When it comes to filming those beautiful YouTube videos, there’s more to just having some 1080p HD or even 4K video quality. Many of those who make YouTube videos semi-pro or even professionally at times may forget about an entire half of the equation — what about the sound? Fortunately for us in this day and age, microphones for YouTube videos come at a pretty affordable price (depending on what you’re after). Since we’re mic experts, we wanted to cover the base for all YouTubers when it comes to elevating that sound quality for your videos. Let’s get into the top 10 best.
Selecting the best YouTube microphone
- What kind of YouTube videos? This is definitely one of the most important questions we’ll ask before you continue reading, being that the “best microphone for YouTube videos” may span to quite a few different directions. Do you need a vlogging mic? Perhaps a microphone on a DSLR if you fancy that method instead? The reason you’ll need to review what kind of videos you’ll be filming for YouTube is because it will entail you to look into what type of microphone you should buy. We cover most of the indoor uses in our list since we have some separate guides for the more rare types, which we explain below:
- USB microphones: Remaining one of the most popular solutions for most computer uses, such as gaming microphones, streaming and in our case today, more than half of the video types in the YouTube video world, we list this first and many in our top 10 due to the popularity. They’re great for anything you’ll be filming at or near a computer: podcasts, vlogging, gaming walk-through, interviews, and more.
- Camera microphones: Those filming outside with their camera or even indoors without a computer near may need an external microphone for their unit. Check out that guide as we have quite a few different solutions if you’re a YouTuber interested in the application.
- Lavalier microphones: These are the little clip-on mics we’ve seen more common in non-intrusive interviews, seminars and performances, and more. Although they aren’t as common, you may be interested in filming some videos outside where the mic can’t be seen (perhaps pranks as well).
- iOS microphone: Even though it’s definitely rare, we do know of quite a few YouTubers who make their videos on their phones! Check out that guide for some more in-depth info on smart device mics if that’s you.
- Your budget – Now that you’ve decided what type of microphone you need for your YouTube videos, now your budget will come into play. There is a pretty big range here since it really depends on what type of mic as well as the overall quality you’re looking to grab. We cover all price-points in here to give you a feel for what’s out there (in case you decide to go lower or even save up some more cash if you aren’t satisfied).
- Additional accessories – Do you have the rest of your gear? Microphone stands, shock mounts, pop filters, cases if you’re traveling, specific microphone patterns and more may come into play when you’re factoring in your budget since some of these come in microphone packages, while others sold separately. We’ll list if they do come with some extra gear to help your decision.
The best microphones for YouTube videos
If you are looking for an immediate answer to the best microphone for YouTube and need a USB mic for the types of videos you’ll be filming, you should definitely consider the Blue Yeti. The reputation this thing has alone gives us confidence to mention it time and time again in many of our guides. Although the price-point isn’t necessarily “cheap”, the quality it delivers for competitors in its price-range is unmatched. It comes with 16-Bit/48 kHz resolution and the option to choose between four different polar patterns (stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid or bi-directional) – elements that will give you versatility and excellent results if you intend on either using it in different applications or want to mess around with the feel of it. This microphone comes with a built-in headphone amp that has great gain, which will provide you the option to monitor results without latency. For easy and intuitive usage, right on the microphone you have controls for mute and gain control. The USB microphone comes with a little stand and the option for folding that will enable easy positioning and transport. Another convenient detail that makes it one of the best YouTube microphone choices is its compatibility with both Windows and Mac. It’s amazing for vlogging, commentary, and more — we even know some who record their songs with this thing. It also made it into our best computer microphone guide.
Apogee MiC 96k
The Apogee MiC 96k is another one of the best microphones for YouTube if you’re at or near a desk and a USB mic is what you’re after. It will deliver excellent quality of sound very similar to what you expect in the studio (we’ve heard quite a few musicians use this for some vocals or acoustic recording). It connects to Windows and Mac devices as well as any smart device with a 3.5mm, which will enable easy recording of some high-quality external sound for those videos regardless of what you’re using (you can get away with using it with cameras as well, perhaps just not outdoors). For technical specs, it is equipped with cardioid polar pattern and an easy USB connection for great plug-n-play ease of us. You have up to 96 kHz/24-bit HD recording, ‘PureDIGITAL connection’, and combines a microphone, microphone preamp and an A/D converter into one device. What also qualifies this microphone as the best mic for YouTube is its versatility for different types of voices and uses. Engadget’s MiC 96k review has some more information on it.
Focusrite Scarlett Studio Pack
Coming in as the best YouTube video microphone combo package, the Focusrite Scarlett Studio Pack is definitely one of our favorites not only because of the quality it brings but the money you’ll be able to save if you needed headphones and an audio interface as well. It is equipped with the famous Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, which works as not only some preamp and phantom power for the mic but also a unit to keep your numerous ins and outs handy (you can adjust gain on there, too). In terms of the microphone, it isn’t necessarily a fancy studio-quality beast, but is a viable condenser microphone that comes with everything you need for up to semi-pro quality recording that’ll up the ante for any type of YouTube video audio. You are lastly getting some monitor headphones which are arguably mandatory for a produced sound quality check — they’re comfortable and get the job done. The Focusrite Scarlett Studio Pack can be connected to either Windows or Mac for technical freedom, and in the package you will also get a helpful low-noise mic cable for interface and mic connecting. This may be the perfect solution for you, while for others a bit too excessive.
Now we start to get into the studio recording microphone realm, so if you were first and foremost concerned with achieving the best sound quality available at the moment, here’s a start. The Rode NT1-A is one our favorite condenser microphones — a high-quality YouTube mic that will offer you excellent vocal recording and playback capabilities thanks to its advanced functionalities and stable build. It is equipped with a large one inch capsule and allows a cardioid polar pattern, which makes it an excellent choice for vocal usage in any type of video application (really out-duels any standard USB mic in this regard). What also could make it the best mic for YouTube is the fact that it is an extra low noise mic with just 5 dB of self-noise, which makes it a great choice for recording to prevent as fuzz or hiss. With this microphone you are getting lots of dynamic range and a true condenser capsule. Just keep in mind you’ll either need some extra phantom power or an audio interface to make it work (it comes with a little phantom power unit in the box). Grab it if you want near-professional sounding video quality.
Razer Seiren Pro Elite
The Razer Seiren Pro Elite definitely qualifies for the category of the best microphone for YouTube videos if you wanted a higher-end USB mic, especially if you’re gaming as well. With its built-in three 14 mm condenser capsules that are custom tuned in order to offer four recording patterns (cardioid, stereo, bidirectional and omnidirectional), you’ll be able to use this mic with equally excellent results for a variety of purposes: voice-overs, interviews, vocals, acoustics, etc. The Seiren Pro Elite is also equipped with a built-in headphone amplifier that will work with any and all 3.5 mm connected headphones. Thanks to its capability to deliver near-zero latency output when plugged directly into the mic, you can count on an accurate recording in every situation. The XLR output is another thing that makes this mic the best for YouTube because it allows you to connect several microphones to a mixing board or audio interface if you already have one or plan on buying one along with it.
If the previous Rode NT sparked your interest but it was a tad bit too expensive for you or you still wanted a USB solution, consider the Rode NT-USB. This is a great solution that works with both Windows and Mac and bit more fresh in the market as compared to others in the category. The fact that it comes with loads of equipment also makes it considered by many as a solid solution: you are getting a mic mount, desk stand, pop filter, pouch for storing and USB cable together in a nice combo package to take away dealing with buying additional gear. The front-unit 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack that will ensure zero latency for some great accuracy as well. The NT-USB also comes with mix control directly from the mic and source, which enables easy and convenient usage. With a great frequency range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, you can count on some decent sound quality for all of your recordings. We’re not saying you should buy it just because it’s made by Rode, but that brand name definitely helps give us confidence if you were concerned with legitimate build and sound quality, regardless of the price-point.
Samson Go Mic
The Samson Go Mic is an excellent addition to the array of their microphones and has been for quite some time now. This USB microphone surely qualifies as a contender for our budget-friendly and traveling mic pick. It can be used both with Windows and Mac computers, and its technical capabilities make it an excellent choice for those who aside from their YouTube videos are using it for podcast recording, music or interviews, online chats, conference calls, etc. With this microphone you are getting decent-quality condenser capsules that offer two recording patterns: omnidirectional and cardioid, which gives you a custom approach for different recording scenarios. Another thing that makes this microphone one of the best microphones for YouTube is it’s ability to fold, resembling the size and shape of a wallet. Its wide frequency response from 20 Hz to 18,000 Hz as well as its 16-bit resolution also helps, which combined together guarantee satisfactory results considering the price. Sound On Sound’s Go Mic review explains it in more detail, but we’d definitely recommend this one if you’re traveling and wanted something easy on the wallet.
Up next, the Audio-Technica AT2035 is a versatile mic by another one of our favorite audio brands that will function equally well in both semi-professional and home usage, which is why many people consider it to be the best YouTube microphone if you weren’t feeling our previous picks. It’s just another option for those needing a more studio-like condenser mic feel. You can switch between the 80 Hz high-pass filter as well as the 10 dB pad, which means that it will reliably take care of high sound pressure levels (more geared towards louder instruments like drums or those who sing\rap loudly, but it won’t hurt). This microphone has a big diaphragm that will ensure pick-up of what’s in front of it at the same delivering a very natural, warm and clear sound. It also provides a dynamic range that is quite wide. Sound isolation is ensured by its unique internal build and is additionally backed up with a built-in cardioid polar pattern that in the end makes this mic a great option for a variety of YouTubers out there.
Here’s another one of our favorite studio-grade condenser microphones, and with this one we have an ultra-wide diaphragm to pickup any and all of what’s in front of it. The AKG C214 is not only famously reviewed by many due to its longevity and sound feel, but this microphone presents an excellent ratio between quality and the price you are paying for it. It comes with a dual capsule system and a unique back-plate design that ensures some excellent production quality. It is equipped with a 1” capsule with built-in suspension that will aid to reduce outside noise and the 20dB attenuation pad can be switched to enable recording of loud sound sources or conversation (up to 156dB). Another element that might make this one the best mic for YouTube is its unique bass-cut filter that allows recording from a close proximity with barely any negative effect. This thing was rated extremely highly in the AKG C214 user review we just read as well. It’s a bit more expensive than our previously listed studio condenser mic but well worth the money if you wanted something higher in quality.
The Blue Snowball tops off our list as another one of the most popular mics by Blue. It’s a bit smaller in size than a few others in this guide, and we highly recommend it if you’re filming YouTube videos at your desk and want something snug to fit right in the middle of your other gear. It comes with dual pattern recording options (cardioid and omnidirectional) and convenient USB connectivity for easy access and transfer of your recordings on a Windows or Mac. The switch with -10 dB Pad confidently enables minimization of distortion in situations when sound is at a high level. The Snowball comes in a package together with a stand and the mentioned USB cable that will enable you to get right into action right when you open the box, and at a cheaper price than most (rivals the Go Mic by Samson), surely qualifies this one as yet another one of the best mics for YouTube videos, especially if you’re on a tighter budget and can’t afford to spend hundreds on yours.