Varderan’s Guide to Microphones for Podcasting
So, ever thought of making your own Podcast? Perhaps you’re wondering what our set-up is like? Well for starters, there’s one thing that every Podcast must have to be successful, and that’s microphones! But, there are tons and tons of microphones out there and the idea of choosing one could be daunting at first and you may be lost as to what to choose, So I’m here to help you out and give you some tips on microphones.
Back in the olden days of iBZP and early episodes of TTV, we didn’t even use microphones. We simply plugged our earbuds into the microphone jack… and surprisingly it worked. The audio quality was complete trash, but as kids we didn’t really understand the importance of good audio quality.
Now a’days we’re packing far more professional equipment.
I (Var) am currently using the old fashioned Shure SM58 along with a Shure preamp.
Of all our mics I find that the SM58 has the best overall quality for the price and features dynamic noise cancellation. It’s an industry standard for a reason!
Our good ol’ pal Meso is talking through the Samson C01U.
The Samson C01U is a decent quality mic, but has long since been passed by the competition. It’s a Studio Condenser mic that packs a punch considering its cheaper price tag, however I find that it’s range is rather limited, and there’s a decent amount of static that will distort your audio if you use noise cancellation effects. It may benefit to play around with your audio settings to get the best range of quality out of this mic.
Kahi is currently running an Audio Technica A2020.
The Audio Technica At2020 is on the same level as the C01U in terms of price and quality. However, I find that the quality is slightly superior with a noticeable lack of background noise and better EQ. Now the At2020 comes in two versions, a USB one and a XLR one. Now I’ll get to the difference between XLR and USB later on in this article, BUT the jist is- USB is cheaper, XLR is better.
Venom is rocking the Blue Snowball!
The Snowball is an amazingly versatile microphone and one I would definitely recommend for the cheap-price-to-audio-quality ratio. Blue makes some very good microphones and they are overall a very refutable company-on par with Audio Technica.
Viper just got herself a Samson Meteor.
Don’t let the small size fool you, this mic seriously packs a punch. Despite sharing a close price tag with it’s brother, the C01U, this microphone has noticeably better audio quality. This is also a very portable mic and designed to accompany the likes of an iPad, so it’s very good for podcasters on the go!
Now Eljay is toting probably the most professional level microphone of us all. The Audio Technica AT4047/SV.
Now this is a really heavy duty mic and not something I’d recommend to entry level users or anyone who isn’t really serious about voice work- such as voice acting. This mic has INCREDIBLE levels of range and EQ and it’s durability means it’s built to last. It also looks really cool and will certainly impress anyone you bring over to check it out. Now this mic is built to pick up all levels of your voice, and because of that noise cancellation can be pretty lacking- I wouldn’t use this mic in a noisy environment.
If you’re really looking for good audio quality, nothing beats dynamic microphones. But, dynamic mics require an added cost of a pre-amp to work, and that can get pretty pricey. Another alternative are condenser microphones, which is also a studio styled mic. These provide an overall good tone, but I find that their range isn’t quite as full as dynamic mics, and they tend to produce more background static. It also needs to be noted that some mics are made with XLR output, this is the standard output for most professional level microphones and will require a pre-amp to plug into a computer. USB alternatives are available, but they’re quality is compressed and therefore lacking in comparison, BUT they plug directly into your computer and are instantly ready to use.
Now, there are also headsets, which provide the added bonus of included headphones and increased mobility. As far as these go, we have experiance with the TekNmotion Yapster, the Turtle Beach x12, and the Logitech B530, which are all cheap, entry level microphones that we tend to use as backups. Their quality is fairly average, but as mentioned prior, they are very cheap.
But that about wraps up our experience with mics! I hope you found this entry useful.
Written by, Varderan, 9/6/2014