Best podcasting microphones 2024: our expert picks for every budget and level

The good thing about podcasting, or streaming, is that it’s so incredibly easy to get started. Using only a basic plug and play 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 in this guide 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 main podcast providers (like Apple Podcasts, Spotify etc) and you will find one about pretty much any topic 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 in 2024, head to our dedicated buying advice section at the bottom of the page for everything you need to know, written by our experts. If not, keep scrolling to check out our 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. We've recorded each mic in a variety of real-world scenarios, with a focus on voice recording, to ensure they're up to the task and worthy of recommendation.

Quick list

Best mic overall

Best podcasting microphones: Blue Yeti

(Image credit: Future)
The best and easiest podcast mic option for any user

Specifications

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 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 (

), a smaller scale version (), and even a model with functionality specific to game streamers (). And that's our only real gripe with the standard Blue Yeti - if you need an XLR connection you'll need to fork out more 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

Best for versatility

Best podcasting microphones: Shure MV7

(Image credit: Chris Corfield)
The best USB option for those taking podcasting seriously

Specifications

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. 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

Best on a budget

Best podcasting microphones: Audio-Technica AT2040USB

(Image credit: Chris Corfield/Future)
The best budget USB mic for podcasting

Specifications

Type: Dynamic
Pickup pattern: Hypercardioid
Connection: USB-C

Reasons to buy

+
Robust build quality
+
Low cost
+
Great speech reproduction

Reasons to avoid

-
Not ideal for music

Sometimes, only a specialist will do. The Audio-Technica AT2040USB is not going to be your go-to mic for faithfully capturing the harmonic nuances of an acoustic guitar, but for recording speech on a budget it’s up there with the best in the price range. It has some great features for speech recording, like a hypercardioid pickup which rejects noise outside its immediate vicinity, and a low-cut filter for cutting out any low-frequency rumbling in the background of your studio. 

It’s also very well made and has a nice weight to it. Its use-cases might be limited to podcasting, vlogging or streaming, but if that’s what you’re looking for then you can add the AT2040USB to your list as a very credible, low-cost option indeed. 

Read our full Audio-Technica AT2040USB review

Best mid-priced mic

Best podcasting microphones: Rode NT-USB microphone

(Image credit: Future)
The best podcasting gear from a mic specialist

Specifications

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 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 for beginners

Best podcasting microphones: Audio-Technica AT2035PK

(Image credit: Future)
The best high quality podcasting mic

Specifications

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

-
The single polar pattern reduces versatility somewhat

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 sounding mic

Best podcasting microphones: Sontronics Podcast Pro

(Image credit: Future)
The best sounding option from the UK

Specifications

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. In practice, we found its supercardioid pickup pattern did a great job at rejecting pretty much everything that wasn’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 durability

Best podcasting microphones: Rode Procaster microphone

(Image credit: Future)
The best specialist vocal mic that's built for work

Specifications

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 podcasting mic

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 pros

Best podcasting microphones: Shure SM7B

(Image credit: Future)
The best high-end dynamic mic for professionals

Specifications

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 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

IK Multimedia iRig Stream Mic Pro in home studio setup

(Image credit: Chris Corfield)
The best do-it-all USB mic and audio interface

Specifications

Type: Condenser
Connectivity: USB-C and Lightning
Pickup pattern: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
Accessories: Stand

Reasons to buy

+
Hugely versatile
+
Quality recordings
+
Loopback

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be more capable than most users actually need

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. 

We found the audio interface, in particular, to be 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

Best podcasting microphones: BEACN Mic

(Image credit: Chris Corfield)
The best mic for aesthetically-minded producers

Specifications

Type: Dynamic
Connectivity: USB
Pickup pattern: Cardioid
Accessories: Mic stand adapter

Reasons to buy

+
Premium build quality
+
Dedicated app
+
Looks great

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs the app to function

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

Buying advice

Man and woman record a podcast

(Image credit: Getty/PeopleImages)

How to choose the best podcast microphone for you

MusicRadar's got your back Our team of expert musicians and producers spends hours testing products to help you choose the best music-making gear for you. Find out more about how we test.

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.

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.

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

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.

Best podcasting microphones: four people record a podcast

(Image credit: Audient)

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.

Make your pod pay

Man in red top smiles while recording a podcast

(Image credit: Getty/Cavan Images)

How to make money from podcasting

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.

How do I mount my podcasting 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.

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 and bass gear, to synths, microphones, DJ gear and music production hardware.

With contributions from