No two voices are the same, so finding the perfect singing microphone to capture your unique sound can be daunting in 2022. But don’t fret – this guide to the best vocal microphones will help you zero in on the perfect one for your needs, whether you’re recording in the studio or performing live on stage.
Taking our gear cues from our favorite artists is easy, but finding out the cost of high-end recording and live equipment can stop most starving artists dead in their tracks. Don’t worry because we’ve assembled a list of some of the best singing microphones across all budgets and price ranges. This guide looks at some of the best singing microphones available today, aimed at various situations and budgets.
Different Types Of Microphones
The dynamic mic is one of the most common and sturdy microphones. This mic is often used during live performances or when recording genres that require more emphatic vocals, such as rock or hip hop. Some examples of popular dynamic microphones are the Shure SM57 and the Sennheiser MD 421-II. Most wireless microphones are also dynamic mics.
Dynamic microphones are designed to withstand drops and other damage in a home studio. They are also better at picking up louder noises, making them ideal for recording drums, guitars, and vocals. Dynamic mics are usually the most affordable and tend to be cardioid microphones.
A dynamic microphone is a type of microphone that uses a moving coil to convert sound waves into electrical signals. The moving coil is attached to a diaphragm, which vibrates when it receives sound waves. The coil converts this vibration into an electrical signal, then sent to an amplifier or other audio equipment.
Diaphragm Condenser Microphones
A condenser mic, also known as a capacitor microphone, are powerful vocal studio recording microphone. They are designed to pick up bright, smooth vocals and have less low-end frequency pick-up than most dynamic or ribbon microphones.
The condenser microphone needs an external power source to function properly. Most condenser microphones have a metal diaphragm that is charged and attached to a fixed metal plate. They are delicate and can easily be damaged if not handled with care.
Technically, ribbon microphones are a type of dynamic microphone. However, they are designed differently and tend to produce a warmer sound. Ribbon microphones usually have a large diaphragm and a unique figure 8 polar pattern.
These microphones are great for picking up low-end sounds and have a natural high-frequency roll-off, making them some of the most accurate music production microphones. These microphones act similarly to your ears and can easily pick up ambient noise in the room for a more organic sound.
Best Microphones For Singing
Neumann TLM 102
The Neumann TLM 102 is a versatile, compact condenser microphone with a large diaphragm that can handle high sound pressure levels. It is well-suited for recording guitar amp cabinets or acoustic drums. Still, it is perfect for recording vocals because it has a slight boost in the upper mids that adds an airy quality to recordings without making them sound nasal.
You may be physically surprised by the size of the TLM 102; it is a small, stylish microphone. Our review model was black but had a plain silver finish. The microphone has no controls, making it supremely simple to use. A simple red logo on one side indicates the side to point at your sound source – it is a cardioid mic, after all, so it helps to know which is the active side. Otherwise, it’s a perfect design.
The M8000 is perfect for live and rehearsal sessions and all-around studio use, thanks to its simple design and durable construction. It’s also suitable for some high-volume applications like close-miking of drums and guitar amps. And, because it’s affordable, the M8000 can be put through the rigors of active recording studios and mobile applications without breaking the bank.
Although it is a budget microphone, the M8000 includes a single mic clip. It has a focused and somewhat “sterile” sound, making it great for capturing basic speech, rock vocals, and electric guitars. However, there are more nuanced options on the market for critical applications which don’t come with sound-adjustment options, a shock mount, or zippered storage bag.
AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII
The AKG C414 multi-pattern condenser microphone is very popular and well-known. It is often used in broadcast facilities, recording studios, and performance stages because it can be used with many different sources.
AKG has improved upon the already legendary C414 with the addition of their C414 XLII. With its nine polar patterns, leading-edge internals, and reference-quality results, the AKG C414 XLII condenser microphone is the go-to option for singers and engineers looking for a versatile option for their studios.
The C414 XLII provides a range of options to tailor the microphone’s sound to your needs, including nine polar patterns, three bass cut filters, and three switchable pre-attenuation pads at -6dB, -12dB, and -18dB. The mic also has a clipping LED on the face, so you can see if you’re overloading it. And the settings can easily turn all the controls off for live sound applications.
The NTK is a premium valve condenser microphone designed to provide incredible detail and warmth in the studio, especially for most single instrument recording scenarios.
The electronic circuitry complementing this sensitive transducer includes a hand-selected twin-triode 6922 valve and audiophile-grade components for ultra-wide dynamic range, low noise, and incredible tube warmth. This microphone’s rich sound is ideal for vocals, acoustic instruments, drum overheads, guitar amps, and pianos.
This microphone is fantastic! Although it could be a little harsh on the upper frequencies, particularly sibilance issues. The solution is to buy a different tube for this mic; I wish I had done this earlier. This mic, paired with a decent preamp like the Golden Age Project Pre 73, makes the vocals sound crispy.
The Blue Bluebird SL large-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone is designed to pick up every detail of your sound. With precise high frequencies, smooth mid frequencies, and rich lows, your tracks will sound better than ever—Record electric guitars with presence and acoustic guitars with incredible detail.
Place a pair of them up and capture the full power of a drum kit. The Bluebird SL offers excellent off-axis rejection due to its unusually tight cardioid polar pattern.
With its large-diaphragm cardioid capsule and natural presence, the Bluebird SL will make your voice sound better!
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I would rate the MA-200 a “10” for its price.YOu can usually get them for around $700 for an excellent condition used mic, but even at its street price of $900-1k, this mic is a great deal.
Having experience with many tube LDCs in the same price range as the Mojave, I am always pleased to find that it can keep up with any of them. It has worked very well on acoustic guitar and vocals, especially for someone whose voice is strident in the upper-midrange.
The Mojave’s successfulness on the strident singer was unexpected, as I thought it would have an emphasized upper midrange based on what I had read on the GS forum. The MA-200 does have a peak in the highs, but without looking at the frequency plot of the mic, I would say that it is above 10kHz. This adds a touch of air to the sound without any 4-8kHz harshness.
This is one of my favorite mics and has a super approachable price point.
There are only a few microphones that sound the best. This includes well-maintained vintage tube mics and contemporary high-ticket items like the Sony C-800G. If you have ever used this mic, you know how great it is. It captures the silky breathiness of vocals without sounding shrill.
The C-800G is an excellent microphone for acoustic guitar, as it picks up very little noise and is very sensitive. The vacuum tube has its cooling system, and the large dual-diaphragm capsule can be set to either a cardioid or omnidirectional polar pattern. If you are looking for a top-of-the-line microphone, the Sony C-800G is a great option.
RØDE’s design engineers looked at the NT1 as a combination of innovation and tradition, starting with the capsule, a brand new design. Codenamed the HF6, it perfectly represents RØDE’s fusion of artistic design approaches and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques.
It features a sound signature that reminds people of the famous microphones of the past while also exhibiting extremely low noise.
I love this Rode mic! It’s my favorite of all the ones they sell. I wouldn’t say I like mics with a pronounced high-end frequency range, but this mic is different. It sounds natural and warm, with a flat frequency response pleasing to the ear. It’s a solid workhorse that many people feel the same way about.
This mic will become a highly sought-after classic, a staple, and a solid workhorse. For reference, I use this mainly for voice-over and narration, one song.
The Telefunken U47, first introduced in 1946, is renowned for its ability to produce clear highs, extended low end, and a commanding midrange that delivers high-quality sound. Its exquisite detail allows it to capture all the beautiful sources, from the subtlest strains to the loudest drums of a nylon-string guitar.
The dual pick-up pattern mode provides appropriate recording options. The switchable polar pattern is one of the things that has made the original Telefunken U47 a popular hit in the market today. You can use the polar patterns to fine-tune your tone to match your source perfectly.
It may not be at the low price that other mics on this list are, but it’s well worth the investment if you want to capture the true essence of the human voice.
Extra Things You Will Need To Record Vocals
A mic is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. Getting good vocal takes out of your singing mics will require a few other non-essential tools. So let’s dive into those quick…
A pop filter is a handy tool that can improve the sound quality of your recordings by reducing background noise and echo. Some singers prefer to use a pop filter while recording, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide what works best for you.
Pop filters remove the popping sound caused by the mechanical impact of fast-moving air on the microphone, usually brought on by percussive syllables in your voice or short bursts of air introduced on more expressive vocal takes.
A good pop filter will help to ensure that your recordings are focused on excellent sound quality and that any unwanted noises are filtered out so your microphone does not pick them up.
High-Quality Microphone Cables
After you have put together the best series of audio components your budget allows, a few extras are always needed. One of those is usually microphone cables. The temptation might be to buy the cheapest lines available. But that would be a big mistake because the quality of your mic cables can significantly impact the overall quality of any audio system.
High-quality mic cables offer multiple layers of shielding to protect against interference, impurity-free copper for better sound quality, and quad conductors to reject noise. They also tend to be more rugged and last longer than cheaper cables.
A microphone stand will support and position your microphone in your studio so you can record tracks for your songs and productions. Without a perspective, your microphone would pick up and record all sorts of knocks, bumps, and vibrations that would ruin a take, causing the recording to be unusable.
Microphone stands are not typically at the top of the equipment needed for a home studio. However, I recommend getting one or two stands to help avoid problems you may face.
It is great to buy two microphone stands when you purchase your first two microphones. They are essential for ensuring high-quality recordings.
You might not immediately find the perfect microphone for your needs, but don’t give up! With time and experience, you’ll get a feel for which microphones work best for different sounds.
Hopefully, this guide will help you quickly find the best microphone for your needs.