Are Omnidirectional Microphones Good for a Podcast?


When creating online content, you would typically want to invest in the best equipment available so you could deliver high-quality output and ultimately gain more listeners or subscribers. And when it comes to podcasts, a microphone is one of the essential tools you need to get. But there are different kinds of microphones, and you may be wondering whether you can use your omnidirectional mic for the job.

An omnidirectional microphone is not good for a podcast because it picks audio from different directions, including background noise and sounds you may not want to include. Instead, get a more sensitive mic at one side, so it only picks up your voice as you talk in front of it.

In this article, we will talk about what omnidirectional microphones do and when best to use them. We will also talk about the ideal type of mic to use for podcasts, including the best option for podcasts that involve a group of people. We also have product recommendations for you.

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What Does an Omnidirectional Microphone Do?

Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound in a polar pattern. This pattern makes this type of microphone equally sensitive all around. So not only does it pick up your voice, but also background noises from all around the house.

Situations Where Omnidirectional Microphones Work Best

Shure, an American audio equipment manufacturer, explains that an omnidirectional microphone does not have rear acoustic ports, which can allow wind to flow in and add noise. 

The rear port causes plosive sounds when the speaker’s mouth is too near a unidirectional microphone. These plosive sounds are minimized when you use an omnidirectional microphone.

There is also no proximity effect or bass buildup, and there is less vibration and handling noise with an omnidirectional microphone.

Further, an omnidirectional microphone allows the speaker to speak freely rather than be mindful of where the microphone is pointing.

Because of these characteristics and advantages, you might want to try an omnidirectional microphone to talk about or record musical performances. That way, you get every instrument, vocals, and other ambient noise in the recording.

What Microphones Need To Do for a Podcast

To know what type of microphone you need for your podcast, you should know what is important. If blogs must be well-written, engaging, easy to read, and nicely presented, podcasts, on the other hand, need you to have the best audio quality.

You may be able to get away with using a low-end camera if it is a video podcast, but never with a terrible microphone. Your microphone will largely dictate the audio quality and clarity of your recording.  

Because the content is you talking, you will need to get a microphone that will record your voice clearly. There should not be much background noise to make it easy for your listeners to hear every word you say.

The Best Microphone for Podcast: Cardioid Mic

A cardioid microphone will perform best when you are recording a podcast. This is because a cardioid microphone has a heart-shaped pickup pattern instead of the 360-degree pattern that omnidirectional microphones have. As such, it is most sensitive in picking up audio from the front.

Cardioid microphones will not register sounds from the rear and can only pick up a bit from the sides. In other words, it will only record your voice as you talk in front of it. It also does not pick up too much background noise. 

Think of this mic as something like a video camera that records only what is happening where you train it. It does not “see” what is going on behind it.

What About Group Podcasts?

You might think that omnidirectional microphones are best for podcasts that involve many people, such as a focus group, roundtable discussion, or a panel interview, as they can pick up 360-degree audio.

However, you will find that you get better audio quality if each speaker gets its own microphone.

Check out my article about whether you can record a podcast with one microphone.

How Do You Choose the Best Mic for Your Podcasts?

If your podcasts are done at home and usually involve you talking about the things you are passionate about, you would want to go with a unidirectional microphone. This microphone can focus on what you are saying and pretty much block off everything else that your listeners should not hear.

However, if your podcast routinely involves many speakers or requires you to pick up sounds from all over, like a musical recording or a roundtable discussion, an omnidirectional microphone might work. It will be cheaper and more convenient than buying and then setting up a whole bunch of cardioid microphones.

Suppose it is your first time buying a podcast microphone. In that case, there are some things that you should also consider on top of whether you would need an omnidirectional device or not. First, you will need to decide between a microphone using USB or XLR connections. 

If you are recording from home with a laptop as your hub, then a USB microphone will make sense for you. These microphones are ideal for beginners; you just plug them into your computer and start recording. It is that simple.

An XLR microphone will be more suitable for those who use more than one microphone simultaneously. And, as a whole, XLR microphones tend to record sound better.

Other Things To Consider

Some people prefer condenser microphones. These mics can make voices sound richer and fuller. But they are also more sensitive to the noise around them.  

Meanwhile, dynamic microphones work better at blocking out ambient noise and give your podcasts a livelier quality. Also, consider getting microphones that feature high-pass filters, which allow you to have a cleaner recording by removing humming, rumbling, and any other unwanted frequencies.

Which Mics for Podcasts Are Worth Checking Out?

Another proof that omnidirectional microphones are not good when you are doing podcasts is that cardioid microphones are lording it over best-of lists. Music experts, podcast blogs, and even industry publications are quick to recommend a cardioid microphone such as the Shure MV7.

Shure MV7 XLR/USB Dynamic Podcasting Microphone (Silver)
2,293 Reviews
Shure MV7 XLR/USB Dynamic Podcasting Microphone (Silver)
  • Dual USB/XLR output allows digital or analog recording
  • Highly directional dynamic element and voice isolation technology
  • Intuitive touch panel for control over gain monitoring volume headphone mix and mic muting

This device is marketed as a dedicated podcast, live streaming, and gaming microphone. It has a cardioid pickup pattern and can work with either XLR or USB. For less than $250, you get natural and fuller voice reproduction and great sound quality.

So what about those times where you need to be able to record sound coming from all around you? You can use a multi-pattern microphone that can have pickup patterns.

The Blue Microphones Yeti, for instance, allows you to switch among four pickup patterns: omnidirectional, unidirectional, bidirectional, and stereo. Choose the best pickup pattern for your recording needs, and you can just use this microphone for setups that would otherwise use multiple microphones.

There is a reason why you would often find the Blue Yeti being used for different vlogging and podcasting channels.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone for PC & Mac, Podcast, Gaming, Streaming and Recording Microphone, with Blue VO!CE effects, Adjustable Stand, Plug and Play – Blackout
34,270 Reviews
Blue Yeti USB Microphone for PC & Mac, Podcast, Gaming, Streaming and Recording Microphone, with Blue VO!CE effects, Adjustable Stand, Plug and Play – Blackout
  • Custom three-capsule array: Produces clear, powerful, broadcast-quality sound for YouTube, game streaming, podcasting, Skype calls and music
  • Four pickup patterns: cardioid, Omni, bidirectional, and stereo pickup patterns offer incredible flexibility, allowing you to record in ways that would normally require multiple microphones
  • Onboard audio controls: Studio controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and microphone gain put you in charge of every level of the recording and streaming process

Final Thoughts

People want to listen to a podcast where the audio quality is superb in that you can hear every word clearly, and you do not have to skip back a few seconds just to listen to what was being said. An omnidirectional microphone will not provide that, except when you are in a controlled environment like a recording studio or after spending a lot of time and effort reducing background noise.  

If you are recording from home, where there is always something clanging in the background, get a cardioid microphone that can focus on your voice and help reduce noise.

Sources

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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