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USB Podcast Microphones – What’s Your Flavor?

Your most important tool to create your podcast is going to be your microphone. The weird thing is, most folks starting out use whatever mic they can get away with. Why?

You’ve put time and effort into what your show would be about and scripted it to flow at it’s best pace. Why would you  use whatever you had on hand to capture the magic? You might as well just use your cell phone and call-in your show (the software is available).

Granted, you may not have the budget for a Heil PR40 run through an Aphex 230 but who says you need that much? USB microphones may be your answer. USB microphones run the gamut in price from as low as $65 to just over $200 and the sound quality is better than you’d imagine.

That being said, not every mic sounds good on everybody. Like your voice, each of these mics have their own personality. If you have the opportunity, grab your laptop with your favorite DAW (digital audio workstation) installed and head on down to your local music shop and see if you can try out a few of these mics. If you’re going to listen to just one piece of advice, ignore the price and listen to the playback of your voice.

A couple of things to take into consideration:

Can you plug your headphones directly into the mic?
If you’re having latency issues (a slapback echo effect in your headphones while you’re talking) the ability to plug directly into the microphone will eliminate that. Extremely useful!

What is it going to take to mount the mic?
You may decide to bite the bullet and spend a little bit more on a good microphone. But don’t forget about how you’re going to mount it for use. Some mics come with a stand and some will require an additional shock mount and mic stand. This can run the price up pretty quickly.

Is it side-address or front-address?
When you address the mic (talk into it) are you talking into the side of the mic (side-address) or the end of the mic (front-address)? The sound you’re looking to create can be enhanced by how you use the mic. For that booming radio proximity effect, a front address mic is the way to go. For a more natural sound to your voice a side address will be the way to go.

The following links (Amazon Sponsor account) are where you can get the full specs on each mic. You can click on the photos to get a larger view.

Rode Podcaster USB Mic$229 Rode Podcaster

I love this mic. Australia’s Rode Microphones has created this beast. It’s a dynamic mic and unlike it’s following brethren, it is also front address. Also has both a mini-jack and volume control for your headphones. You will need a separate shock mount and stand.

Samson GTrack USB Mic$129 Samson G Track USB Microphone and Audio Interface

A condenser and side-address microphone with headphone jack. A really neat feature is a separate input for guitar, bass or keyboards. 5 stars according to the folks at Sweetwater Sound.

Blue Yeti USB Condenser Mic$100 Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone

The world’s first THX-certified microphone. Don’t let the R2D2 looks fool you, this is a professional microphone. Front-address and a headphone output with volume control. You also get four distinct pattern modes: Omni, Cardroid, Stereo and Bi-Directional. It even has a mute button!

Audio Technica AT2020 USB Mic$93 Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser USB Microphone

For the price this is an awesome little mic. Side-address, low noise and a very natural sound to your voice. A lot of podcasters like using this one.

Alesis USB Podcasting Kit$72 Alesis USB Microphone Podcasting Kit w/Headphones/Software

Mic, headphones, a copy of Audacity and a solid stand. You’re not going to find a better kit for this price. It really is a studio in a box.

Blue Snowball USB Mic$65 Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone (Brushed Aluminum)

From the creators that gave us the Yeti comes the Blue Snowball. A real podcasters’ favorite. Try one before you buy it, though. Some folks think it sounds a bit tinny on their voices while others swear by it. A great mic if you’ve got more than one person on your show.

About Jay Walsh

With a combined 25 years of design, marketing, podcasting, video and social media knowledge, Jay created with the goal of helping you make a better podcast.

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