Content creators don’t see the point in waiting for an opportunity when you can make the opportunity yourself. YouTube stands as a one-stop shop for pretty much anything. You can learn how to change a tire, change your operating system, and change your life all from one resource. However, many creators forget about the importance of audio quality. As a reminder, we’ve come up with a list of the best mics for YouTube; no matter your channel, there’s a recording device to improve production value.
Editor’s note: this list was updated on June 28, 2019, to include the Shure MV88+ Video Kit in the notable mentions section.
Related: Best podcasting microphones
The streaming option is the Blue Yeti
The Blue Yeti can handle just about anything you throw at it. Due to its large construction, however, it bodes well for gaming streamers for whom it matters less if a microphone is partially obstructing the face. YouTubers can choose from four recording patterns; although, cardioid would probably fair best for streaming.
By nature of being a USB microphone, the Blue Yeti is one of the best mics for YouTube because of its ease of use. Setup merely requires you to plug it into the computer, open your preferred recording app, and begin. There are a few onboard controls like gain adjustment and headphone volume. Additionally, this records 16-bit audio at 48kHz, which is plenty for YouTube compression.
Beneath the grill is a tri-capsule array and each mic is positioned at a different angle for omnidirectional recording. Plus, the microphone serves as its own stand since the legs kick out. This makes it a fine travel companion, albeit a bit larger than others listed.
What you should know about the best mics for YouTube
- There exist a few different polar patterns, and one that repeatedly appears for the best mics for YouTube is cardioid, which predominantly records what’s in front of the microphone, while omnidirectional mics record all surrounding sounds.
- How you categorize your channel and what kinds of videos you intend to make, will determine what style microphone best suits you. If you’re planning on streaming for gaming, the Blue Yeti is a great pick. However, it wouldn’t be realistic or even usable, really, for vlogging. Bear in mind that these are all excellent options for their specific use cases.
Vlog away with the Rode VideoMic
For run-and-gun content creators, there are few more frequently recommended options than the Rode VideoMic. This easily mounts onto a DSLR or boom pole for instant recording. Its integrated shock mount absorbs movement vibrations and the super-cardioid polar pattern is ideal for directional recording. It effectively filters out off-axis sounds especially when in a controlled environment
Unfortunately, it does require a 9V battery which weighs things down a bit, yet is forgivable given the shotgun microphone’s petite design. Content creators who record outdoors will benefit from the included windscreen as the VideoMic does tend to register breezes. If you’re planning to travel, be it locally or afar, the Rode VideoMic is a one bag must-have.
For general field recording pickup the Zoom H1n
This is a go-to option for reporters and anyone in need of a versatile recorder they can attach a lavalier to if needed. The updated 2018 version here features a new, more protective design with the same X-Y recording format. The stereo condenser microphones are shielded without impeding recording fidelity.
Its slim casing makes it easy to pop into a bag, so you can always be ready to record high-quality audio. Like the others listed, this too records 16-bit/44.1kHz audio, which leaves plenty of wiggle room for adjustments in post.
Onboard controls are intuitive and if all else fails, just hit the large record button and you’re good to go. From the Zoom H1n, you can adjust playback speed, enable a voice-emphasized filter, and toggle stereo overdubbing features, which are great for musicians.
Keep things close with the Rode SmartLav+
Yes, this is the second time that Rode is highlighted on our best mics for YouTube list, and the repetition is well earned: the company knows how to make effective user-friendly mics. True, this lavalier is pricy but its omnidirectional condenser capsule is discreet and the Kevlar-reinforced cable makes this one of the more durable lavs available.
Aside from those features, there are few accessories included. However, the windscreen, shirt clip, and carrying pouch are all functional. The great about this microphone is, while it does sound excellent when paired with something like the Zoom H1n, it can also be used just as well with a smartphone. If you’re an iOS user, there’s even a dedicated Rode Rec app available via the App Store.
Seeing as it weighs just six grams, carrying it around requires zero extra effort, and if you go onto Rode’s website to register the SmartLav+, you benefit from a 12-month warranty. On the whole, this is a fantastic little microphone for interviews and any instance where you want the microphone to go as unnoticed as possible while still capturing clear audio.
The Samson Go Mic is a tried and true budget pick
Despite being the oldest microphone on the list, the Samson Go Mic deserves a spot in your travel bag. It allows for cardioid and omnidirectional recording patterns and is lightweight with a nearly imperceptible footprint. Plus, the diecast, zinc-molded base holds a shock absorbent pad to minimize vibrations and it serves as a stand or clip for a table or laptop screen respectively.
Samson Go MicFull Review
Just like the Blue Yeti, this on-the-go microphone can record at 16-bit/44.1kHz resolution for excellent audio quality. And it’s an affordable package that works well for gamers, conference calls, and general content creators.
- Shure SM7B: This large microphone yields a fairly neutral recording and is equipped with internals to shield from electromagnetic interference. It requires an XLR interface and is a great option for streamers or studio recording.
- Shure VP83F: Although this seems an expensive option for vlogging, it serves as an all-in-one condenser microphones for DSLRs. It effectively ignores off-axis sounds while effectively registering the target ahead.
- Shure MV88+ Video Kit: Content creators who use their smartphones should keep a close eye on the MV88+. This portable, all-metal microphone packs a punch and produces excellent audio quality. The kit includes a Manfrotto mini tripod and phone mount. Plus, Shure’s comprehensive app suite is an easy way to edit on the go.
Related: What to look for in a microphone
Why you should trust us
We believe that audio is both an objective and subjective experience and our work speaks to that. We make sure to perform relevant testing to all products we directly review and approach each unit from the standpoint of the intended user. This perspective allows to have a greater understanding of any potential faults or features worth praising.
Truly, all we want is for you to enjoy your purchase if one is made. While we do operate via affiliate links, no writer may benefit from recommending product A over product B. If a purchase isn’t made, we do hope that you walk away with a greater understanding of audio and if you’re still curious or just want to window shop, check out the lists below.
Disclosure: We may receive affiliate compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. Even though we may receive compensation, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on each product. See our ethics policy for more details.