Being on a budget with an urgent need to start a podcast is not a comfortable place. Everybody talks about Shure SM7B, but you are only looking for the best budget microphone for podcasting. I know!
Looking at all the available mics on the market, the best budget microphone for podcasting for under $80 is Samson Q2U. If you can spend $100, then you should pick Rode PodMic. The best mic under $150 is definitely AT 2020+. If your budget can handle up to $200, you should choose Samson Q9U.
Those microphones will allow you to record good quality podcasts, but the lower-budget ones are less forgiving in noisy environments. You need to make sure you are recording in a moderately soundproofed location.
Mics above $200 can’t really be considered budget options, as this category includes mics like:
|The Best Microphone Use Case||Recommended Type||Recommended Microphone||Average retail price|
|Streaming / Online gaming||USB mic||Shure MV7||$250|
|Podcasting||dynamic mic||Shure SM7B||$500|
|YouTube videos (stationary)||dynamic mic||Rode Procaster||$230|
|YouTube videos (moving subject)||lavalier mic||Tascam DR-10L||$200|
|Outdoors video or sound||shotgun mic||Rode VideoMic Pro+||$300|
|Professional studio||condenser mic||Neumann TLM 102||$800|
This article provides recommendations regarding the best budget microphone for podcasting. I won’t repeat the broader background discussing the average cost of a mic and what contributes to the microphone’s price. If you want this background read here.
Before I go directly into the top 15 best budget microphones for podcasting, I will quickly give you a full podcast budget setup recommendation.
What is the Best Cheap Podcast Setup?
The best cheap podcast setup can be bought for around $100. It consists of a Samson Q2U microphone (mic stand, pop-filter, and cables are included) and AKG Pro Audio K72 studio monitor headphones.
Samson Q2U (check current price) microphone is an excellent option if you are on a tight budget or you need a larger setup for 4 or 6 people. Having both XLR and USB connections, it is extremely versatile, allowing you quickly change your setup depending on the type of audio content you are recording. This mic sounds really well and can easily compete with pricier USB mics.
AKG Pro Audio K72 (check current price) is most likely the cheapest closed-back audio monitoring headphones a premium brand offers. You will need monitoring headphones to make sure your recording sounds good and if you want to capture any kind of remote interview.
I’m also covering more expensive podcasting setups in this article (podcasting setups under $300, under $600, and $1,000).
You can find examples and recommendations of a simple podcasting setup at the most popular price points below.
Best Podcasting Setups for All Budgets
Below, you can find the best podcasting setup for $100, $300, $600, and $1,000. The $100 setup utilizes my recommended best budget microphone for podcasting, the Samson Q2U (check current price).
If you have a higher budget, then you can go for the pricier recommendations.
|Around $100||Under $300||Under $600||Under $1,000|
|Microphone||Samson Q2U||AT2020 USB Plus||Rode Procaster||Shure SM7B|
|Mic stand||(included with mic)||(included with mic)||Rode PSA1||Rode PSA1+|
|Shock mount||–||–||Rode PSM1||(built-in)|
|Filter||(included with mic)||Pop filter||Rode WS2 pop filter||(included with mic)|
|Headphones||AKG Pro Audio K72||Sennheiser HD280 PRO||Sennheiser HD280 PRO||Sony MDR-7506|
|Audio interface||–||–||Focusrite 2i2||Focusrite 2i2|
|XLR cables||(included with mic)||(included with mic)||(included with mic)||Mogami Gold|
The table has links to products that will allow you to buy products within the budget.
If you want to review all podcasting gear recommendations, you can find them here.
Presented price points are, of course, examples for a solo setup. If you need to record more people, you will need a bigger budget (more mics, cables, preamps, stands, interface with more input lines, etc.).
How Do I Choose a Podcast Microphone?
When choosing a podcast microphone on a budget, determine the number of people you need the setup for. Solo setup can utilize USB mics. A multiple-person setup needs XLR mics with an interface or a mixer. Your mic also needs a stand, so decide if you want one that comes with one in the box.
Buying tips when looking for the best budget microphone for podcasting
Determine your spend limit for your budget podcasting setup
The section above already shows that a decent podcasting setup using only branded gear for a solo host will cost between $100 and $1,000. The setup below $100 will not deliver a quality recording, and set up above $1,000 is, in most cases, too sophisticated for most independent podcasters.
For only a good quality budget microphone for podcasting, you will need to spend between $70 and $200+.
Best microphone pickup pattern for podcasting mic
The best and most popular mic pickup pattern for podcasting is cardioid. The mic will collect sound from a specific area and won’t capture sound coming from outside of it. This ensures that only your voice is recorded and not other people or anything that makes noise in your studio.
Using multiple cardioid microphones for each person when recording more than one individual allows you to record individual tracks. This makes the editing process very simple.
If you’re looking to record multiple people with the same mic, either due to budget constraints or maybe you need a mobile setup, consider an omnidirectional or figure-8 pickup pattern. Those mics capture sound from a wider field, but record everything to a single track, making editing difficult.
What kind of connectivity should a good microphone have?
- Professional studios use only mics with XLR connections
- Small home studios can also use XLR mics, as good audio interfaces are now very affordable
- USB microphones are increasingly common, and in recent years their quality got very good
- You can also find mics having both USB and XLR connections that will provide you with flexibility
How to optimally place a microphone for recording?
Podcasting mics are not designed to be handheld. Some mics will come with small desk stands or tripods in the box to allow for a cheap entry setup. For a long-term solution, you should invest in a good microphone boom arm (desk swivel) or a larger stand if you prefer to record standing.
Here are tips on how to handle your mic
- How to Setup a Microphone – here are instructions on how to place your mic for the best quality.
- Best Microphone Boom Arms – if you need a flexible desk swivel to operate your mic, here is a huge list of the best boom arms,
- Best Podcasting Microphone Stand – this article includes not only desk swivels but also heavy bases and large stand for recording while you stand or if you need a mic dropped from above your head.
TOP 15 Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting
1. Samson Go – most portable budget microphone for podcasting
Samson Go is an omnidirectional, super portable, for interviews on the go, with a laptop.
This ultra-portable USB condenser microphone is a simple Plug and Play device for a Mac or a PC (no drivers required). Custom compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk allows for a very clean setup and is not intimidating.
In most cases, this is not very high on the list of recommendations, but it is great in two specific cases:
- If you are a podcaster, you travel a lot, and you want to record directly to your laptop,
- If you are a podcast guest, and you want to easily boost your sound quality.
2. Samson Q2U – overall best budget microphone for podcasting
Samson Q2U is an excellent option if you are on a budget or you need a larger setup for 4 or 6 people. Having both XLR and USB connections, it is extremely versatile, allowing you quickly change your setup depending on the type of audio content you are recording. This mic sounds really well and can easily compete with pricier USB mics.
This little microphone sounds great and makes it easy to record your content and will satisfy even more experienced podcasters. Background noise is controlled thanks to the durable metal cage. A built-in headphone jack lets you monitor sound in real-time, without any delay.
Samson Q2U comes packed with a small tripod mic stand, USB cable, and a foam windshield. So your basic recording needs are covered from the hardware perspective with this one purchase. If you are buying this mic unbundled or any other mic, remember that you need a tripod and a pop filter.
3. MXL 990 – the best budget condenser mic for podcasting
MXL 990 is the best budget condenser microphone for podcasting (a good alternative to Rode NT1-A; an upgraded version of MXL 770)
- It is budget-friendly. You can find it for around $80.
- It is also offered in a set for around $110. The MXL 990 set also includes a shock mount with integrated pop-filter, 20′ XLR cable, a desk swivel, and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
- It provides the flexibility of the XLR connection to use an audio interface or preamp.
- It has the necessary specs providing a quality recording (for its price point, it has a high-quality small-diaphragm and cardioid polar pattern).
- Good price to quality ratio. Balance sound.
- Consider the MXL 990 if you want a good condenser microphone, and your budget is limited.
4. Rode NT-USB Mini
The Rode NT-USB Mini is another great compact mic for beginners. It is bigger than Samson Go, but it also delivers better audio quality due to its larger footprint.
This USB condenser microphone is mostly recommended for beginners, who require a super easy and intuitive setup and a microphone that will fit into a small space, as the Rode NT-USB Mini is very compact.
It has an integrated pop shield, so you don’t need to install additional filters. The same goes for additional software – nothing else is needed, as it is a simple plug-and-play device.
5. Blue Yeti
Blue Yeti is probably the best in the Yeti mics lineup. It is much more affordable than the Pro model and delivers almost the same sound quality. The biggest advantage of the Yeti Pro is the availability of both USB and XLR connections.
- Blue Yeti provides good audio quality, is easy to use and has a unique design.
- Visually distinct, looks good if you need to record a video.
- Yeti gives us a beautiful audio resolution out of available competitive USB microphones.
- It has four adjustable pattern settings: cardioid (recommended for podcasting), omnidirectional, stereo, and bi-directional. This can be useful if you want to use this microphone for other uses as well.
6. Rode PodMic – the best value for money budget mic for podcasting
As XLR mics are, in general, better than USB mics, the Rode PodMic will be better than the same price or pricier USB mics. It is a great entry-level XLR mic, producing quality audio optimized for podcast recording. It has an internal pop filter to help with most sound issues and an internal shock mounting to reduce vibrations simplifying your setup.
I highly recommend Rode PodMic to most beginner podcasters due to its high-quality sound, ease of use, and option to connect an audio interface as your podcasting skills grow.
7. Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB
Audio-Technica is a trusted audio brand, and their ATR2100x is probably their most affordable, good-sounding mic that can be recommended for podcasting.
Some of the best features of this mic include:
- USB port for quick and easy recording,
- XLR input if you choose to connect it to an audio interface or a mixer,
- ATR2100x comes with a sturdy tripod desk stand with folding legs (easy to set up and transport),
- Tripos is small, stable, and easy to travel with,
- It also comes with three cables: USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to USB-A, and XLR female to XLR male, so that will cover all of your needs.
8. Mackie EleMent EM-USB
Mackie is a high-quality audio gear manufacturer. The EM-USB captures precise audio. Being a condenser microphone, it requires a quiet recording location. Its solid construction and affordable price make it an awesome entry-level podcasting microphone. It comes with an ok tripod.
Recording quality is very good at this price point, while the included accessories and bundled software make for a very well-rounded package. At its price point, Mackie EM-USB offers great value for money.
Mackie produces great microphones, and if you need something a bit more powerful but still within the budget microphones category, consider more complex Mackie’s podcasting mics like:
- Mackie EleMent EM-Carbon (check current price)
- Mackie EleMent EM-Chromium (check current price)
The entire EleMent series of microphones deliver the quality and versatility you need to capture great audio.
9. AKG P120
AKG is a great, high-quality European audio brand.
The AKG P120 is a condenser microphone that offers solidly built quality, outstanding performance, and excellent value. The low-mass diaphragm delivers a clear sound with accurate detail for podcasting.
My favorite feature of this mic is the switchable bass-cut filter – allowing you to eliminate low-frequency noises and pass higher frequencies effectively. This function is usually available in higher-tier mics like the Shure SM7B.
If the AKG P120 looks nice but lacks some features for you, you can consider a small upgrade to the AKG P220 (check current price), which is a more professional mic, but still can be considered a budget microphone for podcasting.
10. HyperX QuadCast – most flashy budget mic
HyperX is a gaming gear brand that has ventured into audio gear productions.
The HyperX QuadCast microphone sounds good, but it has gained popularity mainly due to its design, and choice of colors. While most mics are black or silver, HyperX added a lot of red accents.
That is why you will find many YouTube videos or video streams using mics that look good or interesting on camera. That is the reason behind the popularity of the red HyperX QuadCast (check current price) or their newer RGB HyperX QuadCast S (check current price) model.
They both sound actually good, but they are specifically designed to look interesting in a video.
11. Samson G-Track Pro
G-Track Pro is another entry on our list of budget microphones for podcasting from Samson. It is a very good and versatile microphone. It is the most powerful USB budget mic for podcasting coming from Samson.
It is rich in features allowing for high recording flexibility:
- 3 pickup patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional),
- Headphone level control knob,
- Additional analog input – a great feature if you want to add music to your podcast. That input comes with its one gain knob,
- Mute button, which is handy if you want to use it for streaming or work,
- Plug-and-play, no driver installation required.
12. AKG Lyra
AKG Lyra is a good and versatile microphone. It has a very specific and distinct design, and for some, it might be a deal-breaker, while for others, it will be a beauty.
It is an excellent condenser USB mic with 3 different pickup patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, figure-8). It is actually very similar to the Samson G-Track Pro when it comes to functionalities.
It is very user-friendly, e.g., the pickup patterns are labeled “front” and “wide stereo” rather than “cardioid” or “omnidirectional.” Dropping the technical jargon makes the mic more friendly for casual users.
13. Audio Technica 2020 USB+ – best budget mic for podcasting for under $150
Audio Technica 2020 USB+ is a well-rounded mid-tier USB podcasting mic. It comes with a small tripod for a quick start (not my favorite part of it). It sounds well and provides good quality. Remember to put a pop filter on it and record in a rather quiet place. It also has accessible controls directly on the body and a mic jack for direct audio monitoring.
- It provides good, sustainable quality for home podcasting,
- It is very convenient since you don’t need any additional equipment. There is no need for a preamp. You can just plug it into a USB port and start recording without additional effort,
- You can regulate volume while recording with built-in buttons. You can also monitor volume and quality by connecting your headphones directly into the built-in jack,
- It is easy to connect and mount on a better quality stand,
- The two biggest advantages are user-friendliness and average price,
- The audio resolution will be reasonable for many podcasters,
- It might capture some background noise. Also, the tripod provided in the package is a bit unstable. When you compare the quality recorded in a soundproofed room with higher-quality mics, you will hear the difference.
14. PreSonus Revelator
PreSonus Revelator is the most powerful condenser USB mic among all the USB budget mics for podcasting. The Presonus Revelator has a “loopback” functionality built into it. It can act as a hub for your different audio streams, making the process of handling audio from different sources very simple. It has a very stable, bulky stand, which makes the overall mic appear heavier than it actually is.
Generally, it sounds great and is definitely one of the most advanced USB mics at this price point. When paired with the software, it comes with it turns into a quiet professional setup.
15. Samson Q9U – best budget mic for podcasting for under $200
Samson Q9U is the most classic-looking mic on the list of best budget microphones for podcasting. In my opinion, it is the best-looking mic on this list, and it is the best budget microphone for under $200.
- Great sounding dynamic microphone,
- Cardioid polar pattern – ideal for any podcasting host,
- USB-C digital output and XLR analog output for more versatility.
- Low cut filter, mid-pretense boost, and mute controls – powerful control right on your mic when you need them,
- Dual-layer windscreen – you don’t need any additional foam or pop-filter, so the esthetics of the mic is intact,
- Solid, die-cast construction with integrated yoke mount – you don’t need any additional shock mounts for this mic.
Here are a few mics, that are often recommended but did not make the list of my recommendations:
- Shure SM48-LC – mic designed for handheld use,
- Shure SM58 – generally a great mic and many use it for podcasting, but it is more of a vocal stage mic,
- Blue Snowball iCE – I was never a fan of the Snowball’s design, but many find it appealing.
This list of the best budget microphones for podcasting gives you a lot of flexibility and great choices for any entry-level mic.
- Under $50 – a threshold below which you can definitely skip any mic without even testing it
- Under $80 – the best budget microphone for podcasting for under $80 is Samson Q2U
- Under $100 – If you can spend $100 then you should pick Rode PodMic
- Under $150 – Best mic under $150 is definitely AT 2020 USB Plus
- Under $200 – If your budget can handle up to $200 then you should pick Samson Q9U
If you want more options to choose from, e.g. if your mic will also serve for music recording, streaming, work, etc. then review the list again as it definitely covers all those needs.
The best budget USB microphone for podcasting is the AT 2020+. If you need a light compact version for interviews on the go, then consider Rode NT-USB Mini.
If you want a USB microphone, and you can afford a more expensive mic then consider Samson Q9U or Shure MV7.
The best cheap dynamic microphone is the Samson Q2U.
If you want a dynamic microphone, and you can afford a more expensive mic then consider Rode Procaster.
The best cheap condenser mic is the MXL 990.
If you want a condenser microphone, and you can afford a more expensive mic then consider PreSonus Revelator.
Budget? You’re out of touch my friend.
Hi Chris, I’ve stated in the article that mics below $50 are not worth the time in my opinion.