Voice over videos are one of the most common types of videos today. In fact, anything that shows video without the actor’s face should be thrown into the class. For you to produce a great voice over video, you need to get a great microphone. While there’s a huge cache of such microphones available online, picking them is an uphill task. It takes a keen eye to pick out the good ones from the chaff. In fact, most people choose their microphones through sheer trial and error. However, we are here to save you the effort. This article will show you the ten best microphones for the job.
What are the top 10 best Microphones for voice over video? A lot of factors come into play when choosing a microphone for voice over videos. We will get into that later. Quick and short, these are the top 10 best voice over microphones in our opinion.
- Blue Yeti Pro Microphone
- Focusrite Scarlett 212 Studio
- VO 1-A Harlan Hogan Signature Series Microphone
- Shure SM7B
- Rode NT1A
- MXL Mics 770
- Neumann TLM 103
- Tonor TC-777
- Audio -Technica AT2020
- Electro-Voice RE-20.
The best microphones are a combination of various things. Chief among them is the design concept. For voice over acting, you need a microphone that picks up all the sound. It should also freeze out most, if not all of the background noise.
Let’s bare them out, shall we?
A Review of the Top 10 Best Microphones For Voice over Video
What determines which microphone you should take?
As said earlier, there’s a large number of factors that determine which microphone to choose. These factors would normally fall into either of the following;
- The Type of Microphone. When it comes to voice-overs, people are often torn between Condenser Microphones and dynamic microphones. In terms of sensitivity to sound, condenser microphones easily to take the podium. This also implies that are more apt to picking unwanted background noise. Dynamic microphones are more versatile. They also last longer than Condenser microphones. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a pure voice-over microphone, a condenser microphone will do. If you have enough cash, I would recommend buying two microphones for the job. One should be a condenser microphone. The other one is a no-brainer.
- Budget– The weight of your pocket is an all-important consideration here. You wouldn’t be shopping around if you had an account rivaling what Jeff Bezos has. Given the price range, you can get good microphones on both low and high ends. The high-end microphones have more quality. They are so designed from more durable material. On the low end, find plastic-filled microphones take the day. As a rule, I often stick to the intermediate range.
- Connection and size of the studio- These are two different things. Unfortunately, they are highly interdependent. If you have a large studio, you will have more gear. You might have mixers and pre-amps to connect your microphone. This means that an XLR microphone is a definite choice for you. For amateurs, you probably have a laptop as your whole studio. All you need is a USB microphone to do the job.
Tips on Choosing a Good Voice Over Microphone
Whether you are picking dynamic or condenser microphones, there are a few things you need to do in order to stay away from the bottom end. Here are a few tips just for that.
- Test them before buying– If you walk into a microphone shop today, you should test the microphones before having them packed in your bag. This ensures two things. The first one is that the microphone actually works. Secondly, it’s also an assurance of the quality of the microphone. Unfortunately, you can’t do the same if you’re shopping on Amazon. This is where reviews, like ours, come in. We don’t flatter poor microphones. Besides learning from us, you should also check the user reviews on each product. If a microphone has a bunch of negative reviews, you bet it won’t be different with you.
- Try out a large number of microphones– Although we swear upon the quality of our Top Ten Microphones for voiceover videos, it doesn’t hurt to do a trial and error. Once again, you can’t do this while shopping online. However, you can pop into a nearby instrument shop for the trials before ordering anything.
- Ask an expert, if you know one– Experts are the final word when it comes to any product. You should reach out to them. With tech products, their word is the constitution. For microphones, sound engineers have sound knowledge of the field. They have also tried a lot of microphones in the course of their jobs. Aside from sound engineers, an experienced music producer or studio owner will also show you the best pieces. It doesn’t hurt to consult a little bit.
Tips and tidbits aside, let’s get down into our Top 10 list, shall we?
Let’s start with those of us who don’t need a complicated microphone set up. If all you’re looking for is a USB microphone that packs enough punch to compete with some XLR microphones, this should be your first, and final stop.
The Blue Yeti Pro Microphone is the most critically acclaimed microphone in the market today. Fine, it’s heavy and big, and somewhat cumbersome. Moreover, it also doesn’t work well with lightweight microphone stands. However, you will find nothing better than this when it comes to USB condenser microphones.
As a start, it’s worth saying that this microphone does not come cheap. It costs a lot, even for a premium USB/XLR microphone. However, most critiques agree, as I do, that it offers enough quality to warrant the cost. Besides, unlike other USB microphones, it’s not made from crappy plastic.
Blue Yeti Pro Microphone features
- Sturdy design– This microphone is designed from metallic components. While this makes it heavy( it weighs 263g), it also makes it quite durable.
- Easy to use– USB Microphones are essentially plug and play opinions. We might as well call them “plug and use” for easier visualization. You will only need this microphone and your laptop. Do not be mistaken. Even with the fact that the Blue Yetti is a USB microphone, it packs enough recording power for a mini-studio. As an alternative, you can also use this microphone as an XLR Microphone.
- Comes with a built-in stand
- 24 bit, 192 GHz recording resolution– This is one of the highest audio frequencies you can get with USB microphones. It’s also among the highest quality audio. However, this means that your sound files will be much bigger than normal. If you can handle the file size, you are good to go with this microphone.
- Comes with volume control, gain control, and mute buttons. The inclusion of these three buttons makes using the Blue Yeti far much easier. Even for those people who don’t understand how a mixer works, you can fiddle around until you get to your preferred audio-record settings from the microphone itself.
The Blue Yeti takes mono-directional as well as multi-directional audio. It’s highly sensitive. For voice-overs, you will need a microphone that balances sensitivity with focus on your voice. This means that the recording should have low noise Well, the Blue Yetti does just that.
Let’s start with the bad news.
Or let’s go the other way. Let’s start with the good one.
On this listicle, you won’t find a voice-over microphone that beats this one. However, it also happens to be the most expensive unit on the list.
Sounds like a pyrrhic victory to some extent, doesn’t it?
It does until you dig deeper. Only then will you realize that the Focusrite Scarlett 212 Studio deserves every cent it costs.
Recently, the company introduced the third generation of the microphone bundle into the market. This has been met with a lot of critical acclaim from previous users. This 3rd generation mic comes with a handful of improvements. It has a new air mode, which increases the latency of high-end features. Moreover, is also comes with increased headroom size on the headphones.
The Focusrite brand name is synonymous with quality microphones. It’s been around since 1985. While this is not the oldest company in the industry, the length of time means that the company has mastered the art of designing studio equipment to the best standards.
Unlike other microphones, this one comes as part of a bundle. This is the main reason why it appears more expensive than the rest. Typically, the Focusrite 212 bundles consist of a large diagram microphone( condenser), mic stand, pop shield, mic lead, and a pair of headphones. The complete package, which is optional, also includes a preamp.
Essentially, this is a tie and dye USB microphone. This implies that using it is as simple as ABC. For instance, the whole setup process includes plugging in and waiting for the drivers on your computer to boot up the microphone system. This is enabled by the nifty quickstart tool which is part of the package.
Focusrite 212 Pros and Cons
- 24 Bit recording resolution with 92khz frequency. This is among the best pieces in the industry.
- The microphone has an active bypass system from the PC. This means that you can hear and monitor your unprocessed vocals while recording.
- Amazing preamp quality
- Zero output ability. It has no MIDI.
- Performs poorly when it comes to multitrack recording especially using instruments.
The name is quite a mouthful I know. Who eve has the time to read through all that? Well, you shouldn’t mind the long name. In fact, the whole story on the VO 1-A Harlan Hogan Signature Series Microphone is quite short.
First, you have to recognize the name Harkan Hogan if you know anything about voice-overs. He’s arguably the biggest name in the industry. As an established voice-over artist, Hogan partnered with MXL to design and produce a microphone that fits the premium industry needs. This is the product of that noble effort. It’s been around since 2010.
This is the first XLR microphone on the list. It’s over the first dedicated voice-over microphone in the article. Quite low, isn’t it? You had to come all this while just to find out that there’s one microphone that comes specifically for voice-overs. It’s not for lack of quality at all. It’s just that ease of use beats everything else when it comes to choosing voice over microphones.
The VO 1- A is part of MXL line of microphones. For most people, the only other microphones that come close to competing with MXL when it comes to microphones is the Rode ensemble. We’ll get down the Rode NT1A a little bit lower. Recently, this microphone was put to test by a bunch of voice over actors. Most of them believe that this is the best microphone for voice-overs and radio production.
All this hype aside, this Microphone consists of the following features
- Condenser type audio receiver for voice over recording
- XLR Connection
- High recording quality. It has an impressive low affinity for recording the lower bass voices
- Gold-coated diaphragm. The microphone is made of a lot of metal.
- Shock mounts for quick mounting
- Quick clip for steady handling
- The microphone package includes a secure travel case which is lined heavily with foam.
We’ve been doing a retinue of condenser microphones since the start of this article. I beg to digress from them for a moment. Let’s see the first dynamic microphone to feature here.
The Shure SM7B is perhaps the best dynamic microphone for voice-overs. It’s a darling of professional musicians and music recording studios. However, it’s equally good for voice over recording.
While still speaking about Dynamic microphones, it’s important to check out what makes them different from condenser microphones.
What’s the difference between dynamic and condenser microphones?
- Dynamic microphones are more versatile than condensers– Condenser microphones are somewhat niche-focused. On the other hand, dynamic microphones can be used across a range of events. For instance, The Shure SM7B is amazing with live musical performances.
- Sound sensitivity– Condenser microphones are more sensitive than dynamic ones. However, this is an undoing if you are pessimistic. It simply means that they will pick more background noise than your average dynamic microphone. If you are not using a professional soundproofed studio, using a dynamic microphone will save you the background noise torture.
When it comes to designing quality and affordable sound equipment, no company beats what Shure has had since 1930. Yes, you saw it right. The company is 10 years shy of being a century old. This long history means that everything is borne of long design traditions. For instance, the cardioid design on the Shure SM7B is not available on any other microphone. If it is, you bet that the others are just aping what Shure made.
The Shure SM7B is one of the most sold microphones around the world. This is a show of trust in the quality of the microphone. On Amazon alone, the microphone has sold more than any other dynamic microphone.
In terms of quality, it has one of the best voice recording qualities available. The flat design ensures that you get the widest field of frequencies. Besides, the microphone has a great mid-range boost which places an emphasis on heavy bass.
For most voice-over artists, this microphone is the final word when it comes to microphone quality. They’re not wrong. After a barrage of tests on my otherwise awful voice, I tend to agree with them. There’s little wonder, therefore, that this Microphone is the ultimate best-seller among condenser microphones.
On many voice-over microphone reviews, the Rode NT1A always goes first. It ranks above even the Harlan Hogan. In fact, it’s quite right to say that the Harlan Hogan is an attempt at usurping the chokehold that the Rode NT1A has had over the vocal recording industry for a while.
This microphone is a quality XLR microphone. You need a good studio set up to achieve optimum use. However, XLR microphones have a definite edge over the other types of microphones when it comes to recording quality. We explained why XLR microphones trump over the rest in this article.
Although it requires a bit of setup and phantom power( phantom power is simply power over the norma power rating) to run, it is quite the studio workhorse once everything is sorted. Most people buy this microphone as a replacement for earlier versions. This is because setting up XLR microphones requires more than just buying a microphone. You need adapters and preamps for than. While it’s slightly costly, the design essentials around it atone for the amount of money you fork out for it.
When it comes to audio sensitivity, I bet that you won’t find a more sensitive microphone in the same price range. It picks even the tiniest of vocal expressions. This makes it a great microphone to use for quality voice overs.
Rode NT1A Features and Specs
- Flat cardioid stainless steel design.
- Lage diagram which is gold plated for more durability
- Extremely high SPL ability( SPL refers to the loudest sound that a microphone can take with zero distortion)
- Comes with internal shock mounting
- Affordable price if you intend to purchase the microphone alone(not so affordable, however.) It provides value for money
As far as microphone quality goes, the Rode NT1-A and the Rode NT1 are among the best microphones. For voice over videos, the vertical setup will also allow you to record while sitting down.
We mentioned MXL earlier on while talking about the Harlan Hogan Microphone. While the former was the result of a combined effort between the company and the voice-over artist, this one is the result of the company’s own design efforts.
The biggest thing about thing microphone is its affordability. Unlike the rest of the premium products in its class, it’s made for the voice-over artist who is starting out without much of a budget to use.
While it’s essentially a condenser microphone, it is also versatile. The design encompasses certain aspects that make it a one-stop solution for almost every recording need. If you need a microphone that can do voice-overs just as well as recording musical instruments, this might just be it.
For anything, I would buy this microphone because of the way it looks. It has one of the edgiest designs in the market. First, it’s relatively smaller than other condenser microphones. In fact, it has the smallest diaphragm among them all. It’s also layered with a stainless design. Further, the microphone also has impressive edges and curves to ramp up the looks. The metallic black finish also plays a huge part in the creation of this beautiful microphone.
Specs and general features
- Good recording quality. It has quite a high SPL value
- Flat, curved cardioid design for better sound quality
- XLR microphone( you need a mixer/adapter to use it)
- Relatively low rumble
- Great for voice-overs, streaming and creating podcasts too
When it comes to microphones, Neumann is the Mercedes of the microphone industry. This German company has been the numero-uno of the industry for a whole 91 years. To be honest, there’s something about the ruthless efficiency of the German industry that makes it so appealing for the world market.
For so long, the best Neumann microphone was the legendary U87. In fact, Neumann fans engaged in a lot of rumors about what the TLM 103 would be all about. The same thing happens with camera releases today. For instance, Nikon has created a lot of suspense with its camera release program. But let’s not digress. This was all about the Neumann TLM 103 Condenser microphone.
There’s been a lot of development in manufacturing over the ages. Most tech companies prefer to manufacture their products using robots and large factory halls. This is not the case with Neumann. For as long as the company has existed, they have always preferred handcrafting their products. For this reason, you might find the TLM 103 a little pricier than your average condenser microphone.
The TLM 103 is somewhat neutral in comparison to other condenser microphones. It keeps everything within the balance rather than overdoing somethings. The design, for instance, is nothing screaming. The top is not as ruby as the U87 was. It doesn’t have a lot of color. There’s only satin and matte black to choose from. It also doesn’t have any patterns on its diaphragm. It’s all plain and sharp. However, this makes it quite the conventional microphone for voice-over recording or any other job. In fact, it’s slightly conservative if we should say so.
If I had a way out of it, I wouldn’t include a gaming microphone among the Top 10 voice over microphones of the year. That’s a huge “if.” I don’t have that way. Instead, what I have is a whole tone of words for this $40 worth of microphone.
For a few months now, I have been trying out this microphone in a variety of ways. You can check out what we had to say about it on our detailed TONOR TC-777 USB Condenser Microphone Review.
One of the major microphone tests is carrying out demon voice overs. How well a microphone record is pegged on how well it’s designed. In this regard, I would say that the plastic and metal grill design on this small microphone was done pretty well.
Although there’s a bunch of better microphones when it comes to voice-overs, the price tag on the Tonor TC-777 makes it an appealing choice. It’s especially great if you want a microphone that will do everything for you, without stretching your pockets. Since it comes with most, if not all of the accessories, I would say that it’s a one-stop solution for simple home studios.
If ever there was a place where the words “affordable” and ” top quality” could exist side by side, it would be in defining the USB condenser microphone. For around $100 or thereabouts, you get to share what Audio-Technica has designed for its 2020 anniversary.
The Audio-Technica AT2020 is pretty much the standard USB condenser microphone with a lot of overhead. It records at the normal 20KHZ. Noise, which is at 20 SPL, is relatively low and can be cleared away using simple DAWs. Besides, it has one of the best dynamic responses in the market. All that said, the real goodness of this microphone is exhibited when it comes to recording the nuances of vocal speech. This is essentially what a voice over is all about.
This entry-level microphone is quite solid. With solid, we mean it in both quality and design. The cast metal design, for instance, has no chinks even for a peep into the inner electronics. In terms of quality, the microphone has enough sensitivity to rival more expensive studio microphones.
For a simple home studio, I think there’s nothing better than a microphone that takes it all. Such a microphone should also be portable. You never know where you will take your studio. All these aspects are encompassed within this microphone. In fact, there’s a small carry-on bag for microphone and accessory packing.
If this one is slightly too common-place for you, you can also try the Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone. It offers much of the same, with higher quality recording to some extent.
As a final step, it’s hardly fair to wrap up this listicle without mentioning the only microphone that has a record of going one on one with Shure. That would be sacrilegious.
The RE20 doesn’t come cheap. Even among premium condenser microphones, it’s still considered a more premium product. It’s not just premium in word. Everything about this microphone is meant to perform at the upper realms of recording quality.
This microphone is more optimized for recording speech than most others. This is done by doing the following;
- Cutting out the pops and sibilance in voice-over speech
- Drastically reducing the microphone’s ability to pick up noise from behind it.
According to its designers, the Microphone has the ability to pick up voice even under adverse environments. Well, no one has tried that yet. But we can take their words for it.
If you have the deep pockets to support a premium microphone, why not buy this? It’s a great piece of equipment to add to your studio.
Although we have thrown in everything from premium to low-end, it’s always good to remember that spending high doesn’t mean that you get the best. While shopping for a voice-over microphone, looking through the maze of microphones on offer will help you a lot. It might be a long process, but it will save you nonetheless.
Keep safe, will you?