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XLR boom mic?

I love my mod mic but the itch has been needing a scratch the past few days or weeks to look into something higher quality.  I have no actual application for it like streaming, but this is my hobby and I like attaining things related to it.  Also I think that I stomped on my mic cable enough that there might be some issues, been getting complaints on discord recently.


So my history with mic's is a $10 logi desktop mic many years ago, then a sennheiser gaming one headset, then on to a modmic.  I have a shine for loud clicky keyboards but am currently on a logitech g915 tkl clicky that is very quite.  However I change keyboards about once a year so I want to future proof against keyboard noise, which was the biggest problem with that desktop mic.


Anyways the real question

What do I need to know about getting into stand alone mic solutions?  Boom arm's, mic types, external solutions, XLR etc.  What should I focus on while planning a potential mic upgrade?  Budget can really be anything but I'd like to stay in the bang for the buck category.

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The link in Sloth's signature is definitely a good place to start for both interfaces and microphones and I suggest you read his recommendations first. That said, here are mine.


How much do you want to spend on this? The sky is pretty much the limit. You could put this together for about $100 (microphone and interface), especially if you buy used, or you could spend 200 times that if you really wanted to.


In my experience, one of the very best things you can use for this is a DPA headset microphone. When it comes to dealing with room noise and room issues, this is probably the best solution and they sound excellent. I have Cherry MX Blue switches on my keyboard and the DPA does an excellent job of rejecting the clickety-clack. That said, they start at around $700 and go up from there. You will need an audio interface to use one since they DO require phantom power. There are less expensive headset microphones from other companies like Sennheiser and Countryman that you may look into as well.


IMO, the best "bang for buck" audio interface is the MOTU M2. It's a fantastic DAC, excellent ADC and an "OK" headphone amplifier. The microphone preamps in it are also pretty good. I would look to it over the Focusrite, although I have to say the 3rd generation Scarlett 2i2 has much higher build-quality than the 2nd generation.


As for an XLR boom microphone... there are a ton of good options and a good portion of it comes down to personal preference. From a pure "bang for buck" standpoint, it's hard to beat the Shure SM57 with a windscreen. I personally use an AT4041 for Discord / Zoom / Voiceovers. I originally bought it (used on ebay, where most of my mics come from) for drum overheads, and I found that it's a great mic for voiceovers too.


In my office space, where I have the space, I use an old EV RE-15 and find that it's excellent too.


Condenser microphones generally have a pretty hot output, so you won't need a separate preamp. Many dynamic microphones will benefit from it, and some pretty much need it. The RE-15 definitely benefits from one. I don't have any recommendations for cheap preamps. I tried one or two, was very unimpressed (worse than the preamps built into my Crest mixer), so I designed my own. 





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