Hissing and humming.
Horrible background noise.
Scratchy, low, and muffled (read, inaudible) audio.

Ever watched a video and thought ‘man, the sound is terrible,’ before clicking on the next video promptly?

Video is important, but audio is even more so. You might watch a video with sub-par quality, but you won’t watch a video with bad audio. If you can’t hear what the presenter is saying, what’s the point of watching it? And with all the hissing going on in the background? It’s a big no-no.

This is where video microphones come in. The good ones ensure that background noise is at a minimum (some amazing one’s even eliminate it completely) and the presenter’s voice is crisp and clear.

But with a ton of different types of microphones available (shotgun, lavalier, handheld), it can get really hard to choose the right microphone for your videos.

We’ve made a list of our (and the video industry’s) 8 favorite microphones and tried to make it as easy for you as possible to choose the absolute best microphone for your videos – whether you’re shooting a brand video or an Instagram Live session, we have you covered!

Entry-level microphones

Tired of your DSLR’s horrible audio (and all the hissing and humming that comes with it) but don’t want to fork out a lot of dollars for better audio?

When you’ve taken your first few steps in the glamorous world of video production, you can’t afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on top notch audio systems. And you don’t need to. There are a few pretty awesome microphones you can buy that won’t break the bank and work perfectly for all your video needs.

1. Tascam TM-2X – $99.99

  • Primary Uses: Recording SFX, Ambience, Interviews in a controlled environment

  • Type: Shotgun, attach to shoe-mount on-camera or attach to tripod

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (picks up sound in front of mic), XY Stereo Pattern

  • Power: No batteries required (plug-in and power)

  • Plug: 3.5mm (1.8”)

At only $99.99, Tascam’s TM-2X stereo microphone is an excellent choice for everyone looking to upgrade their DSLR’s crappy internal audio. It’s lightweight, requires no battery, and captures audio significantly better than internal mics.

While the on-camera audio sounds muddy and generally dismal (with no stereo separation), Tascam TM-2X ensures clear and crisp audio that’s also fairly directional. The cardioid microphones can be easily adjusted depending where the subject is. It also comes with a furry wind guard which helps to eliminate wind noises when shooting outdoors (or even indoors).

If you hear a bit of hissing, it’s not the mics fault – it’s your camera’s preamp. Just clean it up in post-production and you’re good to hit publish.

You can also tailor the audio with the two switches, sensitivity and filter switch, Tascam provides you with. The trick to getting the best possible audio through this mic is to tinkle around with the switches and settings to figure out what works best for the kind of videos you want to shoot, and then start shooting.

2. Rode VideoMicro – $59.00

  • Primary Uses: vlogging, interviews in close range, also works with smartphone

  • Type: Shotgun, attach to shoe-mount on-camera

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (picks up sound in front of mic)

  • Power: No battery required (plug-in Power)

  • Plug: 3.5mm (1.8”), SC2 3.5mm TRS Patch Cable Adaptor required for connecting to mobile phone

Cheap, lightweight, doesn’t need battery (phantom powered), and records awesome audio – what more do you need in an entry-level mic that costs only $59? (ps. It also comes with a dead cat, which is dead useful in blocking out that annoying wind hissing.)

It’s one of the most popular budget mics in the industry and with a little post-production audio tuning, you can get pro-level audio via this mic.

What kind of videos can you shoot with this?

Well, all kinds really. It works best for vlogging, shooting at directionally at close range, and YouTube videos. With the dead cat, it blocks quite a bit of background noise, so you can use it for outdoor videos, as well.

It’s super versatile, and you can connect it to your phone for shooting on the go. Just buy an alternate connection cable for your phone, and you’re good to go.

A solid buy in a pretty decent price.

3. TAKSTAR SGC-598 – $26.30

  • Primary Uses: Interviews, Point & Shoot Interviews, YouTube Videos (Direct to Camera)

  • Type: Shotgun, attach to shoe-mount on-camera

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (picks up sound in front of mic)

  • Power: 1 AA Battery Required

  • Plug: 3.5mm

Usually considered as the Rode Video Mic Pro’s ($229) cheaper (and equally as good) alternative, Takstar is a favorite of many in the video production industry. Since the people behind Takstar produce microphones for all the big companies, Opteka, Azden, AT and Rode, it makes sense that their mics are equally good.

While the audio quality is not exactly like Rode’s, only a trained ear can tell the difference; your audience will definitely not be able to tell a difference whatsoever. It has a cardioid pickup pattern, which allows it pick-up sound from where it’s pointed at and also from the sides. For even better results, turn down the on-camera audio amplifier and turn on the +10dB switch. This will give you perfect, clear and crisp audio, with almost no background noise – at par with some of the professional microphones.

One of my favorite parts about buying a great quality, cheap microphone is that I can easily replace it if it breaks or stops working. And this one just needs a single double A battery, which makes it super convenient to travel with and carry around.

4. BOYA by M1 Lavalier Microphone – $19.95

  • Primary Uses: Interviews, YouTube Videos (Direct to Camera), also works with smartphone

  • Type: Wired Lavalier, Clip-on person

  • Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional (Picks up sound all around)

  • Power: 1 LR44 Battery Required

  • Plug: 3.5mm

Best lavalier mic money can buy. Truly. And it’s only for 20 bucks, so you really can’t go wrong with this.

It’s omni-directional and works with pretty much all devices; so whether you’re in the mood to shoot a quick Facebook or you’re thinking of creating an elaborate Q and A session with an expert, it’ll provide you with crystal clear audio.

Mid to professional-level microphones

If you’ve been making videos for some time and are looking to upgrade your entry-level mic, these are some of the best on the market in a pretty reasonable range.

We, at Wipster, routinely use the following mics for pretty much all of our videos, so great results are guaranteed.

5. Rode NT-USB – $169

  • Primary Uses: In Studio for Podcast, Voiceover, YouTube Videos (Direct to Camera)

  • Type: Desk Stand or via mic arm

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (picks up sound in front of mic)

  • Power: USB Bus Powered (Must plug into computer or iPad (with a Apple Camera Connection Kit Adaptor)).

  • Plug: USB and 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring

Let’s start off with my absolute favorite – Rode’s NT-USB mic.

Rode is pretty popular in the audio world for good reason – it makes amazing microphones and has a great option for every price range. As a USB microphone, Rode NT-USB delivers beautiful, dynamic range and crystal clear voice recording.

Sure, the blue yeti and other microphone have more functions and fancy bells and whistles, but if you’re looking to purchase a solid microphone with the best audio, this one’s a clear winner. It’s versatility ensures that you can use it in any condition and for all video types.

6. Tascam DR-07X Stereo Handheld – $149.99

  • Primary Uses: For studio or live musical performances, Good for Capturing SFX & Ambience, also good for Voiceover and YouTube Videos (Direct to Camera)

  • Type: Handheld, or Attach to Tripod via 1/4” Female screw input

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (picks up sound in front of mic), XY Stereo Pattern

  • Power: 2 AA Batteries, USB Bus Power, or AC/DC Power Adapter

  • Plug: You can record audio within the device to a SD or MicroSD card or you can plug in another mic to it with the 3.5mm input

DR-07X is one of Tascam’s newest releases, and it’s a powerhouse for videographers. At $149, it’s definitely on the more reasonable side of microphones and gives high-end results. A must buy for musicians and voice-over artists. It has dual-integrated and unidirectional condenser mics that can be positioned in an A/B or X/Y position. It ensures excellent audio and a good dynamic range.

If you’re a video producer who often records in a studio and needs a nice mic to record ambience (environmental sound), this mic is a great investment.

7. Rode VideoMic with Rycote Lyre Suspension System – $149.99

  • Primary Uses: Run and Gun Interviews at Events, Vlogging, YouTube Videos (Direct to Camera),

  • Type: Shotgun, attach to shoe-mount on-camera

  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid (picks up sound in front of mic and attenuates sound on sides)

  • Power: One 9-Volt Battery

  • Plug: 3.5mm

Rode’s VideoMic with Rycote Lyre Suspension System is one of the best shotgun mics in the industry. It’s lightweight, has super-cardioid polar pattern that blocks sounds from the sides and makes it sensitive to direction, and the sound quality is far superior than other mics in this range. For even better results, connect it to a boom pole and then use it.

It’s also a favorite among popular YouTubers and brand marketers. For example, Lavendaire, with over 800k followers, uses Rode’s VideoMic in her videos. We, at Wipster, also love this shotgun.

So, if you’re thinking of buying just one mic starting out and can afford to go up to $150, buy Rode’s VideoMic shotgun with your eyes closed.

8. Rode RodeLink FM Digital Wireless Filmmaker System – $399

  • Primary Uses: Interviews, Direct to Camera

  • Type: Wireless Lavalier, Clip-on Person

  • Polar Pattern: Omidirectional (picks up sound all around)

  • Power: 2 AA Batteries (not included)

  • Plug: 3.5mm

While it’s 4x times the price of the cheapest good quality microphone, Rode’s RodeLink FM Digital Wireless System also has 4x better sound quality. It’s super simple to hook it to your camera, the lavalier mic is awesome, and there’s no additional fiddling required to get the perfect audio for your video – it provides you with warm and clear audio by itself with minimum effort required on your part. It works for all kinds of videos, in-studio videos or outdoor videos, and provides consistently good results in all scenarios. So, if you’re looking for a wireless mic that works pretty awesome, look no further.

However, word of advice, always keep a backup of battery just incase it runs out.

Do you have a favorite microphone we missed? Let us know in a comment below.

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* This article was originally published here

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