharing your microphone choice. I agree this isn’t something to cheap out on. And $200 bucks isn’t bad at all.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hey Lewis,
      Thanks for stopping by. What’s your podcast called ? Is it on iTunes yet?
      I find sticking a heavy wool blanket over my head gets the best sound in my office, but it’s not so easy to manage a mixing board :=)

      • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

        Hey Jon,

        A few weeks ago, we did our first one and it’s only on our site. It was in a room with nothing soft around and with a so-so Logitech mic. We both tag-teamed the same mic so you can probably hear all kinds of sound difference.

        We went to do the podcast in this ninja studio at shared workspace but wussed out when we couldn’t get the tech to work right and just did it from our computer in our home office.

        It sounded horrible compared to pro shows you hear but the content was grade A.wesome! And it will get better. Either we’ll figure out how to use the studio or poke some holes in the my old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle blanket that we drape over our head to get the intimate in the studio sound down. :)

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          Lewis, sounds fun! Let me know if you get the show out to iTunes.
          :=)

  • http://www.theuniuni.com/ cheap bras

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

  • Matt

    Hey Jon,
    I really need some help!The last month or so ive been trying to find the right cardiod condenser mic for podcasting.I own the blue snowball and i like the sound but dont love the sound.I have a semi loud computer fan but the blue snowball does not pick it up so i would need a mic to not pick up too much ambient noise(ik condenser mics are more sensitive blah blahblah but i know there are less sensitive condensers)I have been looking at the at2020,akg perception 220,mxlv 67g and so many others! Please help me figure out which one to get

    • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hey Matt,
      To be honest if you are going to go with a USB mic I’d look at the rode podcaster or the Blue Yeti pro.
      The AKG mice are ok but not my first choice. A client of mine uses a Snowball. To get the best sound out of the blue keep the input level lower and leave a bit of space like 8 – 10 cm between the mic and your voice.
      My recommendation though would be to go for a dynamic mic going into a great preamp like M-audio’s fast track pro.
      Let me know your budget and I could be a bit more specific. Just email me if you want.
      Sent from my iPad

  • Matt

    Hey Jon,
    I really need some help!The last month or so ive been trying to find the right cardiod condenser mic for podcasting.I own the blue snowball and i like the sound but dont love the sound.I have a semi loud computer fan but the blue snowball does not pick it up so i would need a mic to not pick up too much ambient noise(ik condenser mics are more sensitive blah blahblah but i know there are less sensitive condensers)I have been looking at the at2020,akg perception 220,mxlv 67g and so many others! Please help me figure out which one to get

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hey Matt,
      To be honest if you are going to go with a USB mic I’d look at the rode podcaster or the Blue Yeti pro.
      The AKG mice are ok but not my first choice. A client of mine uses a Snowball. To get the best sound out of the blue keep the input level lower and leave a bit of space like 8 – 10 cm between the mic and your voice.
      My recommendation though would be to go for a dynamic mic going into a great preamp like M-audio’s fast track pro.
      Let me know your budget and I could be a bit more specific. Just email me if you want.
      Sent from my iPad

  • http://learnwriter.com JoseB

    Jon:
     
    I have the Blue Yeti mic, but in cardioid mode it picks up a tremendous amount of hiss. Do you think a dynamic mic like the Sure SM 58 or the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic mic would pick up a less hiss?
     
    If so, which of these two mics would you recommend?

  • jonbuscall

     @JoseB I’ve seen the Yeti doing this too; that’s why I went for the Røde for a USB mic for voiceover video. Have you tried gating out the hiss? How are you recording ? 
     
    As long as you’re configured properly, without way too much gain and a bit of compression, the Sure would be my choice. However, it all comes down to how you’re recording it and what your set up is. 
     
    Feel free to bung me an email with a few more details and I’ll see if I can help you figure this out. Let me know your system, recording set-up, etc. 
     
    J.

  • Jez

    Hi Jon, I work for a company who’ve just given me a budget of $250 for a mic + stand + pop + USB interface or, an all-in-one sound kit solution such as the Blue Yeti. I’ve been producing YouTube How To clips using nothing more than Premiere Pro, Audiotion and a Pantronics headset (yeah, I know, but this is what you do when there’s nothing else available). Your review was nothing more than mannah from heaven. Such a difference in sound quality between the Rode and the Shure.

    I’m not sure (sic) if my budget will cover the Shure SM58 + USB interface + stand + pop. Also, I’m not sure how to use the USB inteface or sound mixer. However, I’m keen to attain that rich level of sound similar to your SM58 sample; outstanding.

    So my question is simply this:

    Given the $250, which microphone kit would you buy for creating the sound for How To and Product Demo YouTube clips? all clips are delivered at 720p, in MP4 (for YouTube, tablets, iOS and mobile devices) and WMV (for PPT integration and offline/standalone usage).

    Waiting for your response while tapping fingers on the table, sir…

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hi Jez,
      I recently got to demo the Audio Technica ATR2100. It’s a dynamic, dual USB/XLR connected microphone. In other words, it would work either as a USB or dynamic. So you’ve got room to grow. It’s also very well priced at just under 50 USD. It’s an awesome mic for the price. Check out Ray ORtega’s podcast. He sound-trialled the mic. http://thepodcastersstudio.com/tps-ep-064-the-future-of-feedburner-g-hangouts-on-air-for-video-podcasting-and-atr-2100-mic-demo/
      If I had a budget of 250 I’d get the Audio Technica and the M-Audio MobilePre USB interface (to connect the mic as a dynamic and cut down on background noise) or the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface. This might give you a little more control than with it as a USB.
      And then connect that into your computer to record as you voice over.

      The stand and pop filter wouldn’t set you back much. Another 50. A boom would be more expensive.

      • Jez

        Much appreciate this, Jon. Now researching your recommendations. Is it difficult to learn how to use the M-audio or Focusrite interfaces? I’m willing to play but would this be giving the thing justice? I mean, I have no experience with these things and not much time to learn and integrate within the workflow. On the other hand, maybe these interfaces are child’s play?

        Much appreciate your speedy response. Cheers – Jez

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          It’s about getting levels right. Balancing gain correctly. Also, if you are recording into your computer are you using protools to put some compression on your voice?
          Pure USB would be the quickest option. You could start there. A lot will also depend on the room you use. The yeti pro is a good USB. Dan Lyons uses one on his podcast I think. He certainly talks about it.

          • Jez

            I’m in a well carpeted cubicle, on 3rd floor of high-tech office, surrounded by 60+ cubicles. I sometimes need to stop recording when the cleaners do their thing at night. I know nothing of gain balancing and correcting levels; hopefully I’ll find answers on Youtube. Thanks Jon.

          • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

            Let me know how you get on !

          • Jez

            Well…I now have a Shure SM58 tethered to a Behringer Xenyx503 mixer, attached to a HP EliteBook 8560w. The laptop is attached to a docking station whose audio OUT ports are now wired to LINE 4/5 on the Behringer.

            When I record into Adobe Audition, I get a tremendous hissing background noise. I’ve twiddled with the gain and levels but, because I’m new to sound mixing, I feel out of depth and very frustrated.

            I’m trying to reach a rich sound quality as in the Shure SM58 sample on your page – the one you recorded at -12dB using a mixer and a digital recorder. I know my laptop cannot compare whatsoever to the quality of a digital recorder, but I really wasn’t expecting so much hiss and background noise levels with the setup we purchased.

            I’ve tried everything; MAIN MIX high and GAIN low (if I try -12dB, there’s hardly any recording at all. Currently, GAIN is high (about +45-ish) and MAIN MIX is at medium, about +7dB). I’ve now resorted to researching the noise reduction features of Audition. They work, but they create a dreadful echo and tinny feeling – thye complete opposite to what I’m trying to achieve [slaps forehead]!!!!

            I know I’m driving you mad with this – 1000 apologies – but any feedback (sic) would be more than appreciated. I’m actually hanging on to your every word with this, mate.

            Sigh.

          • Jez

            SECOND ATTEMPT:

            Well…I now have a Shure SM58 tethered to a Behringer Xenyx502 mixer, attached to a HP EliteBook 8560w. The laptop is attached to a docking station whose audio OUT ports are now wired to LINE 4/5 on the Behringer.
            When I record into Adobe Audition, I get a tremendous hissing background noise. I’ve twiddled with the gain and levels but, because I’m new to sound mixing, I feel out of depth and very frustrated.
            I’m trying to attain that rich sound quality similar to that marvelous Shure SM58 sample on your page – the one you recorded at -12dB using a mixer and a digital recorder. I know my laptop cannot compare whatsoever to the quality of a digital recorder, but I really wasn’t expecting this ammount of loud hissing in the background with the setup we purchased.
            I’ve tried everything; MAIN MIX high and GAIN low (if I try -12dB, there’s hardly any recording at all. Currently, GAIN is high (about +45-ish) and MAIN MIX is at medium, about +7dB). I’ve now resorted to researching the noise reduction features of Audition. They work, but they create a dreadful echo and tinny feeling found so frequently in badly recorded YouTube clips – the complete opposite to what I’m trying to achieve [slaps forehead]!!!!
            I know I’m driving you mad with this – 1000 apologies – but any feedback (sic) would be more than appreciated. I’m actually hanging on to your every word with this, mate.
            Sigh.

          • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

            It could be that you’re getting a ground loop. Are you devices plugged into the same socket in the wall ? Or an extension unit ?
            Have you tried putting them into different outlets ?

            It’s hard to describe exactly what you’ve got. Can you snap a few shots with your cell phone and email them to me at jontusmedia [at] gmail dot com
            Try the ground loop thing.

            Also, make sure I can see the cables you’ve got.

            J.

  • Jez

    Hi Jon, I work for a company who’ve just given me a budget of $250 for a mic + stand + pop + USB interface or, an all-in-one sound kit solution such as the Blue Yeti. I’ve been producing YouTube How To clips using nothing more than Premiere Pro, Audition and a Pantronics headset (yeah, I know, but this is what you do when there’s nothing else available). Your review was nothing more than mannah from heaven. Such a difference in sound quality between the Rode and the Shure.

    I’m not sure (sic) if my budget will cover the Shure SM58 + USB interface + stand + pop. Also, I’m not sure how to use the USB inteface or sound mixer. However, I’m keen to attain that rich level of sound similar to your SM58 sample; outstanding.

    So my question is simply this:

    Given the $250, which microphone kit would you buy for creating the sound for How To and Product Demo YouTube clips? all clips are delivered at 720p, in MP4 (for YouTube, tablets, iOS and mobile devices) and WMV (for PPT integration and offline/standalone usage).

    Waiting for your response while tapping fingers on the table, sir…

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hi Jez,
      I recently got to demo the Audio Technica ATR2100. It’s a dynamic, dual USB/XLR connected microphone. In other words, it would work either as a USB or dynamic. So you’ve got room to grow. It’s also very well priced at just under 50 USD. It’s an awesome mic for the price. Check out Ray ORtega’s podcast. He sound-trialled the mic. http://thepodcastersstudio.com/tps-ep-064-the-future-of-feedburner-g-hangouts-on-air-for-video-podcasting-and-atr-2100-mic-demo/
      If I had a budget of 250 I’d get the Audio Technica and the M-Audio MobilePre USB interface (to connect the mic as a dynamic and cut down on background noise) or the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface. This might give you a little more control than with it as a USB.
      And then connect that into your computer to record as you voice over.

      The stand and pop filter wouldn’t set you back much. Another 50. A boom would be more expensive.

      • Jez

        Much appreciate this, Jon. Now researching your recommendations. Is it difficult to learn how to use the M-audio or Focusrite interfaces? I’m willing to play but would this be giving the thing justice? I mean, I have no experience with these things and not much time to learn and integrate within the workflow. On the other hand, maybe these interfaces are child’s play?

        Much appreciate your speedy response. Cheers – Jez

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          It’s about getting levels right. Balancing gain correctly. Also, if you are recording into your computer are you using protools to put some compression on your voice?
          Pure USB would be the quickest option. You could start there. A lot will also depend on the room you use. The yeti pro is a good USB. Dan Lyons uses one on his podcast I think. He certainly talks about it.

          • Jez

            I’m in a well carpeted cubicle, on 3rd floor of high-tech office, surrounded by 60+ cubicles. I sometimes need to stop recording when the cleaners do their thing at night. I know nothing of gain balancing and correcting levels; hopefully I’ll find answers on Youtube. Thanks Jon.

          • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

            Let me know how you get on !

          • Jez

            Well…I now have a Shure SM58 tethered to a Behringer Xenyx503 mixer, attached to a HP EliteBook 8560w. The laptop is attached to a docking station whose audio OUT ports are now wired to LINE 4/5 on the Behringer.

            When I record into Adobe Audition, I get a tremendous hissing background noise. I’ve twiddled with the gain and levels but, because I’m new to sound mixing, I feel out of depth and very frustrated.

            I’m trying to reach a rich sound quality as in the Shure SM58 sample on your page – the one you recorded at -12dB using a mixer and a digital recorder. I know my laptop cannot compare whatsoever to the quality of a digital recorder, but I really wasn’t expecting so much hiss and background noise levels with the setup we purchased.

            I’ve tried everything; MAIN MIX high and GAIN low (if I try -12dB, there’s hardly any recording at all. Currently, GAIN is high (about +45-ish) and MAIN MIX is at medium, about +7dB). I’ve now resorted to researching the noise reduction features of Audition. They work, but they create a dreadful echo and tinny feeling – thye complete opposite to what I’m trying to achieve [slaps forehead]!!!!

            I know I’m driving you mad with this – 1000 apologies – but any feedback (sic) would be more than appreciated. I’m actually hanging on to your every word with this, mate.

            Sigh.

          • Jez

            SECOND ATTEMPT:

            Well…I now have a Shure SM58 tethered to a Behringer Xenyx502 mixer, attached to a HP EliteBook 8560w. The laptop is attached to a docking station whose audio OUT ports are now wired to LINE 4/5 on the Behringer.
            When I record into Adobe Audition, I get a tremendous hissing background noise. I’ve twiddled with the gain and levels but, because I’m new to sound mixing, I feel out of depth and very frustrated.
            I’m trying to attain that rich sound quality similar to that marvelous Shure SM58 sample on your page – the one you recorded at -12dB using a mixer and a digital recorder. I know my laptop cannot compare whatsoever to the quality of a digital recorder, but I really wasn’t expecting this ammount of loud hissing in the background with the setup we purchased.
            I’ve tried everything; MAIN MIX high and GAIN low (if I try -12dB, there’s hardly any recording at all. Currently, GAIN is high (about +45-ish) and MAIN MIX is at medium, about +7dB). I’ve now resorted to researching the noise reduction features of Audition. They work, but they create a dreadful echo and tinny feeling found so frequently in badly recorded YouTube clips – the complete opposite to what I’m trying to achieve [slaps forehead]!!!!
            I know I’m driving you mad with this – 1000 apologies – but any feedback (sic) would be more than appreciated. I’m actually hanging on to your every word with this, mate.
            Sigh.

          • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

            It could be that you’re getting a ground loop. Are you devices plugged into the same socket in the wall ? Or an extension unit ?
            Have you tried putting them into different outlets ?

            It’s hard to describe exactly what you’ve got. Can you snap a few shots with your cell phone and email them to me at jontusmedia [at] gmail dot com
            Try the ground loop thing.

            Also, make sure I can see the cables you’ve got.

            J.

  • Mike

    I’ve been looking at a couple of Rode Procasters plugged into a Zoom H4N for mobile podcasting. The Procasters look good because I won’t always be able to control background noise. But is having a dynamic mic a pain for an interview set up? It doesn’t seem like there is much wiggle room. If the other person adjusts in his/her seat or sits back, does the audio fall off to an unusable volume? Thank you for this great article!

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hi Mike,
      I’ve tried a similar set up using a couple of Sennheiser dynamics and they’re fine if it’s just the two of you and you’re very aware of the right kind of distance you should be to a mic. You can also get some great sound using the built in vocal compressor on the Zoom. For people that aren’t experienced with mics, I either use a split lapel mic from Giant Squid http://www.giant-squid-audio-lab.com/ or condenser mics specifically designed for around the table discussions. They are CM3s from Line Audio Design here in Sweden. They’re Pre-polarized cardioid condensers. Very good for picking up the voice in a steady sound level but also getting enough ambient background noise too.

  • Mike

    I’ve been looking at a couple of Rode Procasters plugged into a Zoom H4N for mobile podcasting. The Procasters look good because I won’t always be able to control background noise. But is having a dynamic mic a pain for an interview set up? It doesn’t seem like there is much wiggle room. If the other person adjusts in his/her seat or sits back, does the audio fall off to an unusable volume? Thank you for this great article!

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hi Mike,
      I’ve tried a similar set up using a couple of Sennheiser dynamics and they’re fine if it’s just the two of you and you’re very aware of the right kind of distance you should be to a mic. You can also get some great sound using the built in vocal compressor on the Zoom. For people that aren’t experienced with mics, I either use a split lapel mic from Giant Squid http://www.giant-squid-audio-lab.com/ or condenser mics specifically designed for around the table discussions. They are CM3s from Line Audio Design here in Sweden. They’re Pre-polarized cardioid condensers. Very good for picking up the voice in a steady sound level but also getting enough ambient background noise too.

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaOFarmer Joshua Farmer

    I use a Rode podcaster but it’s starting to give off a buzzing noise I can’t get rid of so time for a new one.

    Does the Heil PR40 cut out the back ground noise like the Rode? I don’t have a fully sound proof studio to record in and the Rode has been great for that but Heil PR40 looks great and am contemplating that as a replacement.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hi Joshua,
      I like the Røde for voice-overing video work with screencasts. I used that on the Genesis post I did last week with the video. Because the Røde is a condenser mic it picks up much more sound than the Heil PR40. There’s no comparison because the Heil is a dynamic mic.
      However, the HeilPR40, used on my podcast, goes through a mixing board. I’ve used it with my Soundbrite 2i2 mic-preamp (USB), but I’ve never been as happy with the sound I get going into the Mac itself for some reason. It may well be because of the preamp.
      The Heil needs better mic technique too. If you wander off mic the sound drops quickly because it’s not so sensitive.
      I record my podcast in an office with my Heil. I use minimal processing in Adobe, although I do add som EQ and sect sauce.
      Bottom line: I use my Heil every week but my Røde now and then.

      • Ed Corcoran

        Sorry to correct you Jon, but the Rode Podcaster is a dynamic mic, not a condenser. I bought mine specifically because it was not a condenser mic.

        Unfortunately, my Podcaster developed the same problem described by Joshua. After a couple of weeks the sound quality became distorted and the volume would gradually rise and fall throughout the course of recording. I returned it for a replacement, but that one arrived broken right out of the box (pieces rattling around inside). At that point, I gave up on the Podcaster and bought an Audio Technica AT2005, which was about 1/4 the price of the Podcaster. The sound quality is about the same as the Rode in the finished recording, but it’s not as powerful. At maximum volume, I can just hear myself adequately through the headphones, which is fine when it’s just me talking, but when I record interviews with Skype, I have turn the volume down halfway just so my guest doesn’t blow out my eardrums. Then I can’t hear myself at all and I have to level the recording so that we’re both at the same volume. I suspect this problem might go away if I used the XLR output on the AT2005, but I don’t have a mixer/interface. I’m wondering if I should invest in an interface, or go back to the Rode and hope the third time’s the charm?

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          Hi Ed,
          I stand corrected ! Thanks. Will update that.

          Have you thought about putting the Audio T through a preamp usb like http://global.focusrite.com/scarlett-2i4 I have the 2i2 and have been pleased with the results.

          (apologies for the delayed response. Had the flu!)

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaOFarmer Joshua Farmer

    I use a Rode podcaster but it’s starting to give off a buzzing noise I can’t get rid of so time for a new one.

    Does the Heil PR40 cut out the back ground noise like the Rode? I don’t have a fully sound proof studio to record in and the Rode has been great for that but Heil PR40 looks great and am contemplating that as a replacement.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hi Joshua,
      I like the Røde for voice-overing video work with screencasts. I used that on the Genesis post I did last week with the video. Because the Røde is a condenser mic it picks up much more sound than the Heil PR40. There’s no comparison because the Heil is a dynamic mic.
      However, the HeilPR40, used on my podcast, goes through a mixing board. I’ve used it with my Soundbrite 2i2 mic-preamp (USB), but I’ve never been as happy with the sound I get going into the Mac itself for some reason. It may well be because of the preamp.
      The Heil needs better mic technique too. If you wander off mic the sound drops quickly because it’s not so sensitive.
      I record my podcast in an office with my Heil. I use minimal processing in Adobe, although I do add som EQ and sect sauce.
      Bottom line: I use my Heil every week but my Røde now and then.

      • Ed Corcoran

        Sorry to correct you Jon, but the Rode Podcaster is a dynamic mic, not a condenser. I bought mine specifically because it was not a condenser mic.

        Unfortunately, my Podcaster developed the same problem described by Joshua. After a couple of weeks the sound quality became distorted and the volume would gradually rise and fall throughout the course of recording. I returned it for a replacement, but that one arrived broken right out of the box (pieces rattling around inside). At that point, I gave up on the Podcaster and bought an Audio Technica AT2005, which was about 1/4 the price of the Podcaster. The sound quality is about the same as the Rode in the finished recording, but it’s not as powerful. At maximum volume, I can just hear myself adequately through the headphones, which is fine when it’s just me talking, but when I record interviews with Skype, I have turn the volume down halfway just so my guest doesn’t blow out my eardrums. Then I can’t hear myself at all and I have to level the recording so that we’re both at the same volume. I suspect this problem might go away if I used the XLR output on the AT2005, but I don’t have a mixer/interface. I’m wondering if I should invest in an interface, or go back to the Rode and hope the third time’s the charm?

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          Hi Ed,
          I stand corrected ! Thanks. Will update that.

          Have you thought about putting the Audio T through a preamp usb like http://global.focusrite.com/scarlett-2i4 I have the 2i2 and have been pleased with the results.

          (apologies for the delayed response. Had the flu!)

  • youtube.com/whattechshow

    You forgot the Electro Voice re27 n/d.
    It’s the BEST podcasting microphone available, most radio stations use it.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      No, I didn’t forget it. It’s just that I think there’s a difference between radio and podcasting. The Electro Voce is incredibly sensitive and picks up a lot of background noise. Unless you’re in a fully soundproof room I wouldn’t recommend this for podcasting.
      But it’s good you suggest it. Perhaps others have experience of working with this.
      Very best wishes,
      Jon

  • youtube.com/whattechshow

    You forgot the Electro Voice re27 n/d.
    It’s the BEST podcasting microphone available, most radio stations use it.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      No, I didn’t forget it. It’s just that I think there’s a difference between radio and podcasting. The Electro Voce is incredibly sensitive and picks up a lot of background noise. Unless you’re in a fully soundproof room I wouldn’t recommend this for podcasting.
      But it’s good you suggest it. Perhaps others have experience of working with this.
      Very best wishes,
      Jon

  • carol

    i work at an internet radio station …we do online and face to face interviews… i need a mic that is awesome for both ! please help

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      I would recommend the
      Sennheiser 421 ii. I use it for interviews face-to-face and it works really well in the studio.

  • carol

    i work at an internet radio station …we do online and face to face interviews… i need a mic that is awesome for both ! please help

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      I would recommend the
      Sennheiser 421 ii. I use it for interviews face-to-face and it works really well in the studio.

  • Megan Pangan

    Hey Jon, I just got myself a focusrite 2i2, but am having trouble hooking it up. Do I need a mixer as well? or can I go from heil to preamp to computer?

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hej Megan,

      You should just be able to plug the USB cable from the back of the 2i2 into your PC / Mac. What software are you using ?

      On a Mac you might need to go into System Preferences and check that the Sound  > input is set to the Focusrite.
      You’ll have to adjust your audio editing software to record in mono otherwise you’ll only hear your voice through one headphone.
      Email me directly if you’re having probs. It’s late here in Sweden but I’ll reply when I can.


      Jon Buscall
      Sent with Airmail

  • Chris B

    Is there anything (non condenser) that is better than the ATR2100? Looking to spend about $125 or less. Just bought an ATR2500 (havent used it yet) but now wondering if that was a bad purchase. I have a dedicated, quiet room. I feel like condenser mics provide better voice quality. just now sure i want to add background noiae. Just looking to provide great voice quality w/o spending $150 or more. How come some rave about condensers and others stay avoid at all costs? Thoughts?

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Condensers are just way too sensitive unless you have a soundproof studio. A lot of people recommend the ATR2100 because it’s a dynamic mic, can work as a USB, is nicely priced and the sound quality is very good. To be honest, if you’re only looking to pay 150 USD this is a great mic. I personally wouldn’t use it: My cheapest option would be to use a SM58, which goes for 100 USD. It’s a dynamic mic so you’d need something like a mixer or Blue Ice XLR to USB Mic Converter if you wanted to use it like a USB.

      How are you going to record your show ?

      • Chris B

        How much better if any Is the SM58 over the ATR2100? Is a stabilizer requires for this type of mic?

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          It’s in the ear of the beholder ! So much depends on your voice, the conditions you’re recording in. For example, I have a Heil PR40 which a lot of podcasters rave about. However, the RE20 and the Rode Procaster are both better with my voice because they don’t pick up the sibiliants (s sounds) as much. So there is no definitive mic.

          I suppose that’s why I’ve got so many ! Searching for the elusive sound :=)
          Don’t get what you mean by stabilizer ? You mean mic stand ? Yes.

          *Jon Buscall, PhD*
          Web: jontusmedia.com
          Twitter: @jonbuscall
          Skype: jonbuscall
          Email: jon@jontusmedia.com
          Tel: +46 76 863 72 85

          [+] Add me to your address book