What’s in a microphone? Many voices over artists do not give it much thought as long as it can capture sound. However, it is time it dawned on you that the choice of a microphone impacts heavily on the direction your career takes. If you choose the best microphone voice over 2020, the number of bookings increases. If you settle for a crappy microphone that produces a tinny or muddy sound, your phone will go silent, and so will your pockets.
Getting a quality microphone is an investment for a voice-over artist. It is impossible to tell the quality of a microphone on face value. Even a look at the price tag will be deceitful. What then makes a good microphone for voice-over artists?
Microphones come with two significant types of connectivity. It may be a USB connected microphone or an XLR attached microphone. XLR connection microphones are professional and a bit complex to use. USB is a simple option and will fit makeshift studios- like recording from your laptop or phone using the software. The type of microphone will depend on the intensity of the project you are handling. A detailed look at the pros and cons of each kind of microphone will make it easier to understand.
- USB Microphone is a ready-to-use option with a short learning curve and comes at a modest price. It is a plug-in-play model, meaning that it does not require a complicated setup. It is affordable and does not need an external audio set unless you want to make the project a bit more complicated. However, by design, the microphone is a mid-range type that and produces limited voice quality. It is also designed for entry-level voice-over recording and might not fit into a professional set up. It works only on one computer or device and will, therefore, limit your work. Still, it is the best when recording at home, hotel, outdoors, or personal projects that do not require an elaborate studio setting.
- XLR Microphone- it is an upgradable versatile solution for professional recording. You will need additional gear like the XLR cable and an audio interface. This is a pro voice over a microphone having a broad spectrum of choices from cheap and straightforward mics to premium quality. It allows you to upgrade the parts as you build your studio. You can also record more channels or microphones simultaneously, helping you to cover more ground with the project in a shorter time. It is interoperable with other devices like camcorders and recorders as long as they have the XLR port. It comes at a premium price and will require investment in the audio interface. The cabling required to make it work will interfere with the aesthetics of your room.
Whether you settle for USB or XLR connectivity, you must safeguard the quality of your recording. Consider the recording environment and desired outcomes to avoid severe mistakes that would interfere with the potential of the recorded file.
A Condenser or Dynamic Mic?
Before looking at the best microphone voice over 2020, let’s first look at the two most common types of mic. They include: the Condenser and Dynamic varieties. Both will capture sound while transforming it into a pulse that is recorded into an audio file. Such is the operating principle that makes the two microphones different.
Now, let’s look at the principles behind these two types of mics and the advantage each has over the other, shall we?
- Dynamic mic– it is a universal type that is usable in different situations. It can be both small or massive, depending on personal preference and usage. Nevertheless, it should be sturdy and durable. The microphone smoothes voice imperfections, helping to improve the quality of your recording. It will isolate your voice in a noisy room, allowing you to work under challenging circumstances. It also does not require phantom power to operate. However, it has a narrower dynamic range from noise to quiet, meaning that it might limit your project. It also has proximity effects and is, therefore, suitable when speaking near the mic, like in a radio studio. It also comes with sensitivity issues. If you are recording at a noisy place or in a room without many acoustic fittings, this is the perfect mic to use.
- Condenser mic- it is designed for the studio and is considered a perfect voice-over microphone. It is more sensitive, has a more comprehensive dynamic range, and natural frequency response. However, the room requires more acoustic treatment. You might find it challenging to use without practice, and will best suit indoor spaces. Background noises like kids, dogs, and traffic, among others, will have to be taken care of before recording. It is also a fragile choice easily damaged by dust or moisture.
The significant difference is difficult to tell with your eyes. However, it might be too late if you have to wait for the results of the recording. However, the condenser mic captures sound using capacitors while the dynamic mic uses an induction coil.
A diaphragm is the part of a microphone that captures sound. The traditional preference for voice-over artists was a microphone with a large-diaphragm because it produced richer sound. However, other discoveries have provided microphone options for voice-over artists.
- A small diaphragm is built for low-mid to high frequencies and can withstand a lot of pressure from sound frequency. It is used for the little directional microphones because it can easily keep away sound. Such a mic is smaller in size and can capture up to 120db sound. It is, however, less sensitive and has issues with low frequencies.
- Large-diaphragm microphones– it is capable of capturing all voice frequencies. It will produce a warm and deep voice without post-recording processing. It has a more comprehensive dynamic range between soft and loud voice and better sensitivity. However, it can only come in a large size. It is also fragile and might distort the voice if you speak too close to the microphone.
The diaphragm is one of the most sensitive considerations. Evaluate your recording environment and the desired outcomes to determine the best microphone options. Luckily, each microphone will suit a particular environment. It means that your recording needs will have been met.
A microphone pattern refers to the direction from which your microphone can record sound. The sensitivity features determine the focus incorporated during manufacture.
There are five patterns to consider, based on your recording environment. They include:
- Cardioid pattern– It records direct sound and sound coming from the sides. It does not capture sound coming from the back of a microphone. It is referred to as a one-directional microphone. Most voice-over artists mostly prefer it.
- Subcardioid pattern– It gives more room for presence by picking more sound from the environment. It captures direct sound, more expansive sound from the sides, and a bit of what comes from the back. It is likely to capture echoes coming from your activities in a room.
- Omnidirectional– as the name suggests, the microphone records everything around equally. It might be a problem for voice-over artists because of the ensuing noise.
- Bi-directional- the microphone records sound from the front and the back equally. It ignores the sound coming from the sides. It is a perfect mic for people having a chat while sited across the table.
- Shotgun– it is used to record distant, direct sound and close up the indirect sound. It could be a perfect choice because of clarity. The mic also records back sound at close range. It works best for one person in film making.
Some brands have managed to combine different patterns in a single microphone. Such features allow you to switch from cardioid to subcardioid or omnidirectional setting at will.
Other factors will influence your choice of a microphone and affect the quality of sound recorded. Frequency response is a crucial factor alongside the price. Remember to consider the aesthetics and preference for a particular brand.
Top 9 Best Microphones Voice Over for 2020
The exciting bit about choosing a microphone is that each person has a unique preference. You also have choices to make within a particular category. Such considerations make it difficult to pick one microphone without qualifying the selection you have made.
Here are nine best microphones voice-over 2020 that artists should consider once they get to the market.
- Blue Yeti USB Condenser Microphone
Blue Yeti is an affordable choice for voice-over artists looking for high-quality sound on a budget. It allows you to switch patterns from stereo to cardioids and omnidirectional settings, among others, at will. It is the perfect fit for a home or domestic recording setting.
Moreover, it will serve you for a while without technical or mechanical issues. At slightly more than 100 bucks, it will help you set up one of the most professional home studios without much hustle.
- Rode NT USB
This is a versatile studio gem that is usable for any recording project. It comes with quality pop filters that will eliminate the explosives as you speak. Moreover, it is the ideal choice for budget-conscious professionals who still want quality recording. It can also be used on mobile phones and still produce captivating sound.
- Audio Technica AT2020USB
It offers a perfect combination of USB, condenser, and cardioids features. The Audio Techhnica AT2020USB is a plug n play mic that you can insert into your computer and begin recording immediately. It also allows you to plug headphones into the mic to hear your recording. With an in-built amplifier, you will skip a lot of post-production hustles. It is easy to mount on a desktop helping you to record live streams and such personal projects.
- Harlan Hogan Voice Over
It is the best mic for amateur producers and voice-over artists, considering Harlan Hogan, one of the renowned voice actors, designed it. The manufacturer has paid attention to detail and will enable you to produce deep bass regardless of your vocal range. It maintains consistent quality irrespective of the years of use. It will take your voice over career to the next level.
- SE Electronics sE2200a
This is an XLR condenser cardioid microphone offering superior quality voice isolation. It efficiently filters background noise and comes with a shock mount. Hence, it will help you record versatile voice tones and deliver the warmest audio you can envisage. The design ensures that it performs well even in a room with minimal acoustics. It also offers a professional head start for voice over artists at the beginning of their careers. Ultimately, it provides a full frequency spectrum that you can switch to your desired polar pattern.
- Shure SM7B
The microphone is designed for both music and voice recording. It is manufactured with technology that shields your audio from the humming fluorescent tubes in the studio. Pop filters will also eliminate plosives from your audio files. It has excellent directional settings that block out any unwanted sound.
- Rode Procaster
This dynamic mic comes with a tight polar pattern and XLR settings. It works perfectly for long narrations like audiobooks or YouTube videos. With its excellent noise reduction features, it is a perfect choice for voice-over artists. It is ideal for room recording and will synchronize naturally with other equipment.
- Heil PR-40
This is a mic for pro and will deliver the best quality sound. It will provide when used for commercial recording or personal projects. It is best when you want to capture natural sounds.
If you need to craft a particular sound in an audio file, this is the best mic. It oozes sophistication, and the settings will help you customize the production to suit your sound pattern.
- Electro-Voice RE-20
This is the industry standard, according to sound engineers. With excellent pop filters, it is the right mic for indoor recording. If you have a low-end voice, this is the mic to choose from. It also cleans up proximity noise, giving you the most precise audio file. The large diaphragm and bass roll-off control help you to produce all imaginable voice characteristics.
While the price is an issue for voice-over microphones, it is one of the compromises you have to make to boost your career potential. A few dollars more could result in more projects because of the quality of sound. Whatever choice of voice-over mic you choose and for whatever reason, remember that it will make or break your career.