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What is a good microphone for podcasting?

Two months ago we ran an apparently popular tip on Creating Quick Voiceovers in GarageBand 3. We've received a lot of questions since then about the best microphone to use for a simple voiceover.

We can't quite declare a "best microphone." But if you are looking for an inexpensive way to record video tutorials, GarageBand voiceovers, or your own podcasts, here is our recommendation: Go with one of the Plantronics DSP headsets with a USB connection. These provide good voice recording, and are quite affordable. They plug right into your computer's USB port. Easy.

Two models we've used in our QuickTIme video tutorials:

Plantronics DSP-400 USB Headset [$35].
Plantronics DSP-500 USB Headset [$45].

The DSP-400 folds down for easy portability while the DSP-500 is a bit more substantial (the DSP-500 is apparently the mic of choice for at least one large video tutorial company).

Want to hear for yourself? We've got sound samples on the blog version of this tip for 6 different microphone options.

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Sample Sound Tests:

The following recordings come from a handy review by Aaron Shaffer. For each mic he recorded the phrase, "Bob's cat bravely but politely picked seven savory chocolate flowers" which covers the most important articulation sounds.

We've taken Aaron's recordings and separated them into individual clips to make it easier to listen to particular microphone models.

iBook Internal Mic:

Plantronics DSP-400 USB Headset [$34.89].

Marshall MXL-990 XLR Phantom Powered Condenser [$69.99].

Plantronics Discovery 640 Bluetooth Headset [$89.99].

Olympus DM-10 Digital Voice Recorder [$135.94].

Heil PR-40 XLR Dynamic Mic [$269.99].

Source: This tip inspired most recently by a question from the in-house creative department at Costco.

Please Note: The product links in this article are affiliate links at Amazon.com. By purchasing products with our affiliate link, you're helping support our efforts here at CreativeTechs. If you'd rather not, please go to www.amazon.com directly.


Excellent and useful info. Hearing the samples on small computer speakers proved to be a good way to judge these options.

Ok... how do i use the heil pr-40? is it just a plug-n-play mic? what other equipment/items do i need to make that upgrade from a headset/USB mic?
Please advise.

Thanks. This post was very helpful!

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