The best microphones for vloggers to buy in 2022

Tips & Techniques

If, like me, you use your cameras for video as well as photography, then at some point (probably sooner rather than later) you’re going to need to think about sound. While audio setups can get extremely elaborate, especially once you start doing more serious video, you’ll want to at least get some kind of microphone that you can plug right into your camera, regardless of whether you’re vlogging or trying to sync up separately recorded audio in post.

Here, we’re going to look at some of the best microphones you can get for vlogging that plug directly into your camera in 2022 and go through some of the advantages of each and where it might be worth spending a little extra money. We’ve split this up into two categories. First, there are the on-camera mics which as the name suggests, sit on top of your camera. The other are the wireless microphones which allow a little more freedom of movement in front of the camera.

While these microphones can be used for so much more, today we’re going to focus on microphones specifically for vlogging with a DSLR or mirrorless camera. That generally means microphones that plug straight into the camera that you don’t have to sync up with an external audio source in post. That being said, if you vlog with multiple cameras simultaneously, perhaps to capture multiple angles at once, then that might be something you’ll want to look into – and you’ll probably want a microphone for each camera.

Not all microphones have to be physically attached to the camera, though. In the case of wireless microphones, the microphone itself generally resides on the person speaking but you still have a receiver plugged into the camera. Some of these wireless microphone kits come in single or dual microphone arrangements allowing you to record just yourself or you alongside another person. These microphones also have the advantage of letting you get a good distance away from the camera while still maintaining a good level of sound.

Neither microphone type is inherently better or worse than the other, they just both cater to different needs and situations. Which one you should get will depend entirely upon your own needs. For myself, I generally go with on-camera microphones for vlogging, as I’m typically using the camera handheld pointed back towards me or it’s on a tripod and I’m standing right in front of it within a few feet and it can easily pick up my voice from the environment. But there are definitely times when wireless microphones are advantageous to the situation and I’ll switch to one of those when needed.

So, let’s take a look at the list and see if we can get you something that’s going to work well for you.

Table of Contents

On-Camera Microphones

On-camera microphones have pretty much been the standard since people started to vlog. This is largely due to the fact that they just work and in the early days of vlogging, there weren’t really many other choices. It was either go with an on-camera microphone or try to deal with the camera’s built-in microphone, and the in-camera microphone is typically the last thing you want to try using if you want any kind of decent quality. Some cameras, like the Panasonic G100, have really stepped up the built-in audio capabilities recently, but you’ll still want to go with an external microphone where possible.

Even if you ultimately decide to go for a wireless microphone setup, on-camera microphones like those below are extremely valuable for those times when you just want to quickly run and gun and film whatever’s in front of the camera without having to wire up a subject – if it’s even possible – as well as to give you a better quality audio track for syncing up to external audio or other cameras in the edit.

Rode VideoMic NTG – $249 (Amazon / B&H)

Rode VideoMic NTG

The Rode VideoMic NTG (review here) is Rode’s current flagship on-camera microphone. Rode is arguably the most popular brand out there when it comes to on-camera microphones, so their flagship tends to be the one by which all the rest are judged both in terms of audio quality and feature set. The VideoMic NTG has been my go-to main on-camera microphone since it was released and it’s also my regular day-to-day microphone on the computer thanks to its USB output connectivity.

The built-in lithium-ion battery on the VideoMic NTG is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you never need to swap it out but a curse because you do need to remember to keep it charged up. Fortunately, it will charge from a USB power bank and you can charge it while you’re using it plugged into your camera. And if you’re using it as a USB audio device, it’ll charge itself while you’re using it. As well as your computer and Android devices, it’s also a digital audio source with iOS devices, too, using the Type-C to Lightning cable (Amazon/B&H).

It includes a number of very valuable features for an on-camera microphone including a 75Hz or 150Hz high-pass filter, safety channel* output, a -20dB pad, presence boost and a gain dial to adjust the power of the signal going into your camera. When you’re using the VideoMic NTG as a USB audio device, the regular audio output socket doubles up as a headphone monitor.

Main features
  • Form factor: On-camera shotgun microphone
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Max Sound Pressure Level: 120 dB SPL
  • Power Source: Built-in Battery
  • Operating time: 30 hours
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS or USB
Pros
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Automatically turns on and off with your camera
  • Digital USB audio connectivity
Cons
  • Fluffy windshield not included
  • Internal battery requires charging
  • A little expensive for your first microphone

One thing to note with the VideoMic NTG is that if you plan to use it outdoors, you’ll want to buy the Rode WS11 windshield (Amazon/B&H) to go along with it, which is a separate $39 purchase. It does come with a foam windshield, but if you’re filming outdoors and the wind really picks up, it’s not going to do much good. So, get the fluffy windshield.

You can buy the Rode VideoMic NTG for around $249 on Amazon, B&H or at other retailers.

Sennheiser MKE 400 (2nd Gen) – $199 (Amazon / B&H)

Sennheiser MKE 400 (2nd Gen)

The second-generation Sennheiser MKE 400 (review here) is Sennheiser’s response to the VideoMic NTG as their own flagship on-camera microphone. And while it is a little less expensive than the Rode VideoMic NTG, the audio quality is extremely good. It doesn’t have digital USB output like the Rode, but it does feature an internal shock mount, rather than a separate mount that the microphone slips into, which means that the unit itself isn’t going to be wobbling around on top of your camera as you walk and talk.

Like the VideoMic NTG, the Sennheiser MKE 400 automatically detects when you’ve powered your camera on or off and turns itself on or off accordingly in order to preserve battery life. The MKE 400 doesn’t have a built-in battery, though, and requires you to provide power using a pair of AAA batteries. While this means you do have to replace them when they die, you are instantly back up to full power once you’ve swapped them out.

Main features
  • Form factor: On-camera shotgun microphone
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz to 20kHz
  • Max Sound Pressure Level: 132 dB SPL
  • Power Source: 2x AAA batteries (100h)
  • Operating time: >100 hours
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS, headphones
Pros
  • Automatically turns on and off with your camera
  • Comes with a fluffy windshield
  • Dedicated headphone monitor socket
Cons
  • No digital USB audio out
  • Having to carry spare batteries
  • No safety channel* output

The Sennheiser MKE 400 comes with all the features you’d expect, like a high pass filter, three-stage gain control, automatic power and a built-in shock mount inside the main microphone housing. Unlike the VideoMic NTG, the MKE 400 comes with a fluffy windshield, making it ideal for outdoor recording right out of the box straight into your camera. It lacks USB connectivity, though, so when you’re using it on your computer or smartphone, you are at the mercy of your device’s built-in preamps when it comes to hiss.

You can buy the Sennheiser MKE 400 (2nd Gen) for around $199 on Amazon, B&H or at other retailers.

Synco Mic-D30 – $159 (Amazon / B&H)

Synco Mic-D30

The Synco Mic-D30 (review here) is a powered on-camera shotgun microphone with its own built-in battery that provides quite a strong signal to the camera. This means that even if your microphone has noisy preamps, you can keep them low to minimise hiss. It’s not the greatest on-camera microphone out there, which is reflected in the price, but it is a very capable microphone when used properly. You do have to dial in the gain level carefully, though, because it’s very easy to blow this one out if you’re not careful.

At $159, the Synco Mic-D30 isn’t an expensive microphone, especially for a powered on-camera shotgun microphone. It features a built-in battery and a Type-C USB port to charge it up, as well as to provide audio output. But don’t be fooled, this is not a digital audio output. It’s analogue. So, you can’t plug it into your computer’s USB port and use it as a digital audio device. It comes with TRS and TRRS cables for audio output as well as a USB cable for charging.

Main features
  • Form factor: On-camera shotgun microphone
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Max Sound Pressure Level: 124 dB SPL
  • Signal-to-Noise ratio: 82dB A-Weighted
  • Power Source: Built-in Battery
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS
Pros
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Comes in a very nice protective case
  • Includes fluffy windshield
Cons
  • No digital USB audio out
  • Doesn’t turn on and off with your camera
  • Easy to clip if you’re not careful with gain setting

While this is an inexpensive microphone, the audio quality you can get from it is quite pleasing. You do have to take more care than you do with the two microphones above to get your levels set just perfect, though. It’s very easy to overpower the microphone socket and send too strong a signal or to underpower it and have to boost it a lot in post (negating the benefits of a powered microphone). It does come supplied in a nice hard case, though, along with a fluffy windshield for use outdoors.

You can buy the Synco Mic-D30 for around $159 on Amazon, B&H or at other retailers.

Rode VideoMic GO II – $99 (Amazon / B&H)

Rode VideoMic GO II

The Rode VideoMic GO II (review coming soon) is Rode’s newest on-camera microphone. While it’s a replacement for the original Rode VideoMic GO, it’s essentially a cut-down VideoMic NTG. When used on-camera, it has none of the fancy features of the VideoMic NTG, like the high pass filter, presence boost or even a gain control and it relies on your camera to provide plug-in-power as it has no built-in battery, but the sound quality from it is rather excellent. This microphone also features a digital USB audio output, allowing you to plug it into your computer or smartphone and when doing so, you do get some of those VideoMic NTG features back through the Rode Central app.

It presents a massive boost in audio quality over the original VideoMic GO, which many ignored in favour of the less expensive Rode VideoMicro listed below. The VideoMic GO II, however, is a complete redesign of the microphone, based more on the VideoMic NTG than its own predecessor. The audio quality for what it costs is excellent, although when used on-camera, it uses plug-in power, so the signal isn’t quite as strong and as clean as the VideoMic NTG. It’s still very good, though.

Main features
  • Form factor: On-camera shotgun microphone
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Max Sound Pressure Level: 110 dB SPL
  • Power Source: Plug-in-Power/USB
  • Operating time: N/A
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS or USB
Pros
  • Audio quality is well above its price point
  • Doesn’t require any batteries
  • Digital USB audio connectivity
Cons
  • No advanced features when used on-camera
  • Fluffy windshield not included
  • No headphone monitoring on-camera

Like the Rode VideoMic NTG, the Rode VideoMic GO II doesn’t come supplied with a fluffy windshield for use outdoors. For that, you’ll need the Rode WS12 (B&H), which is a separate $29 purchase. One excellent perk that it shares with the VideoMic NTG, as mentioned above, is USB connectivity as a digital audio device. This means that your computer will see the best possible audio source from the microphone that it can, without multiple analogue/digital (and vice versa) conversions that can introduce noise and hiss.

If you want a no-nonsense microphone that just works and produces good audio without having to deal with the hassle of batteries or charging, this is a fantastic option to go for.

You can buy the Rode VideoMic GO II for around $99 on Amazon, B&H or at other retailers.

Rode VideoMicro – $55 (Amazon / B&H)

Rode VideoMicro

The Rode VideoMicro was my main on-camera microphone for about three years. It’s made way for better microphones these days, like the VideoMic NTG and Sennheiser MKE 400, but I still keep it handy as a backup or for when I need to shoot multiple cameras simultaneously and need a better track for syncing than the in-camera microphone can provide. Unlike many of Rode’s other on-camera microphones, the VideoMicro includes a fluffy windshield, meaning that you have nothing else to buy to use it straight out of the box outdoors without having to worry about wind.

There are no settings to change on this microphone and it doesn’t offer USB connectivity. It’s about as no-frills as it gets but it’s probably been the most popular microphone in Rode’s on-camera microphone lineup since it was released and even if you outgrow it and move onto something else, it can serve as a very dependable backup in an emergency.

Main features
  • Form factor: On-camera shotgun microphone
  • Frequency Range: 100Hz to 20kHz
  • Max Sound Pressure Level: 140 dB SPL
  • Power Source: Plug-in-Power
  • Operating time: N/A
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS
Pros
  • Doesn’t require any batteries
  • Includes fluffy windshield
  • It’s tiny and doesn’t get in the way
Cons
  • Needs a lot of amplification, introducing some hiss
  • Audio quality is above average but not the greatest
  • You will probably want to replace it quickly

Like the VideoMic GO II above, this is a plug-in-power microphone and it’s very basic, but it does its job rather well considering how inexpensive it is although the signal isn’t quite as strong as the VideoMic GO II. There are even less expensive similar microphones out there (and a few more expensive ones, too), but they don’t sound anywhere near as good as this one. For me, this microphone represents about the minimum level of quality I’d expect from an on-camera microphone.

You can buy the Rode VideoMicro for around $55 on Amazon, B&H or at other retailers.

Wireless Microphones

Although wireless microphones have been around for a while, they’ve generally been quite cost-prohibitive until a few years ago when Rode released the original Wireless GO system. Before that, you’d be looking at vastly more expensive systems that might cost as much or more than the camera you were shooting on. Since the advent of the Wireless GO, however, a number of other systems have popped up from various manufacturers to varying levels of capability.

While the sound quality is the ultimate objective with any microphone, the feature set available with wireless microphones does vary quite greatly in order to account for varying levels of budget. Going with a less expensive microphone might not necessarily give you drastically worse audio quality but it will typically mean that you lose out on some of the more advanced features that make life quite a bit easier when filming. Likewise, going with a more expensive one doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality will be that much better, but you’ll be provided with tools and features that can really save your butt in the edit.

Rode Wireless GO II – $299 (Amazon / B&H)

Rode Wireless GO II

The original Rode Wireless GO was the one that really started it all when it comes to compact wireless microphones. The Rode Wireless GO II (review here) takes things up a few notches with new features like digital USB audio output, over 24-hours of onboard recording and improved range. You can even use it as a standalone field recorder without connecting it to a camera at all if you just need to record the audio.

While no lavalier microphones are supplied with the Wireless GO II, you can plug in just about any unpowered or plug-in-power microphone you like into each transmitter for more options than the built-in mic that let you hide the transmitter out of sight. If you did want to add a wired lav and want to stick with Rode, you could go with either the Rode Lavalier GO or Rode Lavalier II but any lav should work just fine. It does include fluffy windshields for the built-in microphones in each transmitter, though.

Main features
  • Form factor: Clip-on Wireless Microphone
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz to 20kHz
  • Built-in recorder: Yes
  • Wireless Frequency: Digital 2.4GHz
  • Max range: 200 metres
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS or USB
Pros
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Built-in recording capability
  • Digital USB audio connectivity
Cons
  • Lavalier microphones not included
  • Flimsy pouch instead of a firm protective case
  • They’re a little expensive for beginners

Like the Rode VideoMic NTG above, the Rode Wireless GO II has essentially become the standard in its class by which the others of its type are judged. There is also a single transmitter Wireless GO II kit (Amazon/B&H) available for $199.

You can buy the Rode Wireless GO II for around $299 on Amazon, B&H or at other retailers.

Deity Connect Deluxe Kit – $699 (Amazon / B&H)

Deity Connect Deluxe Kit

Taking things a step up or two from the Wireless GO II, Deity decided to go a little “extra” with their updated Deity Connect wireless microphone setup. While significantly more expensive than the rest of the wireless microphone kits listed here, it offers a lot more features for those who might want to take their filming down the more advanced route in the future with features like built-in timecode generation, waterproof lavalier microphones and the ability to expand and add to the system with higher-end phantom-powered XLR microphones.

Main features
  • Form factor: Belt Pack Wireless Microphone
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Built-in recorder: Yes
  • Wireless Frequency: Digital 2.4GHz
  • Max range: 100 metres
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS
Pros
  • Includes timecode for syncing support
  • An expandable system as your needs grow
  • Comes with a solid protective case
Cons
  • Very expensive system to buy into
  • A complex system for beginners
  • No digital USB audio output

You might find older US release models of the Deity BP-TRX (the transmitter included in this kit) that are reported to be unable to record and transmit simultaneously. This is no longer the case and it is now able to record and transmit at the same time in the USA after signing a patent agreement with Zaxcom. If you purchase a set that cannot record and transmit at the same time, a firmware update is available to resolve the issue and add this functionality.

You can buy the Deity Connect Deluxe Kit for around $699 on Amazon, B&H or at other retailers.

Comica BoomX-D Pro – $269 (Amazon / B&H)

Comica BoomX-D Pro

The Comica BoomX-D Pro is probably their most advanced wireless microphone system to date. Although it’s a little less expensive than the Rode Wireless GO II, it offers a very similar feature set, including digital USB audio connectivity and the ability to record audio straight into each transmitter with 8GB of internal storage (enough for around 24 hours). Unlike the Rode Wireless GO II, the Comica BoomX-D Pro also includes a couple of lav mics to attach to your clothes so you can hide the transmitter out of the way on your belt or in a pocket.

It’s very close in capability to the Rode Wireless GO II, offering not only a recording capability in each transmitter but built-in storage. Most other wireless microphone systems that have transmitters capable of recording feature microSD card slots, which is another expense to add to your setup. To access the files, just connect the transmitter to your computer with a regular USB cable and it pops up as an external storage device.

Main features
  • Form factor: Clip-on Wireless Microphone
  • Frequency Range: 80Hz to 20kHz
  • Built-in recorder: Yes
  • Wireless Frequency: Digital 2.4GHz
  • Max range: 100 metres
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS or USB
Pros
  • Great audio quality
  • Built-in recording capability
  • Digital USB audio connectivity
Cons
  • Frequency range is a little low
  • The case doesn’t act as a charger

Unlike the Wireless GO II, however, the Comica BoomX-D Pro comes with two lavalier microphones and a solid compact case to store everything in. The Comica BoomX-D Pro is the only other wireless microphone system I’ve seen besides the Wireless GO II that can act as a digital audio device. and it also comes with a safety channel* feature. The fact that these are included and aren’t optional extras for you to buy makes their price a very good deal indeed.

You can buy the Comica BoomX-D Pro for around $269 on Amazon, B&H or at other retailers.

Godox MoveLink M2 – $199 (Amazon / B&H)

Godox MoveLink M2

While this isn’t the first microphone Godox has produced and although they’re a bit of a heavyweight these days when it comes to strobes for photography and continuous LED lights for video, Godox is still a relative newcomer to this particular market. The Godox MoveLink M2 (review here) is a dual microphone kit, but there’s also a the Godox MoveLink M1 (Amazon/B&H) which contains just a single transmitter for $139.

This is a pretty no-frills microphone, with no in-built recording capability nor digital USB output, no high-pass filter, no presence boost and no safety channel*, but the audio quality is very good for the price. You also get fluffy windshields that attach to the top of each transmitter as well as a pair of lavalier microphones. Unfortunately, no fluffy windshields are included for the lavs, but at this price, you can’t really complain.

Main features
  • Form factor: Clip-on Wireless Microphone
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz to 20kHz
  • Built-in recorder: No
  • Wireless Frequency: Digital 2.4GHz
  • Max range: 50 metres
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS
Pros
  • Good audio quality
  • Solid case that acts as a charging dock
  • A good price for what you get
Cons
  • Transmission range is lower than others
  • No in-built recording capability
  • No digital USB audio

As mentioned, this is a pretty bare-bones system, missing a lot of features that more advanced users might demand but it delivers good sound. Like the Rode VideoMicro above for on-camera use, the Godox MoveLink M2 is the kind of system you buy because you’re on a low budget, but I’d probably buy into it with the expectation that you’ll want to replace it fairly soon and send it on backup duty.

You can buy the Godox MoveLink M2 for around $199 on Amazon, B&H or at other retailers.

DJI Wireless Microphone Kit – $329 (B&H)

DJI Wireless Microphone Kit

The DJI Wireless Microphone Kit marks DJI’s entry into the microphone space and while it has been announced, it’s not quite available as of the time of posting, with it only available for pre-order in the few places you can find it listed. While I can’t vouch for its quality personally, the reviews I’ve seen around the web and on YouTube seem to be quite favourable. It is a little more expensive than the Rode Wireless GO II, although it seems to offer a pretty robust feature set.

I mentioned earlier that the Comica BoomX-D Pro was the only other wireless microphone on the market besides the Rode Wireless GO II that has digital USB audio output capability. That’s still technically true because while the DJI Wireless Microphone Kit can act as a digital audio device over USB, it hasn’t actually started shipping yet. That will soon change. It’s interesting to see DJI enter this space and I’m curious to see where they’ll take it in the future.

Main features
  • Form factor: Clip-on Wireless Microphone
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz to 20kHz
  • Built-in recorder: No
  • Wireless Frequency: Digital 2.4GHz
  • Max range: 250 metres
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm TRS/TRRS or USB
Pros
  • Great audio quality (according to reviews)
  • The longest range of any microphone in this list
  • Digital USB audio output
Cons
  • The most expensive vs Rode and Comica
  • No built-in recording capability
  • Isn’t actually shipping yet

Aside from the Deity Connect system above, this is the most expensive wireless kit in the list, but it does come with a solid case that not only acts as a dock for all three to charge them from a single cable but also features a built-in battery to be able to recharge the microphone when you’re away from power. Yup, that’s right, it’s basically got a built-in power bank. Like the Wireless GO II, though, this doesn’t include lavalier microphones. So, you’ll have to buy those separately and DJI doesn’t offer any of those (yet).

You can pre-order the DJI Wireless Microphone Kit for $329 at B&H.

What to think about when buying a microphone for vlogging

As mentioned early on in the post, which you go for will largely depend on your needs. Perhaps you’re not sure about what your needs even are yet, but here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine which type of microphone you need as well as a few things to look out for when drilling down into which specific model you want to get and what features might be important to you.

  • Are you only ever planning to just sit in front of your camera and talk to it? – If your only goal for a vlogging microphone is to be able to sit it on your desk, turn it on, hit record and go in the same environment every time and your needs will never extend beyond this, then an on-camera microphone is almost certainly going to be the way to go. This will allow you to easily get consistency from one video to the next as nothing about your shooting location or your settings are ever going to change. Once it’s dialled in, you’ll get the same result every time.
  • How wide of a lens are you going to be shooting with? – If you’re vlogging with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, then you’re usually going to be using a full-frame focal length somewhere in the 24-30mm range. That means 12-15mm on Micro Four Thirds or about 15-20mm on APS-C. At this sort of focal length range, it’s unlikely that an on-camera microphone is going to be so large that it appears in the frame. But if you’re using a lens with a wider field of view than this or a camera that doesn’t give you the option, like a GoPro or other action camera, then the physical size of the microphone will be a factor. You don’t want it to appear in your shot. You might be better served going with a smaller on-camera microphone or switching completely to a wireless system with a tiny receiver.
  • Are you going to be walking and talking with your camera? – If you’re going to be out and about with your camera and it’s almost always going to be pointed towards you while you’re talking, then an on-camera microphone may be the best way to go. If you’re going to be regularly pointing your camera at other things while you talk, though, then a wireless microphone will likely be the better option as on-camera microphones are pretty directional and if the camera’s faced away from you or off to the side then it’s not going to be picking up your voice as well as it would if it were pointed straight towards you.
  • If you go wireless, will you always be in range of your camera? – Wireless microphones typically use the same 2.4GHz frequencies as Wi-Fi, smartphones, remote triggers and remote control systems for lights and many other wireless devices today. They use it because it can be used pretty much all over the world without any kind of special license. But if you’re moving too far away from the receiver or you’re regularly confronted with interference from other devices, you’ll probably want to get a wireless system that can record a copy of the audio to either a microSD card or internal storage in the transmitter. That way, you have a backup if the signal cuts out and the camera doesn’t pick up what you’re saying.
  • If you go wireless, will the frequency you choose be legal everywhere you use it? – Different countries have different restrictions on the frequencies that are available for public use without a license. This is why all of the ones listed here run on 2.4Ghz, the same set of frequencies as standard WiFi. Certain UHF frequency microphones may be entirely legal within one country but illegal to use without a license in another country. This is definitely something you’ll want to be aware of and an issue we’ve faced here at DIYP when we’ve discovered that microphones we’ve acquired in the USA cannot be used without a license in the UK.
  • Will you be setting your camera down and moving around in front of it? – Again, on-camera microphones are generally quite directional. They’re good at picking things up that are directly in front of them and rejecting everything else. But, it has a range limit. If you’re less than around 5ft away from your camera, then most on-camera shotgun microphones will do pretty good. But if you’re going to be 10-20ft away or more and you’re moving around while talking, then a wireless microphone attached to your person is going to give you more consistent quality and volume as you move.
  • Will you be including other people in your videos? – If you plan to regularly include other people in your videos, especially if it’s going to be a conversation or an interview where you’re talking back and forth with each other, a dual wireless microphone kit is probably going to be your best option. Most dual-microphone kits will allow you to record one microphone to the left channel and the other microphone to the right, allowing you to balance and mix the two together easily in post so that neither is overpowering the other. You can sometimes get away with an on-camera microphone if you’re both standing right in front of the camera, but if there’s a big volume difference between your actual voices (you’re quite shouty and they’re quiet and softly spoken, for example), it can be difficult to compensate for that.
  • How good are the microphone preamps in your camera? – This is going to be a tough one for you to be able to answer without having some frame of reference, but if you hit up the web for reviews of your camera using external microphones, you’ll get some idea. Basically, when you plug a microphone into a camera, it needs to be amplified in order for the sound level to be high enough to record in your video. This is done using a microphone preamp. Some preamps are better than others. Bad ones will feature a lot of hiss under the audio signal that may not always be easy to eliminate in post. If this is the case, then you’ll usually be better served going with either a powered on-camera microphone or a wireless microphone kit, both of which generally provide a stronger output signal and require less amplification (meaning you get less hiss) when recording. Unpowered or “plug-in-power” microphones generally put out a weaker signal by comparison and require more amplification in the camera so you can get more hiss.
  • Do you want to monitor your audio on headphones while recording? – If you want to be able to hear what your microphone is picking up while you’re filming, you generally have two options. If your camera has a microphone socket, then you might be able to plug a pair of headphones into that – although some cameras only offer headphone output during playback and not while recording. The other option is to use a microphone that has its own dedicated headphone socket so that you can hear what the microphone hears before it’s even fed into the camera.
  • Do you want to be able to use the microphone with your smartphone or computer, too? – While this might seem like a strange question at first, you can use these microphones with your smartphone, laptop or desktop computer for things like Skype, Zoom, or other similar applications. Or perhaps you want to be able to record voiceovers for your videos separately and then edit your footage to match that voiceover. While you can plug pretty much any microphone into a computer or smartphone via some kind of microphone input (or headphone jack if your smartphone still has one, or Type-C USB to headphone jack adapter if it doesn’t), you’re generally going to get the best quality if you can plug that microphone straight into your device as a digital USB audio device. The USB headphone jack adapters don’t provide a digital signal. They’re still sending analogue audio into your device and your device is converting it to digital – potentially creating the same issue as the bad camera preamps mentioned above. So, if you plan to use it with your computer or smartphone, look for one that has a digital USB audio output.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when buying a new microphone and which you’ll want to go for will depend entirely on your own needs and circumstances. You may ultimately decide that you want both an on-camera microphone and a wireless microphone system, giving you the best of both worlds when you need them. Of course, even if you do go that route, you probably won’t be buying them both at the same time.

Hopefully, this guide will help you to not only figure out which type of microphone you might want to go for first but also offer some good suggestions for which specific models of microphones you might want to check out for each of those types.

What microphone do you use right now?

Notes:

* A “safety channel” is a system whereby a microphone or receiver sends out the audio signal at two different loudness levels. This allows you to have a backup channel, recorded at a lower volume that you can switch to in the event that your subject gets too loud and your main audio level clips, making it extremely distorted and difficult to listen to. The lower level safety channel retains that data and can be easily swapped out and boosted in post.

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