When recording spoken word, it’s important to use a microphone which accurately records every fine nuance of the human voice. Microphones for voice overs need to have certain capabilities to ensure a crisp and detailed recording.
In this article, I’ll present the best options available for voice acting purposes. There’s a lot of variation out there, with each mic suited to particular vocal styles and recording environments.
Best Microphones for Voice Overs / Voice Acting
Table of Contents
- Best Microphones for Voice Overs / Voice Acting
- Techniques for Recording Voiceovers with a Microphone
1. Shure SM7B
Shure’s SM7B is an industry standard voice recording microphone from one of the world’s leading manufacturers. You’ve probably seen this mic being used on your favorite podcasts, used for its unrivaled clarity and attention to detail.
The SM7B is dynamic in every sense of the world. With two tone controls, you are able to tailor the microphone’s characteristics to suit the tone of the voice you intend to record.
There is also a dual-band passive EQ that is switchable, offering a boost in presence or a low cut to remove any problematic bass frequencies. On top of that, the SM7B can handle up to 180dB of volume if required.
The secret to this microphones exceptional ability to record dialog lies in its internal structures. With built-in suspension and a shock mounting system, it counteracts any vibrations that could mar your recordings.
Shure’s microphones are perhaps best known for their unbeatable durability. The SM7B is sturdy, well-protected and built to absorb the usual bumps and scrapes of recording voice overs.
With an integrated swivel mount allowing for easy movement and malleability, it’s the perfect microphone for voice recordings. There’s also a close talk windscreen that keeps the recordings tight and focused on the intended sound source.
The SM7B, with its flat, wide-ranging frequency response, rugged durability and pin-point accuracy, would be a worthy investment for anyone who intends to record the human voice.
The RE20 by Electro-Voice boasts impressive versatility over a wide frequency spectrum. This true cardioid broadcast microphone rejects at 180 degrees off axis, so only the front end captures audio with no unwanted background noise.
With a highly consistent pattern control, the RE20’s is able to record a person’s voice with minimal off-axis coloration. The built-in wind filter is spread across all of the acoustic openings of the microphone, further improving the clarity of the recordings.
What makes the RE20 so well suited for recording voice overs? Well, when recording, the vocalist can get up close to the microphone, almost touching the grille screen. On many microphones, this would cause the recording to sound muffled and unclear, but the RE20 is able to process close talk with ease.
The onboard filter also acts as a shock mount for the internal elements of the microphone, thus minimizing the presence of vibrations being transferred from external sound sources.
As far as large-diaphragm dynamic microphones go, the RE20 produces sparkling detail that you would perhaps expect from a condenser. This is partly thanks to the inclusion of a low-mass aluminum voice coil, which allows the mic to reproduce high levels of sound pressure without the dreaded distortion occurring.
Indeed, the RE20 has the rugged construction required for voice acting or broadcasting purposes. It’s housed in a steel body, with a fitted humbucking coil that you’d expect to see on a Fender Telecaster rather than a mic.
This interesting inclusion means that the RE20 is able to flourish in situations where other mics would succumb to unwanted background noises.
In an attempt to make their renowned AT2020 microphone more affordable and better suited to voice recordings, Audio-Technica created this USB version. Easily connectable to a computer, you don’t even need an external audio interface to start recording.
With a headphone jack and volume control installed on the microphone, you can monitor the input signal in real time and make necessary adjustments to suit the volume of a voice.
There’s also a handy mix control that can be used to balance the dynamics of the microphone with playback audio, effectively monitoring the mix.
This cardioid condenser has a low-mass diaphragm that was specifically designed to widen the frequency response and capture all of the transients with a pristine quality. Overall the AT2020USB+ is easy to set up and great value for money.
Another very affordable option, the X1 A by sE Electronics boasts good accuracy and a well-balanced frequency response. This cardioid condenser has an upgraded capsule that successfully records vocals at different dynamic levels.
There’s a -20dB pad switch which can be used to further extend the dynamic range of the X1 A. This mic has an impressive SPL handling ability, and the highpass filter cuts out frequencies below 100Hz to prevent unwanted rumbles or bass noise from occurring.
The XLR connector is gold-plated for added durability. With an all-metal housing, the inner mechanisms of the microphone are well protected. More security is provided by the integrated wind shield.
Voiceover recordings sound crisp and clear with the X1 A, thanks to its frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz and maximum volume of 134db. For the price, this condenser microphone takes some beating.
If you’ve got some experience in recording vocals or guitars, you’ve probably heard of the Warm Audio ’47 condenser mic. Known for its warm, vintage sound, that microphone is a staple of recording studios all over the world.
The WA-47 Jr is the latest in the series. It’s a solid state condenser that has good resistance to distortion and captures vocals with impressive precision.
With three polar patterns, you are able to tailor the microphone’s performance to suit the timbre and tone of the particular voice you intend to record. The versatility provided by the choice between cardioid, omni and figure-8 make the WA-47 Jr a multi-faceted tool in the studio.
For the best results, the WA-47 Jr should be used as a close-up vocal mic. The components of the microphone are discrete, so you don’t need to worry about undesirable sounds appearing in your recordings.
The quality and class of this Warm Audio condenser is solidified by the complex k47 capsule. This component isn’t usually found in affordable mics, but it has been generously installed within the WA-47 Jr making it perfect for capturing spoken word.
With its striking appearance and unusual dimensions, the Aston Microphones Origin instantly catches your attention. This high-performance condenser mic is fitted with a 1 inch gold-evaporated capsule.
The cardioid polar pattern of the Origin makes it ideal for capturing voiceovers with a pristine quality. It also has a 10db pad and a high-pass filter that removes anything below 80Hz, a useful tool for tailoring the tone of your recordings.
With a wave-form mesh head that contains a built-in pop filter, plosives are greatly reduced when recording voice tracks with this microphone. These compartments also form a protective layer for the mic's inner mechanisms.
Another thing that makes the Aston Microphones a great choice for voiceovers is the onboard shock absorber which can easily be mounted onto a microphone stand and moved around the recording space.
With off-axis rejection, there’s little chance of unwanted ambient tones appearing in your recordings. The unique chassis design is like no other microphone I’ve seen. It has been through a tumbling process for hours to create the eye-catching finish.
The TLM 102 by Neumann is a compact microphone with a cardioid capsule. Designed to be fit for multiple recording purposes, it features low-noise circuitry and captures voiceovers with detailed accuracy.
The characteristics of the TLM 102 make it extremely effective at picking up the human elements of a vocal recording. Up to 6kHz, the microphone produces a linear response. Beyond 6kHz, a slight boost is activated to enhance the presence of the voice take.
The small dimensions of this microphone make it easy to maneuver when recording voiceovers, an important quality, especially if you intend to use it for recording multiple people.
The frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz, so no aspects of the recordings are less prominent than others. It also doubles up as a reliable guitar or drum mic, which is an added bonus for musicians out there.
The clarity produced by this microphone is also impressive. Thanks to the TLM technology, it produces very little noise. The commonly used output transformer has been replaced by an electronic circuit to prevent any interference from occurring when recording.
With a dynamic range of 123dB, this condenser is a great choice for your voiceover recording needs.
8. AKG LYRA
The Lyra by AKG strikes a good balance between quality recording ability and entry level price tag. If you would prefer as little hassle as possible when setting up your microphone, the Lyra is definitely worthy of consideration.
With USB connectivity, there’s no need for an audio interface. If you’re not already in possession of an interface, this could save you some money and time. The AKG Lyra has been specifically designed for podcasting, broadcasting, and capturing spoken word.
It has a 4-capsule mic array that provides the option of recording with one of four polar patters. There’s also a built-in headphone jack which lets you monitor the levels of your voiceover as you are recording.
Should you need to stop the recording abruptly for some reason, the useful addition of a momentary mute switch gives you the option. The mic records from all angles, with two capsules on the front and two on the back, so it doesn’t matter where the sound source is coming from.
For an affordable microphone, the Lyra is impressively robust. With its retro 50’s style body and all-metal body construction, it is sure to hold up under the stresses of audio recording.
9. Samson C01
The Samson C01 is a great bargain for the money. I loved the clarity of the high-mids in the voiceover recordings. Not just that. It is versatile enough to accurately record any voice type.
There’s a heavy duty mesh-grille screen to provide protection to the inner components of the microphone. For an entry-level option, the C01 is surprisingly durable. It shouldn’t have any problems with the usual mishaps that occur during audio recording.
With a useful swivel mount stand, you can position the C01 in front of the speaker or voice actor quickly and efficiently. This saves space in the recording environment too, as there’s no need for a mic stand.
The frequency response of the Samson C01 is smooth and balanced, and it is capable of recording at close proximity or with some space between the vocalist and the microphone.
10. Shure SM27
The Shure SM27 provides you with the notorious durability of the SM series microphones, this time in the form of a large-diaphragm condenser. It’s a side address mic, which means it captures the sounds from the sides rather than the front.
The bass roll off is useful for minimizing the risk of any undesirable low-end rumbles creeping into your recordings, and the max SPL of 152db ensures that the SM27 can handle anything from voiceovers to energetic screams!
There’s a three-position switchable filter which can be used to further mould the tone of your voice recordings. With superior off-axis rejection, the SM27 produces a sparkling clear output which articulates the words of a voice actor with precision.
With a low-mass large Mylar diaphragm, the Shure SM27 is able to hone in on transients and capture the slight nuances of someone’s voice. The frequency response is neutral and flat, so there are no unexpected spikes as is the case with some condenser mics.
11. Rode NT-USB
The Rode NT-USB condenser mic is ready to record straight away, with no interface or external hardware required. Made especially for voiceover recordings, this microphone has an onboard A/D conversion that ensures efficiency.
Included with the NT-USB is everything you need to start recording straight away. There’s a mic stand mount, tripod base, pop filter, USB cable, and a cushioned carry case.
There’s also a stereo headphone jack which allows you to monitor your recordings with no latency issues. This is very useful when recording voiceovers, as it’s impossible to get into the rhythm of talking when you can hear a delayed version of what you’re saying in your headphones at the same time.
Rode’s microphones are renowned for their sturdy construction. The NT-USB, uses high quality metal for the housing and the pop filter provides another layer of protection.
With a particularly good response in the mid-high frequencies, the NT-USB highlights the natural tones of a voice without putting too much emphasis on a particular frequency band.
12. Samson Go Mic
Finally, we have the compact and convenient Samson Go Mic. With a unique aesthetic that resembles a retro radio mic, this USB powered condenser doesn’t require an interface and has +48 phantom power built-in.
If you are looking for a microphone that is portable and easy to move around, the Go Mic certainly possesses that quality. It’s lightweight and has an onboard clip, so you can simply attach it to a desk or table instead of lugging a mic stand around.
This pocket-sized condenser mic has a fairly wide frequency response range, with good clarity in the mid-high tones. It is designed for podcasting and capturing spoken word, so it’s a great choice for your voiceover needs.
Once you’ve connected the Go Mic to your computer, simply go to Samson’s website and download the relevant drivers. The mic should then be visible in your DAW’s list of inputs.
Techniques for Recording Voiceovers with a Microphone
Audio quality is by far the most important aspect of recording voiceovers, and once you’ve selected your chosen option from the above list, you’ve got that covered. Once the mic is sorted, you’ll need to consider how you intend to record the audio from your microphone to your PC or MAC.
This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the microphone that you choose and what you have at your disposal. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways to record voiceovers.
The easiest and quickest way to start recording voiceovers is by using a microphone with USB connectivity. With this method, you simply plug the mic into your computer and you’re ready to start recording.
It’s worth noting that sometimes you are required to download certain drivers from the manufacturer’s website, but this only takes a few minutes and is pretty straightforward.
The only issue with some USB mics is that they can have a tendency to produce latency, so you may need to tweak your sample rate.
To record voiceovers, you’ll need to use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). There are plenty of top quality options available, some free and some on the costly side.
I personally use Ableton Live 10 as I find it to be the most intuitive out of everything that I’ve experimented with. GarageBand is a good free option for Mac users, but there is a variety available to choose from.
If your chosen mic doesn’t have USB connectivity, you’ll likely need to get hold of an audio interface. Audio interfaces are also required for any mics that need phantom power.
An audio interface acts as a link between the microphone and your computer. Again, there’s a huge range out there, so it depends on your budget and requirements.
I’m confident that all of the microphones on this list will do a great job at recording your voiceovers. There’s a good range of mics out there that are specifically designed for this purpose.
I’d recommend experimenting with different mic positions and recording techniques to get the best out of your chosen model. Have fun along the way!