Episode 6

Should You Use a USB or XLR Microphone for Your Podcast?

Generally there are two choices for mic connections in podcasting - USB or XLR. When it comes to which one you should use, that can often come down to a simple choice between ease of use and future upgrades.

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When it comes to the type of podcast mic to use, generally there are two options. There's USB and there's XLR. USB, much like the name suggests, makes it super easy for you to plug and play. So long as you have a computer or laptop, Chromebook, MacBook etc that's got a USB port, you can buy a microphone like the Samsung Q9U or the ATR2100 and plug it straight into your computer. Hit record on your editing software and you're good to go.


With XLR, the cable is a 3-pin cable that plugs into an audio interface and that interface then goes into your computer. And there's pros and cons to both. The USB one, obviously it's plug and play as mentioned so there's no other equipment needed. Just the microphone, the USB cable that normally comes with the mic and the recording software on your computer.


With an XLR mic you do need a separate XLR cable which often doesn't come with the microphone, so you need to buy that. You need an audio interface that has at least one XLR input, and then that needs to feed into your computer onto your recording software. Now while the XLR approach does mean a larger financial output initially, it does give you a more flexible upgrade path. Because it's an XLR cable, the microphone will work with pretty much any audio interface that you buy in the future. And you can also upgrade your mic with ease, because the XLR interface will support any XLR mic.


Until the next time, happy podcasting.


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One Minute Podcast Tips
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Danny Brown

Danny Brown is the host of One Minute Podcast Tips, the show that helps you be a better podcaster in just a minute a week. He's also hosted, and co-hosted, several other podcasts - if you called him a serial podcaster, you wouldn't be wrong! He's been in the podcasting space for over 10 years, and has the scars to prove it.

He's the Head of Podcaster Support and Experience at Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting, distribution, analytics, and monetization platform for the serious indie podcaster.

He lives in beautiful Muskoka, Ontario, Canada with his wife and two kids, where he spends winters in front of a cozy fire and summers by the lake. Well, when he finds time away from podcasting, of course...

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