Getting your audio right starts with having a proper microphone. Many beginner podcasters assume they need to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars to get started, but you can do it on a budget and then decide later down the road if you’d like to invest and grow as a creator. On the other hand, if you are producing a serious and more professional-level show then investing in a professional-grade mic is worth it! Here are some great microphone options for every budget and skill level.
Entry-Level / USB Microphones
If you're just getting started and not looking to spend too much money on equipment until your new show has a decent following, you may want to consider starting with a USB microphone. This is a great option since all that is required is to plug the mic into the USB port of your computer, turn on your DAW, and press record! This is ideal if you are recording on your own or remotely. However, most laptops will not allow you to record on two mics at the same time. So, if you have a guest or co-host and you record in person, this option has its limitations.
Mid-Level / Dual Outputs
Once you're ready to invest a little more time and money into your podcasting, you may want to consider a microphone that has both the USB output (to plug straight into your laptop) and an LXR output. LXR microphones are plugged into an external device, like an interface or a mixer. That way, you have flexibility when recording in person with another host or recording on your own. An interface or mixer is another cost to consider and will take time to learn, but will also give you more control over your audio levels while recording.
Once you've mastered recording with an audio interface or mixer, then you'll likely never return to the USB microphone and are ready for a more complex mic. For instance, if you are not recording in a professional studio (as many of us may be recording in our homes these days!), the professional-grade microphones may be less forgiving in picking up external noises and may have a learning curve when it comes to producing your podcast.
Make sure to read plenty of reviews before purchasing your microphone. Better yet, if you're able to borrow one from a friend to ensure you're comfortable with that microphone before purchasing, even better!