Top 8 Best Microphones for YouTube

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Ben Jacklin Edited by Ben Jacklin

The secret ingredients to making great YouTube content are a top-shelf YouTube microphone, an excellent camera, and a great video editor, like Movavi Video Editor Plus. Wondering why we started with the microphone instead of the camera? Well, while it's true that you can't create YouTube content without a good camera and video editor, the sound quality is equally important. Your videos may be 4K, but if your viewers can't hear you, convincing them to watch your vlogs to the end, leave alone subscribe, is close to impossible. Fortunately, we're here to ensure it doesn't come to that. Below is a well-curated list of the best microphones for YouTube.

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Top YouTube microphones

Blue Yeti is one of the most popular YouTube microphones. When you consider the feature it packs, it's not hard to figure out why. First, being a USB mic, it's easy to use for filming YouTube videos. All you need to do is plug it in, and you're good to go, hence ideal even for beginners. The 3.5 mm port on its underside allows you to plug in your headphones or earphones, which means you can listen to what you're recording in real-time.

There's also the headphone volume control, the option to control the sensitivity of your mic, and a handy little pause button. The most important of all controls is the polar pattern switch. You use it to seamlessly switch between four operating modes – omnidirectional, cardioid, stereo, and bidirectional modes. All these modes further enhance the clarity of your video's sound.

The Blue Yeti is also a pretty good-looking YouTube microphone. It comes in colors such as black and gray, not forgetting its stand is a plus for easy positioning. However, it lacks a multi-head setup. You may also have to strain your budget a little as it's a bit pricey. But what makes it great is that in comparison to other microphones on the same price range, it sure offers you a bang for your buck.

If you're planning on creating content from your home studio more often, then you will love the Rode NTI-A condenser microphone. It has high sensitivity and exceptionally low self-noise, which means it captures quiet sound sources more clearly, hence perfect for indoor YouTube vlogging.

It has a double-layered metal pop filters, thus, it's twice as effective in comparison to other diaphragm condensers on the market. Other than the filter, it also comes with a fabric dust cover, a shock mount, and a mic cable. It's ideal if you're in the process of starting your first home studio setup. It's also quite cheap, which further makes it appealing to most YouTubers.

However, being a diaphragm condenser, it needs an audio interface with preamps, and also the presence bump tends to make the vocal recordings sibilant.

Rode SmartLav+ is an affordable yet highly functional lavalier solution for YouTubers on a budget. It features a 3.5 mm jack, so it can be plugged into your smartphone, computer, or any device you're using. It also comes with a lapel clip, which makes it ideal for interviews.

Being an omnidirectional condenser capsule, it captures sounds from all directions and also features a pop filter to eliminate wind sounds for crisp quality audio. It's compatible with a wide range of Android and iOS devices. Unfortunately, you cannot monitor recordings in real-time, and currently, its app is only available to iOS users.

Razer Seiren X is a condenser microphone, which, like all the others on our list, packs some fantastic features for recording YouTube videos. It boasts a sleek, minimalist setup and comes with a ball joint base for easy positioning.

On the front are two controls, a mute button, and a volume control knob. It is a super-cardioid mic, so it boasts better noise cancellation abilities. It's an ideal YouTube microphone as it won't pick background noises. The mic is super portable, easy to set up, and, on top of it all, super affordable. The downside, however, is that it only features one polar pattern.

Are you always on the move? Are most of your YouTube videos recorded while you're in the middle of an adventure or workout? If so, then you will love this miniature lavalier microphone. It features a 20ft cord and a 3.5 mm jack, hence can be plugged into your phone or whichever device you're using to record seamlessly.

It's also powered by a 1.5Vlr44 tiny battery. That makes it even more ideal for travel vloggers, as they don’t need to worry about power. It's omnidirectional, which is a plus, as it means you don't have to place it directly in front of you to capture high-quality audio. This, combined with its low profile design, makes it ideal not only for YouTubers on the move but also for interviews and professional demonstrations, or even conferences. However, there's no way to read the battery status; hence, it may die on you, or you may end up overcharging and spoiling the batteries.

Oktava MK-O12 is a small diaphragm condenser that's gentle on your budget yet highly functional. It's also a popular option among YouTubers on the move thanks to its small size. Unlike most small condensers, it boasts a pretty wide flat response, hence offers exceptionally smooth recordings.

It also features cardioid, omnidirectional, and hyper-cardioid capsules, which further makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor filming. Despite its small size, you don’t need to worry about losing it. It comes in a wooden box, which makes packing as well as keeping it safe is effortless. It's also incredibly durable.

The SM7B YouTube microphone is an upgraded version of the SM7, so it packs better features than the latter. It is particularly famed for its incredible cardioid polar pattern and wide flat frequency response, which work together to provide unequivocal quality recordings.

This, combined with its excellent internal air suspension shock, make it even more ideal for YouTubers who vlog indoors or home studio vocalists as it eliminates mechanical noise. This mic is great for quickly capturing content from quiet sound sources. It also features yoke mounting, thus easy to set up. You may, however, have to keep on turning up the gain on the preamp due to its low signal levels.

Samson Go Mic has been around for quite some time but remains a popular option for the bunch of features it packs. Its wide frequency response, 16-bit resolution combined with its dual recording patterns, namely, omnidirectional and cardioid, means high-quality audios. It’s ideal for YouTube vloggers, podcasting, and recording music.

Being a USB mic, it's super easy to use and is compatible with any device you might have, whether Mac or Windows. Also, it's named the Go Mic for its light weight, and the mic boasts exceptional portability. It, however, lacks the gain knob and DSP, thus, easily captures pop sounds. Other than that, it's an easy-to-use, budget-friendly YouTube microphone.

What microphones do YouTubers use?

The kind of microphone a YouTuber uses depends on their preference, but the three most common types of mics are as shown here.

Shortgun

Shortgun mics are the most popular among YouTube vloggers. This is because one only needs to attach it to the hot-shoe of the camera and start rolling. Additionally, they filter unwanted noise and boast excellent sound quality.

USB microphones

USB microphones are also pretty popular. They are ideal for YouTubers who record videos near a computer. They are also quite easy to set up as all you need to plug it in your device. A USB microphone is ideal for interviews, gaming, product demos, or whatever content you may have in mind.

Lavalier microphones

Also known as a lapel, lavalier microphones are a blessing to travel vloggers or those who move around a lot while vlogging, such as fitness gurus. They are omnidirectional and feature a low-profile design.

What’s the difference between a dynamic and condenser microphone?

When shopping for microphones, you may notice that some are described as dynamic, while others are condenser microphones. So, what's the difference? Which one do you need? Well, that depends on what type of YouTube content you’re creating. Read on to see a rundown of the key differences between the two.

Dynamic microphones

Dynamic microphones are generally best for recording audio in loud environments (like live concerts) because they can handle high sound pressure levels (SPLs) without distorting the audio. You can use them to record drums, guitar amps, and other instruments with high sound levels. They're also great for recording vocals for songs.

That's because they have a moving coil attached to a diaphragm. The sound waves hit the diaphragm, which then vibrates the coil. This creates an electrical signal that is amplified and then sent to your computer.

In contrast, dynamic microphones aren't the best choice for recording soft sounds, such as ASMR content or a person speaking in a quiet room, since these mics don't have a very sensitive diaphragm.

Condenser microphones

On the other hand, condenser microphones are best for recording audio in quiet environments, because they're very sensitive and can pick up a wider range of frequencies. That's why they're often used to record ASMR content.

A condenser microphone is a type of electro-acoustic transducer that converts sound waves into electrical signals. These signals are then amplified and recorded onto an external device, such as a computer or digital recorder. 

One downside of condenser microphones is that they require 48V power, which most computers don't have. That's why you need an audio interface or a mic preamp to use them.

Another disadvantage is that they're more delicate than dynamic microphones and can be easily damaged by loud sound levels. So make sure to handle them with care.

Ribbon microphones

Ribbon microphones are a type of dynamic microphone, but they work in a slightly different way. Instead of a moving coil, they have a thin strip of metal (the ribbon) suspended between two magnets. When sound waves hit the ribbon, it vibrates and produces an electrical signal. 

Ribbon mics are often used in studios because they can produce detailed recordings with minimal handling noise. If you want to capture the most natural sounds of your instruments or even your vocals, ribbon mics are a good choice.

Ribbon microphones are either active or passive. The only difference between the two is that active ribbons have built-in electronics that require phantom power, while passive ribbons don't.

Phantom power is the voltage sent to the microphone through the XLR cable. It powers the electronics inside the microphone, so it can work properly. Because of that, active ribbons typically have more gain (volume) and can be used in a wider range of recording situations. They're also less sensitive to electromagnetic interference (EMI).

What is a microphone polar pattern?

In very simple terms, a microphone polar pattern is the area around the mic capsule where the mic is most sensitive to sound. The three most common polar patterns are cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional:

  • Cardioid microphones are best for recording sounds that are directly in front of them and rejecting sounds from the sides and rear. This makes them ideal for podcasts, vlogs, voice-overs, and instruments in a live setting.

  • Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound equally from all directions. They're often used in live settings, lectures, and group interviews.

  • Bidirectional microphones are most sensitive to sounds coming from the front and rear, while rejecting sounds from the sides. This makes them ideal for recording two people at once, like in an interview.

Polar patterns are important to consider because they dictate how well the microphone will perform in different recording scenarios. For example, if you're recording a voice-over for your YouTube videos, you'll want to use a cardioid mic to reduce unwanted background noise.

On the other hand, if you're conducting an interview, you'll want to use a bidirectional mic so that both parties can be heard clearly.

Why can’t I just use the internal microphone in my camera?

Internal microphones in cameras are designed for one thing – to record the audio of what’s happening in front of the camera. They’re not designed for getting great sound quality or for recording multiple people at once.

Not only do they pick up a lot of background noise, but the sound quality often lacks the richness and depth that you want for your videos. Even though the latest cameras have significantly better internal microphones than their predecessors, they're still no match for a high-quality external microphone. 

This is why professional YouTubers use external microphones that plug directly into their cameras. By doing this, they can ensure that the audio in their videos is crisp, clear, and free of unwanted background noise, which makes the post-processing stage much easier.

Summary: Invest in the best microphones for YouTube

To sum it up, getting a good YouTube microphone is essential if you want to create high-quality content. However, there’s the right microphone for every situation. You have to factor in the type of content you create, your personal preferences, and your budget.

We hope our list of the top YouTube microphones helps you choose the perfect one. Investing in a quality microphone is an excellent way to improve the overall quality of your videos, which, in turn, can help you attract more viewers and subscribers. 

To make your videos even better, try out Movavi Video Editor Plus for your editing needs! Not only is it beginner-friendly and highly intuitive, but it also has a wide range of sound settings to take your audio game up a notch.

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* The free version of Movavi Video Editor Plus has the following restrictions: 7-day trial period, watermark on the output videos, and, if you’re saving a project as an audio file, an ability to save only half the audio length.

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