With technology becoming more and more accessible in recent years vlogs have gone from low quality cell phone videos to very high production quality videos. A very important part of this is a camera with good image quality so if you haven’t already head over to our Ultimate Guide to Buying a Vlogging Camera. But you really cannot underestimate the power of audio; it is just as important to have good video as it is to have good audio. A good vlogging microphone improves the quality of your voice but also reduces background noise and wind noise if you’re vlogging outside.
Although most vlogging cameras come with built in microphones the quality will always be worse than a external microphone since the microphone is not the highest priority in a camera. No matter how much you have paid for your camera, investing in a good quality vlogging microphone will ramp up the quality of your videos.
Check out the youtube video below for an example of a built in microphone vs. a external microphone. Even though this is not a vlog you can definitely tell the external microphone has much less wind noise.
A big disadvantage of the built in microphones is that you usually have little to no control over the audio settings. This means the microphone will sometimes pick up sounds that you do not want and give them higher priority then your voice. This may not be a big problem if you always vlog indoors but if you also vlog outside you do not want the radio, wind noise, sirens or other distracting sounds to overpower your voice.
The perfect vlogging microphone for you will be different based on which camera you own and what kind of videos you produce. So make sure to read the intro of every category to make sure which vlogging microphone is perfect for your vlogs.
Lapel/Lavalier Vlogging Microphones
These microphones are perfectly suited for interviews, conversations and general speech. Lapel/lavalier microphones are also perfectly suited for instructional vlogs about fitness, dance or other sports because they are very light and have a clipping mechanism so you can clip them to your shirt. These vlogging microphones are ‘omnidirectional’ meaning they pick up sound from any direction. If you do not want this scroll down to the ‘Shotgun vlogging microphone’ category below.
- Body pack Transmitter w/Clip-on Lavalier Microphone
- Volume Control – Super Compact Design
- Operation range: Up To 60 ft/20 meter
- Operating Frequencies: 114-116MHz
- Batteries included
- Condenser Element with Omnidirectional Polar pattern
- Freq resp: 50 Hz – 18,000 Hz
- Omni pickup pattern offers full coverage
- Dual-mono 1/8-inch output plug connects to a video camera, DSLR, or handheld audio recorder’s stereo
- LR44 batteries included, adapter sold separately
Best Shotgun Vlog Microphones
The shotgun microphones are the best vlogging microphones for anyone out there who is looking for professional sounding audio without a high budget. Shotgun microphones can usually be mounted on DSLRs but not on point and shoot cameras so keep that in mind. Shotgun microphones are not really omnidirectional like lapel/lavalier microphones but have the ability to reject sounds to the sides and rear while prioritizing the sound in front of the microphone. An advantage of the shotgun microphone is that you ‘blend’ in better with the environment and don’t stick out as much as with a lapel mic which makes your videos more ‘natural’.
The Audio-Technica ATR6550 is a condensor shotgun microphone with two different settings. The ‘tele’ range setting will pick up sound effects at a distance while bypassing ambient noise such as air conditioning, traffic and room reverberation. While the ‘normal’ range setting will optimize recording for close and medium-distance. The ATR-6550 is designed especially for use with video cameras and uses a 3.5 mm connector plug to plug into your video camera. The microphone includes a camera-mount, stand clamp, foam windscreen and battery.
The RØDE VideoMic is a professional grade shotgun microphone designed for use with consumer video cameras. The integrated shock mounting system isolates the microphone from unwanted rumble and vibrations in the microphone. The microphone uses a standard 3/8 inch thread in the base for easy mounting on a boom pole or stand. The RØDE microphone uses a super-cardioid polar pattern which makes the microphone highly directional, focusing only on the subject in front of the camera, and thus minimizing unwanted background noise from surroundings. In addition to this the microphone also has a high-pass filter which will prevent recording unwanted noises like traffic or air conditioners. The microphone is covered by RØDE’s industry leading 10yr (!) warranty.
The RØDE VideoMic Pro Compact is a compact shotgun microphone which is ideal for use with HDSLR cameras. By using a shock mounting system and a lightweight premium cable RØDE was able to significantly reduce noise transference. The microphone uses a condenser capsule with a supercardioid pick up pattern to record sound from in front of the microphone while minimizing sound pickup from the sides and rear to prevent recording of unwanted sound from your surroundings. The foam windscreen and integrated shockmount minimize wind noise and handling noise to produce broadcast-quality recordings.
On the back of the microphone you’ll find a 3-way level control as well as a 2-step high pass filter which allows you to minimize the impact of unwanted background noises like traffic, air conditioning or camera motor noise. The microphone has a standard 3/8 inch thread for easy mounting on cameras or boom poles. All of this is powered by a 9 volt battery which lasts up to 70 hours.
Best portable dedicated recording device for vlogging
This category is for vloggers who want the best sound possible in their vlogs. These devices record high quality audio and have more advanced features such as audio playback(so you can playback your voice and immediately assess quality), better signal to noise ratio, more file quality options and file compression capabilities. These devices are used in broadcasting, professional journalism, music production, podcasting, and by hobbyists.
TASCAM’s DR-05 brings high-quality stereo recording to a portable and easy to use device at an affordable price. The DR-05 is able to record WAV or MP3 files to the included 2GB microSD Card which you can expand with your own microSD and SDHC media. Like all other TASCAM products, the DR-05 is very easy to use with just two buttons: record and the quick menu for changing recording settings. The DR-05 has a lot of different features like playback modes, slowing down recordings without changing the pitch, a built-in speaker for checking recordings without headphones and a peak limiter to prevent unexpected loud sounds to ruin your recordings.
Combining powerful recording capabilities with a portable and simple device. The Zoom H1’s onboard microphones are configured in an X/Y pattern for the best possible stereo imaging. The H1 records on microSD cards and comes with a 2GB card which allows over 50 hours of recording depending at the bitrate and file format. The H1 features a newly designed user interface which puts all features such as track marker, auto record, low cut filter and level and volume controls at your fingertips instead of difficult setting menu’s.
Best voice over microphones
If you record voice-overs or commentaries for videos such as gaming videos or computer tutorials where you can set your microphone on your desk this category is your best bet.
The Yeti Snowball is Blue Microphones entry model USB microphone. The microphone is incredibly easy to set up – just plug the USB cable into your computer and you’re ready to start recording. No need to install drivers or other software. The custom cardioid condenser capsule captures crystal-clear audio for voice-overs, streaming, podcasts or commentaries. The microphone ships with a adjustable desktop microphone stand and USB cable. If you’re looking to upgrade from your computers built-in microphone while on a limited budget this microphone is perfect for you!
The Yeti USB Microphone is a USB condenser microphone with Blue Microphone’s proprietary tri-capsule technology to produce studio-quality recordings. The tri-capsule technology consists of 3 different condenser capsules for optimal sound recording in different situations. With the multiple pattern selection you can choose out of 4 different modes:
- Stereo mode: The stereo mode uses both left and right channels and is ideal for capturing a realistic general sound image
- Cardioid mode: Ideal for situations where the sound source is directly in front of the microphone like podcasts, commentaries, voice-overs or game streaming
- Omnidirectional mode: pick up sounds from any direction
- Bidirectional mode: Records the front and back of the microphone, very useful for interviews
The microphone has a 3.5mm headphone jack which allows you to listen to what you’re recording in real-time and with the control dials on the mic you can easily make adjustments on the fly. All of this is incredibly easy to set-up: simply plug in the microphone to the USB port, calibrate it with your operating system and you’re ready to record!
One of the best microphones you can buy for recording voice-overs, commentaries, podcasting or singing. This microphone is fully compatible with all mainstream recording applications on both Mac OS and Windows and is even compatible with the Apple iPad. The body of the NT-USB condenser microphone features a zero-latency stereo headphone 3.5mm jack so you can monitor your own voice in real time and make adjustments with the dials on the microphone. Included with this microphone is a premium pop-filter which can be attached to the microphone to filter out harsh sounds like ‘B’, ‘T’ or ‘P’ sounds. Also included with this microphone is a high quality stand mount, a desktop tripod to set the microphone at a comfortable height on a desk or table and a pouch for storing the microphone.
Hopefully this guide has helped you find the perfect vlogging microphone for your needs. When purchasing a external microphones for your vlogs you should keep in mind that your audio and video will not be synchronized automatically so you have to make sure they are in synch when editing your vlog. A simple trick to help you synchronize both is to clap your hands or shut a book so you have a reference point to line the audio and video up with each other.