Microphones can be complicated and confusing. There are many different types and brands to choose from, but they all have their pros and cons. This article will help you find the best recording microphone for the money for your needs!
The art of making music is constantly evolving with new technology, so it’s essential to stay on top of which gear is right for you. That’s why we have compiled this list to show you which best microphones are worth investing in today.
And just like any other piece of equipment, some vocal mics work better than others, depending on what style or technique you’re trying to capture. So take a look at our list below and see if one catches your eye!
What you should know about the best recording microphones
With so many different types of microphones to choose from, buying the best recording microphone can be confusing. They all have varying features and sound characteristics. Here are some things you need to know before purchasing a recording microphone.
What is frequency response?
Frequency response refers to the range of frequencies that makes up the human voice and other sounds that we hear. The lower the number, the less bass, and treble; the higher the number, the more treble, and bass.
Different microphones have different frequency ranges. To find out what your voice sounds like, ask a friend to whisper into each type of microphone you are considering buying. You will be surprised at how much sound is created by the voice.
When buying a microphone for recording vocals, choose one whose frequency response best matches your own. If you have a high-pitched voice, go for a small diaphragm condenser with extra treble frequencies. If you buy a dynamic mic (a straightforward kind), check its performance at higher pitches before buying.
There are critical differences between the condenser and dynamic mics
Condenser mics are recommended for vocal recording. Condenser microphones are more sensitive than dynamic mics, so these mics have to be powered by an external power source such as a mixer or audio interface. The difference of condenser vs dynamic in sensitivity and impedance will also affect how you position the mic when recording vocals – see below.
If you’re buying your first microphone for recording vocals, you will probably choose a dynamic mic. It’s straightforward to use and does not need phantom power or an external power supply.
The price point of the best vocal is also much lower than condenser mics as they are the most popular and primary type of vocal recording microphone used by singers/musicians today.
Condenser mics require powering with an external source, i.e., phantom power from a mixer or battery-powered. A condenser mic has two diaphragms and is more sensitive than a dynamic mic.
The most important thing to remember when buying this type of vocals microphone is the quality of sound sources- you will not regret buying one if the sound it records matches your voice and music styles!
Bass and treble frequencies are canceled out to a certain extend by the power of the proximity effect, which is why singers get in close to the microphone for recording vocals.
It has been scientifically proven that female voices sound better on condenser mics than dynamic mics; male voices, on the other hand, sound warmer when recorded with dynamic microphones.
Remember that these are generalizations and that the best recording microphone for you will depend on the characteristics of your voice.
It is also important to remember that if buying the best vocal condenser mic, you will have to buy an audio interface or mixer with phantom power to power it up. There is no in-built battery or external device. Suppose purchasing a dynamic mic, plug, and play – no need for phantom power!
What is a polar pickup pattern?
To put it simply, a polar pickup pattern is a way a microphone looks at your voice. Think of it as how many sounds from all directions are picked up by the vocals mic (the more directly in front of it, the better).
We call this a unidirectional or cardioid pickup pattern. When buying a condenser mic, you will see that it may have a -6dB or similar mark in the corner. This pickup pattern is an indication of the difference in sensitivity for sounds coming from different angles.
There are many other pickup patterns to choose from when buying the best microphones. All these patterns can be adjusted based on how much sound the mic picks up from different directions.
Top Best Recording Mic 2021
1. Neumann TLM 103
A microphone from one of the most famous names in recording history is here that will impress all users, novice or seasoned. They’ve created the Neumann TLM103, one of their best vocal mics in terms of both build quality and versatility.
Although this large-diaphragm condenser mic is excellent for many uses, the vocal mic shines when used in performance. It has a rich, warm low end and a crisp, sparkly top end.
This makes it an excellent choice for singers with naturally sibilant voices. This vocals mic is a Neumann brand product, and it can capture every detail and quirks of the singers.
The recording microphone can handle high volumes without any problems. The mic’s impressive 138dB maximum SPL means it can bear any importance a strong larynx can throw at them without causing distortion.
It has a dynamic range of 87dB, so you can be sure it will keep you going through all the highs and lows. This vocals mic also generates outstanding fidelity.
It offers exceptional reproduction and no self-noise with sensitivity from 1 kHz to 1 Kohm, 23 mV/Pa, and a weighted signal-to-noise ratio (87 dBA).
This is the perfect instrument for those who can sing and play acoustic guitar. Both acoustic and wind instruments. These mics demand the best studio-quality equipment. They choose a trusted brand that they can rely on.
2. Mojave Audio Professional Microphone Large Diaphragm Tube Condenser
Mojave Audio’s MA200 is one of the best studio microphones on the market. Although the cost of a mic may seem prohibitive to those just starting, the MA200 condenser microphone from Mojave Audio is a great choice.
It has a superior build quality and a fantastic sound. The mic’s durable and robust construction makes it an affordable option.
The mic is powered by a Jensen audio transformer and uses a JAN 5840 NOS military vacuum tube. The mic also has an internal switchable phantom power supply voltage of 115V, 230V, or 50 Hz.
The capsule is a hand-selected 3-micron 1. Its fixed cardioid pattern allows for close-up sources such as vocals, piano, or acoustic instruments. You can use it as an overhead drum microphone.
Large diaphragms produce a rich, warm sound at the low end and crisp highs. This mic produces 100% accurate sound imaging and has a tremendous dynamic range. This vocals mic is ideal for vocalists who desire to convey the intimacy and immediacy of live performance.
This mic comes with a protective case, shock mount, and cables. It is perfect for live touring or just plain use. It is the best microphone for recording professional broadcasting and home studio use.
3. AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII
Are you looking for exceptional audio quality and a retro design to enhance your vocals? You want a rugged mic and durable enough to withstand the elements on the road and in the home studio. AKG’s C414 XLII is the best choice.
The C414 is a popular microphone that is widely used. It has a long history and sounds very similar to the AKG C12. It has nine selectable patterns, which gives it even more versatility and is the best microphone for recording harmony vocals or drum beats.
The mic’s outstanding dynamic range reproduces every sound accurately and with great clarity. Additionally, the three attenuation levels (-6/12/-18dB) allow exceptional customizability in the recording vocals experience. The mic can reproduce great sound sources at close range while also handling high pass filter output sources up to 158dB.
You can also use the mic’s bass-cut pop filter to minimize audio distortion, no matter where you may be. The mic can reduce wind noise, stage vibration and nullify proximity effect for sound quality as great live as in the studio vocal.
The C414 XLII includes a sturdy carrying case that protects the road, as well as a pop filter and windscreen, as well as a spider-type shock mount, so you are prepared to go wherever you need it.
You won’t find the best microphone for recording audio that captures every nuance of your vocal recording expression.
This is an excellent choice for users who demand professional audio quality from a trusted name. Production for radio and television. Instrumental and best studio vocal. Live vocals.
4. Slate Digital VMS
Large capsule condenser microphones from the classic large size are a must-have and highly sought-after item. A Neumann U47 microphone can cost up to $10,000. This mic is not affordable for most studio vocal owners, and it’s certainly not possible for all studios. In theory, you could emulate them using the software.
Although some plugs in the past claimed to make mic sound sources like another, the reality is that most of them are not very good.
This is due to the limitations of the original microphone and the mic pres and the quality of any interface that recorded it. Slate Digital has taken this idea and created a system that removes as many variables as possible.
The VMS includes large, high-quality capsule condenser microphones, an ‘ultra-linear mic pre, and a plug-in containing modeled mics. The only variable is that you have to use your A/D converter to get it into your DAW.
5. Lewitt LCT 640 TS microphone
While visually very similar to Lewitt Audio’s LCT 640 TS, the new LCT 640 TS features a twin diaphragm cap and Lewitt’s integrated capsule match system. Twin System stands for Twin System.
It can be used in either regular multipattern microphone mode or dual-mode, allowing independent access to both diaphragm outputs. This will enable you to adjust the polar pattern and opens up many stereo recording vocals options.
Dual-mode allows access to the second diaphragm via a small three-pin connector. The carry case also contains:
- Three-pin XLR breakout cables and accessories like a foam windshield.
- Suspension tray.
- Mic pouch.
- A magnetic pop shield.
It’s an attractive, well-constructed package.
- Five options for polar pattern choices
- Selection of attenuation or roll-off
6. Rode NT1000
Rode, an Australian manufacturer, is our final entry. It offers outstanding performance at a very affordable price range. Because it can be used with both drums and pianos, the NT1000 is a versatile instrument. Many users agree that the NT1000 is most alive when it’s used to sing.
This microphone is built with exceptional quality and features transformerless SMD circuitry that produces low self-noise levels of only 6 dB. This microphone is ideal for many purposes. It has a very low noise of just 6 dB and delivers crystal clear audio at all frequencies.
This true condenser mic, externally biased, is the best microphone for recording vocals in the studio or home recording. However, its Robust, satin-matte nickel-plated housing and heat-treated mesh top make it an excellent companion on stage and on tour.
You can see the quality of the microphone’s vital statistics, which only strengthens its reputation.
It is versatile. It has a dynamic range of 134 decibels. It has a maximum sound pressure level at 140 dBA and a frequency range between 20 Hz and 20 kHz, so even the loudest performers can still scream to the tunes without sound distortion.
This is a great choice if you don’t want to switch polar patterns.
It’s great for anyone. This mic is for you if you are looking to record any type of material and not sacrifice quality in exchange for a price range.
7. Warm Audio WA47
This entry by Warm Audio reveals everything you need about the brand. This manufacturer makes retro-inspired tributes to old audio equipment but with modern components and technology. These mics can do all this for surprisingly low prices, which appeals to both the novice and seasoned audiophile.
The WA-47, based on the Neumann U47 tube microphone, offers excellent build quality and a great price. The large-diaphragms microphones have nine polar patterns, making them ideal for picking up vocals from all directions. It is well-suited for vocal recording and instrumental use.
It’s not just a dead ringer like its predecessor. It also has a very similar sound profile, making it ideal for anyone who wants to give their music a vintage feel.
The tube is a JJ5751, which is a variant of the 12AX7. It has a lower gain, but it doesn’t make it less powerful or quiet.
The WA-47 excels in both performance and presentation. It offers excellent decibel gains, phantom power when needed, and shuts out background noise beautifully.
The WA-47 is a heavier model than the Neumann U47 and weighs in at just 13 lbs. The beautiful wooden presentation box is responsible for a lot of the mic’s weight.
However, some performers might appreciate the microphone’s solidity. It is advisable to make sure that the microphone is mounted correctly when using a mic stand.
The retro design and 2high quality build make this piece an excellent choice for many uses.
This is an excellent choice for people who can sing or play an instrument are looking for the best microphones for recording. Audiophiles. Vintage music lovers or those who seek a timeless, high-quality sound.
8. Sennheiser EW 112P G3-A omni-directional EW System
This Sennheiser wireless pack is an excellent choice if you have a limited budget.
Two components make up wireless microphones: the receiver and the transmitter. Sennheiser’s receiver is small and battery-powered.
It can be attached to a camera or kept out of sight. Some wireless setups require a base station to charge the battery. This is not convenient when you are out and about.
It was good, but it wasn’t the best sound. It can also be used as a lapel microphone for presentations or on-camera interviews. The downside is the price point. These mics are expensive at $610. These are not cheap at $610.
9. Neumann tlm 102
We were expecting great things from Neumann TLM 102, one of the most respected names in best microphones for recording vocals. The large-diaphragm condenser promises exceptional performance for vocals.
The Neumann TLM 102 specialist mic can produce crystal clear sound across all frequencies, with a nice bump at the 6 kHz mark. This will make your mixes pop.
This best studio microphone for recording can still be used for other purposes, however. The sound pressure threshold is high, making loud recording sources such as drums or acoustic guitar amps. This is an excellent investment for anyone who wants to upgrade their recording equipment and take their tracks to the next level.
- Amazing vocal performance
- Extraordinary clarity
10. sE Electronics sE8
Pairs of small-diaphragm condensers can be sold as matched pairs. This allows for two microphones to be calibrated for each other simultaneously. A matched pair can be used to mic a grand or acoustic piano, as well as the drum kit cymbals.
This allows for the whole sound to be heard in the stereo field while you mix your record. The sE Electronics sE8s have a reputation for being highly rated and are also less expensive than their rivals. The sE Electronics is the best recording microphone that is used for orchestral instruments or woodwinds.
11. SE Electronics sE2200a II C Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
The XLR microphone is not a name that can be thrown off the tongue. This microphone is excellent for male and female voices. It is an excellent value at $280.
You will need a mixer that can provide power and take an XLR input. We felt that we could add some bass to Andrea‘s recording.
We tried adding bass to a different recording using a mixer board. It improved the quality of our mic. You could also use an audio editing program.
12. AKG Pro Audio C214
The C214 condenser microphone from AKG is another outstanding value-for-money option. It offers excellent audio quality and durability, which is essential for touring and playing live music and studio capabilities.
This entry by AKG was designed for lead vocals, but it can also create instrumental solos. You won’t find a better all-rounder for setting up a home studio than this one.
It delivers excellent vocal quality and has a variety of features that allow you to record close up. The mic features a 20dB attenuator switch and a bass-cut pop filter that reduces the proximity effect.
It also has an ultra-low noise to record high pass filter-output sources close up. This all happens without compromising the dynamic range, which is an impressive 143 dB.
Although it has a sonic character similar to the C414 XLII, it is much more affordable. You can expect excellent clarity and detail in recording vocals, an electric guitar, and acoustic guitar.
It is highly robust, with an all-metal die-cast body that resists shock mount and scratches. It still has an elegant and attractive design, which will make it an excellent choice for live performers. It is a sensational all-rounder that will appeal to a wide range of users.
- Touring bands.
- Home studio.
- Live performers who have a history of dropping their mics.
13. Shure SM7b
The Shure SM7B was used on Michael Jackson’s Thriller album as the primary vocal mic.
It’s affordable enough to use in a home studio. It’s priced the same as the RE-20, so it’s hard to say which dynamic is the best microphone for recording. This one has a broader appeal.
This bad boy doesn’t shine like the RE-20 in secret applications, but it does have one thing that is terrible in mixing to sound great with this bad boy.
It comes with a windscreen that is specifically designed not to affect the frequency response. This frequency response includes a slight presence boost, which is added to the mix for vocals.
It also comes with a shock mount and shielding for electrical interference. This is why many TV and movie studios use it when filming with all their additional lights and cameras.
Another one of those: What else do I need? scenarios. Scenarios. It was the only mic that was used for Thriller and many of Michael Jackson’s other hits.
14. Shure MV7
Shure has been a trusted name among streamers, vloggers, podcasters, and podcasters for years. The MV7 is an excellent choice.
With a few clever tricks, the MV7 is perfect for these types of applications. The MOTIV app is a complementary tool that selects specific vocal presets to give the sound a professional look.
It is not the microphone that singers and musicians will use. Although it can handle these applications at a push of a button, this microphone is speech-specific, and the MV7 is a competent option indeed.
15. Aston Microphones Origin
Although Aston Origin is competitively priced, it offers a unique level of originality not found in other models. The Origin condenser is a single-cardioid polar pattern condenser. The Spirit condenser is multi-pattern and has an additional 10dB pad. The stainless steel casing has a 10dB pad switch and an 80Hz low-cut pop filter switch.
The mic’s XLR connector is located on the mic’s underside. There is also for mounting a mic stand (5/8-inch, with a 3/8 inch adaptor). This feature eliminates the need for a mic clip. However, it does limit the angle options and the stand’s capabilities. The capsule’s shock absorber is the outer, wave-shaped spring/mesh. Behind it is shielding of stainless steel wire mesh.
- Amazing price
- Boutique appearance
16. Audio Technica AE2300 microphone
The AE2300 cardioid is a wide-application, high-SPL cardioid pattern. It’s ideal for percussion, drums, and electric guitar amps. The AE2300 is also very compact, measuring less than 10 cm in length.
This makes it perfect for discreet use in live environments. The robust brass casing and top grille are sturdy, while the rubberized clip with a screw-tight seal will keep any drum sticks from wandering.
It’s an excellently designed and manufactured mic. It features a double-dome diaphragm that improves transient and high-frequency response.
The off-axis frequency response can be pretty linear, from 120 degrees to 180 degrees. This could be helpful when setting up a multi-miked drum kit.
17. Zoom H4N Multitrack Recorder
The Zoom H4N microphone is very different. The Zoom H4N is both a microphone as well as a recorder. It can be used to record sounds, voice-overs, and interviews to an SD card or can be connected to two XLR microphones to record. We have a Zoom, so we decided to give it a go as a standalone microphone.
Although the quality of the vocal sound was good, there were some popping sounds when the voice-over was being done. A pop filter could fix this problem.
The Zoom is versatile and can be used anywhere. To get an additional audio source, we attach a wireless lapel microphone to the Zoom.
The H4N has a new version, with the best microphone and other features. The H4N is $230, but it is an excellent value due to its versatility.
18. Rode nt1-A
The Rode NT1-A is my favorite entry-level professional mic. Although there are lower-quality options, such as the MXL990 (in the Honorable Mentions), it’s still a superior consumer mic. The Rode NT1-A is the best way to get studio quality.
A group of friends released an album that they had been working on in secret. I was blown away by the quality of the vocals. It featured rapping and singing, and it was terrific. They said it was the Rode NT1-A. These mics used the same interface and the same mixing techniques in the same room.
Only the mic was the only variable that could be changed. Rode NT1-A sold me when I bought an NTK (the next choice) to match them.
The Rode NT1-A, the anniversary edition of the older NT1 model, is proof of its durability and high demand. This mic is great for all vocals, and it especially excels at high and mid frequencies. If you have a tight budget, this Rode NT1-A is an excellent place to start. Then upgrade your preamps if necessary.
As with all mics, this mic only gets better if you surround it with better equipment. This mic is a significant investment and will last for many years.
19. Audio-Technica AT875R Line + Gradient Condenser Microphone
During our tests, the XLR microphone performed well. The microphone is small in stature but has excellent sound. It is a shotgun microphone with a line-and-gradient pickup pattern.
This is good news if someone controls the placement of your mic. If someone is prone to moving while speaking, it can impact the vocal recording. This mic is an excellent value at $169.
20. IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio
While not everyone can afford professional-level microphones, there has been a rise in demand for simple, decent-quality, bus-powered microphones.
There are many great options for the best microphones available on the market. Still, the IK Multimedia IRig Mic Studio is our choice due to its simplicity, good sound, and easy access to various apps for recording or production.
The iRig Mic Studio can be used on a mobile device and a computer or laptop. This makes it an excellent option for those on a tight budget who want to start recording.
21. Sontronics Solo microphone
The Solo microphone is solid and well-weighted. Light hand-held mics are a pain. We prefer the flat front grille to the bulbous. It provides a consistent distance guide and is less likely to cause damage to your teeth at a noisy club gig.
The preamp’s healthy level reflects the higher output impedance than an average dynamic microphone. This is good for controlling feedback and noise in live events gain staging and studio use.
If the sound is not strong enough, a significant output is pointless. In this instance, it is.
22. Blue Yeti USB Microphone-Silver
The Blue Yeti USB microphone costs $129. The microphone is quiet and produces a clear sound.
The Yeti is a powerful (and heavy) microphone that will impress your boss and colleagues. The Yeti offers several additional options not available with the other microphones, such as a switch to change pickup-pattern.
There are four polar-pattern and a 3.5-millimeter jack for headphones that allow you to view the input of what’s being recorded in real-time.
It was difficult to mount the microphone stand to it. It can be removed from the base provided, but the Yeti mount is too small to fit our microphone stand. An adapter is available, but this will be something you need to do before recording.
23. Shure sm58
The Shure SM58 holds the title of Most Popular Vocal Mic for a long time.
Take a look at photos of your favorite singers on stage. 90% of the time, they are holding a Shure SM58.
Its rugged case, resistance to feedback, and ergonomic capsule make it ideal for live performances.
Shure SM58 works in the studio just as well. It’s hard to believe that professional studios with large budgets would use a $100 microphone for home recording vocals. It happens all the time.
This is why the Shure is the best recording microphone for any new studio.
For certain types of music, dynamic mics like the sm58 can be significant. Large-diaphragm condensers, however, are the best mic for vocals.
24. Shure SM57
Shure SM57 mic is the industry standard. It’s one of those cases that makes you wonder why the price was so low for the most highly praised mic in the world. The SM58, its brother mic, has a different capsule and receives the same praise. What gives?
I don’t know, but I’m not complaining. Shure SM57 could be designed to lead you to Shure products. It works for most people. Because it produces an exceptional quality sound on any instrument or voice, this mic is considered the industry’s workhorse. Professionals use this best microphone to record vocals.
Everyone realized that the mic could perform at its price level when surrounded by similarly priced preamps, converters, etc. Shure SM57 became a mid-range mic when it was fed into mid-range gear. The same with top-of-the-line equipment. In that sense, it’s almost like a chameleon.
Because it grows with you, you can have as many of these best microphones in your studio as you want. These mics are used in bars and live venues because they can beat any other microphones and never fail to sound great.
This is your lowest entry point to the world of pro-quality dynamic microphones. You can then spend more of your future budget on other things, knowing that it will improve with each piece.
25. Blue Snowball – USB
Next on our list was the Blue Snowball microphone. We made many comparisons of the Snowball and the Yeti, and the Snowball was not far behind. It’s a great microphone that anyone can afford for $69, and it is affordable.
The Snowball was very loud. We set the input level and kept it constant. Some recording mics can be hard to hear due to the low volume, but the Snowball was loud enough. I would lower the input volume on my computer if we were to use the Snowball regularly.
How much does a good recording microphone cost?
Professional audio recording microphones cost a lot of money. These mics cost more than most people’s computers or microphone preamps do. That’s a significant investment to make in something you don’t even know if they’re going to like!
In general terms, here’s how the cost breaks down for high-end microphones:
- $1000 – The cost of entry for high-quality audio recording
- $2000 – Where things start getting serious, and industry professionals start looking at this cost range as ‘good’ value
- $4000+ – You are an established artist or working professional with plenty of cash in your pocket and can afford these ultra-expensive luxury pieces. For example, some of the best microphones for recording cost between $10,000 – $15,000.
Can I record vocals with a dynamic mic?
Dynamic is the best microphone for recording vocals. They’re detailed and crisp, but these mics sometimes pick up everything. Because dynamic mics are less sensitive than condensers, you can record the vocalist without all that extra noise!
Can you use a performance mic to record?
Yes, of course – if you use a high-quality microphone! A cheap dynamic stage mic will always sound like one. But with the suitable condenser mics on both ends, it’ll give your studio and live performances that extra gusto these mics need to move up in the ranks.
How can I record audio and microphone at the same time?
For any Windows user who wants to record their computer sound and your voice simultaneously, all you have to do is start Bandicam -> Video -> Settings -> Recording settings.
Make sure that (Default Sound Device) and Microphone are chosen for both recording devices with a two-sound mixing option selected if possible.
You also like: How To Set Default Microphone? Top Full Guide 2021
The microphone is an essential piece of equipment for any recording project, and getting the right one can make a huge difference in your sound quality. With so many types to choose from, it may seem overwhelming which option you should go with.
We hope our article has helped simplify this decision by providing information on what each type of mic does best and highlighting some important features when choosing one.
If you’re not sure where to start or if you need help deciding on a specific model, Hooke Audio recommends contacting us!
Our team would be happy to answer all your questions about the best recording mics and more. Which type of mic do you have now? Let us know how it’s working out for you!
Last update on 2021-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API