Steve B. sent this email: “Chris, do you have any recommendations on podcasting equipment? Our church is looking into starting that ministry.“ There are a couple of ways to go with podcasting microphones…
There are three ways to setup for recording a podcast;
- USB microphone that plugs into the computer (simplest)
- Standard vocal mic that plugs into a USB converter (moderate)
- Standard vocal microphone that plugs into a mixing board (complex)
Most podcasters will fall into the simple “give me a mic and a computer” so let’s look at options 1 and 2.
The second option seems like the cheapest – take a microphone you have and plug it into an XLR-USB converter. The problem with this idea is that it is not the cheapest. Shure, Blue, and a few other companies have created these converters but you’re looking at the $60-$150 range.
Now to USB microphones
USB microphones are available from a variety of companies. When it comes down to what most podcasters are recommending, there are two that come up a lot; the Blue Snowball and the Blue Yeti.
The Snowball has a dual capsule design and a three-pattern switch (cardioid, cardioid with -10dB pad and omnidirectional). It has a 40Hz-18kHz frequency response. The sampling rate is 44.1 kHz/16bit. It’s a fairly flat response except for a small boost in the 2 kHz range and an even lesser bump in the 10 kHz range. The Blue Snowball has been awarded the best USB mic under $100.
The Blue Yeti is one that I’m seeing a lot of podcasters recommending. The yeti is a completely different beast than the Snowball. Sample rate 48kHz/16bit sample rate, three condenser capsules, and four polar pattern options (cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. The Frequency response is a little wider (20Hz-20kHz).
The Yeti also boasts a headphone jack, a mute button, and separate gain and volume controls.
There is one other USB microphone that deserves mentioning and that’s the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser. While it doesn’t have all the options of the Yeti or a multi-pattern switch, it does give you the great sound of the AT2020 as well as the flattest response of all the microphones. If you know you’ll need to EQ the podcast using some computer software, the AT2020 might be your best bet.
The Yeti and the AT2020 can run around the same price so you need to decide what you want – the options of the Yeti or the simplicity of the AT2020.