How do you choose the right type of microphone to record your podcast? With hundreds of microphones to choose from, mic selection can be very confusing and intimidating. Size, shape and look all play a role in some people’s decision when choosing a mic. Sure aesthetics are nice, but when choosing a microphone the most important thing is how it sounds. Did you know that some people record directly into the microphone on their smart phones? Don’t do that. The goal of this article is to explain the difference between dynamic mic’s and condenser mic’s and give you links to a few microphones that I recommend for podcasters.
Call me an audio snob, but I think if you’re getting into podcasting the quality of your audio needs to be great. It’s 2020 and there’s really no excuse for bad sounding audio. Plus, with no visual accompaniment to rely on, your sound needs to be clean and not turn people off. Content is most important, but audio quality is a close second. The good news is that modern technology has made some really great advances in audio in the last 6-7 years. With a few hundred dollars and the knowledge you’re gaining from this email, you should be able to achieve great audio, easily, and without breaking the bank. Don’t go and record some crap on your phone in an echoey room, and then wonder why your podcast is failing. More on acoustic treatment for your room next week, but for now, spend a little money, do a little research, buy the right mic and you’ll be on your way to sounding great.
Microphone Selection – Dynamic and Condenser Microphones
The two main types of microphones we’re going to be focusing on for the sake of this article are dynamic microphones and condenser microphones. I’m going to give you a little background on condenser mic’s and then solely recommend dynamic microphones. I don’t want you using condenser microphones for podcasting.
Condenser microphones are typically not found in broadcast studios. This is partly because they’re very sensitive microphones that pick up a lot of room tone, ambience and microphone bleed. Almost always if 2 people are recording a podcast next to each other using condenser mic’s, the microphones bleed into one another. Your track will get a little bit of your partners voice laid into it. They also pick up a lot of room reflection, creating reverb in your recordings. Some of these issues can be reduced or fixed in post-production, but it’s a pain in the ass and time consuming. Lastly, they require phantom power. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry about it for now. You don’t need phantom power with dynamic microphones.
Condenser mic’s are often color the sound of the voice or instrument being recorded. This is why they’re popular in music studios. In music you actually want some room tone. Think of The Beatles and all of the other famous bands that recorded at Abbey Road studios. The live room at Abbey Road is legendary, it sounds warm and has a specific character to it’s tone. In this situation you want that room tone because it adds flavor to your sound. This is great for music because you can achieve uniquely colored tones, based upon the room you’re recording in. But, bad for podcasting and broadcast where the goal is to isolate the sound of your voice. Also, the cost of condenser microphones is an issue. The really good ones can cost high hundreds to thousands of dollars. The cheap ones sound like crap. We could really get into the weeds with condenser microphones but I’m going to stop here because I don’t want you using them for podcasting. They’re expensive, pick up too much room tone, create bleed and will color your voice too much. I’ve said my peace on condenser microphones, but I know a lot of you are looking at that Blue Yeti microphone that gets marketed to podcasters. Don’t buy it, that microphone sucks, trust me.
Dynamic microphones are the go-to microphones for podcasting because of how they’re built. They do an excellent job of mitigating room noise and ambient sound. They’re rugged and can often times be bumped or accidentally dropped on the ground and won’t break. Dynamic microphones are also good for protection during robberies or home invasions. You can hit someone over the heads with these things. They’re built like tanks!
Dynamic microphones are very rich bodied and are meant to pick up the sound that’s coming from directly in front of them, perfect for voice. If you go into any major radio station or professional broadcast/podcast studio across the world, chances are they will be using dynamic microphones.
Dynamic Microphones I recommend:
Shure SM58 Approximately $100 – Great microphone for the price. In fact SM58’s can be seen on stages all across the world.
Shure SM7b – Approximately $400 – The pinnacle of broadcasting microphones
Rode Podcaster USB Microphone – Approximately $229
Audio-Technica 2100 USB Microphone – Approximately $63 – Great microphone for the price point. The quality is surprisingly good.
Heil PR40 – Approximately $399 – Another top of the line podcasting microphone
If you want to chat with us about choosing the right microphone or want to ask us any other podcast related questions, fill out the contact form on our website: https://thepodcasthaven.com/contact-us/
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