So who in the world can do a podcast without a recording device!? Sure, sure, sure, I can just download an iPhone app to record (which I did). There are a few out there. I currently have one called Opinion. I’ve messed with this briefly but is too limited to be my source of recording/editing. But back to the actual hardware I want to record with; while recording on the iPhone is an option, I want to fully experience what goes into doing a Podcast. This requires a MICROPHONE! I’ll achieve much better recording quality, and with various options I can get rid of that “hissy air” noise that you get with low level recording devices; like the iPhone’s mic. And yes while this is a low budget podcast currently, I don’t necessarily want it to sound like one! So I must buy a desktop microphone with some ability to control noise artifacts.
This is a process in and of itself. So how do I find and quire the right microphone for me? Let’s check it out!
So the microphone…what am I looking for in a microphone? What factors am I considering in this purchase? Well, as I’m currently not an experienced Podcaster, there are purely 2 factors I’m considering in this purchase: 1- Cost and 2- Review/Rating. I’m looking to find an inexpensive microphone that comes well recommend/rated. So where does a 20-something year old millennial search for information on this topic? If you said an encyclopedia, public library, or Radio Shack, you’d be dead wrong and also letting me know that you’re substantially older than me; probably watching Matlcok and talking to your pet rock. You’re a rare breed if you don’t IMMEDIATELY hit up Google. And what does Google always lead to when looking to make a purchase? Amazon. And finally what does Amazon lead to? Amazon Prime. Us millennials are as impatient as we are resourceful. We know exactly where to look for whatever we need and gosh darn-it we better obtain that purchase FAST. And don’t you dare charge us shipping! Google plus Amazon Prime is the perfect combination of information retrieval and well recommended product purchases.
We look for the top hit search results when “Googling” a product which almost always is either the link to the Amazon store where you can buy the product(s) OR review sites like Consumer Reports, Cnet, or any given blog/forum where products are ranked giving their pluses and minuses and overall value. So this is where I go to buy this microphone. How much am I looking to spend?
I would like to stay under $50.00 USD. I want the best value here. This mic doesn’t have to be amazing but it has to purely work, and work well. I’m too naive to know what features will serve me the best so functionality and user-friendliness are big right now. So what microphones are sub $50.00 and come well rated? Let’s see…So I hit up a few ranking websites to see if there are any reoccurring mics in my dollar range. I’ve come across two that are striking my interest based on rankings and price.
First I saw the Blue Microphones Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone.
This microphone comes very highly rated (aprox. 1660 users have rated with an avg of 4.5/5 stars) and right on my price cap at $49. Another thing I liked about this is that it has windscreen built in that helps with “popping” noises during recording. Additionally, it’s very interesting to look at; almost like some sort of extra terrestrial instrument. So I guess you could say it’s quite charming looking. It comes in an assortment of colors to boot. The metallic silver would surely match my iMac’s finish! Blue seems to make a lot of well rated microphones and this hangs right in there with the rest.
Next we have the Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone. This is another highly rated and recommend sub $50 mic. It’s available on Amazon for $39.99 getting 4.5/5 stars from 1,174 reviewers. What’s nice about this microphone is is size and shape. It’s ultra portable as it folds up and can easily fit in your pocket. The size did not allow for a built in windscreen so the purchase of a pop filter might be beneficiary if I were to choose this one. It may not be as neat looking as the Snowball but its size and price are definitely attractive features. One more feature that it has that could help be a decision maker is the fact it has a headphone jack so you can have immediate feedback in your ears of how you sound. A caveat of course is the sound quality would not be quite up to par of others such as the Snowball.
Just for a better sampling of the product lines, lets just throw one more mic into the mix that is just a bit higher priced but is oh-so-cool to look at! The Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone. This bad boy comes in right at $69.94 is one of the most visually stimulating mics I’ve seen; resembling a combination of a vintage rockabilly mic and some sort of weaponized warhead. While this comes at a higher price tag, it also will come with a higher fidelity recording ability. It gets fantastic reviews at 4.5/5 stars with 686 reviewers. While I’d love to go with the better microphone of the three, for my current purposes, I will save the $20 for now.
After doing this research and speaking with my cousin; an audio recording major at NYU; I decided that based on my curtain needs, the Blue Snowball. It’s attractive, relatively compact, usb ready, in my price range, gets great reviews/ratings AND it’s Amazon Prime eligible. I’ll be placing the order within the next few minutes and I should have it by no later than 2 days from now. EXCITEMENT! I’ll be doing a full unboxing when I get the product, so stay tuned for that post! Once I get that up and running, I’ll be starting to record my podcast episodes. Between now and the unboxing, I’ll be working on getting a post up about the website I use to house my podcast and blog!
Oh yes, 1 more thing. I decided also that I will get a pop filter. The one I chose is called the Dragonpad USA Pop Filter and was recommended to go with the Blue Snowball Mic. A quick run down on the pop filter…it is a screen that sits between the you and the microphone. It’s purpose is to not only prevent moisture from getting to the mic but also to cut down on popping noises from the air hitting hitting the microphone too fast from your mouth. The popping noise is very off putting and unpleasant and by no means professional. This will run me an additional $9 or so.