Every podcaster secretly wants to be as good as Ira Glass from This American Life or Jad Abumrad from Radiolab, but the truth is, that hope is a longshot. They’re at the top of their games and have been doing radio and/or podcasting for a very long time.
But what you, a podcaster, can do is get a microphone that makes you sound on par with those guys. And that’s what this article is all about -- below are the top three microphones that could help elevate your podcast to the next level, taking you one step closer to being the next star-caster.
Top 3 Condenser Microphones For Podcasting:
The AT2020 comes from a good family of mics, and it carries the Audio-Technica name well. This large-diaphragm gives you a large sound. It’s very versatile, so you can use it to record vocals, acoustic guitar, or even drums. And with a 10 dB roll-off switch, you can cut out lower frequencies, giving you a much crisper sound.
The feature that makes the Spark burn away the competition is the Focus Control feature, which lets you either roll off lower frequencies or make the audio brighter, highlighting the higher frequencies. Plus, Blue is a name you can trust, and the Spark doesn’t break or even bend that trust.
The MXL 990 is a perfect mic for podcasting, but also does a beautiful job recording vocals. The cardioid (heart-shaped) pickup pattern helps cut out unwanted noise, focusing on only your voice. It’s also a durable mic -- it’ll stand up to nicks and bumps thanks to its metal body and cage.
Quality is the top priority
The shared blood that runs through each of these three microphones is quality. The makers of each mic must have had the utmost respect for good-quality microphones that record beautiful vocals, because each of these reflects that.
One mic might be strong in areas where another is weaker, and one might have features its neighbor doesn’t. So let’s dive into the details of how each mic is unique and why they’re all great mics for podcasting.
The great thing about the AT2020 is the pro-like quality you get for under $100 -- that’s difficult to beat!
You get reliable audio in a durable microphone. It works really well on vocals (good news for you), but you can also use it on a ton of different instruments (in case you’re making the music for you podcast). This means that it can record a variety of sound effects and do it with accuracy. It also has a 10 dB rolloff switch to help cut out the lower, rumbling frequencies.
Overall, a solid choice (and our top recommended one) for podcasting.
Blue makes beautiful looking and sounding microphones, and the Spark is no exception to that truth.
Like the other two mics here, it delivers very good audio. With its unique Focus Control feature, you can choose between Normal mode (which helps increase the low-frequency sensitivity) and Focus mode (which increases the clarity of your recording). This is sort of like rolloff switches and pads that most condenser mics have, but it is different enough that’s it specific to the Spark.
When you speak into the Spark, your voice will sound clearer, crisper, and smoother. And if you need a little more bass in the mix, just switch it to Normal mode and you’ll be golden. Although it’s a bit more expensive than the AT2020, it’s another great option for podcasters at any stage.
MXL 990 is the underdog of this group, but you know who else were underdogs? The Mighty Ducks, David (vs. Goliath), and the Slumdog Millionaire. And look how they turned out.
This guy is tough and durable, so accidentally dropping it shouldn’t be a problem (I’ve literally dropped mics before -- not a fun experience). The audio quality is decent enough for any beginning podcaster, especially if you’ll be using it to record your voice.
For around $100, this is one every podcast creator should at least consider.
All three of these mics are in the same price range -- around the $100 mark, usually under $200 -- and in the same ballpark when it comes to quality. So whatever choice you make between them will be a good one.
Here’s to you (as we raise our imaginary cups) bettering the quality of your recordings and climbing toward a pro-sounding podcast. Make Ira and Jad and all the other podcasting forefathers proud.