The Entry-Level Microphone That Grows With You

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.

Podcasting On A Budget

Podcasting has become a pretty serious medium for sharing information. It’s starting to pick up the way blogging did seven or eight years ago.

In the old days of media, you had to be either rich or backed by rich people if you wanted to start broadcasting. Today it’s possible for anyone to start a podcast and produce high quality audio with an initial investment of less than $100.

Of course you can pour more money into it—I know several podcasters who have put $30,000 or more into their home recording studios. But for entry-level folks, it’s not necessary.

My recording setup for VentureBreak Weekly, for example, consists of two computers (one for Skype, one for recording), an Audio Technica ATR 2100 microphone, and a Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer. There are a couple of accessories thrown in to make life easier, but that’s the studio in a nutshell.

I spent less than $200 on my recording equipment (excluding the two computers, of course), and it sounds great.

Anyone can start a podcast today. For the first time ever, the main focus of recording has shifted from technology to content. And that’s a good thing.