The question of what is the best microphone for live vocals is one that many people ask themselves. It’s difficult to answer because there are so many variables to consider, such as your budget, experience level, and needs.
However, some basic guidelines can help you make an informed decision about which mic will work best for you.
In this post, we’ll be covering how to choose an excellent vocal microphone, factors you should consider when purchasing microphones for live performances, and different types of mics available on the market today. Hooke Audio hopes this article will help you find the perfect microphone for your needs!
- 1 Top Best Microphones For Live Vocals
- 1.1 Shure SM58
- 1.2 Telefunken M80
- 1.3 DPA d:facto 4018
- 1.4 sE Electronics V7
- 1.5 Shure SM27
- 1.6 Audio-Technica AE5400
- 1.7 Lewitt MTP 550 DM
- 1.8 Audix OM2
- 1.9 Audix OM-3
- 1.10 Sennheiser e 965
- 1.11 Shure Beta 58A
- 1.12 Sennheiser e835
- 1.13 Shure Beta 87A
- 1.14 Shure Super 55 Deluxe
- 1.15 Heil Sound PR 35
- 1.16 Beyerdynamic M 88 TG
- 1.17 Shure KSM8
- 1.18 Neumann KMS 105
- 1.19 Earthworks SR40V
- 1.20 Shure Beta 87C
- 1.21 Audio-Technica AE6100
- 1.22 CAD Audio CADLive 90
- 2 Tips To Buy A Recording Microphone
- 3 Considerations When Buying A Microphone For Live Vocals
- 4 Essential Features: The Best Mic For Live Vocals Must Have
- 5 FAQs
- 5.1 What is a vocal mic?
- 5.2 What Microphone Is Better For You?
- 5.3 Is it better for me to sing with a microphone or with my voice?
- 5.4 How Can I Select A Quality Microphone?
- 5.5 How Loud Can You Sing Into A Microphone?
- 5.6 How Much Does A Microphone Cost?
- 5.7 Does A Microphone Change Your Voice?
- 5.8 Why Are Singers Putting Their Mouths On The Mic?
- 5.9 Is Singing Better When Accompanied By A Microphone?
- 5.10 What Is The Reason I Sound Strange On A Microphone?
- 5.11 How High Should I Record My Vocals?
- 5.12 How can I get a microphone to sing?
- 5.13 Is a good microphone worth the investment?
- 6 Conclusion
Top Best Microphones For Live Vocals
Almost certainly the most popular live mic in the whole wide world. It’s tempting to believe that the SM58’s extraordinary success is just down to Shure’s keen pricing, but the truth is that it’s an incredible performer.
It has a frequency response tailored for vocals with brightened midrange and bass roll-off to control the proximity effect.
It sounds lovely – clean and balanced across its entire frequency spectrum. Hats off to Shure’s engineers, who, six decades ago, got it so right the first time around.
That iconic golf-ball-shaped grille purposefully puts distance between you and the capsule, which reduces unwanted pops and tames sibilants in combination with the built-in pop filter. The internal shock mount cuts handling noise to a minimum, too, while the dynamic diaphragm makes the mic as tough as old boots.
Features? Buttons? Switches? LEDs? There are none, but that’s all part of the SM58’s charm. It’s a ‘does what it says on the tin’ kinda mic – living proof of the mantra ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Reassuringly, in the throwaway culture, we live in today, if yours does ever need fixing, it’ll be easy to source the parts. Your local blacksmith could probably repair it.
- Legendary performance
- The epitome of tough
- Astounding value
A colorful performer with a sophisticated side
Who’s shallow enough to buy a microphone based on looks alone? OK, OK, put your hands down. You disappoint me, you lot, you do.
The M80 is available in some severe bling colorways. Fluro pink, yellow, orange, gold – no fewer than 15. You can even mix and match the color of the body and grille for maximum stage presence.
But what about the sound? Telefunken’s engineers have successfully developed a microphone with the robustness of a dynamic and the sonic characteristics of a condenser. They’ve given the M80 a comprehensive frequency response without compromising its rugged build by specifying a lightweight capsule and thin diaphragm.
The resulting character is open–airy but authoritative, perfect for live vocals. Despite a high-end presence boost, transients are well-tamed, and handling noise is nicely subdued.
It’s hardly a heavy mic, but it is reassuringly hefty, tipping the scales at 430g – which is about a third more than the Shure SM58. Build quality is top-drawer. Its lines are smooth, sleek, and can look rather sophisticated in black and chrome. Or great fun in Fluro pink!
- Condenser-like sound
- Sleek design
- Quality build
- Fun color options
- Some colors can be louder than Tom Jones at full pelt.
DPA d:facto 4018
A Scandinavian condenser that loves the limelight
Some products just ooze quality, and the d: facto 4018 is such a beast. Designed, developed, and hand-assembled in Denmark, it looks the part, feels the part, and carries a price tag that may alarm but won’t shock.
Essentially, it’s a studio-quality condenser mic that’s been ruggedized for stage use by the clever boffins at DPA, who spend their days making reference-quality microphones for the harshest of environments.
Its mics have been used to record snowflakes in icy Antarctica, are currently the ears of the Mars Rover as it explores the Red Planet, and, according to DPA’s website, have even survived abuse at the hands of Celine Dion.
Typically for a condenser microphone, the d: facto 4018 has a much broader frequency range than a dynamic mic, but things get interesting when it swaps and switches its two available capsules.
The 4018VL capsule has an ultra-flat linear response, while the 4018V has a mild presence boost that starts at about 7kHz. This allows you to fine-tune the d: facto 4018 to suit your range and style.
Like all condenser microphones, there’s a danger it will pick up unwanted noise, but its supercardioid pattern should help to minimize this. It also has a 160dB SPL, which means it won’t be troubled by compelling singers screaming at it.
The d: facto 4018 can also be configured to fit most professional wireless systems from Sony, Sennheiser, Shure mics, and more.
- Exceptional build quality
- Interchangeable capsules – flat or boost
- 120dB-worth of dynamic range
- Good background-noise rejection
- Plenty robust enough for stage use
- At home in the studio, too
- Pricey if mislaid, lost, or damaged
sE Electronics V7
A live mic purpose-built to sound great, performance after performance
This is a keenly priced, no-nonsense mic that loves a good performance. Its all-metal construction will shrug off years of onstage abuse, letting your vocals take center stage show after show.
It has some clever design features, including the beveled strip around the dent-proof, corrosion-resistant steel mesh grille, which stops the V7 from rolling away when put down on an amp cab or stage floor.
The integral windscreen and pop shield are colored in sE Electronics’ corporate red but, just in case that clashes with your lippy, the manufacturer has thoughtfully included a black version in the box, too.
sE Electronics developed the DMC7 aluminum coil for the V7, which, together with the large diaphragm and neodymium magnets, gives it a crisp, natural, and open voice. Its supercardioid pattern provides sound isolation and feedback protection while handling noise is well suppressed.
The V7’s special price puts it head-to-head with the equally inexpensive Shure SM58, so if the pressure of deciding which one to buy brings you out in hives, why not treat yourself to both? Some mics will suit some singers better than others, so it’s a good idea to build up an arsenal of options.
The V7 is good enough to be your only live mic, but it’s also a worthy addition to any collection.
Rugged, no-nonsense dynamic microphones dominate live performances, while condenser mics, with their thin, often fragile diaphragms, are most often found tucked up out of harm’s way in warm studios.
Shure mic knows this more than any other brand. Its bullet-proof SM58 dynamic mic has ruled the stage for six decades now. But what about those vocalists who demand the superior frequency response that only a good condenser mic can provide?
That’s why Shure developed the SM27, a ruggedized condenser that’s fit for life in front of an audience, no matter how hostile. Shure’s entire SM range, including the 27, is designed to take the kind of punishment that live performance inflicts.
If you think its sonic characteristics would be compromised in some way, think again. The SM27 has a flat, neutral frequency response and very low self-noise, making it perfect for reproducing faithful, natural renditions of light sound sources such as tender vocals.
At the same time, a -15dB pad means it’s equally adept at miking up screamers. A proper all-rounder that’s equally at home in the studio or on the stage.
- Rugged construction
- Faithful reproduction
- Good feature set
- Integrated pop shield
Fully featured studio condenser repurposed for live use.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if some live vocal performances could match the sonic quality of studio recordings? We’re thinking more of Lana Del Rey than Lemmy; God rest his soul.
That’s the goal of the Audio-Technica AE5400, which is essentially an AT4050 studio microphone skillfully reimagined for the stage.
At its heart is the same large-diaphragm element, ready to capture every subtle hue of audio goodness. Of course, the form factor is entirely different – the AT4050 is side-address, and the AE5400 has been ruggedized with a hardened steel body for live use. It also features an internal shock-mount system, a built-in windshield, and a custom transformer to guard against noise and RF interference.
The switchable 80Hz high-pass filter (aka low-cut filter) removes low-frequency rumble generated by handling, wind, and other undesirable background noises.
It’s also a valuable tool for reducing plosives, taming the proximity effect, and removing the low end so that the vocal can sit better in the mix.
There’s even a 10dB pad to stop loud vocalists driving the AE5400 into distortion. Some engineers hesitate at using delicate, sensitive condenser micros for live use, preferring their more rigid dynamic cousins.
With its additional controls on hand to reign back any unwanted liveliness, not to mention its competitive price, the AE5400 is a seductive package for sophisticated gigs where sound quality counts.
- Same condenser element as the AT4050 studio mic
- Pristine, natural and classic sound
- Hardened steel body
- 80Hz high-pass filter
- Good value for a condenser
- Less robust than most dynamic mics
Lewitt MTP 550 DM
A solid performer that handles exceptionally well
In terms of price, the MTP 550 DM sits towards the lower end of Lewitt’s range of live vocal microphones, but that’s not to say that corners have been cut. Far from it. Pay twice as much for the MTP 840 DM, and Lewitt will provide you with some nice extras such as active circuitry and a low-cut filter, but they’re not essential.
The MTP 550 DM is an honest, no-nonsense mic that gets the job done well. The enclosure is made with a tough, durable zinc die-cast shell, and the moisture-resistant capsule is cosseted in a rubber suspension unit. This is a mic you can chuck about with impunity.
This mic sounds good, too – both detailed and authentic. The cardioid pattern rejects off-axis noise from other performers well enough without stifling the vocalist if they move away from the mic a little. The built-in wind and pop filter is effective at limiting plosives and sibilants, too.
Above all else, this mic enjoys a sterling reputation for dampening handling noise, which is a godsend for singers who like to handhold their mics or who are constantly clipping and unclipping them from their mic stands. Genres like hip-hop spring to mind, but this is a great-value mic that handles everything well.
- Very robust
- Low handling noise
- Excellent feedback rejection
- It punches well above its weight in terms of price.
- Aesthetics a little uninspiring
An inexpensive hypercardioid that sparkles
The OM2 needed to bring something unique to the party to compete in the crowded sub-$/£100 mic segment. Essentially, at this price point, it’s going head-to-head with the iconic Shure SM58 plus a legion of pretenders. It doesn’t disappoint.
Look at its frequency curve, and you’ll see that Audix has designed the OM2 to exhibit a slight bass boost, a comparatively scooped mid-range, and an additional high-end presence. This, the manufacturer claims, is to give it a full-bodied sound with a bit of sparkle on small to mid-sized PA systems.
Interestingly, it’s a hypercardioid, which means it has an ultra-tight polar pattern that will isolate vocals from any other noise on stage, provided they are sung or spoken directly into the mic within a distance of about two inches. Thankfully, it can handle very high SPL, too.
Of course, hyper-cardioid has its downsides, but it’s well worth adding an OM2 to your armory for those occasions when you need a mic with an extra-tight pattern to eliminate background noise.
- Interesting frequency curve
- Tight polar pattern
- Polar pattern too tight for some uses
The Audix OM series of microphones are a staple choice for many touring audio engineers. Like Shure, they offer varying levels of professional mics, all at a very reasonable price.
The OM-3 is a dynamic vocal mic with a hypercardioid polar pattern, rejecting even more sound from the sides than its competitors. This has made it an everyday favorite among vocalists who hear themselves very loud in the stage monitors.
Often dynamic microphones suffer from a muddiness in the lower midrange, making it sound less evident in the context of a full band. The OM-3 has a natural low-mid attenuation, cutting out a lot of the problem right at the source.
The OM-3 is a very popular touring mic. Some vocalists need to hear themselves loud, and the OM-3’s hypercardioid pattern can help provide the necessary gain without feedback.
If you’re constantly asking the sound guy for more of your voice on the monitor, maybe the OM-3 is for you! And at $129, it’s a competitive alternative to the SM58 and others in its price range.
- Hypercardioid dynamic mic
- Excellent rejection from back and sides for extra isolation
- Very durable
- Built-in low-mid attenuation to help fight muddy mixes
Sennheiser e 965
Large-diaphragm condenser microphone developed for handheld use.
A brand that’s always keen to push technological boundaries, Sennheiser has pulled off an impressive feat with thee 965. This product defies the laws of physics – a large-diaphragm condenser explicitly designed for live handheld use.
Ordinarily, condenser mics are very susceptible to handling noise, so this is a brave endeavor from the German pro-audio brand, but no doubt a bold move commercially.
Relatively crude dynamic microphones with limited frequency response own the stage because they’re rather good at rejecting handling noise.
Unfortunately, they cannot come close to competing with the complete response of a condenser mic, so audiences listening to talented singers with extensive vocal ranges risk being disappointed.
Enter the e 965, which picks up even the most delicate nuances in impressive detail. Polar patterns can be switched between cardioid and supercardioid to reject unwanted noise. There’s a low-cut filter to omit rumble. You also get a built-in pop filter to handle plosives.
If your audience demands to hear every detail, then this could be the mic for you.
- It brings performance vocals alive.
- Built-in pop filter
- Excellent in handling noise rejection
- A dynamic mic will still be a better choice for louder genres.
Shure Beta 58A
While the SM58 is the most popular professional microphone globally, the engineers at Shure are unconvinced of the design’s perfection. Enter the Beta 58A.
It looks and feels just like a blue version of its older companion, the SM58, but the Beta 58A has quite a few design improvements that can help a vocal cut through.
The Beta 58A sports a supercardioid polar pattern, rejecting more sound from the sides and the rear. This has many advantages, including increasing the gain you can apply before the microphone feeds back.
The Beta 58A (along with the rest of Shure’s Beta line) is made of high-quality components that live up to the historical standards Shure is known for. It features the same rugged exterior design as the less-expensive SM58 but takes its electronic design into the brighter-sounding territory.
The Beta 58A is an excellent mic in its own right. If your vocal needs a little extra brightness, the Beta 58A might be for you.
- Supercardioid dynamic mic
- Clear, detailed midrange
- Increased feedback rejection
- Can use lots of gain before feedback
- Much brighter than an SM58
If the SM58 is Coke, then the Sennheiser e835 might be Pepsi. While they’re undoubtedly different mics, the e835 could be substituted without too much fuss.
Other than the exterior design, the first difference you’d notice is the e835 has a high-frequency boost built-in, which for some vocalists is an advantage over its counterparts. This can allow you to use less EQ at the mixer if the boost is naturally flattering.
In addition, the e835 has a unique internal shock mounting system that significantly reduces handling noise, perfect for vocalists who hold the mic instead of placing it on a stand. This mic should also outlast you and probably your nieces and nephews.
If you’ve tried the SM58 and you want to try a different flavor of the mic, give the e835 a shot! It’s the same price but sounds relatively brighter.
- Cardioid dynamic mic
- Very durable
- Built-in high-frequency boost for extra clarity
Shure Beta 87A
Unlike the other microphones on this list which are dynamic mics, the Shure Beta 87A uses an electret condenser design. This type of mic is typically better suited to a recording studio environment than the stage due to its increased sensitivity. Still, Shure has produced something that bridges the gap between the two.
The Beta 87A has a supercardioid pattern, giving it all the benefits of a dynamic mic while providing the detail of a condenser. It does require 48v phantom power to operate, but most mixers will provide the needed voltage with the simple push of a button.
These extra features come at a cost when compared with the other mics we’ve listed, but if you’re looking to increase the quality of your live vocal sound, the Beta 87A is a great choice.
The Beta 87A is more than twice the price of most mics we’ve listed here, but for a condenser mic, it’s pretty competitively priced.
A quality condenser microphone like the 87A can provide detail and a smooth frequency response that most dynamic live mics simply cannot. If you can swing the extra cash, you may be rewarded with a surprisingly realistic vocal sound!
- Supercardioid condenser mic
- Enhanced rejection from sides and back
- Clear, detailed sound
- Requires 48v phantom power
Shure Super 55 Deluxe
Aesthetics are often secondary to function when it comes to microphones, but it’s all about image and stage presence for some creative artists.
The Shure Super 55 Deluxe is a vintage-looking dynamic mic with modern sound and functionality.
The Super 55 Deluxe features a supercardioid dynamic mic capsule engineered for a clear and modern sound with an art-deco-inspired satin chrome housing.
If you want to look sharp and sound great on stage or screen, the Shure Super 55 Deluxe is a great, nostalgic-looking piece that is sure to turn heads and ears.
- One of the tremendous nostalgia-generating mics that still does the job.
- Rugged build and good features in a classic look.
- Expensive for some and maybe not a live performance mic for today’s world.
Heil Sound PR 35
In recent years, Heil Sound has gotten a resurgence in popularity. It is quickly becoming a household name in many underground rock and metal scenes all over the world.
The Heil Sound PR 35 is tweaked to have a natural-sounding upper midrange with a smooth and even response across the spectrum.
The result is a microphone that captures vocals with great detail and is easily augmented with further post-processing.
If you’re looking for a mic that captures natural vocals and plays well with post-processing, the PR 35 is a great pick. While not as relevant to this guide, it also sounds great on electric guitar amps and snares from my personal experience.
- Suitable in any situation
- flat and smooth response
- Supercardioid pattern
- It sounded bland
Beyerdynamic M 88 TG
Made famous by Phil Collins, the Beyerdynamic M 88 TG is a Hypercardioid pattern Dynamic mic designed for rigorous tour usage.
The TG stands for Tour Group and is spec’ed with a reinforced basket to withstand rough handling and damage.
Tone-wise, the M 88 TG favors a rich low mid and low-frequency range without sacrificing higher frequency response.
The Beyerdynamic M 88 TG earned its reputation as the Phil Collins Mic, but that doesn’t mean it only suits his particular voice type. The M 88 TG excels with adding weight to thinner voices and authority to deeper ones.
- Its low-frequency richness
- It adds a warm voice
- Mic to be feedback prone with louder stage volumes
With its dual diaphragm design, the KSM8 isn’t your run-of-the-mill handheld vocal microphone.
The design was implemented to reduce its proximity effect — making it perfect for singers that get right up close with the microphone.
A large sweet spot enables singers who also play instruments to be picked up consistently when the mic is on a stand.
If you’re looking for a mic that handles dynamic singing, or if you want a mic for a vocalist/instrumentalist that sounds consistent, the KSM8 by Shure is a great pick if you can get past the price of admission.
- Its consistency both in proximity and axis
Neumann KMS 105
This was the highest-rated handheld vocal mic between $500 and $1000 at publication time.
The Neumann brand is highly respected for studio microphones, and that reputation extends to their handheld mics.
The KMS 105’s super-cardioid polar pattern makes it extremely good at rejecting sound up to 180 degrees behind the mic.
The KMS 105 is great for all vocal types, but Neumann also has the KMS 104 optimized for female pop and rock singers (link to Sweetwater).
It uses electronic compensation to reduce the proximity effect. The 120Hz high-pass filter filters are also included.
The Neumann KMS105 is used in live concerts by Norah Jones and Michael Buble.
The Neumann KMS 105 works best for jazz, pop, and acoustic musicians where the clear sound can shine. This contrasts with hard rock or heavy metal artists who lose the mic’s delicate nuances on stage. It is the best live vocal mic you should have.
- Natural sound
- Excellent feedback rejection and noise suppression
- You may not need this mic, so you might as well go for a less expensive one.
Since 2011, James Taylor has used the Earthworks SR40V at his concerts. Foreigner Candice Hoyes (jazz singer) and many others are also Earthworks SR40V performers.
It is loved by both talented singers and their audio engineers because of its flat frequency response. This mic does not need any compensatory EQ and can be used for just the desired effect.
According to my research, the Earthworks SR40V has the most significant frequency response range of all microphones that can be used for live singing.
Earthworks stand behind this mic’s quality with a 15-year warranty.
This is the best choice for singers who work with high-quality PA systems. The SR40V maximizes your setup’s potential and can be used to record studio recordings.
- It produces a studio-quality sound on stage.
- Rejection of feedback is fundamental
- It would help if you had a great signal chain, from the mic preamps to the FOH speakers. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reap the benefits of a high-end mic like this.
Shure Beta 87C
Shure Beta 87C, the cardioid version of the Beta 87A, is the Shure Beta 87C.
The 87C has a more precise cardioid pattern than the A version. This allows for better rejection of sound towards its back. This mic is ideal for loud stage monitors, which can cause unwanted feedback.
Despite the slight change in frequency due to the different polar patterns, the 87C still retains the same characteristics as its A sibling.
The Beta 87C studio mic is an excellent choice if you are looking for a louder stage microphone for louder volume with floor monitors.
- The version of the 87A that is less feedback-prone
- The mic can have more gain than the A version.
- There is a slight difference in frequency response between the 87C and the 87C.
The Audio-Technica AE6100 is a dynamic mic that can handle high-pitched vocals. The AE6100 is the only hypercardioid on this list. It locks onto your voice and cuts through any background noises, regardless of what else may be going on.
Audio-Technica takes steps to eliminate two of the pitfalls associated with hypercardioid designs, the proximity effect, and plosives.
A hypercardioid singer must keep in line with the microphone to get the best out of it. While this is easier if you stay close to the microphone, it can have its own set of problems.
First, all cardioids will increase the low frequencies as you get closer to the microphone, distorting the sound. The proximity effect, which is essentially impossible in hyper-cardioids, worsens when polar patterns become tighter.
Audio-Technica has managed to reduce the worst effects by increasing the frequency response down to 60Hz. Although you lose some range, you still get exceptional isolation, low proximity effects, and high-SPL tolerance.
This mic is also very good at rejecting plosives, so it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking to push the limits with their vocal mic.
- Low proximity effect and very high SPL
- Excellent bass response and clear mids
- Ideal for large-scale open-stage recordings and live performances
- It is not the most comfortable to use due to the proximity effect.
CAD Audio CADLive 90
At an affordable price, the CAD Audio CADLive 90 seems like a functional supercardioid, supercardioid, dynamic microphone.
It’s true; it’s the most economical option on the list while still offering a more comprehensive frequency range than other dynamic mics. CAD Audio has also included rare-earth element neodymium to the specifications of this mic.
Neodymium magnets are the strongest available commercially. This means that you can get the same amount of magnetic power with a smaller magnet.
The result for a dynamic microphone is more signal and less noise. The Shure BETA 58A’s neodymium magnet adds cost to the mic. This feature is found in such a low-cost microphone is quite a surprise. The CADLive 90 is a budget-friendly option that offers a unique spin.
- Good specifications
- Unbeatable price
- Neodymium magnet
- Low-profile pattern
- Stereo option not available
- There is no XLR option for XLR cables
Tips To Buy A Recording Microphone
There are several ways to maximize the value of your microphone purchase.
- It would help if you considered the range and sensitivity of the microphone. Professional microphones can pick up sound from as low as 40 decibels to as high as 80 decibels.
- Higher sensitivity levels are preferred as the microphone will pick up lower frequencies better if it is more sensitive. Do not be tempted to set your live vocal mic at the lowest setting. You’ll get a muffled sound, which is not what your goal is. To capture low-frequency sounds with no distortion, you need to set the highest sensitivity.
- Practice makes perfect. You can try different phrases to get a feel of the great sound. The live vocal mic can be used as a neck pickup, so the vocal directly contacts the acoustic instruments. This will stop the neck from emitting unwanted feedback and provide better recording studios.
Considerations When Buying A Microphone For Live Vocals
It would help if you considered what you like when choosing a microphone for the stage or studio. Although it seems obvious, it can be tempting to choose a microphone because your favorite artist uses one or because you are loyal to a particular brand. Instead, listen to your ears and expand your mind.
A great mic might make one singer sound impressive, but another may sound dull and stale. It all comes down to their vocal characteristics, the space they are performing in, and the noise emitted from nearby performers or instruments.
If you have a limited budget, a cheap workhorse like the iconic Shure SM58 will suffice.
Let’s look at some musical genres to see how they can influence your choice for a mic. Many people agree that a solo singer-songwriter with an acoustic instrument is far noisier than a five-piece metal band.
Sound engineers refer to that noise as sound-pressure level or SPL. Acoustic genres like folk, classical, and some jazz tend to have lower levels of SPL than rock and all its subgenres.
This is not a complete list. A full orchestra or big-band jazz band will generate high levels of SPL. Unwanted noise can be generated even from the backstage machinery of an opera house. Use your ears and common sense to determine where your brand is in terms of SPL.
This is why it matters. We want to hear every nuance in a performer’s voice. This means that we need a sensitive microphone that can pick up a wide range of sounds.
Although a large-diaphragm condenser mic such as those found in high-end studios should work well, it will be almost impossible to hear every nuance of a performer’s voice.
Consider The Sound Signature
Each live vocal mic has a different frequency response. One mic might emphasize one frequency response while another may focus on another wide frequency response.
Before you buy a mic, it is essential to know what the right mic is for you. A flat audio frequency response is an ideal mix. It doesn’t change or color the human voice when you use it.
For example, the Shure SM58 emphasizes the bass frequency response more. Some would instead emphasize the highs. You should therefore find the perfect sound signature to complement your voice.
You can find the perfect sound signature for your voice by listening to your voice while speaking into the live vocal mic. You will quickly notice that different best live vocal mics have different emphases if you try them.
Consider Too The Polar Pattern!
Great mics absorb sounds in different directions. This characteristic refers to the microphone’s polar pattern. A pickup pattern graph will show you which direction a microphone absorbs sound.
A live vocal that picks up sound from both sides is not recommended for a female singer. Good accept sound should not be limited to the sides or the back.
This is to reduce problems with feedback coming from your loud stage monitors or front of house speakers
It is a good idea to purchase a unidirectional microphone with a tight Cardioid pickup pattern. This cardioid pattern mic is focused on the great sound coming from the front and eliminates any audio leakage to the back.
Consider Also The Impedance
You may have never heard of the term impedance. It is simply the resistance to current flowing through the mic’s circuit. It is best to choose a good mic with a lower impedance or the same Impedance as the audio equipment to which it will be plugged.
Mics with high impedance ratings are rated at 10,000 Ohms and more. These mics have high-price but will quickly lose their quality as the audio moves along a cable.
General low-impedance microphones usually have a rating of just below 600 Ohms. These mics are worth your consideration.
Consider The Proximity Effect
Sometimes, the directional mic has an unusual characteristic. The mic will make lower frequencies sound heavier if you are close enough. This will make your voice warmer. Male singers can use this characteristic to enhance the quality of their voices.
However, manufacturers of these mics provide measurements of the effects for their mics. These mics will also include the measurement of proximity effects in their specifications.
Condenser Mic Vs. Dynamic Mic
A condenser mic can pick up unwanted sound unless the stage SPL level is low. This includes drums, cymbals, and bass guitar amps that are pointed towards them.
You can’t isolate the vocal track from the mixing desk if you have PA speakers. This will make setup difficult and reduce the clarity that you were trying to achieve.
Condenser mics are more susceptible to feedback and are not well-suited for the unpredictable stage or loud live vocals. These mics can be very expensive and difficult to replace or repair.
These mics work well in live environments. Although their frequency range is smaller, dynamic mics are better at rejecting unwanted sounds. They are not susceptible to noise interference and can be purchased for less than $100/PS75/EUR85.
Suppose you are miking up a professional vocalist on a stage with a low level of SPL and all-vocal performance details are essential to your audience.
In that case, a condenser mic may be worth looking into – especially one designed for stage use, such as the Sennheiser e965 or DPA d.facto 4018.
If the volume is going to be high and setup time is a concern (who wouldn’t? A dynamic mic makes more sense. Are people in the audience going to notice the difference? It is unlikely, as sound is just one aspect of great performances in many genres.
The On-and-Off Switch
A microphone with switches can cause distractions if it is accidentally turned off. A mic with no switches is a great way to help you focus on your presentations and vocals while performing live.
The Polar Pattern
A mic with a narrow polar pattern such as a supercardioid or cardioid polar pattern is best. These directional patterns can be used to block unwanted off-axis sounds like a rock band, instruments, and general stage noise, mainly if the singer is close-miked.
This also helps to reduce the gain. By reducing the gain, unwanted noise will be less disruptive, and feedback will be minimized.
It takes practice and discipline to sing directly into a mic. A vocalist who moves away from or to one side of a supercardioid mic, possibly as part of their stage act, will experience varying volume levels and the wrathful sound engineer.
Worse, due to the proximity effect (which makes close sources sound warmer), the singer can sound rich and powerful but emaciated or raspy the next.
Avoid tight patterns if you are prone to moving around. If you are constantly unclipping and attaching your microphone from a stand adapter to make it work, consider a mic that has low handling noise.
It is never easy to choose a suitable live-performance mic. However, there are many outstanding options available that will help you and your vocalist shine.
Wireless or Wired Microphone?
Wireless mics are extremely popular today and can be used for concerts or live performances. Wireless mics allow people to move freely on stage and can perform their calligraphy without any stress.
A wired microphone is delicate, but wireless mics offer more features and benefits.
It is essential to understand where and for what purpose you will use your own mic before purchasing it. A condenser microphone can be a great choice if you are looking for a mic to use at live events and on stage.
A high-quality dynamic mic is required to handle the louder sounds of musical instruments like acoustic guitars, drums, and bass amps.
What budget do you have for buying the best microphone for live vocals? Mics made for recording live events are usually much less expensive than mics used in professional recording vocals.
Essential Features: The Best Mic For Live Vocals Must Have
There are many mic models and brands on the market today. These characteristics are essential for mics that are high-quality and top-notch.
Mice that last for a long time are the best microphones for live vocals. They are often used as instruments. Mics are therefore subject to wear and tear. Mics that are built to withstand the most severe banging on stage are the best.
Flat response microphones are best for live sound. You can also choose the best live vocal mics with a warmer tone. Many vocalists prefer mics with a very natural tone.
Some mics can be picky. They are not compatible with all audio gears. Some mics are capable of connecting with various types of audio gear. End-users value these mics highly.
What is a vocal mic?
A vocal microphone is a microphone designed to be used with singing. The USB port is the only thing that it does not have, unlike a speaker microphone.
The mic can be connected to your computer via USB. You can use this microphone for recording as well as the standard functionality.
What Microphone Is Better For You?
A dynamic microphone is a great choice to record your voice. They also sound great when you use louder sounds. A dynamic microphone may be better suited for you if you speak loudly or get excited while talking.
Is it better for me to sing with a microphone or with my voice?
A microphone can be a great tool to combat the natural urge to push harder when you have trouble hearing yourself. Practicing amplification for advanced vocalists in pop and rock is essential, as you will often perform with amplification.
How Can I Select A Quality Microphone?
The frequency response of a microphone refers to the frequency range that it can pick up. The frequency response is measured in hertz and refers to the low and high frequencies.
A right vocal mic with a frequency range between 80 Hz and 15 kHz is a good choice for live vocal microphones.
How Loud Can You Sing Into A Microphone?
Singing into a microphone should be medium loud. The dynamics of the song may dictate how loud you need to sing. The medium volume you need to sing is the same as the volume you use to call someone who is approximately 30 feet away.
How Much Does A Microphone Cost?
100 – 250 dollars. A professional microphone of decent quality will cost you more than $100. This price range offers many great USB, lavalier, and dynamic microphones.
Does A Microphone Change Your Voice?
Like all audio equipment, microphones can alter the quality of your voice. While some microphones can capture sound more accurately than others, all microphones alter the sound in one way or the other.
Aside from that, your perception of your voice may differ from what your actual voice sounds like.
Why Are Singers Putting Their Mouths On The Mic?
To increase the volume and amplify low notes, direct mouth-to-mic contact can be used (called the proximity effect). … To do this, you must sing into the microphone as close as possible so that your voice doesn’t get drowned out. This reduces distortion.
Is Singing Better When Accompanied By A Microphone?
If you sing, practice the same technique. Your voice will sound better when it is amplified naturally. Once you have mastered the art of maximizing vocal resonance, it is time to record yourself and listen to what you sound like. Consider how you sound when you playback what you have recorded.
What Is The Reason I Sound Strange On A Microphone?
Your voice is only being heard on a recording because you hear sounds through air conduction. Your voice will sound different on recordings because you are missing bone conduction in the head.
How High Should I Record My Vocals?
Record vocals at a level of -18dB to get a 24-bit resolution. The highest volume parts should be recorded at -10dB, and the lowest at -24dB. This is so that the vocals are not distorted, and the volume remains even.
How can I get a microphone to sing?
The 4 Steps to Buying Your First Mic
- Set a budget. When it comes to purchasing your first microphone, budget is an important factor.
- Identify the most important things you will be recording. Decide what you want.
- Your singing style should be matched with your right vocal mic
- Consider your recording environment.
Is a good microphone worth the investment?
Yes, it can. Although the difference between good and bad microphones isn’t huge, it can make a big difference. The smaller the improvement, the higher the quality and the lower the price.
Choosing the best microphones for live vocals is not a task to be taken lightly. There are so many factors that come into play when choosing which mic will suit your needs, and it can feel like an overwhelming process.
We hope our review has shed some light on what you should look out for to make a decision quickly without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with all of the options available.
Remember that this is just one aspect of being prepared for any performance situation; there’s still plenty more research and preparation you need before taking the stage!
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Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API