With the market being flooded with numerous microphone options, finding the right microphone for recording voice-overs can be somewhat daunting. Because microphones work and sound different with different voices so finding the one that suits you is extremely important; otherwise you will find yourself at a wash. There are three major types of microphones, and they include:
Shotgun mics: refers to the mics that are mainly used when you do not require for the mic to be seen in the screenplay. They are quite popular in film and broadcasting sets because they do not capture sounds from other directions mainly because the pickup angle is very narrow.
Condenser mics: typically found in two different types, i.e., the small and large diaphragms, these are studio grade mics are what you mostly find being used by most professionals for voiceover purposes or while in the studio. The condenser mic is very omnidirectional and one of the most sensitive mics available in the market
Dynamic mics: probably the most familiar of the three different mic types, the dynamic mic is very what you typically see musicians using on stage and what makes them ideal is their reduced sensitivity to background noise.
The best voiceover mic should be one that accentuates your skills and capabilities. If you are considering buying a voiceover mic, below is a list of some of the best mics that would serve you well as you record your voiceover.
1. Neumann TLM 103
The preferred mic for most voice over professionals the Neumann TLM 103 is in our opinion one of the best XLR mics. Unlike other condenser microphones, this cardioid large diaphragm condenser mic is ideal because it minimizes background noise greatly because it is so aptly capable of rejecting off-axis sounds. Voiceovers recorded using this microphone as the microphone has a flat frequency response.
The package of the mic includes; a swivel mount, the microphone itself and a storage briefcase.
- The sound recorded over a Neumann TLM 103 is very natural sounding and isn’t overly modified.
- The self-noise captured by this mic is quite low and is only seven on the decibel scale.
- It is expensive.
- Because it is an XLR mic, this means that you will need an audio interface with a preamp to power the microphone and extra cable to connect the two bits.
2. Rode NT-1-A
The Rode NT-1-A is a mic that delivers the best value for money. This is because the mic offers an extended dynamic range and is excellent for recording high quality natural sounding voice-overs that are warm with a high SPL competence. All these are features that are typical of mics that fall on the higher price spectrum. The mic is a cardioid XLR condenser mic, and that is why it is a pleasant surprise for many mic enthusiasts when they realize the capabilities of this microphone.
The package of the mic includes; a shock mount, a 20-inch microphone cable, dust cover, a studio-grade pop shield, and an instructional video.
- It is one of the quietest studio microphones with a self-noise level of only 5 decibels
- You do not require an acoustically treated room when using this mic simply because it still manages to capture great quality sound even in standard rooms.
- Should you notice that the sound is a little bit off or the mic is picking up on the noise, you can move closer to the microphone, and you will be good to go.
- It includes a 10-year warranty from the manufacturer.
- As you speak into the mic, the pop shield and shock mount help minimize unwanted sound details.
- This mic is overly sensitive, and you will notice that it occasionally captures some unwanted sound details in your voice.
3. 1-A Harlan Hogan Signature Series Microphone
Created from a partnership between Harlan Hogan and Marshall electronics, the 1-A Harlan Hogan signature series microphone is an aesthetically pleasing large diaphragm, condenser microphone. It surpassed other microphones in terms of size and was one of the first voice over mics to be developed. It can create phantom power using bipolar transistors as it also features a pair of JFET transistors that imitate the sound of tube amplification thus providing additional warmth to voiceovers.
The package of the mic includes; the microphone, a 15-foot Marshall XLR cable, a mic clip, a shock mount with replaceable bands, a fleece-lined storage pouch for protection and a foam lined travel case.
- It has several protective measures to ensure it does not suffer damage.
- It comes with a manufacturer 3-year warranty
- It is reasonably priced
- It provides great sound quality that is not harsh which means that even individuals with high pitched voices can use this mic undeterred.
- The manufacturer has a satisfaction guarantee policy for this mic which means that should you be discontented with the mic you can return it.
- It is only ideal for voiceover use, and if used for any other purpose the sound quality would suffer immensely.
4. Blue Yeti USB Microphone
This tri-capsule array condenser mic is an excellent voiceover mic that offers bang for your buck without the complications of audio interfaces. All you need to be able to use this mic is a USB cable that you will use to plug your mic into your computer, and you should ideally be all set and ready to go.
Because it comes with multiple microphone pattern capabilities, the mic can be used for more than just voiceovers. If for example, you wanted to record conference calls, a podcast, interviews, or even a field recordings you can be able to do so merely by switching the polar pattern on the mic.
- This mic is exceptionally versatile as it offers multiple polar patterns such as stereo, bidirectional, omnidirectional and cardioid. You can choose whichever mode you would like to use at any given moment.
- Reducing the gain completely rids your voiceovers of background noise.
- Its versatility is also evident in the over 10+ color choices that are available for the Blue Yeti USB mic.
- It’s compatible with Mac OS X (10.4.11 or higher), Windows 8 (including 8.1), Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows 10 as well as Windows XP.
- It is somewhat bulky.
5. Samson Meteor
This cardioid microphone is appropriately named as it, in fact, resembles a meteor with chrome plated legs and a chrome metal body. The Samson meteor is a large diaphragm mic, that can produce natural like sounds when recording voiceovers which can be attributed to the 25mm diaphragm.
- It has remarkable sound isolation capabilities which means that the background noise is almost non-existent.
- The frequency response ranges between 20Hz – 20kHz which means that it is flat and smooth.
- Thanks to its construction and build, it is quite durable.
- It is weighty.
6. Shure SM7B
The Shure SM7B is a great dynamic voiceover mic that works perfectly in noise filled environments. Its capabilities such as the internal “air suspension” shock isolation, explosive breath eliminating pop filter and Bass roll of are the reasons why radio broadcasters mainly prefer the Shure SM7B. With its mid-price range, the mic offers some excellent value for money
- The frequency response has a wide range and is also flat.
- It is easy to use as t can be effortlessly mounted and dismounted thanks to the yoke mounting stand.
- The gain on this mic isn’t anything to write home about. It could use some improvement.
7. Electro-Voice RE-20
To close off our list, we have the EV RE-20 cardioid mic which falls under the dynamic type of mics but is uniquely different in that it produces a sound akin to that of condenser mics. Its frequency response range is between 45Hz-18kHz. It is constructed using steel which makes it one of the durable options in the market likely to give you some good service if well taken care of.
- It allows for movement as you record as the voice levels of the recordings do not experience much of a difference if you are inconsistent with your positioning.
- It has an extremely low self-noise despite having great noise canceling capabilities.
When choosing between different mics for voice-overs and which one is best suited for your voiceover needs, there are a couple of things that you should consider. These things include but are not limited to:
- The microphone variant that you are choosing. As previously discussed, there are three different types/options of mics that you could choose from all you need to do is be informed on which one meets your purpose.
- Test the microphone before fully committing into purchasing/using it. You can ideally ask to take the mic into a test room and give it a run to see how it functions. Do not limit your test to only one or two mics, try as many as you can, compare and then decide depending on which one best accentuates your voice and has an excellent frequency response rate.
- Remember that even if you are on a budget, you can find a great quality mic that works for you without breaking your bank. Expensive doesn’t always translate to better quality or even build.
- Finally, do not opt for a handheld voiceover mic as this increases the chances of background noise interfering with your voiceovers.
You do not want to be in a rush when choosing voiceover mics, do take your time and ensure that you do proper research into what you want to purchase. We hope the above list was helpful and wish you a happy shopping.