SAY WHAT?! A Guide to Popular Voiceover Microphones

Hi everyone! Welcome to my blog on voiceover microphones. I’m Irene Magafan and have been a freelance voiceover artist for over 15 years. It’s a wonderfully unique industry and I’m happy to share my knowledge of some of the best voiceover microphones out there, from basic and affordable mics to more expensive and sophisticated mics.
 
Last spring, I jumped on a plane for a vacation to Spain and our first stop was Barcelona. While in the airport waiting to board, I got an email from one of my best clients who wanted to book me for a new VO campaign while I’d be on vacation. I never say no. However, I realized I was on my way to Europe and didn’t have any of my voiceover gear with me, only my iPad and iPhone.

No mic? No problem. I ran to the Apple Store in Barcelona, purchased a compact Shure unidirectional microphone and turned our hotel room into a voiceover booth…it worked like a charm! I was able to record the VO directly into my phone through the mic and send the audio files right to the producer. I couldn’t believe how easy it was, and the mic was very affordable. So even when you’re traveling you can record. Having the right mic that works for you and your workflow is key, and there is a plethora of good mics that land all over the price spectrum.
 
First, you want to understand the different types of voiceover mics:

  1. USB Microphone: this type of mic plugs directly into your computer’s USB port and captures above-average sound. It’s ideal for low-budget podcasting and entry level voiceover work.
  2. Dynamic Microphone: these are used for radio broadcasting. They have a warm sound and do not have a high level of detail in the upper frequencies.
  3. Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone: these mics are often used in studios to record voiceovers and have very detailed and lively sounding middle and upper frequencies. 

So what should your first voiceover mic be?  Check out this list below to help you decide.

1. Shure MOTIV MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone

LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate
PRICE: $100

ABOUT: This mic provides portable, high-quality plug-and-play audio capture for any iOS, Android, Mac and PC device.  
 
BEST SUITED FOR: Podcast, voiceover, and digital recording

2. Shure SM58

LEVEL: Professional
PRICE: $100
 
ABOUT: This legendary microphone is an industry standard. It is a highly versatile cardioid dynamic mic tailored to deliver warm and clear vocal reproduction. It’s consistently the first choice for vocal performances around the globe.
 
BEST SUITED FOR: Podcast, voiceover, singing, and digital recording

3. AudioTechnica AT875R

LEVEL: Professional
PRICE: $160

ABOUT:  “This is a short shotgun condenser mic. I like it because it rejects sound from the sides and rear, rolls off low-frequency rumble, has a generous output, and is relatively inexpensive, Packs easily, too, for work on the road.  In our recent mic shootout, it compared favorably with the Sennheiser MKH 614, a classic (longer) shotgun mic that costs $1,000.” —Testimonial from voiceover veteran, Don Hagen.
 
BEST SUITED FOR: Podcast, voiceover, and digital recording
  

4. Rode NT1-A

LEVEL: Beginner to Professional
PRICE: $199
 
ABOUT: Many VO talents vouch for the Rode NT1-A Vocal Condenser Microphone, and this is what’s specifically recommended for narration. This microphone costs around $199, 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.
 
BEST SUITED FOR: Podcast, voiceover, narration, and digital recording

5. SE Electronics sE2200a II

LEVEL: Professional
PRICE: $299

ABOUT: 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. 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.
 
BEST SUITED FOR: Podcast, voiceover, narration, and digital recording

6. Rode NTK Tube

LEVEL: Professional
PRICE: $529
 
ABOUT: For its quality, the Rode NTK Tube Condenser Microphone is a bargain. Its large-diaphragm condenser mic creates a warm sonic character without distortion—good for loud recordings. It has wide dynamic range. Durability, versatility, and great audio are hallmarks of this microphone, and it comes in a padded, hard plastic case. Like all tube mics it needs to warm up, so plan to turn it on about thirty minutes before recording.
 
BEST SUITED FOR: Podcast, voiceover, narration, and digital recording

7. Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3

LEVEL: Professional
PRICE: $999
 
ABOUT: 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.” Used on 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, is rugged, lightweight, and easy to use. One user commented that it was a great mic to take on the road, with easy set-up. If you want to step up your voiceover game, this high-end mic is a worthy investment.
 
BEST SUITED FOR: Podcast, voiceover, narration, outdoors, and digital recording 

8. Neumann TLM103

LEVEL: Professional
PRICE: $1100-$1300
 
ABOUT: The noise level of the TLM 103 is just 7 dB(A). In other words, it’s so low noise that even the faintest vocal nuances become audible. Thus, it’s perfectly suited for high-definition audio drama productions, demanding samples production, and instrumental recordings.
 
BEST SUITED FOR: Podcast, voiceover, narration, outdoors, high-end productions, and digital recording
 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the sky’s the limit when it comes to voiceover microphones. The good news is there’s a mic out there for everyone’s wallet size, workflow needs, and technicalities. Just remember, any mic is a good investment. If you don’t have good audio, you lose your audience—period. Audio is everything, so inspire your audience through your voice and inspire yourself through the technology you use. Cheers to your new mic and happy recordings!
 
Thanks so much for reading and see you next time! For questions, please email me at imags@showbizvo.com - Irene