What microphone should I buy?
You’ve decided you want to make a podcast. But you’ve also decided that quality of AirPods or your laptop microphone won’t cut it for an audio show. Nice. I like you.
So, what microphone should you buy? I could give you a meandering article with the pros and cons so you can find the perfect microphone for your use case. But ultimately you don’t care about all that and just want your podcast to sound good.
In that case, you should just buy this:
Shure MV7 (£220)
The Shure MV7 → covers all bases. It sounds great, works well in most environments, has flexibility with I/O and doesn’t break the bank.
Here’s a sample clip of how it sounds:
Some more details about this mic that makes it a good option:
- It’s XLR and USB, so you can either plug it directly into your computer or use with an interface.
- It’s a dynamic microphone so it’s less sensitive than a condenser microphone (like the Yeti) and works better in less than ideal scenarios.
- It’s got a touch-sensitive gain slider to increase or decrease the loudness of your audio.
Okay, so maybe you do want some other options to compare it to? I understand. Here’s 3 more to consider:
Audio Technica ATR 2100x (£75)
This is the best beginner microphone. It’s a strong step up from your AirPods or laptop. You’ll sound like a true podcaster. It’s an XLR and USB dynamic microphone and even comes with its own handy little stand. The main downside is its quite plosive heavy (those short sharp bursts of air hitting the microphone that sound unpleasant). For £80, you can’t beat it.
Samson Q9U (£110)
The Samson is quite a nice improvement on the ATR 2100x, for not a lot of extra cash. It’s built slightly better and sounds a little nicer. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference, mind you. I’ll often tell people to get the Shure MV7 instead of this, but you’ll still be happy.
Shure SM7B (£400+)
Hey there, big spender! The crème de la crème of podcast microphones. This thing as an absolute beast and will make you sound like Morgan Freeman in a movie trailer (but I can’t promise that). It’s dead expensive though. If you want the best, go for it, but note you’ll also need to buy a Cloudlifter → (£145) to increase the gain and an interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 → (£135) because it’s XLR only.
Other things to buy:
- You’ll need a mic stand. The best is the Rode PSA-1 → (£100), but you’ll be fine with a Neewer Arm → (£15) or desk stand →.
- For the XLR mics, XLR cables are required. Top of the line is Mogami → (£30), but they only help with interference from wireless signals. I just use whatever mid-range → ones are available on Amazon.
Don’t buy a Blue Yeti
In your search for microphones you might have heard of the Blue Yeti. It’s the best marketed mic out there and is quite often a default starter option for people. But please don’t buy it. Every one of the microphones in this article will sound better than a Yeti. Here are the reasons:
- It’s a condenser microphone and is less forgiving in un-treated rooms.
- Quality is meh compared to everything else in it’s category.
- It comes with a built in stand and people just put it on their desk instead of getting it close to their mouth and using it like an actual microphone.
There’s no sound sample here, as the last Yeti I owned went straight in the bin. But here’s a video from when I did have it so you can hear what it sounds like.
In summary, just get the Shure MV7. Spend your £200 and you’ll be happy. Please, please don’t start recording your podcast using just your laptop mic. If you want me to edit your pod for you, I’ll be much obliged.
Written by your friendly neighbourhood podcaster, James.