I'm just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a high quality, cheap computer microphone for recording speech. I want to record the reading of books, not singing/similar.

I'm not looking for something fancy at all, just something that will be better than a standard headset or a cheapo on-the-desk microphones.

Also, what is the cheapest that I can reasonably get one for?

It's for my mum to record books for my grandma (who is no longer in a position to be able to read for herself), so it doesn't need to be really high quality. Basically, just needs to not sound bad, as opposed to sounding good.

Thanks! =D

These were a couple that I was looking at. Neither are branded, but do you think that they'll still be ok

Camcorder Microphone ("Professional")

Headset ("High Quality")

  • what have you tried? do you own gear? how do you think anyone can help you with so little information. this is a sound design forum/q&a site.. – Arnoud Traa Apr 15 '14 at 20:55
  • (a) I'm asking before buying. (b) No need for the rudeness/tactlessness. (c) Is this the wrong site for this? I can move it if necessary. – Sam T Apr 15 '14 at 21:12
  • I tried to add this in as an edit, but I can't post more than 2 links with fewer than 10 reputation. Here's the other one: Creative Headset, amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000P5VR16/… – Sam T Apr 15 '14 at 21:12
  • Arnoud is right, you are leaving out essential information. The primary piece of info you chose not to include: what is the microphone connected to? In any case, this question is not within the scope of sound design. – EMV Apr 16 '14 at 5:38
  • well, you are a first time user here, i could spare you and answer every option or i can teach how to ask questions in a fashionable manner. sorry for being a bit hard on your question, but they were all on topic and not personal. please edit your post and let us know what we need. (emv has given you a great tip!) – Arnoud Traa Apr 16 '14 at 8:11

Smiley Sam, I'm a ""professional"" (note the quadruple air quotes) sound designer/composer/musical type who is particularly finicky about "bang for buck"... and While getting specific details from you is helpful, I have a simple answer that's worked for me and many others:

Get an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB. The price has risen a bit since I got mine, but you can typically find them for USD$60-75 (it seems like you are in the UK), or even less on eBay. That is an incredible bargain for what you're getting — it has replaced my Rode Procaster (check the price on that) for recording my voice, AND it has both XLR and USB outputs so you can easily plug it into a computer.

Long story short, it's like this generation's SM-57/58 for reputation of being a "great easy choice" versatile mic that you can grow with. Many podcasters like it for capturing their voice to read books.

This is an otherwise good review roundup where it's strangely not featured, but mentioned in the comments: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-usb-microphone/

Even better, get it on Amazon and see if it's right for you firsthand. If not, they have a great return policy.

Best of hope.

  • I'll upvote when I have enough reputation! :) – Sam T Apr 17 '14 at 9:43

Computer microphones are going to be primarily limited by the low quality components generally involved in consumer pc mic input jacks, so just about any microphone you get will be sufficient.

If you want better quality than that, you really need to get an audio interface that has a decent analog to digital converter and pre-amp and plug a decent, cheap microphone in to it. Thing is, cheap is relative. I'd consider an SM-58 or similar to be "cheap" at $90 to $100 with a basic USB interface running another $100 or so.

For that $200 you'll get much better audio quality, but my guess is that it probably isn't what you meant when you refer to cheap.

  • Thanks for your response, that was what I wanted to know. As you said though, $200 isn't what I was thinking of for cheap! Thanks though! :) – Sam T Apr 16 '14 at 15:59

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