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Essential guide to microphones for video recording


Written by Becky T

Published Feb 09, 2023

Whether you’re just starting out in video creation or looking to take your content to the next level, finding the right microphone for video recording can truly make or break your content. Along with your video camera setup, this provides the foundation for your shoot, so it's important that you choose the right equipment for your needs.

This essential guide to buying microphones for video will walk you through the different types of microphones available, and help you understand which one is best for your needs. We'll also discuss the key features to look for when shopping for a microphone, and recommend some of the best options for different use cases such as vlogging, live streaming, interviews, film production, and podcasting.


1. Why audio quality in video production is so, so important

2. Understanding your audio needs

  • Identifying the type of video content you will be producing
  • Determining the size and location of your recording environment
  • Considering budget and future upgrade options

3. Types of microphones

  • Lavalier microphones
  • Handheld microphones
  • Boom microphones
  • USB microphones
  • XLR microphones

4. Features to look for

  • Directionality
  • Sensitivity
  • Frequency response
  • Additional features

5. Microphone recommendations for your use

  • Vlogging
  • Live streaming
  • Interviews
  • Film production
  • Podcasting

1. Why audio quality in video production is so, so important

As you probably already know, the professional quality of a video — vlog, film, or otherwise — depends significantly on its audio quality. You can liken it to the relationship of food to presentation, where the latter is a crucial aspect of our experience. Even though video is a visual medium, so much of it is experienced through sound.

Poor audio can make even the most visually stunning video feel amateurish and unprofessional. If you’re going to invest in cinematic lenses for your video, then you should definitely invest in mics to match. The right microphone can give you clear, crisp audio that will take your video to the next level.

The right audio setup can elevate your video production to new heights and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Let’s help you create it!

image showing a woman singing into a microphone on stage
Photo by Voyage Pro

2. Understanding your audio needs

Before you start scrolling the internet to shop for a microphone, let’s take a step back and consider what your production needs are. Knowing your realistic needs will help you narrow down your options and make a more informed decision.

What type of video content are you producing?

The type of video content you plan to produce will play a big role in determining which microphone is right for you. The answer isn’t necessarily as cut and dry as you may think. If you’re interested in using your mic for a few different projects, you’ll want to consider the versatility of your setup. Your audio needs can vary depending on your video production workflow.

If you’re planning to do a lot of live streaming and vlogging, a USB microphone may be a good choice for easily connecting to your computer and streaming. However, you might be somewhat limited if you ever want to take your vlog on the road, in which case a lavalier microphone is a more portable option that allows you to move around freely while still capturing clear audio.

Figure out your recording environment:

Another important factor to consider is the size and location of your recording environment. If you'll be recording in a large room or outdoor space, a directional microphone like a boom microphone or a shotgun microphone will be a good choice because it can help to isolate your voice from background noise. On the other hand, if you'll be recording in a small room or an office space, a condenser microphone may be a better choice because it can pick up a wider range of frequencies and capture a more natural sound.

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Consider your budget and future upgrades

Budget is also an important consideration. Microphones can vary greatly in price, from a few dollars to several thousand dollars. It's important to find a balance between what you can afford and what you need. Additionally, consider future upgrade options, if you're planning to do professional videos in future, it's worth investing in a good microphone that will be useful for the long term, rather than buying a cheap one which may not deliver the desired audio quality.

3. Types of mics to consider

“Types of mics” has a nice ring to it, and there are certainly plenty of excellent options when it comes to recording mics for your video needs. Of course, each has its own unique set of features and purposes, so you want to make sure you understand the differences between them so you can make a more informed decision when deciding on the right mic for your needs. This is important to consider when location scouting for your projects.

Lavalier microphones

Lavalier microphones (or clip-on microphones)are small and portable, making them great for capturing audio on the go. They can be clipped onto clothing and hidden out of sight, allowing the user to move around freely with the mic while capturing audio. You don’t have to worry about holding anything in your hand or having the mic show up on camera.

Lavalier mics are great for recording speech from a particular person, but they also need to be positioned carefully. If the person moves a lot and there’s a lot of rustling in their clothing, the lav will pick up that noise.

image showing a lavalier microphone for video
Photo by Florian Media

Great for: ​​Interviews, vlogging, and film

Common Features:

  • Small and lightweight design, typically worn on clothing
  • Omnidirectional polar pattern
  • Clip or magnetic attachment for easy placement
  • Battery-powered

Advanced Features:

  • Moisture-resistant
  • Surface noise minimization
  • Wireless transmitter system

Handheld microphones

Handheld microphones are great for capturing audio in live settings, such as speaking engagements or musical performances. These mics often have a built-in directional polar pattern, which isolates the desired sound source while reducing background noise, resulting in more focused and clearer audio.

They’re also built to withstand the wear and tear of frequent use. They often have rugged construction and can handle drops and bumps without damaging the actual mic.

image showing a man holding a handheld microphone
Photo by Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent

Great for: live performance & interviews

Common Features:

  • Dynamic or condenser microphone element
  • On/off switch or mute button
  • XLR or 1/4" connector
  • Durable metal or plastic construction
  • Built-in shock mount to reduce handling noise

Advanced features:

  • Supercardioid polar pattern
  • Built-in pop filter
  • Frequency response tailored for specific applications (e.g. vocals, instruments)
  • Battery or rechargeable battery options
  • Wireless capability for control and monitoring
  • On-board effects like reverb or echo
  • Dynamic locking stand adapter for hands-free use

Boom microphones

Boom or pole microphones are mounted on a boom pole or stand, positioned in the direction of the sound source you want to capture. This is because boom mics are designed to be highly directional to focus on the exact sound source you want. They’re ideal for capturing dialogue, speech, and vocals, which is why boom mics are most widely used for capturing audio in film and TV productions.

image showing a boom microphones for video
Photo by Hitcom

Great for: film, interviews, documentaries, broadcasting

Common features:

  • Typically have a long and flexible boom arm, allowing the microphone to be positioned close to the sound source without being in the shot.
  • Designed to be highly directional to limit background noise and focus on the desired sound source.
  • Often shock mounted to reduce handling noise and vibrations.

Advanced features:

  • Carbon fibre construction that makes it very lightweight yet durable
  • Multiple polar patterns
  • High SPL handling
  • Remote control of gain and other audio settings

USB microphones

USB microphones are plug-and-play microphones that connect directly to a computer via USB. They are great for podcasting, live streaming, and other situations where you need to record audio directly to a computer. They’ve become very popular among independent creators because they’re easy to use and many models have built-in noise-cancelling features that can help reduce background noise.

image showing a USB microphone
Photo by CoWomen

Great for: live streaming, at-home vlogs, computer tutorials,

Common Features:

  • Plug-and-play compatibility with computers and other devices via USB
  • Direct-to-digital conversion for high-quality audio capture
  • Built-in headphone jack for monitoring
  • On-board controls for volume, gain, mute, and other settings
  • Compact, desktop design

Advanced Features:

  • Multiple polar patterns (e.g. omnidirectional, cardioid, bidirectional)
  • Adjustable gain or sensitivity control
  • High SPL handling
  • Multiple frequency options for different applications
  • Compatible with USB-C, USB 3.0 or other advanced USB standards
  • Built-in preamp and mixer for easy recording and streaming

XLR microphones

XLR microphones are professional-grade microphones that are commonly used in recording studios and live sound settings. They connect to a mixer or audio interface for high-quality recording. They are often preferred by audio professionals for their crisp sound and ability to handle a wide range of frequencies. You’ll see XLRs used in home studio setups, live streaming, and podcasting because of their ability to capture really clear and accurate sound.

image showing a microphone with a pair of headphones hung over it
Photo by Johnathan Farber

Great for: home studios, podcasts, live streaming, vlogs

Common Features:

  • Connects to a mixer, audio interface, or other XLR-compatible device
  • Large diaphragm condenser capsule,
  • Cardioid polar pattern and a wide frequency response
  • Durable metal construction

Advanced Features:

  • Switchable polar patterns (e.g. cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional)
  • Adjustable gain or sensitivity control
  • High SPL handling
  • Switchable high pass filter
  • Switchable pad
  • Shock mount to reduce handling noise
  • Built-in preamp and mixer for easy recording and streaming

4. Features to look (or listen) for

When shopping for a microphone, there are several key features you should consider to ensure you're getting the best microphone for your needs.


The directionality of a microphone refers to how it picks up sound. Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound from all directions, while unidirectional microphones only pick up sound from one direction, giving you a more focused audio recording. If you'll be recording in a noisy environment, a unidirectional microphone like a cardioid or super-cardioid microphone is an ideal choice because it can help to isolate your voice from background noise.


How well can a mic pick up sound? Higher-sensitivity microphones can pick up sound from farther away and capture more subtle sounds, while lower-sensitivity microphones can only pick up sound from closer distances and may miss some subtle sounds. For recording in a quiet environment, a higher-sensitivity microphone may be a good choice because it can capture more subtle sounds. (Especially if you're recording ASMR videos.)

image showing a woman doing ASMR into a microphone
Photo by Sincerely Media

Frequency response:

Sound is frequency, and the frequency response of a microphone refers to the range of frequencies it can pick up. Some microphones have a more limited frequency response, only capturing certain frequencies, while others have a broader frequency response that can pick up a wider range of frequencies. Generally speaking, mics with broader frequency response produce a more natural, real-to-life sound.


You’ll want to take into account the connectivity options of the microphones you're looking at. If you're planning to record audio directly to a computer and want to keep things straightforward, a USB mic might do the trick. If you’re looking for a mic for your audio interface then you’ll want to make sure the rest of your audio and film equipment is compatible.

Additional features

There are some additional features that can be useful, like noise cancelling, built-in preamp, shock mount and more. Noise cancelling can help reduce background noise and make your voice sound clearer. A built-in preamp works to amplify the audio signal before it reaches the computer. Mic with shock mounts can protect your recording from vibrations that create unwanted noise.

image showing a microphone with a shock mount
Photo by Michael Czyz

5. Mic recommendations for different video use cases

Now that you have an understanding of your needs and what mics are available for them, you can take a deeper look at specific mic types and recommended models.


Lavalier microphones are small, portable, and versatile. Vloggers who record at home and elsewhere will appreciate the versatility of using a lav mic. allowing you to move around freely while still being able to capture clear audio. USB mics are a great option for straightforward vlogging from home, as they easily connect to your computer for direct recording.

image showing a man speaking into a USB microphones for video
Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile

For more professional and advanced options, a Rode VideoMic Pro+ or a Sennheiser MKE 600 shotgun microphone are good choices. These microphones can provide improved audio quality, and the Rode VideoMic Pro+ even provides a high-pass filter to reduce wind noise.

If you're looking for other vlogging essentials, we've put together a list of the best ring lights that may be of interest.


Lavalier and handheld mics are a great choice for interviews, depending on your overall equipment setup, budget, and needs. Their portability makes them ideal for filming from all kinds of different interview filming locations. A lavalier microphone can be attached to clothing to capture clear, focused audio from individuals. They can also be hidden from the shot. Keep in mind, though, that if you want to fix a lav mic to clothing you’ll need one for every participant.

image showing a man being interviewed with a handheld microphone
Photo by Redrecords

Handheld microphones are a bit more flexible in this regard, as you can just point it towards the speaker's mouth when you want to capture audio. Shure SM7B or an Audio-Technica PRO-37 are great choices for professional sound. Both of these microphones are highly versatile and ideal for a wide range of applications in addition to interviews, from podcasting to music recording.


image showing podcasters sat round a table using microphones for video recording
Photo by Austin Distel

USB microphones have become a popular option for podcasters recording from home studios. Look at a Heil Sound PR40 or a Blue Yeti Pro as your top options to consider. Both of these microphones are highly versatile and ideal for a wide range of applications, from podcasting to music recording. XLR mics offer even crisper, clearer sound for podcast recording if you’re looking to achieve an even more produced sound quality.

Live streaming

Again, you can’t go wrong with a USB mic when you’re live streaming. It’s an easy plug-and-play option. Because they’ve become popular with the onset of at-home podcasting, vlogging, and live streaming, the quality has gotten really good too. For more professional studio options, consider a Rode Procaster or a Shure SM7B. Both of these are exceptional at capturing crisp vocal audio that’s ideal for live streaming. If you want to upgrade your live-streaming setup, check out our background ideas for YouTube videos.

Film production

image showing a film set, with a boom microphone
Photo by Ron Lach

You’re going to want a boom microphone for any kind of film production, in addition to potentially lavalier mics as well. If you’re building a film studio, the Sennheiser MK8 and Neumann TLM 103 mics are found all over the industry and are high-quality, reliable options for filmmakers. Lav mics are an option to consider if you're part of a video production company or independent project that runs a lean operation and doesn’t have someone to operate a boom.

Hear that? It’s the sound of your success

Buying a microphone for video production can seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of knowledge and understanding of your needs, you’re all set to choose the right microphone for your video. We hope this guide helped you understand the basics of buying a microphone for video, and that you now have the tools and information you need to make an informed decision.

Once you have the rest of your setup taken care of, you can secure your studio with Tutti to start producing your content exactly the way you want. Happy recording!

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