Self-tape audio setup for any budget

Should I invest in my audio setup? And if so, how much? As we learned in the article about sound (here if you haven’t checked it yet), sound is the most important thing in your self-tape, and the quality should be at least, bearable. Let’s compare some products, and maybe you will find your next improvement in your self-tape journey.

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#1 – Built-in Microphones – $0

Your smartphone, iPhone, iPad, notebook, camera, etc..

Built-in microphones are microphones built in your capturing device, such as a camera, iPhone, iPad, notebook, etc. So, in this case, you don’t have to buy a microphone, because there is one inside. But be aware that any other microphone you plug into the device is better than the built-in one. Cameras usually capture much better sound than smartphones, iPhones, etc., but still, the sound could be even better with an external microphone. Don’t use the built-in microphone if you really don’t have to. But it’s a great easy option for a start.

You can always improve your audio setup, but now let’s improve our knowledge by continuing reading.

#2 – Lavalier Microphone – up to $29

Boya By-M1Lavalier microphone

Really cheap microphone with great reviews. A great small step up in your audio setup for just a couple of bucks. You can get very close to your mouth with the lav mic, so it improves your audio, because as we know – closer to mouth = better audio. You won’t get film production quality audio, but still a big improvement.

Wanna improve your lighting setup for self-tapes? Read more here!

#3 Lavalier Microphone – up to $30

Purple Panda Lavalier Mic

This set is very affordable and is compatible with many devices, and it comes with many types of connectors. You can also find an extension cord for the Jack if you need a longer cable.

#4 – 2-pack Lavalier Microphone – up to $35

SoLID Lavalier Lapel Microphone 2 pack

Two Lavalier microphones for 40 bucks? Well, yes! That is the ideal audio setup for us actors, as we will have two microphones for ourselves and our readers! Great audio setup for its price. But as always, the greatest thing is not the cheapest one, though this could be a big important step to move our audio from the built-in microphone to these two-pack lavalier microphones. And maybe this is just enough for us.

Don’t forget you have to find a way to hide the Lavalier microphone during your self-taping, because it could be very distracting seeing the mic in the shot.

#5 – Shotgun Microphone – up to $79

Røde VideoMic Me Directional Microphone (smartphones)

Røde is one of the leaders in audio gear, so you never go wrong with this brand. Here is a cheap shotgun microphone. You can plug the mic directly into your smartphone via a jack and start recording. You will get premium quality for a small price.

There is a different type of microphone for iPhone owners, but for more money – Røde VideoMic Me-L Directional Microphone.

Do you have your lighting setup? – Check out some products here!

#6 – Shotgun Microphone – up to $60

Røde VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone

Another Røde shotgun microphone. This type is for a camera. If you connect it to your smartphone or iPhone, it won’t work, but you can make it work using this cable – TRS to TRRS. The great microphone you can attach directly to your camera. It is coming with a shock-mount. It is a device that helps you with unwanted noise during your maneuver with a camera.

#7 – Lavalier Microphone – up to $109

Røde smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for Smartphones and Tablets

As I already mentioned, Røde is one of the leading brands, which offers great products and this Lav Mic is no exception. You can rely on the quality of the product and the sound result for its money. This one is more durable than the cheaper competitors so it will last longer.

#8 – Shotgun Microphone – up to $119

Rode VideoMic Go Lightweight on-Camera Microphone

Affordable solution for your audio setup. You can easily attach the mic to the top of the camera and connect via jack. If you are using this microphone for a smartphone, you need this cable – TRS to TRRS again. The microphone will bring your audio to a new level.

Use boom setup for clearer and sharper audio – Read more here.

#9 – Cardioid Condenser Microphone – up to $180

Rode IXYL Cardioid Condenser Microphone for iOS

Suppose you are serious about audio recording and need something low-budget. This guy is your man! It will turn your iPhone or iPad into a powerful recorder. You can use this fella for a self-tape, but keep in mind the distance from the smartphone with the microphone (the microphone has to be as close as possible). In my opinion, you don’t have to spend that much money on this microphone if you won’t use it for more than just for self-tapes because you won’t use its potential.

#10 – Multipattern Condenser Microphone – up to $190

Shure MV88/A iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone

If you have an iPhone, this fellow is right for you. It’s got incredible audio quality. It features different settings for the style of your recordings, such as speech, singing, or acoustic instruments—a great, easy plug-and-play mic.

#11 – Shotgun Microphone – up to $339

Rode VideoMic NTG On-Camera Shotgun Microphone

Now, we are going really serious, and if you have budget and doing more stuff than just self-taping, and filmmaking, for example, maybe this is your next microphone.

#13 – Shotgun Microphone – up to $360

Rode VideoMic Pro+ Compact Directional On-Camera

One of the most popular shotgun microphones. So if you are a filmmaker, or you have a higher budget, or you are working on any other video project, this mic is one you should put on your “thinking to buy” list.

Yeah, that’s it. Let me know what you are using for your audio setup. Or if this article gives you some more knowledge. I would appreciate any feedback.

If you are still asking questions about how much money you want to spend, it is tough to say. It depends on a budget, so if you don’t have a budget, built-in microphones are just enough. But if you have the budget, it depends on how much you want to spend. The better quality is coming with higher prices (but don’t be fooled, it’s not the rule). So it’s just up to you and your situation. It is always good to do more research about the different brands and types of microphones before making a purchase.

And don’t forget – The best audio setup is when the microphone is as close to your mouth as it can. You won’t get good audio if you misuse the microphone or you are too far from it.

See you next time.

My dedication to achieving artistic excellence extends from the stage to the realm of film. Currently represented by agent Jill Kabush at Dorothy S. Management, I am actively pursuing opportunities to establish my presence in the industry. While my creative interests span a variety of fields, including DJing and illustrating, my primary passion lies in acting. In the Czech Republic, I gained experience as both an amateur and professional actor in theaters such as Moravian Theater Olomouc, Theater DiGoknu, and Mlada Scena II. I also ran my own production company, creating short films. Upon relocating to Canada, I underwent intensive training at the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since then, I have signed with an agent, showcased my talent in esteemed theaters like Theater Around The Corner, and participated in independent film projects. Through unwavering dedication and hard work, I continue to refine my craft, striving for new heights in the pursuit of artistic excellence.


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