One of the elements that makes podcasting so attractive is the low cost barrier to starting a podcast. If you already have a computer and a computer microphone you’re pretty much ready to start podcasting. And that is how most of us begin podcasting. I began using the computer microphone that came bundled with my computer. Although for many hobbyist podcasters that is all they will never need many podcasters begin to slowly upgrade their microphone in order to improve the sound quality of their audio.
I wasn’t happy with the audio quality of my early podcasts recorded with a my freebie computer mic so I decided right away that I would upgrade. My first step up was a microphone/headphone headset combo. These are the headset mics that are very popular with gamers. The two major players in the affordable range are Plantronics and Logitech. Although I would give the edge to Plantronics you can’t go wrong using headsets from either of these companies.
There are several headset styles:
- Monaural (single ear) – this style of headset only covers one of your ears.
- Bianaural (dual ear) – these headsets cover both your ears.
- Convertible – this style of headsets have a detachable ear or mic piece.
- Over-the-ear- these feature a wrap around the ear style so you don’t have the headset piece arching across the top of your head.
I recommend using a bianaural (dual ear) headset for your podcasting needs. It improves the sound quality your hearing so you can zero in on your audio. Headphones are an important component of producing quality podcasts because they allow you to pick up noises you might not hear with the naked ear. That is why you will see radio disc jockeys and singers in recording sessions using headphones.
Plantronics and Logitech headets provide excellent audio quality. But, the audio quality varies compared to the price which range from under $20 to over $100. You don’t need to spend over $100 but just remember that usually the price difference between these headsets is the audio quality. I’ve gone through a couple since I first started podcasting but my first headset I a Logitech in the $30-40 range.
The Studio Quality Microphone
Although most podcasters might never feel a need to upgrade, I wanted to take my podcast audio quality to the next level. These are the professional recording microphones used by broadcasters and musicians.
The price ranges here will also vary but typically you’re looking at $50-100 range for a professional quality microphone. I went with the Audio Technica AT2020 studio microphone which retails for $99.95. But the Marshall Electonics MXL studio microphone is highly regarded and retails for $59.95. You can find other more expensive microphones but for podcasting they would be overkill and not worth the price.