Voice over is a professional job that requires a lot of things, which include a good voice over microphone, voice training, and a proper recording studio. If you pick up a wrong microphone, sooner or later, your bookings will dry up because your voice produced isn’t up to the mark. If you need high-quality audio, you need to invest in high-quality equipment. A lot of people fear away from making a voice over setup at home because they think a good microphone will be expensive. That’s not necessarily true. You can purchase a decent microphone without disturbing your budget.
One of the things that you need to look while selecting microphones is how your voice is and how you’d use the microphone. Specific microphones will work better for your voice as compared to others. Also, put into consideration the acoustics in your studio. Despite being a soundproof closet, do you still have some amount of background noise? It’s wise to go with a microphone that cancels the background noise efficiently.
While you’re picking up a voice over microphone, make sure you only purchase the one that has just necessary features under budget. Maybe you’re thinking to buy a microphone with a live headphone jack, and you never end up using it. In this blog post, I’ve mentioned the top 10 voice over microphones, based on my experience, research, and reviews.
Voice Over Microphones: The microphones mentioned in this article are specifically for voice over. If you're going to use them for making youtube videos, head over to this article instead.
- List of Voice Over Microphones
- Accessories to Purchase With Microphone
- Things to Consider While Purchasing Voice Over Microphone
List of Voice Over Microphones
1. Nuemann TLM 103
The audio quality of this microphone has made it the go-to options for a lot of voice-over professionals. In the condenser microphone lineup, this can be the best microphone if you need top-notch audio quality. The Neumann TLM 103 is XLR mic, and you’d need an audio interface, and phantom power to power up this beast. In the bad-ass box they send, there is the microphone itself, and a shock mount. TLM 103 has low self-noise of 7db, which is good for voice over artists.
When compared to other microphones, this microphone cancels noise in a much better way. Running on cardioids pickup pattern, the mic is focused on the primary audio and thereby rejects any off-axis sounds. However, it is recommended to get your room treated for the best sound quality.
2. Rode NT1-A
Under the $200 mark, this is by far one of the best microphones I’ve come across. Due to its price point, it is highly appreciated by sound enthusiasts. Like the Neumann TLM 103, this mic is XLR as well and would require phantom power along with an audio interface to work.
The best part about this microphone is its remarkable self-noise, which is 5db ( the quietest studio mic ). Compared to other condenser microphones ( even Neumann ) this microphone picks up least background noise. Also if the room is untreated, the noise pickup is quite low and can be removed without any issues. If you read closely to the microphone, it tends to get rid of background noise very efficiently.
The frequency response of this microphone is excellent as well. The low and mid-range are tonal and would work great for vocals. The microphone is also suitable for recording acoustic guitars and is thereby loved by musicians too. The build quality of the microphone is great for durability. With the body made of steel and ten years of Rode warranty, you don’t need anything more. Inside the box, you get the microphone itself, pop filter, and a shock mount. The pop filter would help you filter background noise and p-f noises.
3. Audio-Technica AT4040
With a black and white audio technica logo in the middle, this is one of the best XLR condenser microphones out there. The microphone delivers crisp audio and requires an audio interface to work. Considering the price range, the mic is quite good and affordable as well. The sound comes crisp with minimal coloring, which is good for vocals and voice over. One of the selling points of this microphone is its low proximity effect. You can be really close to your microphone and still record without getting booming noise. Being super close to the microphone is quite useful to those in voice acting industry.
Much like the other condenser microphones, this one is also sensitive to external noises. However, the background noise can be cleared in post-production. A lot of people start their voice acting career with this microphone and are glad they did so.
4. Blue YETI
Doesn’t matter which blog post you read, or which video you watch, you’re going to find the Yeti in every list. There are reasons why this microphone receives so much praise. The microphone has got a very thick metal body and looks like a beast sitting on your table ( maybe that’s why they call it yeti ). This microphone has been the first microphone for many YouTubers. A lot of microphones know Blue because of the yeti or snowball itself.One if its USP include its ability to record in 4 pickup patterns with the three capsule inside it. With the Yeti, you can record in stereo, omnidirectional, bi-directional and of course, the cardioid pickup pattern. These are all the possible modes you can get.
The audio quality of this microphone is simply excellent. If I didn’t mention it yet, the yeti has a complete metal body. You also get a live headphone jack to monitor what’s being recorded. Being a USB microphone, you can just plug the microphone and start recording.Behind the microphone, you get a slider to switch recording modes. You get yet another switch which changes your gain. On the front, you have an LED that lets you know whether you’re recording or not. You can also control your headphone volume from the front volume control.
5. Samson Meteor
One more microphone that I’ve been a huge fan of. The brand is quite popular in the microphone industry and has created a hype around its name for good reasons. Samson Meteor is quite similar to the blue yeti regarding build size and audio quality. But when it comes to pricing, it is cheaper than the Yeti, and it packs a 25mm surface area and large diaphragm.
Unlike four recording patterns, Meteor provides cardioid pickup pattern only which ensures minimal background noise pickup. The microphone also comes with a secure mechanism for portability and ease of carrying it around. The audio quality, however, as I mentioned is like the blue yeti. You get audio recorded at 16bit, 48khz. One more cool thing about this mic is that it can be plugged into a smartphone as well, plus you also get a live headphone jack to listen the audio as it is being recorded.
6. Audio Technica At2100
This microphone has an excellent metal body and feels quite decent. The grill feels sort of plastic, or maybe it is just coated in plastic. The microphone also has an LED light on its front which indicates when the microphone is connected to the USB port and is receiving enough power. There is an on/off switch feels somewhat flimsy.
The bottom of the microphone has a USB Port which connects the microphone to the computer. You also get a live headphone jack to monitor what is being recorded. You also get to control your volume via the volume control. You also get an XLR plug so that you can plug in your microphone into an amplifier, preamp or a mixer.
But, the headphone jack doesn’t work if you have connected the microphone via the XLR connection. It can work if you connect via XLR cable, and USB cable is connected via a charger. It can also work if you connect via XLR cable and plug your USB cable into your computer.
It has a cardioid pickup pattern thereby the background noise is minimum. It picks up some keyboard noise if you type on the keyboard at the same time. It offers a frequency response of 50khz-15khz which is quite good for starting a voiceover or podcast. Audio quality from this microphone is crisp and clear enough to record acoustic guitars.
The best part about this microphone that it works as both USB and XLR microphone. You can either use it for podcasting or connect it to XLR cable if you need to place microphone far from the computer.
7. Shure SM78
If you don’t have a well-treated environment and still need to high-quality output, this is the best microphone possible that you can buy. This is one of the microphones that broadcasters use at radio. One of the key selling points of this microphones that a lot of users brag is that this microphone was the one that recorded Michael Jackson’s album Thriller. The microphone is XLR, which means it would need phantom power, and audio interface to work.
The reason it is fit for doing voice over is that they offer flat frequency response as compared to other dynamic microphones. Hence, the recorded sound is much more natural and realistic. It also has a mid-frequency boost, which works great for vocals. The major problem in condenser microphones is their self-noise. Some of the background noise and amp noise can’t be hidden. But in mid-end dynamic microphones like this one, background noise is easily ignored. Thereby, this microphone performs well in non treated environments as well.
8. Apogee MIC 96K
This name is usually linked to high-end gear. This microphone offers high-quality recording at a whopping 96khz. It works well with smartphone devices like iPads, iPhones and much more. If you are searching for a microphone with which you can record using a smartphone, this microphone will do the job for you. You can just hook it up with a USB cable and start recording, which makes it effortless to use.
It can also be used in the traditional studio setup along with a pop filter and stand. A lot of semi-professional artists also use it for recording. There are a ton of ways you can use this microphone.
It has a built-in A/D converter preamp for optimal usage. You can use it with a smartphone or mount it on your desk with a desktop stand or tripod.
9. Blue Snowball
Snowball is a decent condenser microphone, and like most of the USB Microphones, it is plug and plays as well, with its sound card built right inside it. You don’t need any extra accessories, just plug-in the microphone, open audacity and start recording right away.
The microphone offers two recording patterns, and there is a switch on the back that lets you jump between these two. Inside the microphone, there are two twin capsules. The cardioid pattern will help you record with a -10db for loud sources like musical instruments, the standard cardioid pattern, is for close up vocal and then there is omnidirectional which is ideal when you’ve got a room full of people.
For its price, I was surprised by its sound quality. The standard cardioid sound is bright and bassy. The background noise was minimum, and it is much cleaner than a lot of those cheap condenser microphones which are used along with a reasonable mixer.
The omnidirectional mode reaches quite deep into the room, thereby increasing the background noise. You shouldn’t expect to hear distant objects. But with proper handling and post-processing, that can be achieved as well. The only downside is, you can’t record on the same computer at the same time while blue yeti is recording.
10. EV RE20 Studio Mic
Looking for dynamic microphones that can produce condenser like the sound ? This microphone is what you need. The microphone has frequency response offered by high-end studio microphones. For tasks such as podcasting and voiceover, this microphone works like a charm. The vocals recorded are superb, and you'll see it from the frequency graph itself.
Unlike other microphones, you don’t have to be close to get it to ignore the background noise. You don’t even need to keep your position consistent to keep audio level same. The microphone would perform well even if you weren't static while recording voice-overs. The microphone offers excellent sound isolation, but some users find self-noise as an issue. The build quality is great as the microphone is built out of steel. You won’t require an external pop filter as the microphone comes with one of its own. The microphone costs around 400 bucks, but it’s worth the price.
Accessories to Purchase With Microphone
Headphones are essential as they let you hear and control what is being recorded. When you need to monitor the external noises that your microphone might be picking up, or might pick up while recording, headphones come very handily. When you’re recording a voice-over gig, make sure you do it in a quiet room with your headphones on. I don’t need to mention, that if you record with speakers, the quality would be gradually low. If you need a quick suggestion, pick up the Sony MDR75006. The headphone offers flat sound with clear highs and mids.
The second thing that you’re going to need is a right microphone arm to hold your microphone. I always recommend not picking up a cheap one because in case it breaks down, there’s a good chance that you might lose your microphone as well. There are three kinds of microphone stands, and all three serve different purposes. A desk stand is made to be kept on the desk if you need to record voice-overs while sitting on the chair. Arm stand is fixed to the desk with a clamp and microphone is attached to the arm. If you prefer to record while standing up, you should choose a floor stand. These are a longer model with stronger boom arms. The floor ones also provide more flexibility while recording. I recommend Arm stands: NEEWER. Floor stands: Samson MK-10 Desk stands: On Stage DS7200B.
Pop filters help in improving your speech flow. If you’re using a condenser microphone or any sensitive microphone, you need a pop filter to avoid the sibilant and plosive sounds that mic picks up while recording. You have to position these in the front of the microphone, and it helps in controlling air flow created by P’s and S. Depending on which pop filter you pick up, the screen will either be of metal or foam-like fabric. If you by my recommendations, I recommend the dragonpad USA pop filter.
The shock mount is the suspension device that holds your microphone and prevents it from picking up any rumbling sounds. It is mounted on the end of the boom arm. It is used by voiceover, podcasters and YouTubers to keep the unwanted noises away. Sometimes, the manufacturers include the shock mount inside the box itself. However, if you need a separate one, I’ll recommend Neewer. This model from Neewer isolates most of the unwanted noises, is supported by most of the microphones, and offers a wholly smooth angle adjustment. Made with a metallic body, it is great for voice overs and broadcasting.
A lot of the microphones give low output when powered by their own. In that situation, you connect them to a phantom power or audio interface to amplify their sound. I always recommend preamps. Coming in all shapes and sizes, they can be external, or internal, can be dual channel, or single, in a tube or solid state. What they do is get the most out of your gadget. They result in production less noise and better gain. I recommend Focusrite ISA one, a classic.
These instruments connect your XLR microphone to your computer. There are audio interfaces that have multiple XLR input jacks and headphone channels. Some even have the option to plug in other instruments. Although you’ll be fine with any audio interface, make sure you get one which serves your need. I recommend the Focusrite Scarlett Solo ( 2nd gen ). It is a great microphone preamp and comes with phantom power inbuilt.
One obvious thing that you need to your audio recording setup. A standard cable provides all XLR microphones, mixers, and recorders. I prefer using 20foot long microphone cables. They’re thick, long and are highly durable. The cable I recommend is CBI MLC20 flat zxlr microphone cable. The cable is all you need, it is cheap, sturdy and will last longer.
If you can’t sound foam the whole room, you should get one of these. They’re a curved surface of absorption material that covers your microphone. A smart way to get rid of room ambiance indeed. Isolation panel covers the side, and back of your microphone and thereby steers away from all the unwanted noises. These panels although aren’t lightweight, thereby you’re going to need a heavy-duty microphone stand as well. I love the LyxPro VRI-10.
Unlike Isolation panels, these are made to cut down the overall room ambiance. These foams are placed on vital focal points in studios. As per your need, they can vary as per structure and size. Some of them have adhesives; some include bass traps. They’re good for vocal booths, control rooms, and studios. They work the best in preventing echo in recording setup. You’d have to clean them time to time with the vacuum. You should consider Foam Engineering Acoustic Panels which is 48 pack.
Things to Consider While Purchasing Voice Over Microphone
This should be one of the things that you need to worry about if it is your first microphone and you aren't sure about how many voices over gigs you're going to get.
There is a microphone for all budgets. You don't need a high-end microphone to produce quality sound. There are a lot of microphones in the low and mid budget range that produce perfect sound.
2. Microphone Usage Scenario
You also need to figure out where you are going to use the microphone. Depending on the usage scenario, you'd have to pick up a matching stand. If you think you are going to use the microphone on your desk, then a desk stand or a boom arm if you have no space on the desk, if you want to do voice overs standing up, you are most likely going to need a floor stand.