When getting started with voice-over recordings, the budding audio producer may wonder what makes a great mic.
Here’s what you need to know before making a mic purchase.
There are two main things to consider.
The first is that for all of the tens of thousands of mic choices it’s important to remember that microphones are designed for different purposes. For example some are designed for use with a video camera, others are designed to record drums, and some are also created for specific musical instruments. For voice-over narrations you need one that is designed for spoken voice (which is NOT the same as a mic for singing voice.)
Here is the second consideration. When you are recording direct to your computer, you now have the choice of using a USB microphone rather than one that is designed to be connected to an amplifier and mixing console. The advantage of using a USB mic, is that a high quality sound card to convert the audio into a digital signal isn’t required. This is because you’re going directly into the computer with the audio signal.
Even with these two requirements there are still plenty of microphones to choose from. So let’s narrow the field a bit further. The best quality mics today continue to be made by microphone manufacturers. They have much more R&D to draw from, and in most cases many decades of experience at designing and producing great quality microphones.
Although you’ll find that many companies who manufacture computers accessories (for example a mouse or a webcam) are now producing headset mics (and the like), the best bang for your buck – and still the best quality, comes from manufacturers such as Rode, Shure, Samson, Electrovoice, AKG, Neumann, Marshall Electronics, and so forth. And the great news is that most of these manufacturers realize that there is a market for USB recording mics.