Distributed by: Federal Audio | Expect to Pay: $269
As any microphone obsessive will tell you, some of the most interesting and cutting edge work gets done outside of music, with a plethora of awesome and fascinating mics specifically aimed at the ENG, Sound Design and Television/Broadcast markets.
Podcasts, being the relatively new medium they are, are experiencing something of a boom period when it comes to their equipment with many prestigious and respected audio manufacturers coming to the party, lending their unparalleled understanding of transducer technology and high-end studio nous, to the increasingly demanding technical requirements of the modern podcast. Enter the Podcast Pro from award-winning UK manufacturer Sontronics.
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Featuring an eye-catching red finish (also available in a more subdued black) that contrasts pleasingly with the shiny fine-mesh grill, the Podcast Pro looks ‘the business’. They’re designed, developed and hand-built in the UK, which shows in the aesthetically-refined, physically- robust construction. It’s a good size and yet only weighs 310 grams working well with a desk stand or if it is overhead, it’s not going to cause droop and it’s not going to weigh you down if you’re travelling to interview on-location.
A tight super-cardioid polarity pattern refines the pickup to what’s directly in front, reducing unwanted background noise with excellent side rejection-an absolute must for multi guest setups or for untreated acoustic spaces.
The internal pop-filter catches sharp plosives and helps control unwanted sibilance (to the point where you don’t even need an auxiliary pop filter at all) and with a frequency response of 50Hz – 15kHz it’s rolling off any other harsh highs and unnecessary air, so your voice can shine exactly where it needs to.
As is something of a Sontronics specialty, the aesthetic of the unit is uniquely retro-futurist, equal parts space race meets iron man, while also bearing the same side ported grille panel work that is so often associated with the current crop of podcast specific microphones. The result is something that is sure to give sociologists and cultural commentators a field day, having such a retro styled mic for a decidedly internet medium – but in practice the Podcast Pro is actually quite easy on the eye, exuding a classiness that is all its own.
Setting up the Podcast Pro is in many ways even simpler than many music specific microphones, mostly thanks to the awesome ‘yoke’ style mount that comes directly attached to the mic itself. Simply screw onto a mic stand and attach an XLR and you are ready to go. Some may want to go with a decent desk stand or sturdy boom with the Podcast Pro, given the relative size of the mic and the extra weight of the larger moving coil (which to be fair, at only 356g is actually well below the average for this kind of mic). In terms of physical footprint, it’s equally low-key, making it a great option for YouTubers and Video Podcasters or anyone who values direct lines of sight in the studio.
Sonically speaking, it records clean, detailed speech with a warm, broadcast-ready sound. Leaning in provides a bassy yet malleable proximity effect, exactly the kind of low frequency reinforcement you would want from a microphone of this type. Further back, you’ll get slightly more room sound but the tight super cardioid pattern helps restrain it.
Given the fact so many podcasters, gamers and voice over artists are working outside the context of a professional studio, minimising background noise is of high priority and the Podcast Pro performs particularly well in this regard. The tight super-cardioid pattern does a great job of negating reflections at the sides and the low sensitivity promotes broadcast style nearfield mic’ing from the on set, meaning you’ll find yourself naturally sitting about a fist away from the microphone (for any Rogan fans out there).
On playback, our recordings didn’t need anything in the way of EQ or de-essing to sit nicely. Untouched, there was a professional presence and clarity throughout, with a level of diction and speech intelligibility, that was streaks ahead of what one would normally expect of a microphone at this price-point.
And that is one of the most startling aspects of the Podcast Pro. For a release by a brand as reputable as Sontronics (and for a microphone that has more in common looks/sound wise with the classic large diaphragm dynamic broadcast mics, as opposed to the recent glut of consumer level podcast mics) it’s an absolute no brainer in terms of price.
Sontronics are renowned for their studio microphones and this, their first foray into the podcast game, its undeniably a success. It’s a quality product that shares the same capsule as its more expensive sibling the Sontronics Corona, and it shows in the deceptively expensive sound of the recordings.
Getting a UK-made dynamic microphone at this price is impressive enough and in a growing market, there are few others that offer a product (and warranty) as good as Sontronics and their Podcast Pro. Don’t be surprised to see this distinguished, metallic red casing in YouTube thumbnails everywhere.