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The Electro-Voice RE20 (Amazon.com | B&H) is designed for broadcasting and you'll find it in many professional radio studios. This dynamic mic sells for only $449, and it boasts highly accurate sound reproduction.
Why spend money on a good mic?
Your podcasting microphone is the best investment you can make for your podcast. The principle of “garbage in, garbage out” starts with your mic. A bad microphone produces bad audio that is hard to enhance. But a great microphone will produce high-quality audio that you won't have to fix.
Positioning with an end-fire microphone
The Electro-Voice RE20 captures audio from the end, not the sides. So it's best to speak 4–6 inches away from the mic.
If you have to turn your head, pivot around the mic so that you voice is always in front of it.
I recommend positioning the mic slightly off-axis, about 45º to your right or left, to prevent your plosives from hitting the microphone.
Built in pop filter
Plosives are the pops of air that come especially from the consonants T and P. Unlike most other microphones, the RE20 and RE320 have a built-in pop filter that does a good job preventing these plosives from being in the recording.
If you still get plosives with the mic slightly off-axis, then I recommend the Popless Voice Screens VAC-RE20 Pop Filter (Amazon.com | B&H).
Variable-D for reduced proximity effects
Electro-Voice's exclusive Variable-D effect reduces or prevents tone changes when you get extremely close to the mic or far away. This was most impressive compared to the Heil PR40 and Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB. Both of those mics had a serious drop in quality as little as 8 inches away, but the RE20 and RE320 both still sounded great.
Bass Tilt Down switch
The RE20 has a “bass tilt down” switch that marginally changes the dynamics of the microphone. It's essentially a bass-reduction switch.
A highly accurate representation of your voice.
- -3 dB at 45–80KHz
- Flat frequency response at 80 Hz – 6 KHz
- +2.5 dB at 6–14 KHz
In case your voice is too booming, try the Bass Tilt setting.
- -4.5 dB at 100–400 Hz
Most accurate, professional sound
The Electro-Voice RE20 is $449, which is a lot, but I think it is worth it if you want a professional-sounding podcast. Since testing the RE20 and RE320, I've discovered just how much of a bass boost the PR40 (the over-praised “gold standard” in podcasting) gives. The PR40 also tends to make sharper S sounds.
Recommended accessories for RE20
- Heil PL-2T overhead boom arm (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Electro-Voice 309A suspension microphone shock mount (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Popless Voice Screens VAC-RE20 Pop Filter for Electro-Voice RE20, RE27, and RE320 (Amazon.com | B&H)
RE20 vs. RE320, PR40, and ATR2100-USB
- The RE20 is a little quieter than the other dynamic microphones.
- Both the RE20 and RE320 sound great even 8 inches away.
- Side rejection is almost the same on all mics, but the RE20 seemed to reject the background noise a little more than the other mics.
- Both the RE20 and RE320 reproduced voice the most accurately.
Equipment used in this video
- Electro-Voice RE20 dynamic microphone (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Electro-Voice RE320 dynamic microphone (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Heil PR40 dynamic microphone (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB dynamic microphone (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Canon Digital Rebel T4i DSLR camera (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM Lens (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Heil PL-2T overhead boom arm (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Behringer X1832USB mixer (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Zoom H4n digital recorder (Amazon.com | B&H)
- Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom minitripod with BH1 Ballhead (Amazon.com | B&H)
- MacBook Pro (Amazon.com | B&H | MacMall)
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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Thanks for this really cogent review, Daniel. I enjoyed it very much. Like you I’ve moved over to the RE 20. I did this about 6 months ago, maybe longer, after I felt the Heil was extenuating the sibilant sounds in my voice.
I’ve got the Audio-technica too but I would never use it on my podcast. It’s just too thin; however, I think it works fine as a USB mic for voiceovers although I prefer my Røde Podcast for that.
I listened a couple of times with headphones and I actually prefer the RE320 with your voice. It’s got the precision of the RE20 but is slightly warmer. Only just, but I like it.
I don’t have the RE320 yet but it’s on my list to try.
I would certainly recommend the Røde Procaster (which I review here: http://jontusmedia.com/rode-procaster-or-podcast-whats-better/ ) as another mic to try in this class. It’s slightly cheaper than the REs but it’s got outstanding build quality and produces some great audio through my Saffire PRO.
You’re right, I should talk to Røde about some demo mics. 🙂
This year, I’m thinking about replacing my Heil PR40 mics with some RE320 mics.
Did you ever have any problems setting up the RE20? I recently purchased the mic along with a Mackie 802vlz4. Connected them via an XLR cable to Mic 1. Turned on the gain, the fader, and the main mix to unity. But the mic did not register at all. The sound meters didn’t light up. I checked the connections, etc. but no luck. Consequently I just sent the mic back for an exchange. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this issue. I’ve heard such fantastic things about the mic and I’m keeping my fingers crossed the exchanged model will work.
The mixer lights are essentially useless for voiceover work. Instead, monitor with a pair of headphones.
Try the gain knob at about the 3:00 position.
I’ll be sure to try the gain knob at the 3:00 position as you suggested when the replacement RE20 mic arrives. I have a Blue Microphones Spark Digital but was finding it insufficient because of the external noise I was picking up consistently. Hoping to get my podcast up and running soon. I have guests lined up but have not been able to actually schedule recording yet because of this current mic hiccup. 🙂 For future reference, it’s called The CuteMonster Show. It’s on iTunes and Soundcloud respectively. I only have an introductory episode currently. Thank you for your help. Perhaps you can join me as a guest one day on the show!
So just to recap, you’re suggesting I shouldn’t see any audio metering lights at all on my mixer when using the RE20? Also, I plan to record using a h5 zoom connected to the Mackie 802vlz4. The h5 has two types of recording, multi and stereo. Which should I use for recording a Skype conversation?
I’m saying you should ignore the meters.
Use multi if you have only a single line going into your H5. That saves each input as its own file. Otherwise, use stereo and you’ll get a stereo file.
Okay. I’ll be using a mix minus setup. So a 1/8″ TRS into my Zoom H5 to dual 1/4″ TS into the main of my Mackie mixer. Would that be considered a single line since I’ll have one mic hooked up to my mixer and my computer hooked up for Skype? Last question. The Cloudlifter CL-1. Would that help the RE20 specifically with gain or would it be overkill? I do some singing as well. Thanks.
or Fethead both provide a very clean gain boost for any mic. But it’s usually unnecessary if you have a decent preamps in whatever you connect your mic to: mixer or directly to the recorder. Usually, if you spent more than $100 on your mixer, its preamps are probably fine.
But on the other hand, the RE20 (and Shure SM7b) are very quiet microphones, so you might get slightly better results by using an inline preamp like the Cloudlifter or Fethead.
Can the h5 give re320 enough gain to be usefull?