26th August 2019

YouTube Microphone Battle Royale

Over the past couple of weeks I've been upgrading various parts of my kit, enabling me to make better quality YouTube videos (hopefully!). I got a new Panasonic Lumix GH5 for better video. I invested in Adobe Creative Cloud for better video editing software in Premiere Pro and After Effects. Then I wondered, can I do any better with my mic?

For the last year or two I've used my Rode NT1 for my videos and the sounds is pretty damn great from it, but it does somewhat get in the way. I'm also tethered to my desk with it needing to be plugged in to my PC. Maybe a shotgun mic was needed?

Azden SMX-30

The general go to shotgun mic for YouTubers is actually the Rode VideoMic Pro, but in watching a few videos on that, this Azden mic caught my attention. I love how it not only has the mono, directional shotgun mic, but also a set of stereo mics too, which you can switch between.

Unfortunately, the sound is just too high pitched for my liking, so I moved on.

Rode VideoMic Pro Plus

The Pro is the one most YouTubers mentioned, which is around £130. This is the Plus, at around £220, so I figured it a better opponent for the Azden. Within a few uses, I could tell it has a better, more rounded pickup of my voice. Both mics work great outdoor and can get clear audio of me when I'm a good 10 to 12 feet from the camera.

This Rode mic has a clever setting too, where it can record different sound levels on the left channel to the right channel, should you get surprised by loud noises, you have a safety track at 10 dB lower.

Sennheiser EMK2 Gold

In doing my research I came across reviews for this lapel mic, which sounded great. I do like lavalier mics having owned a few cheaper ones like the PurplePanda, I thought I'd try a high quality version. I didn't realise though, having spent £120 on a second hand Sennheiser MKE2 that it also needed a power source, usually a transmitter clipped to the wearers belt. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound!

Not only does this lapel mic then provide great audio, I'm now wireless with it too, allowing me to wander freely! The downside against a shotgun mic being of course you're limited to one subject/target for the audio. It does make me wish most of my videos weren't best suited to being sat at a desk though...


Much as I like the idea of a stereo option for more general filming, the Azden just didn't sound good to me, so that's going back. I'm then thinking I might try the regular VideoMic Pro, to see if the Plus is worth the £100 extra you pay for it.

As it stands I like the idea of having a desk mic, shotgun mic and lavalier mic all at my disposal. I'll be prepared for pretty much any occassion!

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