Microphone Set??

I’m brand new to Audacity.

I don’t want to have to figure out what type of mic setup I need by trial and error.

Can someone tell me what type of mic … dynamic, condenser??? …

Which works best: Mic cable that plugs into the audio in plug or a USB mic cable???

Do I need a mic pre-amp???


What’s the job? (what do you want to record and for what purpose?)
What’s your budget?

I’m just recording voice audio for an internet radio “talk” program.

Budget from $100 to $200.

You probably want a “large diaphragm usb recording microphone”.
There’s quite a few available in that price range.

You will definitely also want some sort of microphone stand, headphones and a “pop shield” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pop_filter

If you want to hear yourself through the headphones while you talk, the microphone must have a headphone socket (a headphone socket built into the microphone).

If you think that you may want to “upgrade” at a later date and add a second microphone, then do not get a USB microphone. With Audacity you can only record from one device at a time, so if you want to record from two microphones you will need to use a conventional (non-USB) microphone with a “2 channel USB microphone pre-amp”. This option may be a little more expensive, so if you only want one microphone, then a USB microphone is the better (less expensive) option.

That’s what’s crazy about this. You not only have to analyze your current show, but the future show you might want to do. The USB microphones like this one…


Are pretty much perfect for the one-horse podcast, but are completely unexpandable. This thing will always be a one person show or maybe two really good friends, one on each side. No mixer. It plugs straight into the computer.

The instant you go to two microphones you’re into conventional analog microphone and small mixer territory. We have any number of postings from people who “just want to plug two USB microphones in.”

You can force that to work on a Mac and maybe linux, but not Windows, and you can’t control the sound very well. It’s not pleasant at all.

I do this all the time and I don’t have any pictures of a simple mixer and mic setup. I’ll be doing a shoot tomorrow and I’ll take pictures.

This is a simple analog shoot. The mixer is a Peavey PV6 ($100), the microphone could be a Shure Rock Concert SM58 ($99). The stand is an On-Stage-Stands about $50 and the cables are any XLR mic cable.


Connection to the computer is a stereo jumper cable…


…because Macs have a very good digitizer built in. Since you’re on Windows, you’ll have to produce your own like the UCA202…


This has the advantage of being able to do musical overdubbing and sound-on-sound if you’re so enclined.

And Audacity or any sound program, really.

By far the worst problem you’re going to have is noise and echoes. People don’t record in studios because of the air conditioning and because it looks cool. They do it because they can get recordings without the dog barking and the air conditioner kicking in and out. You also have to worry about room echoes.


There is no filter for this. This woman will always sound like she recorded in her mom’s kitchen.


Hey, thanks for all the good advice. This is very helpful.

The best possible microphone I believe you can get for under $200USD, is this microphone.
[Moderator note: dead link updated to Blue Yeti USB microphone]

I own one and bought this very package, and I use it with Audacity. Simple setup, just plug in the USB cable into your computer, right click on your sound icon on your desktop bar (lower-right hand size of your screen, it is what you use to adjust the volume up or down, just right click on it) Then setup your Yeti to be the “Default Communication Device” by right-clicking on it, and setting it up to that option. The recording, and playback are the same, meaning adjust both accordingly.

There are a lot of good USB microphones in the $100 to $200 range, including:
Audio-technica At2020usb
Samson G-Track USB
Samson C03
Akg Perception 120 Usb
Blue Yeti Usb
Blue Snowball
MXL Studio 24 USB
Shure PG27USB
Rode Podcaster
and many others.

I don’t think that any one of them stand clearly above the others. The most important thing is to choose one that has the features that you require. I’d recommend buying from somewhere that has a good returns policy, just in case anything goes wrong.