Sound one of the key aspects you need to balance the equation when it comes to filming those mouth opening YouTube videos. Like we’ve said before, poor sound is often more noticeable than poor video quality. That’s why we’ve put together this list where we look at the best mics for YouTube videos.
Fortunately, the advancement in technology has done a lot for the area of audio. As well as now being able to easily get our hands on cameras that shoot brilliant 1080p HD and 4K video quality, for a very reasonable price we can now get solid audio options for YouTube videos.
Microphones for YouTube videos come in all different shapes and sizes to get that sound quality you have been fantasizing about. We’re going to cover a range of affordable price points in this list, and what you choose depends largely on the kind of YouTube videos you are aiming at.
Selecting the best YouTube microphone comes with a frequently asked question which is: What kind of YouTube videos? This is definitely the most important question that must be discussed before reaching for a vlogging microphone.
We’ll discuss the answer to this question throughout the article and we’ll start by outlining some of the classifications for the various YouTube microphones out there. After all, don’t you get a little confused you see all the jargon when searching for the best YouTube microphone?
The best mics for YouTube can be classified into one of the following categories:
Most people require a standard USB plug-in microphone, especially when getting started with their YouTube videos.
They are known to be one of the most popular microphones for more than half of the video types in the YouTube video world. They’re great for anything you’ll be filming at or near a computer. This covers things like:
- gaming walkthroughs,
- face-to-camera monologues
- and more.
Those filming outside with their camera or even indoors without a computer nearby may need to use the microphone on their camera.
We won’t be covering these here, as we’re just covering standalone microphones in this article. However, I mentioned this aspect of audio recording here for the sake of clarity.
These are the little clip-on mics you’ve heard about on TV interviews, etc. More common in non-intrusive interviews, seminars and performances, this are really handy mics that can easily be hidden from the audience’s eyes.
Although they aren’t as common, you may be interested in filming some videos outside where the microphone can’t be seen (perhaps YouTube public pranks and such).
The best microphones for YouTube videos
Let’s look at our favorite mics for helping you make great YouTube videos.
USB microphones are nothing new, but the Samson Go Mic is probably the smallest and handiest on the market.
The body is made of metal which measures just 70.5 x 43.5 x 23mm in size, it employs a pair of back-to-back, cardioid, 10mm, back-electret capsules, so it can be switched between cardioid and omni patterns.
Also novel is the combined mount and mic storage clip, which incorporates a swivel joint to let you set the mic at the required angle.
When not in use, the mic folds back into the clip, and the whole thing goes into a zip-up storage pouch that’s no larger than the kind that would fit a pair of earbuds.
Usefully, the mount has a standard European mic thread, so that it can be screwed onto a mic stand if necessary.
Connection is via a miniature USB cable. And for monitoring there’s a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack headphone output on the side of the mic.
A three-position slide switch selects between the cardioid and omni patterns, and when in the center position it gives a cardioid pattern with a 10dB pad.
The mic is a USB class-compliant device, so it needs no drivers. Once selected from within my DAW software (in our test case, Logic 8), the mic becomes the source and appears as a stereo input, with both channels carrying the same signal.
For mono tracks, selecting either of the two inputs provides the necessary mono signal. Monitoring is in stereo and is simply the DAW output, so there’s no direct ‘zero latency’ monitoring option. The headphone output on the mic gave subjectively the same sound quality as my Mac’s own headphone output.
By way of recording performance, the mic has a fairly flat response, running from 80Hz to 18kHz in cardioid mode, and from 20Hz to 20kHz in omni mode. Used with fairly close sources, no significant background noise was evident.
- Portable USB condenser microphone
- Plug and Play Mac and PC compatible, no drivers required
- Custom compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk
- Perfect for recording music, podcasting and field recording
- Ideal for voice recognition software, iChat, VoIP and web casting
This absolute classic that everyone knows and loves is a multi-pattern microphone that plugs straight into your computer.
Blue’s USB offering comes in their now-familiar Ball format blue, red and black varieties, the Snowball has a resin casing with wire-mesh grilles at front and rear. A threaded stand-adaptor is set into the base and a neat table-top tripod stand comes with the microphone, along with a USB cable for connection to a computer.
Besides a USB port, the mic’s only means of connection, there’s a three-position switch at the rear which is used to switch between two cardioid-pattern modes (one with a -10dB pad and one without) and an omnidirectional mode.
Overall, the frequency response extends from 40Hz to 18kHz (at -6dB, judging from the response curves given on the Blue website), with a presence peak at 3kHz in cardioid mode and at around 10kHz in omni mode. A red light on the mic shows that it is active and all necessary power comes from the computer’s USB bus power supply.
The converter’s built into the microphone, which has a capacitor capsule, are fixed at 16-bit/44.1kHz and the mic can be used with computers running Windows XP or Mac OS X without the need to install additional drivers. Inside the host software, the mic shows up as two identical input sources, rather than as a single mono source.
There’s no denying that a bus-powered USB mic is a very neat solution to recording audio into a laptop or domestic computer system, and this one produces subjectively high-quality results. Providing you use it close enough to the source to get a healthy recording level, by which I mean a signal peaking at -15dB or higher.
In my view, the omni mode is best thought of as offering a different tonal flavor to the cardioid modes. The pickup pattern is not truly omnidirectional and I wouldn’t consider the mic to be well suited to recording round-table discussions in this mode, but used appropriately th sound quality is fine and the background noise acceptably low.
If you’re going to use this mic for Podcasting, it will produce the best results if you speak into it from around six inches away, and you can choose omni or cardioid mode depending on which tonality suits your voice best.
For loud instruments, the pad is a sensible and welcome addition, but because there is no variable gain control you’ll sometimes have to use the mic’s distance from the source as a gain control instead. And this may mean compromising on placement.
- Custom condenser capsule offers crystal clear audio for Skype, Messages and FaceTime
- Record vocals, create podcasts, and add narration to your home movies
- Add crystal clear audio to recordings for YouTube. Frequency Response: 40 –18 kHz
- Easy plug and play directly to your Mac or PC-no drivers to install
- Snowball ice is a USB 2.0 device (USB 3.0 compatible as per USB 3.0 backward compatibility...
Compatible with PC and Mac and ready to use when and where you need it. A triple capsule array allows for recording in stereo or your choice of 3 unique settings (cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional), giving you recording capabilities usually reserved for multiple microphones.
Analog-to-digital converter sends incredible audio fidelity directly to your computer.
Built-in headphone amplifier provides zero-latency monitoring.
Simple dial control quickly changes headphone volume, pattern selection or switch to mute all from your microphone.
- Custom three-capsule array: Produces clear, powerful, broadcast-quality sound for YouTube, game...
- Four pickup patterns: cardioid, Omni, bidirectional, and stereo pickup patterns offer incredible...
- Onboard audio controls: Studio controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and...
- Legendary Blue Broadcast sound: Makes the professional difference for recording, streaming and...
- Unique position able design: Adjust and pivot the microphone in relation to the sound source to...
This time-tested offering from Apogee is another one of the best microphones for YouTube if you’re at or near a desk and a USB mic is what you’re after.
It will deliver excellent quality of sound very similar to what you expect in the studio (we’ve heard quite a few musicians use this for some vocals or acoustic recording).
It connects to Windows and Mac devices as well as any smart device with a 3.5mm connector, which will enable easy recording of some high-quality external sound for those videos regardless of what you’re using.
You can get away with using it with cameras as well, perhaps just not outdoors. For technical specs, it is equipped with cardioid polar pattern and an easy USB connection for great plug-n-play ease of us.
You have up to 96 kHz/24-bit HD recording, ‘PureDIGITAL connection’, and combines a microphone, microphone preamp and an A/D converter into one device.
What also qualifies this microphone as one of the best mics for YouTube is its versatility for different types of voices and uses.
- Studio quality cardioid condenser microphone
- Designed for vocal and acoustic instrument recording. Also great for recording interviews, podcasts,...
- Up to 96 kHz/24-bit HD recording
- Works with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. Lightning and Mac USB cables included.
- Powered by connection to iPad, iPhone or Mac (no batteries or external power required).iOS Device...
Best Mics for YouTube – A Conclusion
As with any kind of gear purchasing decision, you need to look at a number of factors when it comes to buy your YouTube microphone. The main ones are:
- Use case
- Travel / Weight options
Use case is of prime importance. If you want to look like most YouTubers and do a face-to-camera production, then having a USB mic clearly in front of you is standard. People expect to see that from YouTubers, as we’ve had years of getting primed for that look. If you use a clip-on lav mic in this situation (for example) it might look a little off.
Equally, if you’re out and about and not in front of your computer when using your mic, then the lav mic option might be a better bet.
Price is a big consideration. You don’t want to go with something that’s going to break your budget when you’re just starting out as a YouTube influencer. Instead, start small and then scale up as you start making more money with your YouTube business.
Durability and travel / weight go hand in hand. If you’re shooting a lot of stuff on the go, and travelling a lot, then a light microphone that breaks down easily for packing is the way to go. You also don’t want to be hauling something really heavy around if you’re walking a lot with your gear and moving from location to location.
We hope this article on the best microphone for YouTube videos has been helpful to you. We’ve tried to cover all the bases here and feature our favorite YouTube mics for a range of budgets and use cases.
Have we missed out your favorite YouTube mic? Let us know in the comments just below.