8 Best Microphones for YouTube

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What’s the best microphone for YouTube? That all depends on the kind of YouTuber you are and what you want to achieve. But whatever it is, the quality of your audio is just as important as the quality of your video. Some experts argue that sound is even more vital than the picture. So, focus on the audiovisual content if you want eyeballs to stick to your YouTube channel.

Budget
best-budget-microphone-choice-for-youtube
Fifine Entry-level USB Mic
4.6/5.0
Mic Type: Desktop
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Plug-n-play, volume knob, portable, metal desktop stand, smart design.
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Best Value
best-value-microphone-choice-for-youtube
Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS
4.7/5.0
Mic Type: Desktop
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Plug-n-play, volume & mix controls, headphone jack, mini tripod, pouch.
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Top Pick
top-value-microphone-choice-for-youtube
Shure SM81-LC
4.9/5.0
Mic Type: Instrument
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Field-useable, low-RF susceptibility, superb off-axis rejection, 10dB pad.
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What Kind of YouTuber Are You?

There are more YouTuber categories than you can shake a stick at. Whatever the category, you must offer addictive viewing with a sprinkling of entertainment. It’s not only about what you say or do, but how you say or do it. Presentation is vital, so first impressions are crucial. Choosing the correct category and genres also makes it easier for searchers to find your videos.

Here are the 7 most popular ‘people’ YouTube categories:

  1. How-to guides and tutorials
  2. Unboxing videos
  3. Product reviews
  4. Vlogs
  5. Comedy
  6. Health & Beauty
  7. Music; singers or musicians

There’s a myriad of sub-categories to all the above. Whatever you decide, remember that first impressions matter. There are plenty of helpful vids on how to become a successful YouTuber.

The Problem with Built-in Microphones

DSLRs and smartphone cameras provide exceptional video these days. Where they fail, though, is with audio. The built-in mics are too tinny and inflexible to produce ear-catching sound. That’s why the microphone for your YouTube presentations should be separate from the device.

Types of Mics for YouTube

Choose a mic that works best for your type of video. It doesn’t have to cost much if you’re a newbie. Just make sure the sound is superior to the mic built into your phone or camera.

  1. USB microphones for YouTube
  2. XLR mics for YouTube
  3. On-camera mics for YouTube
  4. Lavalier mics and mic headsets for YouTube

Microphones can be Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon, but we won’t get into technicalities here. You can read our detailed piece on ‘Types of Microphones’ if you’d like to learn more.






About Polarity Pickup Patterns

Microphones have something called a polarity or polar pattern. It’s an invisible area around the capsule that determines how much the mic hears from different angles. The three main types are:

  • Cardioid polar pattern: Most sensitive in front, less sensitive at the back
  • Omnidirectional (omni) polar pattern: Equal sensitivity from all sides (360°)
  • Bidirectional (figure-of-eight) polar pattern: Equal sensitivity at front and rear

There are other variations, but the three above are the most common. Some mics offer two or more polar patterns that users can select using a simple switch or dial. Each pickup has its advantages and disadvantaged. Think carefully about polar patterns when choosing a mic.

About My ‘Best Microphone for YouTube’ Guide

There are 8 capable microphones here used by successful YouTubers. I’ve included budget-priced mics to high-end, and for different applications. They include products best suited for interviews, handsfree demonstrations, and music. This shortlist is the outcome of thorough research of several dozen options. The first three are my Best Budget, Best Value, and the Editor’s Choice for Top Pick.

Microphones for YouTube Comparison Table

1. Fifine Entry-Level USB Mic for YouTube | Best Budget

Fifine Entry-Level USB Mic for YouTubeView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The Best Budget microphone for YouTubing goes to the Fifine K669B USB all-metal condenser. It’s a simple product, but an excellent first choice and a major step-up from built-in mics.

  • Best feature 1: PC and Mac computer compatible
  • Best feature 2: Smooth, crisp sound
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, volume knob, portable, metal desktop stand, smart design
  • Minus points: No mute button, fixed cable, average noise rejection

Fifine K669B Entry-Level USB Mic Highlights

Mic Compatibility: Mac OS and Windows PCs, including Win 2000, Vista, XP, and Win 10 OS.

This plug-and-play mic connects to the USB port of any Mac or Windows PC. That’s it—you’re ready to record. The all-metal body has a volume knob on the front that adds to its user-friendly appeal. And the sound produced by the K669B is crisp, smooth, and perfectly acceptable for YouTube broadcasts. You need a quiet space to record (see below), but the Fifine still checks a lot of the right boxes.

Fifine’s K669B home studio mic comes with a metal, adjustable tripod stand. The microphone’s main capsule is only 4.9” long, making it easy to store and portable. It’s also a good-looking mic. Style is always welcome for anything that takes a prime place on the working desk.

The Not So Good

There are a few nitpicks with this mic but nothing too serious. A mute button can be invaluable in some situations, but the Fifine K669B here doesn’t have one. The USB cable is fixed (built-in) which means if it breaks the mic’s worthless. And finally, the noise rejection from the cardioid pickup is average at best. For the money, though, this home microphone offers a lot for the entry-level YouTuber.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Fifine
Mic Type: Tabletop condenser
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Frequency Response: 20 Hz-20 kHz
Equivalent Noise level: 16dB
Max SPL: 130dB
Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.6 x 7.3”
Product Weight: 14.1 oz.
Warranty: 1 year
The Pros
Sturdy, all-metal construction
PC & Mac compatible
Smooth, crisp sound
Plug-n-play simplicity
Onboard volume knob
Small and portable
Metal desktop stand
Smart design
The Cons
No mute button
Fixed (built-in) cable
Average noise rejection

2. AT 2020USB PLUS YouTube Mic | Best Value

AT 2020USB PLUS YouTube MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

For the Best Value pick, we have the AT 2020USB PLUS by Audio-Technica. It’s a cool looking USB microphone that has multi-purpose appeal for voice and musical applications.

  • Best feature 1: Multi-purpose microphone
  • Best feature 2: Quality, digital recording
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, volume & mix controls, headphone jack, mini tripod, pouch
  • Minus points: Weak stand, potential issues with Windows 10 OS

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Mic Highlights

Mic Compatibility: Windows OS 10, Win 7, Vista, XP, 2000, and Apple Mac OS X.

Audio-Technica’s AT2020USB+ USB plug-n-play mic is easy to use and provides high-quality digital recording. It’s compatible with most audio software and produces consistent playback quality. The mic works well for either speech or musical presentations. It’s an affordable choice for singer-songwriters, home studios, and YouTubers who work out in the field.

This mic has a useful onboard 3.5mm headphone jack with volume control. That lets users directly monitor the mic’s audio signal with zero latency delay. Left of the volume control is a built-in mix control. That’s handy if you need to blend your mic signal with prerecorded audio. Supporting extras include a desktop tripod, pivoting stand mount, 10ft USB cable, and a storage pouch.

The Not So Good

Accessories are always welcome when they’re useful. The problem here is with the desktop stand. It serves a purpose—just—but you must treat it with kid gloves due to its weak build. The mic’s great, but I’d invest a few dollars in a sturdier mic support. Some users have experienced compatibility issues with Windows 10. Check the seller for updates if you use Win 10 and are interested in this mic.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Audio-Technica
Mic Type: Desktop condenser
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Headphone Jack: 3.5mm
Mic Support: Windows & Mac computers
Bit Depth: 16-bit
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz/48 kHz
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2 x 2”
Product Weight: 13.6 oz.
Warranty: 1 year
The Pros
Multi-purpose microphone
Quality, digital recording
Plug-n-play simplicity
Volume and mix controls
Headphone jack
Mini tripod
10ft USB cable
Storage pouch
The Cons
Low-quality tripod stand
Potential Windows 10 issues

3. Shure SM81-LC Mic for YouTube Musicians | Top Pick

Shure SM81-LC Mic for YouTube MusiciansView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.9/5

Our Top Pick slot goes to the Shure SM81-LC. It’s an exceptional microphone for semi-pro and professional YouTube musicians. It’s primarily used for miking acoustic instruments.

  • Best feature 1: Rugged all-steel construction w/ stainless steel screens
  • Best feature 2: Low-noise, high-output condenser mic
  • Plus points: Field-useable, low-RF susceptibility, superb off-axis rejection, 10dB pad
  • Minus points: Price tag

Shure SM81-LC Microphone Highlights

The Shure SM81-LC is a unidirectional small-diaphragm condenser microphone with plenty of high-end features. It has a wide frequency response and superb off-axis rejection. The low noise and high output characteristics add further to its pro appeal. This mic is also field-useable. That means it can function normally in extreme temperatures and high humidity.

Shure designed the SM81-LC for studio applications. The mic is for YouTubers who play musical instruments and demand perfect sound. The price is quite high, but then it does offer excellent value. It’s one to consider if you need to bring out the best in instruments like acoustic guitars, pianos, and cymbals. The mic comes in a smart, hard case with a swivel clip and windscreen.

For the Audiophiles

YouTube musicians who buy mics like this know a thing or two about audio. This section is for them. The SM81-LC has a flat frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. The mic’s low-pass filter lets you set a 6dB or 8dB octave. Also worth mention is the 10dB pad and SPL handling of 146dB. These are all things that make the Shure’s SM81-LC suitable for a range of musical applications.

The Not So Good

The only negative with this mic is the price, but it is value. There will be many budding YouTube musicians who’d love to get hold of a Shure SM81-LC. But they can’t justify it—yet.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Shure
Mic Type: Electret bias condenser
Connection: XLR-3M
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Phantom
Frequency Response: 20Hz–20kHz
S/N Ratio: 78dB
Pad: -10dB
Max SPL: 136dB
Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.9 x 0.9”
Product Weight: 8 oz.
The Pros
Perfect for YouTube musicians
Versatile mic in its class
Rugged all-steel construction
Low-noise, high-output
Field-useable
Low-pass filter
Handles loud sounds
Low-RF susceptibility
Superb off-axis rejection
The Cons
Quite expensive

4. Blue Snowball iCE YouTube Microphone

Blue Snowball iCE YouTube MicrophoneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

Meet the Snowball iCE by Blue. It’s a desktop USB mic with an affordable price tag and versatile appeal. Beginner YouTubers may want to add this puppy to their shortlist, and here’s why.

  • Best feature 1: Crystal clear audio
  • Best feature 2: Versatile use
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play simplicity, well-made, light & portable, affordable
  • Minus points: Windows 10 issues, weak stand, annoying LED

Blue Snowball iCE Microphone Highlights

Mic Compatibility: Windows PS OS 8, 7, Vista, Windows XP Home Ed., XP Professional Windows 10 (most users). Macintosh Mac computers OSX (10.4.6 or higher)

The Blue Snowball iCE is a USB plug-and-play desktop microphone. The audio quality is exceptional for its class and more advanced than built-in mics. Many work-from-home YouTubers have used a Snowball iCE to build their channel and online reputation. This is also a versatile mic and one that’s ‘Skype Certified.’ You can use it for streaming, online chat, SoundCloud, and much more.

Some users say the mic picks up a little background noise. That’s true, but it’s easy to resolve by adjusting the sensitivity from a computer’s settings. The mic arrangement is not fixed. It’s possible to disassemble it and mount the Snowball iCE onto a boom arm or other stand if you prefer.

The Not So Good

There are reports of issues getting the mic to work—or work properly—with Windows 10 machines. However, it’s not a problem shared by all users. Check for compatibility updates if you’re interested in the Blue Snowball iCE. The mic is quite large and takes up a fair amount of desk space. The included stand is not adjustable, so you’re stuck with its height and angle restrictions.

Lastly, the LED ‘ON’ light is bright and intrusive, and there’s no way to turn it off. It’s especially annoying if you work in low light. You can use tape to cover it, but you shouldn’t have to.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Blue
Mic Type: Desktop USB Condenser
Connection: USB 2.0, 3.0
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Frequency Response: 40 to 18 kHz
Sample/Word Rate: 44.1 kHz/16-bit
Dimensions: 10.6 x 5.5 x 9.1”
Weight: 16.2 oz.
Warranty: 2 years
The Pros
Excellent first mic for YouTubers
Crystal clear audio
Versatile use
Plug-n-play simplicity
Disassembles
Light & portable
Affordable
The Cons
Potential Windows 10 issues
Poor quality/design stand
Annoying LED power light

5. Rode SmartLav+ Smartphone Mic for YouTubers

Rode SmartLav+ Smartphone Mic for YouTubersView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

YouTubers who need to move around and use their hands benefit from lavaliers. The Rode SmartLav+ is an ultra-discreet wearable mic that plugs directly into a smartphone or tablet.

  • Best feature 1: Exceptional audio quality for a mic in its category
  • Best feature 2: Discreet, handsfree operation
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, smartphone mic, durable, Kevlar cable, windshield, case, value
  • Minus points: Extra charge for the app; app not intuitive

Rode SmartLav+ Smartphone Mic Highlights

Mic Compatibility: Most Android OS smart devices; Apple iPhone 5S/5/5C/4S/ and 4, Apple iPad 2, iPad mini, iPad (3rd gen), iPad Air, iPod touch (4th/5th gen).

Many of today’s modern smartphones can record exceptional video. The built-in mics, though, are tinny and amateur-sounding. Well, the Rode SmartLav+ mic delivers audio quality that compliments mobile cameras. It also boasts plug-n-play simplicity, which is what most YouTubers want. The working partnership between external mic and mobile video results in high-quality audiovisual.

Rode’s SmartLav+ is a durable little mic equipped with a cable reinforced with Kevlar. That makes it stretch and snap-resistant, and thus prevents accidental damage from rough handling. The price of this lavalier mic takes some beating considering its price and quality. Extras in the box include a foam windshield, sturdy mounting clip, and a storage/carry pouch.

The Not So Good

Rode has messed up with its app. Not only does it receive lots of complaints, but they charge extra for it. There’s an updated version due out soon (at the time of writing) that should be an improvement. Some users have found third-party options in the App Store that they’re happy with. You don’t need an audio app to use the SmartLav+. But apps do provide extra features that many people find useful.

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Tech Specs
Mic Type: Lavalier condenser
Connection: TRRS
Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Frequency Range: 60Hz to 18kHz
Maximum SPL: 110 dB
Sensitivity: -35.0 dB
App: RØDE Rec app
Package Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 3”
Product Weight: 0.16 oz.
Warranty: 1 year
The Pros
Exceptional audio quality
Discreet, handsfree operation
Plug-n-play simplicity
Works with smartphones & tablets
Durable build w/ Kevlar cable
Foam windshield
Storage/travel case
Value for money
The Cons
RODE app falls short
Small, extra charge for the app

6. Blue Yeti USB Microphone for YouTubers

Blue Yeti USB Microphone for YouTubersView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

Many YouTubers use or have used the Blue Yeti home studio USB condenser mic. It’s a versatile microphone and a world bestseller. That’s already reason enough to shortlist this beauty.

  • Best feature 1: Bestselling USB microphone
  • Best feature 2: Four selectable polar patterns
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, crisp audio, well-built, mute and volume controls, headphone output
  • Minus points: Heft, tacky onboard controls

Blue Yeti USB Microphone Highlights

Mic Compatibility: PCs, OS Win 10, 8, 8.1, 7, XP Pro & Home, Windows Vista, Apple Mac OS X.

Blue’s Yeti is big and attractive and offers the same plug-and-play simplicity as smaller microphones. The sound quality is fantastic for a mic in its price category. It’s also super-versatile thanks to the four switchable polar patterns. They include stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. There are even suggestions to help users decide which polar pattern is best suited to what situation.

The Yeti is a well-made product with an all-metal body and metal mesh grill. It’s supported by an equally durable stand. There are other onboard controls as well as the pattern selection dial at the back. Above the pickup selector is a gain control. On the front of the mic are the mute button and a headphone volume knob. A 3.5mm headphone jack is at the base of the mic with the USB port.

The Not So Good

You’re going to love the Blue Yeti if you like the idea of a large microphone taking up desk space. The heft of this thing may irk those who don’t. Why it’s so huge is a mystery, but the bulk makes it less portable. And if you add a pop filter (recommended), it’s going to compete with your face. The other gripe is that the onboard controls—though welcome—feel cheap and susceptible to damage.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Blue
Microphone Type: Studio condenser
Connection: USB 1.1/ 2.0/ and 3.0
Polar Pattern: Multiple pickups
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Frequency Response: 20Hz–20kHz
Max SPL: 120 dB
Bit Rate: 16-bit
Max Sample Rate: 48 kHz
Dimensions: 4.9 x 4.7 x 11.6”
Weight W/O Stand: 19.2 oz.
Weight (Stand): 35.2 oz.
Warranty: 2 years limited
The Pros
Bestselling USB microphone
Four selectable polar patterns
Plug-n-play simplicity
Crisp, clean audio
Rugged, well-built product
Sturdy mic stand
Mute button
Headphone volume control
Headphone output jack
Excellent value
The Cons
Heft, both size and weight
Cheap onboard controls

7. Rode VideoMicPro ShotGun Interview Mic

Rode VideoMicPro ShotGun Interview MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

There are times when only an on-camera shotgun microphone will do. The Rode VideoMicPro is an impressive interview mic equipped with an equally impressive Rycote Lyre Shockmount.

  • Best feature 1: Directional and compact shotgun mic for cameras
  • Best feature 2: Rycote Lyre shockmount
  • Plus points: Camera shoe mount, low-noise, high-sensitivity, integrated windscreen
  • Minus points: Needs turning ON/OFF with every use, mono recording only

Rode VideoMicPro Shotgun Mic Highlights

Mic Compatibility: DSLR cameras, camcorders, and portable audio recorders.

The RØDE VideoMic Pro is a superb choice for YouTubers who need total focus on the sound source. This mic blocks out all unwanted noise from the sides and back. The supercardioid pickup makes the VideoMic Pro ideal for vlogging, interviews, and voice recordings more generally. And the included camera shoe mount has a 3/8” thread used to connect the mic to boom poles.

The audio quality is crisp, clear, consistent, and distortion-free. The mic also boasts low-noise and high-sensitivity characteristics. RØDE’s VideoMic comes with an integrated Rycote Lyre shockmount and foam windscreen. The former does a superb job at isolating it from vibrations and rumbles. The foam cap is okay in a mild breeze, but I’d suggest a dead cat to protect against stronger winds.

Audio Enhancement Controls

RØDE’s VideoMicPro has a few other features worth mention. Its 2-step high-pass filter is useful if you need to cut out low-frequency rumble. The 9V battery can last up to 70 hours under ideal conditions. Its -10dB PAD is invaluable for recording overly loud sounds. And the +20dB boost does a great job at reducing any unwanted noise generated by the audio circuitry of a DSLR.

The Not So Good

You must manually switch this battery-powered mic ON and OFF. It doesn’t turn off with the camera, so if you forget, the battery starts to drain. Users should always carry a backup battery. The VideoMic Pro only records in mono, so it’s not suitable for situations that benefit from stereo. For monologues, podcasts, and interviews, though, a mono recording is always the right choice.

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Tech Specs
Brand: RØDE
Mic Type: Gun condenser
Connection: 3.5mm
Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
Power Supply: Battery 9V
Battery Life: Avg. 70 hours
Frequency Range: 40Hz to 20kHz
S/N Ratio: 80 dB
Max SPL: 134 dB
Pad: -10 dB
Impedance: 200 Ohms
Mic Sensitivity: 32dBV/Pa
Dimensions: 6.69 x 3.94”
Product Weight: 3.0 oz.
Warranty: 1 year, extendable to 10
The Pros
Ideal for YouTube applications
Compact and lightweight
Directional shotgun design
Made for DSLRs and recorders
Integrated shockmount
Camera shoe w/ 3/8” thread
Low-noise, high-sensitivity
Integrated windscreen
2-step high-pass filter
dB PAD and dB Boost
The Cons
Need to turn it ON and OFF
Mono recording only
Fixed mic cable (non-removable)

8. Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal Microphone

Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal MicrophoneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

YouTube singers need style as well as talent to stand out. The Shure Super 55 Deluxe is a modern version of the old Elvis microphones. It looks awesome and sounds amazing.

  • Best feature 1: Iconic vintage design
  • Best feature 2: Tailored frequency response
  • Plus points: Adjustable swivel mount, shock-mounted cartridge, off-axis rejection
  • Minus points: Limited use, price, not hand-friendly

Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal Mic Highlights

Look no further if your act warrants old world charm with 21st century sound. Shure’s Super 55 Deluxe is primarily a high-quality vocal microphone and doesn’t pretend to be much else. The swivel mount is self-tensioning and lets you tilt the mic forward by 45° and back 80°. And the new Super 55 Deluxe has a shock-mounted cartridge that helps to maintain its quiet operation.

This vocal microphone uses a supercardioid polar pattern. It’s perfect for YouTubers who perform in live situations with other musicians. That’s because the tight pickup eliminates bleed from nearby instruments. Also, the tailored frequency response helps to cut out plosives and reduce handling noise. Be sure to shortlist the Super 55 Deluxe if you want high-quality sound with an authentic retro look.

The Not So Good

Some YouTubers cover a lot of stuff on their channels. This mic is limited in the sense that it’s a visual product intended for vocals and speech. That’s fine if it’s what you want. But the Super 55 Deluxe is still expensive considering its restricted use case. The other downside is that it’s not hand-friendly. You can hold it, but it may get uncomfortable after a while as it’s primarily a stand-mounted mic.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Shure
Mic Type: Dynamic
Connection: 3-pin XLR
Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Frequency Range: 60Hz–17kHz
Impedance: 290 Ohms
Mic Sensitivity: -53 dBV
Mic Dimensions: 7.40 x 3.06
Product Weight: 23.2 oz.
The Pros
Ideal for stage and studio YouTube
Iconic vintage design
Chrome-plated die-cast casing
Tailored frequency response
Adjustable swivel mount
Shock-mounted cartridge
Excellent off-axis rejection
Rejects plosives
The Cons
Limited use
Expensive
Not hand-friendly
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