How To Make Your Mic Sound Better
The best podcast microphone is the one that works for your lifestyle and goals. Period. There is no one microphone that will magically work for everyone and for all situations.
I do stand by this: to get the best mic for you, my advice is to:
- Buy a podcast microphone from a place that accepts returns easily.
- Test, test, test in the circumstances and locations that you’ll be recording.
- If the mic doesn’t work or you don’t like it, exchange it for something else.
One of my long-time favorites is the Samson Q2U, which runs between $59-$79. A Samson Q2U microphone meets both analog and digital audio needs in one package, including the mic and all the necessary accessories to start recording right out of the gate.
It features both XLR and USB outputs, making it ideal for home/studio and mobile recording, as well as stage performance, if necessary. It’s also compatible with computer-based digital audio workstation software, and the ever popular Zoom calls, so your recordings can be developed with enhanced control and functionality. It’s my go to in many circumstances but I’m particularly fond of using it while I travel or when I have to record outside of my usual at home studio set-up.
You can buy a cheap podcast microphone, but then, you may as well use your phone or computer.
How to Use a Microphone for Best Recording
Here are some tricks for getting the most from your mic:
- Use a foam mic cover to reduce windy, breathy sound.
- Position yourself approximately 8 inches away from the mic to keep the recording quality balanced and consistent. This prevents you from sounding too loud and booming. This is especially helpful if your voice is deeper with more organic bass.
- You can also use a pop filter to reduce the breathy sounds of hard consonants in your recordings. Filters are relatively inexpensive and well worth it. Simply clamp it to your microphone stand and position it 2 to 3 inches in front of the mic. You can also angle your microphone slightly above or below your mouth to decrease popping or breathing sounds.
- Keep your speaker level input between 6 to 12 dB. In most cases, the maximum input level will distort your audio—too much volume. You can also try adjusting input levels in Audacity or any other recording app you are using.
- Buy a boom arm, which will allow you to get perfect mic placement with better posture and to move the mic out of the way when necessary. If you add a shock mount attachment, it will also also keep you from catching any table vibrations you might get with a mic on a table stand. Remember, the heavier your microphone, the sturdier your boom arm needs to be. The best boom arm I can recommend is the RODE PSA 1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm.
You can apply these tips to every microphone you use!
The most important part of making your mic sound better is really you. You need to take the time to work with your microphone, test your microphone, use your microphone and learn what works.