One of the more common questions we get asked by new podcasting clients is “What mic should I get?” Well, that’s a loaded question. There really is no right answer. If the person asking is a client of ours, the answer is typically, “don’t worry about it. We have an array of mics and we will find one that works for your voice.” However, if the person asking is a man or woman off the street, the simple answer is “the best you can afford”. There’s also a more complicated answer, but I won’t burden you with that right now.
All microphones are not alike. Many may look similar, but that is not a true indicator of what it does and how well it does it. Price is a slightly better indicator, but even then, you’re only getting an idea of the craftsmanship or sometimes you’re just paying for the brand name– like buying a plain T-shirt vs. a T-shirt with the Nike logo on it. There are decent microphones out there for under $100. There are great ones for under $500 and there are fantastic ones over $1000. But this article is directed at the newbie. It’s more important for you to JUST GET STARTED rather than have everything perfect. You can make it perfect as you go.
The person who doesn’t know the difference between a condenser microphone and a dynamic microphone. This article is so much for the newbie that I won’t even bother getting into the technical weeds of what the difference is between the two. Instead, I’m just going to list three microphones that come in under $100. Each microphone has a USB connection that goes right into your computer. Therefore, there is no need for any type of mixing board or interface. All are available on Amazon and a link will be provided. So let’s go:
When we got started in podcasting, we used two of these and were shocked and very pleased at the quality they gave us for the price. The beauty about this mic is that, because it’s a USB mic, it also has headphone input and volume control built in. But that’s not all! If you ever upgrade to a mixing board or interface that requires an XLR cable, this microphone has that output too. Trust me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
This one is essentially the same mic as the one above. The main difference is the look of it and the extra things this link leads to.
Personally, I think condenser microphones produce the best sound. But they have their limitations and drawbacks that are directly related to them being condenser mics, as opposed to dynamic mics. But that’s for another article. If you have a deep voice an really want it to cut through and have a warm low-end, condensers are usually the way to go. Also, if you don’t like to “eat the mic”, meaning putting your mouth right up to it, and would rather be able to sit back a bit and move freely without the volume of your voice going in and out with your movements, then a condenser is the way to go.
Now, while these are fairly good mics for the price, they do have their limitations and weaknesses, but I assure you, they will give you better sound quality than your gaming headset or iPhone earbuds. If you want better quality than these mics can provide, stick around. We’ll have an article on those mics very soon.