Down the Podcasting Microphone Rabbit-hole

Oh boy, it’s happening to me. Some months ago when I made the decision to start doing some podcasting, I did my research and selected the Rode Podcaster microphone as my weapon of choice.

It’s been working fine for me, but at the same time, I’ve never been totally certain that it’s the right mic for me. I’m an amateur and I’m learning as I go but the Podcaster struck me as sounding somewhat ‘thin’. Plus the gain from the mic was really low. Research suggests this makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to the end result but it still made me curious about other options.

The Podcaster was not cheap so I’ve been reticent to spend more money on hardware. Yet I could resist it when I saw a good price on the new Audio Technica ATR 2100-X which is a combination USB/XLR microphone. I’m still in the USB world directly connecting to my iMac. I haven’t - and at this stage don’t want to - go down the preamp rabbit hole.

Today the ATR-2100x arrived. I’ve given it a 45 second test to date, so this doesn’t act as a review. What I noticed immediately is that it sounded richer and the gain was definitely higher. However, the dynamic range was therefore more limited compared with the Rode Podcaster. In the test I did, the Podcaster handled it all whereas the ATR-2100x experienced clipping.

I will keep experimenting and will likely record my next episode of Keep Practising with the new Audio Technica.

All this is to say, it appears I may be starting the slippery slide towards becoming an audio gearhead. Send help!

Andrew Canion @canion
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