When it comes to podcasting, there are a lot of things to think about - from the topic of your show, to the guests you'll have on, to the equipment you'll use. One of the most important decisions you'll make is what type of microphone to use.
There are two main types of microphones: dynamic and condenser. In this article, we'll focus on condenser mics and whether they're good for podcasts.
Are Condenser Mics Good for Podcasts?
Yes. Condenser mics are good for podcasts because they have a wider frequency response than dynamic mics, which results in a more accurate capture of sound.
They also have a higher signal-to-noise ratio, meaning they produce less background noise than dynamic mics. This makes them better suited for capturing the nuances of voice and other sounds in noisy environments.
Condenser Mic vs Dynamic Mic for Podcasting
What Is The Sound Quality Difference Between A Dynamic And Condenser Mic?
Dynamic microphones are the workhorse of the microphone world. They're rugged, relatively affordable, and can handle high sound pressure levels without distortion.
Condenser microphones are more sensitive than dynamic microphones and therefore capture more detail. They're also better at reproducing the nuances of human voices, making them a favorite among vocalists and podcasters.
However, they're not as forgiving as dynamic microphones when it comes to loud sounds, so they're not as well-suited for use in live settings.
As most podcasts are produced in a static environment with limited external noise, using a condenser microphone is the better option. In contrast, a dynamic microphone is the best podcast mic for noisy environments.
If you live on the high street or know you will be recording somewhere with a lot of background noise, you will want to go for a dynamic microphone. The best dynamic microphone for podcasting in an environment with background noise and ambience is the Rode PodMic, which is a cardioid dynamic podcasting microphone.
Click the image to learn more about the Rhode PodMic - Cardioid Dynamic Podcast Mic
Cardioid Condenser Mics
Cardioid condenser microphones are designed to pick up sound from the front of the mic while minimizing pickup from the sides and rear. This type of mic is ideal for capturing vocals or instruments in a controlled environment, like a studio.
The cardioid pattern is achieved by using a single diaphragm that is positioned off-center in the microphone body. When sound waves strike the diaphragm, they cause it to vibrate and these vibrations are converted into an electrical signal that can be amplified and processed.
It has a heart-shaped pickup pattern, hence the name 'cardioid'.
By placing a cardioid condenser microphone directly in front of a sound source and pointing it towards them, you will minimize background noise.
This makes cardioid microphones ideal for recording podcasts because they can be used to clearly capture audio from just one or two speakers without picking up any unwanted sounds in the background.
What Are the Best Condenser Mics for Podcasting?
The best podcast microphones are those that meet your needs and budget. We have a buyer's guide for condenser mics under $100 (for a beginner podcasting microphone, you needn't spend more than this): read our buying guide here.
In general, however, any condenser mic that has a cardioid polar pattern will be good for podcasting.
This type of microphone is designed to reduce feedback and noise from the sides and rear, making it ideal for use in close quarters.
The Blue Yeti USB Microphone is a popular choice for podcasters, as it has multiple polar patterns and a built-in headphone jack for real-time monitoring.
Other popular condenser microphones for podcasting, if you do not mind spending a tad extra include;
- Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser
- Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser
- Rode NT1KIT Cardioid Condenser
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, With Built-In Headphone Jack & Volume Control, Perfect for Content Creators (Black)
- Condenser microphone with USB output for digital recording
- High quality A/D converter with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kilohertz sampling rate for superb audio
- Headphone jack with volume control allows you to monitor the microphone signal with no delay
- Mix control allows you to blend your microphone signal and prerecorded
rode Rode nt USB Versatile Studio Quality USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone, 2.3 Ounce & Shock Mount with Integrated Pop Shield,Black
- High quality studio microphone with the convenience of USB connectivity
- Pop shield, Tripod desk stand, ring mount, storage pouch and 6m (20’) USB cable included
- 3.5 millimeter stereo headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring
- Weight: 682gm
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 210 x 133 x 210 mm
- Hinged vertical angle control
Rode NT1KIT Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package (Renewed)
- Features a sound signature reminiscent of the famous microphones of old while at the same time exhibiting extremely low noise; Ultra-low noise, self noise of only 4.5dB (A)
- The transducer is suspended inside the microphone using Rycote’s Lyre system, minimizing external vibrations at the capsule level
- Coated in
If you are just starting out with podcasting, it is essential to invest in good quality podcast mics for beginners.
All of these microphones can be found on Amazon and are generally well-reviewed by users.
What Are the Downsides to Using a Condenser Mic for Podcasting?
The main downside of using a condenser for podcasting is the fact that they are very sensitive to sound.
So they can pick up even the slightest noise in the environment, which can be a problem if you are recording in a busy or noisy space and do not have plenty of soundproofing or acoustic treatment.
Condenser microphones also require a power source, either from batteries or phantom power via an external audio interface connected to your computer.
This means that you will need some additional equipment for them to work properly and not all devices are compatible with these types of mics (such as smartphones).
As well as additional hardware and soundproofing, you may require a pop shield, not a huge cost but something to factor in.
The last downside is the price - usually..
In general, condenser microphones deliver a richer, more detailed sound than dynamic mics making them not just good for podcasting but great for other voice-over work and music recording as well.
They're also a popular choice for live streaming, as they can handle high sound pressure levels without distorting the audio.