I needed a new microphone to record a voice over for a recent project and set about trying to find out what the best microphone to get would be. As with anything there’s a vast range of choice for a even bigger range of prices. Here are some of the best microphones for recording voice overs (and podcasts or tutorials) as recommended by a few composer, musician and post-production friends.
How to choose the right microphone
Personally I’m not setting up a studio level booth – I just need a good microphone I can trust to record voice overs in a way my clients will be pleased with. Another vital criteria for me is to be able to quickly connect it all up to my laptop so I can record their talent, wherever they may be. Portability, quality and price are all important factors for the frequently travelling editor!
In choosing a microphone there are essentially two ways to go: A straight USB microphone or a XLR microphone into a pre-amp that connects via usb into your computer. XLR microphones will be of better quality but this 2-part set up will cost a bit more money and take about 10 seconds longer to set up. I went with a XLR/pre-amp set up because it affords me great flexibility in the future and access to a higher quality microphone.
Should I pay more?
In researching which mic to get, I came across voice over artist, where he which lets you download the mp3′s from each microphone and see if you can tell the difference between a $79 and $2, 600 price tag. That’s the by the way –>
Trevor’s conclusion: Once you have a mic at a certain level, it takes a lot of money to make a small difference.
The surprising hit of the shootout, and a mic also recommended to me by a composer friend was the . As silly as it may sound, from a looks point of view I didn’t think the SM57 would cut it in front of my clients so I went with something more beefy looking. As it turns out Trevor also that I ultimately went with. That said, my composer friend recommended having more than one mic in my arsenal and said would be a great back up to have.
Buy on /
USB Microphones for Recording Voice Over
If you don’t want to splash a lot of money on a microphone and just want something that will get the job done a USB microphone will do that and do it well. Compared to XLR microphones they’re not as good but they’re still pretty darn good.
I have previously used a for recording temp vo at a director’s house and it held up very well. We did have to construct a ‘booth’ from plenty of duvet’s but it worked for our low-fi purposes. includes all the bits you need like a shock mount, pop shield and desktop stand. Buy on /
and were also recommended to me and although they do look a bit more funky, I prefer the look of something a bit more ‘technical’. Also these were recommended for more of a podcast purpose. Pat Flynn lets you listen to a selection of USB microphones in this podcasting tutorial and that is probably the best way of choosing which one sounds good to you.
Recording gear, studio setup.
So i finally invested in some recording software and bought a lexicon Lambda and I'm currently running it through Cubase 4. While it's working out great so far, i need to buy some new microphones to record vocals, acoustic guitar and banjo, and possibly drums? Well anyway, what are the best microphones/deals around and what should i look into getting? or am i better off buying an acoustic pickup for guitar/banjo and buying a mic just for vocals.
Any opinions or input, go for it.
Your reasoning for why reverb sounds better
It's really very simple- a sound recording is an artificial reproduction of a live event occurring in front of sound transducers (microphones), much the same way a photograph is a representation of what was happening in front of the camera lens, which is an optical transducer of sorts.
Like any mechanical recording/reproduction there will be inaccuracies- cameras take in the four dimensions of height, width, depth and time (shutter speed) and and render them in a two dimensional photo format. Sound recordings take spatial information and try to put it all into a multiple channel format that can only approximate reality