Back in 2013 when I started hosting VentureBreak Weekly, I picked up the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone. Five years and hundreds of hours of audio later, it remains one of my favorite pieces of tech.
On the surface, the ATR2100 is very much an entry-level mic: the price is low (currently $64 on Amazon), and it’s USB-powered, making it perfect for new podcasters who don’t have big fancy mixing boards. But it also features an analog XLR output, meaning it works just as well with professional-grade gear.
And here’s the important thing: the sound is phenomenal. You could easily pit it against something like the Shure SM7B—and while it’s not quite in that league, you’d never know by the sound that you were dealing with a sub-$100 microphone.
I’ve done a lot of vocal recordings over the last few years, and I’ve never really felt compelled to go beyond my ATR2100. As long as you’ve got a pop filter and don’t mind doing a bit of basic post-production, the ATR2100 can get the job done reliably for many years to come.