Voice Over Microphones – How to Choose the Best One For You and Your Budget

The most important mistake voice over artists make — and that features some professionals — is utilizing the improper microphone. It may well wreck your work. When you market your self on Voice123.com or Voices.com, the improper microphone will insure you aren’t getting employed, or for those who do, that you just will not get employed by that very same individual once more.

Right here we’ll take a look at the three sorts of microphones most frequently used, their strengths and weaknesses, value, and tips on how to decide which one(s) to go for.

We’ll discuss concerning the sorts, then take a look at particular manufacturers, fashions, and costs.

Earlier than we begin, an important factor I can say to you is that your microphone is an important a part of your whole audio chain, no exceptions. You possibly can have essentially the most fabulous gear on the planet downstream from the mic, but when the mic would not lower it, it would not actually matter about the remainder of that gear. Then again, a terrific microphone adopted by average-priced gear offers you a superior audio product.

What are you trying to do? Are you on the lookout for a mic that is clean and candy, or hard-edged and in-your-face? Are you male or feminine? If you wish to do film trailers and screaming automobile vendor adverts, you want a unique mic than for those who’re doing “man or lady subsequent door” — practical — voice work, or normal announce voice work. Listed here are the sorts of mics to think about:


Dynamic microphones are what you see in radio stations and are what reside vocalists (singers) most frequently use. They’re rugged, fairly good-sounding, and okay for many voices, which means one won’t sound completely fabulous in your specific voice, nevertheless it will not sound terrible, which isn’t true of different sorts, together with some very costly microphones. A dynamic additionally is just not so nuanced. The half that picks up your voice, the diaphragm, is linked to a coil of wire; air motion from sound makes the coil transfer between the poles of a magnet. The sound has to beat the mass of the coil, and really small sounds do not get by means of.

This does not make them dangerous. Rush Limbaugh’s Golden EIB microphone is a dynamic, and, once more, most radio stations use them. They’re good general-purpose mics, and plenty of voice over professionals use them. They’re equally good for female and male voices, and you are able to do most any kind of favor with them.

When you’re on a price range, a dynamic is the one selection, as a result of the opposite two value much more. There are low cost variations of the opposite two, and you don’t want one!

So if dynamics are so helpful, why spend extra for a condenser or ribbon?


A condenser microphone, of which there are two sorts, transistor and tube (“valve” in Europe), doesn’t have the transferring coil of wire connected to its diaphragm. It modifies {an electrical} present generated by an exterior energy provide (present in most pc interfaces or with an exterior energy provide, see your vendor for information, or inside batteries). With out the mechanical resistance of a dynamic mic’s coil to beat, a condenser is much extra delicate to nuance, and subsequently sounds far more intimate.

Condensers are available two flavors: transistor and tube. A tube condenser, which is an costly instrument (there are low cost ones they usually make good paperweights however not microphones), is sort of all the time the perfect method to go. Tube condensers sound intimate and full, and have a terrific up-front sound with out being aggressive. They’re fairly topic to issues from onerous speech elements — ‘f’, ‘s’, ‘p’ — and require a pop display (see your vendor). Tube mics additionally produce what’s referred to as harmonic distortion, which we do not consciously hear however is answerable for what’s referred to as “tube heat” (nothing to do with temperature!) and sounds fairly intimate.

Condensers are available two different flavors: massive diaphragm and small diaphragm. Massive diaphragms are for while you desire a massive, intimate sound. Small diaphragms are mentioned to be extra correct. Nonetheless, the precise one for you is the one which sounds finest after making several-minute recordings with every (extra about this later within the article) and seeing if one is extra fatiguing or if one simply plain sounds higher to you than the opposite. There are not any guidelines. Each varieties are used for voice over.

Many voice over artists favor tube condensers over transistorized ones, however in all instances, what sounds finest in your specific voice is what it is best to get. How to decide on a mic? We’ll get to that in a minute.


This is the third kind, in a category by itself: the ribbon microphone. Whereas dynamics and condensers ‘hear’ with diaphragms, a ribbon microphone “hears” with a brief, slim, and really skinny piece of corrugated, aluminum ‘foil’ suspended between the poles of a powerful magnet.

You have seen the massive, pickle-shaped microphones on Letterman’s and Larry King’s desks. They’re RCA Mannequin 77 ribbon microphones (used as props on this case), invented within the 1930’s. They have been discovered in every single place for half a century. RCA stop making ribbons within the 1970’s, and an enterprising genius named Wes Dooley purchased all of RCA’s inventory ribbons (the ribbons themselves) and doubtless single-handedly re-introduced the ribbon microphone to the US market. His firm is named AEA, and even the AEA emblem is so designed as to carefully resemble RCA’s emblem. There are actually a number of firms making superb ribbon microphones.

Ribbon mics are heat and clean, jazz guys wish to file with them, they’re very good for women’ voices, and for sure male voices they add a pleasant satisfying depth. Additionally they have a low output, which signifies that it’s important to crank up the enter in your system to get an honest stage from them. However elevating the enter raises what’s referred to as the noise ground, and you may find yourself with a recording the place you’ll be able to hear hiss within the background. Wes and different ribbon mic producers take care of this drawback effectively, nevertheless, and a few firms are making preamplifiers (discuss along with your vendor about this) designed particularly for ribbon mics.

Whether or not a ribbon — or any mic, for that matter — will sound good in your voice can’t be recognized with out really attempting one out. Ribbons are fairly delicate to transferring air; for those who blow into one to check to see if it is on, there’s a superb opportunity you may destroy the ribbon. When ribbons have been in frequent studio use, they have been ‘bagged’ — a fitted bag was put over them — simply to maneuver them from place to put within the studio, to keep away from ribbon harm from the air passing throughout them as they have been moved.



There are one million manufacturers, which in fact goes for condensers, however not that many ribbon manufacturers.

To not fear, as a result of there are a number of business requirements with which it is onerous to go improper. Listed here are the three hottest dynamics, they usually in all probability outsell all the remainder put collectively:

Electro-Voice RE20
Sennheiser 421U (see vendor concerning the particular one in your function)
Shure SM7
Shure SM57 / SM58 — inexpensive and can be utilized if you do not have the cash for the others

These mics, aside from the final two, are within the $350-$700 vary. Although every has a attribute ‘sound,’ they’re pretty shut collectively in that respect. Every is well-made and reliable over the lengthy haul, as in a long time.

The Sennheiser, and, I imagine, the SM7, have what are referred to as proximity results: for those who get proper on prime of them they intensify the lows. Many announcers in radio stations wish to eat them; they need that deep “female voice over actors of God” sound. They’re higher used at a distance of 6-10″. The RE20 is understood for its lack of the proximity impact. I personally prefer it higher than the others. Electro-Voice has a more recent model, referred to as the RE27, which customers both actually like or actually cannot stand. Additional, the RE20 was additionally made below a unique mannequin title, PL20. The end colour is a bit totally different, nevertheless it’s the identical mic. The PL line of mics was made for miking drums and musical devices and is not in manufacturing. I discovered a PL20 for $150 and am nonetheless leaping up and down, for the common used worth of a PL20 or RE20 is double that.

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