This guide provides an overview of different microphone options at various price points. Investing in good audio is one of the biggest upgrades you can make to video quality, especially when you are planning to stand far away from the recording device (like at a chalkboard). While this guide does make recommendations, you should test out any hardware you have first - you do not necessarily need to purchase new items for good video quality.
Before you buy: Make sure that whatever microphone you are buying is compatible with the camera and other hardware you hope to use. Usually you can buy an adapter to make it work, but it's always a good idea to check.
- Wired Microphones
- Wireless Microphones
- Microphone Accessories
During COVID-19, many items are being sold for much more than their original price (especially by resellers). Please use your due diligence to investigate the seller before purchase - if it seems too good to be true, it probably is (see How to avoid fake and scammy Amazon sellers).
Wishing someone would just make the decision for you? Check out our EdTech Kits!
1. Wired Microphones
Wired microphones are connected directly to the recording source (usually via USB these days but you'll want to confirm the port). Due to their physical connection, they are less effective if you would like to record yourself while moving (e.g. walking around a classroom). If you're looking to use your computer to record with, you'll likely want to purchase a USB microphone as these devices tend to require the lowest amount of setup and need for external equipment. Typically, the most important thing you can do is control your environment; a quiet space with minimal noise ensures a better recording from any microphone that you have.
Curious about the quality difference with USB microphones? Listen to Echo Rivera compare the ATR2100 with the Yeti.
1.1. Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB
1.2. Blue Yeti Professional Condenser
1.3. Blue Yeti Nano Microphone
1.4. RØDE VideoMic
The RØDE VideoMic is a popular choice of shotgun microphone - super directional microphones that only pickup sound directly in front of the microphone. It also supplies its own battery pack and suspension mount, isolating it from rumbles and vibrations. It mounts directly to your camera, and is ideal if you are going to be positioned in front of the camera, while staying reasonably close to the microphone.
2. Wireless Microphones
Wireless types of microphones are especially useful if you:
- Plan to be on camera (e.g. you might be using a whiteboard or chalkboard and a wireless microphone will be easier to "hide" on camera)
- Plan to be moving during a recording (e.g. you might just want the flexibility to move from location to location or device to device without constant microphone set up in each new setting)
In addition to bearing in mind the cost, you'll also want to be mindful of the range of these microphones (how far the microphone can be from the receiver and still work; this tends to vary by brand). Tt's also important to highlight the need for batteries. Since the microphones are not connected to any power supplies, you'll have to eventually replenish the devices with batteries as you use them.
2.1. RØDE Wireless GO + Lavalier GO
LSM Recommended! Both the RODE and Sennheiser options will work in LSM classrooms; you could bring this set to your course instead of using the one provided in the room.
If you're concerned about the size of the microphone, and it being visible on camera when clipped to your clothing, you may want to consider purchasing the wired lavalier microphone that Rode offers. The Rode Lavalier GO Professional-Grade Wearable Microphone easily attaches to the Rode Wireless GO-W Receiver. This lavalier microphone is much more discreet then the Transmitter microphone that comes with the wireless kit.
The way this kit functions is as follows:
- Receiver - this device connects to your recording device and receives the wireless audio signal from the microphone.
- Transmitter (Microphone) - this is the wireless microphone that captures your voice and transmits it to the receiver
- Positioning the Mic - you can use the clip on the back of the microphone to attach it to a piece of clothing.
The RØDE Wireless GO system ($279.99) with their Lavalier GO microphone ($109.99) is great if you want to record while standing at a chalkboard, or while conducting a demo. If you are planning to stand further away from your recording device, a wireless lavalier system allows you to achieve great audio quality without sounding muffled or far away.
Planning to use this mircophone with a computer? You will likely need to buy a TRS to TRRS (Buy it! Amazon | 11.99) adapter to make this connect to your computer.
2.2. Sennheiser Portable Lavalier Set
2.3. Neewer Wireless Lavalier Microphone System
NOTE! Unlike the RODE system, we have not tested if this wireless system will work in a classroom. If this is your primary location for use, we would recommend purchasing the more expensive RODE system (or talking to LSM via email@example.com).
2.4. FIFINE Wireless Lavalier Microphone
This option is compatible with PC or Apple computers, iPads and iPhones (4S and later) using Apple's Lightning USB Camera Adapter (but this adapter is not included). If you are planning to sit in front of the computer for the entire recording, a USB plug-in microphone may work better for you.
2.5. Petiparkit Wireless Lavalier Microphone
This is an inexpensive option to try out! If you are using this, we'd love to know your experience with it. You might want to consider a contingency plan if using this during a live session or webinar.
3. Microphone Accessories
3.1. Pop Filter
Buy a pop filter! A pop filter is typically used in recording to reduce or eliminate the popping sounds that can happen during voice recording. These filters are usually mounted on your microphone, so confirm compatibility before ordering.
3.2. Adjustable Microphone Arms
This is one example of a microphone arm that you can use to make your microphone a bit more adjustable (plus keep your desk a bit less cluttered!).