What is the best podcast microphone of these six reviewed?

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Product links are affiliate Amazon links, meaning I earn a small cut if you click and buy. Nonetheless, these are my opinions about what is and isn’t the best podcast microphone.

Since around 2012, I have about two pages of podcast microphone orders on Amazon and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Some are very different, too. Some are better in some situations and not so good in others. I’ve used:

The mic in front of me in my podcast cover art is a Snowball mic, though, I don’t use this anymore. Let’s take a look at how my podcast microphone usage has evolved.

Snowball mic

I first started using Snowball mics eight or 10 years ago and they worked fine. They work especially well if you sit right in front of them. In my podcast’s cover art, I’m recording on my laptop and the mic is right there close to me. It worked. They are also small enough that you can travel with them.

Nonetheless, I moved on from the Snowball mic as I was traveling more and I travel super light and wanted to conserve space.

Lavalier mics

Then I moved onto lavalier mics. They are more compact for travel and worked well with my iPhone 6 at the time. If you are going to use one, make sure you know how hook it up to your current iPhone and please use a case when transporting them.

iPhone mic

I love to record podcasts with my iPhone – like this one and several others when at in-person conferences. While conferences have been cancelled due to COVID my guess is they will pick up again at some point.

And the iPhone certainly makes it easy. I was wondering though: When not using a headset where should I actually be talking into the phone? Where is the mic on my iPhone?

Given that some people do use the iPhone as a phone I assumed the mic was at the bottom – so it’s aligned with somebody’s mouth when they are talking on the phone.

That turned out to be true. The mics are at the bottom end of the iPhone. Out of sight, out of mind.

So does that mean that I shouldn’t speak into what we would have called the mouth piece on a traditional phone? Do I need to tilt my phone and speak directly into the bottom? There’s a noticeable difference when I talked into the top – where the camera is.

By default people are likely speaking into the correct area anyway but I though this was good to know as more and more businesses uses podcasting and record with their iPhones to share their stories.

But, nonetheless, this is also harder to remember than it sounds. I was in Chicago and recorded a podcast with TURF Design.

The setup was like this when we recorded:

You can see we had fun but I also held the phone incorrectly.

Apple AirPods and Earbuds

I’ve been streaming more using Switcher Studio in 2020 and simply use my earbuds attached to my iPad for those recordings. It works well and sounds good. Here’s an example from a livestream I did with Pam Didner.

I also have used them while recording directly in the Anchor app and the sounds is great there as well. I use Anchor for my podcast editing and distribution.

Other times, I’ve used the Apple AirPods – like in this Amazon Live – and the audio also sounds great.

In this scenario, the AirPods are paired to my iPad which is producing the show via Switcher which is then distributed to seven channels via Restream.

USB mics

podcast microphone for deskI started doing more livestreams on my computer and wanted to try a mic that is attached to my desk. I got this extendable USB mic and tried it. The sound is fantastic. Assembly is easy and quick. The biggest issue I ran into was to make sure it’s set as the default device on my laptop.

You can listen to an example on this podcast guest appearance that I made

This mic also has a mute button, so when it’s not working make sure it’s not muted.

Best podcast microphone wrap

The best podcast mics for you depend on how and when you record your podcasts. When I used to travel and record most on the fly, the iPhone did just fine. Now, I spend my days at my Varidesk in my office and the mic hooked up to the desk works great.  But I’m also not throwing away my AirPods Pro and Apple Earbuds.

I’m thinking I will rotate between the USB mic and my AirPod Pros for recordings and livestream, depending on situation and setup. The USB mic will stay at my desk and the AirPods will travel with me once we travel again.