If you are a small business looking to increase your presence, a podcast is one of the best and cheapest ways to share your expertise with your customers. And with on demand podcast platforms readily available, such as iTunes and SoundCloud, it has become that much easier to build audience.
One of the most important tools of the trade is a great microphone, and depending on how much you want to invest, the price runs the gamut. But for this roundup, the microphones will be under $200.
The Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting
The Pyle PDMICR42R has a retro design that is great to look at. But it also provides the basics so you can comfortably deliver your podcast with professional-sounding results. The microphone retails for $31.39 and has a dynamic moving coil element with a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response rate of 30Hz-15kHz.
ECOOPRO Studio Condenser Recording Microphone
The ECOOPRO is a side-address condenser microphone that uses a cardioid polar pattern with HD broadcasting capability. The plug-and-play function and 3.5mm audio lets you plug it into any standard laptop or PC and use the sound card to make any adjustment to improve sound quality. At $39.99, it is a bargain to be sure.
The Stony-Edge has simple designed for portability and can plug into smartphones, tablets and PCs. For just $49.95, it features noise blocking technology, built-in windscreen and a goose neck frame so it can easily be adjusted.
Blue Microphones Snowball iCE is a cardiod condenser microphone that plugs in directly with a USB cable. It doesn’t require any drivers, and it is Skype certified. It has a frequency response rate of 40 –18 kHz and sample/word Rate of 44.1 kHz/16 bit. For $49.00 it delivers considerable features.
CAD U37 USB
The CAD U37 is a USB studio condenser recording microphone with cardioid pick-up pattern and 10dB overload-protection switch to minimize distortion. Retailing for just $42.00, it has a bass-reduction switch diminishing room noise and frequency response rate of 20Hz – 20kHz.
The Samson Go, which retails at just $39.99, has switchable cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns with a frequency response of 20Hz–18kHz and a resolution of 16-bit, 44.1kHz. The compact design and USB plug makes it easy to clip on your laptop or carry anywhere. The company offers the Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software as a paid download, which is a great feature if you are in a noisy environment.
Behringer Podcastudio USB
If you want a full recording studio for just $99.99, the Behringer PodcastStudio includes a USB audio interface, mixer, microphone, headphones, and downloadable professional audio software. This bundle offers all the tools you need to get hands on experience at an affordable price. It includes the UCA200 audio interface, XENYX 502 mixer, HPM1000 headphones, the Ultravoice XM8500 dynamic microphone, XLR mic cable and two stereo RCA cables.
MXL 990 Condenser Microphone
At just $84.46, the MXL 990 condenser microphone with shock mount has solid construction with a vintage look. It comes with a large 3/4″ gold-sputtered diaphragm, 30Hz-20kHz frequency response and 130dB maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL).
Shure MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone
The Shure MV5 digital condenser microphone has DSP preset modes for vocals, flat and instruments with automatic gain application, EQ, compression and limiting for better control. It also has a built in headphone output for real-time monitoring and it is Apple MFi (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) Certified for direct connection to any iOS device. The $99 price tag is also a selling point.
NEAT Widget C Desktop USB Microphone
If you are looking for a microphone with a modern design, the $99 NEAT Widget C is for you. It has a plug-and-play with Mac/Windows feature with an integrated pop filter and an internal shock-mounted condenser capsule. It includes a full-range 96kHz/24 bit audio and frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz.
M-Audio USB Condenser Microphone
The M-Audio has a large 16mm cardioid capsule protected by wire mesh to guard against unwanted noise. It can capture 16-bit recording at CD quality and more at -44.1 or 48 kHz with the USB connection. And at $98.75, it is certainly a bargain.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone
A bit pricier at $147.95, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS comes from a proven brand delivering high quality A/D converter with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate. It also includes a headphone jack with high-output internal headphone amplifier and mix control.
Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone – Silver
This is another entry from Blue Microphones, which manufactures professional grade equipment used in the recording industry. Retailing at $125.92, the Yeti has a tri-capsule array 3 condenser capsules to record in almost any environment with a multiple pattern selection of cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo. The frequency response is 20Hz – 20kHz, and a sample rate of 48 kHz.
AKG P420 High-Performance Dual-Capsule True Condenser Microphone
The AKG P420 is a studio grade condenser microphone with dual-element design that accommodates cardioid, omni, and figure-8 patterns. Retailing for $199, it includes a shockmount and a metal case with a -20dB pad switch and a bass cut filter switch to eliminate unwanted low frequencies.
sE Electronics X1 Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic
At less than $189, the sE Electronics X1 packs a punch. It has a 1″ hand made, diaphragm, 10dB pad and Bass cut with a solid build. The frequency response is 20Hz-20KHz, with -32 dBV/Pa (25.1mV/Pa) sensitivity and a cardioid polar Pattern.
Behringer B-2 Pro
The Behringer B-2 Pro is a German designed microphone with professional 1” gold-sputtered dual-diaphragm condenser. It has frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and two selectable pickup pattern, omni for capturing sound in all directions and cardioid. It retails for $149.99.
Blue Microphones Spark Condenser Microphone, Cardioid
The Spark from Blue Microphones has a premium condenser capsule with professional grade recording features for a bit more: $199. It includes a pop filter and custom-designed shockmount to reduce plosives and distortion while delivering isolation during recordings. The company also provides a detailed recording guide with professional tips and a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Rode NT-USB USB Condenser Microphone
Meanwhile, $169 will get you the Rode NT-USB condenser microphone compatible with recording applications on both Windows and Mac OS based computers as well as on any other recording app that accepts an external microphone. It comes with a premium pop-filter to minimize plosives (hard ‘B’, ‘T’ or ‘P’ that, when spoken, produce a harsh sound) during speech recordings.
Studio Projects B1 Vocal Condenser Microphone, Cardioid
The $119.99 Studio Projects B1 is a cardioid condenser microphone with a true 1 inch 3 um gold sputtered large diaphragm to capture high quality vocal recordings. It has a selectable filter for 75Hz and 150Hz, as well as selectable pads for -10dB and -20dB.
Marantz Professional MPM-500A
Marantz has been developing high fidelity audio systems for more than four decades, and the MPM-500A is a professional grade hi-quality 45mm cardioid condenser microphone that is a tesament to that legacy. The $176.49 mic comes with shock mount, desktop tripod stand and windscreen, a frequency response of 30–20,000Hz, and complete voice-recording system for interfacing with a computer sound card.
* * *It is important to note, quality microphones practically last forever. You really have to go out of your way to break them. So if you plan to podcast professionally for an extended amount of time, it is best to buy the most expensive and highly rated unit you can afford. However, if you’re just testing out the waters to see how your podcasting will go, any of the 20 microphones listed here should be a good place to start.