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What makes the best voice-over microphone? Bass boosts, treble boosts and switchable pickup patterns are not going to be needed in the quiet studio environment that proper voice-over recording necessitates. Instead of loading on lots of extra features, it is more to your advantage to find a powerful condenser microphone that accentuates the mid and upper mid-range frequencies where the voice tends to linger. Some features, such as a low cut filter for getting rid of unwanted background noise, can be useful but are not completely necessary.
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For those that do not have a dedicated audio interface already set up, the Audio Technica 2020 USB is the most logical choice. It is modeled after the popular AT2020, and has the same low self-noise and flat frequency response, but simplified for those that are just starting out.
The package comes with a desk mic stand and plugs right into your computer's USB port so it can be used properly right out of the box. A USB microphone does not pack the same punch as comparable condenser models and does not have the XLR output needed for a studio setting.
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The Samson CO1 features a hyper-cardioid pickup pattern, which can help to isolate your recording and produce clean voice-over recordings. The C01 has a warm sound and a full frequency response so the voice will have a good amount of clarity. It has a bit of an extended treble boost and has no built-in low cut filter, so some post-production EQ will be necessary. But for the price, it is hard to find a microphone that will produce the same results.
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Rode is known for their versatile microphones at relatively inexpensive prices, and the NT1A is no exception. This is a great starter mic, it has low self-noise, boasted as the quietest microphone on the market, and produces the warm sound you want in your voice-over recording.
The frequency response is not as flat as one might want, boosting the bass end more than some of the other microphones on this list. A little post-production EQ will bring the perfect sound out of the microphone, but it will take that bit of extra work. The Amazon package comes with a pop filter and shock mount which are both useful, but it can be purchased without these.
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If you are primarily recording voice-overs for television commercials or movie trailers, a shotgun microphone may be the ideal choice. Their directional pickup pattern and crystal clear clarity will pierce through layers of music and effects tracks and bring your voice-over to the front of the mix. The Rode NTG2 is one of the best out there, used by both professionals and amateurs because of its good off-axis rejection and low self-noise.
Keep in mind, shotgun microphones are extremely directional, and are typically used in film and television settings. They therefore cannot offer the versatility of some other microphones on this list.
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Studio Projects C1
Modeled after the professional Neumann U97, the Studio Projects C1 is the golden egg on this list of the best voice-over microphones. It provides crystal clear clarity, warm mid-range and slight high range attenuation to reduce muddiness in voice-over recordings. The built in low cut filter and -10db pad round this microphone out for use in a multitude of situations.
The sound is more flat and dull than other microphones, but this will hardly be a problem for voice recordings and may actually be preferred.
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