The 10 Best Podcasting Mics to Instantly Improve Your Audio Game
September 28, 2021
It seems like everyone is getting in on the podcasting game. And the truth is, it’s never been easier to start a podcast! With the rise of Zoom, you can connect with individuals from practically anywhere in the world, record your conversation, and have it posted online just a few minutes later.
You can even do this for free. Most computers, and your cell phone, have built-in microphones. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Those built-in mics are notorious for poor quality. You might not notice it during your Zoom call, but your listeners will definitely pick up on it.
If you’re at all serious about your podcast, the first thing you should do is upgrade your mic. We’ve talked before about what you need in order to podcast from home. Today, we’re going to run through the 10 best podcasting mics available right now. These mics can be sorted into two main categories: USB mics and XLR mics.
USB Podcasting Mics
USB podcasting microphones are popular because of how easy they are to use, and their typically lower price points. While XLR microphones need to first be plugged into either an interface or a mixer before the signal can be sent to your computer for recording, USB mics simply plug directly into your computer, laptop, and in some cases right into your phone. No other equipment is required. Here are the top USB podcasting mics you can buy that will instantly improve the sound of your recordings.
#1. Shure MV5C Home Office Microphone
While not designed necessarily with podcasting in mind, the MV5C from Shure is still a perfect fit for beginner podcasters looking to upgrade their sound. With a lot of podcasters connecting with guests and co-hosts via video conferencing software like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, it makes a lot of sense that a microphone designed to work with those programs would also benefit your podcast. The MV5C, with its Speech Enhancement Mode, provides clear and consistent speech throughout your recordings while also helping to reduce room reverberations. It is also incredibly small with its own stand, so it can sit on your desk without taking up a ton of room and getting in the way of your work. And it’s compatible to work with both Zoom and Teams, making setup as simple as plugging it into your computer.
#2. Shure MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone
The MV5 and the MV5C look nearly identical, and the truth is they are very similar. But the MV5C was designed for conference calls from your computer (the C stands for conferencing). The MV5 has a few additional features. It can be connected not just to your computer, but also to your iOS devices for on-the-go recording. And it has several presets for both voice and instrument recording. If you are looking for an easy-to-use mic that can work both in the home office and on the road, then reach for the MV5 over the MV5C.
#3. Shure MV51 Digital Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
This hefty little mic can get the job done anywhere, any time. The MV51 comes with a variety of presets to make sure you sound your best, all controlled from a simple touch panel on the front of the mic. You also gain access to the free ShurePlus MOTIV app where you can record, monitor, and control your mic right from your computer or iOS device. The mic itself comes with a built-in kickstand, allowing you to prop this up on your desk. It can also be attached directly to a standard microphone stand, either a desk stand or a floor stand depending on your needs. And the all-metal construction means you can toss this in your bag and know that no matter how bumpy the ride it will work when you get to your destination.
#4. MV88 or MV88+ Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone
Our phones can take some incredible pictures and video right out of the box, but the audio has always been lacking. That changed with the MV88, a high-fidelity mic from Shure that plugged directly into any iOS device. This was a game-changer for anyone who had to record in the field when it was first introduced. And now, the MV88+ brings that same quality mic to computers via a USB output. The small, portable mic offers a ton of flexibility and the ability to customize your sound with the ShurePlus MOTIV app. Another nice bonus is the ability to change the pickup pattern. The cardioid pickup pattern will pick up your voice while cutting out sounds from behind the mic when you are alone. If you want to record a conversation with another person, you can switch it to the bi-directional (or figure-eight) pickup pattern. This will allow the mic to hear audio from the front and back, while reducing the sounds on either side of the mic. And as an extra bonus for this entry, if you are recording a lot of video on your phone you can grab the MV88+ Video Kit which comes with a tripod and is perfect for anyone who needs great audio while capturing video at the same time.
#5. Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone
With podcast in the name, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Shure MV7 has quickly become a go-to mic for podcasters everywhere. Released in 2020, the MV7 is one of the most flexible microphones you can buy. Beginners can buy this microphone with the confidence that, as they grow the rest of their setup, this mic will continue to perform for them. That’s because this is a dual USB/XLR microphone. That’s right, it has BOTH output types. When you use the USB output from this mic, you gain access to a ton of additional settings and features thanks to the ShurePlus MOTIV desktop app that will fine-tune how your mic sounds. On the mic itself, there’s a headphone jack and a touch panel to control your mic levels and headphone volume. There’s also a mute button to toggle your sound on and off.
XLR Podcasting Mics
While USB mics are easy to use, it’s the XLR podcasting mics that the professionals gravitate towards. XLR mics typically have better sound quality, and can fit into more advanced setups. Another advantage of XLR over USB is the ability to record multiple mics. You can’t plug two USB mics into a computer and record both at the same time. This means that if you are trying to record yourself with a guest or some co-hosts, you’re going to need an XLR output and an interface or mixer with the appropriate number of XLR inputs. Here are the top XLR podcasting mics that can help take your sound to the next level.
#6. Shure MV7X Podcast Microphone
This is a brand-new version of the previously mentioned MV7 mic. However, unlike the MV7 microphone which has a dual-USB/XLR output, the MV7X only has an XLR output. This allows you to record multiple guests at the same time. This is a great option for shows that record multiple people all in the same room together!
#7. Shure SM58 Vocal Microphone
Chances are good that the last time you saw someone singing or speaking at a live event, they were using a Shure SM58. These microphones are so iconic they’ve been turned into an emoji! 🎤 🎤 🎤
Everyone from rock stars to politicians has used the SM58. And while the mic is best known for live performances, it is also an excellent choice for your podcast. It’s easy to use, very affordable, and sounds amazing. What more do you need?
#8. Shure SM57 Instrument Microphone
I know, I know. Why would you pick up a microphone designed for instruments when you need it for your voice? Well, the truth is this is one of the most versatile mics on the market. It is designed to withstand the high-pressure sound made by instruments and amplifiers, but it works wonders for vocals as well. If you’re looking for a microphone that can pull double-duty as an instrument mic, it’s hard to do better than the SM57.
#9. Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal Microphone
When we talk about podcasts, we’re usually thinking about audio-only. But many podcasts also put video of their recordings up on YouTube. If your mic is going to be in frame, you want to make sure it looks good, and there are very few mics that look cooler than the Super 55. It’s a classical look in a modern package that also happens to sound incredible. Your voice will sound silky smooth, and the supercardioid directional pattern helps to cut out unwanted sounds from your environment.
#10. Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone
When it comes to podcasting mics, the Shure SM7B is the cream of the crop. When you look at the biggest podcasts in the world, the ones that can afford to buy any microphone they want, they turn to the SM7B. Why? Because the SM7B is designed to deliver perfect vocals every time. It’s perfectly calibrated to pick up the human voice, but also cuts out unwanted background noise. And even though it’s the most expensive mic on this list, it is far from the most expensive microphone out there. Coming in at just $399, it is a steal compared to the prices of some other high-end mics.
Interface for XLR Mics
While there are many advantages to using an XLR mic, the one potential downside is that you cannot plug these directly into your computer. Instead, you’ll need either an interface or a mixer. If you plan on just recording yourself with a single mic, then the Shure MOTIV MVi Digital Audio Interface is a perfect option. You can connect your XLR mic directly to the interface, which then sends the audio to either your computer or cell phone for recording. If you are planning on recording with others, like a co-host or a guest, then you will need something like the ZEDi Range mixers from Allen & Heath. These will allow you to plug up to 4 XLR mics into the mixer and they have a USB output to send the audio to your computer plus XLR outputs to send the audio to an external recording device or speakers. For more on the ZEDi mixer and how to get set up for your board, check out this video from our YouTube channel.
You don’t need to settle for bad audio on your podcast. Chances are, your audience won’t. If you are just starting out and will not be recording in the same room with other people, then a USB microphone would be an excellent option. If you are recording in-person with others, or are looking for that professional-quality sound, then you’ll want to reach for an XLR mic. Either way, the microphones on this list are sure to cut out the unwanted noise from your recordings and help you sound better than ever.
Categorized in: Shure
This post was written by Mainline Marketing