For home recording, we typically require a head-mounted USB microphone. Two models that we have recommended in the past (the Sennheiser PC 36 and Jabra UC Voice 550) have been discontinued and are difficult to find. Other acceptable alternatives from Sennheiser include the PC-8, SC-160 or 165, SC-60, or SC-70. Other options from Jabra are the Evolve series headsets (e.g., Evolve 20 or 40). Needless to say, there are many professional-grade headsets that would also be excellent, but they are expensive and may require an additional audio interface to connect to your computer.

Of course, if you do find or already have one of our originally recommended mics, we still recommend them. However, we also encourage users of Sennheiser models that do not have a foam windscreen to purchase and install one because those microphones are very sensitive to airflow from your mouth and nose, which can cause audio distortion.

What you should avoid:

Users have had mixed success with Logitech headsets. We do not recommend them, but if you already have one of these or another brand, you may try it with our software before buying a new headset. It is also worth noting that USB headsets are strongly preferred over the type with a small phone plug. If you are using a USB headset, our software can identify the microphone and make sure it is being used for every recording session. The phone plug type connection is not typically identifiable by our software and places an additional burden on you to make sure your audio is configured correctly before recording. Very inexpensive microphones, built-in laptop, tablet, or smartphone microphones, many headsets with small phone plug connections (non-USB), or blue tooth wearable microphones that are designed strictly for telephony are typically unsuitable for voice banking and should be avoided.

While some “gaming” headsets are good, we have noticed that they tend to be expensive and focus on the sound quality of the earphones rather than the microphone.

If you are able to record in a sound studio with professional equipment and assistance, the thing to keep in mind is that the microphone should be shock-mounted and have a pop screen/filter to isolate the microphone from air bursts as you speak. You should be recorded very close to the microphone, with the microphone slightly off to the side (avoiding direct airflow from your mouth) and you must maintain a very consistent distance and orientation relative to the microphone. This is something we typically do not recommend for people who are not used to professional or studio voice recording. It is not as easy as you might think to get everything set up correctly and consistently.

What microphone should I use?