XLR VS USB Microphone for Podcasting


Dear future/ up and coming podcasters, the debate on whether XLR or USB microphone is the best for podcasting always seems to come up whenever someone is asking for help to choose the best microphone for podcasting. However, the majority of people seem to favor XLR Microphones, is there a good reason behind that.

So, what is the best microphone for podcasting: XLR or USB?

XLR microphones are better than USB microphones, especially when it comes to podcasting. XLR microphones have two major pros that make them superior to USB microphones. These two significant pros are better audio quality and reliability.

To learn more about the differences between XLR and USB microphones and understand why XLR microphones are the typically the best microphones for podcasting, then continue reading this blog post. I am also going to explain the differences between a dynamic and a condenser mic.

What is the best microphone for podcasting: XLR or USB?

In a nutshell, XLR microphones are far more superior in the podcasting world when compared to USB microphones because of the following reasons:

  1. XLR microphones produce audio files that are higher in quality.
  2. XLR microphones are more reliable.
A microphone

But why do XLR microphones produce audio files that are higher in quality, and why are they more reliable? Also, why do podcasting beginners still prefer using USB microphones over XLR microphones?

What is an XLR Microphone?

An XLR microphone is typically used by podcasters who are a bit more experienced because they are not as straightforward to use when compared to setting up and using a USB microphone.

Why?

Well, XLR microphones can not be plugged directly into your laptop because their connections have three prongs in them.

This means that you must get and use specific additional pieces of equipment to help you connect your XLR microphone to your laptop in order to be able to record your podcast.

The specific additional pieces of equipment that I am are going to enable you to record your podcast using an XLR microphone includes the following:

  1. A digital recorder that is the USB form
  2. A mixer that is in the USB form
  3. An XLR-to-3.5mm adapter cable ( least recommended)

These three pieces of equipment are going to allow podcasters to overcome the issue of XLR microphones, and allow them to connect their XLR microphones to their laptops indirectly.

But why do XLR microphones produce audio that is higher in quality?

XLR microphones send a balanced signal that isolates the noise because it is considered to be a better connector. This is why XLR microphones are typically recommended for those who want to produce audio that is high quality.

A person podcasting

But why are XLR microphones are more reliable?

Unlike USB microphones, XLR microphones are not directly connected to the laptop. They require to be connected to a mixer or a digital recorder first.

The mixer allows you to connect and record your podcast with several microphones, giving your production flexibility and customizability. However, that is not the only reason why I am saying that XLR microphones are more reliable.

You see, when you use a USB microphone and connect it directly to your laptop, you are risking your audio because if the computer crashes, the audio that you were just recording is now gone!

Now, that is not something that you ever want to happen, especially when you are recording with a guest.

And that pretty much sums up why XLR microphones are the best microphones for podcasting, especially for the following podcasters:

  1. Podcasters who are more experienced
  2. Podcasters who are beginners, but have done their research and who have a decent budget
  3. Podcasters who aim to improve the audio quality of their podcast’s episodes
  4. Podcasters aiming to have a higher production flexibility
  5. Podcasters who want to use a more reliable microphone for podcasting to avoid the issues resulting from their computers crashing

What is a USB Microphone?

A USB microphone is considered to be the most common podcasting microphone for beginners because it is super easy to set up and use. Unlike XLR microphones, you do not need a mixer or even a digital recorder to set up and start using the microphone.

All you have to do is connect the USB microphone to your laptop directly, and you are all set up and ready to record your podcast. It is super convenient and easy to use, especially for beginners.

USB microphones are good podcasting microphone for the following podcasters:

  1. Podcasters who are beginners
  2. Podcasters who have a small budget
  3. Podcasters who are starting a podcast as a hobby
  4. Podcasters who record their podcasts in different places
  5. Podcasters who tend to host a lot of online interviews with guests for their podcasts
  6. Podcasters who want to have a monologue styled podcasts

XLR vs. USB microphones

XLR MicrophonesUSB Microphones
Can not be connected directly to your laptopCan be connected directly to your laptop
Great for more experienced podcastersGreat for podcasting beginners
More expensiveBudget-friendly
Fragile, so less convenientMore convenient
More reliableLess reliable
Better audio quality Decent audio quality

If you need help choosing the perfect microphone for you and your podcast, then feel free to check out my recommendations for podcasting equipment.

Condenser microphones vs. dynamic microphones

What is a condenser microphone?

A condenser microphone is a microphone that adds more depth to your podcast’s audio; thus, improving its quality.

However, a microphone that allows you to record audio with so much depth has a particular con and no. I am not talking about how much a condenser microphone is going to cost you.

The con that I am talking about is the sensitivity of these microphones. A condenser microphone is great because it ups the quality of your audio, but it limits you because you can not just record anywhere and whatever you want due to its sensitivity.

But what does this sensitivity mean?

A microphone’s sensitivity means that it is going to capture a lot of background noises. Since condenser microphones are sensitive, this means you can only record your podcast in quiet environments that are there is not much background noise.

Another drawback that condenser microphones have is how fragile they are. This means if you plan on carrying your microphone around to record your podcast in different places, you won’t be able to do that with condenser microphones cause they are really fragile.

One last drawback of condenser microphones is that they rely on internal power. This internal power can come from a digital recorder.

To sum it up, condenser microphones are amazing for the following podcasters:

  1. Podcasters who to create audio that is higher in quality
  2. Podcasters who have set up a podcasting studio or area that is noise-free
  3. Podcasters who already have or have the budget to purchase and use a digital recorder.

What is a dynamic microphone?

A dynamic microphone is a great alternative to a condenser microphone because they are almost the exact opposite because they are capable of recording narrower frequency ranges.

By doing that, dynamic microphones manage to record audio that sounds less rich than the audio of a condenser microphone.

On the bright side, a dynamic microphone ends up capturing fewer background noises than a condenser microphone. But a downside to this fantastic feature is that you will have to be always very close to the microphone while recording your audio.

To sum it up, dynamic microphones are amazing for the following podcasters:

  1. Podcasters who want to record their podcasts when they are on the go.
  2. Podcasters who want to have good audio quality even if they are not recording their podcasts in decent recording environments
  3. Podcasters who want to their episode’s audio to be void of background noises

Other questions related to what is the best microphone for podcasting: XLR or USB

How to Start A Podcast for Free: A Step-by-Step Guide

You can start a podcast for zero dollars if you use the Anchor FM, which is a free podcasting app. This free podcasting app allows you to record, edit, and host your podcast for zero dollars. If you are not interested in using this app, then you record and edit your podcast using Audacity, which is also free. You can then host your podcast on PodBean, using their free podcast hosting tier.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can start a podcast for free, then make sure that you read my How to Start A Podcast for Free: A Step-by-Step Guide blog post

That’s it for today’s post. You should know now that XLR microphones are better than USB microphones, especially when it comes to podcasting. XLR microphones have two major pros that make them superior to USB microphones. These two significant pros are better audio quality and reliability.

You are also aware of the perfect microphone for you, and your podcast depends on your budget, expertise level, and your podcast’s production format.

My Sources

Till next time,

Ayah

Ayah Assem

I am a creator and a consumer of many forms of artistic content. With podcasting leaving its mark and declaring its significance in the current content world, I have decided to learn everything related to how to create a podcast. Who knows, maybe in the near future I will start uploading and sharing my creative work in the audio format. Join me on my journey of understanding the podcasting world, as I will be sharing with you all of the information that I am going to learn. Feel free to share with me your podcasting journey at podcastingdiaries@gmail.com and keep an eye on all of the music, books, podcasts, movies, tv shows, and YouTube channels that I always reference.

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