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Best External Microphones for Macbook

By Edited May 2, 2015 0 0

Voice over artist in the booth
Microphone for Mac reviews

There are many external microphones for Macbooks on the market, but which are the best? Well, that all depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want the best value for money? Or are you interested in getting the highest sound quality possible. Whatever your requirements are, you’ll need to be aware that all microphones produce a crisper, cleaner sound when used in conjunction with a pop-filter (to stop the P’s and B’s popping in the recording) and in a semi-sound-proofed area. Don’t panic; this doesn’t mean you have to invest in renovating the spare bedroom into a fully functional studio. Usually a few old egg boxes stuck to the wall will do the trick, or simply cordoning off a space (almost like a den) works well too.

Why I'm qualified to review microphones

I’m a professional voice over artist and have a bit of experience with different microphones, but I’m not that confident with technical jargon. If you’re like me and you want to achieve great results but sometimes find the specifications on Amazon and other sites a little daunting, then read on. In this article, I’m going to review three of the best microphones I’ve found that are compatible with Mac in plain English. OK, let’s take a look at the options.

Best for price: Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone

Product Benefits

Blue Snowball Microphone
This is the perfect microphone for beginners. It won’t cost a fortune and it has with really high quality recording capabilities, producing a clean and crisp sound with no interference from distortion or feedback. It’s certainly great value for money.

There are three sound-capture settings, which you can easily switch between.

  • Setting one is ideal for podcasts, vocals and voiceover work and produces a rich, deep tone.
  • Setting two is suitable for the same types of recording as setting one but gives you the capability to record louder noises which setting one may be too sensitive for.
  • Setting three captures sound from all directions and is perfect for recording situations where you want an ambient sound (like a gig or a group chat).

Blue Microphone's Snowball couldn’t be simpler to use; it plugs right into the USB port on your Macbook and requires no extra software to get started. It’s ready to record as soon as it leaves the packaging. The product comes with an adjustable mic stand and USB cable so there’s no need to buy extras.

Blue Microphone's Snowball has an attractive, retro look and is covered by a two-year manufacturer’s warrantee.

What’s the downside?

To get the most out of this external microphone for Macbooks and Macbook Pros you’ll need to hold it pretty close to your mouth. 

Average Amazon.com rating: 4.5 Stars

Selected Amazon Review: "If you are looking for an intelligent, clean, affordable microphone for voice-over projects, podcasts, quick-and-easy live recording (with your laptop, of course), or open-mic music composition before dragging all the gear out to record a full-blown multitrack, this is the best money can buy in this category".


Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone (Textured White)
Amazon Price: $99.00 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of May 2, 2015)

A Step-up for Quality: Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser USB Microphone

Product Benefits

Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser USB Microphone
The Audio-Technica comes in two versions. The XLR version is cheaper, but the USB based version is great for convenience and comes with an adjustable desktop stand. Both will give you a very natural sound-quality which is clear and precise. This microphone is suited to podcasting, home studio recording (music), field recording and is also great for voiceovers.

There’s a feature included in this product (it’s called Cardioid polar pattern) which filters out background noise from; this greatly improves the isolation of the voice (or whatever sound source you’re using). The product comes with a tripod desk stand, pivoting stand mount, USB cable & storage pouch.

The advantage of this microphone over the Blue Snowball, is that it feels more professional, more robust and more high-quality; there is a difference in sound production and it’s just as easy to use.

What’s the downside?

Although the manufacturers claim the Microphone offers ‘studio-quality articulation’ I’d say it was more like ‘almost studio-quality but not quite’! That said, for the price I’d say it’s an excellent buy. There is also a slight issue in that the stand for the mic is a little low so, if you want to stand as you record (which I always like to do), you may find yourself hunched unless you have a higher surface on which to place the mic.

Average Amazon Rating: 4.5 Stars

Selected Amazon Review: "The audio is extremely clear and picks up sounds from my voice like no other mic I've had. All of this while eliminating background noise. This is one of the best purchases I've ever made".

Audio-Technica AT2020USB Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone
Amazon Price: $149.00 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of May 2, 2015)

Best for Quality: MiC Studio quality microphone for iPad, iPhone, and Mac

Product Benefits

MiC Studio quality microphone for iPad, iPhone, and Mac
This microphone really is the cream of the crop. It boasts a digital connection for pristine sound and a handy control knob that lets you adjust the input level easily and with no fuss. It’s specifically designed for vocal and acoustic instrument recording, so it works extremely well for podcasts, voice-overs and interviews, as well as live music recording. The compact design makes it tidy, portable and very space-efficient.

There’s also a great deal on Amazon which allows customers to buy the product on an Amazon.com storecard and pay in installments on finance (with no interest for 6 months).

Like the other mics featured in this review article it’s simple to set up with no configuration required and plugs straight into a USB port on an iPad, iPhone or Macbook. A great advantage of this particular model is that it’s fully compatible with Garageband on the Mac.

When the manufacturers claim that this produces studio-quality sound recordings, they’re telling the truth.

What’s the downside?

Well, it's not cheap and the cables that are included in the packaging are a bit short, which means you may need to spend extra cash to purchase longer ones if you need to use the mic any distance away from your computer. Apart from that, there really is no downside to this fantastic microphone.

Average Amazon Rating: 5 stars

Selected Amazon Review: "This microphone has great quality and amazing ease of use. It works with no installation on my MacBook and iPhone. I'm very satisfied".

MiC Studio quality microphone for iPad, iPhone, and Mac
Amazon Price: $529.00 Buy Now
(price as of May 2, 2015)

You may find the following article by Johnathan Hansen of interest:

Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Voice Over Artist
Voice Over Training: A Practical Guide

Beginner's Guide to Voice Over Scripts



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