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Best podcasting microphones 2021: our pick for every level and budget

Best podcasting microphones 2021: our pick for every level and budget
(Image credit: Getty)

Why the best podcasting microphones you may ask? If you’re planning on taking advantage of the huge rise in podcasting – or have already taken the plunge – then you’re going to need a decent microphone. Podcasting is huge now. The simple act of voices telling stories, conducting interviews or teaching weird and wonderful things has made it one of the most important communications mediums of the 21st century.

Start your own pod

Podcasting microphone set up and ready to record

(Image credit: Getty/Anastasiia Krivenok)

How to start a podcast: a beginner's guide to podcasting

There are podcasts about pretty much anything you can think of, including some pretty amazing music podcasts. It also helps that actually making podcasts isn’t as difficult as you may think, both in terms of technical know-how and in the equipment you’ll need. You don't require expensive cameras, or exotic locations. Just a solid microphone and a way of editing the audio later. With that in mind, here's a look at some of the best podcasting microphones available today, for all budgets and ability levels.

If you need more specific guidance before you decide which podcast mic is for you, hit the 'buying advice' button above for everything you need to know. If not, keep scrolling to check out our top choices. We've got everything from budget, mobile-friendly podcast microphones, to pro level studio mics, plus USB microphones and XLR options.

Best podcasting microphones: Our top picks

There's one microphone on this best podcasting microphones list that stands out over the others, and for a number of reasons. The Shure MV7 is the newest name here, and it has certainly made an impression on us. By combining the dual benefits of USB and XLR recording – and allowing them to be used at the same time – Shure has made one of the best podcasting microphones you can lay your hands on. 

Special nod to the Blue Microphones Yeti which still, to this day, offers the perfect blend of versatility, ruggedness and great quality. Blue, to its credit, has found the sweet spot of making an affordable podcasting mic range which is more than the sum of its parts. We're yet to find a Yeti user who regrets their purchase.

Best podcasting microphones: Round-up & reviews

Best podcasting microphones: Shure MV7

(Image credit: Shure)

1. Shure MV7

The best USB option for those taking podcasting seriously

Specifications
Price: $249/£199/€268
Connection: USB, XLR
Type: Dynamic
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Includes: Microphone, cables
Reasons to buy
+High-end design and build+Genuine versatility
Reasons to avoid
-This level of quality isn’t cheap

Look a little further down this list and you’ll see Shure’s venerable SM7B microphone. A true powerhouse in the podcast world, and worthy of the high levels of respect it gets. Not that you’ll catch Shure sitting on its hands, not when the podcasting landscape is changing as quickly as it is. Which is why we now welcome the Shure MV7, which takes everything good about its older brother and adds in a direct-to-computer USB connection. Best of all? It can function with both methods - USB and XLR - simultaneously.

The versatility this offers makes the MV7 a very exciting mic indeed. It’s equally at home being taken out with a laptop as a portable rig as it is taking centre stage in a studio environment. Factor in compatibility with Shure’s excellent MOTIV app, which will help add some professional sheen to your recordings in real-time, and you’ve got a package which is pretty hard to beat.

Read the full Shure MV7 review

Best podcasting microphones: Blue Yeti USB microphone

(Image credit: Blue Yeti)

2. Blue Microphones Yeti USB

The best and easiest option for any user

Specifications
Price: $149/£84/€175
Connection: USB
Type: Condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid, bidirectional and omnidirectional
Includes: Microphone, stand
Reasons to buy
+Superb value for money+Versatile+Tough as old boots
Reasons to avoid
-USB only

The Blue Yeti has become synonymous with a number of different applications. From Twitch gaming to YouTube tutorials, this mic is perhaps the best known out there, and for good reason. It's easy to use, sounds superb thanks to its three condenser capsules, and doesn't cost the earth to buy. Its multiple pattern selection feature is particularly neat. You can choose to either have the mic pick up the sound being directed straight into it, which is great for podcasting, or you can set it to pick up audio from a wider angle. This makes it the perfect choice for recording group sessions, where a single mic is placed in the middle of a table. 

Over time, Blue has expanded its range to include higher-spec models capable of dual USB/XLR output (Blue Yeti Pro), a smaller scale version (Blue Yeti Nano), and even a model with functionality specific to game streamers (Blue Yeti X). Whatever your creative requirements, there’s a Yeti to suit you.

Read the full Blue Microphones Yeti review

Best podcasting microphones: Rode Procaster microphone

(Image credit: Rode)

3. Rode Procaster

Specialist vocal mic that's built for work

Specifications
Price: $229/£169/€199
Connection: XLR
Type: Dynamic
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Includes: Microphone, stand mount, zip pouch
Reasons to buy
+Rugged build+Peerless for speech+Shock mounting built in
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most versatile

Some of the mics on this list are equally happy recording vocals, guitars, streams or Skype chats. Not so, the Rode Procaster. The second Rode mic on this list is built specifically for vocal recording, and more specifically for speech. It’s pitched as a broadcast microphone, which means it could feasibly be used for TV, radio or other high-pressure situations. 

The way it copes with ambient noise stands out; its tight polar pattern means that no matter how noisy the environment, what you record will sound extremely focused and clear.

Read the full Rode Procaster review

Best podcasting microphones: Audio-Technica AT2035PK

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

4. Audio-Technica AT2035PK

High quality podcasting kit

Specifications
Price: $199/£160
Connection: XLR
Type: Condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Includes: Microphone, headphones, boom arm, XLR cable
Reasons to buy
+Mic is superb+Kit adds value+Will last a lifetime
Reasons to avoid
-None for the money

As a well-respected name in audio production and recording, you can reasonably expect the Audio Technica AT2035PK to perform well in the podcast arena. Thankfully, it does not disappoint. This cardioid patterned condenser reduces pickup of sound from the sides and rear, making for superb isolation of the voice. Perfect for podcasting or streaming.

The addition of headphones, a boom arm to connect to a desk, and an XLR cable makes for a great starter package too.

Read the full Audio-Technica AT2035 review

Best podcasting microphones: Rode NT-USB microphone

(Image credit: Rode)

5. Rode NT-USB

Mic specialist with a classy offer

Specifications
Price: £169/$169/€189
Connection: USB
Type: Condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Includes: Microphone, pop shield, ring mount, tripod desk stand
Reasons to buy
+Sounds a step up from entry level+Versatile+Can be used with iPad
Reasons to avoid
-One of the pricier USB-only options

Australian brand Rode has genuine pedigree in the world of microphones. Hence why we were drawn to the Rode NT-USB. As a specialist USB desktop mic, you're not likely to be taking it out in the field very often, but as a set-and-forget desktop option it's ideal. 

Included in the pack is everything you need, including a 6 metre USB cable, so if it were required to move away from the desk and into the music studio it could comfortably work its magic on acoustic guitars, for example. For less demanding requirements, there’s also the neat Rode NT-USB Mini, which boasts many of the same features only using a smaller footprint.

Read the full Rode NT-USB review

Best podcasting microphones: Sontronics Podcast Pro

(Image credit: Sontronics)

6. Sontronics Podcast Pro

Good looks and great sound from the UK

Specifications
Price: $149/£85/€115
Connection: XLR
Type: Dynamic
Polar pattern: Supercardioid
Includes: Microphone, integrated stand
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding value for money+Vintage design
Reasons to avoid
-Best suited to solo voices

Launched in early 2020, the Sontronics Podcast Pro is a dynamic microphone which has, as you may have worked out from the name, the world of speech recording in mind. This unique-looking broadcast mic is designed and built in the UK, and is geared entirely towards the spoken word. Its supercardioid pickup pattern does a great job at rejecting pretty much everything that isn’t spoken directly into it, although does work against it when trying to record multiple voices at once. 

With many podcasts now doubling up and offering video alongside the traditional audio, you could do a lot worse than invite one of these stylish mics into your studio. There’s substance to its charms too, however, and it comes at a very reasonable price. 

Read the full Sontronics Podcast Pro review

Best podcasting microphones: Shure SM7B microphone

(Image credit: Shure)

7. Shure SM7B

High-end dynamic mic for the professionals

Specifications
Price: $399/£327/€459
Connection: XLR
Type: Dynamic
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Included: Microphone, windscreen
Reasons to buy
+Brilliant audio performance+Well made+Built-in pop filter
Reasons to avoid
-Quality like this costs!

If you've ever been in a recording studio, or ever watched a band play live, you'll have seen Shure microphones. Simply put, they are the standard against which all other microphones are judged. The Shure SM7B adds to this reputation by doing one thing really, really well: making the audio it records sound brilliant. 

There's no USB connection, no bundled gear other than a windscreen. Nope. This dynamic microphone is designed simply to deliver clean, clear audio. As one of the only dynamic mics on the list, we should point out the ease with which the SM7B copes with loud environments too. 

It's the flat frequency response we we're most taken with though; essentially, none of the frequencies it receives are emphasised in any way. This means that when you come to process the audio – e.g. add compression, EQ – it sounds as natural as when it was recorded. A top-tier microphone, no two ways about it.

Read the full Shure SM7B review

Best podcasting microphones: IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2

(Image credit: IK Multimedia)

8. IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2

Ideal for mobile casting

Specifications
Price: $99/£106/€111
Connection: USB
Type: Condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Includes: Microphone, tripod, carrying pouch
Reasons to buy
+Decent quality+Complementary apps have some nice features
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best for static studio setups

IK Multimedia was at the forefront of creating tools for people to unlock the recording potential of their phones and tablets. The Italian brand has a huge legacy in recording software and apps, but its iRig range brought portable device recording to the masses. 

The IK Multimedia iRig HD 2 is an all-in-one USB-connected microphone that includes a built-in pre-amp, so it can be connected directly to mobile devices. The sound quality is good too, making it a solid choice for on-the-go producers, while we also like the bundled suite of apps to record and process your audio.

Read our full IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2 review

Best podcasting microphones: Blue Microphones Snowball

(Image credit: Blue)

9. Blue Microphones Snowball

It may be small but it is mighty

Specifications
Price: $49/£55
Connection: USB
Type: Condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Includes: Microphone, stand
Reasons to buy
+Tiny footprint+Easy to use+Versatile
Reasons to avoid
-You'll outgrow it quickly

The second entry from Blue on the list, and also the smallest overall. The Blue Snowball is marketed as a solution for improving the quality of voice calls, yet as a podcast solution it's also pretty solid. 

It's truly plug and play, so you can be recording within minutes, but the audio quality isn't going to be high enough to impress the professionals. But, as a starter for the novice podcaster, it's well worth a look.

Read our full Blue Microphones Snowball review

Best podcasting microphones: Razer Seiren X

(Image credit: Razer)

10. Razer Seiren X

Stylish streaming mic is ideal for home studios

Specifications
Price: $99/£99
Connection: USB
Type: Condenser
Polar pattern: Super-cardioid
Includes: Microphone, stand
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive+Decent build quality+Compact
Reasons to avoid
-None

There are plenty of parallels between streaming and podcasting. Gamers, in particular, are largely behind the rise of simple plug and play USB mics so it makes sense that the big gaming brands are beginning to muscle their way into audio technology. The Razer Seiren X is a great example; you notice from its aesthetic that it’s clearly aimed at a certain type of user, but it has plenty to offer podcasters too. 

We liked the super-cardioid pickup pattern, which did a creditable job of rejecting sounds we didn’t want in our recordings like footsteps outside our studio, while the neat adjustable base which allowed us to find the ideal angle for recording is a nice design touch. 

Read the full Razer Seiren X review

Best podcasting microphones: MAONO AU-PM421

(Image credit: Maono)

11. MAONO AU-PM421

Low-cost podcasting mic punches above its weight

Specifications
Price: $69/£74
Connection: USB
Type: Condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Includes: Microphone, adjustable boom arm, removable pop filter
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Well made+Everything you need to start
Reasons to avoid
-Hard to find fault at this price!

While we often fill these articles with top choices from big brands, we’re always pleased to find great quality options from lesser-known manufacturers. The MAONO AU-PM421 landed in front of us one day and we were blown away by the build quality and simplicity on display. The PM421 comes as part of a kit, including an adjustable boom arm and pop filter, and is perhaps the quickest and easiest way to get the pro-studio look at home. 

MAONO claims the PM421 can record at exceptionally high levels of audio quality – 192kHz/24-bit – and the all-metal construction gave us confidence it will last the course. So while it can be perilous buying from brands you’re not familiar with, there are definitely bargains to be had if you know where to look.

Read the full MAONO AU-PM421 review

Best podcasting microphones: NEAT King Bee

(Image credit: Neat King Bee)

12. NEAT King Bee

Large diaphragm condenser with added sting

Specifications
Price: $129/£179
Connection: XLR
Type: Condenser
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Includes: Microphone, pop filter, shockmount, XLR cable
Reasons to buy
+Quality sound+Great build+Add-on gear included
Reasons to avoid
-Difficult to recommend for non-voice use

Who says microphones have to look dull? The NEAT King Bee is a great antidote to all the usual mic stylings, and will look great in any recording studio. Behind the lively exterior there is some nice technology at work too. 

The King Bee is an XLR-fed large diaphragm condenser, meaning it's great for voice applications. The sound quality is superb, and the package comes with both a shockmount and a pop filter so your recordings will benefit too. A great package, all told. They're becoming harder to track down these days, so good luck finding one!

Read the full Neat King Bee review

Best podcasting microphones: Buying advice

Best podcasting microphones: Two people record a podcast

(Image credit: Getty/Maskot)
Make your pod pay

Man in red top smiles while recording a podcast

(Image credit: Getty/Cavan Images)

How to make money from podcasting

When looking for a podcasting microphone, whether it’s to replace an old studio workhorse or as your first foray into this world, there are a few questions it helps to answer. While microphones all largely carry out the same function, there are some differences which can make certain types better suited to specific applications. Allow us to explain. 

If your podcasting career revolves around recording one person in a static location, like a bedroom or kitchen studio, using a laptop or tablet as your hub, then this will affect the type of mic you'd choose. Likewise, recording multiple people or sound sources means your horizons will need to broaden in order to achieve this. Choosing the best podcast microphone for your needs will depend entirely on how you plan to use it. When it comes down to it, however, the choices you’ll need to make come down to just two; the type of microphone you’ll need, and how you’ll connect it to a recording device.

XLR vs USB microphones – which is best?

A good place to start involves looking at the way the microphone will connect to something in order to record. In one corner you have USB; mics using USB – and they’re widely available - are predominantly plug and play, and require very little knowledge of sound. You plug it into your laptop, hit record in the software and you're good to go. You’ll tend to find decent quality USB mics are inexpensive enough to make them a viable first choice for newcomers, and their inherent simplicity makes them an attractive choice for many different kinds of setup. 

What might potentially cause an issue is for Windows PC users. For all that it does well, Windows isn’t brilliant at handling multiple audio sources over USB. Mac users have no such problems, thanks to them being able to create ‘aggregate devices’ which combine multiple audio interfaces into one, but no such joy if you’re on Windows. Admittedly, this is only an issue if you have another USB audio source connected, like an audio interface, but is worth considering. That being said, for small-scale pods requiring only one voice, you can make use of the headphone socket found on most USB mics to monitor while you record. 

For more advanced scenarios, you'll want to use mics with an XLR connector, and either a mixer or audio interface. This enables you to use multiple microphones at the same time, with tactile control over sound levels. Whether the recorded audio is of a higher quality depends largely on the microphone itself, and the mixer or audio interface, but the potential is certainly there. Going down the XLR route does mean you’ll need extra equipment however, so if you’re aiming to keep your setup lean and cabling down to a minimum then USB might be the way to go. 

Best podcasting microphones: four people record a podcast

(Image credit: Audient)

Microphone types

There are an increasing number of microphones marketed as being dedicated podcast mics; underneath the buzzwords you’ll find they’re almost exclusively condensers or dynamics, and either XLR or USB connected. Condenser mics are perhaps better suited to studio locations as they bring out a richness in voices, however the trade-off is that they can be more sensitive to ambient noise. You’ll also need to factor in 48V phantom power if you’re using an XLR condenser – USB versions take care of this via the computer connection. 

Dynamic microphones, on the other hand, are a bit livelier, and are ideal for outdoor recording or in environments with lots of loud noise. They also don’t require any external power, so can be plugged into any mixer or audio interface and will work immediately. 

Additional podcast mic features to consider

Microphones are, generally, quite simple devices however most will come with a couple of options which affect the recordings you’ll get. Each microphone has a pickup pattern, which dictates where it receives audio from. A cardioid pickup pattern, for example, will receive audio from a specific location, i.e. at the front of the mic, and reject noise which does not come from that axis. This is really useful for speech as it means the mic works with you to reject unwanted ambient noise like computer fans or doors closing. 

Many mics, particularly USB powered ones it seems, offer the user multiple different pickup patterns to suit different situations. If your pod involves the classic ‘mic in the middle of the table’ setup, then an omni-directional pattern will allow the mic to receive audio from all angles. 

Many modern mics also allow you to remove unwanted frequencies directly on the microphone, via a high-pass filter. This is useful to remove low-level rumbling or humming from the recorded sound, giving you cleaner audio to process in post-production. 

Ultimately you have some decisions to make. This guide to the best podcasting microphones should help.

Chris Corfield

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.