For several years, I’ve been recommending the Audio-Technica AT2005USB (Get it here on Amazon). It’s a solid mic. It has a great sound, great pickup pattern, good rejection of off-mic noise, has a headphone jack in the mic for latency-free monitoring, and all in all, is perfect for low-budget spoken audio. I’ve tested hundreds of mics, and again and again I’ve returned to recommending this mic to people who want to start sharing their voice with the world.
I recently saw another similar USB mic and decided to spend some Amazon rewards cash getting one to test. I did, and now I can fully recommend this mic: Samson Q2U Handheld Dynamic USB Microphone with Headphones and Accessories. This mic has all the features and quality of the Audio-Technica, yet sells for 25 dollars less AND comes with some headphones that will work fine for talk radio.
The Samson mic with headphones is currently 44 bucks. The AT2005 is 72 dollars without the headphones. The Samson headphones are OK, not great, and you do have to have them tight on your head to prevent leakage of audio into the mic. You’ll also need a mic stand, get this one (I like it better than the one I used to recommend), and some foam windscreens, get these.
I actually like a few things better about the Samson mic. For one, the volume control is on the bottom side of the mic, not on the bottom end, it’s easier to get to. And the indicator LED light actually turns red if you’re distorting (not that it’s easy to see while using the mic, especially with a windscreen on). I did not like the internal foam inside the grill, it smelled funky, like petrol, like most things shipped on a slow boat from China these days. I unscrewed the grill, pulled that foam out, threw it away, and just relied on an add-on foam windscreen.
What a time to be alive when the price of the gear for getting on worldwide radio is 44 bucks. Things sure have changed since I was a kid, and I’m digging getting to go along for the ride. And I’m glad to have helped in the from of co-developing FeenPhone. Check it out, FeenPhone is free, and is much better than Skype for connecting remote spoken media producers over the miles.