Best Microphone for Voice Recorder

Best microphone for recorder

Normally, voice recorders are good enough for recording interviews, focus group discussions, and meetings. Their modern internal in-built microphones have progressively become better – and at par with most external microphones.   However, there are a couple of instances when you’ll need a voice recorder microphone.


The first is when you want to extend the range of your voice recorder – that is, you want to increase the area of coverage. Now, some recorders (for instance some Olympus models), claim that they can zoom in/out and decrease/increase area of coverage. But really, all they are doing is increasing the mic sensitivity; which increases the recording converge area but also captures a lot of background noise.

If you are in a very quiet room, you can get away with increasing the internal microphone sensitivity to cover more area and record distant audio. But even then, there’s a limit to the distance you can record using voice recorders and external microphone.

So if you want to increase the coverage area of your recorder, and still capture awesome sound, you’ll want to get external microphones. You’ll need at least two (2) microphones, because when you plug in an external microphone into most digital recorders the internal microphones are disabled.

Noisy Locations

The other instance when you’ll need external microphones is when you are recording audio in a noisy location. The trick is to get the microphone as close as you can to your subject. Holding the voice recorder up to the subjects mouth can work, but it can be tiresome (imagine hold up a recorder for an hour long interview) and you’ll most likely need your hands to be free.

I’ve penned a great post of how to record 1-on-1 interviews in a noisy locations, but I’d like to reiterate that having external microphones is the key to record good audio in noisy locations.

Imagine having to record good quality audio in either of these instances. Which microphones would I recommend you use? There are 3 microphones that I recommend which will cover most of the instances when you’ll need external microphones for your voice recorder.

1.      Giant Squid Lavalier Microphone

The giant squid lavalier mic is the microphone that I’d recommend you get if you foresee recording interviews in cafes, restaurants and other noisy location. This microphone works very well with all the voice recorders that I own – I’ve never had a compatibility issue.

If also records very good sound and cuts out a good amount of background noise, but you’ll need to find and use the right setting on your recorder. Here’s a detailed review of this lav mic, and here are a couple more clip on microphones that I recommend for recording interviews in noisy location.

Best Microphone for Voice Recorder: Giant Squid lav mic

I really like this microphone and always carry a couple of them with me, with the Hosa YMM-261 splinter cable (Amazon link). And that, coupled with the Sony ICD-ux560 voice recorder, gives me the versatility of being able to record interviews in any location. Even in quiet locations, I’ve even taken to placing them on an empty glass, or cup, when I don’t need to clip them on my subject. With the Giant Squid, you’ll record very good audio. Buy it now from Amazon.

2.      Fifine Condenser Microphone

A couple of these microphones are great for extending the range of your voice recorder. The sound quality is clear and crisp. It comes with a small tripod and is prefect for desk/table top use. And it has a very quiet noise floor. Comes with a 6ft cable.

Best Microphone for Voice Recorder; Fifine 3.5mm

My experience with the Fifine microphones is that they are very user friendly. Just plug them into the voice recorder and press record. You will need the Hosa YMM-261 splinter cable to connect a couple of them to your recorder. I did find that the stand is not sturdy – a piece broke off, but I was able to attach it with some glue. They do need gentle care.

I used them a lot to record meetings, and they worked really well. They are currently not my go to microphones for extending coverage – but they’ve served me well over the years. Definitely recommend for increasing the recording coverage of your voice recorder. Buy now from Amazon.

3.      Olympus ME33 Boundary Microphone

The ME33 boundary mic is the microphone I recommend when you really want to extend the coverage of your voice recorder. You can daisy chain up to 6 of these microphone to you recorder! That allow you capture sound from a very large area.

Best microphone for recorder -ME33

When I first used the Me33, I was impressed with the quality of the sound captured. Olympus rate the sensitivity of this microphone as -35dB. That’s high. I’d expect it to capture a lot of background noise. But it does not! In fact, I’ve compared the Olympus ME33 boundary mics with all other mics/recorders that I own and it captures the least noise. In addition, it does a capture distance voices very well.  So low noise, good audio coverage. Perfect.

Now, they are a little more expensive than the Fifine microphones, but the increase in audio quality and coverage is well worth it: a definite upgrade. Here’s a detailed review of the ME33 and I love to pair them up with the Zoom H1n. If you can afford them, get them! Buy now from Amazon.

That’s it for this post on the best external microphone for your voice recorder. Hope you’ve found it useful. If you have any suggestions, comments or questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below. And keep us mind for all of your interview transcription needs.


Isaac here. At Weloty, we provide bespoke academic transcription services to qualitative researchers. If you wish to hire us, get in touch. Please note that if you choose to buy the products we recommend as a result of our research and testing, we’ll get paid some money through an affiliate commission from the retailer when you make a purchase. You can find out more here.

12 responses to “Best Microphone for Voice Recorder”

  1. Alice Avatar

    I am not sure how I would attach 2 giant squid lavalier microphones to my brand new SonyUX560. I know you said to use that cable, but is there a specific drawing that could help me? I am doing Oral histories. One interviewer and one interviewee. Thank you.

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Alice, your ux560 has a stereo (left and right) mic input. Now, the splitter cable (see attached image) will split the one stereo input into two, left and right input. So, you’ll be able to attach 2 microphones, via the splitter, to your ux560. Hope that’s clear enough, if not let me know and I’ll shoot a short video showing you how to set it up.
      Hosa left and right stereo splitter

      1. Alice Avatar

        I would so very much appreciate a short video. Also which exact microphone should I buy? When I clicked from your site lots of giant squid mikes appeared on Amazon. Thank you. Your help in your articles is fantastic.

        1. Isaac Avatar

          I’ve updated the post with the correct link to the giant squid microphone. That’s the microphone I recommend you get.
          I’ll try and shoot and edit the video today (more likely it’ll be up tomorrow), I’ll post a link to it once it’s live on YouTube…

          1. Alice Avatar

            Is it possible to use at the same time, one Giant Squid microphone for the interviewee and the Sony’s built in one for me? In other words if I use an external mike, can I record at the same time with the Sony’s mike.
            I will order as soon as you let me know…

          2. Isaac Avatar

            Done! No, the built in microphones are switched off once you insert the Giant Squid into the mic input…

          3. Alice Avatar

            Thank you again. One more question about what to buy besides two microphones and the splitter. A cable to go from my USB “female” on my iMac to the Sony 560. I want a cable because when I plug in the recorder directly to the back of my 27 inch screen, it is too “heavy” so it tilts. All suggestions welcome.

          4. Isaac Avatar

            Yeah, you’ll need a Female to male Type A cable.
            This post has a link to the one I use, and a few tips on how to take care of your recorder.

        2. Isaac Avatar
          1. Alice Avatar

            Perfect! So helpful. I am very grateful for this video.

  2. Kelly Avatar

    Just now started my YouTube channel, I’m a bit confused with the pricing of these microphones you listed. They cost Nearly twice when compared to the price mentioned here. Pls, give me a perfect microphone for doing kinds of stuff like podcasting and voice-over.

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Voice recorders are good for grab and go kind of recording. Studio recording is another ballgame.
      My two favorite ways to record myself if using a Giant Squid microphone or using the Zoom H1n. And finding a quiet place to record is really important.
      Compared to studio quality audio, I get okay audio – not great or awesome. For that you will need good XLR mics, amps and all that.
      All I’m saying is it’s hard to record good audio, and equipment is expensive (irrespective of current shortages).

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