The best vloggers use cameras with external microphones, if you want people to keep listening and come back to your channel make sure you have good mic!
If you are at the stage where you are wanting bring your video standard to the next level then there’s no point in investing a bomb in a high-end DSLR and not getting a good microphone to go with it. If you are truly looking to become a successful YouTuber, today is the time to buy that microphone.
The Best External Microphones for your Camera
There are hundreds of different models of microphone available in the market. So, to make your job easier, we have divided this vlogging microphone guide into 3 parts
- Best Microphones for Different Types of Vlogging
- Microphone Reviews
- Why TRS and TRRS connections is important
This way you can select the best one that not only suits your vlogging needs but also is compatible with your Camera. However, let us first learn why you need to stop using your Canon camera’s in-built microphone before more damage is done – to both your reputation as a vlogger and the quality of your future YouTube videos.
Best Microphones for Different Types YouTube Channels
It's best to select an external microphone based on the type of vlogging that you do. Following are the 12 best external microphones, listed basis the type of vlogging they are most suitable for. Once you pick your selection, move down and check out its review.
The External Lav Mic (clip-on)
For interviews, talk shows, how-to Videos, DIYs, beauty tips, fashion vlogs, tutorials, courses, documentaries, speech, and product review vlogs, game reviews, you should use lapel/lavalier external microphones:
Important Note: The audio jack connection may have either 2 black lines or 3 black lines. 2 black lines is for Camera inputs and the 3 black line is for Smartphone inputs, all explained below. - Click Here to jump to that section -
Miracle Sound Delux - The Cheap Lav Mic
Giant Squid Audio Lab - Lav Mic Under $50
#1 Best Lav Mic - Rode SmartLav
The Shotgun External Microphone
For adventure, travel, lifestyle, fashion, health, and live-action vlogs; prank videos, product reviews, video lists, comedy web series, use shotgun external microphones:
Our #1 Choice - Rode Video Mic Pro
Cheap Shotgun Microphone - Takstar
Alternative Slim Shotgun Microphone - Audio Technica
Portable Handheld Microphones
For podcasting, journalism, prank videos, comedy, parody videos, music production, and broadcasting, use dedicated portable recording devices:
Zoom H1 Handy - Under 100
Our Top Pic - Zoom H4N Pro
Podcast and Desk Microphones
For video game and anime commentary, gaming, computer tutorials, game reviews, selfie videos, beauty vlogs, talking, and home videos, use desk external microphones:
#1 Podcasting Style Mic - Blue Yeti
Cheap Podcast Mic - Blue Yeti Snowball
Desk Microphone - Rode NT-USB
We have narrowed down four major types of microphones that you will come across while hunting for the perfect one for your vlogging purpose. Most of these are multifunctional and can be used for different types of vlogging – from video game commentary to interviews and podcasts to beauty and DIY vlogs to prank videos.
Lapel/Lav Vlogging Microphones
You can clip this tiny piece on the lapel of your shirt or your sleeve and forget about sound problems. Interviews and DIY videos are types of vlogging which involves you (and your co-vlogger) standing/sitting somewhere talking to the camera.
For those types of vlogging, what you need is a dedicated microphone that captures your speech efficiently without pulling the noise coming from outside your setup. And nothing works better than a lapel/lavalier/clip-on vlogging microphone.
These are very useful for interviews and documentaries where the person talking can quickly wear the lapel mic and start. Following are our top three selections:
1. Miracle Sound Deluxe
One of the cheapest options out there, this omnidirectional lavalier microphone is your best bet if you are on a budget. Just plug it into your Samsung smartphone, iPhone, or tablet’s audio jack and start recording they sync it up with your recording software. Since it is inexpensive, as you can imagine the quality of the audio output is pretty average.
2. Giant Squid Audio Lab
If you are not on a budget, we cannot recommend you the Giant Squid. It is the best lavalier external microphone for vlogging in the market right now, and has been in that position for years. Experts both online and offline recommend this like they recommend the PowerShot G7 X for vlogging. It is a professional microphone used by filmmakers and top-tier journalists, and delivers impeccable quality with great bass and well-rounded sound. So, if you are really looking to put Jay-Z’s music streaming service to shame, then the Giant Squid will help you.
If you are someone who is looking for a plug-and-play external microphone without extra baggage, we recommend this Audio Technica model. It’s a brilliant mono-stereo piece that is a bang for your bucks, especially because it’s cheaper than the Giant Squid. This is what most vloggers prefer because it gives them professional-quality audio at a very good price.
Rode Smart Lav Mic Review
In terms of audio quality and buying a microphone that you will consistently be happy with the results, Rode Mics are amazing, good quality at a mid-range affordable price. Good cord length, the clip works well, you get a nice baggy for your mic, it is a great product.
This is a basically a slender rod that captures sound hitting its front part. Suitable for most types of vlogging, this one of the most popular external microphones as it subdues ambient noise.
These are our top three selections:
Rode VMGO VideoMic GO
The think that really sold it for me was when, this is recommended for vloggers who have digital cameras with hot shoe support. The biggest advantage is that you do not need batteries to run it.
Pro Tip – Rode has a lot of options when it comes to external microphones. Make sure you check all its models (like the Rode VideoMic PRO) before making the final decision.
Another Audio-Technica product in this list, this one is a real champion when it comes to suppressing ambient noise. If you are a lifestyle vlogger who travels a lot, then getting the ATR6550 will solve all your audio recording problems. With useful settings that you can play with and an advanced condenser module, this one is a good bet for digital camera users.
3. TAKSTAR SGC-598
The best cheap shotgun microphone in this list, this TAKSTAR model has great sound quality with a decent line level, is well-designed, easy setup, and easier to use. If you are a DIY or beauty vlogger, then this should be on your Amazon wishlist along with all those great stuffs that PopSugar made you buy.
Handheld Portable Microphone
If you have already invested on a camera (say a Sony A6000, for example) that does not support external mic, thank this type. You can use this to capture audio while your camera does the video part. Simple! It is used by journalists around the world on an hourly basis (no kidding).
These are our top three selections:
Zoom H1 Handy
An article about the best external microphones for vlogging will never be complete without a mention of Zoom H1 Handy. It captures stereo sound like Freddie Mercury sings his ballads – so accurate and so pure, there’s no way you cannot fall in love with its powerful recorder, long battery life, memory card support, volume controls, and even a track marker. If cost is not an issue for you and you are an adventure vlogger who sometimes uses a GoPro, the Zoom H1 should already be in your Amazon cart. Just hit “Buy” now!
On the same price range is this TASCAM model that is superior to the Zoom H1 when it comes to features. In addition to the ability to record audio in MP3 or WAV format, it has easy two-button operation, various playback modes, and a peak limiter so that your recording never goes too loud. If you prefer a model which you can customize a lot, then we would recommend to go with TASCAM TR-05.
Zoom H4N PRO
Another Zoom model in this list, this one is almost double the price but comes with an extra set of features. It has two XLR inputs (automatically putting it in the professional ring), can record 4 tracks simultaneously, and is more heavy duty.
If you are a fan of PewDiePie, you must already know that he uses this type of external microphone to do all his commentary – be it about that new video game or about some risqué subreddits. Looking like a near cousin of the ubiquitous webcam, this one behaves much like how a webcam works, but for audio.
Our top three selections are:
Blue Snowball USB
This is our top pick for the best desk external microphone for vlogging. It is reasonably priced, records directly into your PC through USB, has two modes for better capturing, and is even available in different colors.
Those who do not like the Snowball go with the Yeti. It’s like the Windows OS of desk external microphones, and is capable of recording high-quality audio, is sensitive, has four different modes, and has controls for mute and volume. No wonder it is slightly higher priced than the Snowball.
Most users look for compatibility with all major devices, and that’s where this Rode model comes in. Suitable for users using Windows PC, Macbook Pro, and even iPad, the Rode NT-USB also has a pop filter which you can use to filter out unwanted sounds. The complementary headphone jack is why most users prefer this over other models because you can monitor your voice while recording.
Best External Microphones for Different Types of Cameras
While we have gone through all major types of external microphones, you can optionally narrow down your selection further by checking the compatibility of these models with your cameras.
For DSLRs with hot shoe /Shotgun Mics
- Rode VMGO VideoMic GO
- Audio-Technica ATR6550
- TAKSTAR SGC-598
For all types of digital cameras like DSLRs, mirrorless, camcorders, and point and shoot –
- Audio-Technica ATR3350
- Giant Squid Audio Lab
For devices without external microphone support –
- TASCAM DR-05
- Zoom H1 Handy
- Zoom H4N PRO
For phones running Android or iOS or other operating systems –
- Miracle Sound Deluxe
- Giant Squid Audio Lab (with an adapter)
TRS and TRRS connection and why they are important
Check out the above microphone adapters, look carefully are the black lines on the male pin. See the image below so you can understand what you are looking for.
TRS is for inserting into Cameras, TRRS is the same as a headphone jack and is used for pluging into your smartphone, check that your microphone has the correct connection you need, if it doesn't you just need to buy and adapter and then you are sorted.
Camera with External Microphone + Voice Recording Training
Vlog tip: If you are wanting to take your voice quality seriously and sound more professional, check out some voice recording courses, or the easy way is to clean up the 'noise in your audio tracks here is an article on cleaning up your voice using audacity(free recording software) Click for article.
Why Should You Get an External Microphone for Vlogging?
We know – it’s an extra expense that you can do away with, why should I get a microphone when my DSLR already has a pretty good internal 2-channel mic, my viewers care more about the video and not the audio, an external mic is a hassle – all sorts of questions that come to your mind. Today, we are going to answer all these questions.
Low Quality Built-In Mics
As experts in the fields of vlogging and the audiovisual industry, trust us when we say that the internal mics that most cameras by Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, etc. come with today are of inferior quality. They produce audio of such low quality that if you were to be judged solely based on the audio of your vlogs, even your most faithful fan would shake their head in disappointment.
When we say low-quality, we mean the quality of the recorded audio from cameras are so much lower than what people now are used to when they watch videos that it is regarded as cheap and low quality - you do not want to be associated with that.
Most built-in microphones are omnidirectional i.e. they capture every single vibration around it – sounds of air, shuffling leaves, insects, and what-not. There’s no restriction or modulation in its capturing and you cannot even customize it due to lack of settings.
The Power of an External Microphone
As opposed to omnidirectional in-built microphones, an external microphone is either unidirectional or bidirectional, which are pretty self-explanatory
- Uni=1 direction
- Bi=2 directions
- Omni=All directions
For vlogging, we recommend unidirectional ones with cardioid configuration because you want to capture sound coming from a single direction.
This is the most valid reason why we stress aspiring YouTubers to get an external mic. It not only helps you dedicatedly capture sound from a single direction but also provides high-quality sound enough to put all those tracks in Jay Z’s TIDAL into shame.
On the other hand, if you are a vlogger like Smosh, JacksGap, or McJuggerNuggets, who creates short films and sketches where you need sound from multiple direction, it is best to get a bidirectional sub cardioid microphone. All these will be clearer when you check out our lists of best external microphones below.
We have divided our top selections into two parts so that you can make a better decision. We hope this guide will help you make your vlogs sound better. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask us in the comments section.
Click on the image for our article on Cameras with External Mic Input