9 Microphones that Don’t need Phantom Power

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If you are looking to produce a high-quality podcast with a microphone that doesn’t require any external power to operate, then one way or another you will find yourself in the market for a dynamic microphone.

Dynamic microphones are a great choice for podcasters at any stage in their career, looking to bring their production quality to the next level. The main advantage of these microphones is that they don’t require phantom power to function.

Unlike condensers – which in order to attain a decent signal requires an external source of power – investing in a dynamic microphone will save you time (being essentially plug and play) effectively streamlining your recording workflow.

These microphones are not only great sounding but also robust, having little to no internal circuitry that is prone to breakage under stressful conditions.

Microphones that Don’t need Phantom Power

Today we will be giving you our top 9 picks for microphones that don’t require phantom power to work. This list has everything, from high-end industry standards to great entry-level options for those just dipping their feet in the water.

From this list, you should be able to appreciate the wide variety of microphones that don’t require phantom power to work. No matter what you are looking for, this list is sure to have the perfect microphone for you

Shure SM7B

Mic type: Dynamic

Frequency range: 50 Hz – 20 kHz

Sensitivity: -59 dbV/Pa

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  It should be no surprise that the SM7B takes our first spot. This microphone is the gold standard in podcasting. The low sensitivity and high-frequency range with a natural response curve make this one of the most sought-after vocal microphones currently on the market.

The SM7B is a mainstay in most if not all of the most popular show setups out there. With a built-in shock mount and pop filter, this microphone guarantees high-quality audio with minimal editing. If you have the money to spare, you will no doubt find this microphone to be an incredible workhorse and an asset to your show.

Rode M3

Mic type: Condenser

Frequency range: 40 Hz – 20 kHz

Sensitivity: -40.0dB

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  Our next microphone may have you scratching your head – how can a condenser microphone not need external phantom power to work? Well, the Rode M3 has a trick up its sleeve.

While this microphone may look similar to the SM58, leading you to believe it to be dynamic, however, hidden inside the casing is a slot for a 9v battery, powering the circuitry without the need for any external power.

This microphone has all the sensitivity and frequency range of a condenser wrapped up in a dynamic like package. If you are looking for a great quality microphone you can take on the road, then the M3 is an obvious choice.

Sennheiser MD 421 II

Mic type: Dynamic

Frequency range: 30 Hz – 17 kHz

Sensitivity: 2 mV/Pa

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  The MD 421 II is an incredibly versatile microphone. With options for high pass filters at multiple different frequencies, coupled with a built-in shock mount, this microphone excels at passive noise reduction.

A wide array of sound attenuation options prior to recording is a great way to streamline your workflow. By catering your microphone to your tone of voice, and also any potential noises that may be present when recording, you are removing the majority of corrective processing that the signal may need in post-production.

If you are looking to spend less time in the box, editing every out every artifact in your vocal takes, then you may look at the MD 421 II’s attenuation controls as a pre-emptive method of sound correction.

Rode Procaster

Mic type: Dynamic

Frequency range: 75 Hz – 18 kHz

Sensitivity: -56.0dB

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  Another premium, high-performance dynamic microphone, the Rode Procaster is frequently pitted as a direct competitor to the SM7B – and for good reason.

While the Procaster may have a slightly smaller frequency range than the SM7B (a minor drawback when recording vocals), where it shines is in its ultra-low sensitivity. If you are recording in a noisy or even untreated room and are looking to negate the sounds of domestic life around you, then the Procaster is the microphone for you.

While the low sensitivity provides clean and present vocals in even the most unsavory locations, this does mean that a significant amount of gain may be needed to boost the signal to a decent level, as we discussed in depth here.

Shure SM58

Mic type: Dynamic

Frequency range: 50 Hz – 15 kHz

Sensitivity: -54dBV/Pa

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  The SM58 is the front runner for robust, great-sounding mid-range dynamic microphones. There is a reason that these microphones can be found in nearly every touring musician’s rig, they are a relatively inexpensive, yet reliable vocal microphone.

The Shure SM58 has a built-in pop filter, reducing any plosives when recording, and although it has a slightly shorter frequency range than most other microphones on this list, it’s smooth and natural frequency response curve will help your vocals remain clear and present without unnatural coloration.

If you are looking for a good intermediate microphone or are in the market for gear that will stand up in a traveling setup, then you should seriously consider the SM58.

Rode NTG2

Mic type: Shotgun

Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 kHz

Sensitivity: -36.0dB

Polar Pattern: Supercardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  While a shotgun microphone may not be your first choice for podcasting, the NTG2 is a truly excellent mic for vocals. The advantage of using a shotgun is the incredibly tight polar pattern, which with the right placement can be utilized to reject a large portion of ambient noise – giving clarity to your vocals.

The NTG2 also has the option of using a AA battery to activate condenser amplification circuitry. As with the M3, the onboard amplification is a great addition and helps no end in achieving a decent signal level without cranking preamps.

Audio-Technica BP40

Mic type: Dynamic

Frequency range: 50 Hz – 16 kHz

Sensitivity: -48dB

Polar Pattern: Hyper Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  The BP40 presents itself as a vocal mic that draws from the best features of both shotgun and condenser type microphones. Its polar pattern is incredibly tight, providing the same advantages as a shotgun microphone (ambient noise reduction), while the frequency response curve adds significant emphasis to the highs much like how a condenser microphone functions.

While it draws from the best parts of these two microphone types, it also includes the advantages you would expect from a dynamic microphone. This includes a low noise level which, coupled with the polar pattern, makes this microphone incredibly effective at ensuring your voice is the focus of the recording.

Rode Podcaster

Mic type: Dynamic

Frequency range: 40 Hz – 14 kHz

Sensitivity: -51.0dB

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: USB

Description:  As a microphone tailor-made to negating the need for an audio interface (via USB connectivity) the Rode Podcaster is in essence an NT1-A with added convenience and no need for phantom power.

This microphone is the epitome of plug and play. Most of the other microphones on this list require at least an interface in order to record the XLR output into a computer, the Rode Podcaster, however, is as simple as one cable.

Negating the need for an interface may be vital in circumstances where a minimalist setup is necessary. Having a Podcaster as your main, or even backup microphone may help you out of any sticky situations down the road.

Samson Q2U

Mic type: Dynamic

Frequency range: 50 Hz – 15 kHz

Sensitivity: -54dBV/Pa

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR/USB

Description:  If the Podcaster is convenient, and the SM58 robust, then the Samson Q2U is the best of both worlds. While it may bear a passing resemblance to the Shure SM58 (with its sturdy design and built-in pop-filter), this microphone is so much more.

The Q2U is a hybrid connection microphone, which makes it a great choice for those that may need to add or remove an interface from their set up at a moment’s notice. It’s options for connections, along with frequency range and sensitivity comparable to the SM58, makes for a product with which you cannot go wrong.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few gems in the vast ocean of great microphones that require no phantom power to operate. It should be evident by now that great microphones come in all shapes and sizes, with the polar patterns and connectivity options to suit your needs.

Now you’ve got a better grip on why mics that require no phantom power are a great asset to your setup, you may be interested in digging a little deeper into the pros and cons of both. If this is the case, then we recommend you check out our article on ‘Condenser vs Dynamic Mics for Podcasting’.