Most of us are aware that videos are a great way to spice things up on our blogs and get traffic from YouTube. But that’s only the case if the videos are GOOD. And one of the easiest ways to make a video crappy is to have crappy audio.

For a while now I’ve been hunting for a good, inexpensive microphone for my videos. I’ve wound up testing 4 different microphones, all of which are under $100, and all of which get really good reviews on Amazon. Which one is the best?

I know which ones *I* like (more on that at the end of the post), but to help YOU decide, I’ve done a short audio review of each one. The audio to the below video was recorded with the 4 different mics, and you can hear for yourself what the quality of each one sounds like. I also mention some of the pros and cons of each. Then in the rest of the blog post after the video, I go into more detail about each one.

Blue Microphones Yeti Microphone

Blue Yeti

Blue Yeti Microphone

Price: $99
Check it out on Amazon

PROS

  • Best-sounding mic tested
  • Has different modes for recording podcasts, interviews, music, etc.
  • Has a mute button on the mic itself (for those times when you need to cough to clear your throat)

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Big and heavy
  • Almost TOO sensitive. It’ll pick up my roommates’ footsteps when they come up the stairs.

CONCLUSION

This is the best-sounding mic I tested, but it’s also the most expensive. Because of its size, it’s not good for traveling. This is a good choice if you’re serious about having good audio while not wanting to spend several hundred dollars on a professional podcasting setup.

Logitech USB Desktop Microphone

Logitech USB Desktop Microphone

Logitech USB Desktop Microphone

Price: $19.54
Check it out on Amazon

PROS

  • Cheap
  • It records audio…

CONS

  • Recording quality not as good as the other microphones

CONCLUSION

While the sound really isn’t too bad, I thought it was probably the worst sounding of all of the 4 microphones. It’s not terrible, but nothing to write home about, either.

Olympus ME-15 Microphone

Olympus ME-15 Microphone

Olympus ME-15 Microphone

Price: $18.49
Check it out on Amazon

PROS

  • Really small, so it’s great for travel
  • You can use it as an external audio input when recording video of yourself
  • Pretty good sound for its size
  • Great for in-person interviews because you can easily pass the mic back and forth
  • Cheap

CONS

  • You don’t want to clip it too close to your mouth or else it’ll pick up all of your breathing, but consequently, it’s not super loud
  • Records in mono (you hear it in only one side of your headphones), not stereo

CONCLUSION

You can easily convert the audio from mono to stereo using Audacity, but some people might not like even that much hassle. This is a solid little mic. I was surprised with how good it sounded.

Plantronics Multimedia Stereo Headset

Plantronics Multimedia Headset Microphone

Plantronics Multimedia Headset Microphone

Price: $29.99
Check it out on Amazon

PROS

  • Recorded sound is very clear. This is the mic that I used to record the above video’s intro and outro
  • Volume control wheel on the cord
  • Mute button on the cord
  • Great for Skype

CONS

  • A little bit of noise in the background
  • Not a super comfortable headset, but I do have weird ears
  • Looks a little bit goofy

CONCLUSION

A good all-around microphone and a solid value. Just be sure to put the adjustable mouthpiece microphone part far enough away from your mouth so you don’t get the “popping” sounds.

Final Thoughts

Don’t buy the Logitech mic. All of the others have better sound.

If you want the best possible quality of your recordings, get the Yeti mic. But the thing is a beast.

If you travel a lot or want to interview people on location, get the Olympus lapel mic. Pair it with a set of earbud headphones and you’ve got a tiny Skype kit, too. But don’t get it if the idea of converting its mono recordings to stereo ones seems like too daunting of a task. But then again, you might not care if your audio is mono, anyway.

If you buy just one of these, I’d say get the headset microphone. I really like it, and you can use it for Skype. It’s small enough to be somewhat portable (I took it to Seattle with me last week), but the quality of recordings that you get is still really good.

As for me… I’m going to sell the Logitech mic and keep all of the others for now. I really like the sound quality of the Yeti, but it was expensive. I suspect that when I get into podcasting more, I’ll want it’s awesomeness.

I hope that helped, and I hope we see more video and audio content out in the blogosphere! I know I’ll be doing it more in the future, so be sure to subscribe the the Blogging Bookshelf YouTube channel.

  • What would YOU use a microphone for? Video? Podcasts? Skype?
  • Which of these microphones seems like it would fit your needs best?
  • Do you already have a microphone that you like? What is it? Or is the built-in microphone on your computer good enough (mine isn’t)?
  • Do you have plans to create more video or audio content for your blog?

And I’m back to updating the Daily Blogging Diary if you’re interested.