Choosing the best microphone for vlogging is an important step in creating a successful vlogging channel. Though the picture quality of your vlogs is a highly important factor, sound quality is just as important, if not more. Most indoor vlogs rely on speech as the main feature of its entertainment and/or informational value. Therefore, making sure that the sound quality of this speech is audible and pleasant to listen to is one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your vlog.
Why does audio matter?
High quality audio appreciation is not something which most vlog watchers consciously take into account when watching a video. However, it is likely to impact upon the watcher’s unconscious evaluation of the vlog’s quality and therefore alter their decision of whether or not to subscribe to the channel. As most vloggers do not appreciate the importance of good audio, this is a great and simple way to set your vlog apart from the crowd.
What about my camera’s built in audio?
Most video capable cameras come with built in audio, however due to space and cost constraints, rarely is this the primary focus of the camera’s design. Therefore, no matter what camera you have, a microphone or audio recording device is a great investment for your vlog. Not all cameras, such as phone cameras, come with built in audio jack outputs and therefore an external microphone cannot be plugged directly into the device. For these cameras, a dedicated audio recording device may be necessary to record high quality audio.
Dedicated recording devices
Dedicated recording devices require a little extra work to implement into your vlog, however they will have a great effect upon the quality of your audio. Dedicated recording devices are how audio is recorded in movies and are the reason why sound clap boards are used at the start of a take. You can create your own sound clap board by simply shutting a book quickly or clapping your hands, this will help you synchronize the film and audio when it comes to editing your vlog. Click here for a video guide on synchronizing your vlogging microphone.
Types of vlogging microphone and sound direction
Now it is time to discuss the features of different types of microphones and the purposes of these features for vlogging. The most common type of vlogging microphone is the cardioid microphone. These devices usually record uni-directional sound and are commonly used for interviews in order to only pick up sound from the user’s voice.
Conversely there are omni-directional type microphones which are great at picking up ambient sound from all directions. This type of microphone is commonly used for picking up the sounds of a landscape or cityscape in order to give a natural representation of the environment. One of the most common types of omni-directional microphone is the lavalier/lapel mic which is a wired microphone hooked onto the user’s shirt, bellow the neck. This type of microphone is usually used on tv due to its inconspicuousness and simplicity to set up. As the mic is close to the user’s face, uni-directionality is not necessary to achieve clear voice audio.
There is also a type of microphone called a shotgun mic which is highly directionally influenced, picking up less sound laterally and posteriorly. This type of microphone may be mounted onto a camera for a simple point and shoot recording style. Commonly, shotgun mics are used as boom mics by attaching a shotgun mic to a long pole for versatility in recording angle. Some shotgun mics come with an attachment for boom poles though most will require you to buy the pole seperately
So what is the best microphone for vlogging? Here I will provide a list of the best microphones of different types, that are perfectly suited for vlogging.
Best lavalier/lapel microphone for vlogging
Audio-Technica ATR-35S Lavalier Microphone (wired)
This omni-directional microphone is perfectly suited for conversations, interviews and general speech due to its ability to pick up high quality voice audio and its inconspicuous design. This microphone is also well suited for instructional vlogs about dance, sport and aerobics due to it being very light weight with a solid clipping mechanism. This device records between 50-18-000 Hz which is an ideal range for picking up the full spectrum of voice frequencies.
This microphone comes with a 3.5mm mini-plug microphone jack which is suitable for almost any camera with audio input. Though not wireless, the 20 foot cable gives plenty enough reach to allow vloggers to film from a distance and may be plugged into a dedicated audio recording device for full freedom of movement. The product also includes a tie clip, a battery, foam windscreen, condenser element and a 1/4-inch adaptor.
- Cheap and high quality
- Small and portable
- Records in mono which is great for background music
- Battery life lasts around 8-12 months, however there is no battery life meter
- Will be visible within your blog, perhaps making you seem less down to earth
This microphone is a great option for anyone who is new to lavalier microphones and wishes to record interviews, conversations or general speech. The main issue with this microphone is that it is wired which may restrict your movement.
There are two options for going wireless. Either purchase a dedicated recording device such as the one reviewed below, or instead go for a more expensive wireless lavalier microphone system. We recommend the Audio-Technica PRO-501/L Pro Series 5 as it is will provide you with superb quality audio, the versatility to record audio from long distances and the option to record with several lavalier microphones simultaneously for seamless audio conversations.
Best shotgun/boom microphone for vlogging
Audio-Technica AT875R Short Shotgun Microphone
The Audio-Technica AT875R Short Shotgun Microphone is perfectly designed for video production audio acquisition. One of its defining features is that it is one of the shortest shotgun microphones available, allowing it to comfortably fit on any dslr camera with a microphone/flash hot shoe.
This microphone has both omni-directional and uni-directional features, with great pickup of uni-directional voice and ambient sounds while rejecting sounds from the sides and rear of the microphone facing direction. The well balanced acceptance angle allows for smooth and natural sounding audio, while allowing the focus to be placed upon sound from the front. This microphone is also highly adept at picking up long range audio due to its narrow acceptance angle.
- Specifically designed for video production
- Short in length and ideal for compact cameras/dslr cameras
- Minimizes camera and handling noise
- Excellent rejection of side and rear sounds
- A separate shock mount must be purchased for mounting on a camera
- Does not come with a stand as pictured
- The narrow acceptance angle will mean that you must remain facing the microphone during your vlog for your voice to be picked up
This is one of the best vlogging microphones for anyone out there who is looking to achieve professional sounding audio for their vlog without having to pay a high price for it. This microphone has an almost flawless review record on amazon, as people who buy this microphone are highly satisfied with its value for money. If you are looking to convert this shotgun microphone into a boom mic then you will need to purchase a boom pole such as the On Stage MBP7000 Handheld Boom Pole which is ideally suited for accommodating this type of microphone.
Best portable dedicated recording device for vlogging
TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder
This portable dedicated recording device has a built-in pair of omni-directional condenser microphones, which are perfectly suited for recording multi-directional ambient sound from an environment. The device has both input and output connectors, allowing you to plug in an external microphone of your choosing. With variable speed playback and playback EQ settings this microphone is great for quickly assessing the quality of your recorded audio and adjusting the settings to meet your requirements.
This recording device is not only great for vloggers without an external microphone jack on their camera, but it also comes in handy for attaching a wired lavalier mic in order to create a wireless and unrestrictive platform for your vlog. This recording device is also perfect for musician’s vlogs, not only is the recording quality superb for instruments and voice, but the interface has a chromatic tuning feature which is ideal for quickly tuning up your guitar or testing your pitch.
The interface on this recording device allows you to manually adjust the levels through a built in equalizer. This will both save you time during editing and increase the quality of your final production.
- Great value for money
- Professional quality sound recording
- Stereo MP3 recording
- Built in audio editing interface
- Playback speaker
- Limiter and low cut filter to prevent distortion
- Optimized for music recording with a peak reduction function which automatically levels the gain while recording
- Very straightforward to navigate
- Cannot adjust the angles of the internal mics, so directional versatility is limited
- Playback speaker may be quiet depending on what you are recording
- If cell phone is near to the device then some interference may occur
In terms of audio quality, it doesn’t get much better than this for a handheld digital recording device. If your vlog is heavily reliant on great audio, such as musician’s vlogs or vlogs with a lot of speech, then this may be the best vlogging microphone for you. Its ease of use, durability and quality audio make it one of the most popular handheld recording devices available on amazon. This product truly is fantastic value for money and is a worthy investment for anyone who is serious about improving the quality of their vlogs.