What is the Best Microphone for Voiceover Work?

There is an overwhelming number of microphone options you can choose from but one has to be smart with picking one of the most important equipment a voiceover talent would need.  You can’t buy a mic based on its looks, or just because it is expensive (or less expensive), choose one that matches your requirements.

High-end models typically used in professional studios would cost thousands of dollars but boasts superior quality features.  However, there are also alternatives, from low to mid-range cost that can still provide professional grade recordings.

Below, we have compiled the top 5 microphones recommended by voice-over talents, studios and tech sites. We’ve also found the best rates online where you can purchase each microphone.

MKH 416
Sennheiser MKH 416

We start the list with Sennheiser MKH-416.  The Sennheiser MKH-416 is the more expensive option in this lot, with price ranging from $1199 to $1299.  It is a shotgun mic commonly used in professional studios and television sets.  It’s directional so points directly to the voice and it is very good in feedback rejection.

What users like about it?                                                                                
Great sound quality
Durable
Lightweight
Easy to use

Best price we have found on the MKH-416

 

AT2020
Audio Technica AT2020

Audio Technica AT2020 is a cardioid condenser microphone.  Price range is around $100 to $150, making it a cost effective professional quality condenser mic.  It is recommended for voiceover work as it gives a rich, round and commercial sound similar to what you will get from a large diaphragm condenser mic.

What users like about it?                                                                                
Compact
Good audio
Easy to use
Lightweight
Versatile

Here’s the best price we’ve found for the AT2020

 

Rode NTK
Rode NTK

Another microphone option is the Rode NTK.  Normally tube mics cost about $3000, Rode NTK is the less expensive model of its kind, priced at $529.  It is large-diaphragm condenser mic that gives a warm sonic character.  It can take the beating for loud recordings without distorting the sound.

What users like about it?
Durable
Good audio
Versatile
Compact

The best price we could find online for the Rode NTK

 

Rode NT1-A
Rode NT1-A

In almost all lists you will find the model Rode NT1-A.  Priced only at $229, makes it a perfect first voiceover mic.  It is known as a flat mic because it is one of the quietest on the market.  This neutral sounding mic is best for recording vocals and provides high quality voiceover recordings.  A no ring resonance and similar frequency response to other voice talent microphones.

What users like about it?
Good audio
Easy to use
Versatile
Durable
Lightweight

Here’s the lowest price on the Rode NT1-A we could source.

 

Neumann TLM103
Neumann TLM103

Neumann TLM103 is the less pricey sibling of everyone’s favourite, Neumann U87.  Priced at about $1,099.95, it addresses the voiceover need to have Neumann quality microphone without breaking the bank.  Though still less flexible than a U87, it still has a broad range and perfect for professional broadcasters to the more demanding home studio needs. What voiceovers love about this mic is its ability to pick up every nuances of the voice, and not just the prominent sound.  This diaphragm condenser mic, like any high-end mic, can be very audio sensitive.

What users like about it?
Durable
Great sound quality
Easy to use
Compact
Versatile

The cheapest price online for the Neumann TLM103

 

There are also accessories that you need to consider buying along with your microphone to record quality vocals like widescreen, shock mount and reflection filter.  Ultimately, unless you give your vocal booth or studio the proper room treatment or equip your system with a good recording software you are unlikely to truly benefit from any great quality microphone.  It may hurt the pocket at the start, but the rewards are sweeter once you start recording professional quality voiceovers.

 

What microphone do you use?  What do you like about it?  Would you recommend it?

Rana King

Rana King has presented marketing, sales, and writing seminars around the globe. She is also experienced in business-to-business copywriting and technical writing. She is also an accomplished voice actor with regular clients from around the globe.

  • Mike Shepherd

    found the TLM49 too dark and sort of mushy in the mids but YMMV : )

  • I have an Audio technia 4033 that I bought in the early 90’s. Gets better with age. When traveling I use the Apogee Mic. That said, I’m worknig on getting a Neumann TLM49. $1700. But incredible sound. A studio I’ve worked in had one. And I was knocked out by the quality and clarity of this Mic. Gotta get one. What should you get? Get the best mic you can afford. But test sevreal and see what you sound the best on.

  • Tony Peters

    I Use The Rode Procaster A Great Mic For Me And My Voice

  • Steve

    Dont laugh but I use an old SE5000! Nice warm sound…,i love it 😉

  • Lance Blair

    I use a CAD E100s. Much better than my old TLM 103 (or TLM 102). Please don’t tell people to use the AT2020. The AT2035 that I own (as my backup) for a few dollars more than the AT2020 has significantly lower self-noise plus a HPF and Pad but is still nowhere near the CAD E100s in quality.

  • Patrick McCarthy

    Surprised no one has mentioned the Blue Yetti. When I asked around two sound engineers told me to get a Blue Yetti which was a great improvement over the mic I had been using for voice recognition. The price $100 on Ebay for mic and pop filter seemed great.

  • Jeff Wilson

    I have the Sennheiser 416. Its great all around but also very useful when your on the road and need a portable setup. I also have the Rode NT1-A in the studio. Love it.

  • P Dake

    I am JUST getting started with my VO set up, using my old SM57. Just for kicks I swapped in a 20 year old, beat up Audio Technica and it sounded a little better! That AT2020 above looks like an economical option, but then again that Rode might be well worth the splurge.

  • Andy

    Lewitt LCT 640…love it! Have a CAD E100S to but it’s just waaaaaay to sensitive for audiobooks; at least for me.

  • Rana King

    Neumann is a popular mic option too, but when we collated our list from various tech sites and surveyed VOs it didn’t come up in the top 5… It was a close top 6 though.

  • William Marshall Cline

    I’ve got that mic and boy is it fantastic…

  • Ernie Goyette

    Interesting list. Is it just my distorted observation, or do a lot of VOs use the Neumann TLM 103? I wonder why that one isn’t listed given its popularity.

  • Jorge

    I would never add a Shure SM58 to a list of 5 mics for VO. Instead, at least one model of Neumann mics should be in the list.

  • Jean Hamilton-Fford

    Love my Rode NT1A!!! Fabulous!

  • Ron Rhodes

    I currently use the Blue Baby Bottle (approx $400-$450). The mid range is extremely clear. I have used it on many high-visibility projects. At first, I was dubious of the Blue because I thought they were putting too much money into the pleasing aesthetics, but after using it as my go-to mic for the last 5 years, I am sold.

    That said, I am upgrading to a “big-boy” microphone sometime this year. Probably a Neumann TLM 49 (approx $1,700). I have listened to many mic shootouts with the TLM 49 and I’m sold. As long as it auditions well in my environment, I will probably not buy another mic.

    But I will definitely keep the Blue Baby Bottle as my back up mic. It has been extremely serviceable as it has helped launch me into the next level of voice acting.

  • Guest

    I currently use the Blue Baby Bottle (approx $400-$450). The mid range is extremely clear. I have used it on many high-visibility projects. At first, I was dubious of the Blue because I thought they were putting too much money into the pleasing aesthetics, but after using it as my go-to mic for the last 5 years, I am sold.

    That said, I am upgrading to a “big-boy” microphone sometime this year. Probably a Neumann TLM 49 (approx $1,700). I have listened to many mic shootouts with the TLM 49 and I’m sold. As long as it auditions well in my environment, I will probably not buy another mic.

    But I will definitely keep the blue as my back up mic. It has been extremely serviceable and has helped launch me into the next level of voice acting.

  • I like the CAD Equitek E100S, it’s a large diaphragm condenser, super cardioid pattern and can be found for under $500.