Podcasting is like any other form of recording: what really counts will be the quality of the equipment that you use.
A decent podcast mic can make all the difference between a bad podcast and a good one.
If you have already been shopping for podcast mics, then you might have already stumbled upon the Rode podcaster, which is a simple USB microphone and the Heil PR 40, which is a broadcast-ready mic.
Both are excellent dynamic mics, but which one of these is the best for your needs? How much could you be looking to shell out for each (also see, ‘Best Dynamic Microphones‘)?
Which dynamic mic is the most durable? What features come with each? Well, we put these two microphones head to head to see which one comes out on top.
First Contender: The Rode Podcaster
The first thing we noticed about this microphone is the fact that it is very durable. You could drop this microphone multiple times and it will still retain its functionality.
This comes with a simple plug-in and play design that you can be sure will give you everything that you need when it comes to functionality.
This will work on a Mac immediately, you won’t have to worry about installing any additional software.
This also comes with a headphone jack in the body, so you can monitor your sound output as you are recording.
One of the drawbacks of this microphone is its weight. You’ll need to get a pretty sizable boom arm if you are going to set this one up.
Make sure that you have a decent clamp too, as this could break even the sturdiest of desk clamps.
We would also recommend that you get a pop filter, as the internal pop filter that Rode has supplied with this microphone is very substandard and will not prevent much popping from happening.
Unlike condenser mics, this microphone can also seem quite harsh when picking up close mic sounds. You’ll have to make sure that your face is around 2 -3 inches away from the microphone.
Rode Podcaster’s frequency response range is between 40Hz to 14kHz and is optimized for vocal recordings. The balanced cardioid pickup pattern helps to reduce background noise, giving you a clear audio signal with minimal distortion.
It also offers low-noise pre-amplification for your mic, so you can record loud and clean sound sources. With the plug-and-play function, you can easily set up the Rode Podcaster to record on any computer or laptop, with no setup or configuration required.
It also has a 3.5mm headphone output for zero-latency monitoring, so you can hear exactly what you’re recording in real time. The Rode Podcaster is an excellent choice for podcasters who want quality audio without spending too much money.
- Durable – when it comes to getting a decent microphone that will last you for months, then you can’t go wrong with this one.
- Immediate setup – this is a great microphone for beginners, as all you have to do is stick it in your USB socket and you’ll be ready to go.
- Headphone socket – if you are looking for something that you can monitor the sound output as you are recording so you can adjust the levels accordingly, then this is a great microphone for you.
- 10+ year warranty – this will certainly give you peace of mind if you are worried about your microphone breaking after a few months.
- Harsh sounds – if you are going to get too close to this microphone, then you’ll definitely experience some popping, hissing, and other ambient noise, which will definitely affect the overall sound.
All in all, we would say that this microphone is not one of the best when it comes to podcasting, as it has a few design flaws and does not produce great sound.
Unlike a condenser microphone, the Rode Podcaster is unable to pick up a wide range of frequencies, which can make it difficult to capture everything that you want in your podcast.
Additionally, if you are intending on recording multiple people at once, this microphone might not be the best option for you as it is designed with only one person in mind.
Second Contender: Heil PR40
This next microphone is also very ruggedly built, but it does come with more design features that make it very flexible as a podcast microphone (also see, ‘Mic Aesthetic‘).
This does not require that much EQing before you are plugging it in. This comes with a very warm sound, which is great if you are recording something quieter such as a podcast.
This comes with great compression, so you won’t have to worry about it topping out. This is a bright and rich sound, which is great if you want all the sounds of your microphone to come through rich and clear.
The Heil PR40 comes with a very sturdy and plush foam case, which is great if you want something you can carry from one studio to another without worrying about it getting damaged.
This also comes with a great clamp that will allow you to affix it to whatever surface you are going to be working with. For podcasting, this stability is extremely important.
- Great sound – this comes with superior sound quality, with great compression and dynamic range that can deal with all volumes, perfect for recording music.
- Great build quality – this comes with fantastic build quality, which is simply amazing if you are going to be taking this around with you.
- Great mid-range – this will take out all the nasal sounding qualities of your voice, which is great if you are looking for a solid sound.
- Allows you to adjust many elements – whether it is the volume, the EQ or the frequency, you’ll be able to get each element just right.
- Does not need phantom power and can be connected to an XLR cable
- No headphone jack – if you want to monitor your sound output as you are recording the spoken word, then you might have to opt for the Rode instead.
- Need an audio interface to connect to a computer since it uses an XLR connection
This microphone is generally superior to the Rode, both in terms of the amount you can control your sound output, volume controls as well as build quality.
In terms of background noise, there is a noticeable difference between these two mics and the Heil does have an edge as it offers more features to reduce background noise.
Which Microphone Is The Best?
This will all depend on what you are looking for, but even the most die-hard podcast would probably admit that the Heil is the best microphone out of the two.
The volume harshness on the Rode is very difficult to rectify, as it comes with no gain or EQ control built into the microphone itself.
The former microphone is also a very simple USB microphone, which often results in a very thin and reedy sound.
Unless you have some decent software, it will be hard to change this in post-production.
The Heil also has a great build quality and will allow you to have so much more control over your elements.
When it comes to having control over your microphone, sound and EQ will be very important.
We hope that this comparative review of the Rode Podcaster and the Heil PR 40 will help you to make a decision about which one you prefer.