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So you want a new professional-level XLR microphone to record yourself speaking or singing? You’ll need to consider 2 main things: dynamic or condenser.
I also want to highlight that many of these microphones work great to record instruments and other sources of audio, but they excel for voice recording and podcasting.
Dynamic computer microphones are less sensitive than condensers, making them a great choice when recording multiple people in the same room or if you don’t have a quiet recording area.
You will usually need to be very close to the mic as well. Live performers commonly use dynamic mics so they don’t pick up the other instruments as well.
Our Top 3 Pick of Best XLR Microphone For Streaming
Zero Latency XLR Microphone For Streaming
The Rode Procaster is an excellent near studio-grade alternative to some of the more “pro” level mics below. It offers a 75Hz – 18kHz frequency response has an internal pop filter and comes with a stand mount adaptor. If you don’t want to hold it in your hand (which is not recommended), you’ll need a stand or boom.
The Rode Podcaster is a somewhat rare dynamic (rather than condenser) USB microphone. It offers a broadcast-style design and signal without digital signal processing.
Rode is an Australian microphone brand that manufactures good-looking, quality condenser mics for a fraction of the price high-quality models often sell for. Thus, its entry into the USB mic realm is a natural progression. The only irony here is that, at $229, the Rode Podcaster is among the more expensive USB options we’ve tested.
The other slight surprise is that the Podcaster is a dynamic USB mic, not a condenser mic like many of the competing models. And while we’ve seen 16-bit and 24-bit resolutions thus far, the Podcaster utilizes a less common 18-bit. In terms of audio quality, the Rode is a cardioid-pattern mic, with no digital signal processing (DSP), making it a solid choice for radio broadcast-style vocals.
The Podcaster comes in a familiar, broadcast-style shape, with a grille wrapping around the top end of the mic. But the body feels less typical—it has a heavy 1.5-pound build with a glossy white exterior rather than the metallic tones I often see.
While the mic, which measures roughly 8.5 by 2.2 by 2.1 inches (HWD)—has a handsome, spare, professional look—there are some nifty tricks up its sleeve.
Internally, it employs a shock mount to keep the 28mm neodymium dynamic capsule from picking up vibrations, as well as an internal pop filter. In other words, the two most important accessories that are typically outside the body of the mic—and not always included in the base price—are internal here, and part of the mic itself.
Pros and Cons
- Provides a solid signal with rich low-mids, smooth mids, and crisp presence in the highs.
- Zero-latency headphone jack.
- Internal pop filter and shock mount for capsule.
- No Gain knob.
- No included mic stand.
Rugged Construction XLR Microphone For Streaming
The Shure SM7B is a standard in radio broadcasting, meaning it’s easily right at home for your podcasting studio. The SM7B is a dynamic cardioid mic with a frequency response from 50Hz to 20kHz. It’s designed to protect against electromagnetic static and hum generated from computers and lights.
As you can see, it comes with a built-in windscreen and mounting bracket, and has a built-in “air suspension” shock mount. There is also an additional detachable A7WS windscreen.
Because you get everything you need in one package, this is an excellent value and equally great-sounding XLR microphone for podcasting. You will need a preamp with at least 60dB of gain, so I would recommend pairing it with the Cloudlifter for an easy volume boost to avoid introducing too much noise.
Pros and Cons
- Rugged construction, classy aesthetics
- Smooth and warm for speech and vocals
- Low noise and natural reproduction
- Limited polar pattern
- Not ideal for novices or people on a budget
Versatile XLR Microphone For Streaming
Another standard in the broadcast industry, the Electro-Voice RE20 will not steer your wrong. It’s a true cardioid dynamic mic that performs as well as any condenser. This thing was released in 1968 and you have probably heard people using it more than you realize.
The unique Variable-D feature reduces the proximity effect and will forgive even inexperienced mic users from not speaking in the “perfect spot”. You’ll get a frequency response from 45Hz to 18Khz, an internal pop filter, an internal shock mount to reduce vibration noise, and a gentle bass roll-off (high-pass filter) switch.
Similar to the other professional-level dynamic mics, you’ll want a microphone pre-amp to avoid excessive noise when you turn the gain up. A great option is the DBX 286s pre-amp. It’s an industry favorite that also gives you some additional compression, de-essing, and more.
The Electro-Voice RE27N/D is an upgraded version of the RE20 above. N/D stands for neodynium, the element that gives this mic an extra 6dB of sensitivity. There is an additional high-end response up to 20kHz and it also includes switches to fine-tune certain frequencies.
Pros and Cons
- Very Versatile
- Brilliant Sound
- Bass Roll-Off Switch
- Weight and size
Condenser microphones are more sensitive and precise, making them a great choice when recording solo in a quiet environment. They require external or “phantom” power, which most decent digital audio interfaces have, but it’s something to be aware of.
The XLR microphones we recommend range from under $70 to $500. When choosing an XLR microphone, you will also need a way to get the audio onto your computer for editing. Typically this is accomplished with a DAC (digital audio converter) like a USB interface or mixer.
The Shure SM7B is a classic mic for a good reason – it simply sounds fantastic. It adds an instantly recognizable “broadcast” quality to any voice. It’s pricey, but also a solid investment that you won’t regret.
The Electro-Voice RE20 is by far one of the best microphones for podcasting, broadcast, and YouTube that I’ve ever had the chance to work with. It comes with a hefty price tag, but the quality certainly meets the mark.
The Procaster is a cardioid dynamic microphone, making it great for a 2-4 person studio so you don’t pick up each other speaking. The mic isn’t very “hot” so I highly recommend using a separate microphone preamp so you don’t have to raise your audio levels in post (which also raises your noise levels). An easy-to-use option is the Cloudlifter CL-1. Overall, it’s a good enough mic for podcasting. To see similar products, visit Amazon.com