Best Microphone for Voice Acting

It takes more than precise enunciation and a velvety voice to be a successful voice actor. You also need to equip yourself with the right tools, which is why finding the best microphone for voice acting is essential. Unfortunately, the sheer variety of options can make selecting a microphone feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you, narrowing down the field to five excellent contenders that can help you deliver your best performance.

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Top Pick: Neumann TLM-103

At once exceptionally quiet and impressively sensitive, the Neumann TLM-103 can make a solid claim as the best microphone for voice acting on the market. Few microphones can capture the level of detail and clarity the TLM-103 achieves without introducing an unacceptable amount of noise. As if that weren’t enough, this large-diaphragm cardioid condenser mic is also capable of handling serious sound pressure levels. No matter what kind of voiceover work you’re doing, the TLM-103 is hard to beat.

Runner-Up: Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3

There’s no such thing as a consensus in the voice acting community, but the Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 comes pretty close. From home hobbyists to some of the top professional voices in the industry, many vocal talents swear by the venerable MKH416. It offers the precise directionality expected of a shotgun microphone while remaining very forgiving and easy to use. Its superior ability to eliminate unwanted noise makes it suitable for nearly any acoustic environment.

Also Great: Mojave MA-201fet

The best vocal recordings feature an alluring fusion of warmth and clarity. This quality is difficult to achieve, but recording on a Mojave MA-201fet is a good start. A solid-state, large-diaphragm condenser mic, the MA-201 provides a rich, warm sound that remains clear enough to preserve every detail of your performance. Its gentle coloration and smooth top end make it a fantastic match for female vocals, but it’s a worthy choice for nearly any voice actor.

5 of the Best Microphone for Voice Acting

Neumann TLM-103

Neumann TLM-103
Neumann TLM 103 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Black) With Suspension Shockmount & Pop Filter
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Established in 1928, Neumann may be the most recognized name in the world of audio recording. The company began by producing the first condenser microphone ever to hit the commercial market. In the decades since, Neumann has released some of the most well-regarded and widely used microphones in the world.

Audiophiles may be surprised not to see the venerable U 87 here, but there are a few factors that make the Neumann TLM-103 the right choice for this list. In return for sacrificing some features that aren’t especially useful for voice acting, the TLM-103 delivers sound quality that rivals its more heralded sibling without rivaling its massive sticker shock.

The TLM-103 is exceptionally quiet, but it’s also highly sensitive and capable of faithfully reproducing virtually any vocal performance. Neumann’s reputation for precision and quality speaks for itself, so you can buy with confidence. It may be slightly too bright for naturally thin, reedy voices, but it’s otherwise among the safest bets on the market.

Features & Specs

♦ Large-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone
♦ Equivalent noise level: 7 dBA
♦ Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
♦ Relatively flat response curve with a broad presence boost
♦ Sensitivity: -32.5 dB
♦ Maximum SPL: 138 dB
♦ K103 capsule derived from Neumann’s famed K67 and K87 designs

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Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3

Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3
Sennheiser MKH416 P48 Shotgun Microphone Bundle With K-Tek KE110CC Boompole, Rode Blimp, 6' XLR Cable & 2 Cable Straps
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Sennheiser has been producing high-quality audio products since 1945. With a focus on innovative engineering and development, the company has been responsible for introducing several new technologies and products. From recording studios to movie sets, Sennheiser microphones can be found throughout the audio industry.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 is the microphone of the stars. That’s because this unassuming shotgun mic can be found on practically every movie and television set in existence. If it’s good enough for the best on-screen talents, it’s safe to say it’s also a winning choice for voice actors.

With low self-noise and superior off-axis rejection, the MKH416 is a particularly great choice if your recording environment isn’t acoustically treated. It’s also less sensitive to the proximity effect, making placement easier and putting less burden on the mic skills of the performer.

Features & Specs

♦ Pressure-gradient microphone with short interference tube
♦ Equivalent noise level: 13 dBA
♦ Frequency response: 40 Hz – 20 kHz
♦ Neutral response curve with small presence boost
♦ Sensitivity: -32 dB
♦ Maximum SPL: 130 dB
♦ Outstanding ability to record in adverse sonic conditions

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Mojave MA-201fet

Mojave MA-201fet

Mojave Audio started in 1985 as a passion project for microphone designer David Royer. From producing gear in his garage in Fullerton, California, Royer has grown Mojave into a leading name in the audio industry. Each Mojave microphone uses high-quality materials and undergoes extensive quality control, including personal testing by Royer himself.

Not many people understand microphones better than David Royer. It’s no surprise, then, that his name would surface in the search for the best microphone for voice acting. With the MA-201fet, Mojave has created a quality mic that has the character and clarity to turn a good performance into a great one.

The MA-201fet infuses vocals with warmth and richness. It tends to complement female vocals especially well, but it’s also a favorite of many male voice actors. However, the mic’s coloration can make deeper voices a bit too dark. The Mojave also falls a bit short of its ultra-quiet competitors, so noise can become a minor issue in untreated settings.

Features & Specs

♦ Large-diaphragm, solid-state condenser microphone
♦ Equivalent noise level: 14 dBA
♦ Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
♦ Response curve shaped to produce greater warmth and presence
♦ Sensitivity: -39 dB
♦ Maximum SPL: 125 dB
♦ Premium components and custom low-noise resistors

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Electro-Voice RE20

Electro-Voice RE20
Electro-Voice RE20 Microphone Kit with Shockmount, Two-Section Broadcast Arm and Microphone Cable
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For nearly a century, Electro-Voice has been a prominent name in the audio industry. In addition to introducing a variety of important innovations, Electro-Voice is distinct for its practice of designing all of its components in-house. This ensures the kind of consistent quality demanded by professional audio applications.

A legend in the world of broadcasting, the Electro-Voice RE20 is famed for its ultra-clean sound, bulletproof reliability and unmatched simplicity. As a large-diaphragm dynamic microphone, the RE20 blends the best characteristics of both dynamics and condensers. It captures extremely clear audio, preserving detail while adding little color of its own. This makes it a worthy choice if you’d like to record a variety of voices without maintaining a full mic locker.

The RE20 also features exclusive Variable-D technology, virtually eliminating the proximity effect and helping to achieve more consistent results. Additionally, a filter built into the mic’s housing effectively controls most plosives and other unwanted distortions. It may not dazzle with exceptional audio quality or unique character, but the RE20 is an affordable, no-fuss microphone that simply works.

Features & Specs

♦ Large-diaphragm dynamic microphone
♦ Integrated filter offers superior plosive control
♦ Frequency response: 45 Hz – 18 kHz
♦ Nearly flat response curve with minimal high-end boost
♦ Sensitivity: -57 dB
♦ Maximum SPL: 140 dB
♦ Variable-D technology creates virtually no proximity effect

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Rode NT1

Rode NT1
Rode NT1KIT Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

An Australian company, Rode specializes in producing audio equipment for both amateur and professional use. Originally formed as Freedman Electronics, Rode has been producing microphones for more than half a century. With professional quality at comparatively low prices, Rode microphones have become especially popular among hobbyists.

The Rode NT1 is proof that you don’t always have to pay more for quality. An exceptionally quiet microphone with great sensitivity and a clean, flat frequency response curve, the NT1 delivers quality comparable to top-flight mics at a fraction of the price. Its neutral sound makes it highly flexible and suitable for both male and female voice actors.

If the Rode NT1 isn’t the best microphone for voice acting, it’s certainly among the best for budget-conscious buyers. It’s even protected by a generous 10-year warranty. However, the unusually flat response curve can be either a blessing or a curse. It excels at capturing vocal performances faithfully, but some people prefer a mic with more color and character.

Features & Specs

♦ Large-diaphragm condenser microphone
♦ Equivalent noise level: 4.5 dBA
♦ Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
♦ Extremely flat response curve with almost no coloration
♦ Sensitivity: -29 dB
♦ Maximum SPL: 132 dB
♦ Billed as the quietest commercial condenser microphone on the market

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How to Pick the Best Microphone for Voice Acting

From frequency response curves and variable polar patterns to self-noise and impedance ratings, identifying the best microphone for voice acting is no easy task. To help you make informed decisions and avoid marketing hype, we’re here to separate the signal from the noise. When it comes to voice acting, the primary goal is to produce clean and clear audio that allows the performer’s vocal talent to shine through. To that end, low self-noise and a natural frequency response curve are crucial.

The best microphone for voice acting should also be able to reliably capture the nuances that make a great vocal performance. This means capably reproducing a wide dynamic range, from retaining subtle details to handling sudden spikes in volume. A microphone with good sensitivity and a high maximum sound pressure level is key to fully capturing any vocal performance.

Equivalent Noise Level

Anyone who has spent time in a recording session knows that noise is the enemy. Even in a controlled environment, a substandard microphone can produce enough noise to render a vocal performance practically unusable. Much of the noise is generated by the flow of electrons through the mic’s internal circuitry. Some noise is also created by the movement of air molecules surrounding the diaphragm. This distracting audio phenomenon is best known as self-noise. The corresponding specification, equivalent noise level, is usually expressed in terms of A-weighted decibels (dBA). Generally speaking, a rating of 15 dBA or below is perfectly acceptable. An equivalent noise level below 10 dBA is exceptional, denoting a microphone with a nearly inaudible level of self-noise.

Frequency Response

As much as we might try, a microphone’s acoustic qualities can’t be boiled down to a few simple numbers. Nonetheless, a mic’s specifications can still tell you a lot of very useful information. In particular, checking a microphone’s frequency response can provide a quick glimpse of how it captures sound. Most microphones can record frequencies ranging from around 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz, but each model reproduces those frequencies in slightly different ways. To help you understand these differences, manufacturers include charts called frequency response curves. These curves visually graph out how microphones respond to each frequency level, showing you which ranges are boosted and which are suppressed. This information can help you identify which microphones best complement the qualities of the vocals you’re recording.

Sensitivity

In a great acting performance, even the smallest details can be essential. Subtle variations in pitch, tone, pacing and volume all help to convey emotion and create a more dynamic performance. Effectively capturing all of this requires a microphone that’s sensitive enough to pick up an actor’s full range. A “hotter” microphone can also help compensate for a weaker preamp by requiring less gain. The process of calculating a microphone’s sensitivity is a bit convoluted, but the rating itself is quite simple. Sensitivity is given in decibels, but the value is always negative. A microphone with a sensitivity of -30 dB, for instance, is far more sensitive than a -50 dB microphone. Generally speaking, it’s best to opt for a sensitivity of -40 dB or higher.

Sound Pressure Level

On the other end of the spectrum from sensitivity is maximum sound pressure level (SPL). Just as higher sensitivity can help capture subtle inputs more effectively, a higher maximum sound pressure level is invaluable when you’re dealing with high-volume inputs. That’s because a louder noise generates a higher sound pressure in the vicinity of your microphone. If the sound pressure is too great, it can begin to distort your recording. A microphone’s maximum SPL tells you how many decibels it can record without beginning to experience distortion. Fortunately, most modern microphones are equipped to handle very loud inputs with relative ease. A max SPL of 120 dB should be considered a bare minimum, but a rating of 130 dB or higher is preferred.

Build Quality

Whether you’re recording your own vocals or working with other voice actors, you need a microphone that can stand up to regular use and abuse. To that end, it’s important to select a mic that’s well-built using quality materials and proven manufacturing standards. This also helps create consistency across products, ensuring that the microphone you purchase will perform exactly as you expect. A great mic should have a high-quality capsule with a gold-sputtered Mylar diaphragm and a precision-drilled backplate. The precision with which the backplate is drilled has a major effect on the consistency of the sound, so choosing a manufacturer with a great reputation is important. Finally, a rugged body made from quality materials protects your investment against wear and accidental damage.

Concluding Remarks

If you’re searching for a great voice acting microphone, you’ll find excellent options at nearly every budget level. A well-built microphone with low self-noise, good sensitivity and a capacity to handle high sound pressure levels will ensure that you get professional results no matter the application. In the end, the choice ultimately comes down to your individual needs. If you need a mic to record your own performances, look for a frequency response curve that complements your vocal qualities. If you’re planning to record multiple actors, it’s often better to opt for a versatile mic with a flatter, more transparent sound.

Thank you for reading, and we hope this provided some value and insight on your search for the best microphone for voice acting!

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