If you've ever watched a video with a visual presentation of some sort along with a person speaking, then you've experienced a voice over. Get more background on how to do a voice over and a voice over definition if you're not sure what this style of recording is.
The importance of voice overs in eLearning is undeniable. The quality of your voice overs can be the differentiating factor between effective, engaging content and content that is hard to watch or listen to.
So, how can you ensure the best quality of your voice overs?
Careful selection of a voice over microphone is a great place to start.
Why the Quality of Your Voice Over Microphone Matters
A microphone captures the sound of your voice and is one of the basic essentials you need to record a good voice over.
If you’re thinking any microphone will do the job as long as it's functional, you might want to drop that thought right now.
The quality of your microphone plays a major role in determining the overall quality of your recordings. While different mics come with their own list of features and specifications, choosing the perfect microphone for your eLearning voice overs may seem like a daunting task.
Choosing the Best Microphone for Voice Overs
Your choice of microphone decides the tone, quality, and character of your voice overs.
Microphones can be categorized into two basic types:
1. Dynamic Microphones
This type of microphone is ideal for recording when you want your voice to sound warm. The most common and perhaps the easiest microphones to use, dynamic microphones don’t require external power to function.
Typically, dynamic microphones are suitable for recording podcasts and audio books.
2. Condenser Microphones
Condenser microphones are the perfect choice when you want your voice overs to sound clear and natural. Unlike dynamic mics, they require you to choose a power-supplying audio interface.
It's easy to see why condenser microphones may be the ideal option for recording your eLearning voice overs. The clearer the voice, the more effective the message is conveyed.
It's important to note here that condenser microphones are further divided into two categories.
Large Diaphragm Condenser
Large diaphragm microphones are popular for offering the most natural and clear voice recordings.
Small Diaphragm Condenser
Small diaphragm condensers give a relatively sharper sound by boosting the upper end of your voice.
The Best Budget Microphone for Recording Voice Overs
As an eLearning course provider, you should consider aiming for a balance between premium-quality microphones and low-end budgets.
Let’s have a look at some of the popular options you have to choose from.
Please note: Some of the links below are affiliate links which means I’ll receive a commission if you end up buying after clicking on one of my links. There’s no cost to you. I only review products I’ve used and believe could be useful to my readers.
The MXL 700 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is a top choice for voice over artists because it's easy to use for amateurs and pros alike. This small diaphragm microphone has a cardioid polar pattern that makes it suitable for both single and multiple voice overs.
If you're a beginner who has just stepped into the eLearning voice over world, MXL 770 may be the perfect choice for you. It's not only super affordable and easy to maneuver, but also promises high audio quality for voice overs.
- Easy to use for amateurs.
- Offers clear, crisp sound.
- Is versatile with high levels of sensitivity.
- Is sturdy and durable for long-term use.
- Comes with a good-quality hard case and soft foam padding for maximum protection.
- Can catch background noises.
- The quality of the shock mount is not superior.
- Air can get into the diaphragm, leading to unwanted moisture and wind sounds.
- Its user manual lacks detail.
Pro tip: To prevent this microphone from catching background noises and wind, make sure that you use a pop filter for maximum effectiveness.
–> Shop for the MXL 770 Condenser Microphone
The MXL 990 condenser microphone remains one of the top choices of experts. It has a small diaphragm, which makes for its affordable price. Featuring a custom shock mount, it offers a sweet yet solid professional sound. It's an ideal option for both digital and analog recordings.
- Perhaps the most versatile microphone in its price range.
- Comes with mount shock, a mic stand adapter, and supporting case.
- Favored by both beginners and experts alike.
- May not be able to handle high SPL sources.
- Can catch ambient noises when not placed correctly.
–> Shop for the MXL 990 Condenser Microphone
If you’re just starting out on your journey as an eLearning course instructor, Blue Yeti might be the perfect microphone for you. It's priced the lowest on the list but certainly doesn’t compromise on the sound quality.
It boasts great versatility by offering four pattern modes for you to choose from, including stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. While the cardioid pattern is ideal for recording voice overs, you may also use this mic for recording other kinds of audio. Moreover, this multi-functional mic allows you to control the gain of the microphone and mute the line. Not only this, but you may also connect your headphones with the mic.
- Very easy to set up and record, ideal for at-home use.
- Provides you with four different modes of pickup pattern.
- Is super affordable.
- Comes in multiple colors for you to record in style.
- Offers a rich, solid sound for voice overs.
- Picks up background noises.
- Flimsy controls.
- The mounting stand is a bit awkward, making mounting difficult.
USB microphones for voice overs often work well so we have an entire article dedicated just for them if you're interested.
–> Shop for the Blue Yeti USB Microphone
This is the microphone I personally use in my home voice over studio. I purchased mine in 2017 and haven't had any problems with it. For a mid-priced microphone (about $200 or up depending where you shop and if there's a promotion) it gets the job done and my voice overs sound really awesome.
This microphone has a hand-built large-diaphragm cardiod capsule which results in rich sound. It's perfect for voice over recordings.
- Outstanding sound quality that you expect from Blue Microphones.
- Uncommonly low distortion.
- Works great with home studio audio interfaces.
- Cannot be directly connected to your device.
- Mid-range price so it's definitely not the cheapest microphone on the list.
5. Rode NT1-A
The Rode NT1-A is specially designed with a cardioid polar pattern and a large diaphragm to offer excellent sound quality. It comes with a special filter to minimize the number of ambient noises in your recording, relieving you of the hassle of extensive editing. In addition to this, it also includes a cable, cover, and DVD featuring helpful lessons on how to make good recordings. At an affordable rate, this microphone is certainly the dream microphone for most content creators and audio lecturers.
- Comes with a special sound filter.
- Allows you to record high-quality sounds.
- Offers complimentary cable, case, and DVD lessons.
- Can’t be directly connected to your device.
- Requires an additional sound card.
–> Shop Rode NT1-A
If you don’t mind spending a lot of money on a microphone built to last, you might consider buying an AKG Pro Audio C414. It features a well-built body, is versatile, and offers rich, professional-level sound.
Furthermore, it allows you to choose from nine effective modes and comes with a wide range of low-cut filters so you have more control over the quality of the finished product.
- Allows you to create clear, rich voice overs.
- Has a sleek design.
- Allows customization of sound with nine pickup patterns and filters.
- Way more expensive than most of the others on this list.
–> Shop AKG Pro Audio C414
The Sampson Meteor Mic is one of the best mics for voice overs. Featuring a cardioid pattern, it is not only good-looking but also affordable. The best thing about this microphone is it has a large diaphragm of about 25 mm, offering a natural sounding voice over.
The body of this microphone is made of metal for maximum durability. Its legs are made of chrome plates that make for an aesthetically pleasing look when placed beside your desktop or laptop. In comparison with other USB mics, Sampson Meteor Mic offers an exceptional sound quality with little to no background noise.
- Has large diaphragms for clear sounds.
- Minimum ambient noise.
- Is portable.
- A bit heavy due to a metal structure.
–> Shop for Sampson Meteor Mic
This microphone is the go-to choice for most of the professional voice over artists. With an XLR mic, it requires you to use an audio interface for phantom power. It offers background noise as low as 7 dB to ensure clarity in your voice overs. Moreover, with a cardioid pickup pattern, it rejects all off-axis sounds for the best audio quality. The package additionally comes with a shock mount and a briefcase.
- A popular choice among voice over experts.
- Offers natural and clear sounds.
- Low background noise.
- Flat frequency response for natural audio quality.
- Very expensive.
–> Shop for Neumann TLM 103 Microphone
So, which voice over microphone are you thinking of getting?
There’s no definite answer to which of these microphones is THE best. Considering the unique needs and budget that you may have, you should consider evaluating the pros and cons of each and go for the one that best suits your needs.
In addition to these, you may want to take a look at the best USB microphones for voice overs.
That being said, each of the microphones mentioned here is among the best mics for voice overs so you’ll be fine with any. If you're a beginner and don’t want to let a microphone break your bank, you'll probably want to go with one of the less expensive options on the list. If you've got the money and don’t want to compromise on quality, you can definitely go with one of the more expensive options on the list.