The best microphones to buy in 2021: 12 best podcasting mics

If you’re starting your first podcast or planning to upgrade, these microphones will help you speak volumes.

Best podcasting mics 2021

Whether you plan to speak on camera or be an invisible voice in the ether, you’ll want to sound your best when you hit record and start podcasting. The Blue Microphones Yeti and Shure SM7B are ubiquitous among podcasters, but there are many more options available. We’re sure one of the following mics will meet your needs.

What else do you need to start podcasting?

If you’re using a microphone without USB connectivity, you’ll need an audio interface to bring your voice into the digital domain – here’s a list we put together on the best ones you can pick up for under $500.

You’ll also want to have a pop filter if your microphone doesn’t already come with one or have one built-in. These help you minimise unwanted plosives. These are low-frequency thuds made when you pronounce ‘p’s and ‘b’s, sending a blast of air across your microphone’s diaphragm.

The best podcasting microphones of 2021 at a glance:

  • Røde PodMic
  • Neumann BCM 705
  • Sontronics Podcast Pro
  • Shure MV7
  • Tula Mic
  • Røde NT1-A
  • Audio-Technica AT2035
  • Electro-Voice RE20
  • Shure SM7B
  • Blue Microphones Yeti
  • AKG C414
  • Neumann U87

Røde PodMic

Rode PodMic

With robust construction, vocal-friendly tonality and excellent off-axis rejection, the Røde PodMic is an exceptional microphone for podcasting. And that’s even before you consider its $99 price tag. This dynamic microphone has been optimised for vocals, offering a polished sound without much processing. Its compact size makes it easy to manoeuvre around tight spaces and the in-built pop filter – while it doesn’t prevent plosives entirely – does make them more manageable in post-production.

In our review, we said: “The PodMic is an enormously capable microphone for voice applications and has a very similar tone to the Shure SM7B with high boost engaged, at under a third of the price.”

Read our full review.

  • Price: £99/$99
  • Type: Dynamic microphone
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Pickup Patterns: Cardioid
  • Phantom Power: No
  • Output connection: XLR
  • Other features and accessories: Built-in pop filter

Neumann BCM 705

Neumann BCM 705
Image: Neumann

The BCM 705 is the only dynamic microphone from the revered German manufacturer. And it’s a professional-grade microphone that handles all manner of voice with finesse. A significant inspiration for the BCM 705 is the smooth FM-broadcast tone of American radio, and the microphone’s frequency response reflects this. There’s a low-shelf at 200Hz, paired with two boosts at 5kHz and 8kHz for added clarity. That means this won’t likely be an all-rounder of a mic, but it works beautifully for the spoken word.

In our review, we said: “If you’re branching into more spoken-word recording, you’d be hard-pressed to encounter any problems with this solution.”

Read our full review.

  • Price: £470/$699
  • Type: Dynamic microphone
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Polar Patterns: Hypercardioid
  • Phantom Power: No
  • Output connection: XLR
  • Other features: Internal pop shield, internal shock mount

Sontronics Podcast Pro

Sontronics Podcast Pro Red

Testing the podcasting waters but don’t want to drop a whole wad of cash getting set up? Consider the Sontronics Podcast Pro. When paired with an XLR-USB cable, this affordable microphone lets you skip the audio interface to connect directly with your computer or gaming console. It’s also great for streaming on Twitch, both for its aesthetics and for a level of audio fidelity to which headsets can’t compare.

In our review, we said: “If you’re about to embark on a new career as a podcaster, this microphone might just become your best friend.”

Read our full review here.

  • Price: £100 / $149
  • Type: Dynamic microphone
  • Frequency: 50Hz – 15kHz
  • Polar Patterns: Super cardioid
  • Phantom Power: No
  • Output connections: XLR (Sontronics XLR-USB Cable, £19.95)
  • Other features: Internal pop shield, available in black and red

Shure MV7

Shure MV7
Image: Shure

With the recent uptick in live streaming and podcasting – thanks in large part to the pandemic which shan’t be named – Shure found an opportune time to launch the MV7, XLR/USB compatible microphone.

This dynamic microphone comes equipped with Shure’s Voice Isolation Technology and Auto Level Mode. The former is designed to keep the vocal elements of a recording in focus. The latter allegedly keeps levels in check to compensate for changes in vocal dynamics and user movement – performed by an integral compressor. Both these features work to let creators spend more time creating and less time in post-production. With XLR and USB connectivity you’ve got a user-friendly microphone that can join or become your entire podcasting setup. It will also work with an iOS device with an optional cable.

  • Price: £255 / $249
  • Type: Dynamic microphone
  • Frequency response: 50Hz – 16kHz
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid
  • Phantom Power: No
  • Output connections: XLR, Micro USB
  • Sampling rates/Bit depth: 44.1kHz, 48kHz/16-bit, 24-bit
  • Other features: Built-in headphone monitoring, Voice Isolation Technology, Auto Level Mode

Tula Mic

Tula Mic Red and Black
Image: Tula Mic

Designed in collaboration with Russian mic maker Soyuz, the Tula microphone is a feature-packed portable microphone that also doubles as a recorder. It offers cardioid and omnidirectional operation, meaning you can deploy it for solo podcasts at home or on-the-go, but also in omni for conducting interviews or recording conferences.

It also offers a noise reduction algorithm, 8GBs of internal storage and an internal battery good for 12 hours on a full charge.

  • Price: $199
  • Type: Portable microphone
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omni
  • Phantom Power: No
  • Sampling rates/Bit depth: 44.1kHz/24-bit
  • Other features: Noise reduction, Internal storage (8GB), Internal battery, USB-C port

Røde NT1-A

Rode NT1-A
Image: Rode

Offered at a modest price in a bundle catering for vocal recording, the Røde NT1-A is a large-diaphragm condenser that could be ideal for those who want to try podcasting and home recording.

Thanks to a bump in the 12khz region, the NT1-A has a bright, crisp tone that works for voice, guitars and percussion. Plus, Røde’s Complete Vocal Bundle comes with a pop shield, shock mount and 20-foot XLR cable, meaning all you’d need to get started is a decent audio interface, some headphones and a stand.

  • Price: £199 / $229
  • Type: Large-diaphragm condenser microphone
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid
  • Phantom Power: Yes
  • Other features: Pop shield, shock mount, 20’ XLR cable

Audio-Technica AT 2035

Audio-Technica AT2035
Image: Audio-Technica

Representing what it means to be a true all-rounder, the AT-2035 is an excellent choice for the budding podcaster who also might find themselves having to track guitars or drums.

This affordable large-diaphragm condenser microphone performs with low noise and an even response for a natural-sounding tone. It also comes with useful switches including an 80Hz bass roll-off and a -10dB pad for tracking louder sources.

  • Price: $149/£149
  • Type: Large-diaphragm condenser
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Phantom Power: Yes
  • Other Features: -10dB pad, 80Hz low-cut filter

Neumann U87 Ai

Neumann U87
Image: Neumann

Lovingly referred to as every engineer’s second favourite microphone, because of its array of applications, the Neumann U87 is a legendary all-rounder that handles voice just as well as it handles guitar, percussion and more.

This large-diaphragm condenser offers three polar patterns (cardioid, omni and figure-eight); a -10dB pad for capturing louder sources, and a low-cut for curbing proximity effect while in either of the directional modes.

The U87 has also been a big part of NPR’s signature broadcast sound for decades, where the low-cut is engaged to emphasise the mid and high-frequency information of the voice. This ensures that no matter the listening environment – in a car with the windows rolled down, in a kitchen with a dishwasher going or even on smartphone speakers – voice always stands out.

  • Price: $3,600 / £2,265
  • Type: Capacitor (Condenser)
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Polar patterns: Cardioid, Omni, Figure-eight
  • Other features: Low-cut switch, -10db Pad

Electro-Voice RE20

Electro-Voice RE20
Image: Electro-Voice

A broadcasting stalwart, the RE20 remains just as popular these days in the podcasting scene. Well known for its excellent off-axis rejection and natural, full-bodied sound, this microphone excels in the realms of vocal recording. That’s partly because of its so-called Variable-D technology, which incorporates ports along the chassis’ length to reduce the tonal shift associated with proximity effect.

If you’re thinking of picking up an RE20, keep in mind that it is a low-sensitivity microphone and does require a fair amount of gain. If you’re finding your signals weak, you’ll want to pick up a Cloudlifter, a low-noise mic booster that adds 25dB of clean gain.

  • Price: £399 / $449
  • Type: Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 45Hz – 18kHz
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid
  • Output connections: XLR
  • Phantom Power: No
  • Other features: Mid-bass tone-shaping switch, stand mount, carrying case

Shure SM7B

Shure SM7B
Image: Shure

Shure’s SM7 microphones have been in production, in one form or another, since the 1970s and have always been exceptional for vocal recording. Yes, Joe Rogan uses an SM7B for his podcast, and the original SM7 was Michael Jackson’s mic of choice.

The SM7B is the latest iteration of the popular vocal microphone, featuring a built-in wind screen for resistance against plosives and bass roll-off and presence boost switches. Like the RE20, this is a low-sensitivity microphone, so you will likely need a mic booster such as the Cloudlifter to get a workable recording level.

  • Price: $399 / £349
  • Type: Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 20kHz
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid
  • Phantom Power: No
  • Other features: Bass roll-off, presence boost

Blue Microphones Yeti

Blue Microphones Yeti
Image: Blue Microphones

Of course, we have to include the Yeti from Blue Microphones on our list. Not only did this microphone kick off a market trend for decently priced USB microphones, it remains one of the most popular and flexible options for podcasters.

At the heart of the Yeti is simplicity. You get a single gain knob, a mute button and a headphone output – and USB connectivity means no audio interface is required. Plus, it features four polar patterns and an included stand that’s robust enough not to get knocked over with an accidental swipe.

  • Price: £120 / $130
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Type: Multi-pattern large-diaphragm condenser
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional, bi-directional, stereo
  • Phantom Power: N/A
  • Other features: Zero-latency headphone monitoring, adjustable stand, USB cable

AKG C414

AKG C414
Image: AKG

Walk into any professional recording studio in the world, and you’ll probably find at least a pair of AKG C414s in the mic locker. These are some of the most widely applied in the studio environment and are equally capable of doubling as your primary podcasting microphone.

The modern C414s come in two editions, with capsule design setting them apart. The C414 XLS provides a flatter frequency response and is more versatile, while the C414 XLII’s capsule, based on the design of the revered C12, adds a 3kHz presence boost that’s flattering for female voices. Both are stellar options for podcasting and offer five polar patterns (nine including blended options) along with three pads and low-cut filters.

  • Price: $1,099 / £739
  • Type: Multi-pattern large-diaphragm condenser
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Polar Patterns: Omni, Wide Cardioid, Cardioid, Hypercardioid, Figure-eight
  • Other features: Pad at -6, -12 and -18 dB; Low-cut filter at 160Hz, 80Hz and 40Hz

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