What is the Best Voice Over Mic?

There are obviously a lot of choices out there. So, what is the best voice over mic? Great question! The bad news is, there’s no single answer to that question. However, the good news is, there are a lot of good answers, so chances of you getting something useful here are pretty good. Although, I am going to reveal a huge secret, which is the best bang for the buck I’ve ever seen for microphones that only a handful of pros know about! I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Trust me, just keep reading!

What is your setup?

There are a couple of things you need to take into account before mic shopping. One, do you have or are you about to have an acoustically treated room? You can take very small steps to get a room fairly well treated. It can be something as simple as hanging up a few blankets or putting up mattress foam. Just put up something in the room that can kill any echo. Even walk-in closets work well! Next, what do you have in your recording room that may cause some background noise. For example, computer with a loud fan, ticking clock, air conditioning vent, etc.? In many cases gentle computer fan or air vent sounds can be removed during the editing process.

Types of Mics

best voice over micCondenser Mics

Condenser mics pick up even the smallest detail in your voice. This is why most professional studios use condenser mics. The most popular of condenser mics being the Neumann U87. It is one of the more expensive mics because of it’s ability to accommodate a wide range of voices. You pretty much can’t walk into a studio in Hollywood or New York without seeing several of these microphones. 


Dynamic Mics

A dynamic mic is great for a situation where you’re in a noisier room. These are standard for radio stations, because you frequently have elements that will cause background noise, such as guests walking in and out. The industry standards are the Shure SM7b and the Electro-Voice RE20. The only con to having a dynamic mic, is that it won’t pick up as much detail in your voice like a condenser will.

best voice over micBoom/Shotgun Mics

Possibly the best of both worlds. These mics can pick up great detail in your voice and are very directional. Because of that, this makes them a great choice in a less than perfect room. Maybe the most industry standard mic for voice over artists is the Sennheiser MKH-416. It’s so popular in Los Angeles, it’s typically referred to as the “LA Mic.”

Closing thoughts plus a huge secret…

As said by Joe Cipriano (voice of Fox and CBS), “You don’t have to break the bank; just get the best you can afford.” This brings me to the big secret I promised and it’s actually a time sensitive one. If you’re a beginner, there’s a mic that’s not made anymore but still available from a few websites. It’s the M-Audio Nova. What’s so great about it? As I told your earlier, the most widely used condenser mic in the world is the Neumann U87, which costs about $3000. The Nova sounds so similar, it’s almost undetectable. In fact, I know of professionals right now who use this mic to pickup lines for spots recorded on a U87.

For myself, when I switched to this mic, I had regular clients ask if I upgraded my studio. Little did they know, I was actually using a cheaper mic than I had been using for previous projects. Believe it or not, the M-Audio Nova costs less than $100! I’m not kidding, this is THE best mic if you’re beginning your voice over career. I want to quickly point out that I am in no way affiliated with M-Audio. I just think I need to give credit where credit is due. And speaking of credit, I want to leave you with something that was said very often by perhaps the greatest voice over artist of all time, Don LaFontaine…”The microphone doesn’t matter”.

Check out some of my demos on the Voice Over page!


Locating an M-Audio Nova can still be done, but it’s getting harder every year. BUT!! Since this blog was originally written, there have been two mics that have come into focus that I find myself recommending even more than the Nova.

The first is the Stellar X2 by TechZone Audio. You can actually find shootouts on YouTube between this mic and the top industry standards, including the U87 and TLM 103. Most people seem to place this mic directly between those two, in sound. I have one and was blown away by the detail. The mic comes with a shock mount and a windscreen, all for $199. Not a bad purchase!

The second mic is the Rode NT1. It’s very important that you note that I didn’t say the Rode NT1a. That “a” bringing up the rear in that mic’s name drops the price and the quality all at the same time. While it’s still a good mic, the NT1 is a big jump in quality. Very comparable to the U87. For the techies that are reading this, the NT1 has a nice flat frequency response that produces a neutral sound for voices all across the board. The cheaper NT1a has a boost in the high end, which has caused a lot of people to say it has a “thin” sound. Personally, I think that’s only on certain voices. In any event, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Rode NT1. That one, with a shock mount, pop screen, and XLR cable, comes in right at $269.

Out of the two mics I listed here, I would probably lean more toward the Rode mic because of the more neutral sound. Since the Stellar X2 has been compared similarly with the TLM 103, I know from experience of owning this mic at one time, that it doesn’t favor every voice (mine being one of them). Although, I’ve heard this mic sound amazing on some people. Obviously, testing is always the best way to go, but if you were buying untested, I would always recommend leaning more neutral.