Best Podcast Condenser Microphone

Best Podcast Condenser Microphone

Microphone Shootout of 6 Condenser & Tube Microphones

07.25.19 | Podcasting | By: Jacob Bozarth

Best Podcast Condenser Microphone

In recent posts, we’ve looked at 10 best (dynamic) podcast microphones, 9 best USB microphones, and 3 best podcast microphones under $500. Since none of these posts have included tube or condenser microphones, we figured it was time to examine a few of our favorites. 

Condenser microphones generally offer much higher sensitivity and lower noise than dynamic microphones and we’ve seen this to be true in our recording experience. Condenser microphones are great for recording lead vocals for music and allow you to achieve a larger than life sounding voice over, but we strongly recommend you record in a studio or treated room with each of these microphones. For this shootout, all audio samples were recorded in our treated vocal booth in Louisville, KY.

Here at Resonate Recordings, we are constantly testing out microphones old and new, searching for the highest quality equipment to recommend to podcasters, voiceover artists, singers, and anyone else who is trying to capture incredible audio.

We recently had six high-end tube and condenser microphones at the office, and so we decided to run a microphone shootout to see which one was our favorite! 

Here’s the full list of tube and condenser microphones we tested out: 

1. Mojave MA-200 ($1,095)

Condenser Microphone

In the age of digital audio, digital artifacts are a prevalent issue. But the Mojave MA-200 claims to have “none of the shrillness and high frequency distortion artifacts that are often encountered with modern condenser microphones.” But for a tube microphone, we felt that it was a little on the brittle side in terms of high-end frequency response. Overall, this microphone is likely better suited for recording singing, but still could be applied to dialogue and voiceover situations. Fun fact, this is the microphone we use to record voiceover for the hit podcast Culpable and it sounds great on the hosts voice. 

Mojave MA 200 – Female VO
Mojave MA 200 – Male VO

Dayton’s Opinion: 

Sounded better on female voiceover than male voiceover

Might be better suited for recording singing 

Pat’s Opinion: 

High end issue – sounds really brittle and harsh

This caused a problem on the sibilance of the female voice, but also for the male vocals

Frequency Response: 30Hz-18kHz

Microphone Type:

Tube Condenser 

Polar Pattern:

Cardioid

Address Style:

Side

Connector Type:

XLR

2. Neumann KMS 104 ($699)

Condenser Microphone

Thinking about hosting a live podcast recording? Want to record a microphone and actually be able to hold the microphone as you record? This is the perfect microphone. Neumann claims that this microphone is perfectly designed with the benefits of a powerful condenser microphone, all in the body of a microphone perfectly suited for the stage. 

In addition, Neumann claims that the mic is equipped to clearly record “percussion, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, harmonica, acoustic guitar, and guitar cabinets.” This microphone provides a balanced and full sound, applicable for both male and female vocals. We highly recommend the Neumann KMS 104! 

KMS 104 – Female VO
KMS 104 – Male VO

Dayton’s Opinion: 

Male and female voice sounded balanced and full 

Pat’s Opinion: 

Balanced, good sound

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz

Microphone Type:

Condenser

Polar Pattern:

Cardioid

Address Style:

Front

Connector Type:

XLR

3. Neumann TLM 193 ($1500)

Condenser Microphone

If you’re looking for a consistent microphone that just works, the TLM 193 will work for you. Suitable for a wide range of studio applications, the Neumann TLM 193 claims the ability to “capture the source and its room ambiance without unwanted coloration.” As our engineers mentioned in the comments below, this mic just does its job. It wasn’t all that inspiring and didn’t have a lot of warmth or depth to it, but simply performed as a middle-tier option might. Frankly, we were underwhelmed by this microphone based on the price range, but the one beauty of this microphone is its streamlined design, lack of buttons, and consistent performance. With a fairly flat frequency response, this microphone allows for a wide range of changes to be made in post-production. 

TLM 193 – Female VO
KMS 104 – Male VO

Dayton’s Opinion: 

EQ on the male sounded a little off 

Overall middle of the road performance. 

Pat’s Opinion: 

Sounded better on female

Didn’t like how it sounded on male dialogue

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz

Microphone Type:

Condenser 

Polar Pattern:

Cardioid

Address Style:

Side

Connector Type:

XLR

4. Neumann M 147 ($2,900) 

Condenser Microphone

Transitioning to one of three tube microphones we tested out, the Neumann M 147 offers a grittier, warmer tone for those podcasters who want to reinstate a sense of depth and character to their sound in the age of digital audio recording. According to the manufacturer, this microphone is “ideally suited for vocals, both male and female, as well as speech applications such as voice-over and film dubbing.” This is a respectable microphone, and we like the warm tone that it provides, but Pat was largely uninspired by this one.

KMS 104 – Female VO
KMS 104 – Male VO

Dayton’s Opinion: 

“Warm” 

Female had more low end 

Male sounded more round 

Pat’s Opinion: 

“Uninspired” 

Neutral on this mic 

Frequency Response: 20hz-20khz

Microphone Type:

Tube Condenser 

Polar Pattern:

Cardioid

Address Style:

Side

Connector Type:

XLR

5. Neumann U 47 FET ($4,000)

Condenser Microphone

Housed in a beautiful wooden case, with all of the legacy and history of 70’s rock and roll, the Neumann U 47 is a high price tag that Dayton thinks “could work well to cut through a dense mix.” Probably more suited for singing vocals and recording some instruments, the Neumann U 47 FET is an iconic microphone in many recording studios, but isn’t ideal for podcasting dialogue or voiceover, as it has  a harsher high end then the other microphones in this shootout. 

U47 FET – Female VO
U47 FET – Male VO

Dayton’s Opinion: 

Warm with more top end than the other ones 

Probably better for singing vocals than dialogue

Too harsh for female vocals 

Could work well to cut through a dense mix 

Pat’s Opinion: 

Sounded better on the male dialogue

Frequency Response: 40Hz-16kHz

Microphone Type:

Condenser 

Polar Pattern:

Cardioid

Address Style:

Side

Connector Type:

XLR

6. Lauten Eden LT-386 ($2,999)

Condenser Microphone

Transitioning away from the Nuemann microphones, the Lauten Eden is a big and shiny tube microphone with a fairly balanced frequency response. However, we were surprised that this microphone didn’t have a very shiny top end. In fact, it was rather dull. It just doesn’t seem to correspond to the shiny gloss on the outside of the microphone.

If you record your podcast on video, this microphone would be a wonderful microphone simply based on the look. It’s classy, clean design will look excellent in many different contexts. 

Lauten Eden LT-386 – Female VO
Lauten Eden LT-386 – Male VO

Dayton’s Opinion: 

Fairly balanced 

Too dark sounding on the female 

Less top end overall than the rest of these mics 

Pat’s Opinion: 

Despite the chrome, shiny look of this mic it sounded “Dull” and “lumpy” 

Frequency Response: 20hz-20khz

Microphone Type:

Tube Condenser 

Polar Pattern:

Cardioid

Address Style:

Side

Connector Type:

XLR

CONCLUSION 

WINNER OF THE MIC SHOOTOUT: KMS 104 ($699)

Shockingly, this handheld condenser microphone performed incredibly up against these other microphones that were all well over $1,000! As always, there are many subjective aspects to equipment shootouts. Many of these decisions regarding which equipment you need has to do with your personal goals. A couple of things to think through when you are choosing a mic to upgrade your podcast quality is the mixing style you are going for (E.G. NPR’s podcasts all have a very warm and smooth EQ), your budget, the design of the microphone that will work best with your recording space, etc. We love the KMS 104 because of it’s versatility and it’s price tag. But as Dayton & Pat say at the beginning of the video, you really can’t make a bad decision out of this list. Each of these microphones are going to provide crystal clear signal and quality, they will simply have different tones and frequency tendencies. 

If you have any further questions, we would love to schedule a personalized consultation call with you. Schedule a call today and get time with a professional audio engineer so that you can make a more informed purchase.  

Resonate Recordings is a comprehensive podcast production company. Headquartered in Derby City–Louisville, Kentucky–we are committed to developing partnerships with our clients, not just performing transactions. Since 2014 it’s been our mission to make podcasting easy for businesses, brands, entrepreneurs, and individuals. We do this by providing support with podcast launch, podcast consulting, podcast editing, podcast production, and other creative podcasting services. If you have questions or are looking to start a podcast, our in-house team is available and ready to help! We would love to schedule a call with you and learn more about your podcast needs and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you soon! 

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By: Jacob Bozarth

As President & CEO of Resonate Recordings, Jacob leads the team & oversees the vision and growth. Jacob can be found recording, producing, & mixing podcasts when he is not spending time with his family. Jacob & his family live in Louisville, KY.