I'm so excited, and I just can hide it. Somehow in the next week or so I'm going to get the new Audio Technica ATR2100 microphone (or if I want a black mic with a carrying case the ATR2005). Why am I excited?

New podcasters want an easy solution. They want plug and play.  The solution for that was a USB microphone like the Blue Snowball ($80). This solved the “ease of use” problem, but introduced (slightly) another one. That is background noise.  If a person isn't right up on this microphone they could very easily make a very “boomy” sounding audio recording. Condensor microphones are often used in professional studios where you have isolation booths. Consequently, they don't have to worry about their neighbor mowing the lawn. Lastly, USB microphones have to convert your audio into a digital format. This takes a small amount of time, but it doesn't happen immediately. This introduces what is known as “Latency” which you can think of as echo.

The other issue I have with USB microphones is they force you to record directly into a computer. While this is fine for people just starting out, I ALWAYS alert people that you are much more likely to lose a recording when your computer software crashes (for the record there are people who have recorded direct to computer and never lost a thing). This is why I recommend recording into a portable recorder like to Roland R-05, or the Zoom H2n. So what would happen is a new podcaster would start off with a USB microphone and possibly later want to switch to a standard XLR microphone with a mixer. When you do that, you USB microphone becomes a paper weight. There is no way to plug a USB microphone into a mixer.

So Podcasters needed plug and play, ease of use, great sound quality, no echo, and the flexibility to grow.

Enter the Audio Technica ATR2100 (affiliate link). Clocking in at $49 it is HALF the price of a Sure SM58, and it fits the needs of the new podcaster. The ATR2005 comes in at $79.

1. It has a USB as well as an XLR output. This means it offers plug an play capability, and later if you decide to switch to a mixer it can plug in there as well.

2. It's a dynamic microphone. This means it will pick up less background noise then the other USB microphone that are condensor.

3. From the samples I've heard, it offers great sound quality. I own an Audio Technica 3035, and 2020 microphones. In general Audio Technical has always provided great quality at a good price.

4. There is a headphone jack on the bottom of the microphone so you can listen to yourself with no latency (no echo).

By combining these features this becomes a great starting microphone that enables you to start with great quality, and leaves some money in your wallet/purse.  If the sound quality is as good as these demos (I found from Technotour and put here on my website so I don't hammer their server), it may be a “starter” microphone that never gets replaced.

Audio Samples of Audio Technica ATR2100

To accurately compare, you should listen to the wav files (so what you hear is what you get) . Rich click and choose “Save link as” to save these to your computer. Put on your headphones, and prepare to be amazed. I can't wait to get a unit as it this seems too good to be true.

Heil PR 40 Microphone Sample ($300)

Sure SM58 Sample ($99)

ATR210 Sample ($49)