Everything you need to know before you buy a microphone for your podcast

One of the leisure options that have grown the most during the months of confinement has been podcasts. It is logical, in quarantine time more time has been spent on creative projects and this means of communication is very simple to produce. Most programs needed to record a podcast are easy to get and use and the only requirement needed to have a quality podcast is to have a good microphone.

You may think that the microphone on your computer or the microphone that comes standard with your helmets is enough, but it's not true. Video calls may not need a good microphone, but if you want listeners to listen to your show with interest for a long time, you need to invest in it and deliver good sound quality.

A good microphone gives quality and sharpness to your voice, eliminates noises and cuts and is a tool more than necessary. Why do you think the radio studios are still with the table microphones? The reason is that if you are going to be still in a place while you speak, a microphone of this type is the one that will offer you the highest quality.

But don't let this issue throw you back. As you will see in our report, the good thing about the current situation is that you no longer have to make a great disbursement to get hold of a quality microphone, but that there are cheap and very competitive to anything you are looking for. And at the end of our report, we will recommend some for you to get an idea or buy it if you have decided to take the step.

Types of microphones

To choose a suitable microphone, the first thing to do is to know the different types that exist, because depending on the format they have, for example, they may be more or less comfortable; just as depending on its internal construction will be really useful to you or you will be wasting its characteristics.

The first thing to keep in mind is something you already know as popular culture, different types of microphones can make it easier or complicated to use by size or where you have to place them while recording. You always have to take into account aspects like the space in which you'll record, but that's what we'll talk about later. Let's see what types of microphones exist depending on the format.

Microphone types depending on the format

Leaving aside the one that comes internally on your computer, and that you must set aside if you want to record with quality, there are different types of microphones that we will teach you.

Surely you already know the lapel microphone that is usually hooked on the tie or flap of the jacket you are wearing. It is very common on television and its biggest point in favour is in how discreet it is. In principle, if you are recording at home, there is no reason to get hold of one of this kind.

Handheld microphones are often used by reporters who do street interviews. With a grip at the bottom, rubbers that hold the microphone and prevent bumps or noises and the top that is where the sound is collected. The problem with these microphones is that they also have to be purchased with a base if that's what you're looking for, since leaving it on the table or always holding it in your hand shouldn't be considered an option.

Headband microphones are those that come integrated into the same device that also has headphones. They are located at the height of the mouth to directly pick up the sound just a centimetre from the lips. You will surely see them in journalists who are at sporting events, gamers and some YouTubers.

The USB microphone is the one that is growing the most in the world of podcasting. It connects to the computer's USB port and the digital microphone comes with its tripod-shaped clamping to place it wherever you want. It can be focused to directly collect the words of the speaker. As we shall see, it is the most common of all.

But in addition to the format, there are also different microphones depending on their construction; that is, the elements by which it is composed.

Depending on its construction

Here we go into a more technical plane in which we will not go too deeper apart from offering a couple of brushstrokes about it.

Materials contained in a microphone will absorb sound waves that arrive one way or another, such as our voice, the sounds we produce or environmental, to transform them into data, electrical impulses. In short, how the sound is recorded to be picked up by the computer before it is treated.

Condenser microphones

This type of microphone is widely used and collects the sound through the variations produced by the voice when reaching the two plates that form the condenser. One of the plates remains fixed, while the other, the diaphragm, moves through the sound waves and forms the current variations that are recorded as sound.

The problem with these microphones is that they usually need their own power, although they are usually much better when it comes to capturing sounds. They are of higher quality than dynamic ones, but also more expensive.

Dynamic microphones

This microphone works based on the installation of a cable around a coil that when moved by the sound waves generates an electric current due to the existing magnetic field. How it works to create electrical data is simpler and therefore does not need your own electricity connection, just plug it into the equipment.

It is the simplest and sold today and the one that people who want to record their voice or make video calls without requiring a great quality in the sound are required.

Other buildings

Although the microphones we've seen before usually represent about 90% of those currently sold, other types are much less sold and that we'll list if only for you to get an idea.

Carbon microphone: the sound is collected thanks to carbon granules that vary the resistance with which electricity flows. They are very cheap and resistant but mostly used in the past.

Glass microphone: quartz sheets are modulated and deformed by the pressure of the sound waves to be collected by the equipment. Despite being expensive, unfortunately, they are also unreliable outdoors.

Electret microphone: similar to the condenser microphone, but with the polarized diaphragm so as not to require its own power supply.

Tape microphone: Using a metal tape that connects to a magnet creates a signal when sound waves arrive. Although we won't delve into them because they get out of our main goal, podcasting, it should be noted that they are the most expensive and used in studios to make musical recordings.

Technical aspects to know before buying a microphone

Before you buy a microphone, you may want to know some technical details about which features are usually reported. Surely you'll trust more reviews, reviews or design they have, but if you like to know exactly what you buy, let's look at a couple of details.

The noise level itself is the sound that picks up the same microphone when you do netspeak, just by the air molecules. The lower, the better it will be, although to this day it is usually almost imperceptible. It is suitable for you to collect less than 30 dB SPL (sound pressure level decibels).

From a certain amount of sound the microphone starts to distort the sound it collects, this depends on the sensitivity it has. It is called the maximum sound pressure level and it is recommended that you can collect at least 140 dB.

Impedance is not an indicator of microphone quality or how the signal is captured, but most commonly they are low impedance, less than 1,000 ohms. This is the resistance that the microphone has based on its frequency.

Finally, there is the sensitivity, the electrical voltage you have, and the lower the signal, the worse you will receive the signal. They are usually negative numbers and are based on 1 V/Pa to measure it. Sensitivity usually varies depending on frequency.

Recording location

Although we won't delve into this topic, we just want to let you know that a good microphone won't work miracles if you don't have a suitable place to record.

Try not to record by windows and place yourself in a sandbox where there are no echoes and you may feel comfortable. Body posture will affect your voice, just as you don't talk the same as the phone when you're standing as if you do lie down. Feeling comfortable, close to the microphone and without forcing posture is essential to make recording enjoyable.

During the quarantine by the coronavirus, some people came to record their clips for work in cabinets where the clothes dampened the sound to achieve great quality. You don't have to get to those extremes, although it would be nice to get a suitable space.

Similarly, remember that you have to learn to speak to the microphone, not only in the modulation of the voice, also know the most appropriate distance to the microphone. As with any other gadget, get used to handling your device and then it will come out naturally.

The best microphones

Once we have seen what you should take into account, we will know some models of different types that you can buy today. We've tried to make the sample rich in models and prices so you can get an idea of everything at your fingertips.

Once you have decided the quality you need, your basic needs and budget, we will know the best microphones you can buy today.

Trust Gaming GXT 232

We start with a trusted brand that is often widely used in the gamer world thanks to its versatility. The Trust Gaming GXT 232 is a microphone that you can use to record your program, songs or simply make video conferences.

With an aggressive and very striking design, this microphone can also be used as a handheld model. Your tripod can be rotated and positioned at the desired angle quickly, but it also features a USB adapter to pick up high-quality, distortion-free digital audio and very eye-catching technical features for how cheap it is.

Mars Gaming MMICKIT

Here we find a professional microphone that, for an affordable price, offers you the features you could find in a recording studio. Mars Gaming MMICKIT is a microphone that comes with everything you need to make simple and sharp recordings.

The cardioid microphone has its own 48 V power supply and adds 7 accessories to offer you all the possibilities: anti-vibration support, articulated arm with fixing system, anti-pop filter, anti-wind display... It supports up to 130 dB of sound pressure level and is connected by 3.5 mm jack.

This microphone allows you to record with professional quality and is an investment for those looking for the best quality in their program. Also, it is very cheap for everything it offers.

Yanmar Microphone USB PC

We continue with a microphone that has everything you can need and its operation is so simple that you connect it to the computer and you can use it directly after selecting it on the computer, without the need for specific software.

Although it is valid for musical instruments, it is specially focused on voice recording and even video calls, always with the highest quality. With the most versatile use, it doesn't matter what you want to talk or sing, here you can record your program without any problem.

Also, it has a 1.5-meter cable, three-legged tripod, double mesh filter that can also be placed on the tripod and all the elements you need to record your podcast.

Owlotech X1 Studio

If you are looking for a simple microphone to start with but have all the basic elements, the X1 Studio Microphone is easy to use and fast, as the same computer recognizes it by connecting it to the port, without the need for drivers.

It has its own filter that eliminates noise, a mesh and a tripod to place it on the table when you are talking in your program. If you want to take the first step and start recording, this condenser microphone can be a way to get started.

Also, it is currently on sale on components for only 18.98 euros and has all the guarantees offered by one of the leading electronics stores in the country.

TONOR USB Condenser Microphone

Some microphones can fall in love only with the design, such as this One from Toner with cardioid pickup and with high-quality off-axis suppression: appearance and quality that form a high-quality tool.

In case you buy it, you can use it in a matter of seconds thanks to its simple setup and that can be connected to any USB port and will be available to record your podcast, play, video calls, Skype, Zoom, Facebook Live... And on top of that, you will convey a good image thanks to its appearance. It is compatible with any operating system.

The condenser microphone has a damping bracket that compensates for the usual sounds when facing the computer, such as the keyboard or fan. Also, it contains an antipop filter and the tripod is foldable to store anywhere when not needed.

Marantz Professional MPM-2000U

This is the microphone you need if you're setting up your first home recording studio, a premium model perfect for recording your performances with high-quality performance.

This microphone has a wide frequency response range (20–18,000 Hz), directional cardioid polar pattern, condenser capsule with 16 mm diameter diaphragm, aluminium housing, able to separate signal and noise to make the clearest possible recordings... What else can you need?

With its own carrying case and anti-slip stand, the condenser microphone stands out even in its elegant design.

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