Podcasting Myths Exposed - Part 3 - Use A Blue Nessie, Snowball, or Yeti Microphone

Podcasting Myth #3 frustrates me because it affects so many podcasters.

It goes like this: Use a Blue Nessie, Snowball, or Yeti microphone. These microphones appear to be sold by the thousands. And they are the reason why so many podcasts sound so bad.

One podcasting guru’s ebook on how to podcast advices unsuspecting podcasters: “The Blue Nessie is a great USB microphone." He's not alone. There are several guru's that say these are good mics to use.

This is really bad, misguided advice.

As I mentioned in Podcast Myths Exposed - Part 2 - audio quality matters - a lot! Unfortunately, when podcasters follow podcasting gurus' advice to use a Blue Nessie, a Blue Snowball, a Blue Yeti, or a Blue anything… their podcasts usually end up sounding bad.

Here’s the reason why:

The Blue Nessie, Snowball, Yeti microphones and similar microphones from other vendors are condenser microphones. Condenser microphones are the most commonly used microphone in studios because they are very sensitive and faithfully capture the sound of voice and musical instruments. Whoa! You may ask, "If a condenser microphone is that good at faithfully capturing the sound of my voice, why wouldn't I want to use one for my podcast?"

What makes condenser microphones so good is also what makes them a poor choice for most podcasters. Do you have a sound proof acoustically treated recording studio? Neither do I! Most of us record our podcasts at home from a spare bedroom, closet, or home office. Around us are the sounds of the heating and air conditioning systems, the whir of hard drives and fans in our computers, the sound of family members active in other rooms of the house, and the purr of your cat trying to get your attention as you record. Condenser microphones are perfect for picking up all the extraneous and annoying sounds – including the echo in your home or office!

The result?

A poor sounding podcast that will have your listeners fleeing your podcast within the first few seconds of clicking the play button. Sure, there are ways to improve the sound recorded using a condenser but it’s more trouble than it’s worth for most podcasters.

So, what kind of microphone should most podcasters use?

Back in my rock-n-roll days working as a roadie and sound & stage guy, I was faced with the problem of rejecting the noise of the venue and the sound of the rest of the band from the vocalist. There was one microphone I commonly reached for: the venerable Shure SM58.

The reason I chose this microphone is because the Shure SM58 is a dynamic microphone. It's legendary for it’s ruggedness, great sound quality, and it's ability to reject noise during a performance. This is the microphone you see Roger Daltrey of The Who twirling around on onstage while Pete Townshend spins windmill strokes on his guitar. It’s this ability of dynamic microphones to reject room echo and other noises that make them a better choice for many podcasters.

To be fair, many podcasting gurus do, in fact, recommend using dynamic microphones. The problem I have with their advice is that they usually recommend a more expensive dynamic microphone like the Heil PR40. It is a decent mic. However, I think the reason this mic is often chosen and recommended is because a podcaster saw some other big name podcaster using it for their podcasts. The fact is, you don't need it. You can have studio quality sound for much less.

I’ll explain how in The Unconventional Guide To Podcasting.

You will learn what I use in my home office, and why. You will learn a few basic principles that will help you choose your microphone and podcasting equipment wisely and how to properly use them.

And the best past? You're gonna like the way you sound!