Looking for a quality YouTube microphone? There are 2 things that make for good YouTube content: quality pictures and quality audio. If you are an ambitious YouTuber, you cannot afford to compromise on either of these. In fact, many would argue that having good audio is far more important than having good visuals, the reason being that poor audio is sure to discourage people from viewing your video no matter how great the pictures are.
This is why it’s important to invest in a good microphone for your YouTube videos. The best microphone for you will depend on the kind of videos you make and also where you do your recording. In this post, we tell you the top 19 microphones for making YouTube videos and we’ve grouped our top picks based on the type and setting of the video.
The Top 3 Condenser Microphones for Singing and Music
Recording music requires a microphone that can pick up the nuances and depths of all the sounds involved in a performance. This is why microphones with large diaphragms, noise cancellation, and the capacity for high-pressure sound recording are ideal. Here are our top 3 microphones for singing and recording music.
1. Audio-Technica AT2035
The Audio-Technica AT2035 is a versatile condenser microphone that delivers excellent sound quality. It boasts a big diaphragm that enables it to pick up direct frontal sound very well and can also handle high-pressure sounds. According to some reviewers, this mic may pick up background noise if used in an environment that isn’t soundproof. That said, experienced vocalists and musicians are very pleased with the quality and warmth of the sound captured by this mic.
2. Rode NT1-A
The Rode NT1-A is a top-performing condenser mic that delivers the kind of professional sound quality YouTube vocalists and instrumentalists want from their studio recordings. Its great sound quality, low self-noise, and extended dynamic range make it remarkable for microphones in its class. It also comes with advanced features and its own Phantom power pack. Though priced higher than similar microphones, many YouTubers would agree that the quality delivered by the Rode NT1-A is well worth the additional cost.
3. AKG C214
The AKG C214 is by far the best studio-quality condenser microphone on this list. It is equipped with a large diaphragm for faultless sound fidelity and depth. It also has a bass filter and an attenuation pad that work together to capture loud and up-close bass sounds without audio artifacts. This mic is great for recording vocals as well as instruments and is famous for its durable build and consistent top-quality performance. The AKG C214 microphone is a great option for YouTube performing artists who are ready to up their game and produce content of impeccable quality.
The Top 6 Condenser Microphones For Podcasts, Interviews, and Voiceovers
Podcasts, interviews, and voiceovers are often shot in offices that double as studios. Usually, the podcaster and interviewees are seated at a desk in front of or next to a computer and may in fact be recording using a webcam. Here are 6 microphone options that give you the flexibility and connectivity you need for podcasts, voiceovers, and interviews.
1. Apogee Mic 96K
The Apogee Mic 96K is a plug-n-play cardioid USB mic that’s great for recording unidirectional sound like the human voice. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac (although it was primarily designed for Mac) and is perfect for recording simple voiceover videos and weekly podcasts. It’s also quite flexible and can be connected to mobile devices and cameras for both indoor studios and outdoor use.
2. Blue Yeti
The Blue Yeti is a popular USB condenser mic among YouTubers and podcasters. It delivers great sound quality in its cardioid mode (cardioid means it only records sound from in front of itself) and can be switched into other 3 other polar patterns thanks to its 3 in-build condenser capsules. This means that the Blue Yeti can be configured for bidirectional, stereo, and omnidirectional sound. This mic also comes at a relatively affordable price and is compatible with Windows and Mac. While most reviewers would not recommend it for recording studio music, it delivers the desired sound quality and range for YouTubers who focus on voiceover recordings and interviews.
3. Rode NT-USB
The Rode NT-USB is a great plug-n-play mic that comes with useful supporting equipment including a tripod mount and a storage pouch as well as a USB cable. It also has other desirable features like a 3.5mm headphone jack and on-mic mix control. That said, it lacks the voice configuration versatility of the Blue Yeti and is relatively more expensive. That said, this is one microphone that will impress fans of the Rode brand.
4. Blue Snowball
The Blue Snowball is a cool USB microphone that’s perfect for YouTubers on a budget. It has 2 sound recording configurations and will do a good job of capturing voiceover recording, podcasts, and interviews. The Blue Snowball is however very low on additional features and perhaps this is why it’s so much more affordable than the Blue Yeti. Depending on the Snowball model you buy, you may get no configuration options, no headphone jack, and no stand. All in all, this is a great starter-mic for voiceover YouTubers who are new to the game.
5. Audio-Technica AT2020
The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a solid USB mic that’s especially good for voiceover recordings and one-person podcasts. It is built with only a cardioid unidirectional setting and may not deliver the best sound quality in a video involving more than 2 people. Its newer model also has additional functional options like a headphone jack and mix dial which was not available on the older model. That said, it may cost less than a Blue Yeti for most shoppers and delivers enough functionality and sound quality for the average YouTube voiceover recording.
6. Rode Procaster
The Rode Procaster is a great cardioid microphone for voiceover recordings and podcasts. It is known to perform well when placed close to the speaker and comes with an internal shock mount to reduce vibrations in voiceover recordings. While it performs quite well for a cardioid mic, it may need additional devices to achieve better sound gain and an external shock mount to better resist vibrations.
The Top 4 Camera Mounted Shotgun Microphones
Shotgun microphones are great for outdoor recording because they feature solid ambient sound cancellation and add-on windshields to keep wind interference to a minimum. They can achieve remarkable ambient noise cancellation due to the narrow area through which they capture sound vibrations. They also tend to come with hot-shoe or cold-shoe mounts to fit easily on cameras. Our top 4 shotgun microphones for on-the-go vlogging are listed below:
1. Rode VideoMic Go
The Rode VideoMic Go is a solid cardioid shotgun microphone that will do the job for on-the-go vlogging and interviews. It’s great for both outdoor and indoor use and comes equipped with a cold-shoe mount that lets it sit comfortably on most DSLR cameras. The VideoMic Go also comes with a shock-absorbing mount that together with its cardioid configuration makes for great sound capture with minimal ambient noise.
2. Shure VP83
The Shure VP83 is a 2-in-1 microphone and audio recorder. It comes with a Micro SD slot for recording sound without a camera and is fitted with an LCD screen for control and monitoring while in use. As a digital audio recorder, the Shure VP83 can support the creation of improved audio recordings. It comes with a hot-shoe mount with in-built shock-absorbing tech for better vibration reduction. Instead of investing in a separate mic and digital audio recorder, the VP83 is a great 2-in-1 alternative that performs as well as expected.
3. Rode VideoMic Pro+
The Rode VideoMic Pro+ comes with the proprietary Rode Rycote Lyre mount for excellent vibration reduction. It sits comfortably on most DSLR cameras and performs well in quick motion recording scenarios. The VideoMic Pro+ also comes with filters to reduce background noise, boost sound signals, and boost sound depth during on-the-go recordings. All in all, this mic is a great investment for YouTubers who want to produce good quality videos on-the-go.
4. Sennheiser MKE 440
The Sennheiser MKE 44O is a top-of-the-line shotgun microphone that captures stereo sound beautifully. This v-shaped microphone can capture stereo sound optimally. It has a solid camera mount, a high pass filter to keep background noise to a minimum, and effective gain control to boost audio signals. This mic is great for capturing audio from more than one person on-the-go. If you plan to produce more videos on-the-go in dynamic indoor or outdoor settings, the Sennheiser MKE 44O is a great option.
Best Shotgun Microphones For Out-Of-Frame Audio Recording
For out-of-frame audio recordings, shotgun microphones with broader sound pick-up patterns and intelligent noise cancellation are preferred. The objective here is to capture high-fidelity audio even when there’s more than one subject and you’re shooting a video with dynamic audio patterns. It’s the sort of recording hardware that’s needed for more professional indoor and field video recordings. Out top 3 picks for out-of-frame audio recordings are below.
1. Rode NTG-3
The Rode NTG-3 is an impressive shotgun mic with very great specs. It boasts all the features a professional would want for an out-of-frame audio recording. It’s also famous for its excellent sound quality, low self-noise, and great noise cancellation. The NTG-3s has an accommodating sound pick-up pattern. It handles unidirectional, bidirectional, and alternative sound patterns quite well. This is one shotgun mic most professionals love for outdoor audio recordings.
2. Audio-Technica AT4053B
The Audio-Technica AT4053B is a hyper-cardioid microphone that’s great for indoor dialogue recordings. It has a sleek look, excellent noise cancellation, and a detachable capsule that lets users switch between a hyper-cardioid and cardioid modes. The AT4053B is also known to be great for live music recording scenarios and delivers crisp sound quality to edge out its competitors. It delivers the kind of professional-grade audio capture most professionals would appreciate having in their toolbox.
3. Sennheiser MKH416
The Sennheiser MKH416 is considered a premium shotgun mic by industry pros. It’s great for indoor and outdoor shoots in a variety of weather conditions and will require more technical knowledge to be utilized maximally. To prove its power and top-of-the-line performance, the MKH416 is often used on movie sets and can pick-up long-distance sound impeccably.
The Top 3 Low-Profile Lavalier Microphones
Lavalier microphones are ideal for any scenario where you need a microphone that’s small and easy to conceal, or which records your voice from close-up. Lavalier mics are hands-free microphones which are usually clipped onto clothing to capture high fidelity voice audio with as little sound interference as possible. They tend to be omnidirectional but perform well for voice recordings because they’re usually placed very close to the speaker’s mouth. Our top 3 picks are below:
1. Rode SmartLav+
The Rode SmartLav+ is the go-to Lavalier mic for most YouTubers. It is compatible with most modern smartphones and can be used as personal vlogging. The SmartLav+ captures great voice audio. With its solid design, it has everything a professional or amateur would want from a Lavalier mic. It may require additional hardware to connect to some recording devices.
2. Audio-Technica ATR3350iS
The Audio-Technica ATR3350iS is a cheaper alternative to the Rode SmartLav+. It comes with supporting hardware for easy connection to multiple recording devices including smartphones and cameras. Also, it captures voice audio acceptably well and does not fare too badly at noise cancellation. That said, some reviewers have observed that it is more fragile than the SmartLav+. Be sure to take precautions and handle with care to avoid damaging your ATR3350iS.
3. Sennheiser ME2
Coming from the Sennheiser brand, the ME2 is considered a relatively affordable professional lavalier mic. It comes with a 3.5mm jack and captures clear voice audio with decent noise reduction in controlled environments. It’s also a plus that the ME2 is compatible with the Sennheiser AVX wireless system and Sennheiser bodypack wireless microphone system. With its compact size, the ME2 is easy to conceal and capture great voice audio even when placed under clothing. While it may not be the top-performing lavalier mic in its price range, the ME2 is a reliable lapel mic.
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Shanoon Cox is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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