What Are the Best Voice Over Microphones? 
Finding a microphone that will highlight your talent and bring confidence to your recording can be a bit of a challenge. The question of which microphones are best for recording voice over performances comes up often. The market is flooded with a range of voice over microphones, and everyone has an opinion on which ones are the best.
Our opinion: there is no ‘best mic,’ but rather, the best mic for you. For instance, I personally use the Neumann TLM 103 for podcasts which we discuss below, however it’s going to be a personal choice.
There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing a microphone, including your budget, the sound you’re trying to achieve, and your recording space. In a Voices survey, 25% of respondents say they chose their microphone through trial and error.
Voices’ own Content Producer, Randy, weighed in with his opinion, too:
“You can brainstorm all you want to try to come up with what mic you think is going to be best, but it comes down to what sounds best in your space. Your space has to be such a huge part of the consideration.”
In this article, Randy’s insights are paired with the expertise of Armor Pro Audio‘s Bob Breen, a 25-year audio industry veteran who has heard his fair share of microphones. Lastly, we’ve incorporated the expertise of Sweetwater’s Nick D’Virgilio, a long-time performer and audio clinician for some of the largest instrument brands.
Below, you’ll find:
Microphone types explained: Condenser and Dynamic mics
How to choose the right mic for you
How to test and compare microphones
Understanding the importance of preamps
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Different Types of Voice Acting Microphones
There is a wide selection of voice over microphones on the market, but there are two types of mics that are generally the most common: condenser microphones and dynamic microphones.
Condenser microphones have enhanced response sensitivity. Since the diaphragm is thinner, it reacts quickly to very faint sound waves. This means that condenser mics are able to pick up a lot of detailed sound. A condenser mic is most often recommended for studio voice recordings. Because of the sensitivity and low self-noise, condenser mics are great at picking up all of the subtleties of a great voice over performance.
On the other hand, a dynamic microphone is not as sensitive, which means that in comparison to condenser mics, there is less detail captured in recordings. However, this can be a benefit for recording quality depending on your recording space (or venue, as dynamic mics are typically seen at live events), as it also means that the mic won’t pick up any background sounds.
Now that you know the differences between the main types of microphones used in recording, you can get out there and start browsing for your perfect mic.
Best Microphones for Voice Over
Best Mic for Beginners: Audio-Technica AT2020
This large diaphragm condenser mic has a wide dynamic range, durable performance, and inexpensive cost, making it a great choice for a ton of beginner voice actors who are serious about establishing high-quality recordings from the outset of their voice over careers.
Best Mic for Budget: Rode NT1A
While not the cheapest mic, it is the cheapest mic for some really high quality performance. You can’t go wrong with this reliable mic from one of the world’s most popular microphone brands. It’s an industry standard. It’s commonly purchased in a kit that comes with a Shock Mount, Detachable Pop Filter, and Dust Cover, delivering more bang for your buck. Rode even offers an impressive 10-year warranty.
Best Mic for Travel: The Audio-Technica AT2020 USB or the Rode NT USB.
The USB version of the starter and budget mics mentioned above offer the same dynamic range, durable performance, and inexpensive cost as their XLR versions, making them both a great choice as your travel mic.
A Note on USB Microphones for Voice Actors
When it comes to which mic you choose, understanding what makes a USB mic different from a traditional analog microphone might help you make a decision. A USB mic has built-in hardware that converts an analog signal to a digital signal, whereas an analog mic relies on an A/D Converter to transform the audio.
When it comes to USB versus XLR mics, there is no debate about which is better. XLR microphones produce better audio by nature of how they are built. The debate is whether or not USB microphones have distinguishably less quality. it’s up to you to choose what you prefer.
It’s one of several factors to consider, but USB microphones tend to be easy to set up initially, and that in and of itself can be a big selling point if you’re looking to dive right in.
The reality is that while USB mics are not everyone’s first stop (we, too, have our hesitations), they serve very real purposes depending on your voice over career and personal situation. Watch this video to hear the quick pros and cons of USB mics to help you suss out if one is right for you.
Ultimately, the USB setup is a bit easier and the price point is a bit lower, which makes it a little easier to travel with.
Best Large Diaphragm: Neumann TLM 103
This large-diaphragm mic is a top choice in the voice over industry, especially for its first-rate noise rejection qualities. As you would have learned from Randy’s video above, your specific set up may be better suited to a large diaphragm mic. The Neumann TLM 103 is the first stop for many voice actors working on establishing themselves in full-time VO work. Check out Nick’s demo of the Neumann TLM 103 below.
Best Mic for Professional Studios: Neumann U87
Often the dream mic to aspire to, and with the highest price tag on this list (and many other mic review roundups, too), the Neumann U87 is the mic used by long-standing and well-established recording industry professionals.
TV Broadcaster Brodie Brazil shared his love for his U87 Ai, and his five truths about it that we think you’ll find helpful in determining when it’s the right time to look at investing in one.
Best Mic for Recording Spaces with Less Soundproofing: Sennheiser MKH 416
As a shotgun mic, the small diaphragm condenser ensures a narrow scope of directionality that, when used in a space that still has some soundproofing needs, helps to capture only your voice. Voice actor and coach Bill DeWees told us that he switched to a 416 when his neighborhood began the construction of new homes that, despite his soundproofing efforts, was bleeding into his recordings when he was using another mic with a broader polar pattern.
All in all, the MKH 416 is a pressure-gradient shotgun mic that boasts low self-noise, high consonant articulation, and feedback rejection. It’s very popular for dialogue recording on TV and film sets, and will have everything you need in a tube condenser microphone.
Up and Coming Mic Brand: Warm Audio
Just as REAPER is an up and coming DAW because of its open source and low price point (and free trial), Warm Audio is a mic brand to keep your eye on, too. They have some great mid-priced products with a fast-growing fanbase, including Sweetwater’s Nick D’Virgilio.
Best Mic for Podcasting: Shure SM7B
The Shure SM7B is a great choice for podcasters or broadcast talk radio-style settings. It won’t capture a high-fidelity voice over recording so it’s an unlikely option for voice over. This is the only dynamic mic you’ll find on our list of mics in this article. That’s because, as Randy’s video above explains, dynamic mics take a lot more vocal input to jump into action. A condenser mic is more sensitive and will therefore capture much more detail in the recording—something voice actors need as it provides a great level of control in post production.
Nick makes mention of its suitability to music production and singing, which, as you would have learned above, is often a sign that it might not be sensitive enough for voice over work.
The Mic We Use in Our Studio: AKG C214
The C214 by AKG is a great mic option for its versatility. It offers the quality of the professional studio staple AKG C414, but with features built for vocal recording. This means that you can adjust the directionality of the mic depending on your recording space conditions. We use it to record our podcasts, our in-studio YouTube videos, and more.
Nick demos this mic in his video and speaks to its versatility some more:
The Mic to Use Only if You Have to: The Blue Yeti
The Blue Yeti is great for zoom calls or doing voice over on amateur YouTube videos, etc. But using it may impede your ability to book voice over work because it comes with software that runs in the background of the mic’s operations. Anyone in an audio career will tell you that when it comes to gadgets and add-ons in a mic, less is more. You want full control over what processing is applied to your recordings and mics like the Blue Yeti remove that level of control. You would not see a pro voice actor sticking with a Blue Yeti.
How Do I Choose the Best Microphone?
Testing out your mic
If you are unfamiliar with the different types of microphones available on the market, Bob Breen recommends looking into borrowing a microphone first. If you have a friend or colleague who already has their own microphone, see if they can lend it to you so you’re able to bring the microphone into your recording space and test it out that way. “Get the microphone into your space, use it how you intend to use it, and listen,” says Breen.
Try many types of microphones before you make your final decision
If you are able to get a mic into your space to test out and you feel it sounds good, don’t stop there. Test out many different types of microphones before you settle on one. It’s always good to have a comparison between different types to help you narrow down your choice.
And remember, even your ‘final’ decision may change down the road as your space changes or your priorities evolve.
Choose a microphone that picks up the most detail in your voice
Condenser mics tend to pick up the most detail in your voice, and Breen says the most popular kind of microphone is a condenser mic. That’s good enough for us!
Stay away from handheld mics
A stage mic or handheld mic is not well-suited for voice over recordings. Your microphone should have a stand and leave you hands-free to prevent any external sounds caused by movement.
Consider the price of the microphone, but know that ‘expensive’ doesn’t necessarily equal ‘better’
The best microphone for your voice won’t necessarily be the most expensive one on the market. From one perspective, the best microphone is the one that is affordable and gets the job done—which is why many of these criteria could be considered “nice-to-haves,” as opposed to “need-to-haves.”
Consider the microphone’s frequency response
Some microphones, like the RE20 (the stereotypical radio microphone), are large-diaphragm microphones designed to flatter lower frequencies, such as a deep male voice, a bass drum, or even a bass guitar.
The small-diaphragm or small capsule microphone is designed to pick up sounds with even more accuracy than a large diaphragm with it’s small and nimble membrane. It tends to work well in recordings where even more high-end detail is desired, such as string recordings, the brightness of an acoustic guitar, or shimmering cymbals.
Hertz (Hz), named for the German physicist Heinrich Hertz, measures the number of cycles per second. Where the human voice is concerned, this means the number of times the vocal folds vibrate per second.
How many Hz is the human voice?
- A healthy male voice usually falls between 110-120 Hz
- A healthy female voice usually falls between 200-210 Hz
- Children’s voices usually fall between 300-400 Hz
The higher the vibrations per second, the brighter the sound.
How to Test and Compare Microphones
If you do have the opportunity to test a microphone for yourself before you buy, it’s good to know that some of them are designed to be used at different distances.
According to Bryant Falk of Abacus Entertainment, studio microphones generally give your voice more bass as you get closer to them. Most condenser mics are designed to be placed only a few inches (a hand width or two) from your mouth. However, you would be wise to use a pop filter to avoid plosives.
In any case, it can always be useful to go into your local music store or head to a site like SweetWater. There, you’ll find professionals who can guide you through the process of testing and purchasing a mic.
As you saw in Nick’s videos above, you can perform the same test with each mic to get a feel for their differences and ultimately, your preference.
Understanding the Importance of Preamps
You also need to take the preamplifier (or preamp) into consideration. A preamp is a device that amplifies low-level signals to a standard operating level. Essentially, you need a preamp for any source of sound.
If you’re just starting out, don’t worry too much about purchasing an external preamp. You can instead opt for an interface with built-in preamps. You can still produce great voice over recordings with your audio interface preamps and a condenser mic.
The most important thing to remember when purchasing a microphone is to not make an impulsive decision. Give yourself time to test out different microphones in the space you will be recording your voice over. Shop around, do your research, record some sample reads, and listen to how your voice sounds. Once you’ve chosen the best microphone for your voice, sign up for a Voices account and share your top-notch recordings with the world!
So what specific brand of microphone i need to use/have to start my VO career. It doesnt matter how much because I know if i can use it for years and years to come it’s gonna be worth it. It’s an investment.
Great question! As you can imagine – we get this one a lot. While we do not tend to recommend one brand over the other, what we have compiled is research into what brands (and microphone types) other voice actors say that they prefer the most. You can find that information in our full report: https://www.voices.com/company/reports/how-to-become-a-successful-voice-actor
All the best & good luck on your search for an amazing new microphone.
Industry-Standard Voiceover Microphones
Sennheiser MKH 416
Neumann U 87
You basically nailed it, the top contenders, like them or not, there they are. My opinion, owner of stations and studio and 48 solid years in the media is that there are a few others to note. First of all, I would try to focus on the Double Diaphragm models in most cases they have better proximity for working close, better bass control and more uniform EQ. Secondly, microphones, good ones, with expensive transformers, warm up the audio and tend to smear the bass in a good way. For example, the RE20 dynamic has a transformer…….and the Charter Oak E700 and AT4047 has a double diaphragm and a transformer, giving them a warm, round kind of sound. Here is my list, dynamics and condensers…..my code “DD” is double diaphragm and “ts” is for transformer, “HB” humbuck coil. I will include price…my choices:
DYNAMICS: Shure SM7B HB ($399), EV RE20 ts ($440), Telefunken M82 ($399), Sennheiser MD421 ($379), Sennheiser MD441u ($899), Heil PR30 ($210), Heil PR40 ($245).
CONDENSERS: Shure KSM44A DD ($1000), Shure BETA27 ($399), Shure SM27 ($299), Shure SM81 small diaphragm pencil ($349), Neumann U87ai DD ($2550), Neumann TLM107 DD ($1250), Neumann TLM103 ($1,070), Neumann TLM102 ($699), AKG C414 XLII/EB etc DD ($1000), AT4047SV DD ts ($699), AT2035 ts ($145), Charter Oak E700 DD ts ($999), Gefell M930ts ($1400), RODE NT-1 Black ($265). Sennheiser MKH 416 pencil shotgun ($1000), Sennheiser MK4 ($399).
These are practical well priced mics, if you can afford a Bock, Brauner, Sony, Telefunken ELA M, Gefell, Josephson, then great. But for broadcast and V-O thats a lot of money. I do not recommend tube mics because you will forget about the tube and be weirded out later when the mic gets noisy. Stay away from ribbons for V-O unless it is for a purpose. People do not know how to use them properly. If you like ribbone: Mesanovic, Shure, Samar, AEA, Coles, Cloud. ATAY AWAY FROM CHINESE and CHINESE PARTS, hybrids, rebuilds. They are junk and it is a risk always. Yes even Lewitt, Cascade. Some Lewitt dynamics are OK and CAD. I hear a lot of good reports about the CAD E100S, but I never used one, all American made, not the rest of CAD. Charteer Oak is made in USA. Stick with big name companies. The Blue Snowball I like, I would say the rest of Blue, Violet, Russian, Latvian, all a roll of the dice. I hear horror stories how they stop working after a year or two. Shure, you send them back, they send another. Goos luck on Latvia or Russia. Best mics made are USA, German, Austrian, Japan! Sure, UK for Coles, Japan Sanken and Sony. Peluso is a reputable guy, but for V-O and Broadcast, don’t venture off the path and you will be fine. Big companies make duds also. My “AVOID” list is just as important:
EV RE27, EV RE320, EV RE16, RODE Procaster & Podcaster & Broadcaster, anything MXL, Neumann BCM705, Neumann BCM104, Behringer B-1 etc, AT2020 and 2033, RODE NT-1A, Blue, Octavia, any Russian or Latvian, Lewitt except for the drum mics and the MTP440s, NADY, Warm, Samson, SE, Mojave, ADK, Audix.
People buy blindly, there are exceptions. Stay away from Chinese and Chinese hybrids. If you think I am wrong, years later you will agree. Like, I was so excited I bought Lewitt condensers, until I put them to work and could not explain the crunchy peaks. I sold all of them but their small dynamics. Bob Heil builds quality mics, so does Schoeps, Lawson, Samar, Hammer, Horscht, they are not made for V-O and Broadcast. You can disagree with me, the majority want to see my collection of economicals.
If I could only have a handful what would they be? Dynamic: EV RE20, Shure SM7B, Telefunken M82, Heil PR30. Condenser: Shure KSM44, AKG414EB or XLII, Neumann TLM107, Neumann U87, AT4047SV, AT2035, Charter Oak E700. These are GOLD, can’s go wrong!
May I ask why you don’t like the BCM 104?
Thank you Mr. Bono. Of these, do you ever recommend a specific microphone for female voices?
All vocal microphones should be good for male or female voices, but make sure to try a number of microphones out to find the one that’s the right fit for your voice.
Happy mic testing,
I tossed my RE-320 because my HAND HELD on a stand Miketek PM-9 sounded a lot smoother for me. Some of this does not hold true. A hand held mic on a stand is not really a hand held. A cloud lifter can help the bulk of them.
BCM 104. Anything by Rode at best should only be related to price, not sound quality or build quality!
What about the good old Shure 58? Or are those only good for live performances?
Hello I want to say that we need that microphone that we are comfortable
I’ve been using the Neumann TLM102 to record voice overs on a professional basis for 6 years. It’s a great and lower cost option to the TLM103.
This is all great analysis but to match the pro recording studio one may want to invest in the same microphones they use there.
I keep hearing that USB microphones are not considered professional and most likely you would be losing your money and jobs in the voice over industry. I am purchasing mostly for voice over and auditions. My budget is less than $200.00. Any advice would be good. Please don’t sell to me as will just turn me off to your advice. I would honest answers.
Great question, William. You’re completely right with your research. Generally speaking, USB mics tend to offer less quality than XLR style microphones. There are a number of reasons, but the biggest being that the hardware and components are typically geared to a consumer level and not professional studio quality. That said, there are many exceptions and we’ve seen talent be very successful with the better quality USB microphones. For convenience, USB mics certainly prevail. I would recommend checking out something like the Rode NT-USB or similar if you choose to go the USB route. The best bet would be to visit your local music store and try a few mics. See if they let you test them before purchasing. Run them through the ringer, and see which works best for your voice. I hope this helps! Please feel free to check out our YouTube channel as we just posted some guides for microphones. All the best.
I would love the opportunity to share my miss your voice my young voice and my happy voice and my sad voice
When you sign up for a Voices talent account, you’ll have the opportunity to list all the vocal styles and roles that you can perform – including youthful, happy, and sad.
I have been having fun experimenting with different microphones. I usually prefer dynamics with a FETHEAD and Phantom power. Most recently I have dialed it in to an Electrovoice large diaphragm EV 76 Cardioid. do not like Condensers, because quite frankly they can pick up a gnat fart at 100 yards. Sounds comical but to save money I take advantage of reasonable proximity, speak at an angle away from the mic at 6 to 8 inches to eliminate P pops, and like warmth. presence, clarity, and above all high fidelity sound. Aside from doing vocals and speech, play with different things like pen clicks, coffee mug taps, kids playing in the distance, and shaking your car keys. Keep in mind to try and avoid recording in MP3 because when you do key shakes, you will hear absolutely unacceptable artifacts.
If you prefer dynamic mics, there are a couple that I can recommend. First, the Heil PR-30 has great rejection of sounds from the back and sides. This makes it a great choice if your acoustic space is less than optimal because you don’t need to mess around so much with foam, mattresses, moving blankets, etc. on your walls.
Another mic I have used over the years is the AKG D-202E. It hasn’t been manufactured in many years but used ones are available and hopefully haven’t been damaged. I compared one against both an Electro-Voice RE-20 and a Neumann U-67 and it doesn’t have the same bottom end (actually, about the same as the RE-20 with its bass rolloff switched in) but otherwise I couldn’t tell much difference. It also rejects off-axis sounds very well. For voice work, you don’t need 20 – 20,000 Hx frequency response anyway.
I have good voice to be employed.
To start auditioning for voice over work, I’d encourage you to sign up for a Voices talent account! From there, you’ll be able to fill out your profile, upload your demo(s), and get access to our vast job board of voice over casting calls.
Para empezar me gustaría probar con alguno que me recomienden y luego comprar otro mas profesional .
All this info is extremely overwhelming for someone just starting out. What mic will get looks for an audition? One that works well with a Mac setup.
I’d suggest looking into the Blue Yeti and Rode Podcaster mics. You can read more about equipping your home studio here.
I hope that helps!
I’ve used a standard proformance microphone with cord.
I had a question about the hand held mic comment, it says stay away from them and I get why holding a mic would effect the recording in a bunch of ways, but if the stage mic or hand held is mounted in a shock mount connected to the table is that fine? Or is it the fact that it is the small typical performance mic that we should stay away from?
Specifically I’m looking wondering if buying a Focusrite Scarlett bundle with their mic included is safe or if i should just by a separate mic from the interface.
If the mic is mounted and connected to a secure surface, then you should be good to go! Take a look at this video to learn more about voice over home studio setup.
Thank you for videos which further enhances my understanding by connecting new vocabulary to a visual. It truly makes my life more at ease when the information is clear. However, my ST 3000 has a mic ?… use it ?
Try it out and see how your voice sounds!
Does anyone have good sources to recommend on how to properly set up your at-home studio? I have zero background in audio engineering, so I don’t have the slightest clue as to how to set up my microphone to connect the audio to my 2019 macbook pro.
I’d suggest reading this blog post filled with tips about setting up a home studio as a beginner.
I’d also recommend watching this video playlist that covers everything from improving your voice over audio quality, to audio interfaces, to setting your microphone gain levels.
Can’t I use my phone recorder?
Must I have a microphone?
There are a number of mobile apps that will allow you to record good quality voice over. However, for the majority of job postings listed on our platform, the client will expect to receive top-notch quality voice over recorded using a professional microphone. It’s best to be honest and upfront about the equipment you’ll be using to record, because if you’re the perfect voice for a particular project, the client may be alright with receiving a recording from an android phone. It all depends on the job.
You can read about android mic attachments and recording using a mobile phone here.
Thanks for giving me information on the best microphones so I can do a clean and clear demo of the voices that I perform…
As a veteran radio broadcaster and sound engineer, please allow me to post a couple of comments.
First, when trying out different mics, you need to know that many (if not most) announcers don’t really like the sound of their own voice. It’s best to have someone else, like a trusted friend, give you advice. Also, you need to record your voice and play it back using a good set of headphones. Listening to your own voice while you are speaking doesn’t give you the best idea of what you sound like. And listening with a pair of speakers in the same room in which you are recording will just magnify the effects of the room acoustics. Always use headphones. And not the kind that boost the bass, either. No DJ cans. Use the best ones you can get your hands on, within a reasonable price range. AKG or Sennheiser are my faves.
Also, a mic quality that is rarely if ever mentioned is its polar pattern. That is, its ability to focus on you and not pick up all that stuff that’s going on around you, whether it’s the neighbors having an argument, air conditioning hiss or just plain room resonance. A lot of mic manufacturers will claim that their mic has a cardioid (heart-shaped) pattern, but it’s like pulling teeth to get them to specify just how much rear or side rejection they really have. I got an MXL V67 some time ago that claims to be a cardioid but I found that its back side is only 8 dB down and it may as well be an omnidirectional mic for all the crud it picks up. Even harder to find is a mic’s polar pattern all across the audio spectrum, since manufacturers only give a spec at 1 kHz. That doesn’t do you any good if your room resonates at 150 Hz or so. (You can find sites on line where you can enter the dimensions of your room and it will calculate your room resonance frequencies.) For dynamic mics, the Shure SM-7B is good. It is based on the SM-5, which is now selling for a king’s ransom. The E/V RE-20 is pretty good, too and its main plus is its almost total lack of proximity effect, which is why so many radio stations use them. DJ’s with poor mic technique still sound OK. My money would be on the Heil PR-30, as it has slightly better rear rejection across the audio range than the PR-40, costs less, and besides, you don’t need the extreme bottom end that the `40 has anyway. For condensers, I outfitted a radio studio with an AKG C-4500B-BC and it was awful. It might as well have been an omni. I was picking up so much room ambience that I swapped it out with an AKG C-1000-S which worked fine, but needed a pop screen because small-diaphragm condensers are more susceptible to P-popping. For guest mics I got a pair of Oktava MK-319s and they also did so well that I bought one for my own use. They actually provide a graph showing the frequency response from the back side, and it is quite good. There are some mods that supposedly make the mic sound better but I don’t know how those would affect its polar response so I’m leaving it as stock for now. Lauten Audio has their LS-208 and LS-308 condenser mics which are supposed to be very good at rejecting off-axis sound, but I haven’t tried those. Maybe later, when I can afford one. You might want to go to their website and check them out. I have heard that the Sennheiser MK 4 is good, too. At one radio station I worked for they had a Neumann U-67 gathering dust in a corner. I asked why they weren’t using it and they said it was picking up trucks going by and everything else. I swapped it for a pair of RE-20s and they were as happy as anything.
So, that’s my limited experience anyway. (Almost 50 years in the industry.)
What a fantastic, scholarly and generous post! My first day on this site and looking into this stuff and I learned a ton here. I am profoundly grateful for this. Thank you so much!
Welcome aboard and thank you for the kind words!
Thank you for that. I appreciate it.
Thank you. I am considering something like this. I’m not able bodied these days but spent many years teaching nd training. It would be great if I could find a pathway back.
My name is Quintez. I’m a 27-year-old male that is just beginning my Voice Over career. This may be a funny way of asking for a mic recommendation – but what the heck! To anyone who has ever listened to NPR Radio broadcasts, I’ve always been impressed with how rich and full the voices of the broadcasters sound. I’m sure that part of the richness is due to what is done in post-production. I’m also sure that part of it has to do with the mic they use. Can anyone recommend a mic that captures a rich, full NPR radio-like sound?
Hey Quintez, welcome to the voice over industry! You’re right that a lot of that sound likely comes from post-production. Because of this, it’s tough to know for sure. That said, the ElectroVoice RE-20 and the Shure SM7B are extremely common in broadcasting and podcasting, and their studio is likely outfitted with these mics as well. I hope this is helpful.
Hey Quintez, I went on the NPR studio tour about ten years ago, and they made a very big deal about how they exclusively use U87’s. I was interviewed for a story once, and when I went in for the recording…U87! I should note, however, that NPR also really pays attention to every aspect of their equipment and recording spaces and the folks working there are generally of very long tenure and considerate of what is on-brand for them, so that “NPR sound” is the product of a lot of things being done very consistently. There’s a page on the Tiny Desk website that goes into a number of different mics they tend to use for different applications. “At every mic position at NPR HQ, NPR West and NPR NY sits a Neumann U87. The mic is crystal clear — and a bit too bright on some voices, especially because we engage the bass roll-off.”
I’m looking for a good microphone, which I plan to use primarily for recording audiobooks. It would be nice if it also does well with singing vocals, but that isn’t a deal breaker. Ideally, I want one that is user friendly, easy to figure out, durable, and has good sound quality.
Currently I am leaning towards the Blue Yeti X, but it seems geared more towards live streamers. Is it also good for a female to do recorded audio work?
I’m open to other mics less than ~$200 or so.
The Blue Yeti X is definitely a strong microphone for recorded audio work, and it’s one we certainly endorse. While you’re making your decision, I think you’d also benefit from checking out our YouTube channel for tech tips to improve your recordings.
I am extremely interested and I’ve got the cutest cartoonish young child’s voice I can do. I’ve been using it since my daughter were real young.
I would love to use it somewhere now that they are older and I just don’t have an opportunity to use it.
Is there a payment plan we can set up for the $499 so I can get started?
Thanks I’m excited!
Thanks for your comment! I’d suggest that you visit this page to compare the types of talent memberships that we currently offer. It’s free to sign up for a Basic Membership if you’d first like to take a look around and familiarize yourself with our platform. Then, once you feel ready, you can always upgrade from a Basic to Premium Membership.
If you have any problems signing up or upgrading your account, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
What is the most compatible recording program(free would be good too) that you recommend?
I’d suggest taking a look at our list of the top voice recording software (Audacity and GarageBand are popular choices). There are also a number of mobile apps you can use to record your voice using your phone.
Hope that helps!
I am new to this business. I need direction.
For a primer on getting started in voice acting, I’d recommend checking out our Beginner’s Guide to Voice Acting. Once you’re ready to get started, sign up for a Voices talent account to begin auditioning for voice over jobs.
What specific setup would I need to start my VO career?
You can start by putting together a home studio setup with some basic equipment like a microphone, pop filter, and some recording software.
Your comments on microphones are good, but please allow me to elaborate a bit.
When looking for a mic, it’s good to look at the specs. One of the most important is its internal noise level. All condenser mics have internal electronics that generate noise. Any noise created in the mic itself can’t be erased, so the lower the better. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide this information I would find another company. Dynamic mics don’t generate any noise of their own.
Another consideration is the mic’s polar response (which is defined by the acceptance of sound coming from the front instead of behind), first off, buying a multi-pattern mic is a waste of money because you only need one pattern – a cardioid (heart-shaped) pattern. Also you need to beware that just because a mic claims to be cardioid doesn’t mean that its rejection of sound from the rear is all that great. Check the specs. If the manufacturer actually publishes them, that is. A lot of companies don’t. If they say the 180-degree rejection is -30 dB, great. I have seen some that are down only -8 dB on the back side and those are practically omnidirectional. You’ll need a LOT of acoustical treatment in your room to get an acceptable sound. So, check the spec. Also, most specs show the rear response at 1000 Hz only. If the rear rejection goes from 100 to 8000 Hz, that would be ideal. But don’t count on it.
Now, large-diameter condenser mics are considered de rigeur for voice work, but I have used a small-diameter condenser, the AKG C-1000S and loved its sound as well as its ability to perform well in a room with virtually no acoustic wall treatment.
If you want to spring big bucks for a Neumann (pronounced NOY-mun) mic, you are welcome to. That’s a great marketing tool. You can even spend $5,000 for a mic but that doesn’t mean it will make you sound any better. Either you got it in the grooves or you don’t. Yes, you can buy a $10 mic on Wish and hope for the best. But I generally wouldn’t spend less than $100 for a mic, and around $300 – $400 will get you something pretty good. It used to be that there were relatively few mic manufacturers but recently they seem to have come out of the woodwork. A few brands that currently make condenser mics are AKG (from Austria except their P line is manufactured in China); Aston Microphones (Great Britain); Audio-Technica (Japan); Avantone (U.S.); BLUE (Latvia); Lauten Audio (U.S.); Oktava (Russia); Røde (Australia); sE Electronics (Great Britain); Sennheiser (Germany); Shure (U.S.); Studio Projects (U.S.); and Warm Audio (U.S.). Not every mic made by the same manufacturer may be suitable. Stay away from any mic made in China. That’s my advice.
I hope this helps.
Please DO not suggest to buy RODE on Amazon – they don’t sell on Amazon. All RODE is counterfeit on Amazon.
(This is stated on their website)
Wow – thank you so much for catching that! I’ve gone in and updated the link so that it will direct potential buyers to registered vendors of the RODE nt1-a.
We appreciate you bringing that to our attention. Thanks for lending the extra set of eyes and letting us know.
Rode mic as the top choice? Who writes these articles? Rode is great at making affordable solutions, not the best solutions. I like some of my Rode mics but come on, a top contender lol NOPE
Thanks for your feedback! In your opinion, what is the top contender? Did it make the list elsewhere? We are always interested in hearing from the community. Penny for your thoughts?
can one use a mobile earphones l?
Great question. While you can use the mic that comes on your phone’s earphones, it’s likely to record audio that would need significant post production work to bring it up to the quality that clients expect. In our experience, clients who have a trained ear can pick up on that level of editing and notice the quality issues within it. Get ahead of all that post production work by investing in one of the mics we recommend.
Check back soon, this piece is scheduled for an update in the coming few weeks.
Hi , i am aspiring to do voice over job , can i use earphones that has a mic with my laptop or use a cellphone ? kindly advice .
Great question. While you can use the mic that comes on your phone’s earphones, it’s likely to record audio that would need significant post production work to bring it up to the quality that clients expect. In our experience, clients have a trained ear and can pick up on that level of editing and notice the quality issues within it. Get ahead of all that post production work by investing in one of the mics we recommend.
I’d like to know what you have to say in comparing the Neumannn TLM 103 to the Neumann TLM 102. Is the extra money for the TLM 103 worth it or can I get most of the same benefit from the TLM 102? I have a fairly deep, “announcer” type voice and I want to audition for radio and TV commercial work.
Hi Bob! Thanks for the question. A great place to ask other voice actors opinions on equipment is in our community forum. Head over there and see what fellow voice actors recommend.
Its so great, that it is starting like kit, how to chose the right microphone, which one are better qualitty. Its easy to understand how you can improve your qualitty and be like best singers, actors, ant etc.
I regard something really interesting about your blog so I bookmarked .
Hi besides from the best microphone what are other equipment’s do I need.
Hey there Noluthando, here’s a blog on all the equipment you’ll need: https://www.voices.com/help/beginners-guide-to-voice-acting/building-a-home-recording-studio
This opportunity I only recently learned about. At this time, I have not researched microphones, and I only plan to purchase one if this appears to be a lucrative side hustle.l I can use my smartphone to record voice-overs at this. time. However, i am very open to researching and pursuing microphone options if I find this venture to be successful.
I realize being confident in yourself by use the tools you have at that time.Is the key to becoming great don’t never be afraid to be creative cause it a powerful thing to be different.
Would love additional training in voice acting. I’m good but could always learn to be better