The 13 Best Microphones for YouTube Content Creators

David Utke •  Updated: January 11, 2024 •  YouTube

I make helpful tutorial videos (and the occasional vlog) for YouTube. My team and I know how important it is to get the best microphone for YouTube, as you will create content other people will watch and listen to.

In reality, audio quality is just as important, if not more important, than video quality. Most can watch a low-quality video with high-quality audio, but not vice versa. As such, the internal audio on your camera, webcam, or iPhone is unacceptable for professional use.

You need an external microphone, so which one is best? Let’s get into the breakdown on the best microphones for YouTube.

Rhode Video Mic Pro

An excellent shotgun mic that provides excellent audio without picking up too much background noise.

Shure MV7 USB

Primarily a USB mic with an additional XLR connector. This mic looks great, sounds even better and does not pick up background noise.

Shure SM7B

The YouTube podcasters microphone of choice. Superior sound for professional audio.

Rhode Wireless Go

The best wireless microphone system you can buy. Pairs well with lav pics too.

Consider the Content You’ll Be Recording for YouTube

It’s essential to consider the YouTube content you’ll be making, as the style will dictate the best microphone for YouTube. From interviews to YouTube shorts to travel content. There are both optimal cameras for YouTube as well as microphones.

No microphone is perfect for all situations, so depending on how you make your videos will determine the best microphone for YouTube.

Types of microphones for YouTube

As a YouTuber, there are four categories of microphones I would categorize external microphones into:

On-camera microphones – Also known as a shotgun mic, these can be mounted onto a camera and plugged in directly. If you’re recording Youtube videos with a camera, you need this.

USB Microphones – Plug-and-play devices that can connect directly to your laptop. You need a USB mic for any on-screen recording.

XLR Microphones – These are professional condenser microphones requiring an audio interface. Ideal for music and singers.

Lapel Mics – Lapel microphones are tiny microphones that can attach to you directly, providing quality audio. Great for interview content or talking head videos.

The Best Microphones for YouTube

From studio recording with an XLR microphone to a travel vlog or YouTube video recording in your bedroom with a budget camera, here are my top YouTube microphone purchase suggestions:

Rhode Video Mic Pro+ – The best shotgun microphone

The Video Mic Pro provides the best audio quality of any on-camera mic I’ve used. This is my current microphone I use for all my YouTube videos.

Video Mic Pro+

Excellent mic that picks up your voice, good sound isolation and handy features like turning on and off automatically with your camera.

It comes built with its own wind filter, automatically turns on when you turn your camera on so you don’t end up recording video content with the microphone off, is outstanding at blocking out unwanted noise from your recording environment and has a long battery life.

The only slight issue with the Rhode Video Mic Pro is that it is a bit large, so if you’re looking for something for on-the-go, you may want to consider a smaller mic. It’s also one of the more expensive options. But if you’re looking for the best microphone for YouTube, this is what I use for my videos.

Features I like

It’s plug-and-play and features three settings on the back to control the signal output level. You can set it to -10, 0, or +20. This adjusts how sensitive the microphone is. A +20 setting is what you would want to use in a quiet environment and a -10 for a situation with a noisy background.

You can also turn a high pass filter on and off, which helps reduce low-frequency noise. Get this microphone if you want professional audio, and play around with the settings to see what you like best.

Shure MV7 USB – The best USB microphone

The Shure MV7 is the best USB microphone I’ve ever used. From screen capture content using OBS to interviews over Zoom, it has the highest quality audio compared to the competition.

Shure MV7

The MV7 is a USB version of their popular XLR podcasting version.

You get a small microphone with a premium build and a wind muff to help reduce your plosives. It also comes with software to adjust the sound profile (specifically the highs and lows), and you can adjust the mic sensitivity.

On top of that, this USB microphone comes with a USB-C wire, a traditional USB wire as well as an XLR connection. If you want to the flexibility to connect it with an audio interface or your laptop directly you can.

This is the microphone I personally use for recording all of my YouTube video tutorial content on my laptop. It is easily one of the best microphone for YouTube if you need to do voice over work, tutorials or on screen narration.

Mic stand: This is a must-have. This affordable stand pairs perfectly well with the Shure USB microphone to make recording optimal.

Shure SM7B – The best XLR microphone for podcasting

This is your go-to microphone to create a podcast YouTube channel. From the Joe Rogan Experience to countless other shows, you’ll almost always see a Sure SM7B on display.

Shure SM7B

XLR microphone that professional podcasters use. Deep, rich sounding audio you’ll love.

It provides superior audio quality when compared to its USB version. However, you will need several additional items if you choose the XLR route. First, you’ll need a sound mixer or a USB audio interface, and then you’ll need a high-quality XLR cable.

On the back of this mic are a few switches. The first is a low cut filter which will reduce the low end of the recording and the other switch is a presence boost which will increase the higher end of the recording.

Unlike the USB version that has an added XLR connection, the SM7B is strictly an XLR microphone with no way to plug it into a computer directly via a USB connection. Overall this is one of the best microphones for YouTube if you’re looking for an XLR connection.

Rhode Wireless Go – Best lapel mic for YouTube

This is an incredibly helpful, wireless microphone system to help you record YouTube videos. It is designed to be used on any camera body (DSLR or mirrorless cameras) or even your iPhone.

Rhode Wireless Go

High quality audio from a wireless microphone system that pairs with a wide array of cameras easily.

You get two transmitter boxes. One can be plugged into your camera by attaching it to the shoe mount or your phone by using an adapter that can plug into the lighting port. The other transmitter can then be attached to you directly as a microphone. You are picking up your voice even if you’re far away from the camera.

Even better, if you don’t want to use the Rhode Wireless Go transmitter box as a microphone you don’t have to as you can plug a cheap lapel mic to the transmitter box. This is advantageous as you can keep the transmiter box in your pocket while you hide the lapel microphone in your clothing.

Shure MV88+ – The best microphone for iPhone

This portable microphone is an industry-leading sound device with a top mounting architecture that produces rich sounding, stereo audio.

Shure MV88+

The MV88+ is an update to the popular MV88. The audio is improved and you can now buy it as a complete vlogging kit.

It connects to any iPhone (or iPad) equipped with a Lightning connector. You can immediately begin capturing recordings while using your phone. Its 90-degree hinge and built-in rotation also provide useful flexibility as well.

If you’re using an iPhone, the MV88+ from Shure is the best microphone for recording audio as part of your YouTube video creation workflow. There is no comparable choice.

The internal audio of your iPhone is good enough in most instances if you have the primary camera of the iPhone pointed at you, but with the Shure MV88, you get a deep, rich, professional sound.

If you’re creating vlogs with your iPhone, getting this small microphone and tripod package levels up the audio quality of the content you produce. On top of that, it comes with helpful software to help you adjust the recording of the audio quality to your liking by changing the treble and bass.

What about the MV88?

I really like the original version of the MV88, it’s perfect if you want to hand hold your iPhone but you want improved audio. The only issue is that the MV88+ is replacing the older version so it’s difficult to find.

Small iPhone tripod – The tripod and shooting grip I use with my iPhone. It’s cheap, small and light. Pairs perfectly with the MV88.

Sennheiser MKH 416 – Best professional studio mic

The MKH 416 is a versatile, directional microphone, perfect for film production as well as radio broadcasts. It durable and built to be used on a boom pool either outside or indoors.

MKH 416

Film quality microphone with a price point to match. Needs additional equipment to get optimal performance.

The compact size of this microphone and superior sound quality make it ideal for all recording environments. Its high directivity ensures excellent articulation of consonants while providing superior feedback rejection.

It is the best microphone for YouTube if you’re setting up a proper studio recording environment for your content creation. Please note that with your purchase, you’re only getting the microphone and wind filter.

You’ll also want to buy:

Overall, this is one of the best microphones for YouTube talking head videos in some sort of studio setup. The sound quality out of this shotgun mic needs little to no post-processing and is the top choice of both film makers and pro YouTubers.

Please be aware though that you’ll need a complicated setup as I laid out which is quite expensive. This is why I recommend the Rhode Video Mic Pro as it gets you 90% there with audio quality without being an overly expensive or complicated audio setup.

Sennheiser MKE 400 – Best vlogging shotgun mic

While I use and recommend the Rhode Video Mic Pro for anyone recording YouTube videos with a mirrorless camera (or DSLR), there is no denying that it is a bit bulky.

MKE 400

If you want the best alternative microphone then take a look at the MKE 400.

It’s smaller and sleeker than the Video Mic Pro and provides a similar quality of sound (actually, some say it sounds better than the Rhode). I would suggest this mic if you’re going to be doing on-the-go recording for YouTube videos and want a high quality external mic for your camera that produces excellent audio quality. Also, you can connect this microphone to your iPhone as well using an adapter.

Zoom H2N – The best multi-purpose, versatile microphone

The Zoom H2N Handy Recorder tops the list because it’s the most flexible, multi-purpose microphone. You can pair this microphone with a USB connection to your laptop or computer, buy a wire, and attach it to your DSLR (or mirrorless) camera for rich-sounding audio.

Zoom H2N

A microphone that can connect to a camera, be used as a USB microphone or as a stand-a-lone mic.

You can even use this as a stand-alone recording device for interviews and on-the-go podcasts, as it’s battery-powered (when not plugged in via USB) and can save the audio recording directly.

This microphone is the most feature-rich device on this list as it has multi-channel functionality because it has eight mini microphones built into it; you can easily change the sound pattern.

Overall, it’s a useful multi-purpose, “jack of all trades” microphone if you’re looking for one device to use with both your camera, laptop as well as independently by itself in a podcasting, interview type setup.

Accessory Kit: You’ll want to purchase this as it includes a wind muff, a remote, and a helpful little tripod for the mic.

Rhode NT USB – Best mid-range USB condenser microphone

The Rode NT-USB microphone is one of the most effective USB microphones, outperforming a lot of other USB mics in the $200+ range (not including the Shure MV7, that’s a better but more expenisve microphone).

Rhode NT USB

A good mid range option if you’re looking for an alternative to the expensive Shure USB mic.

It delivers high-quality sound without requiring special drivers or additional 3rd party equipment like a good interface. It is well-built and can pair with a boom arm.

The overall design is well-planned and includes a handy headphone monitor to test your audio and adequate controls. It also comes with a well-fitted and essential pop shield and a decent desk mount at no extra cost. While there are certainly less expensive microphones, the Rhode NT USB is a solid mid-range podcasting microphone.

Audio Technica AT2020 XLR – The Affordable Podcasting Option

The Audio Technica AT2020 is a podcasting-friendly condenser microphone where the audio sounds premium and detailed. It’s ideal for any digital recording, like narration or voiceovers, but it shines as a budget podcasting mic.

AT2020 XLR

My favorite alternative podcasting and vocal mic to the expensive Shure XLR mic.

I do prefer the sound out of the Shure, but it’s only a slight difference. The Audio Technica made my list because when comparing the price points and overall sound quality, the Audio Technica provides a lot of value.

Last, you can plug your headphones into the microphone to observe and fix real-time audio distortions. I suggest purchasing a pop filter for this mic, which can be sensitive. As an XLR mic it does need phantom power and of course you’ll need to purchase an XLR cable.

Boya BY-M1 – Best wired lavalier mic

If you need a lav mic for your camera, laptop, or iPhone then you’ll love the Boya BY-M1. It’s a cheap microphone that produces audio quality far above it’s pay grade. It comes with it’s own internal pop filter and is a good choice for YouTube recording.

BY-M1

A great sounding, cheap wired lavalier mic. Perfect if you’re not wanting a wireless setup.

This mic can connect to your devices directly with the included cables. It can also pair with the Rhode Wireless Go, making it an effective combination for recording YouTube videos as it can produce professional-level sound.

Yes there are more expensive lav mics, but I always come back to the Boya By-M1 because it just sounds so good and it’s so cheap. Making it the best microphone for YouTube if you need a lav mic.

Maybesta Wireless Lav Mic – Best wireless mic for iPhone

The Maybesta is a plug and play, wireless microphone system that has a transmiter that can plug directly into your iPhone via the lightening port and then the actual microphone can attach to your shirt. The sound quality is average, but a step up from the internal audio of the iPhone.

Maybesta Wireless Lav Mic

A decent wireless mic with good range. Cheap and the best wireless option for iPhone users.

The unique selling point of this option among various lavalier mics is that it is wireless so if you’re needing a wireless omnidirectional microphone for your iPhone this is your best choice. It comes with a built in battery an lasts 4.5 hours when fully charged.

HyperX Quad Cast S – The video game streamers mic

The HyperX QuadCast is the ideal all-in-one microphone for pro streamers or budding podcasters searching for a condenser mic with high sound quality.

Quad Cast S

The Quad Cast S has an anti-vibration shock mount and a built-in pop filter to help dampen loud plosives. Colorful design for in-video use.

This model is the ultimate mic for gaming. This model is prepared for almost any recording scenario thanks to four adjustable polar patterns and a conveniently located gain control dial that allows you to alter your microphone input sensitivity quickly. The included mount adapter fits 3/8″ and 5/8″ thread sizes and is compatible with most stands.

Last, this USB mic is validated by Discord and TeamSpeak, so you may rest confident that your microphone will broadcast loudly to all your fans and listeners. It may also be monitored in real-time thanks to the handy headphone jack on the back of the mic.

FAQ

Is the Blue Yeti good?

I don’t recommend the Blue Yeti. The audio quality is good, but better options like the Shure MV7 or the Quad Cast S exist. In addition, the Yeti lives up to its name; it’s a big and bulky microphone.

Dynamic vs condenser microphone – What’s the difference?

So what is the difference between a dynamic mic and a condenser mic? First, dynamic mics are designed for live performances because of their capacity to handle loud sound levels without generating distortion; plus, these mics have low sensitivity, which decreases the probability of picking up background noise compared to condenser mics.

A condenser microphone, by contrast, picks up more subtle nuances than other mics, making them ideal for studio vocalists, talking, and YouTube content creators. The main downside is that you’ll usually need to purchase phantom power which can be costly.

But some “phantom power” for a mic can be something as simple as a battery you toss into the device. It really depends on the level of microphone you’re using

Why is a cardioid polar pattern important?

Boasting the highest sensitivity to sound from the front (0º) and a minimal response from behind (180º), cardioid is the most common directional polar pattern, designed to reduce its capacity for sound coming in from either side.

This is important when recording as you don’t want your microphone picking up any background noise. Instead, you want a sound pattern focused on picking up your voice only.

What is “phantom power?”

Phantom Power describes providing direct current (DC) power to microphones needing electricity to power their internal mechanisms. This can be in the form of something simple as a battery or a dedicated power adapter.

Best microphones for YouTube – Conclusion

That’s it for this guide on the best microphones for YouTube. You have a wide range of options depending on what you want to do. From quality on-camera shot gun mics, to USB or podcasting mics and even iPhone microphones.

For what I use for my content creation process is the Rhode Video Mic Pro+ for all my “talking head” shots, the Shure MV7 USB mic for my on-screen tutorials or really any voice work I’m doing with my laptop and the Shure MV88 when recording with my iPhone.

It's all my fault

Hey I'm David. I'm a blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated UX consultant on Fiverr. My writing, videos and courses have helped tens of thousands of people make their first 1$ online. I write this blog to show you the "how to" for turning knowledge into income so you can live life on your terms.

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