The Rode Procaster, Sennheiser 421 ii & Heil PR40 Compared
A lot of podcast consultants out there talk up the Heil PR40 as the go-to microphone for podcasting. Listen to Cliff Ravenscraft, Ray Ortega, and Daniel J Lewis and they all rave about the Heil. It's almost as if you feel you have to have the Heil to be a proper podcaster.
Of course, that's not the case. The Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic mic is a great microphone for podcasting that comes in under 40 USD.
I love my Heil PR 40 and used to use it on my Online Marketing & Communications Podcast before I switched to the Electro Voice RE-20; however, I want to encourage you to consider other options. The best microphone for you isn't necessarily the best microphone for me. It depends on your voice, the room you're recording in and you're mic technique. And there's always budget to consider!
I started exploring what other mics could sound like because I've not been happy with the way the Heil sounds when I produce sibilants (the “s” sounds).
In this test I compare the Heil PR40 (325 USD*) to two of my other favourite mics:
Both the Rode and Sennheiser are dynamic mics and, like the Heil, are pretty podcasting microphones because they excel at keeping out background noise in a non-soundproofed recording studio. The Sennheiser is slightly more expensive than the Heil, but does this mic warrant spending an extra 150 USD than the Rode Procaster ?
I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
Microphone Recording Set-Up
The recordings in this video were made in my office, which doubles as a studio. There are no books, soft furnishings and the floor is wooden so the ambient sound can be pretty harsh. There's a bit of mains hum if you listen super closely, but I'm working on reducing that. It's a ground loop, I think, but it's hardly audible.
I recorded each of the microphones without any processing, compression or EQ first. It's exactly what comes off my SoundCraft EPM 8 mixing board going into a Zoom H4N digital recorder.
I then ran them through the DBX 286s mic preamp. A mic can sound so different once you add a pre amp.
The mics are tested in the following order:
Your Mic is Your Most Important Piece of Kit
More than anything, your microphone will help you shape the character and sound quality of your show. It's difficult knowing which microphone to choose, particularly because you usually can't try a mic in the store. Moreover, your “studio” is always going to affect the way it sounds.
As far as I'm concerned you won't go wrong with any of these mics. If you set them up correctly they'll reject room noise, give your podcast a professional, high-quality sound and help you stand out from the crowd.
*All prices are taken from Amazon.com, June 2014