How long has there been a need for a microphone suitable to interview someone? Longer than you might think.
It commenced with radio in the early 1920s and what was known as ‘televisual’ in the late 1920s. For these outside broadcasts to be more entertaining, there was something missing. Sound. A microphone was needed. Options were limited, but today technology has raced on. Now we have many options when choosing the best interview microphones.
The first outside broadcast using a microphone was the recording of birdsong in 1923. ‘The Song of the Nightingale.’ Listeners heard the Nightingale singing away. They also heard the sound of flies buzzing around the mic. As an extra encore, they also got rabbits chewing the wires. It sounds like something out of Monty Python.
The first major Outside Broadcast where the microphone came of age in some respects was in May 1937, for the Coronation of George VI and Elizabeth in London. They have followed the evolution of improvement since.
We are not going to pursue the historical aspects further. Suffice to say, we have now reached a place where microphone technology is very good. So good in fact we can’t even hear the rabbits anymore. Unless you want to, of course. They are nice for wildlife programs but not so hot on the old interview front.
So, let’s go through the best microphones for interviewing currently available and find the perfect one for you…
- Top 12 Best Interview Microphones In 2020 Reviews
- 1 Rode Reporter Omnidirectional Dynamic Interview Microphone
- 2 Electro-Voice RE50/B Omnidirectional Dynamic Microphone
- 3 Sennheiser MD 46 Cardioid Interview Microphone
- 4 Shure VP64A Omnidirectional Handheld Microphone
- 5 Rode RODELink Newsshooter Kit
- 6 Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 Super-Cardioid Shotgun Tube Condenser Microphone
- 7 Rode NTG4+ Supercardioid Condenser Shotgun Microphone
- 8 Audio-Technica AT4053B Hypercardioid Condenser Microphone
- 9 Rode VideoMic Pro + Compact Directional On-Camera Shotgun Condenser Microphone
- 10 Shure VP83F LensHopper Camera-Mounted Condenser Microphone
- 11 Sony ECM77B Electret Condenser Lavalier Microphone
- 12 Rode smartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone
- So Many Microphones, So Many Choices
- So, What Are The Best Interview Microphones?
Top 12 Best Interview Microphones In 2020 Reviews
1 Rode Reporter Omnidirectional Dynamic Interview Microphone
The Rode Reporter is an excellent mic for voice recordings and for presentations. It is built to be a great performer as a handheld mic and has an omnidirectional pattern. Rode has gone even further with this mic and have designed the frequency response to be perfect for the spoken voice.
As a mic for interviewing, one of its great assets is the omnidirectional pattern. This means the mic records the sound equally from all angles, which is perfect for the interview. Being a dynamic mic, it provides a very accurate range, which will reduce any unwanted background noise. This is created by the moving coil design, which gives you that short-range focus.
Rode has created a mic that is great for ENG and broadcasting, For podcasts, interviews, and even presentations.
Its physical design also lends itself to its purpose. The long slender shape allows the mic to be pointed at a sound source if necessary. It’s tough build, and wire mesh basket is protective. The wire mesh acts as a screen against wind and other weather activity.
It has a very understated look helped by its matte black finish. Always a good thing, especially for microphones involved in visual interviews. It comes with a zip case and an attachable flag to display your logo.
- Well made with good design for recording speech.
- Affordable price.
2 Electro-Voice RE50/B Omnidirectional Dynamic Microphone
The RE50B mic from Electro-Voice is a well-known and respected microphone. Seen in many places being used for outside broadcast interviews, it has a design that makes it fit for purpose.
It is a dynamic microphone with an omnidirectional pattern. This makes it perfect for collecting the sound source for a range of angles equally. The capture of the sound is then very consistent, especially in situations where it must be handheld.
It has a tough metal build and wire mesh grille with a four-stage pop filter built-in. This is very effective in eliminating any wind noise and even user plosives. Both very important design features for a mic of this type. Being dynamic, it has no need for phantom power, and there is no battery required.
Let’s return to its handheld suitability. If you are using a mic in the field, then it has to be tough and able to withstand weather conditions, of course. But what it also needs is low handling noise. If there is excess noise made when holding the mic, the sound capture could be ruined. The Electro-Voice RE50/B has the Dyna-Damp internal shock mount as standard. This reduces the amount of handling noise to almost nil.
As an outside broadcast mic, this is one of the leaders in the field and has to be considered as one of the highest quality interview microphones around. The microphone is excellent for gathering the news. The reduction in handling noise and the effective built-in pop filter make it excellent for its purpose. And its rugged build means it is going to last the pace.
It comes with a mic stand adapter.
A little more expensive than some, but it is easily one of the best quality microphones we are reviewing, so you might expect that.
- Tough build with an excellent built-in pop filter.
- The built-in shock mount system reduces handheld noise.
- It might be expensive for some.
3 Sennheiser MD 46 Cardioid Interview Microphone
Over we go now to one of the most notable manufacturers of microphones. From Germany comes Sennheiser. The MD46 is a mic that is built with one function in mind – outside broadcast interviewing.
It has a very strong all-metal body with a double layer of wire mesh on the grille. This makes the mic fit for use in bad weather and able to take a few knocks. It was developed by Sennheiser for NBC and specifically for outside broadcasts at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. With such a pedigree, it is easily considered as one of the Best Sports Coverage Interview Microphones around.
Sennheiser has played particular attention to the vocal sound. And it features a very good high-frequency response, a warm sounding low end, and a clean and uncluttered mid-range. It also has excellent rejection of off-axis sound, and has been designed with a long handle that will aid balance when in use.
It features a cardioid capsule that focuses more on the subject. In use, this means that you have to aim the microphone at the sound source, the speaker. And if you’ve seen this mic on TV, you have probably noticed an interviewer changing the position of the mic during the interview to aim at the speaker. Pointing the mic at the source focuses on the subject. Other noise is therefore excluded.
It comes in a little bit pricey. But the cost is justified if you want a mic that is tough with superior sound quality. And if it’s good enough for NBC to cover the Olympics, it probably good enough for your needs as well.
- Strong design with solid features for outdoor use.
- Excellent sound reproduction.
- You may prefer an omnidirectional pattern for all around sound?
- Some might think it expensive.
4 Shure VP64A Omnidirectional Handheld Microphone
From Sennheiser to Shure. Almost like a tour of the best microphone manufacturers in the world. This Shure is another quality product from their extensive catalog. After all, where you find quality microphones, you will find Shure somewhere.
The VP64A is an omnidirectional microphone that is designed to be handheld. It is specifically for audio recording and video production. And it has a higher output than most courtesy of a neodymium magnet. Being Omni, it will pick up a certain amount of ambient sound. However, that can be an advantage if it is being used to interview someone who is inexperienced.
Unless interviewees are experienced, they can ‘wander’ around a bit with their head movements. Microphones that are highly focused on the sound source can then cause problems of volume loss or even dropouts. With this mic, the sound capture range is a bit wider, so you are assured of getting at least some audio wherever the interviewee ends up.
Handling noise is reduced by an isolation mount made from rubber. Not eliminated completely, of course, but it certainly reduces it enough that it won’t be noticeable if handled carefully. The rubber also adds to the rugged build.
Having a tough build is what Shure microphones are well-known for. This is a good example. The build is metal with a rugged mesh grille that is water-resistant. It will, therefore, handle some quite bad weather conditions. For outside use, a foam windshield is provided to further reduce the impact of wind.
The design is quite plain and understated. The last thing professionals want is a microphone that draws the attention away from the person interviewed or what is being said.
The frequency response has been designed to favor speech and offer crystal clear quality. And, as you have probably guessed, the reproduced sound is excellent. That is what Shure microphones do.
Connections are via XLR cables. Being a dynamic mic, it does not need phantom power. It comes with the foam windshield we mentioned and a mic stand adapter. A great price point makes this a very good cost-effective high performing mic.
- Good strong build with a wide sound capture range.
- Excellent price point for a quality mic.
- Not supplied with an XLR cable.
5 Rode RODELink Newsshooter Kit
This is really a complete package designed for vloggers and do-it-yourself reporters. As such, it contains most of what you need to get started in wireless interviewing.
It includes a transmitter and a camera mount receiver, however, there is no microphone supplied with this system. You attach one of your choice to the transmitter via the XLR connector, and then you have wireless access wherever you need it, directly to your camera.
The XLR connector also gives you phantom power if you choose to use a condenser mic. This package will operate in any location in the world that is in the 2.4GHz spectrum. The transmitter and the receiver are paired up in advance, so you simply need to plug in and off you go.
It has a metal chassis but also some plastic parts, and some areas are given a rubberized protective coating. The transmitters attach to any microphone, be they condenser or dynamic, as long as they have an XLR connection. It has built-in controls for gain and mute, as well as using phantom power and controlling headphone volume.
It comes with a leather case. The case means it can be used as a belt pack unit. Used in this way, the design allows you to see the screen and use the controls.
It is a unit for specific activities, and in that case, its uses are rather limited. However, it is very expensive, especially considering it does not actually come with a microphone. But that said, if you want to convert a high quality wired microphone to an effortless wireless solution, it is a great choice. And cheaper than buying a high-end wireless set up.
- Some good features for working with video for vloggers.
- Robust build quality.
- Very expensive, which will put many off.
6 Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 Super-Cardioid Shotgun Tube Condenser Microphone
So far, we have looked at some cost-effective options with varying attributes. But now we go a little higher up the performance scale with the Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3. This is a microphone designed to deliver professional performance.
It is a shotgun microphone, which means it needs to be pointed straight at the sound source. And produces ‘mix ready’ sound courtesy of its low-noise profile and powerful output.
It is a bit of a chameleon in that it can transition its own polar pattern. For mid and low range frequencies, it operates as a hyper-cardioid polar pattern mic. But for the higher frequencies, it reverts to a lobar pattern. It will, therefore, reduce from 125Hz to 2 Hz by about 10dB at a position of 90% off-axis points.
The wide frequency response and high SPL allows you to record using full dynamics. It has a frequency response of 40 Hz to 20 kHz and has bass-roll off to eliminate any rumble. A low self-noise reading of 13dBA and its high sensitivity reduces the need for adjustment of the gain in post-production.
It is protected against moisture and inclement weather by its design and the materials used in its construction. You will, therefore, be able to record a high-quality level in poor weather conditions. It is compatible with most recorders and mixers with its 3-pin XLR output but will require phantom power.
Its metal casing features a matte black finish and has been designed to not be distracting. And there is a foam windshield provided to remove any unwanted wind sounds.
However, if you intend to use it in very extreme conditions, then it might be worth considering using a furry windshield, often affectionately referred to as a ‘dead cat’ in the industry. This is available as an optional extra, and no animal is harmed in their making, honestly!
This is a high-quality microphone that delivers a professional level of sound. But, it certainly isn’t really designed for the hobbyist. The price point, as might be expected, is rather high. But for the quality it gives is about right.
- A high-level mic that operates at a professional level.
- Excellent build quality with superb built-in features and specifications.
- Just the price, which will preclude some.
7 Rode NTG4+ Supercardioid Condenser Shotgun Microphone
This NTG4+ is a step up from the NTG2 microphone, which has a solid reputation. It is a new design condenser mic with low noise and a high level of sensitivity. It has a supercardioid pattern. Also, it includes a built-in equalizer and level control, which is something you won’t see very often.
It also has a power source that is built-in. It is a lithium battery that gives over 150 hours of operation and can be charged easily via USB. Charging time is two hours when you eventually need it using the supplied micro USB cable. It can be charged via a power brick, your computer, or even your car.
The microphone also has controls for a high-frequency boost and a high pass filter on the body of the mic. And it will remember your settings the next time you use it after having turned it off. It is a slim all-metal design that is both stable and rugged.
It is a shotgun design, so it is very focused, with a tight pickup pattern. This makes it perfect for recording speech, doing interviews, etc. It is, though, built to Rode’s high standards, which this Australian company has a reputation for.
A quality mic with some good features. Not cheap, but the price point does reflect the quality of the mic.
- Strong Rode build with some good features built-in.
- In-built battery with charging facilities.
- Mic length could be awkward in some circumstances.
8 Audio-Technica AT4053B Hypercardioid Condenser Microphone
We have had the good fortune of reviewing many products from this Japanese audio manufacturer. And have always been very impressed with the quality as well as the cost-effectiveness of what they produce. What we have seen before, especially with their microphones though, has always been middle to budget range.
But, now we have the opportunity to take a look at one of their high-end products, the Audio-Technica AT4053B Condenser Microphone.
It doesn’t take long to realize that this is going to be in the running as one of the Best Interview Microphones around. This is a very special microphone.
It is a shotgun condenser microphone with a hyper-cardioid pattern. This pattern isolates the source and reduces any unwanted external sound to an absolute minimum. This allows much more isolation than the Cardioid pattern, which only removes the sound from the sides of the sound source.
It has a switchable high pass filter, and a -10dB pad accommodates louder sounds. There are no transformers in the circuitry, which reduces the low-frequencies. It is a very sensitive mic, as all quality microphones are. And will, therefore, need to be set up correctly.
It has a very sleek and understated design. It looks as classy as it sounds. Being a condenser mic, it will require 48v phantom power. It is supplied with a clamp and a carrying case.
This is an exceptional mic that gives professional sound reproduction. And at the price point, it represents great value because of its quality, even though you could not consider it cheap.
If you are looking for a mic to give you professional-level recording, this could be the one.
- Nice design, well-made with excellent features.
- A great pro sound at an affordable price.
9 Rode VideoMic Pro + Compact Directional On-Camera Shotgun Condenser Microphone
The Rode VideoMic Pro is a microphone specially designed for working with outside broadcast speech and sounds. It is principally a mic designed to work with camcorders or DSLR cameras.
It has a super-cardioid polar pattern, which makes it suitable for capturing sound from the target source. In doing so, it will eliminate any surrounding ambient noise. As with all Rode microphones, its self-noise is very low, so you can achieve broadcast-quality reproduction.
It has a built-in shock mounting system that will reduce any handling noise or rumble to make sure your recordings are as clean as they can be. And an integrated foam windscreen is included to help cope with localized external noise such as wind or other weather sounds.
It has a high pass filter and level control with three positions which are situated on the back of the mic, making them easily adjustable. Level settings will add some gain as required and vary from-10dB for louder sounds, to a +20dB boost when needed.
It will connect to a camera through the 3.5mm jack socket. It is lightweight and very compact and is therefore easy to use and carry around with you. You should get about 70 hours of use from the 9v battery.
It is a mic that will work best when it is near to the target sound source, and it will produce very good results. It is set at a reasonable price point.
- It is well made and quite sturdy.
- Easy to use.
- Long battery life at an affordable price.
- Won’t be so good recording the source from a distance.
10 Shure VP83F LensHopper Camera-Mounted Condenser Microphone
The VP83F from Shure is designed to be mounted on and works with DSLR cameras and camcorders. It has a super-cardioid/lobar pattern that is highly directional. Off-axis sounds are reduced to a minimum, which allows the mic to concentrate on the target source.
The audio recording is made to MicroSDHC cards. These will support up to 32GB of data and are 24-bit/48kHz.WAV files.
One of the issues with handheld microphones is the amount of handling noise. Shure have solved this with a built-in Rycote Lyre shock system to reduce any vibrations or other noises occurring from the operation of the camera.
Recording in various environments also can bring its own set of problems. To compensate, Shure has installed a low-cut filter and a 60dB gain range, which can be adjusted in increments of 1dB. This gives you precise control of the finished recording.
It is constructed with traditional Shure strength. Known for their tough, rugged designs, this mic is a good example of the ‘road-ready’ equipment they manufacture. But, despite the metal construction, it is still a lightweight microphone weighing just over one pound.
It is fitted with a foam windscreen to help to reduce external noises. In very windy conditions, you might need a muff. But this is an issue that will apply to virtually all such microphones.
It is easy to use with its one-button recording operation. And also has a backlit LCD screen, which will display the menus and operational status.
It runs on two AA batteries, which should give you about ten hours of use. It is set at a reasonable price point, which makes it an attractive buy for those wanting a microphone that links up with a camera.
- Good sturdy Shure construction.
- Easy to use.
- It might be rather limited for some in its applications.
11 Sony ECM77B Electret Condenser Lavalier Microphone
The Sony ECM77B Electret is a condenser mic that has an omnidirectional pattern. Being a Lavalier mic, its job is to produce a very good vocal sound reproduction. But it also needs other assets.
You do not want people focusing on a mic that has been designed to attract attention. Secondly, it needs to be as small as it can reasonably be made. After all, it does need to clip on the person being interviewed. It won’t help if that person is constantly aware of the mic attached to them. This mic passes both of those tests admirably.
Lavalier mics have advantages in the interviewing environment. One of these is that there are no handling problems from someone holding a mic. But they also need to be able to handle any noise that occurs from the clothes of the person it is attached to. With the Sony ECM77B Electret, the dynamics of the mic are well-designed and tend to exclude those unwanted noises. It also has a windscreen that will assist in relieving any external interference.
This mic is often seen on TV during professional interviews, as the tone qualities and frequency responses are excellent.
The quality of the build is very much Sony in that it is sturdy and reliable and has a quality about it. This Lavalier has been on the market for a few years now. That in itself is a testament to its quality that it is still popular.
If a Lavalier is what you will need, then this is an excellent option. Being one of Sony’s better known higher-end products, it is made in Japan. In many respects, it is the industry standard, so if you want the same quality as you see and HEAR on TV, then this is the microphone for you.
- A well-made quality Lavalier mic with a big reputation.
- Good reproduction and very lightweight.
- Some might think it expensive.
12 Rode smartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone
Back to Rode one more time for a microphone with rather a specialized use. This lavalier is designed to work in conjunction with your iPhone or Android device.
It is a high-quality condenser mic that has an omnidirectional polar pattern. The microphone itself is very discreet and is very understated in its design. It connects to your device using a kevlar cable. The TRRS connection is sleeved.
On location, there is always an amount of external noise. This cannot really be avoided most of the time. To reduce that, it is fitted with a pop shield. This foam shield will reduce any wind noise and plosives from the subject. The clip to attach to the subject is strong, and it comes with a small pouch for storage when not in use.
The sound is very good and clearly designed for podcasts, voice-overs, etc. But considering how good the audio quality is these days on smartphones, in fact, it could be used for just about anything.
Being omnidirectional is especially suitable for working with inexperienced interviewees, or even interviewers, for that matter. Basically, anyone who tends to move their head around a bit. This can often cause problems with keeping the target within range. This pattern ensures that the surrounding sound is also picked up. A few head movements are not going to affect the results.
Also included is a Rode app that you can download that gives you some options with regard to editing, etc.
For those looking for a Lavalier to work with their devices, this is a good option. However, we should just mention that it is always worth checking that your phone or device is compatible.
- It has a good range of sound capture.
- Noise reduction facilities are built-in.
- Some may think it is rather limited in its applications.
So Many Microphones, So Many Choices
Are you also looking for a microphone for some other functions? If so, check out our reviews of the Best Karaoke Microphones, the Best Cheap Mic under 50 Dollars, the Best Vocal Mics, the Best Dynamic Microphones, the Best Microphones for Recording Rap Vocals, the Best Kick Drum Mic, or the Best Microphones Recording Electric Guitar on the market.
So, What Are The Best Interview Microphones?
It is probably better to rephrase that as what is the best for you?
There are a number of options that will influence what you choose. At what level do you operate? At the pro levels, you are going to need a mic that performs at the high-end. The price will also be high, of course, but do you need that level of performance? If so, there are some mics on our list to choose from.
Maybe you need it for simpler assignments. Perhaps podcasts, Youtube videos, or news blogs? If you create these, the quality is still important, but not as high as it might be working for a professional newsgroup. Again, there are plenty to choose from in the mid-price range.
Finally, in the world of one-to-one interviews, many people prefer Lavalier microphones as they are less obtrusive, and the interview becomes ‘hands-free.’ Two excellent choices have been included here as well.
The location will, of course, have an impact. If you are going to work predominantly outside, you will need a mic that can cope. If it also needs to be attached to a camera, we have seen some examples.
The budget is difficult to assess. It will depend on your applications. But there are plenty of good microphones out there.
But if we had to choose one to use, it would be the…Sennheiser MD 46 Cardioid Interview Microphone.
A very good professional microphone at a very good price. Our choice as one of the Best Microphone for Interviews currently available.