You know those audio cables with circular ends like in the image above? Those are XLR connectors and used by audio professionals because they offer the most balanced audio.
For beginners who don’t have much voice recording knowledge, I suggest you go with a USB microphone, but If you want to record professional, studio-quality sound you must get an XLR microphone for podcasting.
The Best Overall XLR Mic is the Shure SM7B. Many of the professional podcasters use the SM7B, so you won’t go wrong with it. It’s the best value for the money that I’ve seen.
The list here contains the top 5 XLR mics depending on features, budget, value, and professionalism. Below the table will contain more details of each of the mics.
BEST OVERALL VALUE
BEST STARTER MIC
AKG Pro Audio C214
BEST FOR PROFESSIONALS
What To Know Before Buying a XLR Mic for Podcasting
XLR mics will require more equipment to be able to record, eg., audio interface and/or mixer. So if you’re on a budget, you might want to go with a plug and play USB microphone like a Blue Yeti (review in best USB mic article). One of the best sellers is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen):
One unique aspect of XLR cables is that it can pass phantom power through the XLR cable to power condenser microphones. USB cables are unable to deliver phantom power.
Buying an XLR microphone can be easy, yet difficult as there are quite a lot of options to choose from. I’ve discussed many of the key factors to look for when choosing the best microphones for you in the microphone buyer’s guide. That covers things like USB vs. XLR connectors, dynamic mic vs. condenser microphone, and polar patterns.
Shure SM7B – Best Overall Mic
Shure is one of the most trusted and renowned brands in the field of audio technology products. They’ve been dominating the market for a long time with their high-quality products.
The Shure SM7B is a fantastic XLR microphone for podcasting whereas the Blue Yeti was the best USB mic. It’s used in most recording studios by professional podcasters for years as it provides a solid performance as well as long-lasting durability. The wide frequency response range offers smooth, clean, and natural sounds.
The Shure SM7B features an internal pop filter that allows you to record sound with great clarity by eliminating plosives from hard consonants like P’s. With its A7WS detachable windscreen, it helps to filter out noises when you’re talking close to the mic. Shure improved this model to eliminate broadband interruption as well as electro-magnetic sounds, so it’s shielded against what’s being emitted by computer monitors.
The SM7B is on the heavier sider, so you’ll want to make sure you get a good boom arm.
Audio Technica AT2020 – Best Starter Mic
With a budget-friendly price the Audio-Technica AT2020 is one of the best podcasting microphones that is far better than any other microphones at this price range. When it comes to durability, the mic is constructed with metal materials to make it sturdy enough for long term use. This is the best XLR mic for under $100.
It is a condenser podcasting microphone that has a cardioid polar pattern, which is the best polar pattern for podcasting. You will get a decent sound quality from this mic, thanks to its large diaphragm.
The AT2020 currently comes with a mic stand adapter and one leather carrying bag. You won’t get so many things with this mic while buying. There’s no XLR cable that comes with it, so you’ll have to buy an XLR cable like this one on Amazon.
RODE Procaster – Best Procaster
Rode microphones are very popular amongst audio professionals as well as podcasters. The Procaster is an XLR dynamic microphone that delivers incredible audio quality. With its tight polar pattern, it catches frequency response range of voices with great efficiency.
The Procaster can remove ambient noise perfectly to deliver you the best sound clarity with its robust technology. There is an internal pop-filter in the microphone which will eliminate plosive from your voice to get a smooth sound. This microphone is great for those who are looking for great sound quality with little to no background noise.
AKG Pro Audio C214 – Best For Professionals
Are you looking for a professional XLR mic for podcasting? Then the AKG C214 is one of the best professional XLR podcasting microphones without any doubt. With an elegant design, the AKG C214 comes with a large diaphragm that can pick up a wide range of sound frequencies. As it has a cardioid pattern, it’s perfect for podcasting.
This microphone is loved by those who want an XLR microphone that is easy to setup. With the current package deal going on now, you’ll get a windscreen, one shock mount, and a great looking metal carrying case. What else could you want from a microphone?
MXL 90 – Most Budget-Friendly Mic
The MXL 90 is for those who love microphones with a classic design. Even though it’s a classic design, the features are not an old-school classic at all. It comes with all the modern bells and whistle technologies that are required for any podcast host to record amazing sound.
This budget-friendly microphone is capable of reducing background noise to deliver crisp and clear sound.
The current mic deal package comes with a mic stand adapter, carrying pouch, and a shock mount that will eliminate vibrations caused by accidentally touching the mic stand.
Overall, with this price point, the microphone offers several stunning features that can take care of most of your podcast needs on a budget.
You won’t go wrong with these 5 XLR mics. Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages, so choose the best one that’s suited for you.
The best XLR podcasting microphone for people who’re just getting started is the Audio-Technica AT2020. The AT2020 the best starter mic and it’s the best bang for your buck at under $100.
Read the buyer’s guide to choosing the Best Type of Microphone for Podcasting if you want to learn more about the different features of microphones. For more on audio interfaces and mixers, read the comparisons article.
If you’re working with smaller budgets overall or don’t want to purchase an audio interface, here is the list of the best USB podcasting mics.