Podcasts are the in thing now. One reason they’re so popular is that the barrier to entry is so low. All you need is your content, a good microphone, and the will to see it through. Of course, if you’d like to take it a step further, you can get some other gear, but a good podcast microphone alone should suffice for most beginners.
However, if you take a quick look at the microphone market, you may find some outrageous prices. This is because brands like to push their most expensive products the most.
As a beginner, you may be tempted to buy any mic, but not all microphones are suitable for podcasting. You may also be completely put off by the prices and decide to postpone or quit your podcasting journey. The good news is that there are so many budget-friendly podcast microphones with great audio quality that you can use.
This article will show you some of the best budget podcast microphones available today. These microphones should kick off your podcasting career and set you on the path to podcasting success.
Before we begin, I should point out that most of the best podcast microphones here are USB microphones, so it’s only fair that we talk about them a little.
It is common for users to think that USB mics are cheap knock-offs or inferior to other types of mics. This may have been true in the past, but not so much anymore. A USB microphone is a high-quality microphone with a built-in audio interface that allows you to connect it to your computer via USB.
The result is significantly superior because you record without using your computer’s built-in sound card. It also has the necessary amplification to ensure that the signal is amplified to the appropriate level. Like any other microphone, USB microphones act as transducers, turning sound (mechanical wave energy) into audio (electrical energy).
Within the USB mic’s built-in audio interface, analog audio signals are amplified and transformed into digital signals before being output over a USB connection.
When you buy your own microphone, you won’t need to buy a separate sound card. Your computer will already have a built-in sound card for playing back sound. For recording, the USB mic has the equivalent of a sound card, making them a great starter microphone. USB connectivity comes in a range of shapes and sizes.
The following are examples of USB microphone connections:
At just under $100, the Blue Yeti is a budget microphone that delivers great quality recordings in everything from professional podcasting to music recording and gaming. Using Blue VO!CE software, you can now create the perfect broadcast vocal sound and entertain your audience with enhanced effects, advanced voice modulation, and HD audio samples.
The Blue Yeti has four pickup patterns which include the cardioid mode for recording directly in front of the microphone, stereo mode for capturing a broad and realistic sound image, an omnidirectional mode for recording live performances or a multi-person podcast, and finally, the bidirectional mode for recording a duet or two-person interview from both the front and back of the microphone. The Blue Yeti is rather heavy, but users don’t seem to mind as it has been the most popular USB mic in the last several years
Despite being made by a gaming firm, the HyperX QuadCast is a quality all-in-one standalone microphone for podcasters searching for a high-quality condenser mic. It has a few technical limitations, but nothing that should matter to an entry-level podcaster. It has its anti-vibration shock mount to lessen the rumbles of everyday living and an internal pop filter to mask annoying plosive sounds. The LED indicator lets you know if your mic is on or off, and you can easily mute it to avoid embarrassing broadcasting mishaps.
It is very easy to use, which may have something to do with it being initially designed for gamers. This mic is ready for practically any recording setting, with four selectable polar patterns and a conveniently accessible gain control slider to instantly alter your mic input sensitivity. The QuadCast family is Discord and TeamSpeakTM approved, so you can be sure your microphone is broadcasting loud and clear to all of your followers and listeners. It has a habit of boosting sibilants, but it’s very easily cleared up with some light editing.
BTW we compared those two mics: HyperX QuadCast vs Blue Yeti – just check what we got in the end!
The NT-USB is a studio USB condenser microphone that is very popular among podcasters. It offers fantastic sound due to a high-quality cardioid capsule set up in a conventional studio method, except that the mic has a USB interface.
This condenser microphone is excellent for podcasting because it sounds natural, clean, and transparent, without any of the popping or sibilance you’ll find with other budget microphones. Another reason why this USB mic is great for podcasting is that you won’t have any trouble hearing yourself during the recording because the monitor is pretty loud, especially on the highest level.
Also, unlike many other USB mics, this one has a low self-noise level, so you won’t hear that obnoxious hiss when you push replay.
Not everyone can afford to shell out $165, but if you can, keep in mind that you’re buying one of the best condenser microphones under the $200 range.
With 4k-compatible, Ultra HD audio quality, the AKG Lyra is ideal for creating podcasts and voice recording. Lyra automatically eliminates background noise and boosts signal levels for optimal performance thanks to an internal custom shock mount and a built-in sound diffuser. It also has four polar patterns: Front, Front & Back, Tight Stereo, and Wide Stereo. Options are cool, but most podcasters will only use the Front setting.
AKG has been making quality products for a while, and this $150 microphone is no different. It comes in a modern but simple design that beginners love. It has a sturdy build that ensures durability, and it is excellent for folks who seek high-quality audio without buying many pieces of equipment.
The AT2020USB+ is a USB version of the AT2020 studio condenser microphone that was previously available. This microphone is meant to be used for podcasting and works perfectly with modern recording software. Its predecessors’ widely acclaimed, award-winning sound is combined with studio-quality articulation and intelligibility, making it ideal for podcasters. In addition, this microphone is quite simple to operate. Simply plug it into a USB port on your PC or MAC, and it’s ready to use.
It is well-loved by amateurs and pros alike, although there are a few complaints. One of them is the taking up of ambient noise, which according to some, is too sensitive. Another source of criticism is the microphone stand mount that comes with the package. The stand has been described as fragile and unsteady. This is a big deal, especially as this microphone is so heavy.
If you’re looking for an entry-level dynamic mic to set the foundation of your podcast, the ATR2100-USB should be a great buy. This tough handheld podcast microphone has two outputs: a USB output for digital recording and an XLR connection for use with a sound system’s standard microphone input during live performances. It connects to your computer’s USB port and works with your chosen recording software without a hitch.
It records quietly, so you may have to crank up the gain slightly, but not more than the average dynamic microphone. There’s also a fuzzy background, but you can easily clear it with some post-editing. It has a traditional handheld design that is popular among its users but doesn’t work very well with shock mounts. Nevertheless, it is suitable for use for podcasting and voiceover projects, and its sound quality is not far off from more expensive mics, which is impressive as it costs only $79.95.
For $50, this budget microphone is the cheapest we have reviewed so far. It is a simple plug-and-play microphone that offers crisp audio using its cardioid polar pattern. This is at the lower end of Blue microphones’ line, so it doesn’t have a lot of fancy features, but it does come with a mini-USB connection for connecting to your computer, and it captures crystal-clear audio.
However, because it is a budget microphone, it has a few flaws that may not bother a novice podcaster but would annoy seasoned podcasters. For example, it is more easily driven to distortion than most microphones. It also has a lower sampling rate than most microphones you’ll encounter, although it’s probably cheaper than them all.
It is possible to get a superb vocal recording from this spherical budget offering, but it takes a sensitive hand. Because the mic is prone to popping plosives, you’ll need to aim your voice slightly above the mic if you don’t have a pop shield.
This microphone is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10, and Mac OS 10.4.11 and higher, and requires at least USB 1.1/2.0 and 64MB of RAM. Its plug-and-play style ensures that you’ll rarely encounter compatibility issues and will be immediately recognized by many recording programs, such as GarageBand, without additional drivers.
The MXL 990 is a low-cost large-diaphragm FET condenser microphone. This condenser mic strikes a nice balance between quality and price and it is loved by podcasters and voiceover actors for this reason. It doesn’t sound any worse than similarly priced mics in its price range.
It comes in a smooth but perhaps noticeably cheap champagne finish. Although it was made in the mid-2000s, the 990 is still considered one of the most innovative microphones in the industry. It boasts a wide diaphragm and a FET preamp for genuinely good sound quality in digital and analog recordings.
It is not a USB microphone so it may be difficult to navigate at first. MXL recommends experimenting with the location because the 990 is a sensitive microphone, so it’s best to find the optimal position to reject the most ambient noise and get the cleanest recording.
However, at $99, the MXL 990 is a steal, considering it comes with a shock mount and protected hard case. It has a frequency response of 20 kHz to 30 kHz, although when you approach the maximum frequency response it may add some sizzle to your recording.
Because of its sensitivity and max SPL (the max level possible before distortion), this microphone will be great for vocal and guitar recordings, but not so much with other musical instruments. With its silky high-end and tight, excellent low and middle rendition, these groundbreaking condenser microphones continue to surprise podcasters.
Whether you’re a singer, podcaster, or content creator, the PD-70 captures your vocal tone with warmth and clarity while rejecting ambient noise from your surroundings, allowing only your voice to be heard. The cardioid pickup pattern decreases undesirable background noise entering the mic’s sides and back while focusing on the voices in front of it, which is ideal for podcasts and radio broadcasts.
It comes with a gimbal-style integrated yoke mount that allows you to aim the mic by tilting it up or down precisely. It’s locked down with a single knob once it’s in place.
It has a durable metal construction that gives it a little weight but makes it extra sturdy and durable. It has a frequency response of 20 kHz to 30 kHz with a bit of boost along with the mid-range that helps lift the speakers’ bass tone with a more somber voice.
Also, it reduces p-pops better than most dynamic microphones. This microphone retails at $130, so you don’t have to worry about shelling out a lot of cash. With its simple minimalist design and its features optimized for podcasts, this microphone should make a great entry-level mic for podcasters.
The PreSonus Revelator is another microphone designed with podcasters in mind. It is designed to let you enjoy full, studio-style processing, and offers you switchable polar patterns like the Blue Yeti. Revelator is the first USB microphone with a professional broadcast mixer built-in, designed with the demands of today’s podcasters in mind. Revelator is also a USB microphone with everything you need for your podcasting studio. It also works very well with mobile phones.
This $180 condenser mic has a 20 kHz – 20 kHz frequency response, and to samples up to 96 kHz/24-bit. It features presets built with the same StudioLive digital processing used by professional podcasters worldwide to deliver a classic broadcast vocal sound. Recording in-person and online interviews is a breeze with select-able recording patterns and an onboard loopback mixer.
Revelator provides everything you require at an affordable cost. It comes with three alternative pick-up patterns: cardioid, figure 8, and omnidirectional modes. It comes with a classic tube design that’s hard to hate, but also a bit heavy when used with the stand. You can take it off the stand to be used with a microphone arm if you wish, and PreSonus offers you an adapter for this that comes with the box.
Another reason this mic is so appealing is the software component which is rather well made. PreSonus’ Universal Control app offers you a digital mixer to refine your microphone’s output, alongside several other valuable features.
At just $70, this dynamic mic has enjoyed fame among podcasters. Q2U is the most cost-effective way to set up a production studio. The Q2U delivers high-quality audio with minimum setup complexity, whether you’re solo recording a broadcast on your laptop or multi-person interviews through a mixing desk. Q2U combines the convenience of digital and analog audio capture in one dynamic microphone. The Q2U is ideal for home/studio and mobile recording and stage performance, thanks to its XLR and USB outputs.
The Q2U is easy to set up and outperforms podcast microphones on the market that cost twice as much. In addition, it features a cardioid polar pattern, so you don’t have to worry about picking up unwanted sounds. A mic clip, a desktop tripod stand with an extension piece, a windscreen, an XLR cable, and a USB cable are included in the box. Using Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter or a Host OTG cable, the Q2U works with iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. This makes it ideal for podcasting on the go.
The Go Mic is a multi-pattern, portable USB microphone that can help you kickstart your podcasting journey with gusto. This microphone is 13 years old but is still among the best-selling USB microphones on the market. It’s not going to give you top-shelf audio output, but it’s pretty useful if you’re a leisure or beginner podcaster or travel blogger. It costs just $40, so it’s easy to see why it sells so well. The microphone’s built-in clip lets you install it directly onto your laptop or use it as a desk stand.
It has two pickup patterns: cardioid for capturing sound from the front and omnidirectional for picking up sound all around. The former is excellent for single-person podcasts or streaming, while the latter is best used to capture a group of people gathered around a table for a multi-subject interview. It picks up a fair amount of ambient noise, but not enough to be a deal-breaker.
If you’re familiar with microphones at all, you must have heard of Shure. These microphone giants are known for their quality and durable microphones, and this mic doesn’t disappoint. These dynamic microphones are rugged, inexpensive, and dependable. Most microphones with a cardioid pickup pattern claim to eliminate background noise, but this one actually does that. Costing just under $100, this microphone comes with a stand adapter, a zipper pouch, and an internal shock mount to reduce handling noise.
Among the microphones featured in this guide, this one probably has the ability to withstand distortion the most. You’ll need an XLR cable and an audio interface with an XLR input to record directly to your computer. Because of the bass reduction, its frequency response is tailored to highlight vocalists. This counteracts the proximity effect, which occurs when a sound source is too close to the microphone, causing bass frequencies to be amplified.
This microphone has found popularity among Skype users and gamers, but it’s also very useful for podcasters. The U37 delivers high-quality recordings good enough for singing, talking, and recording acoustic instruments because of its broad frequency response, transient response, and smooth interpretation.
The sound quality of the CAD U37 is adequate but not exceptional. Even though the frequency response is more or less balanced, it lacks the crispness of more expensive USB microphones. Another minor drawback is that it may be sensitive to plosives.
However, it is a simple plug-and-play mic that should be enough for users that don’t expect too much. In addition, it has a low-cut filter that most microphones of its range do not offer, which helps to reduce low-frequency noise, especially those produced by mechanical vibrations and wind. At just under $40, the CAD U37 is a low-cost USB microphone that doesn’t provide extraordinary sound but has a few features that grant it a place on this list.
The Shure, Rode, Audio-Technica, and Blue are the most popular and best microphones for podcasting, and for good reason too. These microphone brands are well-known for producing some of the best podcast microphones across all ranges and for different economic groups.
From their sound quality to design, accessories, price, and durability, they offer the best options for podcasters, YouTubers, song artists, and other professionals where microphones are needed. But which budget microphone do podcasters use the most?
The most popular and best podcast microphone would be the Blue Yeti microphone. Blue microphones have made a name for themselves in the podcasting industry thanks to their quality audio-capturing microphones. The Blue Yeti is quite affordable too.
Over the years, they have become a household name for podcast microphones, with their Blue Yeti USB series taking most of the fame. The Yeti, Yeti X, Yeticaster, and Yeti Pro have undoubtedly led the pack here.
The series still delivers the ideal combination of adaptability, ruggedness, and high-quality recording to users, and there are little to no complaints about them at all.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – you’ll need a designated podcast microphone to start a podcast. You may need other gear too, if you want to take your podcast seriously. In fact, you may even need multiple microphones for multiple speakers.
You don’t have to pay top dollar to get good recording quality. The podcast microphone market is a very competitive one, so there are a lot of brands with a lot of models.
Most of the cheap microphones you’ll encounter will be bad, but there are also a few gems scattered far apart. We’ve gathered a few above for your consideration and we hope you’ll find one you really like.