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10 of the Best Microphones for Radio

Shopping for a new mic for your studio:

But can’t decide which one to get?

Do terms like frequency response or electret—sound alien to you?

No problem...today...I’ll show you 10 of the best radio microphones for live broadcasting.

And explain some mic terminologies.

Great! Let’s go:

More...

Are you new to microphones? See the quick intro.

(Note: prices listed below are subject to change)

 1. Blue Yeti Blackout -USB

Features

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000 Hz

Max SPL: 120dB

Price: $128.86 

Type: Condenser with 3 capsules

Colors: 12

The Blue Yeti microphone is one of the best-selling USB microphones—very popular with podcasters.

It has been hailed for its sound quality, affordable price and wide array of features. Now...

Let's talk about its outstanding features: 

Tri-capsule technology

The Blue Yeti has three capsules & four recording modes:

And this is really great!

The cardioid mode captures sound from the front. It's ideal for podcasting, voice-overs, game streaming and recording instruments. 

The stereo mode records sound with the right and left channel. You don't have to use two mono mics to pull of stereo recording.

The omnidirectional mode picks up sound from all directions. And guess how you can use this mode?

You can use it to interview someone or record sound from a live call. The mode also gives your sound ambiance or the feeling of being there.

The bidirectional mode has a pickup pattern that resembles the number 8. You use this mode to capture sound from the front and back. 

And its great for a two-person interview. 

Headphone jack with volume control

During a live broadcast, you may want to monitor your voice. 

On the Blue Yeti, you can plug in your headphones in the 3.5-millimeter jack and hear your live recording without delays. 

You can also adjust the headphone’s volume.

Gain adjustment knob

You get a gain control to adjust the mic's sensitivity. For instance...

If you're picking up a lot of background noise, you can correct this by turning down the sensitivity gain.

However, if the gain is completely turned down, it will mute the speaker. As you lower the gain, speak closer to the mic.

Adjustable desktop stand

You don’t have to buy a boom arm for your Blue Yeti. It comes with an adjustable desktop stand. 

But, remember not use the Yeti as a front-address mic. 

It’s meant to be used as a side-address microphone. (the mic's top should point at the ceiling)

Will I need a boom arm and pop filter? 

While the Blue Yeti has a desk stand, it may not position the mic in front of your mouth. 

It's short—and if you have a low desk, you might have to stack the Yetti on some books to get the desired height. So...

A boom arm will really help in the placement. And a pop filter is also necessary. 

 2. RØDE Podcaster -USB

Features

Frequency Response: 40Hz – 14,000 Hz

Max SPL: 115dB

Price: $229

Type: Dynamic, Cardioid 

White

It’s a highly-rated USB powered microphone. 

And talking about trust; the Rode Podcaster comes with a 1-year warranty.

When you register it, you get an extended 10-year warranty. 

Now, don’t confuse the Podcaster with the Rode Procaster. Though they are priced at $229, they have different features.

So, what’s great about the Podcaster?  

An internal pop filter

The mic has your plosives covered with its internal pop filter. 

Headphone jack

You can plug in your headphones on the Podcaster and monitor your vocals with zero latency.

What accessories do you get?

  •  RØDE RM2 Ring, which you can use when mounting the microphone on a stand. 
  •  USB Cable (3 meters or 10 feet).

What else will you need? 

You’ll need a boom arm, shock mount, and an external pop filter to complement the internal pop filter. 

3. Blue Snowball (Brushed Aluminum) -USB

Features

Frequency Response: 40Hz – 18,000 Hz

Max SPL: 115dB

$52.55

Type: Condenser, Cardioid & omnidirectional

Colors: 5

The Snowball USB microphone is made by the same company (Blue Designs) that makes the Blue Yeti microphone. 

Straightaway —you’ll notice the disparity in the price and features in these two mics. 

The Blue Snowball costs about $60 less. But it's not the cheapest:

If you want to cut costs further, the Snowball Ice mic retails for about $39. 

It looks like the Blue Snowball Microphone only that it has one capsule, lacks the omnidirectional pickup pattern, and comes in two colors (white and black).

So, what’s great about the Snowball mic? 

Two pickup patterns

You can use the cardioid mode for your vocals.

And the omnidirectional mode for 360-degree audio recording. 

Plug-and-play

You won’t need additional drivers. You just plug it in your Mac or Windows computer. 

And use it with your radio automation software or sound recording software.

Two-year warranty 

The Snowball mic has a two-year warranty. So, you know you’re getting a product trusted by the manufacturer. 

Adjustable stand

Similar to the Yeti series, the Snowball mic has a stand you can use on your desk. 

-10 dB PAD

You get a -10 dB attenuation switch for varying the mic’s sensitivity to loud sounds.

This switch allows you to prevent the internal circuit from overloading. 

What else do you need? 

If you don’t want to break the bank, this microphone is for you.

However, you may also need a pop filter, shock mount, and a boom arm.

How much with the extras cost? 

A bundle of the Blue Snowball Microphone with the Dragonpad Pop Filter costs $76.82. 

The Ringer Shock Mount made for the Snowball microphone goes for $54.  

4. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

Features

Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Max SPL: 115dB

Price: $149

Type: Condenser, Cardioid

Colors: Black & White

The AT-2020 USB+ is a sturdy mic noted for its high-quality sound. It also packs some nice features and accessories:

Headphone jack with volume control

You can plug in your headphones and monitor your recording with no delays.

Mix control (hot feature)

Mix control is a fascinating feature!

Remember, I told you that you can plug in your headphones. 

Mix control allows you to monitor sound playing on your computer using the headphones jack. 

This is great if you have an instrumental track playing on your computer and you’re recording vocals over it.

What’s more, you can use the mix control dial to vary the sound going to the headphones mix from the two sources. 

What accessories do you get? 

  •   10 foot or 3 meters USB cable
  •   Tripod desk stand
  •   Pouch 

Suggested additions:

You may need a boom arm and a pop filter.

What will a professional setup cost? 

If you get the NEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom for $12.50...and the Aokeo Professional Microphone Pop Filter for $6.99, your total cost will be $168.49. 

5. Samson Meteor Mic -USB

Features

Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Sample rate: 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz

Price: $54.92

Type: Condenser, Cardioid

Colors: Chrome, Titanium Black, Brushed Nickel


Samson Technologies was the first company to produce USB microphones that were used by musicians from 2005. 

The Samson Meteor Mic, released in 2011 as a computer microphone, has a large diaphragm of (25 mm).

I didn’t explain this earlier, but large diaphragm mics are great for recording vocals.

On the hand, a small diaphragm mic is suitable for acoustic instruments like guitars. 

So, what’s great about the Samson Meteor Mic? 

Headphone jack

You get a headphone jack with a volume knob for zero-latency monitoring. 

Your recording will be of high-quality thanks to its large diaphragm and resolution of 16-bit/44.1/48, which is considered CD quality.

Mac and Windows Compatible

You don’t need special drivers to get it working with your computer.

What’s more, you can use it with your iPad by connecting it through a lightning to USB camera adapter.

Fold-back legs

Instead of a stand, the Meteor has three, fold-back legs.

And they have rubber feet for extra grip.

Included accessories:

You get a USB cable and carry porch. The Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software is available as a paid download.  

6. Shure SM7B -XLR

Features

Frequency Response: 50 – 20,000 Hz

Max  SPL – 180 dB

Price:  $399

Type: Dynamic, Cardioid

Phantom Power: No

The Shure SM7B microphone is one the most popular microphones for radio studios.

Straightaway, let me mention that it does not require externally supplied phantom power. And it's not be affected by its presence.

However, it has a low output level of -59.0 dB. You need to boost it by +60 dB to use it as a line input.

So, what’s great about the SM7B?

 Flat, smooth frequency response

The SM7B has a flat, smooth frequency response (50-20,000 Hz), which makes it sensitive to a wide range of frequencies.

It’s recommended for close-talk speech, vocals and recording guitar/bass amps. 

Rejects electromagnetic interference

You don’t have to worry about placing the mic near your computer.

It can reject electromagnetic interference emitted by electronic devices such as computer monitors.

Internal shock isolation

The internal shock isolation helps eliminate noise transmitted mechanically to the diaphragm.

You may not need to buy an external shock mount. 

Bass roll-off and presence boost

The SM7B also has two switches; the bass roll-off and presence boost (mid-range emphasis) switch. 

What about the extras? 

Currently, the Shure SM7B is shipping with: 

  •   Foam shield
  •   Close-talk windscreen
  •   Locking yoke mount

What else do you need to connect it to your computer? 

If you’re thinking about purchasing this mic, don’t expect to plug it into your computer and you’re good to go. 

It's an XLR mic with an analog output, which is very low at -59 dB.

You require an additional gain of +60 DB. You need a mixer that can provide this gain. 

Most people pair it with the Cloudlifter CL-1 — an inline “pre-amp” that provides a gain of 20 DB:


 —and the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.


The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 an audio interface with an inbuilt pre-amp that provides an additional gain of +55 dB and converts the signal to USB. 

What costs are you looking at? 

Here are prices as per September 28, 2018:

CL-1 Cloudlifter costs $149. 

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 costs $ 143.35. 

And the Shure SM7B costs $399

Total cost: $691.35

An alternative to the CL-1 Cloudlifter is the dbx 286s microphone pre-amp. It costs about $200. 

Note that they are other equipment combinations you can try out.

7. Behringer B-1 -XLR

Features

Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Max  SPL – 138 dB

Price:  $99.99

Type: Condenser, Cardioid

Phantom Power: 48V 

Color: Satin Nickel


The B-1 is a large diaphragm—which despite its price—records crisp & crystal clear sound.

It has all the bells and whistles of pricier microphones.  

So, what’s great about it? 

Large gold-sputtered diaphragm

The large diaphragm allows the mic to record realistic sounds.  

It also has a gold-plated XLR output that protects the integrity of the sound signal.  

Low frequency roll-off & -10 dB pad switches

The B-1 has a switchable 75 Hz low-pass filter, which allows you to isolate undesired low-frequency sounds like rumbles from the floor. 

To handle sounds with high Signal Pressure Loads (SPL) without overloading the circuit, the B-1 features a selectable -10 dB attenuation pad.

If you switch it on, it will drop the sensitivity of the audio circuit, in turn, preventing an overload.  

Heavy duty

You'll be using this mic for years thanks to its rugged construction and robust nickel-plated brass body.

What about the extras? 

  •  Shock mount 
  •  Windscreen
  • Aluminum storage case

What else will you need? 

The B-1 doesn't have an XLR cable and stand.  So, you need a boom arm and an audio interface or mixer to provide phantom power.

8. Electro-Voice RE320 -XLR

Features

Frequency Response: 30 – 18,000 Hz

Max  SPL – 137 dB 

Price: $289

Type: Dynamic, Cardioid

Phantom Power: No

Color:  Semi-gloss black

You're sure to find this ruggedly built mic in a lot of commercial radio stations. 

Many radio broadcasters like this mic.

So, what’s great about it?

Near-perfect build quality

It's built to last with an all-metal body. 

EQ switch for kick drum and general use

You get a  filter switch that allows you to switch from the general frequency response (45 – 18,000 Hz) to the kick curve response ( 30 – 18,000 Hz).

This feature gives the mic a dual-personality nature, which is like having two mics in one. 

Integral pop filter

The mic also delivers high-quality noiseless sound thanks to its integral pop filters.

It also picks up less background noise, making it suitable for live studio sessions or in environments with background noise.

Perfect for live broadcasting

Finally, it’s perfect for live broadcasting since you won’t need to apply post-processing to removed unwanted background noise.

Accessories included:

  • Semi-hard shell carrying case.
  • Microphone mount
  • A 5/8 to 3/8 stand adapter

The mic does an excellent job of minimizing plosives. So, you may not necessarily require a pop filter.

But, you may need a shock mount, mic stand, windscreen, and an audio interface or mixer with USB output. 

9. MXL 770 -XLR

Features

Frequency Response: 30 – 20,000 Hz

Max SPL: 137dB

Price: $74.35

Type: Condenser, Cardioid

Phantom Power: 48V (+/- 4V)

Color: Black

The MXL 770 is a multi-purpose, small-diaphragm microphone that’s suitable voice-work and recording string and acoustic instruments. 

It’s also one of the best entry-level professional microphones under $100. 

So, what makes it great? 

Excellent build

The MXL 770 has a black metal finish with a black grill.

Rugged carrying case

You get a robust carrying case for storing your microphone.

The case useful if you travel a lot. And it’s certainly better than a porch. 

High-isolation shock mount: 

It has an external shock mount, eliminating the need to acquire one afterward. 

The shock mount and mic both fit in the carrying case, which is also very convenient.

Low-frequency roll-off and -10 dB re attenuation switch

The mic has a roll-off attenuation switch that reduces unwanted rumble or low-frequency sounds.

And the -10 dB switch will be useful for decreasing sensitivity of the condenser mic when recording loud noises. 

Perfect for live broadcasting

Finally, it’s ideal for live broadcasting since you won’t need to apply post-processing to removed unwanted background noise.

Will I need an audio interface? 

Off-course, you’ll need an audio interface or a mixer since it requires a voltage of 48V plus or minus 4 volts. You’ll also need a boom arm and pop filter. 

10. Neumann TLM 103 -XLR

Features

Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Max SPL: 137dB

Price: $1,299.95

Type: Condenser, Cardioid

Phantom Power: 48V

Color: Satin Nickel and matte black

If you’re looking for a high-end radio microphone with great warm vocals, consider the Neumann TLM 103. 

It’s used in commercial radio stations and production studios.

So, what’s great about it?

Acoustically balanced

It has a large diaphragm with an acoustically well-balanced cardioid capsule, drawn from the hugely popular Neumann U87 mic with a listing price of about $3,000. 

Extremely low noise 7dB

Thanks to its ultra low-noise transformerless circuit, the mic has a minimal low self-noise of only 7 dB. 

It can capture faint sounds making it suited for recording acoustic instruments and audio drama productions. 

Presence Boost 

The microphone has a wide frequency response. 

But from 6 to 15 kilohertz, there is a flat 4 dB presence boost, which will make your voice crisp and very intelligible. 

Large wire mesh

The large wire mesh headgrille helps eliminate plosive sounds.

And what accessories do you get? 

  • An aluminum briefcase
  • Shock mount

So, you may also need a mic stand or boom arm.

Overall, if you’re looking for a high-end radio microphone made by one the most reputable manufacturers, you might go with this mic. 

If the price is a little steep, but you still want a Neumann, you can choose the Neumann TLM 102 MT condenser mic for about $700. 

Types of microphones for radio:

-Dynamic mics

  • Less sensitive to loud sounds 
  • Have numerous uses such as recording vocals, stage sound, presentations, speech, loud instrument sounds from drums, bass guitars, guitar amps, toms, or banjos...

How do dynamic mics work?

Inside a dynamic microphone’s capsule, there is a coil wound around a magnet. 

This coil is attached to a diaphragm (a thin flat membrane).

When sound waves strike the diaphragm, it vibrates causing the coil to move back and forth along the magnet. 

Magnetic induction creates an analog signal.

This signal travels through the microphone cable to the pre-amp which boosts it to line level.

If the audio interface or mixer has a USB output, it will convert the analog signal to a digital signal.  

Why would you get a dynamic mic?

  • Cost less than condenser microphones
  • Rugged and durable
  • Don’t require an external source of power (phantom power)
  • check
    Pick up less background noise

-Condenser mics

  • More sensitive than dynamic microphones.
  • Capture sound with extra details and airiness.
  • Preferred for recording studios.

How do condenser mics work?

Condenser mics have two plates; a lightweight polymer membrane and a fixed plate. 

A constant voltage of 48V is applied over the plates to create an electric field.

Positive charges collect on the fixed plate, and negative charges accumulate on the diaphragm.

When sound waves strike the diaphragm, it vibrates, and this changes the balance of the charges or capacitance.

Sometimes condenser mics are also called capacitor microphones, particularly in Britain.

This is because the internal setup resembles that of a capacitor.

There are two types of condenser mics:

a) Externally polarized/discrete/ true condenser mics:

So...

I’ve said that condenser mics need a constant voltage. Where does the power come from?

Externally-polarized mics get their electric power through the mic cable that's plugged into an audio interface or mixer.

Since the power travels with the same cable used for transmitting the audio signal, it’s called phantom power.

b) Electret/pre-polarized condenser mics:

The polarizing voltage is impressed on the mic by constructing the back plate or diaphragm out of a permanently charged dielectric material. 

This power lasts for mic's lifetime.

Reasons to get a condenser mic:

  • High-quality sound
  • Capture more details
  • Gives sound airiness and realism

-Ribbon mics

  • Most natural sounding microphones in the world.
  • Very popular mics during the old-time era of radio (1930s- 50s.)

How do ribbon mics operate?

Formerly....ribbon mics had two magnets and a very thin aluminum sheet (metal element) suspended in the strong magnetic field. 

However, this thin ribbon was prone to breaking and bending.

Dynamic and condenser mics became successful and widely adopted due to these limitations.

But advancements in nanomaterial design over the last decade have resulted in newer and sturdier ribbon mics. 

In the past, a sound engineer wouldn’t expose a ribbon mic to phantom power. Current ribbon mics use phantom power. 

Still, they need careful handling, and they can be quite pricey.

Why would you get a ribbon mic?

  • Bidirectional/figure 8 pickup pattern
  • Record natural sound
USB mics vs Mics with XLR cabling

Mics with XLR cabling out put an analog signal.

Analog mics need more equipment to perform amplification and conversion. On the other hand...

USB mics have the same components as traditional mics —but with two extra circuits: 

  • Analog to digital converter
  • Pre-amp circuit

So—you can plug a USB mic into the USB port of your computer and start using it immediately. But...

Analogue mics have to plugged into mixers or audio interfaces.

Next, let’s tackle some sound jargon

Frequency

Frequency is how frequent sound waves pass a particular point. It’s measured in Hertz.

One vibration per second is equal to 1 Hertz.

Pitch

It is how high or low a tone is. For example, an opera singer has a high pitch. 

Did you know that the human ear can hear frequencies from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz? 

Decibel

It’s the unit used to measure the degree of loudness or the intensity of sound. The sound of a human voice is normally at 60 decibels.

Frequency response

Have you ever noticed that some mics are marketed for vocals others for instruments like bass drums?

It has to with the microphone’s frequency response.

Basically, the frequency response of a microphone tells you how it will respond to different frequencies.

To get the true picture, let’s look at the audio spectrum. 

Frequency Range

Frequency Values

Sub-bass
20 to 60 Hz
Bass
60 to 250 Hz
Lower mid-range
250 to 500 Hz
Mid-range
500 Hz to 2 kHz
Upper mid-range
2 to 4 kHz
Presence
4 to 6 kHz
Brilliance
6 to 16 kHz
Delicate
15 to 20 kHz

Mics can have two types of responses:

A flat response:

This means the microphone will be sensitive to all frequency ranges. 

When you plot a graph of response in decibels (y-axis) against frequency in hertz (x-axis) for a flat response microphone, it will be a flat line. 

A shaped response:

Such a microphone will be selective at certain frequencies. The shape of its response curve will have peaks and valleys. 

For instance:

A microphone optimized for vocals may have a presence boost from 3000 Hz to 6000 Hz. 

Sound recorded at these frequencies will sound crisper and have a certain airiness or presence. 

Typically, most mics have a rise in sensitivity between 3,000 Hz to 6,000 Hz. This is called a presence rise. 

Clipping

It’s an audio distortion that occurs when a signal becomes too loud. 

Think of sound as a wave or an inverted S. When clipping occurs, the sound wave looks like someone cut the tops and bottoms with a pair of scissors. 

Thus, the name clipping. 

Microphone accessories:

Boom Arm

It’s an arm-shaped stand made of metal or PVC tubes with movable arms. 

Will I need one? 

Yes, as it helps with the mic placement. 

-RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm

Shock Mount

It’s an elastic suspension that protects your microphone from mechanically transmitted noise when it’s mounted on a stand or boom arm.  

Vibrations arise from the floor –(more from wooden floors than concrete floors) – from your desk or as you handle the equipment.

-Samson SP01 Spider Shockmount 

Pop Filter

Vocal pops occur as you forcefully emphasize ‘B’ and ‘P’ words. Try saying bomb, pop, or pickle. 

These sounds are also called plosives. To minimize them, you'll need a pop filter. So...

It is merely a mesh made of nylon or metal. 

How does it work?

It breaks up fast-moving sound particles before they hit the diaphragm. 

-Aokeo Professional Microphone Pop Filter

Foam Windshield

Foam windshields are placed over the microphone. They are used to block plosive sounds, wind, and dust. 

Now, let’s look at some of the best microphones for broadcasters: 

Mudder Large Foam Mic Windscreen

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  • Hugues
  • Updated November 3, 2018
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