5 Best USB Microphones For Podcasting (For all Budgets & Levels)

By  Sam Peiffer

In this episode you‘re going to discover:

  • What are the best USB microphones for podcasting?
  • What microphone should I use for podcasting?
  • How Many Mics do I need for a podcast?
  1. Rode Podcaster USB Microphone – $229
  2. Audio-Technica AT2020USBi – $199
  3. Rode NT- USB Microphone – $169
  4. Audio-Technica AT2005 – $79
  5. Shure MV51 Digital Microphone – $149

Here is the whole list of gear I talked about!

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Read Full Transcript

Welcome to the show. Today I want to talk about five best USB microphones for podcasting, and that's for all budgets and all levels. So be sure to listen to this episode if you are serious about starting your own podcast.

Lately I've been obsessing with the idea of improving my podcast and uploading daily episodes and everything, and it's a fun process and I enjoy it, really especially on this podcast here right now.

I am totally geeking out about this thing, and that's why I'm sharing with you today the best five USB microphones that you can find for podcasting.

So if this is the first episode on the show, go on your platform where you're listening right now. Go ahead, subscribe and leave a five star rating if you get value out of it and a review if you can. So what I'm going to cover in this episode are three things.

The first one, what are the best USB microphones for podcasting? What microphone should I use for podcasting, and how many mics do I need for a podcast? So let's get into this, right?

So you can use two kinds of microphones, right? If you're doing a fixed set-up, like where you have a table and a microphone and you have your notes and everything, that's one scenario. I talked about this in the last podcast episode.

You can go there and listen to it right now. Then you have the mobile one where you just record with your phone. This video is more for a fixed set-up, right? So you have a special room only dedicated for podcasting or something, right?

Or you want to level up your production quality and pump out content like crazy. So today, this episode is all about that.

So what I like to use are two different things, and I started first with the USB microphone. It was the Blue Yeti one, and it was OK. It didn't make it to the list today because it's a microphone that I think the quality is not the best.

It's definitely a little bit better than most microphones out there, but it didn't make it on the list because there are many better options, right? So you don't have to treat your room like crazy with soundproofing and panels, acoustic panels, and everything.

So that's one solution, USB, and I'm talking today specifically about USB, and that's another one.

So you have XLR microphones, microphones that need a audio interface or a preamp or a Phantom power with an audio interface with a preamp. So the Phantom power is just electricity, and it activates the microphone.

If you have USB, you just plug it into your laptop or computer, and it works. So you don't need all the extra equipment, and that's kind of cool, but the quality is not the best there.

So if you want real improvements in your audio quality and you want to get studio high production record label like quality, then go for an XLR.

But if you want convenience, like I talked in the last episode, if you want it easy to set up and just working all the time, then go for a USB version. The quality is about 80% of one of the XLR version. But yeah, that's convenient, right?

So if you're starting with your first microphone, go with something that fits your budget. That's very important. I have microphones starting at $79 in this comparison or in this, yeah, in this ranking. I have some microphones for 229, and I'm going to talk about each of them and what fits you best, right? So I make the ranking right now, and I start from the "versed microphone."

The last place, so the fifth place goes to the Sure MV51 digital microphone, and it costs $149. So this is a kind of Elvis looking like microphone, and it's on the fifth place because of the price first off, right? And because it's a condenser microphone, right?

A condenser microphone means nothing else than it's picking up more of the room, and it's more responsive. So if you are close to it, you get high base response and everything, but it's also picking up a lot of the room noise, and that's why it's on the lowest place, right?

But it looks very cool.

The next one is the Audio-Technica AT2005, and it costs only $79. This is an amazing microphone because it's a dynamic microphone. So a dynamic microphone comes in handy when your room is not treated.

So if you're doing it in your living room or in your kitchen or at your working desk or something and you don't want to have a lot of room noise, then go for the dynamic microphones, an F2 inside here. And actually the first place is a dynamic microphone, too, and it's one of the best I ever tried. So the Audio-Technica is amazing. Go for it.

But the design is not as good. So that's why it's only in the fourth place because it looks just like a stage microphone. But basically you can use any stage microphone or something that's working with USB. So go for it.

The third place goes to the Rode NT USB microphone, and this is an amazing microphone. Lots of friends that I have use this one for podcasting or even their YouTube videos, right?

So it comes with a stand and a cable and everything, and you just have to plug it in and it works. But also this is a condenser microphone, so it picks up much more room noise and reverb and everything.

So you have to make sure that you get very close to the microphone, right? So it's only at the third place because of the price, but the quality is amazing of this microphone, right? So when you get really close, it's good. It looks amazing, but it's $169, and I think that's kind of expensive for a dynamic microphone for podcasting, right?

A non dynamic microphone for podcasting. So what I like to do on set is using the one on the first position, if I would choose a USB microphone. Right now I am speaking into the Shure SM7B, but that's $400 or something, and it's an XLR and everything.

You need an interface and a booster and whatnot, right?

So the second place goes to the Audio-Technica AT2020 USBI, and it comes in at $199. I had this one a long, long time ago. It's an old microphone, and I had it in my vocal recording studio back then when I was singing and having my band and everything.

My first EP I recorded with this, and it's an amazing microphone, but you need a little bit of room treatments to make the sound really good because, again, it's a condenser microphone, and condensers are not very good in untreated rooms.

So my absolute recommendation, if you would ask me what microphone should I use for podcasting, especially when it comes to USB microphones, there's the king of podcasting right now, and it's the Rode Podcaster USB microphone.

It comes in at 229 bucks. That's okay for what it delivers. It has this bigger brother that's the XLR version of it that's called the Rode Procaster. It's basically the same microphone, but I had both here.

I tried a bunch of microphones for my podcast last year, and I had the Rode Podcaster, Procaster, Shure SM7B and a bunch of smaller microphones and the Blue Yeti and everything. I made a sound comparison. I chose for me the Shure SM7B, but yeah, that's another different beast, right?

So the Rode Podcaster was on the second place back then. Sorry, the Rode Procaster was in the second place there, and when it comes to USB microphones, I'll always choose the Rode Podcaster. So why is it on the first place?

First off, price is okay at 229. It's a dynamic microphone, so I don't have any room noise. I had, a couple of years, no treatment in my rooms and everything, and the Podcaster worked very good or the Shure SM7B, too, right?

So I can just go in the kitchen or something and record great episodes with those microphones because they're dynamic. But that also means that you have to go close to the microphone, and it will only pick your voice, right? So that's the main reason for that.

Last thing, when you have decided on which microphone you choose, I would always go for dynamic, right? So the last thing you need to know is how many mics do I need for a podcast, and that depends on how many people are speaking.

So if I am doing a podcast where it's just me, I would go with the Rode Podcaster and just record myself, or I would go with the Shure SM7B or something, and then I would just go with the most expensive, with the best I could find and just go from there, just one microphone.

So if I have a guest onboard and I want to record in the same room, I would go with the Rode Podcaster two times, and everybody needs his own microphone to get a really good amount of level inside the recording and everything so it sounds good, because we need to edit voices separately.

So if your guests are speaking louder than you and you're speaking a little bit lower, then you have to adjust it, right? So it doesn't become awkward when you're listening back to your show and everything, and you want to have great quality also, you need to split up each guest into it. You have to split up each guest into a separate audio track, right?

So if you have three guests or something, then you have obviously to use four microphones because it's you and your three guests.

If you're planning on doing a regular thing where you have four guests or three guests or something, then you need to have a microphone for each one. So that's where the Zoom H6 comes in, and it gives you four inputs for microphones that you can use.

If you're planning on having multiple guests often, then just go for the Audio-Technica AT2005 because it's the cheapest one today, and it's dynamic, and you can use it even outside and everything. You can have multiple ones for the price of the Rode Podcaster, right?

So that's what I would do if it's just me and the guest and it's in the same room. With one guest, just go with two Rode Podcasters or something.

If you are alone, just one Rode Podcaster. If it gets above two persons, I would go with something cheaper because let’s face it, you don’t have everything every time a bigger set like four people or something.

It makes sense because if you have one Rode Podcaster or something and then you have one AT2005 and two people are using the Audio-Technica and two the Rode one, the sound doesn’t match very good, right?

So just get the same microphone for every guest that you have. If you’re doing like a Zoom call kind of thing, it doesn’t matter.

If you’re doing interviews or show interviews on Skype or Zoom, just go for it. Get the best microphone. Make two separate tracks, and then go from there.

So I like to geek about podcasting right now because it’s a great way to generate traffic for my business and everything, and I linked the list in the show notes with all the gear that I have mentioned today.

After you have created and launched your own podcast and you want to generate some traffic, obviously you need to sell something. You need to launch a product or create a product or sell it, and the easiest way by doing that is by creating an online course and digital product, right?

So I have an upcoming workshop for you. I’m preparing it right now so you can join the waiting list.

As soon as you sign up for that, you’ll get an email where it says, „Hey, thank you for subscribing and everything. Here’s what to do next,“ and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Then if I’m done creating the workshop and preparing everything, I will notify you in as soon as we go live, you get a email, and then you can consume the whole content for free.

So that’s it for this episode. See you in the next one.

About the author

I'm the author of the Ecom Black Book. My passion is to help you make money by building a successful online business. In my free time, I share my valuable insights on my podcast and on YouTube.

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