Your microphone is every bit as important as your camera when it comes to making YouTube videos, but not everyone has the budget for a professional-quality mic. That’s why I’ve put together this list of the best cheap microphones for YouTube videos.
The overall best cheap microphone for YouTube videos has to be the Blue Yeti Microphone. It’s one of the best entry-level condenser mics on the market and a firm-favorite amongst professional YouTubers. It’s used by the likes of Logan Paul, Hamlinz, and Avxry, and is very versatile thanks to the adjustable pickup pattern.
However, the Blue Yeti won’t be the best microphone for every YouTuber. The best microphone for you ultimately depends on the kind of videos you’re trying to make and your production process. To help you to make the right choice, we’ve put together a buying guide and listed 10 of the best cheap YouTube microphones for you to choose from.
YouTube Microphone Buying Guide
Before you invest in a YouTube microphone, you need to know what to look out for. With that in mind, here some of the main factors you need to think about when shopping for a microphone.
Type of Microphone
There are several different ‘types’ of microphone to choose from, and some mics are more suitable for certain types of YouTube videos than others.
For example, a travel vlogger is going to need a very different type of mic from someone who makes YouTube video podcasts. The former needs something portable to use on the go, whereas the latter would probably prefer a high-quality mic to use as part of a permanent set up.
The main different types of microphone that YouTubers use are:
- Shotgun microphones—these mics usually sit on top of your camera and point at the subject that you’re recording.
- Lavalier microphones—these are tiny microphones that you can attach to or hideaway beneath your shirt. They’re often used when you need to be discreet, which makes them a popular choice for things like prank videos.
- USB microphones—USB mics are microphones that attach to your computer/laptop, rather than your camera. They’re often used by streamers and YouTube gaming channels as stationary cameras that sit on your desk.
- Handheld microphones—these are the kind of mics you often see used in live television shows and by recording artists. They’re very durable and ideal if you have a music YouTube channel, or you’re going to be performing interviews.
- In-camera microphone—your cameras internal microphone will usually be poor quality, but it can sometimes be sufficient if you’re not too concerned about audio quality.
The pickup pattern of a microphone refers to the direction it can pick up sound in. You’ll want to choose a mic with a suitable pickup pattern for what you plan on using it for.
For example, a ‘bidirectional’ pickup pattern will pick up sound from both the front and the rear, so it’s great for podcast-style YouTube setups in which you’re seated opposite your interlocutor.
Different pickup patterns include:
- Omnidirectional—pick up sound from all directions, good for recording audio you can’t control very well.
- Cardioid—slightly one-directional, good general-purpose pickup pattern.
- Supercardioid—isolates sound from the front, great for filmmaking and use on controlled sets
- Bidirectional—picks up sound from the front and the rear, great for podcasts and interviews
Another important factor to consider is the compatibility of your mic with the rest of your equipment.
Most microphones will need to be connected to a recording mic to work. In the case of a USB mic, this might be your laptop. For shotgun mics, it’s often your camera. Some handheld microphones even have their own built-in digital recorders. Bear this in mind when shopping around.
If you plan on using a microphone with your camera, make sure your camera has a mic input and that your mic is compatible with it.
The frequency range of a microphone refers to the range of sounds it can pick up before the sound is distorted. If you’re not an audio expert, I wouldn’t worry too much about this, as most microphones have a suitable frequency range for most audible sounds. Generally speaking, the more expensive the mic is, the better the frequency range will be.
And of course, you should also consider the price. High-end microphones for studio-quality recordings can cost you thousands of dollars; you can also get a solid mid-range microphone for $200 or less, and the cheapest microphones can cost as little as $10 to $50.
This guide is all about cheap microphones, so we’ve picked out some of the best options in the lower range. Most of the mics below are available for under $100, but I’ve also left in a few in the $100-$200 range for the sake of variety.
Top 10 Cheap Microphones for YouTube
Ok, now that you know what to look out for, let’s jump right into the list. Here are the top 10 cheap microphones for YouTube.
The Blue Yeti USB Microphone is crazily popular amongst YouTubers. Pretty much every serious creator on YouTube started out using this mic – and many of them continue to use it to this day.
It has a tri-capsule array that basically allows you to change between four different pickup patterns whenever you like, which makes it very versatile – an important trait in a YouTube microphone.
Let’s say you’re recording a voiceover one day for your latest video, you’ll probably want to use the cardioid pattern to isolate the sound so that it comes out really crisp and clear.
The next day, you might be vlogging around your apartment and want to pick up some background noise to set the scene. In that case, just flip the pattern selection switch and change it to omnidirectional.
And then again, the following day you might be recording an interview with another YouTuber. Just sit them across the desk and put it into bidirectional mode, and you’ve got the perfect interview mic. Cool, right?
On top of that, it also has some nifty features like gain control, a mute button, and a zero-latency headphone output.
It’s a USB mic, which means it’s very easy to set up – just plug it in and play. It’s also available in over a dozen different colors (Aztec Copper is my personal favorite), so you can really match it to the general aesthetic of your YouTube set up.
It isn’t the absolute cheapest microphone on this list, but you can get it for a little over $100 if you shop around. Considering the quality, that’s one heck of a bargain.
Up next we have another microphone by Blue, the Snowball. Blue really understands what YouTube creators want from their mic: something that’s easy to set up, records clean audio, and doesn’t break the bank
The Snowball does just that. It comes in at just roughly half the cost of the Yeti, so if $100+ is out of your budget, the Snowball may be the way to go.
Like the Yeti, the Blue Snowball produces crisp, clean audio recordings and does a great job of keeping out feedback and sound distortion. It also has it’s own pattern switch capability, albeit to just 3 different pickup patterns, rather than 4 like the Yeti.
You can toggle easily between cardioid mode, cardioid -10dB PAD mode, and omnidirectional mode. If you’re wondering what the -10dB mode does, it basically tunes the microphone so that it can better capture louder sounds with higher fidelity. It’s a useful setting if you’re recording very loud dialogue or an instrument.
Another thing I like about the Snowball is the way it looks. It’s not as slick or stylish as the yeti, but it’s very discreet, durable, and compact, so it won’t stand out harshly in your set up. It has a kind of retro aesthetic that I actually think looks kind of cool. It’s also round, which is always awesome.
The Snowball comes with its own adjustable tripod so it’s easy to set it up anywhere very quickly and, as it’s another USB mic, you can just plug it in and start recording.
Moving on from USB mics to shotgun mics, my next recommendation would be the Rode VideoMic pro. This is a mic capable of producing much better audio quality than either of the other mics we’ve talked about so far.
It’s an on-camera shotgun mic made specifically to attach to your DSLR camera or camcorder via a 3.5mm minijack connector. If you’re trying to record professional-quality audio, this is the way to go.
The VideoMic Pro is a true shotgun mic that has a super-cardioid polar pattern, which means it picks up very highly directional sound from the front and really isolates sound from the sides. That, combined with the incredibly low 14db self-noise rating, means that your audio will come out crystal clear.
The integrated shock mounting helps to keep away any mechanically-transmitted noise, and the integrated foam windscreen stops the noise of the wind from ruining your recording. Both these features make it great for YouTubers that record on-the-go, like daily vloggers.
If you’re recording your YouTube videos using a webcam, you probably don’t need this kind of mic. But if you’re using a DSLR or handheld camera and you’re aiming for professional-level quality, I’d definitely recommend it. You can also mount it on a boompole easily using the shoe mount.
It’s one of the most expensive mics on this list, but it’s still great value for money at under $200. Plus, paying that little extra will really improve the production quality of your videos.
If the VideoMic Pro is out of your budget, the Takstar SGC-598 is the next best thing. This mic is another decent shotgun mic that attaches directly to your camera via the hot shoe. As long as your camera has a 3.5mm jack, the SGC-598 is compatible with it.
The difference between this mic and the Rode mic we talked about above is that this one is available at a fraction of the cost (less than $50). At those kind of prices, you really don’t have to worry about damaging this one, so you can afford to throw it around a little.
It records really great sound and has a highly-directional pickup pattern. It’s great for interviews and other general use, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for studio-quality or plan on recording vocals/instruments. The sound quality just isn’t quite good enough for that, but at under $50, that’s to be expected.
It’s still probably a lot better than the internal mic on your DSLR is, so it’s a big upgrade to the sound quality for very little cost. If you’re a beginner YouTuber and you don’t have a big budget to work with, I’d definitely recommend it.
We’ve covered USB mics; we’ve covered shotgun mics… now let’s talk about lavalier mics. My top pick for the overall best cheap lavalier microphone for YouTube videos has to be the Rode SmartLav+.
This is my go-to mic when I need to record broadcast-quality audio in a discreet format. If you’re an amateur filmmaker, this is a must-have mic to add to your equipment arsenal. It will come in super useful in all sorts of situations.
It’s an omnidirectional microphone that picks up sounds from all directions. Thanks to the foam pop shield, you don’t have to worry about wind noise or clothing rustling noises, and it ‘softens’ vocal plosives really nicely.
Another thing I really like about the SmartLav+ is that the cable is reinforced with Kevlar. This is really important to me as I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used a cheap lavalier mic that has broken after a couple of months because the cables stretched or snapped. This never happens under normal use conditions with the SmartLav+, it’s super durable.
It’s compatible with smartphones and tablets, so all you have to do is mount it on your subject, hook it up to your smartphone, and run any audio app that accepts input from the headset connection.
If you do choose to go with the SmartLav+, I’d definitely recommend downloading the RODE Rec app if you’re using it with an iOS device. It pretty much turns your phone into a field recorder with all the advanced features and functionalities you could ever want, including a huge range of equalization presets and editing functions.
Despite how great this lavalier mic is, you can still get your hands on it for less than $70. That’s pretty cheap for something this good if you ask me.
If you didn’t want to spend that much on a lavalier mic, you might be better off with the Audio-Technica ATR3350is. This is my second favorite budget lavalier microphone for YouTube, and it costs around half the price of the Rode model above.
Again, like most lavalier mics, it features an omnidirectional pickup pattern for full audio coverage. Considering how cheap it is, the audio quality is pretty great. It’s definitely a huge step up from internal camera mics, at least, and it allows you to get much further away from your subject.
It comes with a dual-mono ⅛” output plug so you can connect it to your DSLR, audio recorder, or another video camera easily. It also comes with a smartphone adapter which makes it instantly compatible with all modern Android and iOS smartphones.
I’d recommend this microphone for indoor use, but it’s not all that durable (as expected for this price range) so the wind guard doesn’t hold up very well in strong winds. It comes off kind of easily. That’s probably my biggest gripe with this lavalier mic.
My absolute favorite thing about this mic, though, is the length of the cable. It runs 6 meters, which is very long compared to many other lavalier mics, so it gives you more flexibility to work with. You can run it a long way away from your phone and capture audio at greater distances.
The final lavalier microphone I want to recommend is the FIFINE wireless lavalier microphone set. It’s another super-affordable budget microphone that comes in at significantly less than $50.
What makes this mic different than the other lavaliers we’ve listed so far is that this one is a wireless mic that comes in a set with its own transmitter, receiver, and headset microphone.
Because it’s wireless, you don’t have to worry about the cables getting in the way, which allows you to move around more freely. This is ideal for vocal performances and public speaking events, but it’s also great for YouTube videos when you need to be able to move freely.
The headset looks kind of dorky, but you don’t need to use that unless you want to. The clip-on lavalier microphone is what we’re really here for.
The set even comes with a metal collar clip and a windscreen, which keeps any unwanted plosive, wind, and breath sounds out of the recording so the audio sounds smooth and clean.
That about covers all the best options for cheap lavalier mics, so let’s move on to handheld mics.
The Zoom H1 Digital Recorder is my top pick for a handheld microphone. The great thing about handheld mics like this is that you don’t need to connect them to a separate device to start recording – everything you need is in one neat package that fits in your hand.
It has a built-in recording device, so you can record audio from the mic itself in WAV and MP3 formats, then move them across to your PC at a later point to sync it up with your video. If you’d prefer, you can also connect it to your own recording device while you record. You can even hook a separate mic, like a lavalier, up to it to use it as only a recording device.
The entire thing is really compact and fits into your pocket, so it’s both versatile and very portable, making it great for YouTube creators that make lots of different kinds of videos.
You can mount it on your desk and use it as a shotgun mic if you plan on recording YouTube videos from behind your desk, or use it as a field mic if you plan to record videos on the road.
It uses a really interesting pickup pattern. If you look at the top of the mic, you’ll notice there are actually two microphones set at 90 degrees to each other. Both of these mics are unidirectional but, together, this allows them to pick up sounds across a wide area, while still picking up sounds in the center with even greater clarity.
Other standout features of this mic include the Auto Level function, which sets the input gain automatically to avoid sound distortion, and the low-cut filter, which helps to get rid of pops, wind noise, and other unwanted rumbles.
The Electro-Voice RE50N/D-B is another great handheld mic that looks very different from the Audio-Technica mic we just talked about. This looks more like the traditional mic you’re probably used to seeing performing artists sing into.
These kinds of mics are known for being highly durable, and the RE50N/D-B is no exception. It’s really well-built, so it’s a great microphone if you expect to have to throw it around a little while you’re making YouTube videos.
The audio quality is really, really good and really focuses on your subject. It also has a built-in acoustical filter that minimizes unwanted noises like wind and popping sounds, and a shock mount that keeps out mechanical rumble.
I’d definitely recommend the RE50N/D-B for anyone that plans on making interview-based YouTube videos, especially if you’re going to be recording off-set, out on the streets. It’s the perfect microphone for reporters, so if that’s the kind of content you make on your YouTube channel, this is the way to go.
On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t plan on conducting interviews and you’re going to be the subject of your own YouTube videos. It can look a little dorky and out of place in that kind of context – your probably better off going for a shotgun mic or a USB mic.
Last but not least, we have the AT4053b. This isn’t a handheld mic as such, it’s probably more of a cross between a handheld mic and a traditional shotgun mic.
Technically speaking, it’s actually a hyper-cardioid condenser microphone. The ‘hypercardioid’ part of the basically means it’s like a cardioid mic on steroids. It’s super-duper directional and does an even better job of isolating sound from the front than regular old cardioid mics do.
It’s not as versatile as YouTube mics like the Blue Yeti as you can’t change that pickup pattern, but it’s great for interviews and just general audio recording in a controlled setting as long as you position it correctly.
For under $200, you can get the AT4053B in a bundle complete with a shock mount, XLR cable, pop filter, and cleaning cloth. It’s pretty great value for money and another worthwhile option to consider.
How to Sync Up Your Microphone and Camera
Many of the mics on this list will connect directly to your camera, which will automatically sync up the audio and the video while you record. If you’re using your mic separately from the camera, you’ll need to do this manually in post-production.
Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy. All you have to do is open up your editing software of choice (pretty much any software will do, like Sony Vegas or Premiere Pro) and drag both the video and audio footage onto your timeline.
Unless you hit record at exactly the same time, they will probably be a little out of sync. To rectify this, find the exact point where you first speak on the video clip and audio clip and drag the audio across the timeline until they match up.
If you’re struggling with this, it may be worth checking a quick YouTube tutorial on how to do it. It’s super easy with visual queues.
There you have it, 10 of the bests cheap microphones for YouTube videos. Hopefully, you’ll have found at least one mic that fits what you’re looking for.
It might be the case that you need several mics to be able to record all the different kinds of YouTube videos you plan on creating. For example, you might want a lavalier microphone for when you’re recording off set, and a USB mic for when you’re on set.
Either way, I hope this article helped to point you in the right direction. If you have any questions that I didn’t already answer, feel free to ask in the comments!