View Full Version : Microphone for Voiceover / narriation - suggestions, recommendations

04-28-2003, 04:18 AM
Hello All;
I am looking for some suggestions and ideas regarding a good Microphone to use for doing Voiceovers and narriation for ToasterEdit projects. I did a job last week using a USB headset/microphone from Telex (Which I thought was good) but I experienced two problems - first, I picked up some background noise or hiss, plus, the level of the audio varied at times. Could you give me some suggestions on what microphones you're using that works good and may avoid some of the problems I'm having above. Or do you just compensate for these problems in post-production ? I am able to re-do the job I did last week but I'd like to get a more appropriate microphone if one exists. Thanks.


Jim Capillo
04-28-2003, 06:16 AM

Right now we're using a Shure KSM-27 which is available from Musician's Friend http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/sid=030428051131067075012172613152/g=rec/s=mics/search/detail/base_pid/270278/

for a good discount. We've also used SM-58's as well as Lectrosonics wireless lavs to do VO's. Probably the more important thing is to control the sound in the room......

04-28-2003, 07:37 AM
Here we use the AT 4040 (Audio Technica) It's pretty sweet. But Jim is correct. Getting a quiet area devoid of outside nosie and away from computer fans and hard drives. If your initial capture is pure enough, the only sweetening necessary may be a little reverb or delay to fatten up the sterile sound.

04-28-2003, 11:05 AM
We've got a couple Sennheiser's, Electovoice and Sure Mics. They all have their own applications depending on our needs.

But if there was one great affordable mic for VO's, I'd have to go with the Sure 58. There are a few different versions.

Check out their website:

04-28-2003, 11:39 AM
I was using an AKG414, but it had too much of a high mid boost.

Most of the talent sounds better with the Sennheiser MKH416 that I now use. Good warmth to it.


04-28-2003, 01:20 PM
Originally posted by ted
We've got a couple Sennheiser's, Electrosonics and Sure Mics. They all have their own applications depending on our needs.

But if there was one great affordable mic for VO's, I'd have to go with the Sure 58. There are a few different versions.

Check out their website:

04-28-2003, 06:04 PM
We use several different flavors here too.
Audio Teknika ATM31a, Shure SM58 & Sennheiser EM100 wireless with good results.

I'd agree with Ted, that the Shure SM58 is probably your best bet for the dollars - an overall great mic!

04-28-2003, 06:25 PM
Have to add I've used quite a few SM-58's and they take a beating really well (not that you should ever intentionally abuse audio gear) and keep on ticking. Very durable and inexpensive. Awesome starting mic.

04-29-2003, 11:45 AM
An excellent mic for voice (particularly male voice - for good bass) is the Sennheiser MD421U.
If you are interested in more expensive options, I could give higher end suggestions.

Dan Hong
04-30-2003, 09:58 AM
Telefunken. Tell a friend.
(Sorry, Frank Zappa fan here)

04-30-2003, 09:58 AM
I agree with the use of a Shure mic. I am currently using a Shure mic and it is a good application for a room full of computer noise. You must understand that these are dynamic mics and not a condenser mic. They work good in a noisy environment. I help news people with shoots in a loud environment and the best mic to use is a dynamic mic because the only noise picked up is real close to the mic. If you have the ability to do voice overs in a nice quiet room, you can expand your mic selections. Good luck

05-02-2003, 04:30 PM
As an old audio guy, I must say: using a mic to record a VO in a room full of noisy computers is trouble. The better the mic, the more noise you ARE going to pick up. Trouble with a capital "T".

And it makes no difference: condenser, dynamic, ribbon, whatever. The more sensitive the mic, the more it picks up.

Acoustic isolation is the key.

Having said that, we use a Shure SM7 in a booth.



05-05-2003, 07:43 AM
For general purpose in the booth we use a Neumann U-87, but depending on the talent we will also use Electro-Voice RE-20, PL-20, RCA 77DX, and Sennheiser MD421.

On location we use Sony ECM-55s (cardioid) and ECM-44s (omni).

As far as bang for the buck the Shure SM-57 and its varients sound pretty good. Although, I find myself EQing the heck out of 'em to get that good VO sound. They always have the stigma of the "bar" microphone to overcome with professional/knowledgable talent.

As far as sensitivity goes, IMHO:

If you are recording voiceover audio and are trying for quality, you MUST isolate the talent/recording environment from outside (things that are not the talent's voice) sounds.

Unless you are trying for an effect (like somebody doing a voiceover in a noisy room...) , all it will do is sound cruddy.

Also consider this: We rent our voiceover booth for $75/hr. (.25 hr. min.) including an engineer. So even if you don't have a proper facility, its not that expensive to get a good recording! Bring your blank media, and come on down!

Tod Cole
05-05-2003, 09:33 PM
Well what if I want to spend some money. Suggestions?

05-05-2003, 10:08 PM
Well, without going into the thousands, the EV RE20 is an EXCELLENT choice for VO's. Especially for good bass response on a male voice. It lists for $800. It is probably one of the most common/popular radio announcer mic in the country. It's newer cousin is the RE27.
Then, of course, if you JUST wanted to spend money you could buy the Neumann M150 for $5300!! (List)
I've never tried this one though, so don't blame me if it doesn't meet your expectations! ;)

05-06-2003, 06:49 AM
OK, I like most of the "large diaphram" type of microphones.

The Neumann U87 (Now the U87i) is a fine solid-state mic. Around $1000 used.

The Groove Tube MKI Tube mic is very nice at a good price point. (like $1200 used)

The AKG C12 (and C24 stereo mic) are VERY expensive tube mics that sound GREAT. ($5000+ for vintage, $2000ish for re-issues)

Ribbon mics are popular, and expensive, but are a little thin on bass response. I like them on brass instruments more than voice work. However with the right talent they are pretty tough to beat.

There are alot of excellent mics out there. What you choose should be based on what you like to hear vs. the cost/trouble to maintain them.

If nothing else rent a local audio facility for an hour (or less) and have the engineer "taste test" all his various mics, so you can make a decision based on YOUR tastes, not anyone elses.

I usually DON'T use large diaphram mics on singing vocals. They sound too warm to me. But, on the spoken voice they lend a sonic believability (especially at close range) that you just can't get elsewhere.

Some folks jump through hoops to make sure they have the bestest, most expensive equipment around.

They usually think this means that by virtue of the equipment their recordings will be better, however in practice it doesn't matter one whit what you use.

Simply: What does it sound like.

To heck with the meters (within reason), the placement, the $$$ spent on vintage Fairchild tube compressors... What does it sound like.

Like the song says: "If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad..."

Enough philosophy today, I'm off to spelling school...

05-08-2003, 08:50 AM
For less expense, we've had really good results for vo with the Sennheiser MD-421 mkII.

05-08-2003, 11:43 AM
I like the Neuman TLM-103, its a transformer less microphone which helps to cut down on noise and it also has a diagphram based on the U-87. For the price you can beat it, you can pick on up for about $800.

On a side note, to help cut down on external noise, try putting your mic in another room, one thats really quite.

05-13-2003, 12:10 PM
I had a problem doing voice-overs and finding a sound free place. My final solution was I built a box 2' by 2' by 3' and used sound foam on the inside of the box (one side is open). When I do a voice-over now I suspend the mic in the box to do my VO's. I place the box on a desk near the wall, and I also have sound foam on the wall behind my back. Not a perfect solution by any means, but it works pretty well.

05-14-2003, 05:33 PM
A lot of people will recommend the Shure SM-58, but this is really a vocal mic that got it's reputation on the road with a lot of rock bands. It is sturdy as hell and a defacto standard in the music business. With a relatively low frequency response, this is not generally the best mic to use for recording. Your mileage may vary.

I would recommend sticking with some rock solid standards. Certainly one of those is the Sennheiser K6 power modules with any number of mic capsules. The ME66 being the most popular I believe.

With a good shotgun boom or fishing pole, the sound can often startle you with realism. You can always trim the frequencies down, just don't bother to try and add them later as you might have to with the SM-58's and other mics like them.

Now if your budget is $100, well that's different. Go with Shure :D

05-22-2003, 05:44 PM
The RE20 it a great mic for voice because itís very natural sounding will take a beating and is almost impossible to over load. Additionally it does not employ proximity effect, which adds bass, as you get closer to it. (This is usually done to decrease feedback in live stage applications)

10-18-2007, 02:00 AM
I know this is an old post I was looking for something related to an old Shure 55SH mics in a Dogpile search and found this post. As a professional voiceover artist since 1968 I have a few things to say. First, why not hire a voiceover artist to do your voiceovers? Most charge next to nothing. Most of us are struggling to find work and we like to feed our families!

Ok, if you must do this yourself here's what I do. I use a Mic to a mixer to a Turtlebeach Santa Cruz soundcard in a P-4 desktop. This is the same setup they have at the radio stations in Charlotte where I worked before I retired from radio two years ago. Most of the stock soundcards are built into the motherboard and are not intended for professional sounding recordings and you will almost always be disappointed with the result no matter what microphone or software you are using unless you have a dedicated soundcard. Hear clicks, pops, growls and swishsy noises? That is the soundcard having issues. The Santa Cruz card I use at home has been discontinued for "new & improved" models called the MONTEGO and RIVIERA depending on how may channels you want. There are other brands like Soundblaster" and other way more expensive cards, but the leading studio engineer I consulted when setting up a home studio recommended the Turtle Beach card for general desktop recording over any other. I got it for $29 for NEWEGG.COM. For laptop recording Turtle Beach has external USB soundcard interface devices for inputing high quality audio on the go. For a mixer at home I use a Behringer 1002 (about 79 dollars). I love it. You could also use the much smaller Behinger 802 which costs less. Both mixers have the "Phantom" power feature needed to power condenser mics. I have four different mics I use. One is a Behringer B-1 Condenser mic which is an awesome mic for around 100 dollars and will outperform the Shure SM58 which costs about the same thing. I got it specifically for home voiceover work. I use the Behringer B1 most of the time lately for Internet and digital audio applications. For any voiceover that is going into a film or video presentations I prefer the Shure SM7B and highly recommend it. The Shure SM7B is my favorite microphone of all time and one of my best friends. However the SM7B is very expensive. I just had one because I used it in radio work. I also use an SM57 if the audio is going to be highly compressed such as on a website. Compression tends to emphasize the bass and the SM57 doesn't have much bass to begin with. The fourth mic is my recent discovery of the Behringer XM8500 microphone which a friend let me try out and I like it BETTER than an SM58 for voice work and it costs $20 at MusiciansFriend.Com. My advise is to forget the SM58 and get one of these Behringer XM8500's. They are better for voiceovers and pretty darn amazing microphones for $100 much less $20. I've also found they make great acoustic guitar mics. I can not emphasize this enough. Don't forget quality cables! Nothing will hurt your sound worse than bad audio cables. I've had good luck with Planet Waves, Whirlwind and Monster cables. They cost more but are worth it. Planet Waves for durability, Whirlwind for economy, and Monster for top performance. Instead of ready made cables, you can also have a technician make up your cables for you using Mogami or Canare cable and Switchcraft connectors and that will save some money and get you some quality cables.