When I started with Rad Dad, my first podcast, I opted for a cheaper microphone. Choosing a combination of Audio-Technica AT2035 and a Focusrite mixer. I was ready to start for just over $350, and it did the job for a number of year. The sound was decent, and my setup looked good. In fact, a number of guests mentioned how cool the equipment looked, it was nice to hear. Yet, this whole time, I have been yearning to try out Shure SM7B because it seemed like the golden standard. After all, this was the microphone that Roman Mars was using at TED, and it was the mic that many recommend for the higher end recording. But why? Was it really worth $399? I did some research when buying the mics first time and decided against it, but I was wrong. Now that I know what it takes to record a podcast, the answer is resounding yes. Shure SM7B is awesome, and it’s worth every dollar. Unless you are professional podcaster like Roman Mars or Karah Swisher, chance as you’d be recording in your home, local studio, or maybe even a noisy coffee shop. You might take the microphone on the road. Sometimes you will get echo, lots of echo, and sometimes you will have kids running overheag, banging the drums. Another time, a coffee shop will turn on a roasting machine, and a loud seagull will try to steal your food. Your mic has to be able to hand it all, and Shure SM7B is built for that. It is a dynamic mic that records in a cardioid pattern, which means it is very sturdy, and naturally cuts out a lot of the background noise. You will have to get close to the microphone to make sure your voice is picked up well, but as a prize, you won’t have to fiddle with options and settings, and all kinds of sounds buffers to get your voice across. As I mentioned, my other setup was not bad. Here is an example recording. I was in my home office, and Drew was in his. I am using a “fancy” mic, and he’s using AirPods from Apple. It sounds pretty good, but not great.
Here’s my first interview using Shure, while Mubs is using his laptops built-in microphone. You can hear how clear and deep my voice is in this interview, in comparison to the other.
Without a doubt, there is value in paying for the higher end tool! p.s. I just remembered that actually, my very first microphone was a Blue Yeti. It was decent, and in hind sight, if I were to get just 1 thing to start, I would get it again. It’s a simple USB mic that does not require a mixer, or a phantom power booster, or even a stand. It’s just one mic that does the job. If you’re starting out and don’t want to spend any more than $100, get Blue Yeti. Oh, and if you are getting a fancy expensive microphone, I would suggest to also get a Cloudfilter. It's a little device that uses your microphones power to boost its signal, without adding any significant noise. It is pure magic.