Recording voice overs is a professional career for many, but without the proper microphone to capture the quality needed we’re essentially at a wash. As we’ve reviewed microphones for many years now, we’ve gotten a good hang of creating guides for particular uses, so today for our voice over microphone guide wanted to give you an array of choices that span across multiple microphone types, connectivity, budgets and more. We do recommend saving up some cash if your budget is still pretty low — voice overs mainly concern sound quality, which will translate into a decent price tag but to us is well worth the investment. Let’s take a look.
Checklist for the best voice over microphones
- Budget – An obvious main factor when keeping in mind any purchase, we do want to first note that when choosing the best voice over microphone for you, money will go a long way. Especially if you’re doing this as a career or at least a potential lifelong journey, saving up a few extra bucks to find a microphone that provides a feasible sound quality will stand you a part from others. Number one in the voice over game as we said is sound quality. Not having it is like an out of shape police offer — they exist, but are noticeable and fall off quickly, right?
- Type of microphone – We recommend a condenser microphone no matter what. It can be either USB connectivity or hooked up traditionally using an XLR port and cable. Our ultimate preference if we had to choose would be an XLR microphone due to the flexibility we’ll attain. USB mics are great for plug-n-play and ease of use, and many (which we recommend) come with amazing sound quality. However, having an XLR connection gives you the ability to find a middle man since they need an external device for phantom power. You can choose either a stand power supply, or what we love is either a microphone preamp or an audio interface. The benefits of these are unmatched and you simply do not get these with USB mics (you can’t hook up USB mics to audio interfaces or preamps) — you can adjust gain, add FX, and tweak your sound even further instead of relying on post-production in your music software. USB mics are still feasible, especially for those on lower budget.
- Need other gear? Just a microphone isn’t always enough. If you’re grabbing a USB microphone for voice overs, you can technically get away with just plugging it into a laptop or computer and you’re good to go. However, when we say “other gear”, we mean some equipment you may already have lying around or didn’t even know you needed, such as headphones, certain cables, audio interfaces or preamps, mic stands, shock mounts, pop filters and more. Keep this in mind not only for budget purposes, but also not wanting to get your microphone in the mail only to be found that you can’t even use it yet and have to buy more gear. We recommend a few microphone packages below if you want to look into buying more than just a microphone while also saving some money. Or you can shop for them all separately.
The best microphones for voice overs
Blue Yeti Pro
Up first we have an easy recommendation for many “audio quality” and “ease of use” concerns, combined with a beautiful build and relatively affordable price tag. The Yeti is now one of the most legendary USB microphones in the game and will be for quite some time in our opinion, but the ‘Pro’ version here is recommended for voice overs since it offers both USB as well as XLR connectivity and has some of the highest audio quality in a USB mic right now. The reason we recommend XLR to many voice over recording artists is due to the flexibility we attain, since we can plug it into either an external preamp or audio interface. Having an extra ‘middle-man’ like this can give us more freedom for tweaking the sound quality we attain, whether it’s adding FX, gain, additional EQ, or really a ‘feel’ and ‘sound’ that isn’t attainable straight into a computer using a USB port.
In regards to specs, the Yeti Pro gives us a beautiful and whopping 24-bit/192 kHz audio resolution, a built-in A-D converter (essentially a preamp) if you do indeed want the USB route, as well as four adjustable pattern settings available — cardioid (recommended for voice overs in a studio), omnidirectional, stereo, and bi-directional. These can come in handy if you want to use this microphone for other uses as well. This really just scratches the surface on this one, but our pick as the best voice over microphone definitely goes to the Blue Yeti Pro.
Here’s our favorite affordable studio-quality condenser microphone for voice overs or really, any type of recording you can think of when it comes to a warm and clear sound. This one typically comes in a microphone package that includes a pop filter and shock mount, so if you’re in need of extra gear this will be a decent bundle to buy (you may still have to buy a mic stand and perhaps a mic preamp or audio interface). With an extended dynamic range and high sound-pressure level tolerance, we won’t have to worry about a lack of depth and ability to handle the possibility of distortion. The inside includes what’s called a JFET impedance converter which is definitely fancy-sounding, but to put it simply, is a higher-quality inside build to ensure quality and conversion of your sound waves into your recordings.
We would prefer an XLR microphone like this as opposed to a desktop USB mic if you can afford it, but if not we’ll understand and ask you continue on later down the list for a cheaper alternative. At the end of the day however, the Rode NT1-A is a beautiful microphone that has a price-tag which still makes us scratch our heads at times. A great microphone for voice overs here, or any recording uses you can think of outside of that, too.
Let’s talk high-end for a second. Neumann is a fancy brand but has unmatched quality if your budget goes into the thousands — not many of you may apply here but for some, this one takes the cake by far as a professional and beautiful microphone for voice overs. Usually used for vocals in the studio, if you have this bad boy at your fingertips for voice overs, you’ll never have to worry about “quality” ever again. This is a lot smaller than many other “studio mics” but size with music and recording gear is never an indicator for anything. If anything it says this thing packs a powerful and advanced punch within a small body.
So what makes this voice microphone so much more expensive than the others? Without getting too technical, it’s all in the internal build (and external of course, considering we have a rugged casing made of metal with a nickel finish). The circuitry doesn’t include a transformer which aids in decreasing self-noise and increasing the SPL handling significantly. It also aids in feedback suppression. We could get into more details but for now, just know the Neumann TLM-103 is the real deal if you have a big budget.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio
Here’s a slightly different spin to a voice over microphone since it includes much more than that, but as previously stated, may be exactly what you need when it comes to saving money and finding the right additional gear you’ll need for a complete setup. The staplepoint of this package is Focusrite’s Scarlett 2i2 audio interface (we’re using this one at the moment), which is one of the most popular budget-friendly and starter audio interfaces in the world. It converts audio at 192 kHz and 24-bit, while having two ins for microphones (in case you do your voice overs with somebody else), and also a separate monitor and headphone knob on the interface itself for ease of use. The microphone itself is solid and will do a great job in a recording atmosphere, albeit isn’t necessarily an expensive and high-end condenser microphone we’ve listed previously. If you are in need of a feasible mic to record voice overs, their included CM25 is suitable even for those who do this for money.
The package lastly includes some of their HP60 closed-back headphones, which are great for noise isolation to disallow your mix from getting jumbled with noise. You may already have headphones, but make sure they’re suitable for recording, otherwise you’ll have sound leak into the mic and disrupt the mix. Overall, the Scarlet 2i2 Studio made it into our microphone packages at number one for a reason, and is a great solution for voice over recording artists if you needed more than just a microphone while saving some money on top of it.
Samson G-Track Pro
Half way through our guide of the best voice over microphones, we have another of our favorite USB mics in the market today. This one definitely rivals the Blue Yeti, but is slightly cheaper than their Pro in case you wanted a higher-end USB microphone while saving a few bucks. New for this year, the G-Track Pro offers a built-in desktop stand for those who prefer to do it on their desks (you can remove it), with some nifty controls on the actual mic itself as well — recording select switch (mono or two tracks), a polar pattern switch button, mic volume, instrument volume, headphone volume knob, as well as a master mute button.
Coming with a resolution of 24-bit/96 kHz for recordings, this is the higher-end range for USB’s nowadays, starting to rival pro condenser mics (not yet, however). It also has a ‘built-in’ audio interface, albeit not as effective as standalone interfaces, will save you some money if you prefer to just go straight through the mic to computer. The Samson G-Track Pro is just another great option for voice over artists looking to grab a USB microphone without the hassle of extra gear and don’t want to fiddle with an XLR input and external power source.
Avantone Pro CV-12
Are you concerned with not just having the clearest, most digital-sounding audio? Need some warmth and an old-school, vintage, and ‘warmer’ (yes, totally subjective terms, but that’s what many mic heads state) feel to your voice overs? Let’s chat about a classic tube microphone that’s one of our favorites ever. The CV-12 is still a studio microphone with an XLR connection that needs phantom power, but instead has a different inside build than many others in this guide. Tube microphones are very unique, and to summarize very quickly, entail an actual ‘tube’ in the inside which converts sound into data for our recordings. Many argue that this is purely subjective and ‘nonsense’, while others swear by it. We ultimately recommend you test the two types separately on your own to get a feel for what you want.
Regardless of what people ‘claim’, the CV-12 is still a solid mic, tube or not. It’s praised for its nine polar patterns, rugged build, sleek size, and of course, high quality sound. Grab the Avantone Pro CV-12 if you want to have a different sound than most.
Here’s another one of the most popular USB microphones in the game at the moment. It’s typically seen slightly cheaper than both the G-Track Pro and Yeti Pro, so if you’re able to sacrifice a slight decrease in audio resolution (but still with solid quality) and wanted to save a few bucks, we say go with this one by Audio-Technica. It has a lot of similarities to the others, too — built-in desktop stand to fit nicely on your office desk (you can definitely travel with this thing as well), mix and volume control, a headphone jack on the unit itself, as well as easy plug-n-play capabilities with no drivers needed (I mean, it is 2018).
The audio resolution hits up to 16-bit/48 kHz with its built-in A/D converter, so this will be feasible for many voice overs unless you’re in the professional realm, we still recommend a previously listed condenser mic with an XLR connection. The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is rated very highly by many customer reviews for a reason, and we love the overall quality it brings for a great price.
Let’s talk budget-friendly condenser microphones for voice overs. Coming in cheaper than most of the USB mics we’ve listed in here, the MXL 770 is a great solution for voice over pros who wanted a cheaper solution to a mic while still maintaining the flexibility of an XLR connection to use an interface or preamp. With a high-quality small-diaphragm and cardioid polar pattern, we have the necessary specs to be confident in having the right type of mic for our usage.
The sound in this one is very balanced and many have praised the overall quality to price-tag ratio we get with this purchase. There’s a nice bass frequency roll off switch which comes in handy for clarifying vocals that have a deeper tone to them, and also a nifty -10 dB attenuation switch for further customizing if you need to. Look at the MXL 770 if your budget is limited but you still want a great condenser as the best voice over microphone.
PreSonus AudioBox Studio
One more microphone package we wanted to recommend before our guide finishes up here. The AudioBox Studio is another heavy hitter in the bundle game aside from the Focusrite pick before in the list, and this particular package comes with a microphone (XLR), an audio interface (their beloved AudioBox), closed-back, over-ear headphones, and of course the necessary cables (XLR and USB to power the interface).
This is about fifty bucks cheaper than the 2i2 Studio, so in regards to saving money for a particular package for voice overs, this is your best bet. It’s for beginner to intermediate voice over artists who want to grab it all at once to not only save money but the hassle as well. We’re big fans of the PreSonus AudioBox Studio if it fits into your needs.
Blue Snowball iCE
Last but not least to end our list of the best voice over microphones, the Snowball iCE is a cheap USB mic with decent quality to look into if you weren’t wanting to spending a hundred bucks or more on your mic. Coming with a very sleek size and adjustable built-in mini tripod, this one is very travel friendly or can fit nicely in an existing office or laptop setup. The specs include a mini custom condenser capsule with a cardioid polar pattern, resolution of 16-bit/44.1 kHz (no, not as high as the others, but still feasible), and a small weight of about a pound.
This one just screams versatility, and although audio quality is definitely the number one component to voice overs, will still get the job done considering the price. We always recommend saving up as much as you can for a better resolution, especially if you’re doing this as a job or potential career; however, the Blue Snowball iCE is a great way to get your feet wet in the recording voice overs game.