There is a disturbing trend in podcast production that I feel the need to address. Podcasters have been sold a bill of goods that says, “record with a condenser mic, it sounds superior”. Without knowing any better, and because 90% of USB microphones on the market are condensers, they wind up purchasing a condenser instead of the “inferior” dynamic mic.
Well, the problem is, condensers—as a general rule—pick up a lot of unwanted lip smacks, saliva and other noise from the human speaking voice. While they tend to sound great on the singing voice, speaking is a whole ‘nother matter. Hearing the saliva roll around in someone’s mouth during a podcast is not pretty and may just encourage the listener to turn it—YOU—off.
Very few of us get to try out a microphone before buying it, but it is the only way to tell if a particular mic sounds good on YOUR voice. Yes, for some people a condenser will sound better than a dynamic, but I would wager that the opposite is more likely.
Try out the Shure SM7, Electro-Voice RE-20 or a Heil PR 40—all dynamics. If these are good enough for NPR, Rush Limbaugh and Leo Laporte, they are good enough for you too. They may be a bit more expensive than you are wanting to pay, but the expense will be worth it. Or, use eBay to find one used at a more reasonable price.
A USB converter such as the Blue ICICLE can connect these mics to your computer if you don’t already have a recording set-up, so don’t settle for an inferior mic just because it’s got USB built-in. After all, it is the one piece of equipment that connects you to the listener.
What do you think about the condenser vs. dynamic debate for recording a speaking voice?