Recording voice-overs is a professional job that needs high-quality voice recording equipment including a good voice-over microphone. If you pick the wrong microphone, the voice quality won’t be anywhere near crisp and clear enough, which will make your work sound poor, hence why we’ve researched the best mics for voiceovers!
Often, people shy away from getting a voice-over recording setup because they are under the impression that a good quality voice-over mic is expensive. However, this is not necessarily true. Today, there are loads of choices on the market that allow you to purchase a very decent microphone without breaking the bank.
When buying a voice-over microphone there are some important areas to consider, our guide discusses these and more… We also review the best voice-over mics on the market today…
Best Microphone for Voice Overs – Comparison Table
Best Microphone for Voice Overs – Reviews
Best Microphone for Voice Overs – Buyers Guide
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Voice-Over Microphone
Connection Type: XLR or USB
The first factor to consider when purchasing a voice-over microphone is the connectivity. A USB connectivity is more compact and a better option for entry-level voice-over professionals, while the analog XLR is more professional and versatile; however, it is more complex to use.
USB mics are ready-to-use plug-and-play voice recording solutions. They are compact and also include an audio unit and are quite affordable to buy. These are ideal for entry-level voice-over professionals. However, USB mics have their limitations. They are limited in terms of the design and each part cannot be upgraded individually. Each mic works with only a single computer and if there is a problem, then identifying the problem and troubleshooting can be difficult. USB mics are good for recording at home or office, for use with a laptop while traveling or for non-commercial podcasts, lectures, etc.
These are more versatile and can be easily upgraded; however, they require additional accessories such as an XLR cable and audio interface. XLR mics are available in various ranges in terms of the quality–from cheap and simple to hi-end, expensive mics. You can use two or more microphones simultaneously and they can be used along with other devices such as portable recorders, camcorders, etc. XLR mics are ideal for professional and home studios, for on-stage use, events, expos, etc. and for outdoor recordings with a portable recorder, camera, etc. The drawbacks of XLR mics are that they need extra gear such as cables, audio interface unit, stand, etc., which make them more expensive.
Voice-Over Microphone Type: Dynamic or Condenser
- Dynamic Mics:These are the most commonly used mics. They can be as big or very small in size and can be used in several applications. Dynamic mics are very sturdy and durable. They smoothen any voice imperfections and do not require phantom power. These mics can work in noisy rooms and isolate your voice. Dynamic microphones are ideal for audiobooks, long narrations, etc., outdoor recordings, interviews, home studios, broadcasts, live events, streams, etc. However, dynamic mics are less sensitive, they have a much narrower dynamic range and proximity effect.
- Condenser Mics:These are designed specifically for use in professional studios and are more suited for voice-over recording. They have a better diaphragm and are more sensitive, helping you achieve a richer voice. Condenser microphones are ideal for professional studios, podcasts, voice-overs, audiobooks, etc. However, the limitations of condenser mics are that you need to be more careful about the acoustics of your room, you must take care of all background noises like air conditioners, fans, kids, dogs, etc. These mics are better-suited for indoor use and are difficult to use without practice. They are quite fragile and can get damaged by exposure to dust and moisture.
Diaphragm Size: Large or Small
Similar to the human ear, the microphone is equipped with a diaphragm that helps to capture the sound waves. Usually, voice-over professionals prefer microphones with larger diaphragms because they produce a richer and warmer sound.
- Large Diaphragm:These capture all types of sound frequencies that are audible and even without any post-processing, produce a deep and warm sound. Larger diaphragms have a wider dynamic range and better sensitivity, which is why they are used frequently for voice-overs, podcasts, audiobooks and in studios. However, larger diaphragms also mean a larger microphone. They are more fragile than their smaller counterparts and if the sounds are very loud or you speak very closely, they can distort the sound.
- Small Diaphragm:Smaller diaphragms help to capture lower and medium to higher frequencies and can withstand higher sound pressure. They are portable, pick up less room noise and you can speak close to the mic without any sound distortion. Small diaphragms are ideal for voice-overs in untreated rooms, live events, presentations and interviews. The only drawback of mics with smaller diaphragms is that they are less sensitive.
The microphone polar pattern is essentially the sensitivity map that is depicted by a circular diagram and is the view of the recording space with the microphone at the center facing the 12 o’clock position.
This is a regular 1-directional mic, which is most suitable for voice-overs. They can record direct and side sounds but do not record back sounds.
These mics pick up more environmental sounds and record direct sounds, wider side sounds and reduced back sounds.
These mics record sounds uniformly from all directions. They record all sounds from everywhere uniformly and are not a great option for voice-overs.
These are perfect for dialogs or chats with people sitting face to face. These record direct sounds and also back sounds but do not record side sounds.
These are mainly used in film production to record dialogs from a distance. These shotgun mics offer excellent clarity and noise cancellation, which makes them a great option for voice-overs, especially when recording in an untreated room with external noises and echoes. However, shotgun mics are quite expensive. Shotgun mics can record both close, as well as far away, direct sounds and also back sounds but they cannot record more than a single person.
This is a very important factor to consider when buying a voice-over microphone. However, you must keep in mind that a high-quality voice-over mic can go a long way, especially if you’re doing voice-overs as a profession and are looking to do it as a long-term career. Saving a few dollars and buying a cheap mic may not give you the sound quality and durability that you’re looking for in the long run.
Best Microphone for Voice Overs – Final Thoughts
Before you go out and make a final decision of the best mic for your voice-overs, it is a good idea to test the microphone in your recording environment for a day or two to see if it works well for your requirement. A great voice-over microphone is one that will make your voice sound great. Do not get swayed by the bells and whistles that come with the mic and forget the single most important thing, i.e. voice quality. Don’t hold back any more with your voice-over ambitions, get that mic you’ve always wanted and start pushing towards the goal you’ve been aiming for!