Interview Microphones: Shure SM58 vs. Audio Technica AT8004L, ATR-2100

I chose to upgrade my podcast Interview microphone to something that actually had a longer handle. In doing the research, I found the Audio-Technica AT8004L had a lot of the features I needed, including the long handle. So when I received the mic, I had to make sure it was going to do as good of a job as my Shure SM58. I also realized that most podcasters also have the Audio-Technica ATR-2100 USB/XLR handheld microphone. I wanted to make sure they were represented as well.

Shure SM58

Shure SM58

Shure SM58

A great microphone to use in many different situations. The SM58 is synonymous for musicians, and I’ve used it in my podcast rig since I started podcasting. My first 2-3 podcast episodes originate from this microphone before it went into the road rig.

The Shure SM58 is a Unidirectional (or Cardioid) pattern microphone. The SM58 has a frequency range of 50 – 15,000 KHz. The Dynamic microphone can be hand-held without too much handling noise bleed-through. Therefore, you can move it around a lot easier.

The ball pop filter contains its own windscreen, yet many purchase an additional windscreen for additional blockage. The microphone can be used to about 12 inches away from the mouth. With a decent wireless system (like the Sony UWP V6 I have connected to it), I got some great interviews in loud convention halls.

Audio-Technica AT8004L

Audio-Technica AT8004L

Audio-Technica AT8004L

This is an Omnidirectional microphone with a longer handle for catching interviews. This Dynamic microphone has an Omnidirectional pattern, which can ultimate pick up more, meaning you don’t have to shove the mic into their faces.

The frequency range is 80 – 16,000 KHz, rolling off the lower end and making sure no plosives take over the microphone. In the video, you can really notice the frequency difference between the three mics.

The longer handle allows for a more comfortable hold and even room to put a microphone flag upon. Audio-Technica also offers the 8004, if you don’t want the longer handle. The one-color finish and smaller grill really gives the microphone an evenly aesthetic feel. I probably won’t be putting a microphone windscreen on this one (unless absolutely necessary).

Audio-Technica ATR2100

Audio-Technica ATR2100

Audio-Technica ATR2100

I added this microphone to the mix last minute because not only do a lot of podcasters use it, but I wanted to see how viable this could be as an Interview microphone. I reviewed the ATR2100 vs. iMic in the USB mic wars.

On the XLR side, the ATR2100 is also a 50 – 15,000 KHz  Cardioid microphone. It is a little heavier than the SM58, but is also a little longer. When I connected the Sony UWPV6 capsule to the microphone, it blocked the USB and headphone jacks. But it’s not about recording via USB in this case…

Out of the 3 microphones, I found the ATR2100 the muddiest of sounds. This really needs to stay furthest away from the mouth or else the plosives will dominate the sound. However, in a microphone pinch this will work for interviews.

The Winner? AT8004L

If you jump between the audio points 4:07 (SM58), 7:17 (AT8004L), and 10:56 (ATR2100), you will notice a big difference in how each microphone sounds. In testing, I found the 8004L brought out my voice across the board. The SM58 and ATR2100 were more bass-heavy and popped more.

I also could hold the AT8004L further away and still capture voices. In some interviews, all I’ll have to do is slightly tip the mic toward whomever is speaking and get a great result.

It will also allow for me to place a mic flag on the microphone. This can not only help in promoting my brand, but also become an additional sound reflector so we capture more of the interview than background noise. With the UWPV6 attenuation set to focus on foreground audio, I am expecting better audio as a whole.

Which Microphone Do You Like?

Of course, there are a lot of other interview microphones out there. From the video, which one sounds better to you? Have you done your own tests? Let me know what you think!

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