In today’s modern world, you know that you have to be on video if you’re a business owner or a marketer in general. It’s an insanely powerful medium for communication and quite frankly, it’s a non-negotiable if you want to be relevant online. Everything seems to be video these days.
But one thing that people often ask me about when it comes to my videos, is about the audio quality. Everyone wants to know what sort of microphone they should buy. The truth of it is that there are several different types of videos that all benefit from different types of microphones.
I remember when I started doing video for the first time, I had no idea about what kind of microphone I should be using and so I went to my local Best Buy and I just bought one without knowing if that was even the right type of microphone for my use case.
So what we decided to do is run the ultimate microphone test for indoor recording to settle this once and for all.
The Ultimate Mic Test
We tested ten different microphones in the same environment to try and get as fair a comparison as possible. I’m well aware that different mics are suited to different use cases so you’ve got to keep that in mind – but hopefully this can help you select the right one for you.
If you want to hear how each mic sounded for yourself, be sure to check out the video here to get the full experience of how the test went.
Here are the ten microphones that we tested:
- Audio-Technica ATR3350 Wired Lavalier Mic. The best use case for this one is if you need to some simple talk to camera vlogging because it is wired and you’ll need to be relatively still, or at least close enough to where it is plugged in (typically within 20 feet or less).
- Saramonic Blink 500 Wireless Lavalier Mic. This is best for when you’re at an event or a conference, or if you just don’t want to deal with wires. It works great for someone roaming the stage – giving them the freedom of movement without compromising on how they sound.
- Bose QuietComfort 35 Smart Headphones. The only reason you’ll use these is for a zoom call where the audio is just not as important. But we wanted to compare them to the other wireless headphones on the market. And plus – in this new post-pandemic world, we are all on a lot of Zoom calls.
- Apple AirPods (1st Generation). These are incredibly convenient and very popular so we just had to test how they performed compared to the other options on the market. You’re also going to be paying premium Apple prices for these – so keep that in mind.
- Panasonic DMW-MS2 Shotgun Mic. This shotgun mic is best used if you’re moving around and there are multiple people on camera. It’s what we call a directional mic and does a good job in isolating subject audio from the ambient background noise.
- Google Pixel 3. This is the most convenient camera that you have available because it is right in your pocket. So, we just had to test how the audio comes out.
- Apple iPhone 10. And we couldn’t not do the comparison between Android and iPhone. This is going to be a controversial one, I can feel it.
- Sony A7iii Onboard Mic. This is the onboard microphone on the DLSR camera that we use to film our videos and so we had to see if the camera could do it all.
- Blue Snowball. This is a simple desktop mic that sits in your office and is often used for podcasters and other similar use cases.
- Blue Yeti. This is the big brother mic of the Blue Snowball, coming in a bit bigger and a bit more expensive than its counterpart.
After running each mic through its paces, here are my final recommendations. Keep in mind again that different microphones are suitable for different uses, so you need to pick the right one for you. There will be certain situations where you’ll need one kind of microphone compared to another – this is all contextual.
- For talking head vlogs where you’re just talking to camera, my recommendation would be to go with the Audio-Technica ATR3350 Wired Lavalier Mic. It only costs around $20 – $25 and you won’t find anything better than that.
- If you’re looking for a mic for a conference or on stage, then you’re going to want to go with the Saramonic Blink 500 Wireless Lavalier Mic. It’s great for when you’re moving around and you can’t use a wired mic – but you still want high-quality audio.
- For your day-to-day Zoom calls, I would go with the Bose QuietComfort 35 Smart Headphones over the AirPods because I was a little disappointed with the microphone quality on Apple’s premium product.
- If you’re going to be moving around a lot or there are going to be multiple people that you need to pick up audio from, then you would be best served going with the Panasonic DMW-MS2 Shotgun Mic.
- When it comes to desktop mics, I would say that both the Blue Snowball and the Blue Yeti give really good audio. There isn’t much to choose between the two of them. The only real difference is the price – so go with the one that suits your budget.
- When you compare the microphones on a smartphone, I’ll have to go with the Google Pixel 3 as I think it just shades the iPhone on sound quality. This is, of course, a hotly debated topic – but it was pretty clear cut from my perspective.
Hopefully those recommendations are helpful to get you on the right track with your audio. Whatever you end up going with, do not use the onboard microphone on your camera – it simply doesn’t do the job.
Get a dedicated microphone, you won’t regret it.