Best Microphones for YouTube Videos – Complete Guide
Audio is just as important, if not more important than video quality. Most viewers will tolerate poor video quality if the audio is deep and rich but not vice versa. So when looking to get a microphone for YouTube, you need to get the microphone that fits your style of content creation. In fact, it’s not uncommon to have multiple microphones for different situations.
What type of microphone do YouTube content creators need?
If you want to do screen capture or narration videos then you’ll need a USB microphone. These type of devices pair well with any type of screen capture software like OBS. If you’re doing a studio recording where you’re sitting in front of the camera then a lapel mic or a shotgun mic is ideal.
Shotgun microphones are also great for vlogging outside with larger mirrorless camera due to their included wind muff. Last, there are even external microphones for smartphones you can get if that is your daily driver for content creation.
Regardless of what you buy, one thing to pay attention to is the sound profile of the microphone. An omni-directional pattern is great if you’re going to be out vlogging and walking around as it reduces distracting ambient noise, but a super cardioid layout is best if you’re in a studio setting where you’re sitting in front of the camera talking:
A super cardoid is ideal for most talking head videos because it blocks out ambient noise generally by lowering the mic sensitivity on the left and right sides, but allows for enough subtle ambient noise at the rear lobe to enable your audio to be deep and rich.
The first style of microphone are your classic shotgun mics that you mount on top of a camera in the shoe mount. These microphones are not omin-directional typically, but that depends on the price point. More expensive shotgun mics do have the ability to change the sound profile.
Shotgun mics are ideal for any vlogger walking and talking outside with a DSLR or mirrorless camera. They are also adequate to use as a studio camera, but for that purpose we suggest getting an extension cable and perhaps even a boom arm so you can position the microphone closer to your mouth.
Shotgun microphones when used properly sound good, block out ambient noise and vastly improve any cameras internal microphone.
Lapel mics are under-rated, cheap and produce some excellent audio. These types of microphone are flexible and useful for all types of creators. If you’re outside walking and talking a lapel mic will help make your audio clear with no annoying background noise. They also work really well in a studio setting to help create some crisp and clear audio.
The only drawback is that you’ll need to minimize the appearance of the lapel mic in your vlogs. One trick a lot of vloggers use it to record wearing a black shirt or a button up to hide the wire.
Need to do any sort of voice over? You may want to consider a USB microphone. They are plug and play and are easy to connect to any laptop. Ideal if you’re wanting to do any sort of voice over introduction or conclusion to a video.
Please note that most USB microphones typically can’t connect to your camera directly. So if you’re looking for a microphone for use with your camera, USB microphones will require you to plug in your microphone to your laptop and camera at the same time or use an external audio recorder.
Best microphones for vloggers
So what are the best, most useful microphones you need to know about as a vlogger? As we alluded to, the type of microphone you need will depend on what you want to do.
In general, we suggest getting a shotgun microphone as it provides the most flexibility. A lapel microphone is a good budget option and a USB microphone is only required if you’re doing any type of voice over, narration in your vlog. Here are the best microphones for vloggers:
- Rhode Video Micro
- Deity V-V Mic
- Rhode Videomic Pro Plus
- DeWise Lapel Microphone
- Rhode Wireless Go
- Zoom H2N
- Audio Technical AT2020
- Joby Wavo
- Sennheiser MKH416
Rhode Video Micro – The best sounding cheap shotgun mic
On a budget? Our first microphone is this shotgun microphone from Rhode. The Rhode Video Micro is cheap but produces surprisingly good sound quality for the price point. Use it outside for vlogging or in studio close to you for decent audio.
If you have a camera where you can attach an external microphone and you’re looking to upgrade your audio beyond your built in microphone for your camera, the video micro is a good affordable choice.
It comes with a wind muff, is powered by the device it’s plugged into (so no batteries) and has a cardioid layout. That means when pointed at you, it sounds good. If you do a POV shot however with the microphone pointed away from you, it sounds terrible.
The included wire is quite short and is designed to mount the microphone on your camera, but if you want to position the microphone closer towards you you can always get an extension cable.
- A significant improvement in audio over the internal microphone of any camera body.
- No batteries, it’s powered by the cameras battery.
- Easy to use, just plug and play.
- Ideal for vlogging outside with a DSLR or mirrorless camera.
- Cardioid layout means you’ll have to adjust the microphone if you want to walk and talk with the camera pointed away from you.
- Wind muff is a bit big and ugly for the microphone.
- Good, but not great audio. To get a deep rich sound, you’ll need to edit the audio when editing.
Deity V-Mic Mini – The Vlogging Microphone
This microphone sounds slightly worse than the Rhode in our opinion (personal preference – you can listen to a comparison here) but is more functional for vloggers due to it having a front and back microphone.
The Rhode when turned away from you sounds terrible so each time you want to point the camera away and narrate you need to stop recording and adjust the microphone. A total headache if you’re vlogging. The Deity V-Mic Mini solves this by having two channels in one device.
You can also choose to turn on or off the second channel with the click of a button. No need to rotate and adjust the microphone like you would need to do with the Rhode. Last, it’s powered by the device it’s plugged into so there are no batteries to concern yourself with.
- Improved sound quality.
- Included wind muff to reduce wind noise outside.
- Two channel design for vloggers.
- Great for vlogging and sharing your day, but we would go with something else for studio recording.
Rhode Videomic Pro Plus – The prosumer option
The Rhode Videomic Pro+ is a high quality mid-range microphone that produces deep, rich audio when positioned and tweaked correctly. It’s a bit more expensive, but it will do everything you need it to do. It’s battery powered, has the ability to control the gain and can switch between different sound directions like polar or unidirectional.
You can use it as a basic shotgun mic where it’s positioned in the shoe mount or you can attach the microphone to a boom arm and have the microphone closer to you if you’re doing any type of studio recording. Overall, this the most useful microphone for both vlogging and studio recording.
- A great sounding shotgun microphone. Deep, rich audio.
- Comes with the ability to change the sound profile from polar to other options like cardioid.
- Comes with it’s own wind muff to reduce ambient noise.
- Built in mic gain for adjusting sensitivity.
- Fairly big and bulky. Can be a bit oversized on some cameras like the M50.
- You need to position this microphone close to you to get the best sound when recoding inside. That means you’ll need to get a boom arm and an extension cable.
Power DeWise Lavalier – Professional audio on a budget
Our personal favorite on the list, this DeWise lavalier microphone is cheap and produces audio on par with more expensive shotgun microphones like the Rhode Pro Plus but at a fraction of the cost.
It has a wired connection to the camera, comes with it’s own wind muff and clip for your shirt. It is jet black in color, making it fairly easy to hide. As with any lapel microphone, you’ll need to manage the wire so it’s not in your shots, but otherwise this microphone sounds great and is flexible to use in both vlogging and studio recording settings.
A great little microphone all YouTube content creators should have for any use case.
- The best price and performance option.
- Crisp, clear audio with good bass.
- Difficult to hide when recording due to it’s design.
Rhode Wireless Go – The Flexible Option
The Rhode Wireless Go is a very creative, unique option for lavalier microphones. It comes with two square devices, one is the receiver the other the transmitter.
The receiver you simply plug in and mount on your camera like you would any other type of microphone. Then, the transmitter connects wirelessly to the receiver and records your audio. On top of that, the receiver comes with the option to plug in any lavalier microphone if you don’t want to use the receiver as a microphone.
So, a pro setup would be to use the wireless go as a body pack and have a premium lavalier microphone like the Rhode Link microphone or a cheap Purple Panada lavalier mic. That way you’re not limited by any wires.
- A wireless lavalier microphone option.
- Can plug in a separate lavalier microphone if you don’t want to use the the square receiver as a microphone.
- For best results you’ll need to use this as a body pack with another lavalier microphone attached which can increase the overall cost.
Zoom H2N – Premium Audio for Cameras and Laptops
The Zoom H2N is a professional level microphone that is ideal to use with both your camera and laptop. For use with cameras, you’ll need to get a “male to male” connector and simply plug this microphone into your camera. It’s that simple. No additional steps required. For use with a laptop, it works the same as any USB microphone, just plug and play.
Once ready, you’ll have to do some light tweaking with the gain and sound patterns to get the audio sound you’re happy with. It’s feature rich but does take some customization of the settings. What’s great about this microphone as well are the multiple sound profiles is comes with, everything from omni-directional to super cardioid are possible.
- Can be used with your camera with ease as well as a laptop.
- The audio settings and gain are easily adjustable.
- Small, light and easy to use.
- Excellent audio.
- You’ll need to get it’s kit that includes a tripod and wind muff. Sold separately.
Audio Technical AT2020 USB – A Good Podcasting Microphone
This is an impressive sounding USB microphone and is an ideal alternative for anyone looking for a less complicated, less expensive alternative to the H2N that’s more geared for narration or podcasting. It has a small, classic design and does not require an audio interface to work. Just plug and play.
You are limited with regards to your ability to customize the audio however. There is no gain control on the microphone like the H2N and you’re limited to a cardioid sound pattern. But what you do get is a great sounding, easy to use microphone that just works out of the box.
Last, you get a stand for the microphone, the ability to attach it to a boom arm as well as a carrying bag. Overall, this is a balanced microphone for voice, vocals and music.
- Good audio in a small, minimalistic design.
- Comes with the ability to attach to a boom arm or a tripod of your choosing.
- Plug and play usability.
- Ideal for vocals, music and talking.
- No mic gain control. You’ll have to make adjustments for that via your laptop.
- No ability to change the sound profile layout.
Joby Wavo – The Microphone for iPhone
Most phones have pretty decent audio and the appeal of using your phone is that it’s just plain simple. But if you want complicate things a bit and improve the audio, we simply love the Joby Wavo external microphone.
It connects to your phone via the power charging outlet (as all phones have done away with wired headphones) and comes with a wind muff to help reduce ambient noise. Last, it has a cardioid layout so it’s good (but not great) for walk and talk vlogging as when you turn the microphone away for your your voice will be a bit more quiet.
- The best external microphone for any smartphone.
- This is also compatible to use on a camera.
- Can mount the microphone on a tripod and position it closer to you for better audio.
- This is a sort of “jack of all trades” microphone. Good at many things, but not great at anyone one thing.
Sennheiser MKH416 – The Best Boom Microphone
Want a professional microphone that videographers use for their videos? One of the best microphones you can get is the Sennheiser MKH416. This is a shotgun microphone but it works best by attaching it to a boom arm and to then position the microphone just above you and out of the frame.
You’ll also have to plug this microphone into an external audio recorder like a Zoom H4N (not to be confused with the H2N) or an audio interface (like Focusrite Scarlett 2i2) which is then plugged into the camera.
This is a superior sounding microphone and is one of the best for studio recording but it is expensive due in part to the complicated gear required to get it to work properly with any camera for YouTube.
But if you’re looking for a microphone that has a polar pattern (super cardioid), excellent build quality, and you’re a professional video creator this is a great choice. For beginners, this is far to expensive and complicated.
- Superior audio, polar pattern works great on focusing on your voice and blocking out ambient noise.
- Great for individuals with a class radio voice who want a lot of clarity.
- Expensive and only ideal for professional setups.
Audio settings on your camera
One thing we want to bring up is that you can adjust the audio sensitivity for your camera. In your DSLR or mirrorless camera open up the settings and adjust the sound recording and recording levels.
By default, your settings should be set to auto. You’ll want to manually adjust the recording levels to find the optimal setting for your microphone. Yes that means adjusting the audio then recording a test shot and doing that multiple times until you’re happy with the quality.
If you leave your settings on auto, in general your audio is going to be too noisy.
Reduce echo in your room
If you’re recording shots inside as part of your vlog, ideally you’ll want to shoot somewhere that has decent sound proofing. Now, this does not mean you need to by any type of professional sound proofing, just record somewhere that has carpets, clothing, furniture and so forth to absorb sound.
It’s a small thing, but even doing something as simple as laying down a small rug can do wonders to remove any echo in a room to improve your audio.
Audio editing in your video editor
Are you annoyed by how tinny your audio is sound on select microphones? If you’re using a shotgun mic on your camera and you’re not particularly close to the microphone it may not be as deep and rich as you like.
One thing you’re able to do to enhance the audio quality is to adjust the EQ levels via your video editor. Like adjusting the EQ when listening to music, you can increase or decrease the bass and treble of any audio when editing a video.
Best vlogging microphones
So that’s it for Vlog Authorities guide to the best vlogging microphones. You have a wide range of options, but as we exclusively focus here on vlogging we decided to not include popular condenser microphones as we’re creating vlogs, not podcasts.
In general, we strongly suggest getting the Videomic Pro Plus for the best audio overall. You can use the microphone as both a shotgun mic or a studio mic (by attaching it to an arm) with ease.