Short Guide To The 3 Best Microphones For Podcasts
Posted on 10th May 2020 at 17:50
About the Author – Serena Gay – founder and managing director of Made4U Podcasts
Serena founded Made4U Podcasts in 2018 after a career spent in radio and TV in the UK with the BBC, and in Germany with DW TV.
She has many years' of experience writing and voicing well-researched and engaging material, and developed her social media marketing skills managing companies in the UK and Germany.
Laymen's language advice
If you’re doing your microphone research, you’ll be reading lots of detailed articles with jargon phrases like “cardioid (unidirectional) pickup pattern, high-quality A/D converter with a 16-bit, 48kHz sampling rate and 50Hz–15kHz frequency response”.
This is all good and fine for audio geeks who understand what cardioid, Hz, bits and converters actually mean, but for most of us, we just want a mic that is reliable and which produces a good sound.
I’ve always wondered why mics are given such awful names (see below). Why can’t they be called the Samson “Delilah” or the Audio-Technica “Chrystal Trill”? Instead, we are faced with a host of utterly unmemorable reams of letters and numbers. Audio company PR execs – please take note!
But before we start...
Without going into biblical amounts of scientific data, we need to go over the difference between a dynamic and a condenser mic – because that will be the first thing to baffle you as you make the big microphone purchasing decision.
A dynamic mic is a good starting mic for a new podcaster – it is robust and gives you acceptable audio for a lower price and works well in a recording space that is not fully sound-proofed.
The differently configured condenser mic will give your voice a better sound quality and is more sensitive to the noises around it. It is more expensive, but it will make you sound fabulous.
Let’s cut to the chase – which mics do we recommend?
For people new to podcasting and with a limited budget, the Samson Q2U is a brilliant choice.
It is currently retailing in the UK at just over £63.
It is a dynamic mic and it can be plugged straight into your laptop or you can use the XLR feature (the three prongs at the base of the mic which plug into an audio interface).
(Quick explanation of an audio interface. It is a useful piece of kit which allows you to connect professional microphones or instruments to a computer and in so doing gives you a better sound quality than a mic simply plugged into your computer.)
We like the XLR feature because it produces a crisper sound, but of course this requires that you purchase an audio interface as well, which is a subject for another blog.
If you need a good and portable mic outside your usual recording space, the Rode SC6-L is Made4U Podcast’s microphone of choice – best used when you’re out at an event for example and don’t want to be weighed down by heavy kit.
This little beauty is far from heavy. It will fit into your pocket and works perfectly with an iphone.
You can buy it for £166 if you shop around.
The two tiny lavalier mics can be pinned to clothing and the sound quality is excellent.
Each feeds into a connecter to which you also plug in headphones.
It’s not cheap but it’s nifty.
Finally, for a really top class mic that produces a wonderful, rich sound, Made 4U Podcasts is a huge fan of the Rode NT1A currently available for £166.
We’ve been using it for some years and it has never let us down.
It is a condenser mic and as such, picks up every last sound going. From distant bird tweets to approaching planes, from gurgling radiators to the neighbour’s washing machines.
So, the audio editing to clean up a recording in a home or office recording space can be time consuming – but the final professional sound is all worth it.
How we help
Made4U Podcasts launches and produces podcasts for businesses and organisations. We also provide podcast training courses for in-house teams and on how to be a podcast guest. We are based in Gloucestershire in the UK.
Contact us anytime for more information on how we can get your podcast off the ground at serena@made4U-podcasts.co.uk.
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