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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.