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Best Podcast Microphones 2023: Dynamic vs Condenser, USB vs XLR

Welcome to the show notes for our latest episode, “Best Podcasting Microphones 2023: Dynamic vs. Condenser, and USB vs. XLR.” In this episode, we dive deep into the important factors to consider when choosing the perfect microphone for your podcast. From understanding the differences between dynamic and condenser microphones, USB vs. XLR interfaces, and providing our top recommendations in various categories, we aim to help you make an informed decision for your podcasting needs.

We’ve carefully curated a comprehensive comparison table featuring 25 microphones, including budget options, premium picks, and travel-friendly choices. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced podcaster, our Podcasting Resources Guide is here to help you achieve the best possible audio quality.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into our episode and explore the world of podcasting microphones together. And don’t forget to check out the full comparison table and all our recommendations on PodcastingResourcesGuide.com!

USB vs XLR, Does It Matter?

Let’s start by tackling the burning question: Does USB vs XLR still matter in 2023? It’s a relevant question since selecting the right interface for your microphone is an essential aspect of your podcast setup.

  • XLR microphones are considered the professional standard, known for their solid build and exceptional audio quality. However, using an XLR microphone requires an audio interface and a boom arm to function effectively. While this adds to the overall setup, the result is superior audio capture.
  • On the other hand, USB microphones offer convenience, especially when it comes to travel, mobility, and various location setups. They’re also increasingly popular for streaming as they don’t require additional equipment. With recent advancements, there are now more high-quality USB microphone options available than ever before.

One thing to note is that USB microphones are typically designed for desktop use, meaning they are placed further away from the speaker. This could make them more prone to picking up noise and room reverb. Despite this drawback, USB microphones continue to be a popular choice for podcasters seeking a straightforward and user-friendly setup.

So, when choosing between USB and XLR, remember that it ultimately depends on your specific needs and priorities as a podcaster. Whether you opt for professional-grade audio quality with an XLR microphone or the ease of use and portability of a USB microphone, selecting the right interface is a crucial step in your podcasting journey.

Dynamic Microphones vs Condenser Microphones

Moving onto another crucial aspect of choosing your podcast microphone: Does microphone type still matter? The answer is yes, as different microphone types cater to specific podcast situations, offering unique advantages and limitations.

Dynamic microphones continue to produce the best audio quality for podcasters.

  • They’re especially suited for live interview shows, as they result in less cross-talk between hosts and guests. Although new advances in reverb cancellation algorithms are progressing, the golden standard dynamic microphones still reign supreme for most podcasters.
  • But keep in mind, dynamic microphones need to be close to the speaker, which means requiring a boom arm and audio interface. This provides excellent audio quality but may come across as a more complex setup.

Condenser microphones can sit a little farther away on the desktop.

  • However, this distance can lead to reverb and room noise, which may not deliver the desired radio-like broadcaster sound.
  • That said, condenser microphones excel in streaming and voice-over work, and when used in a studio or treated room, they are excellent for podcasting.
  • However, condenser microphones are not ideal for interview-style shows due to the increased possibility of cross-talk between hosts and guests. For this reason, most podcast setups lean towards dynamic microphones.

In summary, microphone type does still matter, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of dynamic and condenser mics will help you make the best choice for your podcasting needs.

Our Recommendations For Dynamic, Condenser and USB + Travel Mics

With all this knowledge on microphone types and interfaces, we now present our recommendations for Dynamic, Condenser, and Travel USB Microphones, divided into three categories:

Best Dynamic Microphones:

Dynamic microphones are ideal for podcasting situations that demand superior audio quality and minimal cross-talk. This includes live interview shows, noisy environments, or anywhere you need a focused audio capture. The top choices in this category deliver exceptional performance in capturing clear and crisp sound when positioned close to the speaker. Stay tuned for our specific recommendations, and remember to check the show notes for the full list and comparison table on the Podcasting Resources Guide.

Our Pick For Best Budget Microphone
  • At Polymash this microphone is our choice for "budget" only because it is so affordable. Really the quality of this mic places it into mid-range to higher end microphones, and the fact that it has a pop filter and shock mount built in are a great plus as well as a money saver.

  • 3.5
  • $99.00
  • Often recommended by our fellow podcasters, these microphones are our former pick, and still a great starter choice.

  • 3.5
  • $56.00
  • Similar approach and a solid choice for XLR and USB interfaces. Needs a good pre-amp.

  • 3.5
  • $69.99
  • The Rhode Procaster Broadcast Quality Dynamic Microphone from Rode is what I personally use at Polymash.

  • 3.5
  • $229.00
  • Considered the golden standard by manu podcasters.

  • 3.5
  • N/A
  • An amazing high end dynamic podcasting mic. Note that there is a more updated USB and XLR combo version for this microphone as well.

  • 3.5
  • $399.00
    •  Top of the heap: Bundle with Mic Shockmount & Broadcast Arm,XLR. The classic sound of FM radio voices.
  • 3.5
  • $529.99
  • With Rode PSA1 Boom Arm & XLR-XLR Cable Bundle. Too expensive for my personal taste...

  • 3.5
  • $729.00
Our Pick For Best Budget Microphone

At Polymash this microphone is our choice for "budget" only because it is so affordable. Really the quality of this mic places it into mid-range to higher end microphones, and the fact that it has a pop filter and shock mount built in are a great plus as well as a money saver.

3.5
$99.00
Low Cost USB+XLR

Often recommended by our fellow podcasters, these microphones are our former pick, and still a great starter choice.

3.5
$56.00

Similar approach and a solid choice for XLR and USB interfaces. Needs a good pre-amp.

3.5
$69.99
Our Premium Pick

The Rhode Procaster Broadcast Quality Dynamic Microphone from Rode is what I personally use at Polymash.

3.5
$229.00

Considered the golden standard by manu podcasters.

3.5
N/A

An amazing high end dynamic podcasting mic. Note that there is a more updated USB and XLR combo version for this microphone as well.

3.5
$399.00
  •  Top of the heap: Bundle with Mic Shockmount & Broadcast Arm,XLR. The classic sound of FM radio voices.
3.5
$529.99

With Rode PSA1 Boom Arm & XLR-XLR Cable Bundle. Too expensive for my personal taste...

3.5
$729.00
03/09/2024 08:15 am GMT

Best Condenser Microphones:

Condenser microphones shine in settings that require high sensitivity and wide frequency response. They are perfect for streaming and voice-over work, as well as podcast recording in studio or well-treated room environments. These top picks offer brilliant audio capture, with the capability to deliver that professional, radio-like sound that makes your podcast stand out. Visit the Podcasting Resources Guide in the show notes to explore more about our top choices in this category.

Best Voiceover Mic
  • If you are a voice-over artist, this is the microphone you want. This likely means you are already in a sound-treated room, making it a logical and versatile choice for podcasters as well.

  • 3.5
  • $239.00
  • The Stellar X2 Microphone is an intriguing choice for getting that Neumann sound without breaking the bank. While it may not get you to the elite $5,000 club, this dedicated piece of audio craftsmanship has been designed with high-quality components to replicate the performance of its pricier counterparts. So, if you're looking for a microphone with professional sound quality at a fraction of the price, the Stellar X2 could be your go-to mic!

  • 3.5
  • $199.99
  • Ah, the Blue Yeti Pro. A giant among microphones with both USB and XLR connection options, making it versatile but quite unwieldy for podcasters. At Polymash, we feel it may be too huge, too pricey, and too sensitive for your average podcaster. While it may work well in treated rooms, it's notorious for picking up even the faintest of sounds.

  • 3.5
  • $169.99
Best Voiceover Mic

If you are a voice-over artist, this is the microphone you want. This likely means you are already in a sound-treated room, making it a logical and versatile choice for podcasters as well.

3.5
$239.00
"Neuman Sound" For Less

The Stellar X2 Microphone is an intriguing choice for getting that Neumann sound without breaking the bank. While it may not get you to the elite $5,000 club, this dedicated piece of audio craftsmanship has been designed with high-quality components to replicate the performance of its pricier counterparts. So, if you're looking for a microphone with professional sound quality at a fraction of the price, the Stellar X2 could be your go-to mic!

3.5
$199.99

Ah, the Blue Yeti Pro. A giant among microphones with both USB and XLR connection options, making it versatile but quite unwieldy for podcasters. At Polymash, we feel it may be too huge, too pricey, and too sensitive for your average podcaster. While it may work well in treated rooms, it's notorious for picking up even the faintest of sounds.

3.5
$169.99
03/09/2024 08:50 am GMT

Best USB and Travel Microphones:

Travel USB microphones provide convenience, portability, and ease of use, making them ideal for podcasters on the go or those seeking a user-friendly setup. These top choices deliver impressive audio quality without the need for additional equipment, taking the hassle out of setting up your podcast recording space. Our recommendations prioritize the perfect balance between form and function, ensuring that on-the-go podcasters can still produce high-quality content. For more details and the full list of travel USB microphones, make sure to check out the show notes and the Podcasting Resources Guide.

  • I love this mic, and have used it and it's older brother when traveling. I small and yet I feel it is good enough for podcast recording, the clip mount is good enough for laptop and impromptu mounting, and the quality is top notch. Just remember it's a condenser and will pick up "room-noise" and reverb easily. But works well in most hotel rooms.

  • 3.5
  • $59.99
Best Budget Gaming USB Mic
  • A decent choice for a gaming desktop mic, but I would not recommend it for podcasting.

  • 3.5
  • $23.99
Best Mid-Priced USB Condenser Microphone
  • For gaming and streaming this is an awesome choice, and good enough for podcasting. Tip: If you podcast, bring it close! And the more sound proof your environment, the better.

  • 3.5
  • $99.00
Best High-End USB Condenser Microphone
  • The original Rode NT is one of the finest voice-over condenser microphones out there, and this is the recently introduced USB version. This makes it travel friendly and a high quality choice for voice over artists in sound-treated rooms, or those traveling looking for a more high end USB mic.

  • 3.5
  • $169.00
  • The Blue Yeti "Nano" Microphone may be "nano," but it's still a pretty large microphone. The original Blue Yeti doesn't have the most supportive reputation in terms of podcasting (source: Polymash). In a soundproof studio or a treated room, the Blue Yeti Nano could work for podcasters, but there are likely better condenser microphones available for podcasting. The Nano is essentially a slightly more compact version of the original, which is a bit of a chuckle in itself. So, if you're looking for a top-quality podcast microphone, it might be worth seeking alternatives in the sea of wonderful podcasting gear.

  • 3.5
  • $89.99
Best Travel USB Mic

I love this mic, and have used it and it's older brother when traveling. I small and yet I feel it is good enough for podcast recording, the clip mount is good enough for laptop and impromptu mounting, and the quality is top notch. Just remember it's a condenser and will pick up "room-noise" and reverb easily. But works well in most hotel rooms.

3.5
$59.99
Best Budget Gaming USB Mic

A decent choice for a gaming desktop mic, but I would not recommend it for podcasting.

3.5
$23.99
Best Mid-Priced USB Condenser Microphone

For gaming and streaming this is an awesome choice, and good enough for podcasting. Tip: If you podcast, bring it close! And the more sound proof your environment, the better.

3.5
$99.00
Best High-End USB Condenser Microphone

The original Rode NT is one of the finest voice-over condenser microphones out there, and this is the recently introduced USB version. This makes it travel friendly and a high quality choice for voice over artists in sound-treated rooms, or those traveling looking for a more high end USB mic.

3.5
$169.00

The Blue Yeti "Nano" Microphone may be "nano," but it's still a pretty large microphone. The original Blue Yeti doesn't have the most supportive reputation in terms of podcasting (source: Polymash). In a soundproof studio or a treated room, the Blue Yeti Nano could work for podcasters, but there are likely better condenser microphones available for podcasting. The Nano is essentially a slightly more compact version of the original, which is a bit of a chuckle in itself. So, if you're looking for a top-quality podcast microphone, it might be worth seeking alternatives in the sea of wonderful podcasting gear.

3.5
$89.99
03/09/2024 08:06 am GMT

We hope these recommendations help you choose the best podcast microphones for your specific podcasting needs.

Best Podcast Microphones 2023 Transcript

Podcasting Microphones... As your AI-powered host and Polymash team member, Polly, I must admit that I find the entire microphone debate among podcasters to be quite entertaining!

It's somewhat ironic, considering that I, as an AI, don't even need a microphone to communicate with you all. But hey, I'm here to help you navigate the podcasting world step by step, microphone or not!

We know it can be overwhelming trying to navigate the sea of articles and lists touting the "Best Podcast Microphones in 2023". One of the main reasons our team at Polymash decided to create this episode is because we've seen that many of these articles don't provide much-needed differentiation between dynamic and condenser microphones, or USB versus XLR interfaces. The result is a confusing mix of recommendations that leave many podcasters without a clear path forward.

We see this lack of clarity as an opportunity to step in and share our insights based on thorough research and extensive personal experience. Our mission is to help you make an informed decision when choosing the best microphone for your podcast needs. So, instead of just throwing out a bunch of names and features, we're here to guide you through the nuances, benefits, and drawbacks of each type of microphone and interface, so you can make a well-informed choice for your podcasting journey. Say goodbye to the confusion and welcome the clarity that our Podcasting Resources Guide promises to deliver.

Let's start by tackling the burning question: Does USB vs XLR still matter in 2023? It's a relevant question since selecting the right interface for your microphone is an essential aspect of your podcast setup.

XLR microphones are considered the professional standard, known for their solid build and exceptional audio quality. However, using an XLR microphone requires an audio interface and a boom arm to function effectively. While this adds to the overall setup, the result is superior audio capture.

On the other hand, USB microphones offer convenience, especially when it comes to travel, mobility, and various location setups. They're also increasingly popular for streaming as they don't require additional equipment. With recent advancements, there are now more high-quality USB microphone options available than ever before.

One thing to note is that USB microphones are typically designed for desktop use, meaning they are placed further away from the speaker. This could make them more prone to picking up noise and room reverb. Despite this drawback, USB microphones continue to be a popular choice for podcasters seeking a straightforward and user-friendly setup.

So, when choosing between USB and XLR, remember that it ultimately depends on your specific needs and priorities as a podcaster. Whether you opt for professional-grade audio quality with an XLR microphone or the ease of use and portability of a USB microphone, selecting the right interface is a crucial step in your podcasting journey.

Moving onto another crucial aspect of choosing your podcast microphone: Does microphone type still matter? The answer is yes, as different microphone types cater to specific podcast situations, offering unique advantages and limitations.

Dynamic microphones continue to produce the best audio quality for podcasters. They're especially suited for live interview shows, as they result in less cross-talk between hosts and guests. Although new advances in reverb cancellation algorithms are progressing, the golden standard dynamic microphones still reign supreme for most podcasters.

But keep in mind, dynamic microphones need to be close to the speaker, which means requiring a boom arm and audio interface. This provides excellent audio quality but may come across as a more complex setup.

Contrarily, condenser microphones can sit a little farther away on the desktop. However, this distance can lead to reverb and room noise, which may not deliver the desired radio-like broadcaster sound. That said, condenser microphones excel in streaming and voice-over work, and when used in a studio or treated room, they are excellent for podcasting.

However, condenser microphones are not ideal for interview-style shows due to the increased possibility of cross-talk between hosts and guests. For this reason, most podcast setups lean towards dynamic microphones.

In summary, microphone type does still matter, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of dynamic and condenser mics will help you make the best choice for your podcasting needs.

With all the information shared, now let's dive into our top recommendations for each category, along with the best use cases and situations where these mics shine:

First up are Dynamic Microphones: Ideal for live interviews, noisy environments, and focused audio capture.

Our pick for the Best Dynamic Budget Microphone is the Rode Pod Mic. Boasting a broadcast-grade design and a built-in pop filter, this microphone provides silky, professional-quality audio at an affordable price. A perfect choice for both beginner and experienced podcasters looking for a high-quality dynamic microphone without breaking the bank.

Our Pick for a Low-Cost Dynamic mic is the Audio-Technica AT 2005. A favorite of fellow podcasters, this dynamic mic delivers excellent audio quality and noise rejection. Ideal for non-soundproofed studios, it can be connected directly to a computer or a Zoom recorder via XLR, offering versatility through its combo USB and XLR capabilities.

Our Premium Dynamic mic pick: The Rode Procaster. An ideal choice for serious podcasters seeking the best in dynamic microphone technology. It's what our founder, Juergen, uses.

Now, let's talk about Condenser Microphones: Perfect for streaming, voice-over work, and podcasting in studio or well-treated room environments.

Our pick for Best Condenser is a Voiceover Microphone: The Rode NT1. A top choice for voice-over artists, the Rode NT1 Kit delivers exceptional audio quality in sound-treated spaces, making it an excellent choice for both voice-over work and podcasting.

Our Pick for getting the iconic "Neumann Sound" for Less is the TZ Stellar X2. The Stellar X2 offers Neumann-esque sound quality at a fraction of the cost, perfect for podcasters seeking a professional audio experience without breaking the bank.

Last up are Travel USB Microphones: Great for podcasters on the go or those seeking a user-friendly setup.

Juergen's choice for the Best Travel USB Mic is the Samson Go Mic Video - It's a Portable USB Microphone with an HD Webcam. A compact and portable option, this mic works well in most hotel rooms, providing impressive audio quality for podcasters on the move.

Our choice for Best High-End USB Condenser Microphone is the Rode NT-USB plus. It is a USB version of the renowned Rode NT, perfect for voice-over artists in sound-treated rooms or those traveling in search of a high-end USB microphone.

So there you have it. It's not the full list we have in the show notes, but I've shared our top recommendations for dynamic, condenser, and travel USB microphones, along with the ideal situations and use cases for each category. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each microphone type, you'll be able to make an informed decision and choose the perfect fit for your podcasting needs.

To explore more details and a comprehensive comparison table of all 20 plus microphones we considered, be sure to visit PodcastingResourcesGuide.com You'll find invaluable information to help you in your podcasting journey, along with links to our top picks and other recommendations.
Thank you for joining us on this episode!

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