Podcasts are a terrific medium to get into because of the relative simplicity to produce one. Sure, many podcasts have large budgets and involve a great deal of staff to produce, but a podcast can just as easily be done by a single person with a microphone and a story to tell. No matter how guerilla your podcast is, though, one area of production that you don’t want to skimp on is a decent microphone. Poor voice recording can turn an otherwise intriguing podcast into a borderline unlistenable one.
The Formula for Podcast Microphones
There is a mixture that is important to achieve, when picking the right microphone for your podcast. Namely, a microphone needs to have a balance between having a narrow pickup pattern that makes it possible to isolate the voice of the speaker, while also leaving room for the subject to move around and perform while they are recording.
For example, a shotgun microphone, correctly placed, will have an incredibly narrow pickup pattern, but will have issues if the speaker moves their head through that pattern while they are speaking and emoting. For that reason, many podcast creators opt to use one particular type of microphone that strikes this balance: the cardioid microphone.
Cardioid Microphones Typically Work Best
Cardioid microphones have a pickup pattern that makes a bit of a rounded heart shape, which means it picks up the area in front of the microphone and a bit to the sides. However, there’s no pickup area behind the microphone. After picking the right style of microphone, it’s all about testing out different options to hear what produces a sound that you like from your voice.
Some examples to check out could be the Audio-Technica AT2020, the Audio Technica ATR2100, or the Shure PGA27. At the end of the day, the best thing to do is try things until you find something that you like, in terms of sound quality and workflow.