Mackie EM-USB Condenser Microphone Review

Our new review of the EM-USB condenser microphone by Mackie

Once Winter NAMM starts to hit each year, we can’t help but geek out when it comes to being able to explore new products within the world of music equipment, and more specifically for our niche: microphones. Mackie surprised us getting into the mic game when we hit their booth this year for 2020 since we’re so used to their products being predominantly speakers and DJ gear (although they had done so previously with their in-ear monitors and headphones, so we like their confidence when it comes to experimenting with different gear categories). Once we noticed some microphones at hand, we got down to business and tried them out ourselves with the time we had. Here is our write-up and review of the new EM-USB microphone by Mackie, so let’s get into the details and see what they plan on competing with in the upcoming years (especially in such a crowded category when it comes to USB microphones).

Mackie EM-USB condenser microphone features

  • Recommended for streamers, podcasts, interviews, and more
  • USB-C connection directly into computer
  • On-board gain control and monitoring
  • On-board mute button
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Software bundle included (we’ll elaborate later)
  • Included tabletop tripod and mic clip
  • Rugged build housing

Standout features, design and build

First and foremost with this particular USB mic, we’re really digging the on-board gain control, monitoring and mute button.  The mute button in particular is going to be very convenient if you’re podcasting, streaming or really any other type of use that may include wanting outside noise to be cut out when you aren’t using it or feel like taking a break (perhaps podcasting in front of an audience and you want to keep it down while the other is talking? Or your partner is going for a story and you want to tune out your coughing or breathing?). The gain control is also a great feature for us, especially with recording vocals or some type of audio for music or content creation as we’re nitpickers in regards to mixing — you never know when you need to tweak the gain on the fly. Lastly, the monitoring of course to us is almost mandatory at this point in the game of USB microphones, considering we have to hear ourselves while we talk — plus adjusting that volume separately is super convenient (perhaps the gain needs to be up to record but you don’t want your playback to be as loud while you’re recording).

Mackie EM-USB microphone's on-board controls

When it comes to actually using this microphone, it’s what USB mics are most known for — usability. What’s nifty with USB microphones is their ability to act as it’s own audio interface. If you want to save some money on purchasing an external mic preamp or perhaps audio interface, USB mics (especially this one) don’t need anything else — just plug it in and you’re good to go. Your computer should recognize it instantly and download the drivers automatically and it’s the same for the EM-USB.

In regards to build, we noticed mainly with all of Mackie’s new EleMent microphone series, the builds are great quality here, something Mackie never messes up on. It’s not going to break on you easily even if you drop it on accident — no cheap plastic here, and the included desktop tripod is a higher-grade material that will definitely come in handy for those who need this mic to sit snug on their desk.

Sound quality of the Mackie EM-USB

What’s the most important aspect of a microphone? The answer is obvious here, so we won’t waste any more of your reading time. Let’s talk sound quality. It’s hard to convey what we think is “good quality”, or even describe a microphone’s sound objectively using superlatives that may resonate with you. So a large part of reviewing microphones for us is sticking straight to the numbers first (especially when it comes to USB microphones). The EM-USB condenser microphone’s bit-rate and resolution hasn’t been provided yet and we didn’t catch it at the show so we are going to wait until they release the technical specs and include it in here. We’ll do our best to explain the (pretty subjective) sound quality below.

The marketers, biased bloggers (not us, promise) and eCommerce sites that want you to buy it are going to call the sound quality of this using a lot of different words, such as ‘pristine’, ‘crystal clear’, ‘beautiful’, etc. We’re not going to cram more of those adjectives into your head but give you a heads up — the audio indeed does the job here. It’s definitely not going to mimic studio-quality condenser microphones that are straight up meant to be as sensitive as possible for professional audio, but we don’t expect that considering those mics go for double, triple the price of this (and many other USB mics in general). Our main concern is this — does it compare with others in the USB mic game within the same price? Yes. Is it “better” than any of them? How are you really able to tell? Human ears can’t even detect the difference really between 16-bit and 24-bit. But the biggest concern to leave you with is that yes, the Mackie EM-USB gets the job done in regards to sound quality and isn’t going to sound cheap, murky or bad. Especially if you’re podcasting, streaming or creating content in general for the internet, you are totally fine here.

If you’re indeed recording vocals for music, it isn’t completely professional and we don’t usually recommend using a USB microphone for recording vocals since you don’t get as much of a raw sound and sensitivity as real condensers, plus not being able to use a interface or preamp doesn’t give you as much room for customizing your sound as we’d like. But if you absolutely must do so and your budget is low, or you’re creating a new home studio, be our guest — it’ll be fine for now and you can upgrade later.

The EM-USB microphone in action with it's stand

Included software bundle

This is going to be a make or break for many people, considering nowadays a lot of USB microphone are relatively the ‘same’ when it comes to sound quality (especially the technical aspects, such as bit-rate and resolution). Even if you do prefer a few buttons on the front as compared to others, we don’t think that’s a big deciding factor when all of the specs of certain compared USB microphones are lined up. So here’s where the bigger fish to fry comes in — software! Here’s where your money is going to start being worth it. A question to ask is this — am I in the market for a digital audio workstation (music software), plugins (both VST sounds and effects), and more? Or do I really just need a microphone and am I focused on getting the best quality of mic for my money?

Here’s what we’re getting with the Mackie EM-USB in regards to software, sounds and effects. First and foremost, a copy of Pro Tools | First, essentially their version of a ‘beginners’ or ‘trial’ copy of the beloved digital audio workstation. Mackie recently partnered with Avid so you’re going to be seeing this a lot more often. If you don’t have a DAW yet, or have always been itching to dive into the deep world of Pro Tools, this is a big deal. Next we have something called Waveform OEM, which is another DAW that’s a little less known than the popular music software out there, but may be a little fun to play with if you still don’t have any software at all.

Lastly, let’s talk effects. Mackie really crammed a lot in here. We have “The Musician Collection” for ProTools | First, which has 23 plugins (notables include 304E EQ, 304C compressor, BBD delay, and Eleven Lite). You then have “The DAW Essentials Bundle” for Waveform OEM with 16 effects plugins (like compressor, reverber8, limit and equaliser). Our only gripe here is that these effects only work with their respected DAW, and can’t be used with other software if you’re already using a particular digital audio workstation. Interestingly enough Mackie doesn’t include any VST sounds, but focuses on effects. That’s because they’re really marketing podcasters, streamers and other non-musical uses as the years go by, which is fine with us. Pro Tools | First or even Waveform OEM is going to be good enough if you’re trying to just record some simple audio with a few talkers and music in regards to streaming or videos.

Your ins and outs of the EM-USB microphone

What’s in the EM-USB’s box?

  • One (1) EM-USB condenser microphone
  • One (1) USB-C cable
  • One (1) desktop tripod mount
  • The software bundle (you download these — CD’s don’t really exist anymore)

Concluding our Mackie EM-USB review

This USB microphone here is perfect for streaming, content creation (whether that’s YouTube videos or vlogging in general), podcasting, and yes, even music recording if you need something cheap (in particular vocals or guitar). We think it’s going to make it’s way through the ranks as the year goes by and USB microphones continue to evolve, especially within the lower price-point with a street price and retail of $150 (double check sites to see exact pricing at the moment). If we could give you two comparisons to look into the other’s software or overall design to for some options, we’d say this gives both a few of our favorites. the Blue Yeti and Audio-Technica AT2020USB+, a run for their money.

The EM-USB doesn’t necessarily bring features of a USB microphone that make us say that it’s going to change the game or anything, but Mackie here is merely giving us another great option for a USB mic that offers affordability, up-to-par sound quality (anything lower than our bit-rate and resolution here is considered old now), and of course, a very massive software package that in our opinion appears to be relatively above-average. Again, it will definitely matter if you need the software or not (some great effects included as well as DAW), but even if the software wasn’t something you completely needed, this is a good option to buy if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a USB microphone. The Mackie EM-USB condenser microphone will be around for a while, but you can always read our best USB microphones guide for a better comparison of some of the more popular models (but have had more time to sit in the game) out there for the time being. All in all we’re digging it, Mackie.

The Top 10 Best Wireless Lavalier Microphone Systems

Our guide on the best wireless lavalier microphones

A wireless lavalier microphone system in your repertoire is going to be a great addition, especially if you’re in need of a discreet and easy way to record some audio. Regardless of your use, whether it’s lectures, interviews, public speaking, theater and more, we’ve learned in our lavalier microphone guide that there’s just nothing else like a lapel. However, in that guide we focused on a mixture of those with and without wires, so today we wanted to specifically get into wireless lavalier microphone systems. Let’s get into our picks.

The best wireless lavalier microphone systems

Shure BLX14/CVL

The best wireless lavalier microphone

Up first in our guide, we have a solid model here to consider that in our opinion covered most bases to recommend to our broader audience — decently affordable, great quality audio and transmission, and of course by a brand that’s reputable. The BLX14/CVL boasts of far-reaching analogue wireless transmission that makes it one of the best wireless lav mics for spoken word use.  It incorporates an intuitive setup into a simple setup with enhanced sound recording abilities, thus, allowing for a generally reliable audio performance.

What’s more, it is available in a number of configurations which makes it a solid choice for individuals looking to use it on different stage platforms. Its box package comes fully equipped with all the necessary apparatus for successful recording. These include the BLX4 wireless receiver, a CVL lavalier mic, one clip, a body pack transmitter, a comprehensive user guide, and windscreens. There is also a power supply system that enables users to charge the mic for extensive portable use. We love the Shure BLX14/CVL as the best wireless lavalier microphone for many reasons if you can squeeze into your budget.

Audio-Technica ATW-1311/L

A great pick as the best wireless lavalier microphone system

Ease of use, expandability, and solid quality sound performance-these are some of the key traits that make the ATW-1311 one of the best wireless lavalier mics available in today’s market. We try not to be biased but when it comes to brand name, Audio-Technica always gives us a sense of safety when it comes to microphones. This lav system features a 19 inch rack running on the ‘System 10’ and with the capacity to install 4 different channels which makes it relatively compatible.

Nonetheless, uses do not have to worry about system 10’s complicated configurations. It is an effective wireless professional system that needs zero training. It is straightforward system with heightened sound abilities. In terms of expandability, this system can connect up to 10 receivers and 5 frames. This is made possible by the presence of an external RJ12 cable. More importantly, the System 10 provides users with high-end audio quality over the whole frequency band — a trait that is largely attributed to the lack of compression not only during the transmission phase but also during reception. Look into the Audio-Technica ATW-1311/L. for a great quality wireless lavalier microphone system. It’s obviously nearly double the price of our previous pick but if you have a larger budget, this thing is going to be perfect and never give you any trouble.

Sennheiser EW 112P G4-A

Sennheiser's highly rated wireless lav system

For users looking for the best wireless lav mic offering broadcast quality sound transmission, Sennheiser’s EW 112P G4-A is a viable pick. In addition to its sound performance, it also offers optimal flexibility especially for outdoor applications. Its battery offers an operation time of 8 hours and it serves a maximum range of 100 meters, thus, making it ideal for field use.

What’s more, the EW-112P G4 is quite easy to use and especially when it comes to setting it up. Mounting this apparatus is a straightforward venture and its interface is not overcrowded. By and large, its ease of use, rugged construction, and sound transmission ability make this one of the best body microphones for use in the outdoors. Within the middle price-point but great for the money if you can buy it.

Rode RODELink FM

Rode's super convenient solution to a wireless lavalier

The RODELink FM is designed to enable all manner of content creators to come up with solid quality recordings. As one of the best wireless lavalier microphone systems in our opinion (at least within the relatively affordable options), this system boasts of a plug-and-play operation, extended battery life, and a pretty good sound performance. It comprises of a single omnidirectional lav mic and a body pack transmitter for convenient hands-free operations. The kit also includes a camera mount receiver that makes it possible to conveniently place the mic on the camera for enhanced audio recording capabilities.

More importantly, the mic’s 2.4 GHz operational spectrum makes it possible to utilize this appliance from all corners of the globe without worrying about radio or television signal interference. Ease of use is among its prime attributes given that the receiver and the transmitter are paired during manufacture. This implies that all that is needed is for one to power up the system and it is ready for use. Additionally, the Rode RODELink FM has a battery life of at least 30 hours and a total of 8 systems, not to mention by a brand we trust very much.

Comica CVM-WM100 Plus

A budget-friendly wireless lavalier system here

The CVM-WM100 Plus is an ultra-high frequency microphone that is fully equipped with a single receiver and a dual-transmitter. This combination makes it use quite convenient. Among its other strengthd is the lavalier microphone’s signal range as it covers a distance of up to 100 meters. However, this is limited to open spaces. Otherwise in areas with obstacles, the frequency range is reduced to 60 meters.

This is one of the best wireless lavalier mic for multiple devices that are setup to work simultaneously while avoiding disruptions from other signals. This is made possible by its optional 48 channels which offer a variety of distribution points for the different devices. Other notable features of the Comica CVM-VM100 Plus include the lattice LCD display, volume dynamic monitor with up to 16 volume adjustments, real time monitoring, and multiple power supply systems i.e. 2 AA batteries and external charging. It’s pretty affordable if you didn’t want the ‘cheapest of the cheap’, and needed to take just a smaller step above for something of better quality.

Sennheiser EW 100 G4-ME4

The best high-end wireless lavalier microphone system

Most people describe the EW 100 G4-ME4 as a rugged mic with all-in-one application. Ideally, its versatility is what makes this one of the best wireless lavalier mics given that it is ideal for all manner of uses including interviews, singing, and even playing instruments on stage. It definitely isn’t the most cheap wireless lavalier mic in here and sits around the middle price-point as compared to the others.

It features 12 systems which have been linked together to produce an impressive bandwidth of 42MHz. This, added to its unobtrusive design makes it ideal for on-stage moderators as well as other highly mobile presentation roles. Some of its other notable features include a transmission range of 330 feet, 20-channel compatibility, and an RF output of 30 mW although this is dependent on the regional regulations. The EW 100 G4-ME4 is another great wireless lavalier microphone by Sennheiser to consider if you have a decent chunk of cash at hand.

Movo WMIC70

Another great budget-friendly wireless lavalier microphone

Let’s talk budget-friendly wireless lavalier microphone. If you want something simple and easy that doesn’t break the wallet, this is a great pick as it sits usually under two-hundred bucks. With a frequency range of 584-608 MHz (labeled as ‘Ultra High Frequency’), it is easy to see why the Movo WMIC70 is ranked among the best budget-friendly wireless lav mics of today. This range makes it possible for the system to capture solid quality audio for a wide range of application including DIY videography to professional, on-stage recording. What’s more, it has the ability to cover an extensively wide range of up to 328 feet.

This is in addition to its selection of 48 optional channels which further adds to the microphone’s flexibility especially for filming purposes. Some other highlight specs include an audio output level of 120 mV, an input range of 600-2000 mV, takes 2 AA batteries power supply that facilitate up to 8 hours of operation, and an omni-directional polar pattern.

Shure QLXD14/93

Another Shure option to buy

Given Shure’s continued dominance as a top-rated microphone producer, it is only fair that another one of its products makes it to this list; that is the QLXD14/93. Although it comes in a rather simplified package, this mic features professional attributes that make it ideal for both novices and expert videographers. As one of the best wireless lav microphones in the current market, this model is known for delivering wireless and reliable functionality that is best suited for the business setup as well as mid-sized occasions.

As such, the Shure GLXD14/93 is more commonly used in government offices, conferences, live performance, learning institution, and business setups. It’s pretty high up there in regards to price-point so for those in need of a more professional route, this is a good bet.

FULAIM MX10

A good wireless lavalier for smartphones

What makes FULAIM’s MX10 one of the best wireless lavalier microphones? The answer lies in its unique blend of features which include 4 UHF channels, omnidirectional abilities, real time audio monitoring, and multiple power options. Its optional channels allow for flexible matching of channels. This feature goes a long way in helping users prevent signal interference given that one can easily switch to a different channel whenever channels operate in close proximity or within a similar space.

On the other hand, real time audio monitoring makes it possible to listen in to your recording by connecting earphones or headphones to the 3.5mm plug. As such, one can keep tabs of the audio’s status throughout the recording process. What’s more, the system features an LCD display that is only readable during the daytime to show channels in use, battery status, the overall quality of the incoming signals. A great wireless lavalier microphone especially smartphones here.

Rode Wireless GO

The end of our guide with a different wireless mic option

RODE’s Wireless GO ends our guide with a different spin to what many would consider a ‘lav mic’ and comes in a small package but offers big results. It weighs in at a meager 31 g and boasts of the smallest belt pack in the world making it quite easy to clip-on and carry around. You treat it like any other lavalier — with most of us clipping it on to clothing, a camera, or really anywhere else on your source’s body (or near it, but preferably as cloase as you can). This makes it one of the best wireless lavalier mics for vlogging, filmmaking, and YouTubing, as it maintains solid quality audio performance while offering unobtrusive presentation. Its audio performance is enhanced by the 2.4GHz band that produces broadcast-grade transmissions. Also, its ease of use surpasses all other mics. All one needs to do is power it up and pair it before clipping it onto the recording’s subject. Ideally, the Rode Wireless GO offers a great performance while remaining discreet like all the other wireless lavalier microphones in this guide.

Concluding the best wireless lavalier microphones

Also commonly referred to as body mics, lapel mics, or clip mics, lavalier microphones are best known for their minute size which in turn allows for their unobtrusive use. Usually, these microphones are clipped onto the recording’s subject body or clothing. Just as the name suggests, they are attached to the individual’s lapel, collar or any other strategic location within the upper body. Ideally, lavalier mics are meant to be placed near the speaker’s mouth in discreet manner to ensure that the footage maintains a more candid look while still maintaining solid quality audio.

By and large, their hands-free design is meant to allow for a more convenient means of recording audio during video interviews. As such, these microphones are more commonly used by field journalists such as sports anchors given that it allows both the interviewer and interviewee to move freely during the discourse while still maintaining good quality audio.

The Top 10 Best Portable Audio Recorders for the Money

A guide and review on the best portable audio recorders

Portable audio recorders are not easily replaceable, even as smart phones continue to become more advanced in any many facets. Audio quality is still a huge deal with phones and smart devices as a whole, and sometimes we just need a piece of gear that’s more advanced and equipped to handle capturing real audio with quality feasible enough for movies, songs and more. We’ve been researching and writing about these types of recorders for quite a while, and since our website here is dedicated to microphones, we felt it was at least significantly relevant to give you all a guide on the best portable audio recorders.

Looking For the Best Portable Audio Recorder

We have a few bullet points (and questions) to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a portable audio recorder.

  • Overall size — Does your portable audio recorder need to fit in your pocket? Or can you get away with a carrying case, in a backpack or bag, etc.? Some are “extremely portable”, while others a bit larger.
  • Recording technique / microphone type — Some of these models have microphones built- in to them, without a particular style or method. You’ll have to merely keep the portable audio recorder near your subject like a smart phone. Others have more advanced designs meant to broaden the depth of recording, or even pin-point more towards a specific target.
  • Audio recording quality — We do not recommend going lower than 16-bit / 96 kHz. Anything higher is a plus.
  • Battery life — Will you be able to switch out the batteries if you need to extend your day? What about charging the audio recorder if it is only rechargeable and doesn’t support AA batteries? Look into each model’s battery life.
  • Importance of additional features — Portable audio recorders are sought out for more than just their ‘recording capabilities’. Unless you just want to record some FX, voices or meetings/lectures, see why each stands out from the other. Some come with some fancy features you may like, such as auto recording, multi-track recording, interchangeable microphone capsules, PC support, smart phone control, frequency filters, etc.

The Best Portable Audio Recorders

Zoom H6

The best portable audio recorder in the game

Up first in our list, the H6 is one of Zoom’s most highly rated and overall best portable audio recorders given its solid audio abilities and high-end features. These include a windscreen, 4 AA batteries, up to 128 GB SD card capability, and two interchangeable recording capsules: the MSH-6 MS and the XYH-6 X/Y. Similar to Zoom’s H5, a big standout of their recorders is the feature of two capsules to allow for added flexibility. Users are free to pick one that best suits their current use or style — the X/Y module (pictured above), which gives a better recording spectrum to capture what’s in front of it with the microphones pointing in different directions, while the MS acts more like a shotgun microphone to pin-point an exact source.

This recorder weighs only 10 pounds for great portability. The actual size may be a bit too bulky to let’s say fit in your pocket, however. More importantly, just as the name suggests, the H6 is like no other stereo track portable recorder as it allows for multi-recording using 6 different tracks. As such, it is possible to layer different sounds and isn’t just a simple voice recorder with one track. All in all, the Zoom H6 is famous for a reason. It’s pretty expensive as compared to others because this does more than just jot down your thoughts or song ideas — it’s used for field recording for films, FX and everything else you can think of in that arena.

Tascam DR-100mkIII

Another one of the best portable audio recorders to buy

When it comes to rugged designs, the Tascam DR-100mkIII is by far one of the best portable audio recorders due to its sturdy, aluminum anodized body. In addition to its sturdy design, this recorder has a professional outlook that blends perfectly in official environments. Performance wise, the DR-100mkIII has 4 built-in mics: 2 cardioid and 2 omnidirectional. It is also possible to input digital signals directly using the S/PDIF input. Its battery life is another one of its key features as it uses 2 power Li-ion batteries with the ability to run the recorder for multiple hours (up to 12 hours at a time). Accessory wise, it includes a USB cable, a soft casing for added protection, and a windsock.

Additionally, the Tascam DR-100mkIII has a wireless remote control for added usability (great for interviews if you’re sitting away from the recorder and want to keep it next to your subject) and gives a lot of Zoom’s models a run for their money. It just doesn’t have an interchangeable capsule feature but if you don’t need to bother with that, this may even be better due to it’s slimmer, more portable size.

Sony PCM-D100

Sony's best portable audio recorder

This list would be incomplete without a Sony audio recorder. As such, the PCM-D100 makes for a viable choice given its enhanced hardware and software features. At first glance, you’ll notice this microphone features chunkier and bigger electret condenser microphones compared to previous models. The 15mm stereo mics offer heightened audio recording performance for solid audio quality. What’s more, they are adjustable at 120 and 90 degrees. Another major advantage of using this model is its ability to capture rates of up to 192 kHz. However, most people state that its microphone cannot actually capture peak frequencies but to us it’s been fine. They achieve optimal functionality at 45 kHz.

Nonetheless, other notable features that make this one of the best portable audio recorders include its ability to simultaneously record two formats, automatic power down while idle, 24-bit resolution and a wide range of recording effects such as fade clips, key control, playback tone and sound effects such as bass or jazz. We love the Sony PCM-D100 for many reasons if it fits within your budget and recording needs.

Zoom H4N

Another Zoom recorder to check out

Here’s another Zoom digital multitrack recorder and it weighs in at a meager 300 grams, thus making it one of the best audio recorders for those really concerned with portability. However, its superiority goes beyond its weight. It has an impressive sound pressure capacity of 140 dB which makes it ideal for extremely high and top heavy sounds and like other Zoom recorders, gives us that X/Y recording technique to cover a wide area of sound capturing. You can also adjust the angle of these mics if you prefer.

It’s finish is made from rubber which gives the H4N added ergonomic value and the interface features a 1.9” backlit LCD and a number of buttons including play, pause, stop, and record. Another notable feature is it’s 3 input models which add versatility. These include 4CH, stereo, and MTR. However, despite its decent resolution range of 24-96 kHz, the Zoom H4N has a relatively longer boot period as compared to most high-end models, but only about 30 seconds which isn’t too big of deal.

Roland R-07

Our favorite portable audio recorder due to it's size

We like this one the best because of it’s small and sleek size. The microphone is actually built-in to the recorder so it’s not going to be as hefty or take up space in your pocket (if you do want to carry it in your pocket like us). It’s about the size of a phone so we just keep it in the same pocket in case we ever have to pull it out and record something really quick on the fly. The Roland R-07 qualifies as one of the best portable audio recorders largely due to its unique blend of modern features which include a 24/96 resolution, Bluetooth support, Android as well as iOS remote control, and scene preset recording configurations.

Additionally, it has two inbuilt omnidirectional microphones arranged in an AB sequence. As such, it is ideal for capturing performances, environmental sounds, lectures, or rehearsals. One can also add a more direction-based stereo pattern using the microphone input. In terms of use, this recorder can last for up to 15 hours making it ideal for lengthy recordings. Unlike most modern recorders, the Roland R-07 is capable of recording MP3 and WAV files which makes it all the more versatile. On the flip side, it lacks an x/y microphone or any type of interchangeable mic solution.

Tascam DR-60DMkII

A larger, more advanced recorder here, still portable

Let’s talk “portable audio recorder” in a different spin for now. Technically you can carry this around but it’s no where near the size of what others may deem suitable for this guide, but we wanted to stick it in here just in case it was what you were looking for. This 4 track audio recorder features proprietary HDDA mic preamps which are renowned for their high S/N ratio, minimal distortion, and reduced input-referred noise. What’s more, it can record both BWF and AV files at 48 or 96 kHz. Users can very well record 4 channels simultaneously after which they can mix them down to a single stereo signal. It boasts of a nominal input level of +4 dB, an input impedance of 10 kΩ, a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack used for mi/line and camera inputs, plus widows and Mac compatibility.

Its maximum power consumption is 5.4 watts and weighs in at only 510g. Other notable features that make the Tascam DR-60DMkII one of the best portable audio recorders include the HI+PLUS that allow for optimal input gain [64 dB], phantom power provided by means of the XLR line-mic inputs, TRS/XLR combo jacks, a low-cut filter that minimizes low-frequency noises, and a camera input for enhanced audio monitoring using a DSLR camera. This is more geared towards the pros.

Zoom H5

What's a recorder guide without a lot of Zoom models?

The H5 was mentioned earlier and is another entrant into this list as Zoom continues to dominate the portable recorder market. The H5 includes an LD display with back lighting for use even in dark areas. However, this interface also features numerous buttons which can end up confusing novices. Nonetheless, its design is rugged and relatively sturdy. The finish is made from part rubber which not only adds to the recorder’s durability but also allows users to maintain a firm grip on the recorder in all kinds of weather. Additionally, in a bid to minimize handling noise and vibrations, the piece is placed on a shock mounter.

Combined, these factors make the H5 one of the best portable audio recorders for outdoor engagements. Another key attribute of the H5 is that it records audio directly to SDHC or SD memory cards. Therefore, storage space should not be much of an issue. Also, the Zoom H5 features dual mic inputs each of which has a -20 dB pad and phantom power. The only downside is that it might feel a bit bulky due to the thicker rubber design.

Tascam DR-05X

Tascam's highly rated recorder

We love the Tascam DR-05X as the best portable audio recorder for quite a few reasons. For one, this fits in your pocket, purse or bag pretty easily. It’s great for recording band practice, dictation, meetings and other similar uses. Audio quality here is 24-bit / 96 kHz, and it uses a micro SD to capture recordings. It’s super easy to operate with the record button right there at the tip of your thumb (we sometimes have to record on the fly and this will be useful), and you can also adjust levels, delete bad takes or even add markers with just one press.

Battery life is nice here, and if recording at standard wav at 44.1 kHz, can give us up to about 17 hours. You can also use something called ‘Audio Interface mode’ which allows it to be connected to a PC and used as a voice over, live stream or pod cast tool pretty easily. Lastly, a nice little feature we like of the DR-05x is the ‘auto record function’ to detect sound input signal levels and simply record when it needs to — great for those who are working solo and don’t want to hassle stressing.

Zoom H1n

One last recorder by Zoom

Being Zoom’s basic model , the H1n stands out as one of the best portable audio recorders on account of its unique features and solid performance. This handy recorder comes fully equipped with a streamlined body, a mic enclosure for enhanced protection, and a neat matte finish. What’s more, the enclosure allows for added portability ensuring that users can easily carry the recorder around while conducting an interview or the likes. Generally, the H1n has a rugged yet compact design that makes it possible for users to record from any location. The interface is also a step ahead of the rest as it includes one touch buttons, a localized menu setup, and a clear LCD display. Such a straightforward interface setup makes it possible for novices to conveniently use this recorder.

Technically speaking, the Zoom H1n allows up to 120 dB of sound pressure and includes an on-board limiter that makes it possible for users to record all manner of sounds with little to no sound distortion. Another key feature of this handy recorder is the Playback Speed Control which facilitates transcribing of inaudible recordings. On the other hands, musicians could also benefit immensely from the A-B repeat function especially during rehearsals or when mastering a specific song. On the flip side, most critics say that its plastic design leaves this recorder susceptible to damage during heavy impact.

Sangean DAR-101

Our last pick as the best portable audio recorder

Sangean DAR-101 is a long shot as it ends our guide, but it’s designed to meet your every recording need, from amateur interview recordings to professional grade uses. It stands out as one of the best portable audio recorders due to its blend of features and solid sound quality. Top of the list is its multiple recording sources including telephone input, internal mics, and line-in. To add to the mix, the DAR-1010 features external stereo mics which allow users to record local sound using enhanced stereo audio formats. Other notable features include an internal dual-AGC (Automatic Gain Control), max SD card size of 32 GB, adjustable sound recording levels, and multiple bit-rates including 192, 64, 128 kbps. The Sangean DAR-101 also comes fully equipped with an audio peak indicator, file-browsing system, voice-activated recording, and an efficient rotary menu.

Concluding the Best Portable Audio Recorder

Possessing any one of the best portable audio recorders is a necessity for a variety of professions, especially journalists and musicians. By and large, they are invaluable for anyone with the need to make solid quality recording of interviews, meetings, lectures, etc. These gadgets have been in the market since the 1970’s and have gradually evolved both technically and in terms of physical design.

Back then, they took the form of shabby, minute radios that utilized cassette tapes. At best, they offered average quality sound recordings and required users to continually flip cassette sides in order to create more space for their recordings. Nonetheless, technological advancements have turned audio recorders into state of the art, highly portable gadgets, with enhanced sound quality. There is an extensively wide variety of solid audio recorders to choose from in the current market. But which of these offer the best value for money? And why?

The Top 10 Best Microphones for Interviews

Review of the 10 best microphones for interviews

Interviewing whether you’re on a novice or professional level can sometimes be a bit tricky, and without a proper microphone setup you won’t be able to truly get the job done. It may even make or break the quality of your interviews and most of the time we don’t want to sacrifice that. Today we spent some time researching not only the different types of methods people use to interview others, but which actual microphones should be recommended as we sort through all of the different models out there that flood the market. Let’s first get into what we should be looking at, then we’ll provide you our picks for the best microphones for interviews.

Finding the best interview microphone

There are a few factors we want you to keep in mind before proceeding to our picks. First and foremost, your budget is going to deter you at least some type of direction, so we included a few of each different type of microphone below. We’ll begin with a lower-end and eventually provide a higher-quality in case you want the option. Next, the environment you’ll be in is important. We know for many this may be undecided, or perhaps can change. But if you’ll be in a noisy environment let’s say, finding a good solution with proper noise-rejection and isolation will be key. Most of these however are dedicated to capturing whatever it’s target is, but just keep in mind if you’ll be at perhaps a trade show that you want to be careful of the type of pickup your mic has.

Also to keep in mind, what exactly will you be recording on? Are you using a camera and need to hook up your microphone to it? Then look into compatible mics. Do you need a smartphone microphone if you’re using your smart device to capture the video? Or separately and will be syncing up later?

Lastly, here are the types of interview microphones:

  • Lavalier microphones: These are those tiny mics you see clipped on to people’s shirts in various settings. They’re great for a non-intrusive style to interviews or if you’re recording somebody giving a presentation. Most are wired and need to be hook up to somebody’s device in their pocket, or you can find a wireless system to plug it into and record that way. Otherwise you’re going to need a separate device to record their answers in an interview and put in their pocket.
  • Shotgun microphones: These attach to the actual video camera you’re using to record the interview visually. They attach to video cameras up top and are long and skinny and point directly at your interview (you’ll be in there too unless you want to sit behind the camera and not necessarily record your questions). Most of these are compatible with DSLR video cameras.
  • Handheld reporter style mics: These are your traditional-looking microphones that you hold to capture the interview. This is pretty straight forward.

The best microphones for interviews

Rode Smartlav+

The best interview microphone if you need a lav

From live broadcasts to film sets and television, the Rode Smartlav+ can be used in almost all interview scenarios. More specifically, this new-age lavalier microphone is best suited for interviews that require the broadcast audio to be recorded in a portable and discreet format without the need for extra wireless apparatus. Its ease of use and portability is one of the primary attributes that make this one of the best microphones for interviews. Users are required to simply mount the mic onto a talent and connect it directly to a smart gadget, be it a mobile phone, tablet, or even laptop. However, it is more compatible with iOS gadgets as one can use the Rode Recording application for instant live recording, but any app will do as it hooks up directly into your device. Also noteworthy, this mic is fully equipped with a decent-quality omni-directional condenser capsule which allows it to pick up sound from all directions. It simply clips to your interviewee’s shirt or somewhere else discreet on their body to pick up their voice. By and large, the Rode Smartlav+ is a highly rated user-friendly option as the best interview microphone.

Sennheiser ME 2

Another one of the best microphones for interviews

Conveniently small and vocally stable, this is a straightforward way of describing the ME 2 lavalier by Sennheiser. If you wanted a higher-quality option as compared to the Smartlav+ and have the cash (it’s about double the price), this is a beautiful wired lavalier to buy for interviews. More importantly, it has high speech intelligibility for enhanced sound quality and is easily attached to all kinds of clothing. Another one of its key features is the mini jack which includes body-pack transmitters that add on to its crisp sound delivery, so if you want to make it wireless you can definitely do so if you want to invest in a transmitter. And not to worry, a clip and metal windscreen are included in the pack during purchase, thus, there is no need for you to spend extra on accessories in order to enjoy Sennheiser ME 2’s services. Combined, these features go a long way in making this one of the best interview microphones of today as well.

Countryman B3

One last lavalier microphone we want to recommend

Let’s jump into the higher tier and final tier of lavalier microphones for interviews. For those looking to conduct interviews in busy environments say an award ceremony or anywhere you really need to isolate your interviewee’s voice, Countryman B3 is definitely one of the best interview mic options out there at a price. In fact, most reviews describe this as a must have for individuals with a pro audio toolkit. It too is an omni-directional lavalier mic that features high frequency response caps and is adjustable for various fields. Handling and background noises are maintained at a minimum ensuring that one picks up solid quality audio frequencies. Also, it is relatively versatile as one can adjust the signing or talking style with a capability of at most 150 dB SPL and distortion is also maintained at a low of up to 140 db. Its most standout feature, however, is the fact that Countryman B3 is practically invisible (you can purchase it in different colors but white is usually the popular one). It is so minute that one can comfortably fit it in one’s hair or even hide it among flowers in a vase! Essentially, it has been designed to fade into the environment when needed and look appealing to the eye when noticeable.

Rode VideoMic Pro

A great interview microphone if you have a video camera

VideoMic Pro by RODE should be your go-to shotgun mic. It’s definitely ours if you’ve ever read one of our guides before that comes to closer to needing a solution like this. It is created to be used with DSLR cameras, all manner of portable audio recorders or camcorders. As such, we’re going to be able to record what it’s pointing at. It comes equipped with a 1/2 inch condenser capsule that allows for self noise of as low as 14 dB and includes a mini-jack connector is 3.5 mm that creates a connection for mono signal outputs to the right as well as left channels. The capsule’s polar pattern is also designed to minimize background noise as the recording focuses solely on the individual or object that is positioned immediately in front of the camera or microphone. Other standout features that make this one of the best mic for interviews include a two-step high pass filter with a flat rate of 80 Hz, optimized 3 position level control, a 9 volt battery with up to 70 hours usage time, shock mounting, a foam widescreen, and a meager weight of 85 grams. The Rode VideoMic Pro is a big one.

Sennheiser MKE 400

More mountable camera mics for interviews

When it comes to compact shotgun options, the Sennheiser MKE 400 is arguably one of the best microphones for interviews available in the current market. It is meant for use with cameras that include an external microphone input as well as a reliable shoe mount for added usability. Physically, this microphone is tiny but quite durable as its housing is made purely from metal. What’s more, it has been optimized for use during video recordings given that it offers maximum noise rejection from the side. Flexibility is another of its key traits as its sensitivity can be adjusted to fit both short and long distances. The wind noise filter is also switchable. Just another option in the shotgun mic arena we think would be important for you to look into.

Rode Reporter

A very solid handheld microphone for interviews

This is one of the best interview microphones especially for use in presentations and handheld interviews. It uses an omni-directional dynamic capsule that is developed with a view of allowing users high levels of freedom when in use. Ideally, one can comfortably move about during the interview without interfering with sound quality. As for its frequency response, the Reporter specializes in voice reproduction. This way, it can offer users optimum intelligibility and deliver solid quality audio performance regardless of the environment. Its rugged exterior is another major plus for the Rode Reporter. It is made from aluminum combined with an anti-glare black finish for increased durability.

Sennheiser MD 46

The best handheld reporters microphone for interviews

What makes the MD 46 one of the best mics for interviews? Yes, it’s merely another reporter-style mic. However, it is largely due to its relatively stable sound capabilities which feature omni-directional use and low handling noise. Not to mention Senny is one of the most trust brands for mics, ever. Despite indiscriminately picking all kinds of audio from the background, this microphone is designed to focus solely on the subject of the interview. This way, it maintains clarity while creating a realistic background setting that does not in any way interfere with the sound quality. What’s more, the dynamic capsule gets rid of wind noise, vocal popping, and allows for low handling of noise. Lastly, the Sennheiser MD 46 also comes fully equipped with a double layer grille basket for optimal usability.

Electro-Voice RE50B

Another favorite handheld interview microphone

The RE50B by Electro-Voice is one of the best interview handheld microphones that is more commonly utilized in broadcast television. Its reputation speaks for itself as this mic has previously been used in interviews with some of the most prominent figures in the country from the beloved POTUS to hundreds of celebrities. Due to its rather bulk nature, this mic has been tailored to withstand intense weather conditions include high levels of humidity, corrosive atmospheric salt, and extreme temperatures. What’s more, it relies on an omni-directional polar pattern and is equipped with a ‘Dyna-Damp’ for reliable low handling of noise. The pop filter on the other hand prevents the Electro-Voice RE50B from interruptions caused by wind noise. Another one of our favorite picks as the best microphone for interviews in the market if you have a higher-budget.

Rode i-XLR

A different spin to interview microphone solutions

Before we end our guide of the best microphones for interviewing, let’s get into a few different types of solutions that may pique your interest. This mic adapter is designed for use alongside iOS gadgets. Users are expected to take full advantage of this feature by connecting the mic to a lighting adapter which allows one to record clear and audible sounds directly onto their device. Other notable features that make this one of the best interviewing solutions is the included headphone monitoring with the ability to be trimmed and allows for zero latency. On the whole, the Rode i-XLR is definitely a different spin to what an ‘interview mic’ may be, but it is extremely flexible, easy to monitor, compact and easy to use.

Rode RODELink Newsshooter Kit

Our last option for interviews

The RODELink Newsshooter Kit is a new generation, high-end wireless microphone kit that is designed for use in a wide array of scenarios. It utilizes a Series II 2.4 GHz digital system that includes a 128-bit encryption with the ability to keep tabs of incoming frequencies and toggle form one frequency to the other in pursuit of its optimal performance. What’s more, it has a signal range of 100 meters, hence, allowing one to collect solid quality sound even from a distance. As the name suggests, this is one of the best interview solutions for one-on-one encounters and the need of major flexibility. In fact, it is mountable on standard cameras by means of a belt-clip or a 3/8 inch thread.

Concluding our best interview microphone guide

Interviews can be planned or sudden, audio only or video, conducted while sited or while standing, done indoors or outdoors, and the list goes on and on. As such, each of these scenarios requires one to utilize specific equipment in order to get the most out of the interview. This is inclusive of microphones since different kinds of mics work differently in different setups. For instance, most interviewers prefer using a combination of shotgun and lavalier mics with the latter acting as a backup for the former.

It is important not to get lost in this wide array of possibilities. And what better way to do this other than by picking the right mic for your setup. With that in mind, above is a list of the best interview microphones. Hopefully this list will steer you towards making a quality purchase and we were able to help.

The Best Microphones for Live Performances on Stage

We found the best microphones for live stage use

Live performance stage microphones can be make or break when it comes to a show. This is largely because they offer one a captivating means of portraying their musical pieces to the audience — we need to be able to portray our art in the most optimal way possible. We know from experience being on stage for years — we’ve used terrible mics that really disappointed us (and the audience), whereas a great mic paired up with a good sound system and mixing team made a world of difference. We’ll focus on one thing in this guide — the best microphone for live stage use. Let’s get into what we want you to look for, first.

Finding your performance vocal microphone

We’re huge into buying a dynamic microphone if you’ll be performing vocals on stage, regardless of your audience size, stage environment, etc. The purpose for using dynamic mics vs. condensers is quite simple — the means to which they’re built, constructed and how they capture sound overall. Whereas condensers are always preferred for studio settings, dynamic mics are preferred for live applications because they can handle louder and more intense signals without loss of clarity. Condeners are very ‘sensitive’ and pick up whatever it can that is in front of it — dynamic mics need rejection on the sides which we don’t want to be played out loud in order to really focus on what’s in front of it — your voice!

For those who are looking for wireless mics, we recommend reading our guide on the best wireless microphones instead. This however will bring up a lot of information you’ll have to read about and learn, such as setting up a wireless mic system, using external power sources, mixing (hopefully you have your sound crew already?).

The best microphones for live stage

Rode M2

A big favorite for live performance stage mics

This vocal stage microphone has been designed specifically for vocalists needing a versatile and relatively affordable mic to bring up to the lights. It includes a solid cardioid polar pattern that allows the microphone to effectively reject off-axis sound to help isolate your voice in front o fit. What’s more, the Rode M2 is a relatively powerful given its considerably high frequency range of between 20 kHz and 35 kHz; higher than most dynamic microphones. Rode believes in the M2 design so much that these pieces of hardware come with a warranty of 10 years which is testament to its sturdy build. On the flip side, it relies solely on phantom power although it can use up any source within a voltage range of 48V and 24V. So make sure you have a power source to use when connecting it up on stage. Noteworthy, with the Rode M2, you need not worry about buying a stand mount as it is included in the original package alongside a pouch for added portability.

Sennheiser e835

Another one of our favorite live stage microphones

One of the most popular models in Sennheiser’s EVOLUTION series, the e835 is known for its cardioid pickup pattern and dynamic design both of which give users a considerable amount of stage presence boost. Compared to other models within this series such as the highly acclaimed SM58, the e835 adds extra body to the sound produced. On the other hand, when it comes to making rolled-off highs, this mic tends to experience a low amount of mid-range congestion, hence, tampering with your sound projection. Nonetheless, it amplifies low sounds which make it ideal for performers with rather weak sounds. On the whole, the Sennheiser e835 qualifies as one of the best microphones for live performances on stage due to it’s clarity, power, and overall reputation.

AKG D5

A budget-friendly stage microphone to buy

At first glance, there is not much that sets the D5 apart from other microphones in the market. It takes on the common ‘mesh ball with a handle’ design in addition to the XLR cable that runs through its rear end. However, its most impressive features are more in line with its performance features rather than build. Top of the list is its laminated diaphragm with a variable thickness that allows it to produce smooth sounds. More importantly, this feature ensures that there is zero mechanical feedback during sound production. It is, therefore, most ideal for live performances. Other standout features include a rugged construction, a super-cardioid polar pattern, and a weight of 2 pounds for extra portability. Combined, these features make the AKG D5 a top contender for best stage microphone.

Shure KSM9

Shure's best microphone for live stage use

Most people are still blind to the fact that most ‘legacy’ hardware are today eclipsed in terms of performance by modern gadgets. One such modern piece of hardware is the Shure KSM9 that is uniquely designed for use in high-end live setups. It is available in a charcoal black or silver finish which gives it aesthetic appeal. One of its standout features is the mini-switch which allows users to switch in-between a super cardioid and cardioid pattern during performances. The switch is located right underneath the grille assembly. What’s more, it has a dual diaphragm that goes a long way in minimizing proximity effect. It boasts of a frequency rate of 50 Hz to 20 kHz while its response rate lies in-between 100 Hz and 2 kHz. A very natural and clear sound here. These added to its consistent sonic performance make the Shure KSM9 one of the best stage microphones in the market today.

Audix i5

A budget-friendly option to buy here

The Audix i5 is a great stage vocal microphone for the price. It features a frequency response rate of 50 Hz to 16 kHz making it ideal for home studios, live steaming, podcasting or live shows. According to most reviews, the i5 is best utilized alongside wind instruments especially the guitar, but for vocals we’ve also heard many great responses. It is highly portable given that it comes with a soft pouch and a stand holder. Its sturdy metallic design also adds a layer of durability to the microphone ensuring you get to use it for as long as you would like. Other notable features that make this Audix i5 dynamic mic one of the best microphones for live performances include an XLR connector, a meager weight of 0.4 lbs., and a cardioid polar pattern. It’s quite versatile and reliable considering it is so budget-friendly.

Shure SM58

A legendary pick as the best microphone for live stage performances

Since 1925, Shure has reigned supreme in the microphone market having released some of the most iconic models of all time. The SM58 is one of the most legendary additions to the list. This cardioid dynamic vocal mic features added proximity effect control with a brighter bass and mid-range roll off for a reliable frequency response rate. As such, this microphone has been specifically designed for live stage performances. It also has an in-built sphere-like pop and wind filter that contribute to its frequency response rate of 15,000 Hz and 50 Hz. One of the major problems with live performance microphones is handling noise which tends to disrupt audio flow. However, with the SM58 this should not be much of a problem since the mic also has a pneumatic shock-mount to help limit these disruptions. And as a bonus, the cardioid pattern reduces background noise as well as isolating the primary source of sound. In sum, it is evident that the Shure SM58 is one of the best mics for live performances on stage, period. Especially for those on a budget. We’ve known many musicians who have 2-3 of these in their toolbox.

Sennheiser e945

A great stage vocal microphone to look at

Let’s talk high-end. With the ability to cut through the mix and offer a bright live performance for both high and deep bass vocalists, the Sennheiser e945 easily qualifies as one of the best stage microphone models available in today’s market. This versatile piece of hardware works in similar fashion to a condensed microphone when it comes to sound balance as well as clarity. Using its capsule mounting that is shock-resistant and features a hum-bucking coil, this mic can cancel a substantial amount of background noise, thus offering you high audibility. It is also durable given its rugged metal build. However, it lacks one of the most basic features of any live performance microphone; an on/off switch. All in all, it is still great for the price and blows many of the mics in this guide out of the water if you have the cash to spare.

TC-Helicon MP-75

TC Helicon's great vocal microphone

The MP-75 comes fully equipped with a super cardioid polar pattern which allows it to efficiently cancel out background noise. However, it is still difficult to locate the most ideal spots on stage in a bid to fully minimize noise emanating from various regions in the background. Due to this, some people say that a hyper cardioid pattern would be more suitable fit for the MP-75. Being that it is wireless, you can still move around quite easily while on stage. To this end, it has an impedance of 150 ohm in addition to several integrated filters as well as effects. It also features a frequency range of 18,000 and 50 Hz while its curve neither has high nor low frequencies since it has been built to emphasize on mid-range frequencies. This makes the TC-Helicon MP-75 an ideal pick for on stage vocals, thus, making the MP-75 one of the best microphones for live performances.

Shure Beta 58A

The last best vocal stage dynamic microphone

Enter the Shure Beta 58A, a super cardioid high output dynamic microphone that is an ideal pick for touring artistes and vocalists. It is ranked among the best live performance microphone options since it produces great power and clarity, high gain prior to feedback, produces minute coloration for off-axis tones, and its consistent super cardioid pattern that remains constant across its frequency range. This sonic performance is made possible by its rated impedance of 150 ohms, an open circuit voltage of 2.7 mV, a symmetrical super cardioid pattern, a slip-in/adjustable mounting as well as a meager weight of 9.92 ounces for added portability. We’re glad to end this guide with the Shure Beta 58A since it’s a classic among all types of vocal stage microphones in the world.

The Best Microphones for Rap Vocals

Our guide on the best rap vocal microphones in the market

Finding a rap vocal microphone won’t be impossible, but it will be very important to take your time and choose wisely. When spitting bars, it is imperative that one utilizes a microphone that reflects their voice in the best way possible. Nowadays, we have some decent options if you’re on a budget, or if you have some cash saved up, can grab a beast that will last you years as an investment. Unlike performance microphones which are more of general purpose utilities, one needs to be very particular about the rap microphone they use when recording in a studio, regardless if it’s professional or in your home. With our research and experience (yes, we’ve been rapping since the early 2000’s), we were able to collect some of our favorite picks as the best microphone for recording rap vocals in the market today. But first, let’s get into some of the specifics to look for.

Selecting the best rap vocal microphone

Since we’re talking in particular about rapping in this guide, not just recording vocals. So here are the specifics we want to look out for when it comes to this “type” of vocal recording and to prioritize your emphasis on while you search through microphones:

  • A decent Sound-Pressure Level (SPL): Rapping style is very diverse when it comes to the actual pressure of your voice (also to be simplified as ‘volume’). We know a lot of rappers who love getting that power and nearly screaming their verse into the mic, while others take a softer and more smooth approach and need the gain turned up pretty high. Regardless, keep in mind SPL and what your style may call for. Most mics should be fine in this regard.
  • Solid dynamic range: We want a microphone that’s able to pick up a good amount of frequency range to ensure we have a full sound. Grabbing cheaper mics (even some USB under $50 won’t do at all).
  • Emphasis on sensitivity: Recording = detail. We want as much detail as possible, to really paint that picture of our voice and our verses. Microphones that emphasize ‘microphone sensitivity’
  • Condenser microphones: Speaking of sensitivity, these are the number one industry standard for recording vocals (and most instruments) in a studio setting due to their ability to pick up detail. This is why you’ll need a super quiet and snug environment to record in — we’ve had our rapping mic literally pickup bird noises from outside even though our window was closed (many studios don’t have windows due to this). So our recommendation is focusing on condenser microphones, period. You can either grab a traditional XLR-connected condenser mic or a new wave of USB microphones (we have a few in here) that have become great solutions for home studios.
  • Cardioid polar patterns: While most condenser microphones entail this polar pattern, just a last minute reminder to avoid most ‘dynamic microphones’ that pick up from the tail-end of the mic (most you have to hold). You want a mountable, cardioid pickup that picks up in front of it while you stand and rap directly into it. If you’re unaware of ‘polar patterns’ and want to learn more, read our microphone specifications guide.

The best microphone for rapping

Audio-Technica AT2035

The best microphone for rapping in our opinion

Up first as our number one pick as the best microphone for rap vocals, we have a model that covers all of the bases we’ve listed previously to keep in mind. Not only with a reputation and reviews to back up it’s reliability and clarity, but in regards to specifications and overall long-term use as well. Fully equipped with a 10 dB pad and an 80 Hz high-pass filter, the AT 2035 provides low noise and highly detailed rap vocals for home or professional studio use. It solely relies on a cardioid polar pattern and has a frequency response of 20 – 20,000 Hz. Its performance specifications include roll-off as well as flat switches, a typical dynamic range of 136 dB, 120 ohms impedance, sensitivity of -33 dB, and finally, a maximum input sound level of 158 dB when the 10 dB pad is engaged, (otherwise, its sound level is 148 db). With acute response to both low and high sounds, great sensitivity, and a shock-mount that is snug enough to allow for use in a variety of positions, the Audio-Technica AT2035 is arguably one of the best rapping microphone options available in the market today. It’s on the low-end of the price-tags when compared to others, too. If you want to invest some more cash however and perhaps need a higher-end mic, continue reading.

Rode NT1-A

Another one of the best microphones for rap vocals

Up next, we have one of our most beloved microphones we’ve recommended for years, regardless of ‘vocal type’. Rode is one of the most reputable manufacturers of microphones in the music industry today. Among it’s line of microphones is the NT1-A, which is known to deliver an extended, warm dynamic range and offer high SPL abilities, as well as reliable clarity. In terms of build, the NT1-A is made up of a large 1 inch capsule with a stylish diaphragm, plated with gold. It weighs a meager 326 grams with a diameter of 50 mm, width of 50 mm and height of 19 0mm, making it relatively easy to carry around. Performance-wise, the NT1-A is great with a frequency range of 20 -20 kHz, a maximal SPL of 137 db, sensitivity of -31.9 dB, and noise level equivalence of 5 dBA. A lot of people say that the Rode NT1-A is worth its price since it is built to high manufacturer standards and has the ability to perform an extended range of recording tasks. Overall, the sound is warm, clear, and the rapping microphone is just strictly reliable to last you a decade or more in the studio if you can take proper care of it.

Blue Yeti Pro

The best rapping microphone if you're cool with a USB mic

What makes a mic the best microphone for rap vocals? The answer is versatility and high-resolution; two of the most standout features of the Blue Yeti Pro. Coming in as the most popular USB mic in the game today, it has a wide range of technical capabilities which have been made possible by its amplified headphone and mic performance. To this regard, some of its technical features include a sample rate of 192 kHz / 24-bit, a signal to noise rate of 114 dB, 130 megawatts power output, an impedance of at least 16 ohms, sensitivity of 4.5mV/Pa, and frequency response rate of up to 20 kHz. Also, this rapping microphone allows both amateur and seasoned rappers to record quality audios since it has 4 different pattern modes. These include cardioid which records sounds emanating from directly in front of the mic leading to a rich and complete sound, omni-directional which collects sound from all round the mic, bi-Directional which collects sound from the back as well as front of the mic, and stereo which combines sound with a wide array of instruments including a piano or acoustic guitar. Look into the Blue Yeti Pro if you want a high-end USB mic to record your rap vocals with — you can’t go wrong with this, especially seeing all of those 5 stars all around the net.

Neumann TLM 102

A very high-end rap vocal mic here

Let’s bring our guide on the best microphones for rapping up to a higher-end as we reach the middle of our list. With a treble boost, sound production that is free from distortions at the highest pressure levels, convenient plug and play functionality, and a sound many snobs don’t come near any other microphone (that Neumann name is like the BMW of mics), it comes as no surprise that the TLM 102 is viewed by many as the best microphone for rap vocals, or really any type of vocal recording in the game. Unlike most rapping mics, this model is able to directly jump in dynamic without necessarily experiencing any sound distortion. Moreover, it is fully capable of processing extremely high volume which is quite common in the hip-hop scene if you go to semi-pro or even professional studios. With its highly refined treble and detailed bass, this microphone reproduces up to 144 dB sound pressure. Other notable features include an in-built pop shield, easy handling, 50 ohms impedance, cardioid directional pattern, sensitivity of 11 mV/Pa, and a maximum SPL of 144 db (higher than most). The Neumann TLM 102‘s build also allows for easy handling as it weighs 210 grams, is 116 mm long, and has a diameter of 52 mm. One of the best microphones for recording rap vocals, period. Or really recording anything you can think of.

Shure SM7B

A beautiful dynamic mic to rap with

Let’s talk about maybe one of the most highly-regarded recording microphones of all time. If you are looking for the best rapping microphone to preserve all the natural elements of your sound, then look no further than the Shure SM7B. In terms of sound quality, majority of reviews give this mic a rating of 5/5. This is due to its sturdy performance which includes its ability to reduce distortion from noisy sources, bass roll-off and an emphasis on its mid-range. The microphone also comes fully equipped with a switch cover plate and close-talk windscreen which facilitates its rugged construction. Additionally, the microphone’s dynamic cartridge has an extended range and flat response that reproduces naturally clean rapping sound, as well as music. Most sound engineers and rappers find this microphone to be exceptionally useful in cases where smooth and warm frequencies are mandatory, especially in studios utilizing instruments with close-miking abilities. According to online reviews, however, the microphone offers solid quality but needs extra articles in order to function. Herein lies the problem since this forces users to incur extra costs. Nonetheless, the Shure SM7B is legendary at this point among recording enthusiasts and definitely one of our picks as the best rap vocal microphones in the market.

Avantone Pro CV-12

The best rap vocal microphone if you want a more warm sound

Ever heard of a tube microphone? This will give you a different ‘sound’ (arguably by some) than others, so if you want a different feel (more of an old-school, vintage, retro sound) than others trying to make it in the rapping game, this is a great option if you have the cash. Rap is all about style and swagger; and the Avantone Pro CV-12 has both. This red tube-type condenser is considered to be among the best rapping microphones. With up to 9 polar patterns that can be selected at a power supply of PS-12, an equivalence noise level of not more than 17 dB, output impedance of lesser than or equal to 250 Ohms, an S/N ratio of 78 dB and sensitivity of -35 dB, it is easy to see why this microphone comes highly rated. One of its most unique features is its build which comprises of a polished nickel trim finish that is embodied in a red capsule to give it that fresh, hip look. It weighs 8 KG and is 237 mm long and 46 mm wide, which makes this rap microphone quite easy to handle when recording. Other notable features that make it the best microphone for rap vocals include a -10 dB attenuation switch, a male XLR output connector pin, an 80 Hz high-pass switch that operates at 6 dB per octave and a maximum SPL of 146 dB whenever the pad is engaged. The Avantone Pro CV-12 brings a different spin to ‘sound’ with recording rapping — you’ll have to hear it for yourself and see if you can even notice. Some say they totally can, while others state it’s merely subjective.

Rode NT-USB

Recording rap vocals on this are very easy with the USB connectivity

This side-address microphone is a good choice not only for rappers, but also other spoken functions such as podcasts or voice-overs. Its specifications include a 3.5 mm headphone jack for monitoring at zero-latency, 16-bit resolution (not 24-bit like the Yeti Pro, but it’s a lot cheaper), frequency range of 20 Hz -20 kHz, and a plethora of USB and power options. Just as the name suggests, the NT-USB is arguably a great microphone for rap vocals when it comes to its USB connectivity and other flexible connection alternatives. As such, not only is it compatible with the smart device if you make music that way, but also Mac OS and Windows based computers. In fact, its package includes a 6 mm USB cable which facilitates these connections. Other items included in the Rode NT-USB package include a black zip case for extra protection, a tripod stand, ring mount and pop filter for enhanced convenience.

Audio Technica AT2020

Another pick as the best microphone for recording rap vocals

This highly reviewed rap microphone is ideal for home studios and another great option by Audio-Technica. It is a side-address compressor with a noise level of 20 dB. It specifically uses a cardioid polar pattern which helps minimize the amount of noise picked up either from the rear or the side, hence sticking to the desired source as we recommended earlier. The custom-engineered diaphragm is of a low-mass nature which in turn allows it to provide rappers with good transient response and a wide frequency response. Several music lovers define the AT 2020 and being the best rapping microphone with specific regards to its versatility — this is because it can handle high sound pressure levels as well as an extensive dynamic range. The Audio-Technica AT2020 is also quite appealing to the eye due to the black speckled finish that gives it a professional yet hip outlook.

Warm Audio WA-251

Another beautiful tube microphone for rapping

Do you want to sound like a legend? Then the WA-251 by musical conglomerate, Warm Audio, is exactly what you are after. This is one of the best recording microphones for rapping in regards to that tube ‘retro’ sound we previously explained with that CV-12. Produced by the renowned company with a dynamic range of 125 dBA, 3 polar pattern ability (omni, figure-of-eight, cardioid), a grounded PSU for external IEC, a maximum sound pressure level of 132 dB, a rated load impedance of greater or equal to 2K ohms, and an s/n ratio of 80 dBA. Combined, these technical features boost the microphone’s recording performance allowing it to capture your voice in its most raw form. That tube processing is what transforms the audio into that ‘analog’-type sound. The Warm Audio WA-251 also boast of a pretty good design which takes on the classic 1960’s look which includes some of the most vintage microphone components iv its 247 x 46 mm tubular golden mic. It’s definitely up there in price, of course.

AKG C214

The last pick as the best microphone for recording rapping

Last on this list of the best rap vocal microphone is the AKG C214 condenser mic which has a notably sizable diaphragm. It is listed among the best recording microphones especially for rapping majorly due to its immense versatility. This AKG mic has a large diaphragm which allows it to the ability to achieve an extensively wide dynamic range. In result, this mic can reach a dynamic range of up to 143 dB, thus, creating natural and uncompressed transients. Stile on its variety, the AKG C214 can be used on a wide variety of sound sources. It performs equally well on different instruments thanks to its low-cut filter and attenuation pad of 20 dB, both of which are switchable. Also noteworthy, its XLR output, scratch resistant finish an sturdy metal grille give this mic a quality construction for enhanced sonic accuracy. It will last you years, and is a great cap to our list here today.

The Top 10 Best Microphones for Streaming

Today we've finished our guide on the top 10 best streaming microphones for the money

Streaming has become one of the most popular activities, hobbies, and even professions on the internet. Without a microphone to stream with, you literally can’t do it, but even those who have something super cheap won’t come across as legitimate. That’s why we wanted to spend today writing a guide on some of our favorite microphones for streaming, and ensured we covered a bit of everything in regards to budget, types of microphones, shapes, sizes and personalities. But first let’s highlight some factors to keep in mind before you start shopping around.

Finding your microphone for streaming

Budget of course is always a factor for anything in life, but today we especially want you to keep in mind not only how much money you’re willing to spend, but also need to spend. If you’re doing this for fun with some friends and/or family and want to share your experiences, you don’t need to get all crazy with microphones and extra gear. However, if you indeed want to start a serious channel and get going on a potential long-run of a streaming endeavor, we recommend making an investment since this is your number one priority — sound quality.

In our opinion, the type of microphone is something to keep in mind as well. For streaming in particular, we recommend condenser microphones, because they offer the clearest quality for ‘recording environments’. This is due to their internal builds and sensitivity that focus on capturing detail as opposed to other types of mics that may concentrate on picking up sound while also rejecting outside ambient noise. With a condenser, you’ll have to be wary of your environment and that there isn’t any unwanted noise that will leak into the mix. We also recommend looking into USB microphones since they’re becoming more and more popular today and advancing in quality. Otherwise, you can grab a ‘traditional condenser’ which entails an ‘XLR connection’, but with that you’ll need some additional gear to power them up.

Speaking of additional gear, we lastly want you to keep in mind what else you’ll need to spend some money on. We’re talking headphones, audio interfaces, microphone pop filters, mic stands, cables, sound proofing (if you want to get nuts), and more. We did include a microphone package down below but just one, so that guide may interest you if you want to find a package that will get you extra gear and save money at the same time.

The best streaming microphones

Blue Yeti Pro

The best microphone for streaming

Up first, our best microphone for streaming comes to be the The Blue Yeti Pro, a versatile, high-resolution USB and XLR true dual system microphone. This mike is designed to capture 24 bit/ 192 Khz sound quality on your desktop and channel them to your professional studio recording equipment. It comes with four different pattern settings and three custom condenser capsules. The output of the Yeti Pro is highly detailed and sharp and is therefore great for different recording scenarios such as studio, home, or even in other streaming environments you may find yourself in.

Considering that it produces a high-quality audio output, this type of microphone is used by the world’s top streamers — we guarantee you more often than not even the biggest streamers have used or have heard of the Yeti Pro before. It has a reputable design that is engineered to deliver rich and quite detailed sound from podcasts, music projects, game streaming, and voice overs. It comes with an adjustable design so that you can position the mike in the best placement possible with the little stand, otherwise you can convert it to a traditional studio microphone and place it on a mic stand if that’s what you fancy. It’s four pattern settings are omnidirectional, bi-directional, stereo and cardioid. It is worth noting that it is a zero latency microphone, making the Blue Yeti Pro one of the best microphones for streaming on the planet.

Apogee MiC Plus

Another one of the best streaming microphones

This is another studio quality USB microphone that offers various connectivity options for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac devices or just your normal PC if you stream cross-platform. It is engineered to record any sound you want and produce a solid quality output. It comes with a professional cardioid condenser microphone capsule and makes use of a pure digital connection that gives it a pure sound quality of up to 24 bit / 96kHz audio resolution (not quite as high as the Yeti Pro but it’s cheaper so you can choose what’s worth it). It is also designed with a digitally controlled 46dB microphone preamp gain for greater precision and power.

When it comes to connectivity, you just plug it in and start recording with no configuration required. The Apogee MiC Plus size is ideal as it can fit in your pocket for easy portability. Its high-sensitive capsule gives it a wide dynamic range that captures any streamer out there. The sound produced is great for the cost; however, compared to the Yeti Pro some may say it isn’t “as good” in regards to sound quality, but it’s just about 92 kHz you’re missing. The smaller size and compatibility with other devices may attract you to this instead. The ability to record from any environment makes this microphone an ideal choice for streaming.

Audio-Technica AT2020

A great condenser mic for streaming

This is another great model we are going to put in our basket of best streaming microphones. First, it is engineered using consistent high-quality standards that set it apart from other microphones within its class. It makes use of a low mass diaphragm, which is dedicated to handling the superior transient response and extended frequency response. It also has a rugged construction design, which makes it a durable and long-lasting asset for your studio.

The Audio-Technica AT2020 offers a wide dynamic range, and it is good at handing high sound pressure with ease. With its great versatility, it is ideal for streaming as well as for home and studio project applications. Its element is made of a fixed charge black plate with a permanently polarized condenser, while the polar pattern is the cardioid type. The frequency response range is between 20 to 20,000 Hz with a sensitivity of –37 dB. Most people who have bought and reviewed it simply say that it is durable and easy to use with a great sound quality. Most who have tried it do not hesitate to recommend it to a friend especially considering the budget-friendly price. Just another one of our favorite picks as the best streaming microphone in the market.

Rode NT1-A

Another one of our favorite streaming microphones by Rode

The Rode NT1-A is one of our favorite condenser microphones ever, and in our opinion worth every cent you spend when buying. What makes it an ideal microphone for streaming? Well, to begin with, it is an industry standard that is capable of delivering the required extended dynamic range with clarity used in studios across the world. It is not affected by external noise and has a 5 dBA self-noise level. This makes it one of the best studio streaming microphones as it is very quiet yet with a great amount of sensitivity to capture great detail in your voice.

With the low self-noise, it is a perfect vocal microphone for many applications within the home, studio or any other studio recording environment. It comes in a large 1” capsule design with a gold-plated diaphragm and a cardioid polar pattern. It is also engineered with an externally biased true condenser and an internal capsule shock mounting. It comes with a 10 year extended warranty when you register the microphone. With such a warranty, this Rode NT1-A is definitely worth checking out.

Rode NT-USB

The best streaming microphone if the other USB mics weren't your thing

The Rode NT-USB can be another great choice for streaming in the higher-end USB microphone category. It is a versatile studio quality USB microphone designed with a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack for handling zero latency monitoring. We’ve seen it used for various applications such as instrumentation, streaming, song recording, voice-overs, and podcasting.

This versatile microphone is readily compatible with the majority of mainstream recording applications for Mac OS and Windows based PC. Using GarageBand or Rode Rec, you can connect it to an Apple iPad, although you will be required to use a USB connection adapter. What will be included in the box is a tripod desk stand, pop shield, ring mount, USB cable and storage pouch. The active electronics used in the Rode NT-USB are a JFET impedance converter with a bipolar output buffer and a 16 bit 48 kHz A/D converter, making it another streaming microphone gem.

Blue Bluebird

Blue's condenser microphone to stream with

Half way through our guide, now, If you are looking for the best microphone for streaming and need a super high-end traditional condenser, you should take a look at the Blue Bluebird. From the same creators of the Yeti, this is a large diaphragm studio condenser microphone that delivers modern crystal clear sound. Its 20dB pad and high pass filter makes it ideal for capturing the true tones of your voice. It produces excellent extended upper clarity, smooth mid frequencies and rich lows. It is engineered using the latest technology with refined Sonics and versatile switches.

This streaming microphone has a gold sputtered Mylar diaphragm that gives it the ability to produce superior resonance even at high frequencies. It also comes with a sculpted rear black plate that guarantees a balanced sound output. An onboard switchable 100 Hz high pass filter has also been included. The Blue Bluebird is a great choice for your streaming microphone needs and is definitely high-end and more advanced than others, so we only recommend this for those who are serious about their streams and want a long-term investment here.

Focusrite SCARLETT Studio

A different spin to streaming if you need more than a streaming mic

This may be the choice that you need to complete your home recording studio and streaming setup. As stated previously, we included a package in here to give you some options, as this is one of our favorite bundles that includes more than just a microphone for streaming. It makes use of a USB audio interface and comes with a CM25 large, durable diaphragm condenser plus a three meter XLR mic cable and stand clip. Background noise is blocked by the closed back headphone design. The Focusrite SCARLETT Studio is a great package for streaming as it has extremely low latency and gives you headphones if you’re in need of those as well.

The two natural sounding Scarlett preamps included in the interface provide it with an even gain. The frequency range response of the Focusrite SCARLETT Studio is 20 Hz – 20 kHz with a plus or minus of 0.25dB. It is easy to use and beautifully designed with high-quality, clear sound. Those who have bought it describe it as having amazing quality for the right price, and most say they would definitely recommend it to others especially if you’re in a lower-budget setting such as a home studio or a starter streaming setup. You cannot go wrong with all these features when looking for a microphone for streaming and want to save some money on extra gear as well.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

The AT2020 but in USB form for streaming

Looking at the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+, you will find it is great for the price. Some even count it among the best streaming microphone for the studio or even a simple home environment. It comes equipped with a USB output and is engineered to capture acoustic audio or music in a true digital way. It is compatible with your favorite recording software. This mike can be used by voiceover artists, streamers, field recorders, songwriters, singers, podcasters, and home studio recorders.

It is designed with a built-in head phone jack equipped with volume controls. It is thus possible to monitor and control the mic signal with no delay. You can also blend pre-recorded audio with microphone input using the mix controls. Its internal components are engineered in a perfect way to ensure that voice reproduction is high quality. The production process follows reliable standards that have been used to come up with this long-lasting Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ microphone.

Blue Snowball iCE

The best microphone for streaming if you're on a budget

Perhaps this is what you have been looking for—a streaming USB microphone that lets you just plug and play without even the need to install drivers at a super low price. Even with this simplicity, expect to get the some great high-quality sound for streaming and recording. It is engineered with a customized cardioid condenser capsule that allows it to produce decent quality, clear audio that rival others in the USB mic game.

The system requirements for both Windows and Mac are quite minimal. For Windows you will require: Windows 7, 8, 10, USB 1.1/2.0 (or newer) and 64MB RAM (or higher). For Macintosh you will need Mac OSX (10.4.11 or higher), USB 1.1/2.0 and 64 MB RAM (minimum). It comes with an adjustable stand, making it easier to change the direction. The sleeker size is also great for those may need to travel or simply take it to different streaming environments you’ll find yourself in. The Blue Snowball iCE is also readily compatible with your favorite software and another great pick as the best microphone for streaming if you needed something simple that does one job — capture audio without a huge price tag.

AmazonBasics Portable USB Condenser Microphone

The last pick as the best microphone for streaming in the market

Last but not least, it seems as if Amazon is making everything these days. However to our surprise, we have a great mic here that’s a super (and we mean, super) low-priced option to end our guide on mics for streaming here. This is portable USB condenser mike that is ideal for streaming. This is because it has an excellent high quality sound when recording. It is quite good for various uses such as streaming, podcasting, voice-overs, recording, instruments, vocals, and home movies. Its sound pick is omnidirectional, so it is able to pick from any direction. Another good thing about this mic is that it is plug-and-play. No need for drivers—you just connect and start recording.

It is compatible with a wide range of computer operating systems such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Vista, Windows 8 and the other higher versions. It will work with Mac OS as well as Linux based systems. It is designed to clip easily onto a laptop with a secure placement. For storage or portability, you can rely on its travel friendly carrying case. Most importantly with this model however is it’s ability to fold into a nearly wallet-sized, travel-friendly shape. The AmazonBasics USB will be a great choice with an affordable price for your streaming needs.

The Top 10 Best Audio Interfaces for the Money

Here's an in-depth guide and review of the best audio interface models in the market

Buying the best audio interface is going to help solidify both the power and overall capabilities of your studio, regardless if you’re a professional, semi-pro or even beginner starting to build your new home recording studio. For continued readers of our website, we’ve been able to help many when it comes to choosing which microphones are best; however, we have frequently mentioned the importance and necessity of phantom power and audio interfaces in our studio — not only for recording vocals with our mics but various instruments as well. Due to this, we wanted to create a guide to help those looking to power up their beloved music gear and instruments and get that sound quality we’ve always wanted. Cue in the best audio interfaces, and today we compiled some of our favorites to recommend you.

What is an audio interface?

An audio interface is a device that’s meant to provide power, processing, effects (some, at least), and organization of your many recording devices into one. They act as an ‘external sound card’ if you will, since they’re a lot more powerful, higher in quality, and merely overall better than the sound cards built-in to your computers, regardless if you’re on a PC or Mac. Depending on how you listen to your audio, whether it be studio monitor speakers or studio headphones, most also have outputs to handle this gear in order for you to track and monitor your recordings. Some even provide MIDI ins and outs to allow your keyboards and other controllers to run more smoothly in the recording process (and keep it all organized, too).

In our opinion, one of the biggest and most important parts of an audio interface is the help with the issue of latency. If you’ve ever attempted to record before, whether vocals, guitar or other instruments while going straight into your computer, we’re sure you’ve noticed a slight ‘delay’ — which is one of the most annoying parts of recording and making music, in our opinion. How are we supposed to get that work flow going if we have to try to ‘guess’ when to start playing our gear? Since audio interfaces have are more advanced internal circuitry and overall build than computer sound cards, they can get greatly reduce this ‘lag’ or merely eliminate it altogether.

Selecting the best audio interface

Now that we’ve covered what they are, let’s look into how to buy the best audio interface for you. Since audio interfaces come in many different shapes, sizes and price-points, it’s going to depend on the reader’s needs which we have listed below.

  • Think of what exactly you’re looking to record and hook up to your audio interface. Not only as of today while you read this, but in the future as well. Do you only have one mic, a guitar and a MIDI keyboard? Sticking to a 2-in and 2-out with an XLR input for a condenser mic and MIDI inout will be quite feasible. Are you going to be recording entire bands? Look for more than 22. Perhaps a 66 will be best, or even a 44. Maybe you’re recording multiple microphones at once (the “at once” here is crucial — if it’s separately, you can always get away with just replacing the XLR with different mics as you go)? Look for more than one XLR input in your audio interface. Of course, these examples are subjective, and you may land somewhere in the middle, which we’ll leave up to you to see which is best.
  • What type of connectivity do you want? We have many, and a majority of audio interfaces, providing USB connection. Others (and more towards the expensive and advanced spectrum) can give us Thunderbolt (for Mac only, of course), and even some with FireWire if you want to go heavy. Your computer’s operating system and type will also dictate this decision as well, considering the ports are at times only compatible with the OS. USB of course will span in all directions, and will be best for uses such as in home studios.
  • How much are you willing to spend? The range of audio interfaces is huge, spanning from $100 to $,1000+. This will decide not only how many ins and outs you’ll be getting, but also the overall sound quality you’ll be able to possess for your recordings. For home studios, sample rates up to 24 Bit / 192 kHz will be fine and we wouldn’t recommend going any lower. The $1,000 models start to get into not only higher sample rates but more advanced internal processors, which are usually a concern for professional studios.

The top 10 best audio interfaces

Zoom TAC-2

Our pick as the best audio interface

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Up first we look at one our favorite models as the best audio interface, the Zoom TAC-2. The Zoom is a 2-in/2-out thunderbolt audio interface that is fairly easy-to-use – all features are controlled by one knob. It comes with a pair of XLR/TRS combo jacks in the back to hook up your mics, instruments, or line signals to the input, while also coming with a front input jack so you can add a guitar or bass without unplugging anything else. While you’re playing, the TAC-2 not only records, but it also has a neat feature that performs four times upsampling of your signal during the analog-to-digital and the digital-to-analog conversion – this means you get minimal aliasing noise and higher clarity. The TAC-2 features Apple’s thunderbolt connectivity — 5 times faster than USB 3.0 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0 – which is why it is considered one of the best audio interfaces in the market today. If you need something that is fast, relatively stable, and bus-powered, then the Zoom TAC-2 is your best bet.

Apogee ONE

Another one of our picks as the best audio interface

See pricesreviews: US | UK

Next, we have the Apogee ONE, which is one of the best audio interfaces on the go gigs or smaller home studios on a budget. The Apogee ONE is an all-in-one 2-in/2-out portable, USB interface that provides you with everything you need to record – simply connect a microphone, guitar or use ONE’s built-in omnidirectional microphone to capture your music (definitely don’t rely on it for major recordings — you should have a condenser for that). The ONE 2-in/2-out configurations also let you record with a microphone (built-in or external) and a guitar at the same time. It also uses its AD/DA conversion and mic preamp technology to produce solid music, podcast, or voice-over recordings while also still giving you studio quality sound to your headphones for accurate mixing and/or hi-fi listening. The Apogee ONE is compatible with GarageBand, Logic Pro X or any core audio application (Mac or iOS). It comes in two models: ONE for Mac or ONE for iPad or MAC – choose whichever you please.

Focusrite Scarlett 6i6

An extremely famous audio interface for recording

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Here we feel the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6, one of the best audio interfaces for multi-instrumentalist, producers, and small bands. The Scarlett 6i6 is a 6-in/6-out USB audio interface that features 4 analogue inputs with 2 built-in Scarlett mic preamps, 4 analogue outputs and 2 separate headphone outputs – there is no shortage of ins and outs with the Focusrite. The 6i6 model spits out sample rates up to 192 kHz with their solid converters – you will have studio-grade sound you can take anywhere. With MIDI I/O as well as two channels of S/PDIF I/O on top of it all, the Scarlett 6i6 is an ideal foundation for home or project studios that may need to expand in the future, giving us a great curve for growth. For build, it has a rugged metal unibody design that is relatively good for recording on the go or lasting a long time sitting snug in your studio. The Scarlett 6i6 comes bundled with “Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack,” as well as “Albeton Live” lite recording software and a suite of software and samples so you can start recording right away. The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 is also compatible with all major DAWs on MAC and PC. Just keep in mind there are many interfaces available in the Scarlett series — 2i2, 4i4, and more, all tailored depending on your needs.

Steinberg UR12

Another solid interface to keep in mind, especially if you're on a budget

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Next we will look at the Steinberg UR12 – a 2-in/2-out USB 2.0 model that is considered to be the best audio interface due to a combination of sound quality, portability, and a fairly low price compared to others in this guide. The phantom-powered UR12 is built with a convenient loopback function which is specifically designed for home studio recording, podcasting and other internet streaming applications. The UR12 also features a “Class A D-Pre” microphone preamp with inverted Darlington circuits which provide relatively smooth and detailed performance. The interface features a single microphone preamp with XLR input and a TRS line input, so you can track line-level with your headphones. In terms of quality, this audio interface supplies a 24-bit/192kHz A/D resolution – you won’t have to compromise sound with this bad boy. It also has line level RCA outputs for you to hook up your studio monitors. The Steinberg UR12 is one of our more economically priced interfaces, and if you’re a budget shopper, then this might be your best option.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII

An extremely powerful audio interface by UA

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At the middle point of our guide, we have one of our high-end audio interfaces, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII. The MKII is a highly-rated, 10-in/6-out thunderbolt interface for Mac, with two analog inputs, four analog outputs, and eight channels of ADAT input – each of them serve their own specific purpose when it comes to connectivity. The Universal MKII features a AD/DA conversion for fairly good sound, and 4 built-in UAD “SHARC” processors for giving you a true representation for tracking or mix-down. The thunderbolt configuration of the interface provides you with low latency and huge bandwidth for higher sample rates (24-bit/192kHz) and track counts. The compact design of the MKII make it pretty versatile, as it suitable for mobile recording, mixing outside of your studio, and performing live. The Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII sits on the higher price-point of our guide, and serves as one of the best audio interfaces for people with a larger budget looking for a thunderbolt-based model that will really up the ante when it comes to your recordings and quality of music.

MOTU UltraLite-MK3

MOTU's highly rated model to buy

View pricereviews: US | UK

Up next we have another one of our favorite picks as the best audio interface for people searching for a model with multiple types of connectors. The MK3 features both USB 2.0 and FireWire connectivity – when you use FireWire, your UltraLife will get all the it needs from your computer, and when you’re connected via USB, you can use the included power adapter for full functionality. The MOTU features 24-bit /192 kHz rate with a number of inputs and outputs: two microphone preamps plus 6 line-level 1/4” (TRS) inputs and 10 analog TRS outputs – so in total, you have a 10-in/14-out interface. It also comes with a stereo S/PDIF digital I/O, a stereo headphone output, and a MIDI I/O for a controller or other equipment. The MK3 also comes with built-in effects and DSP routing, in which you can dial in your headphone mixes without draining your computer. It can also serve as a pretty steady standalone mixer due to the DSP mixer and onboard effects – in case you ever want to just jam out without taking your laptop. The Motu UltraLite-MK3 also sits on the higher price-point, but with the features and sound it provides, it is great for the price.

RME Fireface UC

One of the best audio interfaces for professionals

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The RME Fireface UC is another high-end model, which has 2 digitally controlled microphone preamps, ADAT, and S/PDIF, and a whopping total of 18 input/output channels plus MIDI I/O – making this one of the best audio interface options for a small to medium-sized band or semi-pro studios. The Fireface UC has a solid cross-platform performance, which means that it works well on both Windows and Mac operating systems. It has a built-in “RME Hammerfall” core that provides relatively low latency, even with multiple channels. The unit’s operating mode can be switched to “Win” or “Mac” at any time if need be. The Fireface UC features RME analog and digital circuitry that provides active jitter suspension, stand-alone functionality and utter control from the front panel, flexible I/Os, and a very solid 648-channel matrix router. The digital ADAT I/O gives you digital connection to mixers and converters which is important if you want to track correctly. The RME Fireface UC is our priciest model, but in this case, with price comes unmatched quality.

Apogee ELEMENT 24

A rather expensive interface but amazing power and capabilities here

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Here we have another Apogee model, the ELEMENT 24. The Apogee ELEMENT 24 is one of the best audio interfaces if you record on Mac with one or two inputs a time. It is a thunderbolt 10-in/12-out audio interface that is rather cost-effective when comparing it to other thunderbolt models on the market. The ELEMENT 24 features 2 front-panel mic/line/instrument inputs on combi connectors, 2 rear-panel balanced XLR outputs, a 1/4” stereo headphone out, and word clock I/O. It also comes with 2 Apogee on-board mic preamps with selectable phantom power. For even more flexibility, the ELEMENT 24 has an optical I/O with ADAT (8×8), SMU (4×4), and SPDIF (2×2) compatibility. The thunderbolt drivers deliver a relatively low-latency performance (1.41 ms), along with solid stability. The driver also draws less CPU power ranks which lets you run more plug-ins and monitor through your DAW at lower buffer settings. Lastly, the “Element Control” software of the Apogee ELEMENT 24 provides you with remote control of your hardware on your Mac or iPhone/iPad, giving this one a well deserved nod as the best audio interface. There are also a few more options available, such as the ELEMENT 46 or even 88 if you needed more plug-ins.

M-Audio M-Track II

Another one of the best audio interface picks for those on a budget

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Towards the end of our guide, we will look at M-Audio’s M-Track II, which is a low-profile interface that delivers simple plug-and-playability. The M-Track II is known to be one of the best audio interfaces for people who prefer something cheaper without many bells and whistles. The M-Audio is pretty flexible, as it offers the right connections for any instrument, from electric guitar to a phantom-powered condenser microphone. It equipped with a number of inputs: each channel offers a combined XLR and balanced 1/4” input – each of which attempt to give you the best result from any audio source. The M-Track has pretty solid zero-latency inline monitoring, in which the monitor mix knob adjusts the balance between the direct inputs and the playback from your computer software. It also comes with a nifty LED metering feature – multi-colored LED metering gives you instant feedback of your input levels. The solid metal chassis and low-profile design of the M-Audio M-Track II also make this a roadworthy model.

Lexicon Alpha

Our last pick for the best audio interface

See reviewsprice: US | UK

Last but not least, we have our most simple, price-friendly and final pick as the best audio interfacel, the Lexicon Alpha. The Alpha is a USB 2-in/2-out interface that combines an inexpensive price with portability to make it one of the best audio interfaces on the market. The Lexicon is a bus-powered interface that features 1 XLR microphone input, 2 TRS line inputs and 2 TRS & RCA line outs – the front panel has a high-z ¼” instrument input for direct to computer recording and a 1/8” high-powered headphone output for your headphones. The Lexicon Alpha can stream 2 channels of 44.1 or 48 kHz audio at either 16- or 24-bit resolution on both PC and Mac. It also comes with mono/stereo monitoring, as well as zero-latency direct/playback monitoring for delay-free overdubs while recording. The Alpha is also equipped with a “Lexicon Pantheon VST Reverb” plug-in which will give your recordings a very good sound for the price you are paying. If you’re looking for something low-cost, the Lexicon Alpha may be your option.

Shure MV5 Condenser USB Microphone Review

The Shure MV5 microphone reviewAll new from Shure is a series of microphones labeled the “MOTIV Digital Microphones”, and up first in our series of reviews is the MV5. When it comes to to microphones in general, we’re always excited when Shure announces a new release. Not to sound biased, but they’ve been making quality microphones for decades now — we just can’t help it. This particular mic is a condenser microphone with USB connectivity, stated to be ideal for recording vocals, acoustic instruments, and podcasts, but we can also see it used by merely any activity you may partake in when it comes to needing a USB microphone. The unit itself has a headphone jack built-in, volume control and DSP options as well. Let’s get into the details of the Shure Motiv MV5 Microphone.

Main features of the Shure MV5

  • Plug-n-play USB microphone
  • Small diaphragm
  • Cardioid condenser
  • Comes with metal stand
  • Three DSP modes
  • Headphone jack
  • Available in two colors
  • Transducer: Electret condenser (16 mm)
  • 24bit/ 48 kHz maximum sound quality
  • Frequency response: 20 to 20k Hz
  • Adjustable gain: Up to +36dB

Design and features

A solid USB microphone for a decent priceThe steel stand that comes with the mic can be unscrewed to unveil a quarter inch base, which can then be attached onto any compatible device, such as video cameras and the like. It’s also compatible with all iOS devices (all of the MOTIV microphones are — a huge plus as we see this trend becoming more popular as time goes on). As seen in the photo, you don’t need to use the stand at all — when unscrewed, it resembles a metal ball that can be placed anywhere near you or your instruments. This is comparable to the Blue Snowball mics that are so popular in the market at the moment. It’s great for versatility or keeping it in a needed position that may be a bit awkward with the stand still attached.

There is also three buttons on the back we found super convenient to access. You can play around with three DSP modes. You get a flat, acoustic, and vocal option. When pressed, they illuminate on top — there’s one for instrument, voice, and flat mode.

On the bottom of the microphone itself is also a headphone jack which is also pretty easy to access. This is great for real-time monitoring if you need some immediate feedback. The USB port is also on the bottom of the unit here — no complaints when it comes to the build or placement of buttons and features, so a great job by Shure in terms of the overall design.

Overall build and stability

The build of the MV5 mics are quite well-made. No cheap materials here — it’s not a mic you’d buy at a local electronics store just to get some audio into your PC or phone. When we played with it at the show we were impressed. It’s not quite on the level of the beloved Blue Yeti USB mics, but it comes pretty close in our opinion.

If you’re buying this for recording vocals or instruments into your PC for some music-making, keep in mind that it’s nowhere near a professional condenser microphone. As you’d expect, those cost a lot more money but they’re a lot higher in terms of audio quality, build, and power in general. Not that the MV5 won’t get the job done, but it’s more recommended for those in a home studio and are working with a budget.

Since the stand is detachable, we’d rate this mic pretty high in terms of being portable. However, it doesn’t come with a case, and although that isn’t necessarily expected, if you travel a lot you’ll need to merely place it wrapped in a towel or somewhere safe — we wouldn’t risk just throwing it in a box.

Sound quality

The black version of the MV5The sound quality of USB microphones have come a long way. So when we call the Shure MV5’s sound quality average, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Coming in at a maximum sample rate of 24bit/ 48 kHz, it will get the job done, but won’t give you professional studio-quality sound. You’ll definitely need a traditional XLR condenser microphone that requires phantom power for a more powerful, warmer sound.

The recommended applications for this mic fit the build when it comes to the audio quality. Just keep in mind that we’re not saying the quality is bad, it just is what it is — and in all honesty, pretty good considering the price.

The final verdict on the Shure MV5 microphone

A solid condenser USB mic under 100 bucksWe love the MV5 if it fits your needs. When it comes to USB condenser mics, there’s a decent difference in models as you go up in price point. We have a feeling this model will fall under one of the best under $100. Only time will tell and as we use it for a longer period of time we will be able to report to you the longevity of it. But as of now, it’s a great investment for musicians in home studios looking to add an affordable microphone to their setup, if you do pod casts, need an external microphone for gaming, or partake in conference calls online.

What separates the MV5 from the Blue Yeti (one of the most popular USB microphones in the market, hence why we compare many models to it), is the fact that the stand can be removed to add some versatility to your setup. Whether or not this is important is up to you, but in our opinion it really doesn’t hurt. You can also read our Shure MV51 Large-Diaphragm Microphone review for a higher alternative, and at only a few dollars cheaper with a larger mic, it may be another option for you.

All in all, the Shure MV5 Condenser USB Microphone is a solid solution for those who need an affordable USB microphone that gives you some versatility. It’s especially attractive to those who are looking for a decent-quality mic to attach to their iOS device. Time will tell on the longevity, but in terms of the immediate use, this thing isn’t a cheap mic whatsoever.

The Top 10 Best Microphones for Vlogging

We roundup our picks for the best vlogging microphones for the money

The world of vlogging is an amazing one, filled with many opportunities to not only share our thoughts, beliefs and lives with the world, but can also make quite a career if we’re able to stick with it. We know many successful vloggers out with there who do this full-time; however, without the proper gear, we just won’t be able to provide the standard most people watching our vlogs expect nowadays. Today we looked at some different solutions to recording our audio and compiled this list of the best vlogging microphones in the market. Below is our checklist to read through first in order to get a better feel for what exactly you need to step up that vlogging game.

Finding the best vlogging microphone

First thing is first — how are you filming your vlog? This question when becoming a vlogger will ultimately coincide with our next question below, but to summarize, what you’re using to capture your video will deter you in a specific direction for a microphone. If you haven’t grabbed your video camera yet, we highly recommend a DSLR camera or mirrorless camera, but that isn’t a must, per se.

What type of microphone? Now we’ll get into the big details for the different types of mics we have in here. As stated earlier, if you haven’t gotten your video camera yet, you’ll have some flexibility. Otherwise, this will definitely pinpoint your search.

  • USB microphones: These are preferred by vloggers who stay stationary in a room with a computer. Whether you’re recording with a web cam or exterior camera on a tripod, this is great for super clear quality as long as the microphone is positioned properly and you’re not going to be moving around a lot (ie: staying seated in your chair or standing by a green screen). When it comes down to it however, we only recommend USB mics for those who are doing something such as streaming or types of vlogs that don’t entail video cameras, otherwise a shotgun mic (camera mic) below will be better.
  • Camera microphones: These are microphones literally attached to your camera that typically point at you like a “shotgun mic“. These are more optimal than USB mics for those standing in a  chair or using a green screen in a room (reviewing products or speaking about something). They’re also perfect for those out in the field filming everyday life vlogs (where you’ll be walking around or engaging in an activity and you have a camera person following you). The only catch here is you’ll have to buy a compatible camera — DSLR or mirrorless cameras, and those can cost a pretty penny.
  • Lavalier microphones: Another spin to a vlogging microphone here that spans across multiple uses. “Lav mics” are those small little hand-sized mics that clip on to either your shirt or somewhere else non-intrusively to your body. They’re great for interviews or any vlogging that you’d like to keep versatile, especially if you don’t have somebody to film you and you have to capture it all yourself.
  • Handheld recorders: These are a bit different from all of the others, and are actually separate devices for recording audio. You can either stand them up with a little tripod near you, lay them flat on a desk, chair or floor, or carry them around with your hand and record as you go. We’d only recommend these if you aren’t filming and doing vlog audio only, or are super concerned with audio quality (since these blow all other mics out of the water when it comes to resolution — but don’t get us wrong, all mics are feasible and many audiences won’t be able to “tell”).
  • Smart device microphones: Last but not least, as technology continues to grow, more and more vloggers are using their smart devices to record their sessions. Whether you’re on a iOS, Android or even tablet, these little mics connect to the lighting connector or compatible input. We’d still recommend using a real video camera and grabbing a previous microphone type listed before, but if you’re on a strict budget and want to get going right away or feel smart devices are best for your vlogging adventures, be our guest. We listed our favorite one at the end.

The top 10 best microphones for vlogging

Blue Yeti

Our favorite pick as the best microphone for vlogging

Buy in US | UK

To begin, we will start with the Blue Yeti, one of our favorite USB mics in the world today. It serves as one of the best vlogging microphones for those who will be remaining stationary and want a mic that is versatile, as the Yeti can be adequately used for all applications or environments within an enclosed area. In terms of the features, this is a multi-pattern model that captures a very solid 16-bit/48 kHz audio resolution response. It is designed with a ‘tri-capsule’ technology and 4 different pattern settings – cardioid, omnidirectional, stereo, and bi-directional – all of which can be simply switched between depending on how you want to record your audio. The capsule technology is made to deliver crisp, detailed sound, while coming with studio controls like headphone volume, instant mute and microphone gain for giving vloggers hands-on controls as to what they’re recording. The Yeti is designed with a zero-latency 3.5mm headphone jack that allows users to monitor and listen to what the microphone is picking up in real-time without any delays. The vlogging microphone is also simple to use – just plug the Yeti into your computer’s USB port with the USB cable included, sync and you’re ready to record. The Blue Yeti is reasonably priced, and can be a good option if you need a microphone with USB compatibility, whether you’re staying stationary in your chair and filming or streamingnarrating something that doesn’t involve a video camera.

Rode VideoMic Pro

The best vlogging microphone if you have a DSLR

Buy in US | UK

The next model we will talk about is the Rode VideoMic Pro, which is a super-cardioid condenser mic that is one of the best microphones for vlogging for users looking for a shotgun-style mic as previously listed. The Rode combines its shotgun design with an added “Rycote Lyre” shockmount that does a good job at isolating the mic capsule and electronics from any rumble that vibration can cause. For example, if you’re a travel vlogger, a lot of sounds and audio from the people/environment can cause some unwanted ambiance or vibration, but with the Rycote shockmount, you can minimize that issue. Coming with a 1/2” condenser capsule that delivers broadcast-quality sound, the VideoMic Pro is a true shotgun mic that is ideal for audio capture with camcorders (make sure they have a connector), DSLRs, and other compatible portable video recorders. The Rode sports a low self-noise of just 14dB, which is very good for the price, while also being fitted with an 1/8” TRS connector that outputs the mono signal to both the left and right of channels of your camera or recorder. If you’re searching for a mic for outdoor vlogging or an indoor solution that attaches to your camera, the Rode VideoMic Pro might be your best option as the best vlogging microphone.

Audio-Technica ATR3350

A great lavalier microphone for vloggers

Buy in US | UK

Here we have our most affordable lavalier model, the Audio-Technica ATR3350. The Audio-Technica is one of our lav-styled mics that will be the best vlogging microphone for our budget and versatility conscious shoppers. The ATR3350 is a newscaster-style mic that is designed with an omnidirectional capsule to pick up accurate voice reproduction from every direction. Although it’s pretty small, it still features a solid frequency response of 50 – 18,0000 Hz and a max SPL (sound pressure level) of up to 54 dB – both of which are great when considering the price and size of the ATR3350. It comes with a dual-mono 1/8” output plug for video cameras, along with DSLR, or a handheld video recorder’s (yes, works with some smart devices too — just double-check the compatibility depending on what you’re using) stereo 1/8” input to record audio on both the left and right channels. The Audio-Technica also comes with a clip for the mic – combine that with the low-profile design making for minimum visibility. The Audio-Technica ATR3350 is a strong option as the best microphone for vlogging for someone who needs something that is inexpensive and low-profile.

Apogee MiC 96k

Another great USB microphone for vlogging

Buy in US | UK

The Apogee MiC 96k is one of the best microphones for vlogging that is both small and low-profile, rivaling the Blue Yeti as a solid USB mic option to vlog with. It is a professional studio quality cardioid condenser microphone that can be directly connected to your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Windows computer. The mic itself is pretty small in size – about as big as an iPhone. With the “PureDIGITAL” USB connection, the Mic 96k is able to easily capture your best takes with solid quality, and you can take it anywhere – hiking, sporting events, festivals, you name it. It isn’t necessarily the easiest to take in the field (especially compared to a camera mic or even lav), but it can get the job done if you’re concerned with audio quality (it has some of the best in here at 96k, hence the name). The Apogee’s cardioid polar pattern design is specifically designed for capturing vocal and acoustic recordings – this will be good option for concerts if that’s what you fancy, but not limited to. It has a steel mesh housing on the actual microphone capsule, as a well as a die-cast zinc body to give it long-lasting durability throughout your travels. The Apogee Mic 96k offers a reliable sound and compact, portable design for a bargain of a price.

Zoom H1

The best vlogging microphone if you're out in the field

Buy in US | UK

Here we’ll take a look at the Zoom H1, one of the best vlogging microphones for users who need something that is handheld and on the lower price-point. The Zoom H1 is a pocket-sized handheld recorder that can be used in pretty much all audio applications that video blogging demands. The H1 is powered by a single AA battery, supplying up to 10 hours of recording – pretty solid for just using a one battery and can be switched out in case you need even longer. The Zoom has a pair of pro-quality XY stereo condensers built-in, which means you don’t have to plug-in your own mic, but it does come with a 1/8” input on side if you do. The Zoom H1 supplies up to 24-bit/96kHz PCM WAV format of recording – great for the price and size of it, which we think will be the number one factor when choosing this one. The H1 also features high SPL handling, recording options, and recording controls – coming with an “Auto Level” switch on the back for getting greater sound, and a similar “Lo Cut” switch to reduce handling and wind noise. It comes with a 2GB microSD memory card, while also having the storage capacity of up to 32GB. The Zoom H1 is perfect for vloggers looking for something low-profile that supplies solid recording functions at a very manageable price if you don’t mind the way you’ll have to use it. You will also have to sync up the audio with your footage in post-production.

Sennheiser MKE 400

Another great microphone for vlogging if you want it on your camera

Buy in US | UK

Now we’ll dive into the Sennheiser MKE 400, a super cardioid shotgun microphone with a compact design that is one of the best microphones for vloggers who prefer to use on-camera mics and the previous Rode pick wasn’t your thing (this is also a bit cheaper). The MKE 400 is relatively small as it is designed to mount on cameras with a lighting shoe mount and an external mic input – albeit it’s small, the MKE 400 can be suitable for nearly all professional applications. The mic can fit comfortably anywhere, and it has a run time of 300 hours from a single AAA battery which is very good. The MKE 400’s lobar mic has a frequency response between 40Hz and 20kHz and a max SPL of up to 126 db – both of which are very solid for the price. The mic’s side noise rejection and switchable sensitivity will make life easier for video recording. The MKE 400 also has a shockmount built-in so you won’t have to worry about handling noise when capturing audio and video. The Sennheiser MKE 400 is another one of the best microphones for vlogging for someone who needs a do-it-all mic with a rugged design.

Rode smartLav+

Another amazing lavalier microphone for vlogs

Buy in US | UK

Up next we have another lavalier mic with a bit higher quality than the previous A-T pick, which is one of the best vlogging microphones for smartphones, tablets or cameras who want the mic on their body. The smartLav+ is designed with an omnidirectional condenser capsule to pick up sounds from all directions, and also has a foam pop filter which helps eliminate vocal plosives you might get when interviewing people or talking yourself. Although the mic is tiny, it still has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, along with a max SPL 110db which is pretty great considering it’s 0.01 lbs. The Rode also comes with a pretty durable mounting clip that lets you attach the mic to lapels, tie, shirts, or any other locations – handy! The mic is also compatible with all audio apps that accept audio from headset inputs. The Rode smartLav+ is a lavalier style mic that lets you easily record broadcast-quality audio with a smart phone, so if you want to be a vlogger via phone and don’t have wiggle room in your budget, this mic will be the best vlogging mic choice for you.

Rode NT-USB

The best vlogging microphone if you'll be at your desk

Buy in US | UK

Moving on, we have another Rode model, the Rode NT-USB, which is one of the best microphones for vloggers who need a mic that is multipurpose, USB compatible, but not as mobile. The Rode is suitable for recording singing, musical performances, podcasts, and voice-overs to name a few. It is a studio-quality USB mic that is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS based platforms. The NT-USB features a zero-latency stereo headphone monitoring jack which lets you monitor the microphone input, along with adjust the monitoring level and mix between your audio source and the mic input. It also comes with a pop-filter that fits onto the base of the mic – positioning the filter the most efficient from the capsule helps minimize plosives during speech you may get during interviews or singing. The Rode NT-USB is pretty price-effective, and also comes with a mount, tripod stand, and storage pouch for beginning vloggers who don’t have any equipment or would like to use their mic for other applications as well, such as recording music, chats, gaming and more.

TASCAM DR-05

Another handy little recording device for vloggers

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Nearing the end of our guide, we have the budget-friendly TASCAM DR-05, a stereo recorder with built-in omnidirectional microphones. The DR-05 is about the size of your palm, so taking it anywhere will not be an issue. The TASCAM is capable of recording in MP3 formats of up to 320 kbps and in Broadcast WAV format of up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution. The pair of omnidirectional microphones supply relatively clear recordings, while also being able to handle sounds pressures up to 125dB – making the DR-5 one of the best vlogging microphones for live event recording like parades, festivals, or even concerts — environments with high background noise ultimately. The recorder features some pretty cool recording functions, such as ‘peak reduction’ which is for optimal for ambiance, and also has a self-timer that’ll delay the start of the recording for 5 to 10 seconds. It also has a limiter and low-cut filter to help prevent any sound distortion you may come across at live events. If you plan on doing some work at live events or just want a versatile handheld recorder solution, the TASCAM DR-5 might just be the best vlogging microphone for you if the previous Zoom wasn’t high-quality enough.

Zoom iQ6

For those on a smart device, this vlogging mic is awesome

Buy in US | UK

To finish, we have the Zoom iQ6 – a XY stereo recording mic that is one of the best microphones for vlogging specifically made for iOS devices. The Zoom is designed with a lightning connector, so all you have to do is just plug the lightning connector into the Apple device and BOOM – easy! The X/Y recording configuration is meant for covering wide areas while still capturing sound sources in the center with clarity, making the Zoom iQ6 ideal for live stereo recordings or really any type of vlogging you’ll be doing on your iPhone or tablet. The microphones on the Zoom can be switched between 90 and 120 degrees, allowing for more flexibility while recording – 90 degrees for a tightly focused image and 120 degrees for a wider image. The iQ6 also comes with separate controls for input gain and headphone output level. If you’re in search for a small microphone to bring with you to get going on those vlogs immediately instead of using a camera, the Zoom iQ6 is your guy, sporting the classic XY stereo configuration that is specially designed to capture ideal audio quality that blows your stock resolution out of the water.