Being a ‘YouTuber’ was not something many of us thought about a few years ago, but it is a dream for loads of us now. Whether we’re talking about being a professional YouTuber and making a living by making videos about gaming, music, tutorials or other subjects, or you are just a hobbyist who wants to make videos to show their friends what they are getting up to. It is natural to take inspiration from other Youtubers, so what do we recommend? Is there a certain brand which proves more popular with your favorite video makers? What is the best microphone for Youtube? We try and delve deeper to answer your questions here.
Crisp, high-quality audio is essential, especially if you want your videos to be clear and have a professional feel to them. The mic built into your laptop or a five dollar special from the supermarket probably isn’t going to cut it, so finding a microphone that is tried and tested with others can be a great way to make a decision on which mic to buy.
What to Look For in Youtube Microphones
Of course, there are a lot of criteria for finding the best microphone here, and some will apply more to your situation than others. If you are always making videos on the go then having something portable is essential, if you are on a tight budget you might make price a priority. What are we talking about when we say the ‘best’ microphone?
- Sound Quality. Of course, this is right at the top of our list. The sound quality and clarity have to be good, or there’s no point. If you buy a microphone and the quality isn’t what you had hoped then straight away you will be searching for an upgrade. Sound quality doesn’t have to cost the earth either and even some of the cheapest microphones can do a decent job.
- Price and Value for Money. With all musical equipment or computer peripherals, there is an element of ‘you get what you pay for’, though there are lots of instances of models of mic offering better value for money at their pricing point than their competitors. If you just base your decision on price you will likely end up with a mic you bought for a few bucks which really isn’t an upgrade on your laptop microphone. Look for value for money and you can find some true gems.
- Ease of Use. Nobody wants a microphone that is immensely difficult to set up. In the modern age, plug and play options are out there and should be what you look for in most youtube video scenarios!
Where is Your Mic Being Used?
This is a vital piece of information when selecting a microphone to buy. Basically, you need to make a plan for what your microphone is being plugged into within your setup. There are a few different options for this:
- Camera Microphone. An external camera microphone, as the name suggests, will plug straight into the camera your videos are being shot on. Most modern cameras, especially DSLR cameras, have a slot for a microphone to be simply connected, and the audio will be automatically saved on the SD card or other storage devices within the video file. This certainly takes some of the hassles out of things. This great guide goes some way to showing how to buy external mics to use with your camera.
- USB microphones. USB microphones are very popular and the technology has come a long way as we explore in our list of top USB mics. USB microphones for youtube don’t need to be run through any sort of desk or preamp, making them a popular choice for youtubers.
- Lavalier Microphones. These are the types of mics you will see on people being interviewed, TV and news presenters and more. If you are making a video where you need the mics to be in shot to pick up a voice, but subtle, then lavalier or ‘lapel’ microphones are a good choice.
- Dynamic or Condenser Mics. These are the sort of microphones you will see used in recording studios, both now and historically. They’re easy to use when being run through preamps and mixers, hence why they are used in studios, but for Youtube videos, these mics may be a bit over the top, and won’t make your life easier.
Naturally, a lot of video makers tend to opt for a USB microphone. There are many reasons for this, the main being that the quality has vastly improved in recent years. When USB microphones were first issued they left a lot to be desired, but brands like Blue Microphones have pushed the envelope and made the best USB microphones for youtube. Another reason for their popularity is the ease of use, they can simply be plugged in and you should be ready to go. A couple of models of Blue Mic have really led the way.
You may have seen the Blue Yeti USB mic in use on a lot of different youtubers’ channels. This is a great microphone in terms of clarity and offers quality that people didn’t really think was possible when USB mics started to creep onto the market. The fact that you can have studio quality audio straight away simply by plugging your microphone in and starting to record.
The Blue Yeti has some pretty awesome features:
- Three different recording patterns to suit your needs and the room you’re recording in.
- A gain control to choose the volume of recording and ensure you are getting a clear, crisp signal.
- Headphone output for monitoring what you are recording with no latency or delay in the audio.
The Yeti is compatible with a huge amount of devices and with three different capsules it can basically record in every situation. If you are recording up close to this microphone you can have some issues with sibilance, but a pop filter for the blue yeti will fix this. It is more costly than some of the other options, but it is worth it for the audio quality in our opinion.
The Blue Snowball is something of a little sibling to the Yeti. Its features are pretty good and the quality of the audio it replicates is also decent, but not quite up to the standards of the Yeti. That said, if you are on a budget you can opt for the snowball and still be in pretty safe hands. It doesn’t have a gain control or a headphone output, but you may be able to make due without them.
The Snowball is another iconic model from this ever growing range of microphones, and is perfect for beginner Youtubers and those who don’t have a huge budget.
Rode VMGO Video Mic GO
For those who need a Camera microphone, the Rode VMGO Video Mic is an exceptional choice. Rode have a relatively short history but have made a name for themselves in the world of electronics and specifically microphones. The VMGO has become popular due to its ease of use, compatibility with any camera with a mic input, and the audio quality. The convenience here comes from the fact that the audio is recorded within the video file, usually straight to computer or via SD card. This means no awkward syncing at a later date.
The Video Mic Go will plug in to your Canon, Nikon or other camera and instantly pick up sound when connected via the mic input. Pointing forwards this will pick up audio from the way you are facing, and it is so lightweight that you will barely notice it is there, making it good for handheld shots as well as those where the camera is tripod mounted.
It doesn’t require a mic as it is powered by the camera, and in spite of being very lightweight it is pretty rugged. I love how easy it is to just throw this in your camera bag so it is ready to go whenever you need it. If you will be recording your videos on a DSLR or other video camera, then this is the camera microphone we recommend.
If you’re looking for a microphone to record audio on a budget, but still want something to do a decent job, Samson has built something up to the task with the Samson Go. As the name suggests, this is one of the most portable microphones on the market and is designed to be small and convenient, meaning you can take it anywhere with ease. If you’re a Youtuber who does a lot of recording on location, the last thing you want is to be taking lots of equipment out and about with you all the time. Samson knows how frustrating this can be and have built their Go microphone with this in mind.
The coolest features of the Samson Go center around how portable and easy it is. With an inbuilt stand and easy connectivity, it’s great for field recordings, podcasts and can be used for recording music, although it probably is a bit lacking in quality if you want to make a ‘recording studio’ style recording. It is a condenser style microphone and is up to scratch for recording voices at a better clarity than your laptop microphone, just don’t expect to make a number one album on it!
The main step in the journey to finding a microphone for youtube is to work out what it is you are looking for. This will depend on your own setup and the way you are making your videos. If you’re just needing something to record voiceovers or commentaries then a USB mic will do a great job, if you need something to easily sync with video footage then a camera mic could be your answer, for on-camera interviews, a lapel microphone might be necessary. Doing a little research goes a long way and can avoid awkward synchronizing during the edit. Quality sound is really a necessity for youtubers, and with that being said, you can get appreciations which leads to popularity.
With any audio product, there are certain brands you can trust, and some to ignore, and with microphones once in a while a manufacturer strikes gold and makes a true gem. In music recording terms, Shure microphones are a great example, but in the world of USB mics and on-camera microphones then brands such as Rode and Blue Mics do a wonderful job.