The 9 Best Microphones for Voice Over Work

When choosing a microphone for voice over work, a lot rides on that purchase, including—someone has to say it—careers. Pick the wrong mic, and bookings dry up because great voices aren’t served well by crappy microphones that produce muddy or tinny sound.

Want high-quality recordings? Invest in high-quality equipment. Fortunately, a decent mic doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag.

The most important consideration when looking for a mic is your unique voice, and how you’ll be using it. Some mics will fit your voice better than others. Like if you have flat feet, sure you can wear sky-high heels, but they’re going to hurt.

Think about the acoustics in your recording studio—even if it’s a sound-proofed closet. Is there background noise? Choose a mic that minimizes pick up. Will the recording be done on the fly? Then portability and easy set-up are nonnegotiable. Will the mic require a lot of post-recording clean-up? Okay, skip that one.

Clarity, brightness, warmth, sound quality, and durability rule. Picking up higher registers—read, female vocals—is trickier, so bear that in mind when shopping, and seek a mic with a wider dynamic range.

The bottom line when it comes to buying a microphone? Go for the completely necessary features. Then add bells and whistles as budget permits. Try out a number of mics—be super picky—and see which one makes you sound the best before forking over your credit card. Understand the return policy when buying online.

Here are the nine best microphones out there with all budgets in mind, some with comments from their owners. Not surprisingly, they can be more than a little vocal about their favorites.

Great cost-effective options under $250

 

Many voiceover talents vouch for the Rode NT1-A Vocal Condenser Microphone, and this is what ACX recommends for narration. This microphone costs around $229, so it’s definitely budget-friendly for beginners. Quiet and neutral sounding, it creates high-quality recordings with a wide dynamic range. It comes packaged with a shock mount and an exclusive “studio secrets” DVD, offering recording tips and techniques.

Mid-range microphones up to $600

Got a bit more money? Here are four other excellent choices for voiceover actors.

The SE Electronics sE2200a II C Microphone is a large-diaphragm cardioid condenser mic. This model has super vocal isolation, filtering out a lot of background noise. No case is included, but it does come with a rugged shock mount. It sells for $299. Users praise its warm and clean sound, and its ability to deliver clear and dynamic recordings of various voices and tones, female and male alike.

Designed with voice over actors in mind, the Harlan Hogan VO: 1-A Microphone is a sweet deal, also at $299. A mic pouch, hard case, quick clip mount, shock mount, XLR cable, and two replacement mount bands are included in that price. If a USB-style connection is preferred over XLR, it’s available.

VoiceBunny’s own Tara Tyler uses a Blue Microphones Bluebird Cardioid Condenser Microphone, preferring its clean, bright sound for both male and female talents. She says it has “just enough low end to ensure the vocal doesn’t sound ‘muddy’.” She further comments that a sturdier shock mount is needed than the one it comes with, but that the Bluebird’s pluses outweigh its cons. The Bluebird runs $299 and has a three-year warranty.

Looking at comments on other articles about buying the best mic for voice over, many in the industry recommend going with the American-made CAD E100S Microphone, which runs $499. It’s a large diaphragm super cardioid condenser mic. To be honest, it looks more like an electric razor than a microphone (it’s rectangular), but it makes for beautiful sound. One owner says that the CAD E100S eliminates most background noise by itself; he claims he can sit outside his sound booth and use it.

For its quality, the Rode NTK Tube Condenser Microphone is bargain-priced at $529.  Its large-diaphragm condenser mic makes for a warm sonic character without distortion, good to know for those who make LOUD recordings. It has wide dynamic range. Durability, versatility, and great audio are all hallmarks of this microphone, which comes in a padded plastic hard case. Like all tube mics, it needs to warm up, so plan to turn it on about thirty minutes before recording.

Professional grade microphoness

The Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 Super-Cardioid Shotgun Tube Condenser Microphone is fantastic for recording outside, and there’s a reason it’s been called “the gold standard.” It’s used on so many tv sets and in professional studios. It’s a directional shotgun mic, so it points directly to the voice and rejects feedback. It has great sound quality, it’s rugged, and is lightweight and easy to use. It sets VO artists back $999. One user commented that it was a great mic to take on the road, with easy set-up.

For voice talents, almost everyone’s favorite mic appears to be the Neumann U87, but a lower model, the Neumann TLM103 also produces great quality audio recordings.  Listed at $1,099.95, it fits the bill for professional broadcasters and for those who have serious home studio requirements. Neumann users say the mic picks up voice nuances—important for conveying emotion in a performance—as well as the overarching sound. This diaphragm condenser mic is very sensitive, as expected at this price.

Even higher end microphones are available. Throwing lots of money at equipment will make a difference in sound quality. But if your mic is at a professional level already, it will take loads of cash to make small tweaks in sound quality—and to tell the truth, these may not even be noticeable.

Go forth and shop around

This listing gives you nine good alternatives to choose from, whatever your budget. Try to borrow or rent the mic you’re interested in and test it in your own studio environment. The best mic for you is always going to be the one that makes you sound the best.

Whichever microphone you pick, take care of it, and it’ll serve you for years to come.

 

 

This article was co-written by ArticleBunny

  • Jay Sawyer

    For the money and qualityt with my voice, I really like the RODE NTG-3 shotgun mic around the $700 price point.

    • Grant Lingel

      Thanks for the suggestion, Jay! We are going to be highlighting individual microphones in the near future. When we discuss the RODE NTG-3 Shotgun Mic, it would be great to contact you for a quote or two. Would that be cool with you?

      • Jay Sawyer

        Yes, that would be fine with me! –Jay

    • Humberto Franco

      What about this one for home:
      Low price/Very good sound quality – Rode M3

      And for the road/on the move:
      Small/Great sound quality – Apogee MIC

  • Nat Stringer

    I’m a massive fan of the Neumann M 147 for voice overs if you can get your hands on one

    • Grant Lingel

      Thanks, Nat! We will be putting together a new article that expands on the 9 microphones in this one. We appreciate the suggestion!

    • yes, but then customers here prefer to pay the less possible to ppl recording with budget mics… lol I settled for a Blue baby bottle. It’s way better than a budget mic, and not so painfull as spending on a Neumann.

  • Nat Stringer

    This is a pretty solid article on them if you want to have a geez: http://enmoreaudio.com/voiceover-recording-with-the-neumann-m-147/

  • Sally Belle

    No mention of the Shure SM7B?

    • Nat Stringer

      A Classic

    • Grant Lingel

      We will expand on this article to include more microphones. All feedback is appreciated 🙂

    • Osvaldo

      Well in this case…Shure sm7b requires Extra Power, Extra Gain…in my case i have used this mic with a Cloudlifter, and then in my mic preamp. It was the only way to get a decent sound with quality ( my preamp is a UA 710 )

    • Tony Harriman

      I tried the 7B, but it was just too much work. Narration often requires animation, and the 7B just doesn’t hold consistent dynamics when you move around in front of your copy. I had to stand too still, which made for a plastic recording.

  • Glenn Lonḡ

    Anyone use the Audio Technica AT2020 Condenser Studio Microphone (XLR Cable) Not the USB one….
    What is the quality like?

    • Osvaldo

      Flat Sound, Good Quality but…high self-noise. Take the 2035, is almost the same but with better components 🙂

  • Another fan of the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Plus here!

    • Osvaldo

      MXL usb 009 is more expensive but sounds like a 1000 Euro Microphone. Better Choice in my Oppinion

  • Osvaldo

    Studio Projects b3, Sontronics Aria, Violet Design Atomic, Brauner Phantom are perfect choices for Voice Over Work. I Have tryed them connected with Universal Audio 710

  • Jai Prakash

    hi this is jai,
    One of my friend having problem with his voice. Now he is not able to talk fluently. He is ‘Pandit’ by profession. Now he is not able to work.

    My Doubt is, any microphone can be used to increase his voice.
    Help me to get microphone…

    Is microphone will help to do his daily work.