I’m a member of a Google Plus Community called Podcasting Technology Resources which is super active with nearly 2000 members. It’s a great place to talk about gear and tools. Many early podcasters ask me what mic they should get, and that question gets asked really often in the Podcasting G+ community as well. The answer is almost always the Audio-Technica ATR2100. Once one person recommends it, a lot more people chime in also recommending this mic.
There are a couple of remarkable things about the ATR2100. First of all, it’s listed for only $55 right now on Amazon. Second of all it supports both XLR and USB. If you have a fancy pants mixer, you can use the ATR2100, but if you just want to plug it right into your computer, you can do that via USB. Those two things make it attractive, and when you combine that with the masses in the Podcasting community also endorsing it, I had to try one out.
I thought it would be fun to do a fly off of several mics. I use a Heil PR40 which is a very high end mic that Steve bought for me one year, I think so he could inherit my Heil PR20. I also have a couple of travel mics that I like to use, the Samson Meteor Mic and the Samson Go Mic. If you’ve been listening to the show you’ve heard reviews of them in the past. Finally I thought for grins and giggles I’d record with the internal mic on my 2014 MacBook Pro as well. I figured this would give a broad range of options from free to just under $400 for a new podcaster to make a decision on how much money they needed to spend.
I started at the low end with the internal microphone working my way up in cost. I included the internal microphone not because I think it’s a viable option but rather for people to hear how awful it sounds vs. spending just a few dollars to get a real microphone. I recorded in GarageBand and didn’t change any settings on the Mac between recordings. I first said the name of the mic and the price, and then recorded myself saying the beginning of my introduction. Next I clipped out just the intro sentence and played them all back to back so you could really compare them.
If you’re listening to this as part of the podcast, you might want to go over to the blog post for this section because I’ve included a table with images of each microphone and a link to them on Amazon. It might help you to categorize them in your head while you’re listening.
Let’s listen to the recording and then I’ll come back and then we’ll chat about it.
While listening to the comparisons in GarageBand, the Audio-Technica ATR2100 sounded pretty close to the PR40, but the version you’re hearing has been sampled down to a 64kbps mp3, and the slight crunchiness in the ATR2100 is more evident. I do think that for 1/5th the cost, it’s AMAZING. The Heil PR20 performed very well and at less than half the cost of the PR40 it’s a great option, but don’t forget you still have to shell out for a USB interface if you’re not going to use a mixer.
If you’re starting in podcasting, I can definitely recommend the Audio-Technica ATR2100 for a mere $60. Keep an eye out, it sometimes drops as low as $45!
|Samson Go Mic
||Samson Meteor Mic