Picking the right microphone is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your podcast. While no microphone can save a bad performance on the part of the host, the wrong microphone can ruin a good performance. And the right microphone for you depends greatly on your unique situation.
(Best overall) Podcasters who want an affordable, easy-to-use mic
Podcasters wanting a professional XLR microphone at an affordable price
Professional podcasters needing a high-quality mic that won’t pick up background noise
Podcasters and YouTubers needing a lapel mic for interviews and on-location recordings
Interviewers needing a handheld microphone to pass from person to person
Budget-conscious podcasters looking for an inexpensive entry-level microphone
How to Choose the Best Microphone for Your Podcast
The podcast microphone that’s best for you depends greatly on how you intend to use it. You should consider how your microphone will connect to your other podcast equipment, whether you’ll be using a computer, smartphone, or other device to record with, what your podcast budget is, and your level of experience. We looked at dozens of podcasting microphones and chose the best ones to fit specific needs using particular criteria.
- Price: We considered how much each podcasting microphone costs.
- Build and design quality: We looked at the construction quality of the microphone itself and how it fits into your podcast setup.
- Ease of use: A podcasting microphone should be easy to use, even if it has a lot of functions.
- Features and functions: We considered how each microphone captures sound, how they connect to recording equipment, and the product specifications.
- Software/Platform compatibility: You’ll want to choose a microphone that works with the software and computer platforms you already use.
- Customer support: We considered how you’re able to get the help you may need when you have a customer or technical issue.
- User reviews: We also looked at what customers have to say online about each microphone.
At the end of our research, we determined that the popular Blue Yeti podcasting microphone is the overall best one you can buy. It may not be the peak in audio recording technology, but the quality of sound it produces, the simplicity of its operation, and versatility makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking to start a podcast.
Blue Yeti: Best Overall Microphones for Podcasting
The Blue Yeti is often the first microphone out of most podcaster’s mouths when they make a recommendation for a podcasting microphone. And it’s a well-earned recommendation. The Blue Yeti is a solidly-constructed, easy to use microphone that yields high-quality sound every time it’s used, which makes it a great choice for both novice podcasters and veterans alike.
Blue Yeti Pricing
Blue lists the price for the Yeti at $129, however, you can usually find it for a few dollars less on online retailers like Amazon. And you can pick them up in retail stores like BestBuy and GameStop for about $100. It’s a relatively affordable choice for your podcast.
Blue Yeti Features
The Blue Yeti’s design has become an icon in the podcasting microphone industry. Plus, this particular microphone lets you record multiple voices in the same room, which makes it versatile. The USB port is convenient because you should be able to use this with your computer, laptop, camera, or other device to record audio.
Build and Design
The Blue Yeti is a standing 11-inch microphone that fits nicely on any desk or other table top. And since you can get it in 14 different colors, you can choose one that fits the look and feel of your podcasting studio. Its solid, sturdy construction makes for a long-lasting device that you can count on working for years to come.
The Yeti is also the only podcast microphone in our buying guide that lets you capture sound in multiple pattern modes. Blue calls it “Tri-capsule technology,” and it allows you to choose to record sounds coming from various angles around the microphone, including cardioid (from the front only), stereo (from the left and right side), omnidirectional (all around the microphone), and bidirectional (from the front and back). This makes it convenient if you have multiple voices to record and just one microphone.
You connect your Yeti to your computer through its USB port. This is a nice touch because it means you don’t need an audio interface to record audio with the Blue Yeti like you do with podcast microphones that connect via XLR. This makes the Yeti much more accessible for podcasters that don’t have a lot of technical know-how when it comes to setting up audio equipment.
Ease of Use
Even first-time podcasters should be able to figure out how the Blue Yeti microphone works. All it takes is plugging it into your computer and selecting it as an input source in your podcasting software. The user manual only takes a few minutes to read through, and once you’ve done that, you should have all the info you need to use it to its fullest potential.
Blue offers several avenues through its website for you to get both customer and technical support. The Yeti support page features step-by-step instructions on how to set up and use your Yeti microphone, along with brief tutorials of popular recording software as well as some FAQs and troubleshooting tips.
More in-depth articles about various Blue devices can be found in Blue’s general support page. If you can’t get the answers you need there, you can contact the company by submitting a help ticket, sending an email, or even calling customer support by phone. Blue’s customer support team is available between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Pacific time.
Microphone and Performance
- Power Required/Consumption: 5V 150mA
- Sample Rate: 48 kHz
- Bit Rate: 16-bit
- Capsules: 3 Blue-proprietary 14mm condenser capsules
- Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Max SPL: 120dB (THD: 0.5% 1kHz)
- Dimensions (extended in stand): 4.72″ (12cm) x 4.92″(12.5cm) x 11.61″(29.5cm)
- Weight (microphone): 1.2 lbs. (0.55 kg)
- Weight (stand): 2.2 lbs. (1 kg)
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Power Output (RMS): 130 mW
- THD: 0.009%
- Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 22 kHz
- Signal to Noise: 100dB
What Blue Yeti is Missing
Though connecting directly to your computer via USB is easy and convenient, for many podcasters the USB connection is limiting in terms of compatibility with other recording devices, sound clarity, and professional appeal. If you like the Blue Yeti and want to bring in the benefits of an XLR connection (plus more), you may want to consider the Yeti Pro.
Blue Yeti Reviews
At the time of this writing, the average user score for this product was 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon with more than 15,000 reviews. Perfect 5-star reviews accounted for 77% of all reviews. Users praised how easy the Yeti is to use for both beginner and veteran alike. The sound quality was universally praised as the best you can get from a USB microphone. Almost all the complaints on Amazon had to do with units that didn’t work out of the box, or stopped working within a year of purchase. However, those were in the minority.
Rode PodMic: Best XLR Podcast Microphone
As its name suggests, Rode created the PodMic specifically with podcasters in mind. The PodMic is simple to set up and use and captures near-perfect quality audio. It’s also the best XLR podcasting microphone in its price range.
Rode PodMic Pricing
The MSRP for the PodMic listed by Rode is $150. However, when we went shopping online for this product, we never found it being sold for more than $99. This puts it in the lower end of the price range of our best overall pick: the Blue Yeti.
Rode PodMic Features
Long time podcasters will love both the simplicity and power the PodMic provides. Its sleek look, powerful recording ability, and the crisp, clear recordings makes it an excellent choice for podcasters who are serious and passionate about their endeavors.
Build and Design
The PodMic’s design is reminiscent of classic radio station microphones, but made for the 21st century. It’s heavier than it looks—a dense 2 pounds—but it packs a lot of power in its all-metal small frame. It contains an internal pop filter that eliminates a lot of the background noise and volume spikes that often come with recording podcasts.
One thing to note about the PodMic is that while it will work with any podcast recording software or device you happen to own, it’s designed to be a part of the RodeCaster Pro Podcast Production Studio. This is a physical mixer and audio interface that you can use to control microphone and headphone levels, program a sound board, and monitor your podcast recording as it’s happening. Additionally, you’ll have to purchase an accessory like a tripod or a swing arm to use the PodMic, as it doesn’t include any mounting options.
Ease of Use
If you’re new to podcasting, the PodMic might not be the ideal place to start. This microphone, while simple for audio veterans, might be a little too much for a first-timer to handle. Unlike the Yeti, this microphone is not a plug-and-play device and requires in-depth knowledge of some of the finer aspects of audio production. For example, this microphone needs an audio interface, so you can’t just use a USB plug to get started with recording.
Rode’s support page is divided into four tabs: FAQs is where you’ll find detailed answers to common questions and issues. Request a Service allows you to receive a shipping label by email so you can mail in your PodMic in for repairs. Where to buy, shows you where all the local Rode dealers are in your area. And Contact Support, gives you the phone number and email address you can use to reach out to the company directly.
Acoustic & Electrical
- Acoustic Principle: Dynamic
- Polar Pattern:
- Frequency Range: 0Hz ~ 20kHz
- Output Connection: XLR
- Output Impedance: 320Ω
- Sensitivity: -57.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (1.60mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz
- Phantom Power: Not required
- Color: Black
- Weight: 937g
- Dimensions: 172 x 109 x 62
- Compatible Rode Accessories: PSA1
What Rode PodMic is Missing
The PodMic connects to recording devices exclusively through an XLR connection. This means it has no ability to connect to a computer via USB. Therefore, if you want to record sound captured through the PodMic on your computer, you’ll have to buy and set up an audio interface. This is a big downside for podcasters that want to keep their equipment to a minimum.
Rode PodMic Reviews
Unlike products like the Blue Yeti, which has more than 15,000 Amazon reviews, the Rode PodMic only has more than 80. While the number of voices is far fewer, the user satisfaction is high. This product has a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon, with the perfect 5-star rating eating up 89% of all reviews. Every aspect of the microphone was praised, from it’s solid construction, to its amazing sound quality, and great value for the price.
Shure SM7B: Best Podcast Microphone for Professional Podcasters
If you’re going to sink a lot of money and time into your podcast, the Shure SM7B is an excellent choice. It contains the most advanced sound capture technology of any podcast microphone on the market today. It is the microphone of choice among top podcasts in the world, including The Joe Rogan Experience.
Shure SM7B Pricing
With a $400 price tag, the Shure SM7B is the most expensive podcasting microphone in this buyer’s guide. However, if you’re committed to a long-term, high-quality, professional-level show, it’s worth the investment.
Shure SM7B Features
The Shure SM7B is designed to give you a clear, crisp recording each time you’re in the studio. It’s probably better for laying down voice-over work than recording a hobby podcast, but if you’re looking for top quality, this is where you’ll find it. You’ll need to invest in some audio knowledge to get up and running, but for professionals, the Shure SM7B is a top option.
Build and Design
As you would expect from a podcast microphone at this price, it has a lot of built-ins, including an internal shock mount and internal pop filter. Its thick foam muzzle means that you won’t record things like electromagnetic hums and room tone. All of this results in the cleanest, crispest, clearest sound you’re likely to get from any podcast microphone on the market today. It also means that you don’t have to spend extra money on external filters and stabilizers for your studio.
Ease of Use
Although this is a professional level device, you don’t need to be an audio genius to use it. However, it does require at least some basic knowledge of audio interfaces, gain adjustments, and other audio-centric production topics. If you’re still new to podcasting, you might want to try learning on something a little less formidable.
If you ever need assistance with your Shure SM7B, the company provides free, downloadable user guides, brochures, and spec sheets to help with basic issues. You can also submit a help ticket through its website for technical troubleshooting. If neither of those options get you what you need, you can call its toll-free support phone number. However, if your unit needs a technician’s repair, you must send it to Shure directly, as it has no local service centers or authorized dealers for repairs.
- Type: Dynamic
- Frequency Response: 50 to 20,000 Hz
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Electromagnetic Hum Sensitivity (Typical, Equivalent SPL/milliOersted): 60 Hz: 11 dB 500 Hz: 24 dB 1 kHz: 33 dB
- Impedance: 150 ohms for connection to microphone inputs rated at 19 to 300 ohms
- Output Level (at 1,000 Hz): Open Circuit Voltage: – 59.0 dB (1.12 mV) 0 dB = 1 volt per Pascal
- Switches: Bass rolloff and mid-range emphasis: Slotted response selector switches
- Cartridge Shock Mount: Internal air-suspension shock and vibration isolator
- Microphone Connector: Three-pin professional audio (XLR)
- Swivel Assembly: Integrated, captive nut for ease of attachment to stand, fits 5/8 inch–27 thread
- Polarity: Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 relative to pin 3
- Case: Dark gray enamel aluminum and steel case with dark gray foam windscreen
- Net Weight: 765.4 grams (1 lb., 11 oz.)
What Shure SM7B is Missing
While the Shure SM7B is the closest to the perfect podcasting microphone you can buy, it is missing a couple of features found in other products. The most notable missing piece is a USB connection method. However, Shure sells an X2U adapter that allows you to connect the SM7B to your computer via USB at a cost of $99.
Shure SM7B Reviews
With more than 400 reviews on Amazon, the Shure SM7B gets a solid 4.8 out of 5 stars rating, making it one of the highest rated podcasting microphones around. The sound quality of recordings was the most highly praised aspect of the SM7B, with many reviews proclaiming it the best they’ve ever heard. Other common praises included the microphone’s sturdy build and professional-level performance. The few negative reviews tend to focus on users who felt the microphone, while good, wasn’t worth the $400 price tag.
Rode smartLav+: Best Lavalier Microphone for Podcasting
A lavalier microphone (often called a lav mic) can be a very useful asset in your podcasting toolbox, and the Rode smartLav+ is a quality choice. You can easily clip this portable microphone onto a guest’s shirt, take on field trips out of the studio, or have it as a backup in case your primary podcast mic fails.
You can pick up a smartLav+ for about $80, which is a bit less than most podcast microphones. Compared to other lav mics on the market, it comes in at about half the price, making this an affordable on-the-go option.
The smartLav+ is plug-and-play device that requires no more setup than clipping to your shirt and plugging it into a smartphone, tablet, or computer. If your phone doesn’t have an audio jack, though, you’ll need to get an adapter.
Build and Design
The straightforward design of the smartLav+ is one of its greatest strengths. It’s simply a lav mic connected by a two foot kevlar-reinforced cord to an AUX connector that you can plug into any recording device with a 3.5 mm microphone or headphone port. So, this will work with most smartphones and tablets, and many cameras and other video recording equipment.
Even though the AUX connection is convenient, it could be considered a negative for Apple users. Because Apple moved away from AUX headphone jacks in favor of their lightning cable technology several years ago, you’ll have to buy an AUX-to-lightning cable adapter to use it on any iPhone made after 2016.
Ease of Use
Arguably the best thing about the smartLav+ is the simplicity of its design. Anyone who picks up this podcast microphone will instinctively know how to use it. Simply plug it into a computer or smartphone headphone jack, launch your recording software and start talking. You’re really only limited by the device or software you use to record it with.
smartLav+ is made by Rode, the same manufacturer as PodMic and has identical customer service as that podcast microphone.
- Acoustic Principle: Permanently Polarized Condenser
- Active Electronics: JFET
- Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
- Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Output Impedance: 3k Ω Typical
- Signal to noise Ratio: 67 dB
- Equivalent Noise: 27 dB Typical
- Maximum SPL: 110 dB
- Sensitivity: -35dB (17.8mV @94dB SPL)
- Dynamic Range: 83dB Typical
- Power Requirements: Powered from iPhone TRRS socket (2.7V)
- Output Connection: TRRS Output
What smartLav+ is Missing
The smartLav+ is an excellent podcasting microphone for many situations, but its small size and low-tech nature means it’s not an ideal pick for your regular studio mic. It simply can’t include the technology necessary to cancel out noise like the Shure SM7B does, nor can it change polar patterns like the Blue Yeti. So, while it’s good for what it’s designed to do, there’s no way it can match the sound quality of the other podcasting microphones in this buying guide.
The smarLav+ has more than 1,800 user reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, 64% of which are 5 out of 5 star ratings. Buyers wrote of their surprise at the high-quality sound captured by such a small microphone. They also praised how easy it is to use, and its convenience to use when they’re away from the studio. Negative reviews tended to focus around the Rode recording app being substandard, rather than the microphone itself.
Samson Q2U: Best Handheld Microphone for Podcasting
There will be times throughout your podcast career when a handheld microphone like the Samson Q2U will come in handy. This podcasting microphone can be useful for live-audience performances, a spare microphone for in-studio guests, or a portable unit for on-the-road recordings.
Samson Q2U Pricing
At just $59, the Samson Q2U is much less expensive than most of the other podcast microphones in our buyer’s guide. That doesn’t necessarily translate to an inferior device or recording. Its affordability makes it a decent choice for an entry-level podcasting mic.
Samson Q2U Features
The classic design of the handheld microphone makes this podcasting microphone easy to use, but it’s also an aesthetic you might want. The mini tripod is also simple to set up and use.
Build and Design
At first glance, the Samson Q2U looks like a garden variety handheld microphone. The big difference is that in the bottom there are dual output ports for USB and XLR cords. It is the only microphone in our buyers guide to have this dual compatibility. This makes it ideal for podcasting setups that use multiple recording devices with different connection types. There’s also a headphone jack on the bottom of the mic, which is great for monitoring sound levels from both your microphone and computer.
This podcasting microphone comes with a mini tripod that turns it into a small table/desktop microphone. That, along with its price, makes it a good consideration for podcasts that are just starting out or have limited space. Additionally, its compact nature makes it a good choice for a spare microphone that can be tucked away until it’s needed.
Ease of Use
Its familiar form makes this podcasting microphone intuitive to use—even for first time podcasters. While you should always read the instruction manual of your new podcasting equipment, it’s highly likely that you’d be able to use this device easily if you decided to skip it. It’s ready to use as soon as you’ve plugged it in and launched your podcasting software.
The Support page on Samson’s website gives you access to a large library of informative articles, FAQs, how-to guides, PDF user manuals, and more. If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for there, you can submit a help request via an online form or call their customer service number. Samson’s customer service is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.
- Element Type: Dynamic
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid (unidirectional)
- Frequency Response: 50Hz–15kHz
- Sensitivity: -54dBV/Pa
- Max. SPL: 148dB SPL
- Bit Depth: Up to 16-bit
- Sample Rate: 44.1kHz/48kHz
- Digital Output: Mini USB
- Analog Output: XLR
- Headphone Output: 1/8″ (3.5mm)
- Microphone Switch: On/Off (USB and XLR audio output)
- Product Dimensions: 7.5″ (190mm) x 2.2″ (55mm) diameter
- Product Weight: 0.7lb (0.32kg)
What Samson Q2U is Missing
The one big downside of the Samson Q2U is that it only has one polar pattern—cardioid. This means that it will only capture sound from a single direction in front of the mic. This is fine enough for a handheld mic, but other podcasting microphones like the Blue Yeti allow you to switch between a cardioid pattern, a bi-directional, an omni-directional, and a stereo pattern, so you can choose which best suits your recording situation. For example, if you have a group of people sitting around a table and just this microphone, you have to have each person pass around the handheld mic.
Samson Q2U Reviews
The Samson Q2U gets more than 650 user reviews on Amazon scores an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Users that left a positive review often pointed to its good sound quality, ease of use, and low price as its prime selling points. There was also a recurring theme of podcasters, streamers, and other creatives claiming this microphone as the perfect fit for their channels and shows.
SOONHUA Condenser Microphone: Best Budget Podcasting Microphone
If you have the itch to podcast but have a shoestring budget to make it happen, the SOONHUA Condenser Microphone is an excellent choice. You can get it for less than $20 and use it with any computer and even many smartphones. It yields excellent sound quality for its size and price.
SOONHUA Condenser Microphone Pricing
The official SOONHUA website lists the Condenser Microphone at $42. However, at the time of this writing, the seller has it listed for $20. Furthermore, you may be able to find it for even less on Amazon, making it affordable to podcasts with even the smallest budgets.
SOONHUA Condenser Microphone Features
This product is as basic as a podcasting microphone can be. It’s small, lightweight, and its operation is as simple as plugging it in and talking. You won’t find as many features included on the SOONHUA podcasting mic as others in this buyer’s guide, though.
Build and Design
Standing at a maximum of 10-inches tall, and weighing in at just 8.8 ounces, this the smallest, lightest, and most portable podcasting microphone in our buying guide. It has a built-in mini tripod that’s great for small desks, kitchen counters, or anywhere else where space is a premium. Its small stature also makes it easy to put away and store when you’re not recording.
This microphone connects to your computer or phone through its microphone or headphone jack. If your computer only has one aux port for both, you can use the included Y-splitter to connect both your microphone and headphones.
Ease of Use
There isn’t much to this budget podcasting microphone. Once it’s out of the box, all you have to do is plug it into your computer, fire up your recording software, and you’re ready to podcast. Because there are no special drivers or plugins to install, it’s the definition of plug-and-play.
If you ever have a problem with this budget condenser mic, you can contact the company via email, and through their social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. There is a phone number listed on their website with service hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. However, it’s a toll-number to China, which can inflate your phone bill very quickly.
- Model: SH-666
- Sensitivity: -55dB±2dB
- Pick up Pattern: Omnidirectional
- Impedance: ≤2.2KΩ
- Operation Voltage:1.5V
- Frequency Response: 50Hz -16KHz
- Cord Length: approx. 2m<
What SOONHUA Condenser Microphone is Missing
This budget podcast mic connects to your computer through an AUX port, much like the Rode smartLav+, so it’s somewhat limited in the devices it can connect to. While you can use it with any device that has a headphone jack, you’re out of luck with Apple products like the iPhone and iPad, unless you buy a converter which costs more than the microphone itself.
SOONHUA Condenser Microphone Reviews
Users who bought this podcasting microphone from Amazon were generally satisfied with their purchase. At the time of this writing, it has an average score of 3.5 out of 5 stars. A recurring theme among the positive reviews was that the quality of the recordings was surprisingly good for such an inexpensive device. The most common complaint was getting a unit that either didn’t work when it arrived or stopped working after a few weeks. So, it’s a good idea to hold on to the original packaging and two-year warranty card.
The Blue Yeti was an easy choice as the best podcasting microphone. It strikes the delicate balance between easy usability, solid design, sound quality, and price. Any podcaster, from those who have yet to record episode one to podcast production veterans, can make excellent use of this microphone.