In the dynamic world of podcasting, audio quality is paramount. Whether you're a seasoned content creator or a newcomer, finding the right microphone is key to elevating your podcast to the next level. This guide explores 27 budget-friendly options, including the best podcasting microphones across different price ranges and specifications. We'll delve into the nuances of USB vs. XLR microphones, the role of an audio interface, and essential accessories like boom arms and pop filters.
Note: this article may contain affiliate links, which mean that I receive a commission for any purchases you make, at no added cost to you.
Buying Considerations for a Podcast Microphone
USB vs. XLR Microphones
USB mics, like the popular Blue Yeti Nano, offer ease of use with direct computer connectivity, making them a good choice for new podcasters. If plug and play simplicity is what you're after. There's a real risk that over time your USB cable becomes outdated, though.
XLR mics, such as the Shure SM and Electro-Voice RE series, provide high-quality audio and require an XLR cable and audio interface. XLR connections have been industry standard in the music business since the 1950s, so these aren't going to become obsolete any time soon.
Essential for XLR mics, audio interfaces like those used with the Audio Technica AT series convert analog signals to digital, providing enhanced sound control and quality. USB mics don't require an audio interface
Boom Stand and Pop Filter
A boom arm ensures optimal placement of the mic, like in front of the Audio Pro Condenser Mic, for the best sound capture. I would say they are a must have, because mic positioning is essential to getting a good sound.
A pop filter, as seen in the Shure MV series, is crucial for reducing plosives, delivering clearer audio. Some mics include pop filters, but otherwise you can buy an affordable pop filter and clip it on to your boom stand.
Dynamic vs. Condenser
For the purposes of this article, there are two main kinds of microphones: dynamic mics and condensers.
- Dynamic Microphones: They are better suited for noisy or untreated environments. Thanks to their design, dynamic mics are less sensitive to background noise and are great at isolating the speaker's voice. If your recording space is not acoustically treated or if you're recording in a place with ambient noise, a dynamic microphone is often the better choice. If you're looking for a single microphone that can simultaneously record multiple speakers, a dynamic mic is the wrong choice.
- Condenser Microphones: These are more sensitive and capture more detail and a wider frequency range. They are ideal for quiet, controlled environments, like a sound-treated room. If your recording space is quiet and you want to capture the nuances and clarity of your voice, a condenser mic is a great option.
The Best Budget Podcast Microphones
Most Popular Budget Podcast Microphone - Blue Yeti
- Tri-capsule Array: Offers multiple pattern selection.
- Gain Control, Mute Button: Handy for quick adjustments.
- Plug 'n Play: Easy setup with no drivers to install.
The 🎩 Blue Yeti 🎩 is a versatile and user-friendly microphone, popular among podcasters for its tri-capsule array that allows for multiple recording patterns. Its sound quality is excellent for the price, capturing clear and detailed audio. The convenience of the gain control and mute button adds to its appeal, making it a great choice for both beginners and experienced podcasters.
In short - this mic is "good enough," easy to use, and fairly affordable.
Absolute Best Podcast Microphone - Shure SM7dB Review
- Wide Frequency Response: Captures clear, natural sound.
- Effective Pop Filter: Reduces plosives and background noise.
- Iconic Studio Microphone: Favored by professionals.
The 🏆 Shure SM7dB 🏆 is a legendary microphone in the world of podcasting and broadcasting, renowned for its ability to produce smooth, flat, and natural voice recordings. Its wide frequency response captures every nuance of the spoken word, while the built-in pop filter ensures that your recordings are free of distracting noises. This XLR microphone is a premium choice for serious podcasters who demand the best audio quality for their listeners. The "dB" version of the SM7 includes a built-in signal booster to help you get a clean, loud signal without any added gear.
This is my other top choice for a podcast microphone, if you've got just a little room to stretch your budget. The SM7 is literally used in almost every radio station and podcast studio in the world. It is the best out there for this job, and it's not that expensive if this is what you're really committed to doing.
Best Budget Condenser Microphone for Podcasts - MXL 990 Review
- XLR Condenser Microphone: Delivers detailed sound and can record multiple people well.
- Vintage Style: Adds an aesthetic appeal to your setup.
- Balanced Bass and Treble: Ensures a full sound profile.
The MXL 990 is a classic choice among podcasters looking for a condenser microphone at an affordable price. This XLR microphone captures audio with excellent detail, making your voice sound warm and clear. The vintage design adds a touch of style to your podcasting setup, while the balanced bass and treble response ensures your recordings have a full and rich sound profile. This microphone is a great choice for podcasters who are ready to take their audio recording quality to the next level. Don't get this mic or any other condenser mic if you record in a noisy space (people talking in the background, loud cars), though.
It also sounds really good for recording rap vocals if you also dabble in that!
Coolest Looking Podcast Mic - Hyper-X Quadcast
- Coolest Looking Mic: It lights up and changes colors!!!
- Built-in Shock Mount: Reduces unwanted noise.
- Tap-to-Mute Sensor: For instant privacy.
- Four Selectable Polar Patterns: Versatile for various recording needs.
The Hyper-X Quadcast is a standout choice for its built-in shock mount and tap-to-mute sensor and lights, offering convenience and pizzaz. Its four selectable polar patterns make it adaptable for different recording scenarios, from solo podcasts to group discussions. It includes built-in, customizable RGB lighting to instantly nail the vibe and add that "wow factor." This mic is ideal for podcasters who also video stream and want some razzle dazzle in their videos.
Samson Q2U Review
- Hybrid USB/XLR Connectivity: Versatile for various setups.
- Dynamic Microphone: Ideal for capturing clear vocals in noisy environments.
- Handheld Design with Accessories: Comes with a tripod stand and windscreen.
The Samson Q2U stands out as an excellent choice for podcasters at any level. Its hybrid connectivity allows users to plug it directly into a computer via USB or use it with an XLR setup, offering great flexibility. As a dynamic microphone, it excels in isolating the speaker's voice from ambient noise, ensuring clear audio quality. The included accessories like the tripod stand make it an even more attractive package for those starting their podcast journey, providing great value for its price point.
Rode PodMic Review
- Broadcast-Quality Dynamic Mic: Designed specifically for spoken word.
- Internal Pop Filter: Minimizes plosives for clearer audio.
- Robust Metal Construction: Durable for long-term use.
The Rode PodMic is a dream for podcasters who prioritize audio quality and durability. This XLR microphone (there is also a USB version available if you prefer) is tuned for the spoken word, ensuring that your voice sounds rich and clear. Its internal pop filter effectively reduces unwanted plosives without the need for additional equipment. The solid metal construction means it can withstand the rigors of regular use, making it a reliable tool for any podcast setup.
Audio Technica AT2020+ Review
- Condenser Microphone: Captures vocals with high detail.
- USB Output: Easy connectivity for direct recording.
- Built-in Headphone Jack: For real-time audio monitoring.
The Audio-Technica AT2020+ is a standout USB condenser microphone that delivers excellent sound quality. Known for capturing detailed and nuanced audio, it’s perfect for podcasters who record in a controlled environment. The ease of use is enhanced by its USB output, allowing for simple plug-and-play operation. The addition of a built-in headphone jack for real-time monitoring is a thoughtful touch, catering to the needs of podcasters who require immediate feedback during recording sessions.
Samson Q9U Review
- Hybrid XLR/USB Mic: Flexible for varied recording setups.
- Built-in Pop Filter and Shock Mount: Reduces unwanted noise.
- Zero-Latency Headphone Output: For immediate feedback.
The Samson Q9U is a versatile choice for podcasters looking for both quality and convenience. Its dual USB and XLR outputs make it suitable for a range of recording scenarios, from home studios to professional setups. The integrated pop filter and shock mount are excellent for minimizing noise and vibrations, ensuring clean recordings. The zero-latency headphone output is particularly useful for live monitoring, making it a complete package for content creators.
Shure MV7 Review
- USB/XLR Microphone: Offers versatility in recording.
- Auto-Level Setting via App: Simplifies audio control.
- Professional Vocal Reproduction: Inspired by the legendary SM7B.
The Shure MV7 is a high-quality microphone that combines the best of both worlds with its USB and XLR capabilities. It's an ideal choice for podcasters who want professional-level audio with the convenience of easy setup. The auto-level setting via the Shure app makes it accessible for beginners while offering the depth of control that experienced users appreciate. The sound quality is exceptional, closely mirroring the famed Shure SM7B, but at a more accessible price point.
If you're looking for the best USB podcast mic that won't break the bank this would be my recommendation. You'll get professional grade sound, great usability, and you'll never outgrow this mic.
Rode Podcaster Review
- USB Connectivity: Simple plug-and-play operation.
- Tailored for Spoken Word: Ensures clear vocal capture.
- Built-in Headphone Output: For easy monitoring.
The Rode Podcaster is a fantastic USB microphone designed specifically for podcasting. Its plug-and-play operation makes it a popular choice among podcasters who prefer a straightforward setup. The microphone is tuned to accentuate the clarity and richness of spoken word, ensuring that your voice is front and center in every recording. The addition of a built-in headphone output for monitoring is a convenient feature, making it a great option for those who value both quality and simplicity.
Tascam DR-10L Review
- Lavalier Microphone: Compact and discreet for field recordings.
- Portable Recorder: Captures high-quality audio independently.
- MicroSD Card Recording: Convenient for on-the-go use.
The Tascam DR-10L is a unique addition to this list, perfect for podcasters who conduct interviews outside the studio. As a lavalier microphone, it offers discreet, high-quality audio capture, making it ideal for capturing natural conversations. The portable recorder function is a significant advantage, allowing for standalone use without additional equipment. Recording directly to a microSD card, the DR-10L is excellent for podcasters who require mobility and flexibility in their recording environments.
Rode VideoMic Pro+ Review
- Shotgun Microphone: Excellent for directional audio capture.
- Advanced Sound Rejection: Minimizes background noise.
- Integrated Battery Door: For easy power management.
Designed for video but excellent for podcasters, the Rode VideoMic Pro+ is a versatile shotgun microphone. Its directional audio capture is superb for focusing on the speaker's voice, especially in noisy environments. The microphone's advanced sound rejection capabilities ensure that ambient noise is kept at bay, delivering clear and focused audio. The integrated battery door and various power options add to its convenience, making it a great choice for podcasters who also engage in video production.
Samson Go Review
- Portable USB Microphone: Ideal for podcasters on the move.
- Selectable Pickup Patterns: Versatile for different recording scenarios.
- Compact Design: Easy to transport and set up.
The Samson Go is a fantastic option for podcasters who need a portable, high-quality microphone. Its USB connectivity means you can record directly into a computer, and its compact design makes it incredibly travel-friendly. The ability to select between omnidirectional and cardioid patterns adds versatility, allowing for different recording situations, from solo podcasts to interviews.
Rode NT-USB Mini
- Compact Design: Ideal for minimalist or portable setups.
- Studio-Quality Sound: Delivers crisp and clear audio.
- Built-in Pop Filter: Reduces plosives and improves sound quality.
The Rode NT-USB Mini is a marvel in compact and quality design. It's perfect for podcasters who need a space-saving solution without compromising on sound. Its studio-quality sound is surprisingly rich, considering its size, and the built-in pop filter is a thoughtful addition, ensuring clarity in your recordings. This mic is ideal for podcasters or streamers looking for a reliable, high-quality USB mic. The only downside is that the built-in stand doesn't really include a shock mount, so it will pick up the sound of you touching your desk if you're not careful.
Audio-Technica ATR 2100x-USB
- Dual USB/XLR Output: Versatile connectivity options.
- Cardioid Polar Pattern: Minimizes background noise.
- Handheld Design: Suitable for both studio and field recording.
The Audio-Technica ATR 2100x-USB stands out for its dual USB/XLR connectivity, offering great flexibility for various recording setups. It is one of the most affordable mics out there that still does a decent job.
Its cardioid polar pattern effectively reduces background noise, ensuring a clear focus on the speaker. The handheld design is an added bonus for field recording, making it a versatile choice for podcasters who record in different environments.
- Voice Isolation Technology: Ensures clear audio capture.
- Onboard Mute and Headphone Output: Adds convenience.
- Robust Design: Durable and reliable for long-term use.
The Mackie Element offers impressive voice isolation technology, which is great for recording in less-than-ideal environments. The onboard mute and headphone output are convenient for real-time monitoring and control. Its solid build quality makes it a reliable choice for podcasters looking for a long-term investment.
- Condenser Microphone: Captures vocals with clarity and detail.
- Low-Mass Diaphragm: Provides a smooth frequency response.
- Switchable Bass-Cut Filter: Offers versatility in recording.
The AKG P120 is a high-quality condenser microphone that excels in capturing vocal nuances. Its low-mass diaphragm ensures a smooth and natural frequency response, making it great for detailed voice work. The switchable bass-cut filter is a useful feature, allowing flexibility in managing low-frequency sounds.
Samson G-Track Pro
- All-in-One Recording Solution: With built-in audio interface.
- Multiple Polar Patterns: Adaptable for different recording situations.
- Instrument Input: Allows simultaneous two-track recording.
The Samson G-Track Pro is a true all-in-one solution, perfect for podcasters who also dabble in music production. Its multiple polar patterns and instrument input offer great versatility, allowing for simultaneous recording of voice and instrument. This feature-rich mic is a great choice for creative podcasters who want more from their microphone.
- Ultra-HD Quality Audio: For professional-grade recordings.
- Adaptive Capsule Array: Provides four capture modes.
- Plug-and-Play: Compatible with PC, Mac, and mobile devices.
The AKG Lyra impresses with its ultra-HD quality audio, capturing voice with exceptional clarity and detail. Its adaptive capsule array offers four capture modes, making it adaptable to various recording scenarios. The convenience of plug-and-play compatibility with multiple devices adds to its appeal for podcasters on the go.
From a Frustrated Producer in a Ragtag Bedroom Studio to Major Placements on TV Earning $1,000s!
My name is Evan, and I've been making music since around 3rd grade. I'm from San Diego, California, but I've lived in Washington, DC for the last 20 years.
While I still have a full-time day job, I have created systems that have allowed me to produce dozens of songs a year in my spare time.
My songs have been on Netflix, TV shows like the 90 Day Fiance, an award-winning indie film, and NPR’s “All Thing Considered.” They've also been streamed millions of times.
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