This question pops up A LOT in podcast groups and with my clients. What are the best podcast microphones to start with? If you’re on a budget and you can’t afford to get it wrong, it can feel like daunting choice. And everyone seems to have a different opinion. How do you know which one to purchase?

What I know for sure based on personal and professional experience…

It’s more expensive to keep buying the microphone so and so recommended and have it end up not being great at all… so you buy the next one… and the next one… I have a microphone grave yard. I have tried all the cool looking, frequently and well marketed, supposed podcast friendly microphones. The Blue Yeti, The Blue Snowball, The Samson Meteorite and more I won’t bother naming.

They look cool. They advertise aggressively to podcasters. But do they work well? Nope. I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve spent trouble-shooting and training people, for fee, to use these mics. And often, the podcaster decides to purchase a new mic anyway.

I’m always suspect of people writing articles for new podcasters that recommend the artsy, sleek microphones. Often, the writer has an undisclosed relationship with the companies whose product they are hawking as the best options. Yes, I use affiliate links, but only for products I’m in complete alignment with and brands that I trust enough to give my hard earned dollars.

So what mics do I recommend?

The very unflashy, very boring, very poorly marketed and not so expensive ATR2100 & Samson Q2U.

They are dynamic microphones, which means they’ll pick up less background noise and still sound great. You can use them as USB or XLR mics… so when you’re ready to upgrade your set up, these mics will grow with you.

Don’t think too hard about this choice.

Don’t let your friend who has a podcast talk you into a Yeti or a Snowball.

Listen to the experts on this one… because myself and thousands of other professional editors, podcast coaches, and pro podcasters will tell you that the sound quality for the price cannot be beat with the ATR2100 (around $80) or Samson Q2U (around $70). These are the mics I own and use all the time. And after testing and putting in the 100,000 hours of listening critically to and working with audio, I recommend these for a reason: They are easiest to use and best sounding mics for new podcasters.

You can use my affiliate links* to purchase the podcast microphones…


So easy. It’s a one time investment you’ll be happy with. I PROMISE!

Just as a friendly aside: If you’re new to podcasting, please don’t buy a condenser microphone or spend $999 on a mic. You have a lot to learn about mic technique, recording environment and sound settings. The demo may have sounded superb. The super pro-caster may have said they use it. But, when you get home, you may not have realized you need a pre-amp. You may not realize it requires a certain technique or it can’t be handheld. You might know how to record a double-ender. And you may not have the sound proof set up it requires to avoid it picking up the neighbor’s conversation. You can get to that level eventually, but build that solid understanding of sound and recording first.

*Affiliate links cost you nothing and allow us to earn a percentage from your purchase.