What kind of microphone do I need for Studio?
With Studio, you can use XLR or USB microphones, wired or Bluetooth wireless headphones and headsets, and even your computer’s built-in microphone to record your podcast.
Should I get a condenser or a dynamic mic? What about pickup patterns?
Condensers are more sensitive than dynamic mics, and because they pick up everything (breaths, mouth noises, air conditioning, etc.), they are harder to use. Condensers (Blue Yeti, for example) should only be recommended if you're recording in a treated space, or a decent-sounding room.
Dynamic mics are generally the best choice for a podcaster.
Certain mics (like the Blue Yeti) have multiple pickup patterns. A mic with a cardioid pattern is desirable for podcasting, because it rejects audio from the back and sides. The Yeti should be set to cardioid.
For more information, see Dave Jackson's Common Causes of Bad Podcast Audio Quality and How to Fix Them.
What’s the best type of microphone for podcasting?
In order from best to worst:
- Professional microphones sound great and can give the best possible sound quality. However, they require a USB interface or mixer to connect to your computer and can be complicated and unintuitive to use as a beginner. Because of this, they’re the least portable option. Examples are the Shure SM7b or the Electro-Voice RE20.
- USB microphones can sound quite good and connect directly to your computer without needing an interface or mixer, but they usually can only be used one at a time, so they’re best for solo podcasters. Examples are the Audio-Technica ATR2100x, Samson Q2U and Shure MV7.
- Some USB mics are hybrids that have an XLR connector. These are great because as you grow into an interface, you have the ability to connect them with XLR. Examples include the Samson Q2U and ATR2100, and the Shure MV7.
- Wired headphones use very tiny microphone elements, and they tend to sound better than Bluetooth headphones’ microphones, but they have limited sound quality due to their microphone’s size. The best example is Apple’s EarPods.
- Wireless Bluetooth connections limit the sound quality of your mic but are very convenient. Examples are Apple AirPods and Jabra Elite.
- Built-in microphones are convenient because you don’t need any equipment, but they produce the worst sound quality of all. Laptop microphones usually produce acceptable quality, but Libsyn Studio recommends only using built-in microphones as a last resort because they are often located near noisy computer fans and are difficult for you to get close to.
How do I connect a professional microphone to Studio?
To use a professional microphone with your computer, you’ll need a USB interface or mixer. We recommend interfaces as they tend to be simpler and come with fewer complications. A couple of examples are the Focusrite Vocaster and the Elgato Wave XLR. If you want something more robust, a well-loved one by podcasters is the Rodecaster Pro 2. You’ll connect your microphone to the interface using a microphone cable with XLR plugs. One end has a female plug with three holes, which plugs into your microphone, and the other end has a male plug with three pins, which connects to the input of your interface. Your interface should come with a USB cable to connect the device to your computer. Follow your interface manufacturer's instructions to set up, install software drivers if necessary, and set levels.
In Libsyn Studio, select the name of your interface (or mixer) under Microphone > Settings, which enables Libsyn Studio to record all the microphones that are connected to your interface.
Connect your headphones to your interface or mixer, rather than your computer, for the best sound.
How do I connect a USB microphone or headset to Studio?
To use a USB microphone with your computer, use the USB cable that came with the device. Use your microphone manufacturer's instructions to set up, install software drivers if necessary, and set levels. In Libsyn Studio, select the name of your microphone under Microphone > Settings. Connect your headphones to your mic, rather than your computer, for the best sound.
How do I connect a wired headset or headphones to Studio?
To use a wired headset or headphones with your computer, simply plug it into the headphone jack. In Libsyn Studio, you’ll select your computer’s headphone connection under Microphone > Settings.
How do I connect a Bluetooth wireless headset or headphones to Studio?
To use a Bluetooth wireless headset or headphones with your computer, follow the manufacturer's instructions to make the connection. Once paired to your computer, in Studio, select your headphone’s name under Microphone > Settings.
How should I set up my room for recording?
Close and off-center!
- Get close and stay close to the microphone. Ideally, for most podcasting applications, the microphone should be between a finger and a fist’s distance from your lips. Stay there! Once you have your position, learn to stay still for the best sound.
- Keep it off-center. When people make consonant sounds like “p,” “b,” “t,” and “s,” we produce a blast of air. You can experience this for yourself by placing you hand right in front of your mouth and saying the word, “pop.” When these blasts of air hit the microphone, they overload it, which makes it unpleasant to listen to. By positioning the mic off-center near the corner of your mouth, the blast of air misses the mic, but you still sound great.
- Get it on a mic arm or stand and avoid touching it or knocking it. Ideally, sit with good posture and bring the mic to where you feel comfortable. Don’t crouch down to the mic – bring it to you. You can work with a handheld mic, but be careful to avoid making noise as you handle the mic.
Certain mics are "side address" and others are "end firing," which refers to the angle you should speak into them. The Yeti is actually a side address mic. Be sure you aren't speaking into the back of a mic! If you aren’t sure how to address a mic, read the manual.
Can I share a microphone with my guest?
We’ve all seen on the news when a reporter speaks into a microphone then points it at their interview subject to capture their answer. These journalists are highly trained and have specialized equipment. If you attempt this technique, you risk missing the beginning or end of what your interviewee has to say, poor sound quality, or handling noise. For these reasons and more, Libsyn Studio strongly recommends one microphone per person.
Do I really need to wear headphones?
Yes! Certain USB microphones have a headphone jack that allows you to monitor your signal so you can listen to your sound quality and notice if you’re too far away from the mic, and in the case of interviews, hear your guest. Additionally, without headphones, your mic will pick up your computer’s speakers slightly later than you speak, which can create an echo, or even worse, feedback. Libsyn Studio strongly recommends that you and all guests always wear headphones.
If you’re using a professional microphone, connect your headphones to your interface or mixer rather than your computer for the best sound. If you’re using a USB microphone, connect your headphones to the mic rather than your computer for zero-latency monitoring.