Best Large Diaphragm Microphones
Large-diaphragm condenser (LDC) microphones are the mic kind of alternative for recording studio vocals and voiceover. This fact alone makes LDCs highly regarded because the human voice is, without doubt, one of the most recorded sound sources on the earth. After all, voice is just one of many purposes the LDCs excel on.
In a nutshell, a large-diaphragm microphone might be essentially the most versatile and helpful if you’re buying your first microphone. A large-diaphragm mic is especially suited to recording studio vocals and most acoustic instruments.
So if you wish to record your voice, acoustic guitars, and so on or make pristine voiceover tracks to your videos then the large condenser microphone is going to be your best option.
Do note that condenser microphones are delicate, which is why they’re good for all-round studio use, however, you’ll almost certainly have to consider some primary acoustic treatment in your home recording studio to get the finest outcomes.
Large-diaphragm condensers vary significantly in their value points, and their recognition has influenced a substantial variety of different models. In this article, we will cut through the noise and deal with the perfect large-diaphragm condenser microphones that cost over $800.
We just want to let you know that we’ll list these best large-diaphragm condenser microphones in no particular order. They’ll be randomized as we don’t wish to sort them from best to worst.
Listed below are our Top 11 Best Large Diaphragm Condenser Mics for 2023:
1. Manley Reference Cardioid Large-diaphragm Tube Microphone
To most audio engineers, Manley Labs is greatest recognized for its rack gear. However, Manley additionally makes mics. The Reference Cardioid and Reference Gold are hand-built tube mics appropriate for important recording purposes.
The Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone shares the identical electronic attributes as the Gold Reference Sequence, however, has a center-fixed cardioid-only capsule with a thicker gauge (6 microns) gold-sputtered diaphragm.
With the same film thickness and development, comparable high-frequency resonance (slightly edge), similar proximity effect, and fairly good immunity from pops and sibilance problems, the Reference Cardioid more intently recollect how lots of the classic European tube mics such because the beloved U47 appeared like when they were new.
Its wealthy tonal balance and liquid character are constantly admired for instruments corresponding to guitars, drum overheads, saxophone, and particularly vocals. Along with your present mic, if you end up leaning in your compressors and boosting 5 or 10K to attain a bit extra bite, then the Reference Cardioid simply may be the mic you are on the lookout for to get what you are after.
And in contrast to a classic mic, the Manley continues to be in production, is made with modern elements, and has the service guarantee of an ongoing company. If you document to tape or need a natural atmosphere for instrumental tracks, the Reference mics could be unparalleled.
2. Chandler Limited TG Microphone Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Integrating the basic analog heat of classic studio desks into its products is nothing new for Chandler Limited, however, with this microphone, the company brings the inner parts of a legendary Abbey Road mastering console to the lots.
Visually, the TG mic resembles the Neumann U 47/48, as did Chandler’s previous microphone, the valve-powered REDD; this TG Microphone is solid-state, identical to the TG range of consoles. Not like the REDD Microphone, the TG has no built-in preamplifier, although it does have its own energy supply, negating the necessity for +48V phantom power.
The capsule of the TG mic is totally new, that includes a dual-diaphragm gold-sputtered edge-terminated design. This stands in distinction to the REDD Mic’s capsule, which is center-terminated and platinum-sputtered.
As with the REDD Microphone, Wade stuck to the basic Neumann U 47 selection of cardioid or Omni patterns, switchable on the mic just under the capsule. A second switch on the capsule creates a –10 dB pad.
Hats off to Wade, Abbey Road, and the Chandler staff. It is a nice instance of “mission completed.” The TG Mic is certainly in a position for use anyplace you’ll use different basic FET and even tube mics, but it surely retains its personal sound that hopefully at some point will be basic in its own right!
3. Lewitt LCT 1040 Tube Microphone System
Another giant joins the list. The LCT 1040 from Lewitt is something that is rarely seen on the market and that is because such technology was not even seen before.
A standout among the market’s microphones is the LCT 1040. An unmatched level of versatility and flexibility can be achieved in the studio with this microphone, which is essentially a bunch of microphones in one. There are four distinct and classically tubular sonic characteristics offered by the Lewitt LCT 1040‘s Tube circuit: Clear, Warm, Dark, and Saturated, which are selectable using the remote control.
A flat filter, a 40 Hz filter, an 80 Hz filter, and a 120 Hz filter are included with the microphone. Additionally, four levels of attenuation are available (0, -6, -12, as well as -24 dB). Those who are serious about audio engineering should buy this microphone.
If you want to reduce the time you spend auditioning microphones when recording, the LCT 1040 is a great tool for you. We highly recommend it to anyone that can get their hands on it. 10 out of 10!
4. Telefunken TF51 Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone
The Telefunken Elektroakustik TF51 is a recent tackle the “Austrian” microphone sound related to the Telefunken ELA M 251E and C12. The TF51 continues this legacy, exhibiting a clean midrange and ethereal high end, capturing each nuance in a nice element. It is a dependable first alternative for stand-out vocals, acoustic instruments, and percussion.
This lifelike constancy is created with high-quality elements primarily based on these inspirations. The 6072A vacuum tube (additionally present in our ELA M 251E and C12) is mated with an edge-terminated type capsule just like the historic CK12.
The output transformer is a customized German-made Haufe transformer, the unique producer for Telefunken. This consideration to element provides the TF51 with a superbly open and clean sonic profile.
Sonically, the TF47 is flat from 20Hz up to 500Hz, where it begins rising to a 4kHz peak of about 3dB. From there, the curve rolls off rapidly. As such, the TF47 does exhibit the telltale midrange thrust one expects in a 47-family microphone; it’s a sound that can rapidly push a vocal, guitar, or drum front of the mix.
Each TF51 microphone system comes with a multi-sample M 903 power supply, M 803 Tube cable, ZC03 case, M 703 shock mount, M 782 stand mount, and microphone sleeve.
5. AKG C414 XLII Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone
AKG’s C414 is among the most popular and extensively used microphones on this planet as we speak. You’re prone to see one in each major studio. Let’s check some primary features of this mic.
The C414 has become famed for its high-end clarity and sound character. That is what makes the C414 XLII (which has extra high-end than the XLS to go well with vocals) significantly common as a vocal microphone.
Beneath its stunning gold grille, on the front panel, is a 9 pickup pattern selectable swap. With the clicking of a button, you’ll be able to switch between 5 main polar patterns or use 4 hybrid patterns between each of those 5. Beneath this switch is an LED light strip that permits you to see which pattern is chosen.
The LED strip additionally has a really useful characteristic of detecting peak overloads and clipping. The LED will switch from green to red even when the faintest distortion from clipping happens, permitting you to regulate your ranges as needed. That is particularly helpful in case you’re recording especially loud sound sources similar to drums or blaring guitar amps.
To wrap up this evaluation, the AKG C414 XLII is a nice all-around microphone. You’ll desire a well-treated room for recording vocals and may have fantastic outcomes with care. You can start off by using a great pop filter that will cut down direct plosive sound waves from the artist.
6. Lauten Audio Atlantis FC-387 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
The Lauten Audio FC-387 Atlantis is the three distinct FET microphones packed right into a single, hand-finished brass enclosure.
Designed in close collaboration with famed producer and mix engineer Fab Dupont, the Atlantis gives a dynamic and versatile wealth of sound that makes choosing the right microphone for even probably the most troublesome sources as straightforward as flipping a switch.
From trendy, tight, and vivid to smoky classic velvet, the Atlantis gives an analog abundance of ready-for-mix sounds in a single microphone.
Three separate signal paths are available for easy timbral choice on the flip of a switch. The Gentle choice is warm with a classic feel, best for taming shiny or abrasive sound sources. The Neutral choice is elegant and balanced with a clean top-end, good for acoustic instruments. The Forward choice is daring, present, and fashionable, without ever being harsh – the quintessential sound of contemporary Pop, Hip-Hop, and R&B.
The capsule of a microphone captures music’s most significant moments and converts them into electrical energy with relentlessly unforgiving outcomes.
Lauten’s precision-crafted 38mm capsule is likely one of the largest on this planet, a certain one-of-a-kind super-transducer designed in Silicon Valley and tuned by hand to seize the spirit, soul, and wonder of efficiency with unprecedented authenticity and realism.
The Atlantis signal is hand-populated with high resolution, low distortion polypropylene capacitors, a US-made low-noise FET, and a customized wound output transformer that places the finishing touches on each sound that passes via its copper windings. The result is an easy, mix-ready sound brimming with life.
7. Mojave Audio MA-300 Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone
The MA-300 has a pleasant hefty really feel to it, and options switch for a high-pass filter and a built-in -15 dB pad. The included adjustable shock mount is of the heavy-duty selection, which is sweet because a whole lot of shock mounts generally tend to crumble after some time.
Everything concerning the bodily product is top-notch. Packaging is superb, providing greater than enough safety for the mic and equipment. The shock-mount is sturdy and provides a range of adjustability. It was straightforward to arrange and place the mic for all purposes. The cable from the mic to a power source is a well-made seven-pin XLR.
The MA-300’s two capsules are 3 microns thick (thin diaphragm) and are based mostly on the design of Mojave’s MA-200. Slightly than a stepped pattern selector, the MA-300 provides a repeatedly variable, remotely managed pattern management between Omni and figure-8.
Mojave Audio recommends the MA-300 for various purposes, including vocals, voiceover and broadcast, acoustic instruments, piano, drum overheads, and drum rooms, plus orchestral and choral recording.
As one would hope with a tube mic of this value, it made every part sound actually warm and full, with no harshness within the high end. Your recording equipment will be grateful for plugging such a mic in!
8. sE Electronics Rupert Neve Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone
sE Electronics and Rupert Neve Designs’ modeled the RNT tube condenser microphone and this is the third mic in a collaboration series between the 2 manufacturers. It’s pure class-A and absolutely discrete in each stage of the microphone.
On the large, very retro-looking power source, you will have the option to decide on between 9 polar patterns together with Omni, cardioid, figure eight, and every little thing in between.
The primary stage of the microphone is the tube-based mostly part and contains an ultra-low noise ECC82 tube within the microphone chassis, in addition to a custom-built RND output transformer.
The Class-A circuitry helps provide a large dynamic range and highest SPL (Sound Pressure Level) attainable whereas sustaining the bottom noise-floor and background noise. The diaphragm, tube, and inner workings of the microphone are encased in a sturdy all-metal chassis, all constructed by hand within the sE manufacturing facility.
The second stage of the microphone occurs within the power supply. Through the power supply, you may choose your polar pattern, two high pass filters at 40Hz and 80Hz, and three gain staging choices.
The standard gain staging is at 0dB, which we discovered to be quite a bit of gain in comparison with a standard tube condenser. +12dB is an effective possibility for sources that might be very soft and intimate, -12dB works nicely with a louder vocalist, closer drum microphone, or electrical guitar amplifier.
9. Neumann TLM 103 Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone
At first sight, the Neumann TLM 103 is a beautiful microphone. Not like cheaper microphones which will have very slight alterations of their production, this microphone is pristine and you may tell that Neumann’s meticulousness of their design isn’t simply restricted to the inner-workings of their microphones.
The TLM 103 is a part of the FET 100 collection of condenser microphones from Neumann. “TLM” stands for “transformerless microphone”. Not like the legendary U87, the TLM 103 uses an electronic circuit more moderately than the standard output transformer.
Much like transformers, the electronic circuit ensures a high stage of purity throughout the audio signal, decreasing electromagnetic interference that may degrade the signal.
The transformerless design of the TLM 103 additionally helps result in extremely accurate low frequencies and spares this microphone from the core saturation that the transformer-based microphones experience.
The sound of the TLM 103 is very modeled after Neumann’s legendary U87 and Neumann has done an awesome job to offer pristine sound quality at a (relatively) inexpensive price. The factor that the majority impressed us is how delicate and detailed this microphone is, whereas having nearly no audible self-noise.
When it comes to the sound character, the TLM 103 sounds just like the U87 for probably the most part. A foremost difference is that it has some boosted high-end frequencies making a more modern sound.
Though this ends in a brighter sound, this microphone nonetheless manages to have a buttery clean sound with little harshness. It sounds very alive with recordings that appear to cut by the mix with a nice presence.
10. Townsend Labs Sphere L22 Microphone Modeling System
The Townsend Labs Sphere L22 Precision Microphone Modeling System combines a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with the Sphere plug-in to precisely model 34 of probably the most sought-after classic microphones including Neumann, Telefunken, AKG, and more.
Auditioning and switching between mics throughout a session might be tedious, however, due to the software, you possibly can change mic type, polar pattern, cut back bleed, room coloration, feedback, and even alter the proximity effect – either throughout or after tracking vocals, acoustic and electrical guitars, string and wind instruments, percussion, room sound, and more.
The Sphere L22 is a dual-capsule microphone with twin outputs, custom-designed to seize the three-dimensional sound field with an exacting element. Including the directional and distance info otherwise misplaced with a standard single-channel microphone.
Remarkably rugged, the mic can deal with an excess of 140 dB SPL before clipping and will not be broken by high SPLs or air blasts as some classic microphones might be. It additionally has a self-noise level of 7 dB-A SPL, effectively below most classic microphones and corresponding to most of the finest modern microphones.
Two 3-pin XLR mic preamp inputs are required for the mic, as all mic-modeling and different advanced DSP features happen within the Sphere plug-in. Note that the mic can be utilized with or without modeling.
11. Warm Audio WA-8000 Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone
Warm Audio excels at re-creating classic microphones and outboard gear and selling the items at inexpensive prices. The corporate describes its newest product, the WA-8000, as “a professional large-diaphragm tube-driven studio condenser microphone.
In line with Warm Audio, the WA-8000’s inside elements are “true to spec” with the original. These embody a Lundahl transformer, a brass K-67-style capsule, and a 6AU6 tube.
One wonders how Warm can match the elements at a tenth of the price, but that’s the type of factor the company has been doing efficiently for some time. Just like the C800G, the WA-8000 features each cardioid and omnidirectional polar pattern.
The WA-8000 is well recognizable by its open top end, crystal clear midrange, and uncanny capacity to seize each element of acoustic sources.
Whereas mostly recognized for modern R&B, Rap, and Hip-hop, the WA-8000 provides you that unmistakable “airy” and polished sound related to some of the most hi-fidelity recordings of the ’90s and beyond. The WA-8000 is a real studio workhorse outfitted to seize any voice or an acoustic instrument with elite outcomes.
The WA-8000 features a professional-level, hard carrying case to make sure secure transport of the microphone and its premium elements – wherever you record.
Two Important Things When Buying High-End Condenser Microphones
The first step when shopping for any microphone is to analyze precisely what is required. Completely different functions have very completely different necessities, and several types of microphones have very completely different traits.
By matching what is required to the traits of the type of microphone, the basic type may be chosen. Then it’s a matter of trying on the individual specs and shopping for the microphone that fits the appliance best. These two we consider being really important when getting a new condenser mic.
Dynamic Range and Headroom
One of the many important features you’re paying for whenever you buy a more expensive condenser microphone is the dynamic range and headroom that you need to work with.
Consider dynamic range as the distinction between the lowest stage and the loudest stage you possibly can record at. Some microphones will respond rather well throughout their complete dynamic range and others won’t.
You’ll usually see reports of varied microphones dropping bass response or gaining undesirable frequencies at varied ranges. A high-quality condenser provides you with loads of room to work with and offers you a good response (or not less than affecting the response in a great way) all throughout its complete dynamic range.
The dynamic range of a microphone can be tied to the noise floor. The Electro-Voice RE20, a staple of many studios, is completely infamous for being ‘gain hungry’. Sure, it has loads of dynamic range, however, you need to turn it up very high so as to get a suitable stage, and this will induce undesirable noise if the remainder of your signal chain isn’t correctly shielded or grounded.
Almost any professional microphone will present a graph of its frequency response. A microphone’s frequency response is a measurement of the magnitude by which it responds to any given frequency range.
In different words, certain mics will pick up a bit extra highs or a bit extra lows than different microphones. It’s one of many important reasons that you could be like using one microphone on a certain type of supply.
Realizing how a microphone responds to certain frequencies ought to completely affect your determination on buying that mic. In case you’re going to be utilizing this microphone to record vocals usually for yourself, what frequencies do you end up already taming with EQ whenever you record currently?
Should you already are pulling out 3–5dB at 5k, do you actually desire a mic that has an enormous bump in that frequency range? You would possibly save yourself loads of priceless production time by discovering a mic that enhances your needs.
When it comes to large diaphragm condenser microphones, here in this list you will be able to find ones that are great for any studio recording purposes. They will have various uses, from recording acoustic guitar to being your go-to vocal mics, these studio condenser microphones will certainly enhance your experience.
Compared to a room mic or small-diaphragm condenser mics, the large-diaphragm condenser mic acts as a centerpiece of your studio. We believe that we listed the top 10 best condenser mics for any audio recording.
With any of these, you will be able to capture sound at the best quality, getting the transparent sound directly from the sound source, no matter if you go for a cardioid polar pattern or any other option from the switchable polar patterns.
We believe all of these 11 are go-to mics for every audio engineer if they are after rich sound from an expensive mic that performs without any problems. Creme de la creme and the best condenser microphones one could wish for!
If you are having any questions about this topic, please let us know in the comment section below!