If you want to start recording your voiceover sessions from home, then choosing the right microphone is one of the most important decisions you will make. This is THE tool of your trade.
After all, you wouldn’t send a plumber to fix a pipe without a good wrench. You wouldn’t send a fireman to work without a top quality hose. And you wouldn’t send a stripper to a hen do without his Velcro-fastened budgie smugglers.
Well, fear not, you perfectly sculpted Channing’s of the voiceover world – we are here to help with a list of some of our favourite voiceover microphones.
Of course, just as every stripper has their speciality act, each voiceover artist has a different voice, and you will want to make sure you are picking up a mic that suits you. If you have a loud, booming, Brian Blessed style read, you may want a microphone that can handle your volume with a 10db pad. Similarly, if you have a higher pitched “little voice” like Jane Horrocks, you will want a mic with a higher dynamic range.
This is a list of OUR favourite microphones, and it’s a bloody good start, but make sure you try some out before you buy so you can see how the mic works with your voice.
5. Blue Microphones Yeti Pro
First up is this little number from Blue Microphones.
It’s a versatile microphone, as it has inputs for XLR and, more importantly with this particular mic, USB. That USB is what gives the Yeti Pro it’s place in this list. Yes, you can get a good sounding recording out of it, but if you are a VO who works on the road a lot, or needs to be very portable with your studio space, then this could be the mic for you. It needs a driver to run through USB, but that software gives you lots of control over stuff like the volume levels and the buffer settings.
On the other hand, it is quite a bulky piece of kit, and doesn’t come with a shock mount, so you will need to pick up one of those too unless you want to hear the rumbling of cars on the road outside, or your partners footsteps as they bring you a cup of tea.
The Yeti Pro is not a bad mic at all for what it is, but doesn’t stack up to some of the others on this list when it comes to audio quality.
4. Rode NT1
This is the perfect microphone for first time voiceover artists and developing artists alike, thanks to it’s fantastic blend of good quality audio and low price. What’s not to love?
Crisp and detailed, you’ll be getting a well-respected mic that doesn’t exaggerate things from an EQ standpoint. It’s neutral, which is good – you don’t want it too boomy on the bass, or too scratchy on the high-end – and it’s not a particularly noisy mic either.
Another plus if you are setting up your studio, is that the NT1 comes with an integrated shock mount and pop-shield, so you don’t have to go shopping around for extra bits. It’s all right here.
Our verdict? The Rode NT1 is one of the best condenser microphones in this price bracket.
3. Sennheiser MK4
A little tidbit for you when considering this microphone – Sennheiser also own Neumann (spoiler alert, see #1). Now, what you are buying here is not a Neumann, and the price reflects that, but the MK4’s diaphragm capsule was designed by the same team behind the industry-pinnacle U87, so you can be sure as shucks it’s going to be a good one.
The limitations – It doesn’t have a pad, so if you are a boomer, you might want to stand back a bit, and it only has a cardoid pattern, but given that that’s what you’re after for VO work anyway, the limitations aren’t very limiting at all.
It has nice clean high frequencies without being too shrill, and it is built like a rock, so durability won’t be an issue. All-in-all, a great mic for a very reasonable price.
2. Audio-Technica AT4047
Don’t be in any doubt, the AT4047 is a professional grade voiceover microphone, and that’s why you’ll pay a bit more for this one over some of the others in the list.
Audio-Technica bill this mic as “warm and smooth”, and a quick look at reviews online will tell you that they aren’t lying. It has a wide dynamic range, with a hi-pass filter to crush the low-end if needs be, and a 10db pad for when you’re just too blinking loud. It is also a quiet and clean-sounding mic, which is always important – you only want to record your sultry serenades after all.
It has switchable patterns, so you know it will be versatile, and should be able to handle your voice no matter your style.
The only downside we can find to this mic? That it’s not the next mic in the list.
1. Neumann U87
The Gold standard. La creme de la creme of condenser microphones. This, is the ultimate “Magic” Mic.
We will start off by saying, yes, it is expensive. Like, an arm and a leg and maybe a kidney expensive. But we are hard pressed to find any bad reviews of this mic. The only thing people seem to be able to find wrong with it is the price, but as the old adage goes, “ You get what you pay for”.
It picks up very little background noise thanks to its superb built in noise gate; it’s EQ is perfectly balanced; it has switchable polar patterns to allow for all sorts of recordings; it has dual diaphragms; and it comes in a wooden box! And if a wooden box isn’t the sign of quality and class, I don’t know what is.
The U87 will get you the closest sound to the source as possible, which is fantastic for producers to work with, and will get across all the subtleties in your glorious voice. You can buy a cheaper microphone for sure, especially if you are just getting started, but you will notice the difference when you hear this bad boy!
Did we miss your favourite mic? Well hit us up on Twitter and tell us what idiots we are.