I record several podcasts, and co-host two: The Next Track, a podcast about how people listen to music today, and The Committed, a weekly tech podcast about Apple and more. I’ve used a number of microphones over the years for podcasting, but I finally decided that I needed something better. After reading a number of reviews, I settled on the Rode NT-USB. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)
As you can see from the photo on the left, the Rode NT-USB comes with a desk stand and a pop screen, both useful accessories. While the pop screen is excellent, the desk stand is too low for any serious use; you need to be much closer to the microphone than you can be with this stand to make it sound good. You could use the desk stand for, say, Skype calls, but you don’t need such a good microphone for that use.
As the name suggests, this is a USB microphone. Just plug it into a computer or hub, and choose it in your recording app. The sound is very good, and it’s best if you are very close to the mic. There is a 1/8″ headphone jack on the side of the mic, and two knobs for onboard monitoring. The bottom one is for the headphone volume, and the top one is a monitor mix control; if you want to listen to yourself through headphones, you adjust the balance between your source and your incoming audio.
This is a cardioid mic; here’s the polar response from the manual :
In order to be comfortable, I mounted the microphone on a boom. I first bought one that mounted on my desk, but the NT-USB is too heavy. I then bough a standard microphone boom, which is highly adjustable. (I bought this one from Amazon UK; you can find something similar on Amazon.com.) When I record, I place the boom to my right, and the microphone in front of me.