Podcast Microphone Tips And Recommendations

Podcasts have become one of the biggest forms of audio entertainment, consumed by millions of listeners around the world. And unlike other forms of media, you don’t need millions of dollars in cash or the backing of a huge broadcast company to get a podcast up and running. But despite the relative ease of creating a podcast, listeners still expect the sound quality of professional operation. Luckily, the techniques and equipment needed to create a pro-grade podcast are affordable and accessible. Below, we look at tips on getting a good sound, how to choose a great podcasting mic along with some of our own recommendations.



Optimizing Your Room For Podcast Recording

As any audio engineer can tell you, the room in which you record plays a huge part in the finished product, and that’s true whether you’re recording music or a podcast. And unless you have a room that has been sound proofed, chances are there will be some background noise going on, such as from computer fans, appliances, air vents and more. Normally, our ears simply tune these sounds out, but on a recording, they can be rather noticeable. You also need to consider sound reflections. Even in a room free of background noise, sound can bounce off the walls, ceiling, and floor (if there’s no carpet), making your voice sound hollow. One easy way to combat these problems is to place the mic closer to you, about 2 to 12 inches away, making your voice sound much louder in relation to the background noise and reflections.


Choosing The Right Mic

The two most common type of mics used in podcasting are dynamic and condensers. As for which one is better, that depends on your situation. While there are several differences between them, the two most important factors are output level and frequency response. Of the two, condenser mics are usually more sensitive and have a higher output level.

A higher output level means that the signal won’t have to be amplified as much by a preamp. The reason why this is important is that amplification can add an unwanted hiss to the sound, especially at high levels. The greater frequency response of condenser mics also means that they are better at generating a natural, more detailed sound. However, the sensitive response of condenser mics means that they are more prone to capturing background noise as well as unwanted sounds from the tongue and lips. In this case, the tighter response of a dynamic mic can help mask unwanted noises.

Aside from the type of mic, the polar pattern is also important. For podcasting, I highly recommend you go with a mic that features a cardioid polar pattern. This type of pattern is great at rejecting unwanted sounds from the sides and the back, making it an ideal choice for podcasting. I would also suggest you stay away from supercardioid mics. While the tighter pattern in these mics makes them even better at rejecting unwanted noise, they require the sound source (in this case, your mouth) to remain as still as possible in order to avoid a noticeable variation in sound level.


Below are a few of my personal podcast microphone recommendations:

podcast mic CAD

CAD GXL3000 Large Diaphragm Multi-Pattern Condenser Mic @ $169.00 - The GXL3000 is a large diameter, multi-pattern, condenser microphone. High sensitivity and low distortion make this microphone an ideal candidate for recording, broadcast, sound reinforcement including vocal and instrument applications. The capsule in the GXL3000 features a 1" gold vapor deposited diaphragm.





Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Mic @ $318.00 - The Heil PR 40 represents completely new dynamic microphone technology designed for a wide range of professional applications such as sophisticated recording, live sound, and commercial broadcast. Producing the widest frequency range available in a dynamic microphone, the PR 40 outperforms most condenser microphones and can withstand huge amounts of SPL. At the same time, it maintains the 25 year Heil Sound tradition of superbly natural voice articulation.



Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Mic @ $149.00 - Equipped with a USB output, the AT2020USB+ is designed for digitally capturing music or any acoustic audio source using your favorite recording software. The microphone offers the critically acclaimed, award-winning sound of the AT2020, with studio-quality articulation and intelligibility perfect for singer/songwriters, podcasters, voice-over artists, field recorders, and home studio recorders.




Sennheiser e935 Cardioid Dynamic Mic @ $169.95 - The e935 is a cardioid vocal microphone specially designed to perform under pressure while cutting through the mix with its high output. Made for the working musician. Excellent sound results guaranteed, day to day, 365 days a year. First choice for rental companies. This mic can handle whatever you can dish out.




AKG C214 acoustic micAKG C214 Condenser Mic @ $399.00 -The C214 large-diaphragm condenser microphone has been designed as a cost-effective alternative to the high-end C414 family. Like the C414, the C214 offers a supreme one-inch capsule on an integrated suspension to reduce mechanical noise. A switchable 20dB attenuation pad allows recording of loud sources of up to 156dB SPL. A switchable bass-cut filter allows close-up recording with almost no proximity effect. The C214 captures sound by combining one capsule of the legendary C414 dual-capsule system and the patented AKG Back-Plate Technology, resulting in an outstanding performance close to the famous C414 XLII.



Other Useful Equipment

eof15a-2Pop Filter - A pop filter is a net made of fabric, foam or wire used to filter out bursts of air that happen when pronouncing "p" and "b" sounds, otherwise known as "plosives." Without a pop filter, plosives can be very noticeable, making the recording sound unprofessional.

Click here to browse our selection of Pop Filters.



Shock Mount - A shock mount is used to keep a mic acoustically isolated from unwanted low-frequency vibrations that can be caused by anything from accidental bumps, tapping the table or even typing on a keyboard.

Click here to browse our selection of Shock Mounts.



While you don’t need a huge budget to get a great sound, a good room, good microphone and good techniques are a must. With the tips above, there's no reason why your podcast shouldn't sound like a professional quality production, or at least close to it. As far as getting more subscribers goes  -- you're on your own!

If you have any questions regarding the purchase of the items above or any other piece of gear we carry, don't hesitate to chat with one of our friendly PAL pros by using the live chat feature below or by calling us toll-free at 1 877-671-2200!




Your Turn to Sound Off!

What mic do you prefer for podcasting?

Let us know in the comment section below!

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