The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

If you want to level up your voiceover prowess in the world of online learning, you need a great microphone to get amazing audio quality. In this post, “The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers’ we look at some of the best microphones on offer across multiple budgets to help move you forward in your eLearning career.

If you need a quality microphone to record an eLearning course dialogue in your home studio, here our top 3 choices at different price points from the main list of the 10 best microphones of recording eLearning voiceovers.

The Neumann TLM 103 is an industry standard in many voiceover booths worldwide. This Neumann is derived from the legendary U87 mic and is arguably the best large-diaphragm condenser with a cardioid pickup pattern. This microphone provides silky-smooth sound, with a low noise floor and a nice balance of bass, mids, and highs. If you want the best without spending thousands of $$$, the TLM 103 is the way to go.

Lewitt LCT 440 Pure

I wanted to add this relatively unknown mic from Lewitt because it has a beautiful, clean sound. Many reviews say it has a lot of high-end presence, but I find it extremely well balanced, with a pleasant tone. I use this one personally and love the quality it provides, and it is up there with the absolute best large-diaphragm condenser mics.

Here is an example of how it sounds with my voice.

Rode NT-1

There have been endless reviews on the Rode’s good, but usually about the NT1-A. I have tested both mic versions, and honestly, I just prefer the NT-1 due to having more low frequencies to give you the bass that the NT1-A lacks, which is more focused on the high end.

As an instructional designer, being able to develop eLearning isn’t a nice to have anymore, most organizations expect it from their L&D teams, but when it comes to recording dialogue and spoken word for your courses, what microphones are best to use to create quality audio.

With literally thousands of microphones out there, where do you even start? Well, there are a few things you need to consider before you start, let’ ‘s talk about them below:

USB vs XLR

If you buy a USB mic, it’s very much plug-and-play as this type of microphone converts analog signals to digital within the mic capsule and via the cable to make it super easy to set up and get started, usually including the USB cable, so no additional items are required. USB mics are generally cheaper, easier to use, and have good sound, with a few of the top ones sounding pretty great. Though these mics are usually a significant compromise between quality of sound and background noise, the latter can ruin an audio track, so you’ll need to research carefully before buying.

Related: Choosing Between XLR  Microphones and USB Microphones

Some great choices of USB mics are the Rode NT-USBDeity VO-7U, and the Sennheiser MK4 Digital.

An XLR mic will cost substantially more, you will need to pay for the mic itself, which usually are better built, heavier with more solid construction. On top of that, you will need to buy an XLR cable, with the best of the bunch being the Mogami range.

Lastly, you will need an audio interface to plug your mic in into to enable the analogue signal to be converted into digital by having a USB cable on the other end going into your computer.

A few examples of XLR mics are the Neumann TLM 103, Lewitt LCT 440 Pure, and the Rode NT-1.

Do you require an audio interface?

With XLR condenser mics, you need to provide phantom power to power them, otherwise, they won’t work, and to do that, you are best placed with an audio interface that provides the current needed for some microphones. Phantom power is a +48volt low output electrical current that can power non-powered mics such as condensers.

Here are some of the best interfaces out there for voiceover mics:

  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) – $179.99

  • Audient ID4 Mk 2 – $269.99

  • Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII SOLO – $599.99

Another reason to have an audio interface is to have control of additional clean gain, which allows you to raise your levels in a smooth, clean way without audio distortion and see when your levels clip. 

This is so important as knowing your recording level allows you to have beautifully sounding voiceovers, which honestly is the name of the game, you want to sound clear, crisp, and accurate when recording for eLearning

What different types of microphones should you consider (Dynamic or Condenser?)

So, we have already had the conversation regarding USB plug-and-play mics vs. more professional XLR mics, but what about the type of microphones themselves, which one should have your maximum attention during your research. 

Below we look at both varieties to help you narrow down your search, take a look. 

Dynamic Microphone

Dynamic microphones are usually used in broadcast settings, podcasts, radio, etc., due to the ability to easily use them without high power requirements, and also, they provide a warm (broadcast) sound which can be very pleasing to listen to. 

Dynamic mics are perfect when you look at settings such as radio (as mentioned above), live concerts, and anywhere where you don’t need super smooth and accurate vocals. They provide a great sound and amplify your voice well but are not aiming to be too perfect. You’ll also notice they can be used for recording certain sounds due to their pickup pattern, especially loud sounds and reverberations. 

(Large Diaphragm) Condenser Microphones

Honestly, these large sensor condenser mics are the voiceover industry standard for a reason, they are super accurate, have a great audio pickup, and are usually excellent in the mid and high frequencies. You will find condensers everywhere, from home YouTube setups to professional studios around the globe, due to their sound quality and recording accuracy. 

I should also mention here that dynamic mics work better if you are in an untreated room or a space with bare walls, as the sound waves will bounce off them and cause reverb, which can interfere with your recording. Condenser pickup patterns can actually pick up sounds from all sides, so they are not as focused as their dynamic brethren. Still, condensers, on average have better sound quality, so it is a judgment call.

Don’t forget pop filters

Girl singing into a microphone behind a pop filter
Photo by Los Muertos Crew from Pexels

A pop filter helps mitigate but not entirely block the harsh “P” sounds, also called plosives, that can occur with recording spoken words. Usually, they have a gooseneck attachment that attaches to your mic stand or boom arm and then is positioned directly in front of the mic with a gap to let air move. 

Related: To Pop Filter or Not: Are Pop Filters Necessary?

The main difference is choosing between nylon and metal construction, with metal being the best choice due to letting in more high-end frequencies, being more robust, and easier to clean. 

Here are a couple of pop filter options for you. 

  • Nady MPF-6 (Budget Version)

  • Pauly Ton Pauly Superscreen (High-end version)

So now we have the introductory information and the concepts out of the way. Let’s take a look at our take on the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers. 

1. Neumann TLM 103 (Premium Pick)

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

I have frequented my fair share of recording studios in my time, and one thing you will notice is that the Neumann TLM 103 is in almost all of them, and for a good reason, the sound is crystal clear due to a very low noise floor and is just insanely good, and that is why it heads up our list of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers.

There’s just something about this high-end voiceover microphone that just makes you go wow. Coming from the legendary line of classic Neumann’s, such as the U87, this mic provides excellent clarity in lows, mids, and highs and has a good side and rear sound rejection to ensure it is mostly picking up your voice when recording, most likely from your script. 

You are probably best getting a great Boom arm, something like the Rode PSA-1 will do nicely, and as this mic comes with its own custom-designed shock mount, means it gives good vibration rejection, which means it limits certain mechanical rumbles, bangs, and other random noises. 

If you want to level up your voiceovers for your courses, whether you use Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, or another authoring tool, getting a great, professional studio sound is one of the best things you can do for your course quality because, as we know, audio is more important than visuals when mixed together. 

The TLM 103 is the priciest microphone here, but if you have the budget, go for it, it’ll be worth it. 

Amazon Price | $1,195.00

2. Lewitt LCT 440 Pure

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

Lewitt LCT 440 Pure
Myself

Lewitt is a fantastic company from Austria that makes top-notch studio condenser microphones, the most popular being the LCT 440 Pure. This is also the microphone that I use as my daily driver, video recording, and voiceover work, and it is phenomenal, to be honest with you. Now, as it is considerably cheaper than the Neumann, it won’t have quite as crisp sounding frequencies, but for the money, I’m not sure there is a better cardioid mic out there. 

It is a large-diaphragm condenser, so be careful if you have an untreated room, but with one of the lowest noise floors on the market at around 7dbA, background noise shouldn’t be a problem. 

The mic comes with a foam windscreen, an excellent clip-on magnetic pop filter (no need to buy an external one), and a custom designed by Lewitt shock mount. 

Like with most of the microphones here, it requires +48volt phantom power to power it, so an interface will be needed. I use the Audient ID4 Mk 2 if you want to check that one out.

I love this microphone because it accurately represents my voice but doesn’t color it, so people get to hear me as I intended. 

I have used this mic for work in Articulate Storyline and Rise 360, and the quality has always come out great, warm, but super clear, and most importantly, it gives a true representation of my voice which is precisely what I was looking for, and tuly deserves its place on our list of the top 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers.

Lastly, it is built with a presence boost in the high ends, so if you have a particularly sibilant vice, it may be a slight issue, but for me, it is my personal favorite and is a complete bargain, in my opinion, just make sure you have it on a boom due to the fact it doesn’t come with a stand.

Amazon Price | $258.00

3. Rode NT-1

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

So, the first question you may have is why not the NT1-A which does not appear on this list of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers, which every other site recommends? Well to get this out of the way, the NT1-A has a lot of high-end boost, considerably more than the Lewitt, which means it somehow loses its bass presence, so for me it’s the NT-1 all the way, the classic. 

This is still (I believe) the quietest mic with the lowest noise floor on the market, coming in at 4.5DBA, so you will never have to worry about any annoying noises creeping into your mix, Rode’s R&D team have played a blinder here, and you won’t be disappointed. 

Rode has used a new capsule for this mic called the HF6, which helps to provide a more classic, vintage sound, which could be a pro and con depending on your perspective. 

Related: Rode NT1 Review

You will also find a large pop filter that fixes to the front of the microphone to help with those plosives. 

The machined aluminum in a dark grey finish is a nice effect and very aesthetically pleasing. The metallic coating on the outside will make scratches and damage hopefully a thing of the past. 

Again, like the Lewitt and Neumann, this mic has a cardioid pattern, which is perfect for voiceover work as the pickup pattern is very focused on picking up only your voice from the front. 

It also comes with one of the sturdiest shock mounts I have witnessed, so you won’t have any vibrations in your recording, which is exactly what you need. 

Sound-wise, you get a very warm, wide sound, nice mid frequencies, and good highs without being too intense or too muddy, for spoken word and voiceovers, this is one great mic. 

Now in regard to using this as a recording device for eLearning, I have used this inarticulate and faced almost no compression when added to a course, although sometimes articulate cannot handle wave files, so I had to convert mine down to mp3s sometimes, although I noticed minimal quality shift.

Just plug in your XLR cable into your interface to provide phantom power and then the other end into this mic, set your gain levels, and you’re off to the races, happy recording, everyone!

Amazon Price | $269.99

4. Sennheiser MKH-416

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

Continuing on our list of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers, the Sennheiser is one of the best industry-standard microphones in the voiceover world. It deserves its place on our list of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers due to its super transparent, phonic sound. 

The other unique thing about this mic, also affectionately called “The Sunny” in the biz, is a shotgun mic with a super-cardioid pickup pattern. This means that the sound is very directional and picks up sound in a very narrow space, directly at the tip of the mic. 

The 416 is used in the film industry, but mainly when a mic is needed to be a bit further away and out of camera shot while still producing an amazingly clear sound. 

Interestingly, this isn’t usually a mic picked specifically for voiceovers, but I believe it will be a fantastic companion in your eLearning recording studio, considering its Hollywood movie chops.

With a frequency response of 40-20,000 Hz and a nominal noise level of 12db, it will have great audio pick up from your voice and a low noise floor, meaning you will experience very little background noise. 

Lastly, the 416 being a shotgun mic, it is best placed situated on a mic stand or boom arm for the best effect so that it can be pointed down and tilted towards your mouth for the absolute best audio quality.

This is a pretty expensive mic, but I would highly recommend it if you have the cash. Especially if you need a mic that can function across various situations, namely on camera and purely voiceovers in a booth.

Amazon Price | $999.00

5. Audio Technica AT2020USB+ (Best Value Pick)

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

So, for this pick, I have decided to go for our best value pick, with is actually a USB mic by Audio Technica called the AT2020. This mic has been around for a long time and has had many reviews, so I felt that I just have to include it as one of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers. I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of the mic specs, but we’ll focus on how it can be great for eLearning recording.

This microphone is a desktop mic, which puts it up against desktop classics such as the Blue Yeti, but it really holds its own, and even though it is long in the tooth now, the sound quality gives you what you need, especially for a USB mic.

You can use it using the “less than perfect” desktop stand, I say that as it can be a bit shaky, but overall is good enough for normal purposes, or you can use the boom arm attachment and shock mount if you want to use it more like a podcaster style.

The mic has gain and volume controls to make controlling levels pretty easy and a headphone monitoring input and level control for direct monitoring as you do your voiceover.

Overall, the audio quality is pretty good as it aims to be an all-rounder. The sample rate is listed at 44KHZ and has up to 16-bit depth which is decent, although not amazing but provides a good quality of audio that stands up to most projects.

The desktop and boom arm mount and a nice carrying case show how great a package this Audio Technica microphone is. As a simple cardioid mic, it allows sound to be picked up from the front but not too narrow of a pattern, so not too restrictive. Many mics come with bare-bones equipment, but not this one, it gives a great start to your voiceover journey.  

The other thing to note about this mic has a bit of an inconsistent low end, so that the bass frequencies may be a little lacking. That may only affect you on particular use cases, or you know your audience will be listening on high-end speakers, which is not always the case, and if it’s not, this will sound great.

Lastly, what about eLearning?

Well, I would say if you want an easy to use plug and play device that works across windows and apple, you can use it with any authoring tool, whether it be something like Articulate Storyline or a rapid authoring tool like Rise or Chameleon Creator, and it provides a robust sound quality across the frequency ranges, you should consider the AT2020USB+, just don’t expect it the microphone itself and the sound it produces to be too premium.

Amazon Price | $149.00

6. AKG P220

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

Some of the microphones that we looked at so far have been more on the premium side of things, aimed purely at studios, but many mics don’t cost anywhere near as much and are aimed at the more budget consumer. One of the best at this level is the AKG P220.

The P220 has a wide frequency response and an excellent sensitivity to spoken word, so if you are looking for a nice step up for your audio, especially for a first dedicated microphone, giving you a really clear sound.

AKG are mostly known for their headphones, but they have some serious microphone chops, as shown by the P220, and you will probably be surprised at how sweet the quality ends up being, and for the price, it almost can’t be beaten, meaning that having a slot on this list of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers is completely deserved, and should appeal to a lot you out there.

Unlike a lot of mics, the AKG P220 comes with a high pass filter which is pretty rare, to be honest, but the great thing is it is beneficial for getting rid of those muddy, low-end frequencies, which can be used in conjunction with a nice eq to give a great final output sound.

The AKG P220, while not the best microphone money can buy, gives a good sound for a modest amount of money, and if you are going for your initial mic, as opposed to using your laptop’s native speakers, this will be a big step up.

FYI this doesn’t come with a stand but does come with a boom extension and shock mount, so you will need a boom arm to operate this mic.

Amazon Price | $168.00

7. Apogee HypeMic USB Microphone

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

Moving on with our list of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers, the Apogee HypeMic is one of the best USB mics you can get for voiceover, and for teaming it with eLearning, it’s great.

The best thing bar none with this device is its voice maximizing internal analog compressor to provide that ideal radio-like sound that so many people want to achieve when recording their voice, as it has that silky smooth sound with elements of deepness.

Related: Apogee HypeMiC Review

The sought-after compressor mentioned earlier is excellent at minimizing those heavier sounds that cause clipping so you can get a sweet sound that doesn’t hurt your ears when you listen to it back.

With the audio coming in at 24-bit/92KHz, you will get great sound quality, although not premium studio level, it also interfaces tremendously with all windows and iOS devices, so you shouldn’t have any problem plugging it straight into your computer with little to know work using a micro-B USB connection.

Unlike some XLR mics, this one comes with a desktop tripod for easy access on your desk, hopefully leveling out some of those noisy reverberations. Also, it comes with a nice carrying case and mini pop filter to cut down on those harsh plosives.

Being a little more expensive than most USB mics, the Apogee HypeMic is probably one you can buy before moving up to the XLR variety.

Amazon Price | $319.00

8. Samson G-Track Pro Professional USB Condenser Microphone with Audio Interface

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

So here is a really unique microphone that I just had to include on our list of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers. It’s incredible because it’s a USB condenser microphone with a built-in audio interface, including in-built monitoring for headphones so you can listen live to your recordings, which I think it’s fair to say is one of a kind (to my knowledge). Due to how unique this mic is, I felt it needed a spot as one of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers.

A first glance, it just looks like a simple microphone, but when you look further, you can see it looks a little fancier than the norm.

It’s a pretty typical looking mic, and the version I used was in a “classic grey,” definitely that old skool studio vibe which looks pretty nice, to be fair, and also has a few different control dials as well as a designed stand for it to sit in.

If you look below the main grille, there are three dials and two switches that provide various functions. The dials themselves offer controls for the incoming volume, which works like a gain dial on a traditional audio interface and adjustments for microphone and line-level external devices.

You can use either a microphone or guitar for your line-level sources, or if necessary, you can switch the microphone out and have two line-level devices, such as a guitar or a preamp, to mix and match for your needs.

Due to how simple the process is, all you need to do is make sure you turn on your preferred setting, either choose the Inst/Mic or line switch, depending on the device you are using. Then use the three dials mentioned above to correct your volume and gain.

If you are successfully plugged into a USB port and recording, the LED will show a green light, it will turn to orange when you have muted the mic.

Overall, when using the mic, you get nice quality, whether you use the cardioid or omnidirectional settings, just be aware that the latter will pick up more frequencies which can muddy your recordings.

The highs are crisp, with sweet-sounding mids and pretty clear lows, if you are on a low budget but want great sound and don’t want to spend extra for an interface, you should give the Samson G Track Pro a try.

Amazon Price | $154.99

9. Rode NT-USB

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

Rode is one of the biggest names in the Microphone industry and is Australia’s AV pride. The Rode NT-USB (the original) was the first Microphone I ever used, and honestly, I thought I just needed to add it to our listing of the 10 best microphones for  recording eLearning voiceovers. The Rode NT-USB is a USB-powered mic and comes with a long 10ft cable to enable you to plug in simply and easily, even over longer distances.

The Microphone is black in color and provides a nice, classy look that looks good on camera if you mix it with filming. It also has a headphone jack, including an amp on the side of the headphone, which allows you to plug in your headphones to monitor your recording live as you are speaking.

It comes with a nice 3-legged tripod, which, while it isn’t the best, it’s sturdy and robust, which I feel is the minimum you need to hold the mic steady. It also comes with a large pop filter that can be fixed towards the bottom of the primary Microphone, as well as that it has a standard ¼” fixing on the bottom to screw onto a boom arm, I have done this, and it works well. However, the NT-USB will hang upside down, but it should be ok if you’re ok with the aesthetics.

It has a simple cardioid pattern, no pad or low-frequency roll-off switch, meaning you just set your gain and get recording. When I first used this mic, it was a great thing for me as I just wanted to record for Rise and Storyline projects, and it was great for a quick workflow.

The sound quality of the Rode NT-USB is pretty great, a sweet-sounding low end without being muddy, the highs are not too extreme, and it has nice mid frequencies. The pop filter does a great job at rejecting plosives and overall works well.

If you need to create voiceovers for your eLearning courses, and feel you like what you see in this instalment of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers, and want a simple plug-and-play microphone where you get great sound for a reasonably low price, maybe give the RODE NT-USB or NT-USB Mini a go.

Amazon Price / $166.76

10. AKG C414

The 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers

Last up as our final mic on the list of the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers, this mic provides a great balance of home studio needs vs professional studio quality. The C414 is a large condenser microphone meaning you are going to get big and clear sound.

The feel of this mic is professional, with a solid feel and a robust feeling grille.

It has a nice and wide dynamic range (152 decibels), and a wide frequency response of (20-20,000hz), helping maintain a smooth, neutral sound, which is helped by professionally built internal components to help the audio quality which makes it suitable for both human spoken word as well as instrument recording.

The AKG C414 has 9 polarity modes, up 4 from the previous model which include a variety of cardioid, wide and super patterns as well as a figure of 8 pattern. The new set of patterns sit between these first 5 existing patterns, so you should definitely find one that suits your needs.

The LED settings are pretty also, when recording it looks green and when you peak and clip your levels it will turn red to show that you may need to turn down your levels a tad.

So do we recommend the AKG C414, well…definitely! It is a great vocal recording mc that is in a lot of pro studios, and it provides pristine and super clear sound recording. If you want to use a mic that is still premium, but not as expensive as e.g. the Neumann TLM 103, then buy this, it will work for all voice recording including for eLearning courses.

Amazon Price / $1,214.00

Are there any mics I SHOULD NOT BUY for recording voiceover?

Honestly, the one that comes to mind straight away is the Blue Yeti. This mic has been promoted around as the best content creation microphone for years due to being plug-and-play, easy to use and nice (ish) sound, whether it be for voiceover or as a YouTube creator, the Blue Yeti about 10 years ago was on every desk of every creator I ever saw.

So, what’s wrong with it… well the plaudits were justified back then, as there wasn’t much competition, but not other brands have upped their game to a point where the Yeti just can’t compete anymore.

The other thing that almost no one talks about is that the older model of Yeti was made of good, well engineered, strong materials in and around the mic capsule, but since Blue were taken over Logitech, the quality of the materials has gone downhill dramatically in a bid to save costs.

As this list shows, the options now are almost endless, so please unless you have absolutely no other choice, don’t buy the Blue Yeti. So, with all the above reasons, that is why the Blue Yeti does not get a place on the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers, it just doesn’t cut it, with so many other options out there right now.  

If you want to watch a test of an old school vs new school Yeti, check out Tom Buck’s video above which will give you a detailed breakdown of exactly what the insides of this infamous mic look like.

Final Thoughts

So, there it is, these are the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers, which will be helpful for eLearning projects.

We have included a varied range of budget mid-price and premium-priced microphone models for you to choose from, hopefully with some options that will work well for you.

Remember that one mic will not be good for all voices, so you should pick a microphone that works for your voice. Is your voice deep, sibilant, or with harsh high tones? By looking at this post and researching, you will find the mic that suits you best.

Another thing you can do is to rent one or maybe multiple microphones and set them up in your home setup. Then perhaps create some test courses and start recording with each microphone.

You can record directly into your authoring tool, but I would suggest using an audio recording software such as Adobe Audition or Audacity, clean up the audio, save it and bring your wave file into your authoring tool, that way, you get the best sound quality.

You should pick the microphone that produces the best sound for YOUR voice, that is the most critical consideration.

To get the absolute best audio quality, if you have the budget, think of building a vocal booth or pop shield to go around the back of your mic to shield stray sounds when recording.

Lastly, look at installing some foam panels for your walls, mainly around the sound source, and then have some ceiling panels to hang to give a really well-rounded sound absorption.

If you want to try any of these mics, click on the button below each microphone in this post, the 10 best microphones for recording eLearning voiceovers.

Also, we’d love to hear if you bought any of our recommended mics and, if so, how you get on when recording for your corporate eLearning courses.

Catch ya soon!

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