Best Budget Microphones for Creating YouTube Videos 2018

Updated on August 8, 2018
Emma Barton profile image

Hi, I’m a mom to 3, I aim to provide quality information on products, so families can save time and money by choosing the right products.

If you want to make great videos to share on YouTube, you will need to start by getting a decent microphone.

When choosing a microphone there are many types to consider depending on the situation, ranging from lavalier, shotgun, condenser, USB, and XLR. For YouTubers, sound is probably more important than the picture because viewers will skip to the next video if the sound is of low quality.

Most cameras have consumer level (low quality) built-in omnidirectional microphones which tend to pick up a lot of unwanted sounds, including air. So, it would be a good idea to simply avoid using them.

If you’re just starting out and creating your very first YouTube video or would like a microphone for voice chat during gaming or maybe even streaming, and on a tight budget, it would be unwise to spend a fortune. As your channel grows and becomes a success you can purchase others to suit your needs. So, let's a look at some affordable options that we think are the top microphones for YouTube.

Blue Yeti

If you’re wondering about the best microphone to use for YouTube and need a quick and easy solution to set up a home studio, you should consider a USB microphone. These come in all shapes and sizes, ready to be plugged into your computer, so you can start recording straight away. I’ve been using a USB mic to record videos for some time now and highly recommend the Blue Yeti, a condenser USB microphone that gives you great value for money and is very popular with YouTubers. With this microphone, you’ll be able to produce pristine studio-quality recordings.

The microphone comes with a little stand and because it’s built on a hinge, you can adjust and pivot the microphone towards the sound source to improve sound quality. It can also be folded down for safe transport. It comes with 16-Bit/48 kHz resolution and the option to choose between four different pattern modes: stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, or bidirectional polar option that will allow you to accommodate a whole range of recording applications, including everything from vocals to voiceovers and musical instruments to podcasts. Also included on the USB microphone are useful buttons for mute and volume control that will put you in charge at every level of the recording process. A 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is included to listen to whatever you're recording with zero-latency

With the Blue Microphone's proprietary tri-capsule technology you will be able to record sounds that range from the barely audible to the extremely loud. It’s amazing for vlogging, commentary, interviewing and more. With the handy controls for pattern selection, microphone gain, headphone volume, and instant mute you'll be able to create superior recordings right out of the box

Although it’s not ‘’cheap’’, costing a little under $130, it’s still relatively inexpensive when compared to competitors offering the same superb quality of sound that the Blue Yeti delivers.

Audio-Technica AT2035

The Audio -Technica AT2035 is one of the favorites for YouTube videos with sound that’s even better than the Yeti. The cardioid condenser microphone has a large diaphragm for clear natural detailed sound and low noise. The microphone is equipped with a switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and 10 dB pad, and thus can reliably handle high sound pressure levels with ease. It is versatile and is especially suited for vocal recordings.

With a matte black finish, the microphone looks professional and classy and with its robust construction and high-performance specifications, the AT2035 is aimed at all types of uses, from home studios to professional studios and live stages. It can be used effectively on a wide range of instruments. It functions very well with acoustic instruments and pianos. Because of the high SPL rating, it can be used on brass instruments and electric guitars.

The microphone AT2035, priced a little over $160, is the best in its price range and even outperforms some mics that are much more expensive. It offers exceptional value and comes packaged as a bundle with a pop filter, shock mount, and 10ft XLR cable.

Which Type Of Microphone Do You Think Is The Best For YouTube Videos?

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Rode NT-USB

If you’re looking for a microphone that can to be plugged directly into your computer without needing a separate preamp or audio interface, the Rode NT-USB is the perfect solution which requires no special drivers to work with Windows and Mac.

Fitted with a nicely-designed mounting, this very well built and great looking microphone can be angled anywhere within a 180 degree, either attached to a mic stand or the supplied tripod desktop stand. Its metal construction has the same professional feel as Rode’s established studio mics. It's robust, simple to use and will give you decent quality recordings. The mic can handle up to 110dB SPL which is more than adequate for vocals, acoustic guitars and much more. The microphone delivers exceptionally, clear crisp and natural sound, thanks to a quality cardioid capsule. It’s perfect for vocals and really gives a professional sound to your recordings.

Within the Combo package, in addition to the microphone, the kit includes a desk stand, mic mount, a curved pop filter that sits about an inch in front of the capsule's grille, a soft protective storage case and a long USB cable which is ideal for immediate setup.

The NT-USB comes with a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack that will ensure zero latency and on-mic mix control for ease and convenience. With a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, you can be sure to expect decent quality recordings.

Priced at $169, the NT-USB offers exceptional value and in the way of performance, it is considered by many to be on par with non-USB large diaphragm condensers.

Blue Snowball

If you're short on desk space the Blue Snowball microphone is perfect to fit right in the middle of your desk. Although it's small in size and price, it's certainly not small in value. The microphone is available in many colors to suit your décor or mood and is voted as being one of the best for YouTube videos.

The Snowball is powered by a custom condenser capsule, giving you exceptional results. With the incorporation of 2 separate capsules, It can be switched between three modes — Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and Cardioid with -10dB pad — to accommodate any recording situation. The cardioid polar pattern "hears" whatever the mic is pointed at, while the omnidirectional pattern picks up sounds from all directions. It is the perfect microphone to create studio-quality recordings with stunning sound quality. With the -10dB setting, even the loudest vocalists or instruments such as electric guitars come in clear, crisp and distortion free.

It is an easy to use USB plug and play microphone, which comes packaged with a small adjustable desktop stand along with a USB cable, and as no drivers are required for installation, you can begin recording right away.

The Snowball is about making it easier for you to get high-quality audio with your computer and bring your projects to life with ease. So, whether you’re streaming live gameplay, hosting an online seminar, or conducting a tutorial via Skype you’ll be heard loud and clear. You’ll be able to create CD-quality podcasts, add narration to YouTube videos and record just about anything with crystal clear quality.

One last thing, once your channel has grown you will most probably consider other microphone options, as many YouTubers do. So, if you want to save money and time in the long run, I would highly recommend going for the Blue Yeti.

Are USB mics inferior to XLR mics?

Did you know that many USB microphones feature the same condenser mic element as XLR version used in professional studios?

There are many USB microphones that deliver identical sound signature as XLR.

USB Vs. XLR

USB microphones are preferred due to affordability, convenience, and the fact that they are easy to set up and use. Also, since you don't need to invest in an audio interface, your cost will be lower.

XLR microphones enable you to connect to preamps, mixers, recorders, and so on. This offers more versatility and options. Nevertheless, an XLR microphone is more costly and complicated to set up.

Rode VideoMicro

I’ve been using the VideoMic Pro and thought I’d test out the Rode VideoMicro. Rode have targeted this amazing product to the YouTube vlogger. Priced under $60, it’s small, lightweight, compact and doesn’t need batteries. You don’t need to worry about switching it on because as soon as you connect the cable to your camera microphone jack, it’s ready to record.

What you get in the box is the cardioid shotgun Microphone, cable and a Rycote Lyre Shock Mount, which will absorb any movement or vibrations, so that unwanted sounds are not picked up by the microphone. A DeadCat windshield is also included which will help to record in windy conditions and give you better sound when you’re out and about.

The microphone works with DSLR camera, iPhone, Android phone or Tablet. The only downside is that there isn’t an adjustable power level, so there is only one setting.

Zoom H1n

If you’re new to the world of recording and looking for a versatile microphone to cater for all your needs, the Zoom H1n could just be the answer. It is easy to use with a simple menu, very well designed and can be put to great many uses on many projects. It is ready to use out of the box, just pop in the microSD card and start recording, it’s as simple as that.

The H1n can be attached to a microphone stand or tripod for your home studio or a camera to use as a shotgun mic and take it wherever you go to get really high WAV or MP3 quality audio. As some cameras may not have an external microphone port, you can simply connect a lavaliere microphone to it and record audio that way. I personally prefer to connect my PowerDeWise Professional Grade Lavalier to the Zoom H1n, a perfect combination.

Thanks to its 2 unidirectional microphones, it can be used as a stereo recording system. The Line Out socket for headphones allows monitoring of sound in playback and also while recording live.

With its lightweight and small build, the H1n is perfect for live events, family occasions, and YouTube. For interviews, simply attach a furry outdoor windscreen and you’re good-to-go.

Rode Reporter

If you are serious about making videos for YouTube and perhaps thinking about interviewing at live events or reporting on newsworthy issues or topics, then your kit is not complete without a decent dynamic microphone.

A great option is the RODE Reporter, an omnidirectional dynamic XLR microphone that doesn’t need a battery or phantom power – you can just plug it in and start recording. It is durable, and with a weight of 256 grams it has a professional weight and feel with a non-reflective matte finish, so it’s not distracting on camera.

The Rode Reporter microphone is perfect for handheld interview and presentation situations in a wide variety of environments which doesn’t require a bulky foam windshield. The multilayer mesh basket serves as an impressive built-in wind protection. It has a frequency response of 70Hz - 15kHz which has been specifically optimized for vocal applications to deliver amazingly crisp and clear results, even outdoors with plenty of ambient noise and wind.

It can be plugged straight into a DSLR camera using an XLR to 1/8th 10ft cable, which is phenomenal for live events or connected to a Zoom H4n using an XLR to XLR cable, which would be ideal for live events and the field.

The microphone comes with a soft protective pouch and is supplied with a removable microphone ‘flag’ that can accommodate high-visibility branding. At $129, the Rode Reporter is a pretty affordable option, and because it's wired you don’t have to worry about wireless problems. So, at live events, you're not going to get static or interference.

Camera Microphones: External Vs. Onboard

By now you must have guessed that built-in mics are not even worth using if you are considering vlogging and hoping to create awesome YouTube videos. If you want to replace your camera’s audio a good option is TAKSTAR SGC-598.

The build quality is quite decent with an all plastic body which requires a single AA battery for it to work.

The mic offers a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 50Hz – 16kHz which is pretty good considering the low price.

This is not a top of the line shotgun microphone but a huge improvement over most camera’s internal microphones. For around $30 the SGC-598 is a good choice and probably performs better than even some of the higher priced microphones.

Final Thoughts

With the huge variety of microphones to choose from it can be quite overwhelming for a beginner with little or no knowledge of the best equipment to buy and how much to spend.

I hope you found the article interesting and has helped you in selecting the correct microphone for your YouTube channel. Just bear in mind that even if the video is a bit grainy, the audio needs to be of good quality.

Good quality audio coupled with interesting and entertaining video content to keep the viewer engaged is the perfect recipe for a successful YouTube Channel.

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