Getting the Best Audio for YouTube

StitchzStyle

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Microphones
Commentary videos seem to dominate YouTube these days, straight up game play just doesn't cut it anymore and we are constantly hounded on how important quality of a microphone is so I decided to help give a guide as to what I personally recommend based on produce that I have tried and used to help give the best insight of each.

Blue Snowball - Probably the cheapest and most affordable mic on this list, quality is good and suitable for YouTube. Picks up some background noise but that can be fixed with programs.The Blue Snowball however is limited for the pivoting only pivoting slightly on the factory stand. Very easy to use USB mic. Simple plug and use, great for Windows and Mac.

Blue Yeti - A more expensive alternative to the Blue Snowball but definitely has it's advantages. The microphone is noticeably higher quality with minimal background noise, however still picks up the background noise. Again the Blue Yeti is similar to the Snowball with it's simple plug and use ability for Mac and Windows but offers a more diverse range for mic positioning and settings.

Audio Technica 2020 - The AT-2020 is my go to mic for everything, from tutorials, game play videos all the way to streaming this mic is a personal favorite. The AT 2020 has crisp audio quality with minimal background noise due to it being a cardioid condenser microphone. Great for all types of videos and even podcasts. The AT-2020 comes in two variations, the Amp and the USB variation. USB is much simpler and better for YouTube and podcasts however if you are an advanced user and meet the requirements for the amp version then you can gain a lot more control over the quality of the microphone without the need for other programs. The AT-2020 is more expensive than the Blue Yeti, however it is great quality for it's value.

Razor Seiren Pro
- A great microphone with a very sturdy factory stand. The Seiren pro has a simple program that comes with the mic as well as numerous settings for recording including cardioid which is the most commonly used for YouTube videos. The mic is high quality and great for any type of voice overs and commentaries. The mic is the most expensive of the ones listed however it's diversability is second to none.

Increasing Mic Quality through Audacity
Audacity is a great free program for both Windows and Mac which can be used to greatly increase the quality of your voice overs. When recording a video make sure to have a pause at the start without talking, this will create a sample space that you can use later on. When you have finished the recording go back and highlight that sample space and click the "Effect" tab, click "Noise Reduction" and select "Get Noise Profile". This will take that sample as a reference point. Now re-highlight the entire timeline (this can be done by double clicking) and go back to the "Effect" tab, go to "Noise Reduction" and click "Ok". This will help remove or reduce any ambient noise.
Now with the entire track still selected go to "Effect", "Compressor" now you can play with these settings however the default is pretty good. Now go to "Effect", "Equalization" and where it says "Select Curve" choose "Bass Boost". Now go to "Effect", "Equalization" and set the curve to "Treble Boost". Now go to "Effect", "Hard Limiter" and set the dB to -3. Finally go to "Effect" and "Normalize" and click "Ok". (Please note that these settings might not be best for you, it's all based off preference).
Adobe Audition is also great for adjusting audio, however it is not a free program.


Accessories
Having the right equipment can create a massive improvement in audio quality and overall sound. The main accessories for a mic are a mic stand and a pop filter. However most mics come with decent factory mic stands and if you're strapped for cash you can just put a sock over your mic to create a cheap pop filter.
 

Tarmack

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The Razer Seiren Pro is a rebranded Blue Yeti Pro. They're identical other than look.

The AT2020 is the best mic on your list.

The AT 2020 has crisp audio quality with minimal background noise due to it being a cardioid condenser microphone.

I'm also going to take issue with this phrase. Condenser microphones are notoriously sensitive and the AT2020 is no different in this regard. It will pick up plenty of background "noise". Of course, background noise is just background audio that you personally don't want.

However, most background noise that is audible in the recording is because the mic is being used wrong. And usually, it's due to the person being too far away from the mic.

If you want a microphone that will actually reduce background audio recording, then you want a dynamic mic like the Shure SM58, or a shotgun microphone. Condensers are not known for noise reduction.

I don't mean to discourage the giving of advice, but microphones are commonly misrepresented here and it's a pet peeve of mine.
 
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WeiseGamer

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The Razer Seiren Pro is a rebranded Blue Yeti Pro. They're identical other than look.

The AT2020 is the best mic on your list.




I'm also going to take issue with this phrase. Condenser microphones are notoriously sensitive and the AT2020 is no different in this regard. It will pick up plenty of background "noise". Of course, background noise is just background audio that you personally don't want.

However, most background noise that is audible in the recording is because the mic is being used wrong. And usually, it's due to the person being too far away from the mic.

If you want a microphone that will actually reduce background audio recording, then you want a dynamic mic like the Shure SM58, or a shotgun microphone. Condensers are not known for noise reduction.

I don't mean to discourage the giving of advice, but microphones are commonly misrepresented here and it's a pet peeve of mine.
+1 to this...

Tarmack is literally the mic guru (if not audio guru) of YTTalk. He's been around here for like 4 years or something crazy and I've been here for 3 or so, though I made this account a couple years ago.

Personally, I would use his guide over this, though I appreciate you wanting to contribute as well.

Tarmack's Mic Guide: http://yttalk.com/threads/microphone-guide.43466/
 

RocketTV

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What these guys said really. Although I think it gets way too little airtime nowadays, how you use your mic is *probably* more important than your mic itself. Having a nice mice is great, but you will still pick up "background" noise if you don't set it up right and position yourself correctly. Of course I don't really know much about this subject, I just know that positioning and room composition get way too little of notice when it comes to microphones.
 

Jordan Pike

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Awesome tip about noise reduction in Audacity. I've used this tool in the past when dealing with that annoying windy microphone noise. I need to research shotgun mics to be mounted to the top of my DSLR so I can up my audio game. In my last video where I was in a lot of crowded areas, the background noise is quite annoying!