The future of music

10 Best Microphones for Vocals

December 29, 2023
best microphones for vocals

Whether you’re searching for a vocal mic for your home studio or the stage, you’ve come to the right place.

Today’s article is dedicated to the best microphones for vocals on the market.

We’ll introduce you to their features and highlights so you can choose the right one.

If you want to show off your voice properly, choosing a good vocal microphone is a must – so read carefully, and find the mic that suits you best!

1. Shure SM7B – The best vocal mic 

Shure SM7B - The best vocal mic

Shure SM7B is regarded as one of the best vocal mics in the industry for a good reason.

First of all, you can adjust the settings depending on the purpose of using the mic. 

The mic is ideal for recording music at home because it has in-built protection against electromagnetic hum – in other words, your computer monitor won’t interfere with your signal. 

With its pop shield and shock mount mean, you don’t need any extra peripherals.

And it comes with a detachable windscreen for reducing plosives and breath noise.

Many broadcast studios employ the SM7B, and the mic has even been used by some of the most iconic artists in music history, such as Michael Jackson. 

This dynamic mic is designed with recording speech and vocal performances in mind.

So if you’re looking for a quality mic for vocals and speech, you can’t go wrong with Shure SM7B.

Well, if it was good for Michael Jackson… 

2. Rode NT1 – Best for a studio 

Rode NT1 - Best for a studio

Rode NT1 is another great option for anyone looking for a reliable vocal microphone.

This popular large-diaphragm condenser microphone provides accurate sound quality, and it’s ideal for recording vocals as well as a wide range of instruments.

It comes with a removable pop shield with two axes of adjustment, a telescopic arm, and a high-quality XLR cable.

The capsule is internally shock-mounted so it minimizes external vibrations.

With a self-noise of just 4.5dB(A), Rode NT1 is one of the quietest studio microphones in the world.

And since it requires phantom power between +24V and +48V, you’ll need a preamp or audio interface

The mic also has a cardioid pickup pattern that allows recording sound from the side of the mic’s capsule.

All things considered, Rode NT1 is a perfect vocal mic for recording vocals that won’t let you down.

It’s also not too expensive, especially if you take into account what you get.

3. Shure SM58 – Mic with a long-standing reputation 

Shure SM58 - Mic with a long-standing reputation 

Shure SM58 is by many considered one of the best dynamic mics out there. 

It’s definitely one of the mics with a long-standing reputation. 

We can definitely see why, and we agree that it deserves a place among the top microphones for vocals.

Shure SM58 is affordable and versatile, and it provides everything you need to record songs or deliver a great performance.

This legendary mic is designed to highlight your voice and limit the proximity effect. 

It comes with a cardioid pickup pattern, so it rejects any unwanted room noise.

It’s also very convenient, and it doesn’t require any phantom power to operate.

Plus, it’s an all-metal mic so it’s durable.

That said, if you’re looking for a portable, trustworthy mic that won’t cost you a lot of money, you should consider purchasing Shure SM58. 

4. Aston Microphones Spirit – Mic with a unique look

Aston Microphones Spirit - Mic with a unique look

Aston Microphones Spirit may not be the most modern-looking mic on this list, but it offers amazing value for money.

On the other hand, if you prefer a vintage, industrial look, this might be a perfect vocal mic for you. 

But under that retro look, there’s a built-in stainless steel mesh knit pop filter. 

It’s a perfect peak for vocals as well as acoustic instruments, and compared to the Aston Microphones Origin, it provides a more upfront condenser sound.

Aston Microphones Spirit is well-made and sturdy, and it offers everything you need to record your vocals in a proper way.

It has switchable polar patterns and a smooth frequency response.

And unlike Origin, it features peak-free brightness.

So if you want a sturdy, retro-looking mic that offers everything you need to record your vocals and instruments in a proper way, we suggest Aston Microphones Spirit. 

5. Neumann TLM 102 – Best premium quality mic 

Neumann TLM 102 - Best premium quality mic 

When it comes to the best microphones for vocals, Neumann TLM 102 is another excellent choice.

This popular condenser mic provides that unique Neumann tone, and it’s ideal for recording music as well as live performances.

It’s very versatile, and besides vocals, it can cover a lot of other instruments as well. 

It does an exceptionally great job of capturing female vocals, higher male backing vocals, acoustic instruments, and percussion.

Although it’s not very cheap, it’s still relatively affordable compared to other Neumann mics. 

After all, we’re talking about a premium German brand known for providing top-quality mics.

6. AKG C414 XLII – Best high-end condenser mic

AKG C414 XLII - Best high-end condenser mic

This popular vocal mic is ideal for anyone looking for a versatile, high-end condenser microphone.

It features nine selectable polar patterns, so it’s ideal for every application. 

It’s well-made and durable, and it offers a complex, bright sound. 

However, this is probably one of the most expensive mics on this list.

But if you want to invest in a high-quality mic that will last you a long time, you should definitely consider getting AKG C414 XLII.

Apart from durability and versatility, this model comes with many other benefits, including excellent sound quality, high SPL handling, and low self-noise.

That said, AKG C414 XLII is an excellent choice for a first professional condenser microphone.

7. Shure Super 55 – Best mic for the stage

Shure Super 55 - Best mic for the stage

Also known as Elvismic, Shure Super 55 is arguably one of the best dynamic mics for live performances.

Besides Elvis Presley, many other famous artists used this legendary mic.

Shure Super 55 definitely has that vintage superstar look, but it’s also quite sturdy. 

More importantly, it offers excellent audio quality and tailored frequency response for natural vocals and speech.

Its hock-mounted cartridge minimizes handling noise, and thanks to its self-tensioning swivel mount, it’s also very flexible. 

On top of that, Shure Super 55 features high gain-before-feedback and excellent off-axis rejection.

All things considered, if you’re looking for a reliable dynamic mic with a recognizable, classic look, look no further than Shure Super 55.

8. Rode NTK – Best for demanding studio recording

Rode NTK - Best for demanding studio recording

Rode NTK is also among the top vocal microphones.

It’s a solid mid-range tube condenser designed to provide detailed sound.

Therefore, Rode NTK is perfect for studio recording, even if you want to record complex sounds and multiple instruments.

It features a gold-plated large diaphragm and hand-selected twin-triode valve.

And it provides a very low noise level and a wide frequency range.

It’s a bit pricey though, but if you’re ready to invest in a high-quality mic for recording, Rode NTK will certainly meet your expectations.

9. Electro Voice RE20 – Industry standard 

Electro Voice RE20 - Industry standard 

In short, Electro-Voice RE20 is a studio and broadcast standard.

It provides a smooth radio announcer sound, so it comes as no surprise that it’s used in radio stations all across the world.

It’s a dynamic mic so it withstands loud speech, and it doesn’t require any external power.

But Electro-Voice RE20 is also good for recording vocals.

It eliminates the proximity effect, and it’s a flat frequency response – that said, it’s a great choice for any singer.

On top of that, it’s good for bass instruments such as kick drums, floor tom, bass guitar, and saxophones.

It’s a versatile microphone for sure, and you won’t be disappointed, no matter what you’re going to use it for.

10. Audio Technica AT2035 – Best on a budget 

Audio Technica AT2035 - Best on a budget 

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly vocal mic that provides natural, smooth sound and low noise, you should check out Audio Technica AT2035.

This cardioid studio condenser microphone is ideal for home audio recording and music projects as well as professional studio applications and live performances. 

It features a switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter that removes unnecessary low-end noise.

And its 10 dB pad helps prevent the condenser from overloading, so you can easily record big voices and instruments like brass and drums.

The AT2035 also comes with a luxury, leatherette protective pouch and a custom shock mount.

Without a doubt, this is the best inexpensive vocal microphone you can find. 

How to Choose a Vocal Mic? 

If you’re just starting out with recording music, you probably feel a bit confused or overwhelmed. 

Choosing the right vocal mic for you is not an easy task, but we’re here to help you out. 

Dynamic vs Condenser Microphones

For starters, let’s clear up one important thing: the difference between dynamic and condenser microphones.

To determine which type of microphone you need, you should think about the way you intend to use it.

Live shows require top live vocal microphones, while other types of microphones are best fit for recording purposes. 

So, let’s see which microphone is best for you – dynamic or condenser microphone

Dynamic microphones are perfect for live stage performances – they are more robust, and they are designed to reject any unwanted noise.

In essence, dynamic microphones turn sound waves into a voltage with the use of a magnet, so they’re like speakers but in reverse. 

They’re also capable of withstanding high sound pressure levels, which ultimately makes them ideal for a live environment.

In other words, the best dynamic microphones are designed to capture the natural tone of the singer’s voice in any live setting. 

A lady singing into a microphone.

Condenser microphones, on the other hand, have active circuitry, and they are more sensitive than dynamic mics.

They often feature thin, fragile diaphragms which allow them to deliver outstanding frequency response. 

They’re perfect for capturing high-frequency and accurate sounds, and that’s why they’re used in home recording studios and professional studios. 

The downside is that they can be quite expensive, although it’s possible to find budget-friendly condenser mics. 

And they’re more delicate, so they don’t work well in very loud sound settings.

But unlike dynamic mics, this type of mic is capable of capturing more nuance and complexity of human voice and instruments.

So if you need a mic for recording music at home or in a studio, you should opt for one of the top condenser mics on our list. 

Which Pickup Pattern Do You Need?

Pickup patterns are important because they determine where the mic picks up its signal. 

For instance, omnidirectional mics pick up audio from all around, so the signal will remain the same no matter where the sound comes from. 

Figure-8 mics pick up the sound from the front and back, so they’re ideal for a podcast or radio interview.

And cardioid mics are more directional, so they’re ideal for big live performances, small live shows, miking instruments, and other audio and vocal applications.

That said, omni mics sound fuller and open, while cardioids sound more enclosed.

However, cardioids tend to be ‘vulnerable’ to the proximity effect, and that’s something you should keep in mind when choosing a mic. 

What Is the Proximity Effect?

The proximity effect is best defined as a phenomenon that leads to an increase in bass or low-frequency response when a sound source is close to a microphone. 

This occurs with cardioid microphones, and you can notice it when you speak too close to a microphone.

While singing close to the microphone, singers can sound warm and rich, so the proximity effect can make them sound ‘bigger’ or more intimate.

On the other hand, some microphones are designed to eliminate the proximity effect.

It all depends on what results you’re aiming for, and what type of microphone will meet your needs. 

Final Thoughts 

All the best microphones for vocals on our list provide excellent sound quality, low noise, and great construction.

But each microphone has unique characteristics and sound – some mics are ideal for home recording, and others can be used in live settings. 

That being said, you should opt for a microphone that fits your goals, preferences, and budget.

FAQs

What’s the best microphone for recording vocals at home?

The Shure SM7B is widely considered one of the best microphones for recording vocals at home. Its exceptional sound quality and versatility make it a popular choice among professionals and enthusiasts alike. The SM7B offers a rich and warm tone, capturing vocals with great clarity and detail. Its built-in pop filter helps reduce plosive sounds, and the microphone’s dynamic design minimizes background noise, making it ideal for home recording environments. With its reputation for reliability and performance, the Shure SM7B is a top recommendation for achieving professional-grade vocal recordings in the comfort of your own home.

What’s the best microphone for recording vocals beginner?

The Audio Technica AT2035 is often considered one of the best microphones for beginner vocal recordings. It is a versatile and affordable option that offers high-quality sound reproduction. The AT2035 features a large diaphragm condenser design, which captures vocals with great detail and clarity. It has a smooth frequency response, making it suitable for a wide range of vocal styles and genres. Additionally, the microphone comes with a shock mount to reduce unwanted vibrations and a pop filter to minimize plosive sounds. The AT2035’s excellent performance, budget-friendly price, and user-friendly features make it a popular choice for beginners looking to achieve professional-sounding vocal recordings.

What’s the best mic for female vocals?

The Neumann TLM 102 is often considered one of the best microphones for capturing female vocals. It is highly regarded for its exceptional clarity, detail, and smooth tonal response. The TLM 102 features a large diaphragm condenser design, which helps to capture the subtle nuances and nuances of a female voice accurately. It has a transparent sound reproduction, allowing the natural beauty and intricacies of female vocals to shine through. The microphone’s high sensitivity and low self-noise ensure that every delicate vocal expression is captured with precision. With its reputation for delivering professional-grade recordings, the Neumann TLM 102 is a top recommendation for capturing the unique and captivating qualities of female vocals.

What is the best professional vocal microphone?

The Shure SM7B is often regarded as one of the best professional vocal microphones available. Its exceptional sound quality, versatility, and reputation among professionals make it a top choice for capturing vocals in professional settings.

What mic do most singers use?

The Shure SM58 is a microphone that is widely used by many singers. It has become a popular choice due to its durability, reliability, and ability to handle live performances. The SM58 is known for its warm and clear sound reproduction, making it a go-to microphone for vocalists across different genres and stages. Its robust construction and excellent feedback rejection further contribute to its widespread usage among singers.

You may also like: Best Condenser Microphones

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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