The good thing about podcasting, or streaming, is that it’s so easy to get started. Using only a basic microphone and some recording gear, you can be up and running in no time. If you’re planning on starting your own channel or podcast and taking the airwaves by storm then you’re going to need one of the best podcasting microphones to ensure you capture every last word.
Podcasting is an absolutely huge medium now. The simple act of voices telling stories, conducting interviews or teaching weird and wonderful things has made it one of the most important – and fastest-growing – means of communication of the 21st century.
Search any of the providers (like Apple Podcasts, Spotify etc) and you will find podcasts about pretty much anything you can think of, including some pretty amazing podcasts about music. It also helps that actually making podcasts isn’t anywhere near as difficult, or expensive, as you might think, both in terms of technical know-how and the minimal equipment you’ll need to pick up to get started. Forget expensive cameras or exotic locations. All you need is a solid podcast mic, something to record it into (ie. a laptop or PC) and a way of editing the audio later. Oh, and don't forget you'll need something to say.
If you need more specific guidance before you decide which podcasting mic is right for you, head to our dedicated buying advice section at the bottom of the page for everything you need to know. If not, keep scrolling to check out our writer Chris Corfield's hand-picked choices. We've tested everything from budget options and mobile-friendly podcast microphones, to pro level studio mics, plus USB and XLR options.
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 and Dawsons Music. Chris has spent years writing about and testing podcasting gear for MusicRadar, in addition to nerding out about everything from guitar and bass gear, to synths, microphones, DJ gear and music production hardware.
Best podcasting microphones: Quick list
Want to cut to the chase and find out what the best podcasting microphones are for your needs and budget? Below, you’ll find a round-up of our choices, and you can jump to a more detailed review of every pick, along with our price comparison tool to help you find the best deals.
Best for versatility
The MV7 can function with both USB and XLR connections simultaneously, making it one versatile podcast mic for home recording or creating content on the go. Shure’s excellent MOTIV app, which helps add some professional sheen to your recordings in real-time.
Best mic overall
The Blue Yeti is one of the best known and most-recognisable mics out there - you've probably seen it pop up on your favourite YouTuber and Twitch streams - and for good reason. In our tests we found it easy to use, it sounds superb - thanks to its three condenser capsules - and doesn't cost the earth.
Best for durability
This mic 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 and is excellent at coping with ambient noise.
Best for build quality
As a well-respected name in audio production and recording, the Audio Technica AT2035PK does not disappoint. For the completist, a bundle is available including a pair of quality headphones, a boom arm for attaching to a desk and XLR cable; ideal for beginners.
Best mid-priced mic
This set-and-forget desktop option from mic specialists Rode is an ideal choice for podcasting. Whether you're recording to a PC or an iPad, the NT-USB is incredibly easy to use. We particularly like the volume and clarity of the built-in headphone amp. Comes with pop shield and 6 metre USB cable.
Best sounding mic
This unique-looking broadcast mic is designed and built in the UK, and is geared entirely towards the spoken word. In practice, its supercardioid pickup pattern does a great job at rejecting pretty much everything that isn’t spoken directly into it. It's reasonably priced, too.
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Best mic for pros
The SM7B adds to Shure's sterling 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 a dynamic mic it handles loud environments very well too.
Best do-it-all USB mic
The portable iRig Stream Mic Pro combines a dual-capsule condenser mic - with four different pickup patterns - with a 2 in/4 out audio interface for connecting different sound sources and outputs, meaning you only need this device and you’re up and running.
Best for aesthetics
The BEACN Mic is a great-looking dynamic broadcast mic, which connects to your computer via USB and features some pretty nifty onboard processing to make your voice sound as good as it possibly can. A huge part of this is down to the complementary app, which enables you to add a professional sheen to your voice via EQ, compression and more.
Best on a budget
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. You 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.
The best podcasting microphones in 2023
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Below you'll find full and detailed write-ups for each of the best podcasting microphones in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.
Best for versatility
Look a little further down this list and you’ll see Shure’s venerable SM7B microphone. It's a true powerhouse in the podcast world (and beyond), 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've welcomed the Shure MV7 into the fold, 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. We found it to be equally at home being taken out with a laptop as a portable rig as it was taking centre stage in our home studio environment connected to a PC. When you factor in compatibility with Shure’s excellent MOTIV app, which helps add some professional sheen to your recordings in real-time, you’ve got a package which is pretty hard to beat amongst all the options on this list.
Of course, you'll pay a little more for this level of quality and functionality, but in our experience product at this level is worth the investment and will deliver more long-term performance.
Read the full Shure MV7 review
- Today's best Shure MV7 deals
Best mic overall
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 and most-recognisable out there, and for good reason. In our tests we found it easy to use, it sounds superb thanks to its three condenser capsules, and doesn't cost the earth.
The 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). And that's our only real gripe with the standard Blue Yeti - if you need an XLR connection you'll need to fork out for the Blue Yeti Pro which is currently $120/£130 more than the standard Yeti. That's said, whatever your creative requirements, you'll find a Yeti to suit you.
Read the full Blue Microphones Yeti review
- Today's best Blue Microphones Yeti deals
Best for durability
Some of the mics on this list are equally happy recording vocals, guitars, streams or Skype chats. Not so, the Rode Procaster. The first of two Rode mics 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.
From our tests we found the way the Procaster copes with ambient noise was the real stand out; its tight polar pattern means that no matter how noisy the environment, what you record will sound extremely focused and clear.
In practice, we found the mic to have a pleasing weight to it; enough that you'd definitely want a desktop mic stand on hand for longer sessions, but also robust enough that you know it will withstand years of recording.
Read the full Rode Procaster review
Best for quality
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, during our tests it certainly did not disappoint. This cardioid patterned condenser mic reduces pickup of sound from the sides and rear, making for superb isolation of the voice. So yeah, it's perfect for podcasting or streaming.
For the completist, the addition of podcast-friendly headphones, a boom arm to connect to a desk, and an XLR cable to the bundle makes the Audio-Technica AT2035PK a great starter package too.
Read the full Audio-Technica AT2035 review
Best mid-priced mic
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 for podcasting it's an ideal choice.
Included in the pack is everything you need, including a 6 metre USB cable, so if you 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.
For our tests we used the NT-USB to record into Logic on a Mac and Garageband on an iPad (check out our guide to the best iPhone microphones) and found it very straightforward to use - just plug in and crack on. There's nothing to adjust apart from the recording level on your connected device and your preferred monitoring level and mix.
During recording we were taken by how little there was in the way of self-noise and that the built-in headphone amp was loud and clear. Spoken voice recordings were delivered with no lack of bottom-end warmth or top-end clarity and no obvious tonal anomalies. The supplied pop shield also does a good job, allowing you to get close in and exploit the low-end from the proximity effect.
Read the full Rode NT-USB review
Best sounding mic
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. In practice, its supercardioid pickup pattern does a great job at rejecting pretty much everything that isn’t spoken directly into it, although this 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 inviting 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 for pros
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 recording 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 were most taken with during our tests, 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 do-it-all mic
We’re big fans of equipment that can carry out more than one function. IK Multimedia are the masters of finding new and innovative ways of increasing the capabilities and tricks their products offer, and the iRig Stream Mic Pro is a great example. Combining a dual-capsule condenser mic - with four different pickup patterns - with a 2 in/4 out audio interface for connecting different sound sources and outputs, means you really only need this device and you’re up and running.
The audio interface, in particular, is nicely thought out, with loopback functionality meaning you can route audio from different applications internally. You might, for example, want to stream an Ableton Live session but find Windows doesn’t play nicely with multiple sound sources. Loopback is your friend here.
As with IK’s other gear, the iRig Stream Mic Pro is designed with portability in mind and full cooperation with the smartphones and tablets in your lives, making for a superb value, highly versatile mic which will suit a variety of different use cases.
Read the full IK Multimedia iRig Stream Mic Pro review
Best for aesthetics
You might not have heard of BEACN - yet - but quality this high won’t stay quiet for long. The BEACN Mic is a dynamic broadcast mic, which connects to your computer via USB and features some pretty nifty onboard processing to make your voice sound as good as it possibly can. A huge part of this is down to the complementary app, which is required to use the mic, but enables you to add a professional sheen to your voice through the use of various effects like EQ and compression.
At this price point there is a lot of competition, and BEACN is going up against some pretty big names. But from the moment we opened the box and started using the mic, it was clear this was a premium-grade tool which we can see podcasters, streamers and vloggers alike going crazy for.
Read the full BEACN Mic review
Best on a budget
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 too. The MAONO AU-PM421 (catchy name, huh?) 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: Buying advice
Choosing the best podcast microphone for you
When researching podcast mics, whether it’s to replace an old studio workhorse or as your first foray into this world, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. 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.
How to start a podcast: a beginner's guide to podcasting
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 for podcasting?
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 are predominantly plug and play, and require very little knowledge of sound. You plug it into your laptop, hit record in your podcast recording software of choice and you're good to go. You’ll tend to find decent quality USB microphones 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 if you’re a Windows PC user. 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 podcast 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 microphone 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 our recommendation would be to go down the USB route.
Which microphone type is best for podcasting?
There are an increasing number of microphones marketed as being dedicated podcast microphones; 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.
Understanding microphone pickup patterns
Typically, you’ll find certain functions are ideally suited to podcasting. Look specifically for the mic’s pickup pattern - sometimes called its polar pattern - as this dictates the area around the front (or side) of the mic where it actually captures the sound. Most have a cardioid pattern, which means the mic will collect sound from a specific area and actively reject sound which comes from outside that space. This is great for ensuring your voice is recorded but not the creaking floorboards at the other end of the studio.
However, if you want to record multiple people with the same mic, an omnidirectional or figure-8 option might be better, as these pick up sound from a wider field. Some even feature multiple pickup patterns built in so you can choose depending on the situation you find yourself in.
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.
Which are the best podcasting microphone brands?
Most pro microphone brands have stepped into the podcasting mic world in recent years - understandable considering the massive rise in people podcasting and streaming. Thanks to a sterling reputation in the pro audio world, you can rely on the usual suspects like Shure, Audio-Technica, Sontronics and Rode to produce gear you can trust.
Another big player in the podcast microphone world is Blue Microphones. They first emerged in 1995 and are best known in the podcasting and streaming world for the Yeti microphone range – of which there are currently four models. The Yeti was first launched in 2009 and has become a staple of the reliable, affordable podcast mic sector.
IK Multimedia is another brand who has built a very strong reputation for quality audio gear at affordable prices.
How much should I spend on a podcasting microphone?
Investing in one of the best podcasting microphones doesn’t need to break the bank. The most expensive mic we recommend in this guide is the Shure SM7B, which comes in at around the $/£399 mark. That’s no small investment, but you get what you pay for and both the audio and build quality of this podcast mic speaks for itself. If you’re serious about podcasting (or if you need a great vocal mic, for that matter), you should think seriously about buying the SM7B.
That said, our top pick in this guide is another from Shure, the USB-equipped MV7. For this one you’ll pay around $249/£199 and the results will blow you away.
If this is still beyond the top end of your budget, anywhere between $/£100 and $/£200 will bag you a budget podcasting microphone edging towards pro quality. It’ll be no frills, but it will reliably get the job done.
Search for one of the best podcasting microphone under $100/£100 and you’ll be in the realms of less well-known brands and gear best suited to the mobile user. They’ll do the job, but you will notice a drop in build quality and audio reproduction compared with the more expensive models here.
Mounting your mic
Finally, give some thought to how the mic will be placed. Most, but not all, will come with some kind of desk tripod, however, the smart money is on using a more robust stand or - better still - a boom arm, so make sure the mic you choose is compatible with your chosen method of holder.
How we test podcasting microphones
USB microphones have a very different role to play compared to most other recording microphones in that they are designed more for the recorded voice than any other instrument and to plug directly into a computer. It's obviously best to focus on voice recording quality, then, often comparing these often cheaper microphones with similarly spec'd studio vocal microphones or standards in the podcasting arena.
When focussing on vocals we take into account how microphones handle artefacts like sibilance and what has been provided to cut down such an occurrence – a pop shield might well come with the microphone, either separately or built into it, for example. Podcasting mics also tend to come with other items like software designed to get you up and running in the world of podcasting, a desktop mount to place the mic firmly next to your computer and (usually) some kind of carry case, so these are all taken into account when we look at value for money.
While podcasting mics are generally aimed at vocal recording, it's always good to stretch them a little in our tests to see whether they are any good at recording acoustic guitar or, more likely, singing. Having a flexible microphone that can be used for studio tasks as well as broadcasting your opinions can't be sniffed at, and some podcasting microphones are surprisingly adept at recording other instruments.
Obviously the final factor is price. USB mics tend to be cheaper than their studio equivalent so we take this into account with our overall findings and balance up whether it's worth paying more for a studio vocal mic and interface to get 'proper' BBC radio vocals for (sometimes) not that much more outlay.
Read more about how we test music making gear and services at MusicRadar.
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