5 Best External Microphones for YouTube in 2024

Creating captivating YouTube content isn’t just about stunning visuals; crystal-clear audio is equally vital. A great external microphone can make the difference between a mediocre video and a professional-quality production. Whether you’re vlogging, gaming, or teaching, the right mic can elevate your voice above the noise. With a myriad of options out there, from USB mics to lapel wonders, finding the perfect match can seem daunting. Fear not—we’ve handpicked the best external microphones tailored for YouTube creators of all levels, ensuring your message is heard loud and clear. Here’s our roundup of the sound champions for YouTube stardom.

When choosing the best external microphone for YouTube, it’s essential to consider several key criteria to ensure your videos have clear and professional-quality audio. Here’s what to look for:

  1. Audio Quality: The most important aspect is the sound fidelity. Look for a microphone with a wide frequency response and low self-noise to capture your voice naturally and clearly.
  2. Pickup Pattern: Depending on your recording environment, you may want a cardioid microphone (which picks up sound primarily from the front) to minimize background noise, or an omnidirectional one if capturing sound from all around is important.
  3. Compatibility: Check if the microphone is compatible with your recording device, whether it’s a camera, smartphone, or computer. Look for options like USB for easy plug-and-play or 3.5mm jacks for cameras.
  4. Ease of Use: For those not technically inclined, a microphone that’s simple to set up and operate is key. Features like plug-and-play functionality and no need for external power sources can be particularly helpful.
  5. Durability and Portability: If you often shoot on location, a sturdy, compact design is valuable to withstand travel and outdoor conditions.
  6. Accessories: Consider if the microphone comes with useful accessories, such as a windscreen to reduce noise, mounting options, or carrying cases.
  7. Price: Determine your budget and seek the best quality microphone within that range, remembering that the most expensive isn’t always the best choice for your specific needs.

Selecting a microphone that checks these boxes will give your YouTube content a professional audio edge, enhancing the overall quality and viewer satisfaction. Now, let’s dive into the listicle review of the best external microphones for YouTube.

Note that prices can vary with time and retailer, so you may need to look up the current prices for the most accurate comparison.

Microphone ModelEstimated Price (USD)TypePolar PatternConnectivityKey Features
Blue Yeti USB Microphone$120 – $150CondenserMultiple patternsUSBBuilt-in headphone jack, gain control, mute button
Rode VideoMic Pro+$270 – $300CondenserSupercardioid3.5mm, USBRycote Lyre shock mounting, battery saving mode
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone$400 – $500DynamicCardioidXLRInternal shock isolation, bass roll-off
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+$150 – $200CondenserCardioidUSBMix control, built-in headphone jack
Rode NT-USB Mini$100 – $120CondenserCardioidUSBDetachable magnetic stand, built-in pop filter

Always remember to check recent reviews and technical specifications for the latest information, as products can get updated or replaced by newer models.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

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The Blue Yeti USB microphone is a fantastic choice for YouTubers searching for a blend of quality, versatility, and ease of use. Upon unboxing the Blue Yeti, its retro aesthetic is immediately eye-catching; it looks like it belongs in a professional radio station from a bygone era. The beauty isn’t just skin-deep, however. This microphone offers crystal-clear audio that can make even amateur recordings sound remarkably professional.

What truly sets the Blue Yeti apart for YouTube content creators is its multi-pattern selection capabilities which include cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. This means whether you’re recording a solo vlog, an interview, or a roundtable discussion, there’s a setting that’s optimized for your needs. It also comes with a handy mute button, zero-latency headphone output for monitoring, and simple controls for volume and pattern selection. All of these features are integrated into the microphone itself, simplifying your setup.

Specs

In terms of technical specifications, the Blue Yeti boasts a 16-bit bitrate with a sampling rate of 48kHz. It’s reassuringly weighty due to its solid construction and has a convenient stand that can be adjusted to get the perfect angle—or removed if you prefer to use a different stand or boom arm.

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound quality for the price.
  • Versatile pickup patterns suited for various recording scenarios.
  • Plug-and-play USB connectivity makes it user-friendly.
  • Robust build and an attractive, classic design.

Cons:

  • Some might find it bulky if desk space is limited.
  • It picks up background noise more easily than some other mics, which might be an issue in noisy environments.
  • The proprietary USB cable it comes with can be a hassle if lost or damaged.

Price

As for the pricing, the Blue Yeti strikes a balance between affordability and professional-grade quality. It is typically found in the mid-range price bracket, which is more than fair given the broad functionality and performance it provides.

In conclusion, if you’re venturing into the world of YouTube and need a microphone that won’t let you down, the Blue Yeti stands as a worthy contender. Its thorough design thoughtfulness and commendable performance make it a go-to mic for many content creators. Its imperfections are easily overshadowed by its strengths, making it an investment you’re unlikely to regret.

Rode VideoMic Pro+

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The Rode VideoMic Pro+ is a top-tier shotgun microphone designed for use with cameras and has garnered a reputation as a go-to gadget for YouTubers seeking professional audio quality. What makes this microphone stand out is its “plug and play” functionality coupled with advanced features that bring out the best in your videos.

Firstly, it’s important to highlight the convenience factor. The Rode VideoMic Pro+ doesn’t require you to be an audio expert to start using it effectively. It’s an appealing choice for content creators who want to spend more time shooting videos and less time tinkering with audio settings.

The build quality is robust, with a suspension system designed to minimize unwanted vibrations and handling noise. This is crucial when shooting on the move or outdoors. The audio quality itself is crisp and clear, capturing your voice naturally while reducing background noise thanks to its supercardioid pickup pattern.

One feature I personally appreciate is the automatic power function, which turns the mic on and off with your camera, saving time and battery life. Furthermore, the included rechargeable battery is a practical touch, showing Rode’s commitment to a sustainable and user-friendly design.

Specs

  • Acoustic Principle: Line Gradient
  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz (selected HPF @75Hz/150Hz)
  • Equivalent Noise Level: 14dBA SPL (as per IEC651)
  • Maximum SPL: 133dB SPL
  • Battery Type: LB-1 Rechargeable Battery
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS
  • Weight: 122g (without battery)

Pros:

  • Superb sound quality for a camera-mounted mic.
  • User-friendly automatic power feature.
  • Rechargeable battery promotes ease of use and cost-efficiency.
  • Rugged build with effective shock absorption.

Cons:

  • The price point may be steep for hobbyist YouTubers.
  • Requires a camera with a 3.5mm microphone input, which may exclude some models.
  • Can be somewhat bulky compared to smaller lavalier mics or compact on-camera mics.

Price

The Rode VideoMic Pro+ is typically priced at the higher end of the external microphone market for YouTube content creators. While prices fluctuate, you can expect to pay between $250 to $300. Although not the cheapest option, the investment mirrors its professional features and build quality. For serious videographers and content creators who prioritize audio, this microphone could certainly justify its price tag.

Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

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The Shure SM7B is a legend in the making. Favored by podcasters, streamers, and musicians alike, it takes the crown when it comes to versatility and sound quality. I mean, if it’s good enough for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” it’s more than capable of capturing your YouTube voice-overs with crystal-clear quality. Its sleek, professional look gives off that ‘serious YouTuber’ vibe that can really elevate a channel’s presence.

From my experience, the magic lies in its ability to reject background noise while keeping vocal reproduction warm and clear – a godsend for those who can’t soundproof their studio to professional standards. It’s more than just a microphone; it’s like a trusted partner for your audio journey, whether you’re dissecting the intricacies of Game of Thrones or sharing DIY crafts.

Specs

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Output Impedance: 150 ohms
  • Connectors: XLR

Pros:

  • The sound quality is second to none. It produces a professional, rich tone that enhances vocal presence.
  • The rear rejection is superb for a home studio that might not be acoustically treated.
  • It’s built like a tank. This microphone can withstand the apocalypse and still come out looking and performing great.
  • Offers fantastic off-axis noise rejection, which is vital if you can’t record in a perfectly quiet environment.

Cons:

  • You’ll need extra gear to get the best out of it. A good preamp or audio interface with enough gain and possibly a cloudlifter can start to add up cost-wise.
  • It’s on the heavier side, which means you need a robust boom arm or stand to support it.
  • Not as plug-and-play as USB mics – this might turn off someone looking for simplicity.

Price

The Shure SM7B is definitely on the pricier side, usually retailing around $400. It’s an investment, no doubt, but when you hear the audio quality, you understand where that money went. It’s an industry favorite for a reason, and if you’re serious about your YouTube audio, this microphone can take your production value to the next level. Worth every penny, if you ask me.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

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The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is a marvel for YouTube creators who care deeply about audio quality but have a healthy respect for simplicity. Bridging the gap between studio recording and effortless home setup, this microphone is a testament to Audio-Technica’s legacy in delivering crystal-clear sound. What makes it stand out is the mix of its user-friendliness with the high-quality audio it captures—ideal for both budding YouTubers and seasoned pros looking for a reliable workhorse.

Having tested it thoroughly, I can say that the AT2020USB+ punches well above its weight class, offering an aural smoothness that’ll do justice to your voice and content. Plus, the direct USB connection eliminates any need for complicated audio interfaces, making it a plug-and-play dream.

Specs

From a technical standpoint, the AT2020USB+ doesn’t skimp on specs. It comes with a solid cardioid polar pattern that reduces pickup of unwanted sounds from the sides and back—perfect for home studios that aren’t soundproofed. Additionally, the built-in headphone jack with volume control allows for zero-latency monitoring, a godsend for real-time audio evaluation. And let’s not overlook the mix control that enables blending your microphone signal with pre-recorded audio—a feature streamers will adore.

Pros:

  • Stellar audio quality; it truly makes your voice sound buttery smooth.
  • The cardioid pickup pattern is excellent for isolating your voice from background noise.
  • Zero-latency monitoring is incredibly useful for live recordings or streaming.
  • The mix control feature is thoughtful and well implemented for multitaskers.

Cons:

  • If there’s a nit to pick, it would be that the product lacks multiple pickup patterns, which some may desire for versatility.
  • The included stand can feel a bit flimsy, leading to possible stability concerns.

Price

Pricing for a microphone of this caliber is always a delicate topic. Too high, and it becomes inaccessible; too low, and it’s easy to question the quality. Fortunately, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ finds a happy medium. Currently priced in the mid-tier bracket, it represents a smart investment for those serious about their sound on YouTube without breaking the bank. While there are cheaper alternatives, the cost-cutting inevitably rears its ugly head in the sound department. In my opinion, with the AT2020USB+, your wallet will feel the pinch, but your ears will be eternally grateful.

Rode NT-USB Mini

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The Rode NT-USB Mini is a compact, studio-quality USB microphone designed for podcasters, streamers, musicians, and YouTubers who are looking for a plug-and-play solution without compromising on sound quality. What immediately strikes me is how remarkably solid this microphone feels despite its small stature. Rode has managed to pack in a lot of quality into a space-efficient design.

Upon testing, the Rode NT-USB Mini delivers a crystal-clear, professional sound with a warmth that can give a personal touch to voiceovers and commentary. Its directional cardioid polar pattern does an excellent job at minimizing background noise, focusing on the voice in front of it, which is crucial when you’re aiming for a clean, professional audio in diverse recording environments.

The included magnetic desk stand is equally impressive. Not only is it sturdy, but it also provides basic shock absorption, and its easy detachment makes it perfect for use with other mic stands or boom arms. Convenience is at the heart of this microphone’s design, evident in its straightforward use: plug it into your computer, and you’re good to go; no need for additional drivers or software.

Specs:

  • Acoustic Principle: Pressure gradient
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Sample Rates: 48 kHz
  • Bit Depth: 24-bit
  • Connection Type: USB-C
  • Output: 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring

Pros:

  • The sound quality is excellent for such a compact microphone.
  • Super easy setup, literally plug-and-play.
  • The detachable magnetic stand is convenient and innovative.
  • The build quality is solid, not what you might expect from a smaller mic.

Cons:

  • Lacks onboard gain control, which restricts on-the-fly adjustments.
  • Some users might prefer a mic with multiple polar patterns for versatility.

Price:
The Rode NT-USB Mini is priced competitively, often found around $99. While it might not be the cheapest option out there, I consider it a solid investment for the build and sound quality you get. It’s an accessible piece of equipment without the steep price tag of professional studio gear.

In my opinion, the Rode NT-USB Mini is a fantastic micro solution for quality audio recording that doesn’t skimp on professionalism. Whether you’re starting out on YouTube or looking to upgrade your audio setup without overwhelming your workspace, this microphone is a contender that certainly deserves your consideration.

Conclusion:

Choosing the perfect external microphone for YouTube creation can elevate the quality of your content significantly. Whether you opt for a shotgun mic for its directional capture, a lavalier for its discreet convenience, or a condenser for studio-like clarity, make sure to consider your specific needs and recording conditions. Remember, good audio can keep viewers engaged far more than flashy visuals. Invest in a mic that complements your content, fits your budget, and enhances your viewers’ experience.

FAQs:

Q1: Can I use these microphones with any camera or computer?
A: Most external microphones are designed with universal compatibility in mind, using standard connections like 3.5mm jacks, USB, or wireless Bluetooth. However, always check the product specifications to ensure compatibility with your specific camera or computer.

Q2: Is it necessary to have a separate audio recorder?
A: While not strictly necessary, a separate audio recorder can provide higher quality sound and more flexibility in post-production. This is often a consideration for professional-grade audio results.

Q3: How important is microphone placement?
A: Microphone placement is crucial. It affects the sound quality and the ability to capture clear audio without unwanted background noise. Experiment with positioning to find the sweet spot for your recording environment.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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