Most cameras nowadays have built-in microphones that can record with good quality. However, for the best results, you’ll need a dedicated mic.
The one you choose will depend on many factors, like where you'll plug it in, what size you want, what kind of content you’re creating, and so many more.
If you’re not sure which microphone will give your videos the best audio quality possible, read on to discover what is the best microphone for YouTube.
You’ll also learn about the different kinds of mics, where to mount them, and how to connect them.
And even though one microphone might stick out as the best, there is a detailed list with more that are great for YouTubers with different needs and budgets. Once you’re finished reading, you’ll be ready to take your channel’s audio quality to a higher level.
RØDE VideoMic GO II - The Best Microphone For YouTube
The RØDE VideoMic GO II stands out as the best microphone for YouTube. You’ll find out more details about it later on in this guide, but here are a few quick reasons why it’s so good.
- Mounts right on top of your camera.
- Great versatility - works with cameras, computers, and smartphones.
- Lightweight and compact.
- Comes with its own shock-mount.
- Connects with micro-jack and USB-C.
- And so much more.
Types Of Microphones
Microphones can be divided into three types. They are:
You can ignore the ribbon mics for now. They’re not as common and aren’t the most suitable for making YouTube videos.
There are several differences between dynamic and condenser mics. One of the most important factors is that condensers need an extra power source, whereas dynamic mics don’t. Once a dynamic mic is plugged in, it’s ready to go. Condensers need phantom power from an interface or even a battery pack.
Another is that dynamic mics aren’t as sensitive as condensers. This is why they are used in different settings. These two factors will influence your decision when buying a microphone, so it’s good to keep them in mind going forward.
Ways To Connect a Microphone
There are several ways to connect a microphone to whatever piece of gear is recording the audio. This can be your camera, a dedicated recorder, or a computer through an audio interface.
Here are the four types of connections you’ll see in this list:
USB connections work well for gamers as the microphone can be plugged directly into a computer. The quality tends to not be as good as with other mics, but they have advanced so much in recent years.
XLR connections are made with a cable from the microphone to the camera or audio interface. They are the most common in music production and professional filmmaking.
Micro-jacks (also known as TS, TRS, and TRSS connectors), like the end of your earphone cable, are handy because of their small size. Compact cameras like DSLRs can take micro-jack connections through an external mic input, but not XLRs, which are much bigger.
Wireless connections are great as you won’t get wrapped up in cables. The audio gets sent to your camera, phone, or computer using a transmitter and receiver.
Where To Mount a Microphone
Once you have your microphone, you need to set it up in the best position for great audio. This position will depend on the type of mic you have and where you’re recording.
In Front of Your Mouth
When you’re talking, you’ll want the sound to go straight from your mouth to the microphone. For great results, set it up in front of your face. Setting a mic up near your mouth is common on podcasts and livestreams.
If you have a headset with a mic, it will already be positioned in the best spot. Headsets are common with gamers.
On Your Camera
Some mics come with a shoehorn mount so they can be attached to your camera. This way, your microphone will always be pointing in the same direction as the lens. You can’t go wrong.
On Your Lapel
You can get small microphones called lavalier mics which can be attached to your lapel, collar, shirt, or even in your hair (but this is mostly for theatre actors). You will recognize these mics on lots of newscasters and people being interviewed on TV, as well as YouTubers.
Overhead on a Boom Stand
A boom is a stand that you mount your microphone on. They are generally tall and long so that you can position the mic just above your head (sometimes below) while keeping it out of the shot.
In films, booms are held by operators. You don’t need to hire your friends to do this though. You can just have a boom on a tripod.
Most boom microphones are condensers. Long, directional mics called shotguns are very common. While most microphones pick up sound from many directions, shotguns only “hear” what is directly in front of them. This is great for leaving out background noise.
A Quick Guide To Polar Patterns
When you’re looking into microphones, you’ll come across words like cardioid and omnidirectional. These are types of polar patterns. Without getting too technical, here are what some of these patterns mean:
- Cardioid: picks up sound from different directions in a heart-shaped pattern. The best sound will come from the front and whatever comes from behind won’t be picked up (too much).
- Omnidirectional: sounds are picked up from all around (360º).
- Supercardioid: similar to the cardioid heart-shaped pattern but with extra sensitivity to sounds that come from behind.
- Lobar (shotgun): almost all the sound is picked up from directly in front of the mic. Sound from the back and sides is inexistent or drastically lower.
There are other polar patterns, but they won’t come up in this list since they aren’t as common in the world of audio for YouTube.
The 5 Best Microphones For YouTube
Now that you know microphone basics, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the capabilities and specifications of the mics included in this list. Each one sticks out as the best depending on the functionalities you’re looking for, with the RØDE VideoMic GO II being the best overall.
Here are the five best microphones for YouTube:
- RØDE VideoMic GO II
- Blue Yeti Nano
- RØDE smartLav+
- Shure SM7B
- Deity Pocket Wireless
RØDE VideoMic GO II - Best Overall
If you’re looking for a microphone that can be mounted on the shoe of your camera, the RØDE VideoMic GO II is a great choice. It’s a condenser with a supercardioid pattern, so your audio will have great sensitivity directly in front of the camera, with some sound being picked up from behind.
It has a shock-mount to avoid noise from vibrations. This is great if you work in a studio with air conditioning units or near a busy road. To make these vibrations even less problematic, the VideoMic GO II has an integrated high-pass filter. This means that low frequencies under a certain level will be cut out.
Another bonus of this microphone, especially compared to other versions of VideoMics, is that it doesn’t need an extra power source like a 9V battery. Once you connect it to your camera, it’s ready to go.
This mic is so versatile. You can use it with a DSLR, smartphone, computer, and more. So, whether you’re vlogging, doing voiceovers, or streaming, the VideoMic GO II should be your microphone of choice.
- Condenser microphone
- Micro-jack and USB connectors
- Supercardioid pattern
- Integrated shock-mount
- High-pass filter to remove low, rumbling frequencies
Blue Yeti Nano - Best USB Microphone
Streamers, gamers, and podcasters will love this microphone. The Blue Yeti Nano is compact, simple to set up, and connects to your computer with a USB connector. You can easily position it on your desk to capture your voice clearly and effectively.
It has the sensitivity of a condenser mic, but not the price. It’s one of the cheapest on this list. However, it doesn’t lack in quality despite being a USB mic. It can stand up to many microphones for indoor use.
You can flip between both cardioid and omnidirectional patterns. Cardioid works best when it’s just you in the studio, but if you have guests with you, the omnidirectional can work well too.
You can plug your headphones directly into the microphone. This is fantastic for hearing your voice as you speak without any delays to throw you off.
- Condenser microphone
- USB connector
- Cardioid and omnidirectional patterns
- Headphone input for zero-latency monitoring
RØDE smartLav+ - Best Lavalier Microphone for Smartphones
If you’re looking for a small mic that you can bring anywhere, the RØDE smartLav+ is the perfect option. It’s a lavalier mic, so you clip it onto your clothes. No need for extra gear like tripods.
It works best for YouTubers who use their smartphones as their filming device. You just plug the TRSS (micro-jack) connector straight into your phone. If you want to use it with a DSLR, you’ll need a simple adapter.
It has an omnidirectional pattern, so you can position it any way you want. You don’t need to be specific about having it point directly at the sound source.
It won’t sound too thin even though it’s not close to your mouth. It has a response system that picks up vibrations from your chest and throat that build up the sound without rumbling.
It comes with a pop filter to avoid plosive consonants (P sounds) from ruining your recordings. It can also help with reducing some of the effects of the wind. And it has a Kevlar-reinforced cable, so you can be sure that it can take a big beating without breaking down.
- Condenser microphone
- Micro-jack connector
- Omnidirectional pattern
- Pop filter included
- Kevlar-reinforced cable
Shure SM7B - Best Dynamic Microphone
If you’re a podcaster or reviewer who works from your studio, the Shure SM7B is a fantastic choice. You’ll probably recognize it if you’re a fan of podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience or The Huberman Lab Podcast.
It’s an excellent mic with a simple cardioid polar pattern. This makes it a great choice if you’re an interviewer, as the guest’s voice won’t be picked up on your mic when positioned correctly.
You can cut the lower frequencies to avoid rumbling noises and even boost the midrange for clearer results. It comes with a removable pop filter that reduces the effect of plosives.
The SM7B gives your voice a warm presence that viewers will enjoy listening to. It’s on the higher price-range for this list, but is worth the investment. The quality is stunning and you won’t be let down by its sturdy build.
- Dynamic microphone
- XLR connector
- Cardioid pattern
- High-pass filter and midrange boost for clear results
- Reliable and sturdy
Deity Pocket Wireless - Best Wireless Microphone
Avoid getting tangled up with cables with the Deity Pocket Wireless microphone. It’s a compact, lightweight, and high-quality device that you can connect to your camera, smartphone, or computer.
If you’re the kind of creator who moves around a lot, walking through cities, dancing, or demonstrating exercises, this is the perfect mic for you. It clips on to your shirt or you can use the lav mic attachment if you want it to clip on more subtly.
You get a transmitter and receiver which can be positioned over 200ft apart (around 65m). This means that you can walk around without worrying about disconnecting it or having to trail cables after you. The receiver can even be mounted on your camera, so if you have a partner following to film you, they won’t need to be worried about staying too close.
It’s suitable for so many kinds of creators. If your channel focuses on exercise, real estate, travel vlogging, and many other topics, the Deity Pocket is a perfect choice for you.
- Condenser microphone
- Wireless connection
- Omnidirectional pattern
- Lavalier mic included as accessory
- 210ft (65m) range
In this guide, you’ll have discovered so much more about microphone types, polar patterns, possible connections, and ways to mount them. All of these factors can help you choose the best microphone for you.
The RØDE VideoMic GO II comes out on top for its high-quality audio, versatility, various connections, and price. It really is a fantastic microphone that will suit creators of all kinds.
Of course, all the other microphones have been included for their great qualities too. Each one sticks out for different reasons, whether you’re looking for a lav mic, a wireless or USB connection, or a dynamic mic to use in your studio. No matter which you choose, you can be sure that you’re making a great decision.
Which microphone do you use for your YouTube setup? Feel free to let other readers know about your preferences in the comments.