In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: July 04, 2021
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Interviewing is not the easiest of tasks. It’s even harder without proper paraphernalia. A microphone is one of the most crucial pieces of equipment you should give top consideration. It can either make or break the quality of your interviews. The best interview microphone has a more open polar pattern and is remarkably easy to use. Now, if you think you know the right interview microphone to buy, you are mistaken. The endless options on the market are a tad confusing, plus there is much more to consider before buying one.
We rounded up a list of the top-quality and best-rated options to help you make the best choices hassle-free. Some of the key factors we considered in our reviews include polar pattern, maximum SPL, connection, sensitivity, SNR, and type. They affect the overall quality and performance of the microphone. For instance, the polar pattern affects the ease of use of the mic, while the Max SPL and sensitivity affect its sound quality.
This is the crème de la crème of all the lavalier mics out there. It comes second to none in terms of sound quality and usability. The special mic can be paired with smartphones and a lot of other devices.
The Rode Smart Lav is conveniently small and slim enough to fit into any pocket-size while the mic is clipped to the upper part of a shirt or top. You don’t have to deal with any exposed wires when using the mic as it doesn’t require any extra equipment to function.
Even more, you get to record files that you can later transfer to other devices via FTP. This is on the account of the Smartlav+ software that allows you to access files from the browser easily.
Another praiseworthy thing about this omnidirectional mic is, of course, its sound quality. It can capture crisp, clear sounds that you can broadcast. Plus, it has technology that can block out background noise.
What makes it stand out?
If high-quality audio, ease of use, and portability are your top considerations, then this is a solid bet. The Rode Smart Lav offers more than just superb sound quality. It has a noise-canceling technology and a designated app. You also get a couple of accessories like a clip for attaching the mic and a pouch to keep it safe for storage or during travels.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The Smartlav+ app cannot be accessed without upgrading to the premium edition. It is also known to be susceptible to freezing.
No shotgun mic holds a candle to the superior Road NTG4+. Rode outdid themselves with this high-performing entry-level shotgun mic as other models and brands compare badly to it in terms of sound quality.
Shotgun mics are widely known to be noisy, with annoying low-hissing sounds in the background. The Rode NTG4+ stands out as it does a fantastic job of minimizing unwanted background noises. It owes this outstanding noise cancellation capability to its exceptionally high sensitivity of over 25mV/Pa and a 10dB pad that filters out noise.
So, you can comfortably hold your interview in both favorable and unfavorable conditions and still get to broadcast top-tier audio quality.
With this mic, you are not limited to interviews only; you can as well record band and choir performances and then perform them without post EQ.
Essentially, the Rode NTG4+ has a top-quality lithium battery that provides a whopping 150 hours of power. This is pretty impressive, given most standard mics can’t even last half the time.
What do we love it for?
This mic is such a huge steal, especially for beginners. It offers premium quality at a not-so-premium price point. On top of its top-notch functionality, it has myriad little impressive features like a USB and a windshield that enable you to record high-quality sounds.
What were we disappointed with?
Professionals might not make the most of this mic as beginners would.
This is another beautiful lavalier to buy for the interviews. It’s as good as the smartlav+ models, even better in various aspects as it delivers more than just a superior sound quality. It’s a bit on the pricey end but an absolute worthy buy.
The mic is conveniently compact and highly portable, thus vocally stable. It is incredibly easy to use and can be attached to any kind of clothing. Its crisp sound delivery is unmatched thanks to its high speech intelligibility and mini-jack that features body-pack transmitters that enhance the mic’s sound delivery.
What’s more, if you choose to invest in a wireless Sennheiser system, you are likely to get this as the mic that comes with it.
When you purchase this mic, you will have a good amount of pocket change as you wouldn’t have to spend a dime on extra accessories. It comes with a clip for clipping it onto clothes and a sturdy metal windscreen.
What makes it special?
This is one of the best lavalier mics on the market for both professionals and amateurs. It offers unmatched convenience with its small build, vocal stability, and extra accessories.
What cons did we find?
There are a few complaints about the mic’s clip getting loose too quickly.
Shure is a world-famous brand that has earned its success and reputation with a relentless commitment to quality. Every product they make is a solid proof, including the VP83F mic. The compact condenser shotgun mic is one of the best camera-mount mics in the industry.
The mic allows you to capture high definition audio with great detail when you are video recording with camcorders or DSLR cameras. You can also use it with portable audio recorders.
You will enjoy natural audio reproduction on the account of the mic’s low self-noise with a wide frequency range and very high sensitivity. Plus, its highly directional supercardioid polar pattern rejects any unwanted sounds and focuses on capturing the intended sound source clearly.
One of its key features is the integrated flash recording that offers unrivaled convenience by allowing standalone operation. It also enables WAV file capture at an impressive 24-bit/48kHz sampling rate.
Moreover, you can use the mic fast and easy in almost any environment thanks to its super-intuitive menu and one0button recording function. You can monitor all your activity on the easy-to-read backlit LCD screen.
As if that’s enough, the mic features a durable alkaline battery that can last you a good 10 hours.
What are our favorite features?
It is hard to come across such a high-performing camera-mount microphone that delivers all its promises on quality and top-notch functionality. Its incredible features like an exceptional audio performance and intuitive controls make it one of the best podcasting interview mics for both professionals and amateurs.
What could be better?
The mic has a premium price tag, and it is not the best to use in windy conditions unless you have a wind muff.
It’s hard to have a list of interviewing microphones that doesn’t purely consist of Rode products. That’s just how good Rode is, and this is another one of their exquisite mics that will blow your mind.
The shotgun mic is superbly lightweight and compact, coming in at a mere 86g and 15cm. It is conveniently compatible with various video-enabled SLRs. It works pretty well without overwhelming video cameras.
You will get the most out of this mic in terms of sound quality when you point it directly to the user. However, it is capable of isolating unwanted noises during performances and interviews.
Further, the mic features a 9-volt mic that will give you a solid 70-hour recording time. With the built-in battery door, replacing it is such a breeze. You can also power the mic continuously via USB. It also comes with a windshield, though it is well capable of functioning without one.
If you are a run-and-gun shooter, this mic is a fantastic choice for you because it has an automatic power function. When you unplug it from the camera, it goes off automatically.
Why did it make our list?
A 10-year warranty is more than enough proof that this is no mickey mouse interview mic. It offers solid durability and incredible sound quality.
What is not ideal about it?
The mic is not compatible with a few devices, and some users have complained about some buzzing sound.
Shure mics are a sure bet, and the V64A is one of the best handheld microphones to be ever made. It is a high-output omnidirectional mic designed for professional-level audio and video production. It combines top-tier performance and a comfortable feel perfectly, and it offers excellent value for money.
The mic has a handsome appearance with a compact but solid build that is easy to handle. It is perfect for close-ups, and you can use it both indoors and outdoors. It has a mesh grill that is virtually waterproof and a windscreen that makes it one of the best interview microphones for high-wind areas. Its omnidirectional polar pattern offers uniform pickup on or off the axis, so you can forget about critical microphone positioning.
Another fantastic feature of the VP64 is the tailored frequency response that has an upper midrange presence rise. It adds crispness and clarity to speech. As if that’s enough, there’s an internal rubber isolation mount that does a great job reducing the noise produced due to handling. You can pass the mic around without worrying about some disturbing noises.
What are its best features?
There are zero qualms about this mic's reliability. It prioritizes top sound quality and comfort in its build. It is also a great weatherproof option as it can function pretty well in challenging weather conditions. Plus, you don’t have to decimate your bank balance to get this baby!
Yet another dependable handheld microphone. The Movo-HM-M2 is one of Movo’s most dynamic broadcast quality mics that guarantee you seamless reporting and interviewing. It is painstakingly developed for clear voice reproduction. You will be able to record crisp, clear audio for your podcasts, Youtube, interviews, reports, and more.
The mic is made to hold up well to the test of time. It is made of top-quality aluminum alloy, which is a sure durability bet. Its black matte finish gives it a discreet appearance on camera.
The mic features an isolated omnidirectional filter with an internal pop filter that isolates unwanted noise, especially when handling it. This ensures you always only capture what you need.
The frequency response of the mic, 70Hz-15kHz, is a clear indication that it is tailored for speech. It is a perfect range for rejecting environmental interference while optimizing the sound and clarity of vocalization. Therefore, it can excel in various environments.
With the XLR jack, you would never need phantom power or extra batteries.
Why is it special?
Affordable omnidirectional mics are hard to come across, and this Movo mic is an excellent option for beginners and professionals alike. It is well-built, easy to use, and has the best sound quality with minimum interruption from the environment.
What are the flaws?
There are a few complaints about the mic not working well with some XLR jacks.
As the name suggests, this is the best mic you can get for professional reporting and interviewing. Like other top of the line interview mics, the reporter features a frequency response range tailored for speech.
The build quality of the Rode reporter is out of this world. It is made of rugged die-cast aluminum that will certainly give you a good bang for your bucks. It will last you forever.
Along with the optimized frequency response, the mic has an omnidirectional polar pattern that allows you high levels of freedom when in use. You will be able to move freely during an interview without interfering with the mic’s sound quality.
The frequency response offers optimum intelligibility and delivers top-notch sound quality performance regardless of the environmental conditions in your surroundings. Additionally, the mic features a microphone capsule mounted in an internal shock mount to reduce noise.
Why is it special?
With a 10-year warranty, you can count on this mic to deliver its high-performance and durability promises. Plus, it comes with a couple of accessories, including a microphone flag, a zip pouch, and documentation.
What are the flaws?
You may find the mic not loud enough for some situations. This might force you to use a preamp.
This is the absolute interviewing mic kit that money can buy out there. The lavalier interviewing and recording kit is the perfect mic set up for a smartphone, iPhone, Android, PC, and Mac. This is because it is a dual-channel wired lapel mic, and it comes with a USB, USB-C, and lightning outputs.
The mic set includes; a main interface body with a belt clip, 2 lavalier mics with windscreens that you can use individually or simultaneously, and mic clips. You can control gain on each of the mics separately on the main interface.
Also featured is a headphone input that allows you to listen to your audio in real-time so you can be sure of accurate sound recording.
The mics and the interface are both powered by the input device. You won’t ever need batteries.
What do we love it for?
The mic set offers real value for money because it comes with a myriad of accessories like USB cable, mic clips, windscreens, and a carrying case. Plus, there is a 1-year warranty backing, which is enough proof that the mic set will ease your technical woes more than add to them.
Now, this is what you get if your pocket doesn’t run so deep. It is remarkably affordable, yet it offers virtually everything you would need from an interview mic. The Amazon Basic Lapel mic is specially tailored to capture on-the-go audio on a laptop or smartphone.
The mic is ideal for interviews, podcasts, webinars, meetings, and more because it picks sounds from all directions. It boasts a rugged exterior made of robust metal and plastic for long-lasting performance. It also features a mini metal clip that you can use to secure it to your interviewee’s shirt, collar, tie, or pocket.
The mic is a plug and play. It grabs power from any device you plug it in with the 3.5mm audio jack provided. This means you don’t need batteries or drivers. However, do note that the mic doesn’t work with desktop PCs and DSLR cameras without a PC adapter.
Why are we impressed?
The main selling point of this mic is its super-attractive price point. It also has a rugged build and is perfect for capturing clear sounds in any kind of environment. Its plug-and-play makes set up and using it such a breeze, and the manufacturer has got your back with a full year’s warranty.
What negatives must you be aware of?
The mic is not compatible with smartphones without 3.5mm 4-pole TRSS. You also can’t connect to a desktop PC or DSLR camera without a PC adapter.
Things to Consider
You would never get a rush buying a mic as you would when buying a camera. However, a good mic can make a whole difference to your audio quality and is often the main distinguishing factor for a good quality interview. This section contains some of the unpopular quick tips that can help you choose the best mic hassle-free. You’ll get to know what to consider before buying a mic for interviews and how to choose one.
What to consider before buying a microphone for interviews
There are a few aspects and parameters that you must consider before you set out to go shopping for an interview microphone like:
Different microphones from different brands come with varying price tags. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, you must know how much you are willing to spend on a mic before picking up one. Expensive doesn’t always translate to quality, as you can get top-quality mics at very affordable price points like the Movo LMS-2.
However, some brands like Rode are known to be a bit pricier, but they do deliver the best quality and convenience.
You have to be sure of the environment in which you’ll be holding your interview. This helps you decide on the mic’s polar pattern and exterior build. For instance, if you’ll be in the outdoors, you will need a mic that can pick a single sound source where there is a lot of noise. It also needs to be somewhat weatherproof. Like it should have a windscreen in case of high winds and waterproof in case of light showers.
What you are going to record your interview on
If you are going to record your interview on your smartphone or laptop, ensure you get a mic that is compatible with them. Some even have a micro SD slot.
How to choose the best interview microphone
Here are some of the key features and aspects that make a good interview microphone.
The 3 main types of interview mics include lavalier, handheld reporter style, and shotgun mics.
Lavalier mics are little mouthpieces clipped on shirts, ties, or pockets. They can be used in different kinds of settings and are highly preferred for their discrete non-intrusive form.
Shotgun mics are used to record interviews and are usually attached to a camera to provide visuals when recording. They can work with a couple of cameras, but they work best with DSLR cameras.
Handheld mics are the regular mics held by the interviewer during use. They can be cordless or corded and can also be used in musical performances.
There are 4 polar patterns: cardioid, super-cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. Cardioid mics only pick up sounds from the front where the mic is pointing. For this reason, they are mostly used for vocals or speech. Musicians prefer them for recording music.
Super-cardioid mics are ideal for capturing single sound sources in loud environments. They are also resistant to feedback because they have a narrower pick up.
Bi-directional mics pick up sounds from the front and the rear in a figure 8 pattern. They are highly preferred by podcasters.
Omnidirectional mics, like the Rode Reporter, pick up sounds equally from all directions. They are a fantastic option for recording groups or crowds. Also, they are perfect for live studio performances if you intend to recreate the sound of the room. Another thing worth noting is that omnidirectional mics are highly prone to feedback.
Dynamic vs. condenser mic
These are the 2 main types of microphones. A condenser mic uses 2 capacitors to convert sound waves into an electric signal. They pick up high frequencies than dynamic mics cannot, and they are also more sensitive.
On the other hand, dynamic mics have a simple design and can hold up well to abuse better than condenser mics. They have a coil next to a magnet in them, and when sound waves hit the coil, it vibrates and creates an electrical current. Dynamic mics don’t need phantom power like the condenser mics.
An interview microphone must just have a good proximity sensitivity effect because normally, interviewing and news recording involve a lot of movement. A mic with high sensitivity will produce the same level of sound even when you move around. You wouldn’t have to worry about a reduced volume because you took a few steps back or moved your head slightly away from it.
This is the range of frequency that a mic possesses, and it is an equally critical consideration. For you to make the right choice, you have to be sure of how the mic responds to different frequencies.
This is the maximum SPL that an interview mic can handle. A mic that can handle high SPL can be used on various sound sources, and it wouldn’t exaggerate on low frequencies.
Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)
This is the ratio of signal power to noise power and is usually measured in decibels (dB). It compares the level of the power signal to the level of background noise.
The noise could come from appliances like a microwave, phones, or Bluetooth devices.
An SNR ratio of 10-15dB will give you an unreliable connection, 16-24dB is poor, 25-40dB is good, and anything above 42dB is superb.
Connection plays a significant role on the type of mic set up you will have. If you want to have a setup with an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC devices, then you must consider a mic with a USB. You could also opt for one that features lightning outputs like the Movo LMS-2. Besides USB, microphones could also have an XLR connection, which is pretty convenient as you wouldn’t require batteries or phantom power with it. Such mics are perfect for on-the-go use.
This is used to control the output level of a microphone. It is located in different parts on different models, and when switched on, it can reduce the output level significantly, usually something between -10dB and -20dB.
A super-cardioid microphone is the best kind of microphone to use in a noisy environment because it is capable of picking a single sound source in a loud background. Also, because of its narrow pick up, it is good at resisting feedback.
The prices usually vary across different brands. A standard lavalier mic can cost anything above 200 bucks.
Any good interviewer can tell you for sure that a good microphone makes or breaks your content. Choosing the best microphone for an interview can be a confounding experience, especially if you don’t know what to look for and how. Luckily, our guide has all the information you need to know to become a confident buyer. You can as well cut yourself some slack by choosing any of the best-rated products on our list.
Our best recommendation is the Rode SmartLav+. It is the ultimate all-around choice with a discrete design, great device compatibility, a high SNR, and an incredibly clear sound quality. Our premium pick, the Rode NTG4+, is the kind of mic your get when you want true value for your money. It offers all the premium level qualities of an interview mic at a very reasonable price point.
Our third choice is the Sennheiser Pro Audio ME 2-II. It is one of the best-wired lavalier mics on the market. Its high speech-intelligibility and an impressive frequency response of 50 to 18,000Hz place it high among the modern-day’s best interview microphones.