Best Studio Microphone for Vocals: Our Best 15 Picks!
Searching for the proper vocal microphone may be overwhelming. There’s so much on supply and lots of terms to become familiar with. You need to take into thought a variety of things. Budget, compatibility, and goal once finding the proper microphone for your setup.
In this article, we’ll review the best microphones of all price ranges which might great in the studio.
In some cases, certain microphones are better suited to home studios than pro analog ones. Additionally, we’ll take into consideration the flexibility of the microphone in question. Not all studio microphones are engineered to suit all recording situations. Some are quite specific and limited, whereas others are versatile workhorses.
Here are some definitions for microphones to get you started:
- Dynamic range — the quantity of headroom, measured in a sound unit, between the noise floor of the mic and its attendant physical science, and its most recording level.
- Dynamic microphone — A mike created to resist high sound pressure levels and dynamic ranges of sounds. sensible for lots of different applications.
- Diaphragm — The part of the mike that a sound in air vibrates to form the electrical current flowing through the mike.
- Condenser microphone — A more sensitive kind than dynamic microphones, oftentimes needs outside (“phantom”) power and is, therefore, better for capturing a lot of nuanced performances, like vocal performances.
- Small-diaphragm condenser — A capacitor microphone with a little receptor (diaphragm) expanse. Frequently, these square measure in-built long encasements, earning those explicit mics the nickname “pencil condensers.”
- Large-diaphragm condenser — a condenser microphone with an oversized, side-address receptor (diaphragm) area.
In a price range between 100$ and 200$, we can find beginner-level studio microphones. These microphones are good to start and learn what you can achieve with them. In most cases, beginner microphones are bought even before knowing what exactly to do.
Basically, they are used to record vocals. But it depends on what kind of vocals you are going to record and how you want them to sound. There are several best buys for the buck in the early stages, but it’s good to know where to look and get you started.
1. AKG P420
It’s rarely a surprise not to see an AKG microphone in these charts. They manage to supply some great models in all value ranges. Their twin diaphragm P420 may be a nice condenser mic that prices below $200. Though it appears suspiciously the same as the lower-priced P220.
We know that cheap is not good, but this is a different case with AKG. In the grand scheme of things, the P420 appears like your normal condenser microphone. Yet quite engaging. The champagne-finished grille makes up 0.5 of the length of the mic and is split into 3 segments.
Note that the P420 features a side-address style, combined with a high address that’s common in this phase of the market. AKG has used quality materials for the all-metal case, with a confidence-inspiring weight and a sneaky matte black end.
It appears like a mic that should cost more than its sub-$200 tag. Might be one of the best vocal mics in this price range.
- Type: Condenser
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8
- Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 200 ohms
- Maximum SPL: 135 dB
- Power Requirements: 44 to 52 V
- Attenuation Pad: -20dB
2. Rode NT2-A
The Rode NT2A is a pro, large-diaphragm, 1″ inch capsule studio microphone. Famed for its dependableness, affordability, and high-quality sound. The NT2A is created by none other than the very well-known company Rode.
For those that might not be that accustomed to Rode, they’re an Australian-owned audio company. They were established in 1967, under Freedman Electronics.
Due to the company’s long-standing expertise within the audio engineering business, it’s meant that over time, they’ve been able to refine their products. They’ve made studio microphones and different items of audio gear, that are very well-constructed and provide fantastic sound quality.
Core performance is as solid as it gets, though the main target with the NT2-A remains on skillfulness. Thanks to this it’s wonderful for a large range of uses, each vocal and instrumental. Mic for vocals should be smooth and warm, with sensible transparency. Regardless of what kind of vocal profile you’re recording, it works well.
Thanks to its array of switches, pads, and filters, you’ll be able to use the NT2-A to record just about any instrument. No matter if it is a guitar or drumkits, or even full orchestras. As I mentioned, the self-noise is extremely low and will create no issues in delivering a clean recording.
- Type: Condenser
- Polar Pattern: Omni, Cardioid & Figure 8
- Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 200 ohms
- Maximum SPL: 147 dB
- Attenuation Pad: 0dB, -5dB or -10dB
- Highpass filter: Flat, 80Hz or 40Hz
- Power Requirements: 48V phantom power
3. Neumann TLM 102
The Neumann TLM 102 may be a little, elegantly designed mike that sells at a (for Neumann) low value — $700. It boasts a brand new large-diaphragm capsule in a very smaller-than-usual case that retains classic Neumann form.
A sort of a miniaturized U 87. The one I have comes in a matte black end with a chrome ring and insignia. It gives a retro, Bauhaus-like industrial look that said: “I mean business.”
The mic comes with a secure screw-in stand mount with a solid-feeling clamp on the lean control. It’s a nominally cardioid pattern only, and there aren’t any pads or low-cut filters inbuilt. My sample came without a spec sheet or manual, however, I found partial specs on Neumann’s website.
The TLM 102 appeared well suited to higher reeds and was additionally used on soprano sax, clarinet, and flute during sessions. The mic’s hint of brightness was ideal for flute and soprano sax, and, again, the open cardioid pattern was complementary to the difficult tone production of the soprano.
On floor tom, the Neumann gave a pleasant balance of low-end punch and transient attack. It additionally captured clear and sharp transients once used on a variety of percussion sources. On acoustic guitar, the TLM 102 yielded a decent balance of lows and highs from a few feet away, and it had enough high-end sparkle to satisfy me. One of the best recording microphones for vocals out there.
- Type: Condenser
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 50 ohms
- Maximum SPL: 144 dB
- Power Requirements: 48V phantom power
4. Audio-Technica AT2035
Balancing value and powerful audio efficiency, the Audio-Technica AT2035 condenser microphone presents an easy and detailed sound at a worthwhile level that is accessible for home-based musicians, vocalists, and podcasters.
The large-diaphragm condenser capsule incorporates a cardioid pattern for minimal suggestions and off-axis noise, a welcome trait when recording in untreated rooms. Plus, the equipped customized shock mount helps preserve extraneous dealing with and foot noise down.
Engage the -10 dB pad to extend headroom and record extremely loud sources as much as 158 dB SPL without distortion. When low-frequency rumble/hum or overwhelming bass invade your recording, activate the 80 Hz high-pass filter change to attenuate the lows without resorting to EQ.
Because the AT2035 is a solid-state condenser with an XLR output, it ought to be mated to an XLR-equipped mic preamp able to send a 48V phantom power supply, or something between 11 to 52 VDC.
The AT2035 simply handles excessive sound pressure level (as much as 158 dB) and avoids the pickup of low-frequency ambient noise (similar to visitors, air-handling systems, and so on.), room reverberation, and mechanically coupled vibrations.
- Massive diaphragm for easy, pure sound and low noise
- High SPL dealing with and huge dynamic range presents unmatched versatility
- Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the perimeters and rear, enhancing isolation of the specified sound source
- Switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and -10 dB pad
- Customized shock mount supplies superior decoupling from vibrations
- Operates on 11 to 52 VDC phantom power from a variety of units reminiscent of transportable mixers, desktop audio interfaces, or exterior mic preamps
- Balanced XLR 3-pin output connector
5. Rode NT1
With such a low price range, can this studio condenser microphone supply the same, excessive vocal efficiency capabilities of different condensers? The Rode NT1 seems similar to the NT1A, which was launched nearly twenty years ago.
It has now been completely redesigned to be a day-by-day driver vocal microphone for every kind of instrument, including guitars, drums, and naturally, vocals.
The model new capsule has been fully redeveloped to assist focus better on the midrange, which means it captures the vital part of the voice like a charm. The excessive frequencies are clean, the highs are crisp and clear, and the lows are warm and round without it ever feeling too loud. General, this microphone is a stand-out microphone in its worth range.
The NT1 is ready to produce crystal clear sounds with the potential to pick up the smallest vocal nuances in any type of efficiency. All you’ll require is a small quantity of vocal processing on the back end to get an expert sound.
Nobody would ever guess that you’re utilizing a microphone below a thousand bucks! If you’re a singer-songwriter or instrumentalist, you’ll love the truth that it may also be used with instruments like acoustic guitar and piano, offering you related clarity.
- Gold-plated 1″ capsule saved in miniature lyre from Rycote
- Black steel housing with scratch-resistant ceramic coating
- Extraordinarily low intrinsic noise (4.5 dBA)
- 10 Yr guarantee for registered customers (particular guarantee between producer and purchaser)
- Polar pattern: Cardioid
- Frequency range: 20 – 20000 Hz
- Output impedance: 100 ohms
6. Shure SM58
The Shure SM58 is a cardioid, dynamic microphone that gives a frequency response of 50Hz to 15kHz. It has an output impedance of 150 ohms. It weighs roughly 0.66lbs. It’s six inches long and two inches wide. The Shure SM58 comes with a carry case and an adapter.
Sound is essential to any nice microphone. The cardioid pattern design ensures that there are no issues when it is used on stage. It additionally has in-built pop filters, permitting for smooth vocals with none of the horrible pops and plosives that you just discover when utilizing a microphone with lower quality than the Shure SM58. This is a very good vocal microphone for live performances.
This microphone additionally features one thing referred to as a “presence boost”, which signifies that your vocals sound easy, wealthy, and warm, fairly than tinny or unbalanced as you discover with worse mics.
The Shure SM58 has additionally been tuned to give you a wide range of frequencies. And it performs completely right throughout the frequency range, permitting for deep lows, clear mids, and well-represented highs.
General, the Shure SM58 is just an excellent microphone. It sells better than its rivals because it’s better than them. It provides vocalists with excellent sound quality, and constant efficiency, in addition to an indestructibility that can’t be equaled.
On top of all these advantages, it’s an inexpensive microphone, that may repay its funding before long, and final quite a bit longer afterward.
- Strong development, sturdy metal mesh grille
- Directivity: Cardioid
- Frequency vary: 50 – 15,000 Hz
- Impedance: 300 Ohms
- Sensitivity: -56 dBV / Pa (1.85 mV)
- Size: 23 x 162 x 51 mm
- Weight: 298 g
7. WA-47 Warm Audio
The WA-47 is a Warm Audio’s tackle the long-lasting Neumann U47 microphone, which has been the best choice for a lot of singers for many years. It prices around a tenth the value of a brand new (Telefunken) U47, placing it within the reach of singers recording at home or in smaller studios who dream of recording on the identical mic as their singing heroes.
The WA-47 is able to great-sounding vocal recordings. It has an enhanced low-end that helps give singers the “bigger than life” sound that’s usually desired in studio recordings.
The mic incorporates a custom-made replica of a classic k47 model capsule and a nine-position pickup pattern change on the power supply. It comes with a protecting storage field and a shock mount.
In case you are looking for an exact reproduction of a classic U47 then you might be disappointed. As a result of the target value for the microphone, Warm Audio has needed to make a number of design and element modifications from the original. In case you are looking for a tube condenser microphone that will be approachable and great for your studio then this might be the one.
- Tube: JJ Slovak 5751
- Frequency: 20 – 20,000 Hz
- Dynamic: 130 dB (A)
- Self-noise: 11 dB (A)
- Max. SPL: 140 dB (<0.5% THD)
- Impedance: 200 ohms
8. sE Electronics T2
The T2 is a Gen2 titanium-diaphragm FET condenser mic from sE Electronics. It changed the Titan in sE’s product lineup.
The T2 is actually an sE 4400a with the dual-diaphragm titanium capsule from the Titan instead of the 4400a capsule. As sE states, the T2 and 4400a share identical chassis.
The digital controls are identical: both mics are 4-pattern mics, providing Cardioid, Hypercardioid, Figure of 8, and Omni, switched from the entrance of the microphone physique.
Pattern choice is achieved through two of the switches on the mic; one swap permits the choice of Cardioid, Omni, or Determine-of-8, whereas a second swap determines whether or not the Cardioid mode is Hypercardioid or not.
A 3-way high-pass filter gives bass cuts at 60Hz and 120Hz. A 3-way pad gives 10dB or 20dB of attenuation, with a most SPL of 140dB. The body is small, facilitating placing in tight spots. sE presents the mic as able to detailed high-frequency reproduction, because of the responsiveness of the titanium diaphragm. It ships with a shock mount and a box. This makes it a whole bundle, with accessories for the mics for recording.
Unusually, the sE Electronics T2 includes a hand-crafted titanium-sputtered capsule. That is a lot stiffer than our gold-sputtered capsules, which means faster transient response, which is vital when recording instruments that create quick transients and attack – like drums and percussion – because it permits the microphone to keep up readability and ship exceptionally correct performances.
The stiffness of this particular diaphragm additionally allows it to resist extraordinarily excessive sound pressure ranges, so it will probably deal with the loudest percussion with ease.
- With particular titanium membrane
- Frequency response: 20 Hz-20 kHz
- Sensitivity: 28mv / pa-31 ± 1dB
- Polar pattern: omnidirectional, cardioid, supercardioid, figure-8
- Impedance: <= 50 ohms
- Noise stage: 14dB (A)
- Max SPL at 0.5% THD @ 1000Hz:> 140 dB
9. United Studio Technologies UT FET47
United labored with acclaimed capsule designer and producer Eric Heiserman to develop a recent take on the traditional K47 German capsule design. Eric worked with the United crew and the capsule producer to develop a brand new capsule from the bottom up. The capsule is open, articulate, and really three-dimensional.
This process required the evaluation of everything from the sourced Mylar to the thread sorts of screws; however, after many months and lots of iterations, they lastly achieved what we had hoped for in the HZ-Series capsules.
Whereas most of the HZ-Series design secrets and techniques will stay so, one superior attribute that can be revealed is the usage of twin, matched backplates. With the HZ-Series matching process, a much more correct and constant quality backward and forward and capsule to capsule is achieved. The HZ-Series capsule continues to be manufactured just a few at a time, and stringently listened to and examined.
United auditioned many recreations of the unique German transformer, however, shortly settled on a distinctive providing from Cinemag Transformers in California.
Their reply to the traditional half is really a chunk of artwork; a big, hefty transformer created from a ‘striped core’ of interleaved units of excessive nickel and metal laminations and wound to the specs of the original.
Its humbucking design delivers clear, quiet operation. Whereas they may have used smaller or cheaper transformers; they merely refused to compromise. They consider you’ll be glad they didn’t. This Cinemag transformer was really everything they may hope for.
Selecting one of the best microphones for your needs couldn’t be any harder nowadays. With so many choices available on the market, and so many claiming to have the classic sound and failing to deliver, it may be overwhelming. That was United’s inspiration: deliver the actual product: affordably.
The United UT FET47 represents their true passion for microphones and was constructed with a holistic design method. With over 50 years of mixed trade expertise, United has spent years on analysis and growth on this microphone to be industry-standard one.
- Frequency: 20 – 20,000 Hz
- Nominal impedance: 200 Ohm
- Noise level: <10 dBA
- SNR (CCIR at 94 dB SPL): 69 dB
- Max. SPL (<0.5% THD): 136 dB / 145 dB with pad
- Switchable 75 Hz low minimize filter
10. EV RE20 RE-Series
RE20 is a business standard for a reason and that cause is the sound quality. After all, it might not be probably the most expressive mic on the market, nor probably the clearest or crispy as condenser mics are. But, it produces a dependable, high-quality signal that’s appropriate for live, voice-overs, and radio broadcasting.
Most significantly, it ensures the utmost rejection of the background noises that no condenser mics can supply regardless of the value range. In a live recording, you don’t wish to seize any unintended room or road noise with no methods to chop it out and that is very true for the venues that have far-from-studio circumstances.
Apart from it having an enormous dynamic diaphragm, after all, the RE-20 capsule is wrapped in a thicker foam than the RE320, which supplies it with an additional bit of dampening.
In side-by-side comparability, the RE-20 might sound weaker and darker however don’t get fooled by the primary impression, as a result the RE-20 nonetheless has a higher hand on the subject of signal quality, and that extra bit of background rejection is what distinguishes a high-end broadcast mic from a daily one.
RE320 can be a pleasant mic, particularly if you happen to like a brighter sound and need one thing more expressive however the RE-20 is generally smoother.
And eventually, why folks use dynamic broadcast mics is due to the RF-interference, which clearly is a matter on the radio stations where highly effective radio transmitters are used.
Why dynamic mics are much less delicate to electromagnetic interference is especially due to the simplicity of their electrical design – there is just one factor and that’s the coil and all trendy mics use humbucking coils that assist to neutralize the induced signals whereas condensers are rather more advanced and electrically delicate.
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Bass roll-off
- Variable-D design
- Frequency: 45 / 18,000 Hz
- Dimensions (diameter x size): 49 x 54 x 217 mm
- Weight 1474 g
11. Aston Microphones Origin
This is not any nameless ‘soft launch’, Aston Microphones is going hard. The British firm is worked up, and it has a narrative to inform. Aston’s founder, James Young, was a co-founder and Global Sales and Marketing Director of sE Electronics, who additionally had his hand in the design of the unique Reflexion filter. In 2015, James and a few mates determined to go solo, birthing the Aston Microphones idea and philosophy.
One yr later the group made strong progress. Not solely have two microphones and a new-and-improved reflection filter been designed from the bottom up, however, the gears have promptly been cranked on worldwide distribution.
Nonetheless, in a crowded microphone market, people won’t throw their cash at you except if they’re satisfied a product has X-factor: one thing particular, totally different, distinctive. So what sets an Aston microphone apart from the remainder.
The stainless-steel physique undergoes a 4-hour ‘tumbling’ process with different bits of metallic shrapnel, giving it an industrial, heavy-duty-type look. A really advantageous random-weave metallic mesh lines the inside of the metallic protector wires, which is meant to double as a pop filter.
It really works fairly effectively if a singer retains their distance, however, any nearer than six inches and we would advocate using a devoted exterior pop filter. If the stainless-steel mesh does get gunky from plosive shrapnel, it may be eliminated and washed under a tap.
- Pattern: Cardioid
- Frequency: 20 – 20,000 Hz (+/- 3dB)
- Pressure level: 138 dB
- -10/zero dB pad
- Low-cut filter 80 Hz
- Requires 48 V phantom
12. AKG C214
The AKG C214 is available at a price level that doubtless makes most residence studio recordists cease contemplating their bank balance. In spite of everything, we’re within the period of inexpensive condenser mics, and there are strong choices at ¼ of the worth. So why would you take into account the additional expense? To place it merely, the sound.
This isn’t your entry-level microphone, although if in case you have a scratch, there’s nothing fallacious with beginning off with one. For somebody who’s been recording for a number of years with price range mics, although, a transfer to the AKG C214 reveals the following stage in a method that a newcomer could not respect.
If there’s a downside to this mic, it’s the sensitivity. Let’s face it, most home studios depart lots to be desired when it comes to isolation, acoustic tuning, and soundproofing. We reduce this with close-miking strategies and reverb plugins to revive the sound of a strong acoustic area.
On vocals, the C214 offers body via the midrange, so some voices that sound thin on different mics gain a brand new dimension with the AKG. The expanded dynamic range makes this an excellent mic to throw in the entrance of an inexperienced studio singer, one without totally developed mic expertise.
Like percussion, set the preamp for the peaks and the C214 captures the element when the singer’s dynamic range falls off.
- Frequency: 20 – 20000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 20 mV / Pa
- Preattenuation pad: 20 dB
- Required phantom: 12 – 52V
- Connection: 3-pin XLR connector
13. LCT 640 TS
This microphone acquired plenty of consideration from the gang; not certainly one of us had ever worked with a microphone earlier than that enables polar pattern modifications after recording! The LCT 640 TS, designed and engineered in Austria by Lewitt Audio, is a twin large-diaphragm, multipattern condenser providing Omni, wide-cardioid, cardioid, super-cardioid, and figure-Eight modes.
Apart from working as a “regular” LDC microphone, an included adapter cable permits each output to seize a complete multipattern session; Lewitt Audio’s Polarizer plugin is supplied to permit the post-recording polar pattern change inside any DAW. In twin output mode (with phantom energy to each entrance and rear diaphragms), customers capture each the back and front of the mic.
This can be a beneficial manufacturing software; we preferred completely different positions for some items we recorded. Additionally, we then copied the track and plug-in, reversed the section, and had a very separate room mic to mix in.
The mic has a pleasant forward presence and sounded glorious on each supply. It’s very versatile—not solely due to its capability to alter polar patterns however as a result of by pointing the side of the LCT 640 TS to the supply, you’ll be able to seize MS Stereo.
- Gold-coated capsule
- Neutral frequency response
- 4 Low-cut and pre-attenuation settings
- Sturdy metallic construction
- Frequency: 20 – 20000 Hz
- Dynamic: 121 dB-A
14. Slate Digital VMS
“VMS” is a hybrid system that makes use of a condenser microphone, an impartial preamplifier, and a state-of-the-art digital processing bundle that restores the ambiance and efficiency of basic microphones and preamps.
The digital microphone system breaks down the wall between sound engineers and costly world-class audio units, providing you with the digital microphone of their desires at a reasonably priced value.
Slate Digital has created a digital system that comes with a high-quality, massive capsule condenser microphone, a devoted “ultra-linear” microphone prep, and a plug-in that can be wonderful as a modeling microphone. The one difficulty is that you need to use your individual A/D converter.
The microphone is black and is someplace between an AKG C12 and a Brauner VM1. It’s geared up with a really well-made suspension bracket, however, the transmission noise continues to be greater than we might anticipate. The microphone is related to the preamplifier through a normal 3-pin XLR cable.
It’s of a really excessive standard in terms of manufacturing quality, the metalwork and design are wonderful, and – in contrast to some costly trendy microphones – the suspension holder is easily adjustable and firmly held.
The software program is a part of the Slate Virtual Mix Rack and may be very simple to make use of. Our sole drawback was that the Slate Digital VMS ML-1 microphone was not geared up with a high-pass filter.
- VMS plug-in software program can utterly change sound traits even after recording
- Virtual number of basic classic microphones and preamp models in addition to distinctive models for superior recording strategies (could require to obtain and buy from manufacturer website)
- Software Type: Digital modeling
- Platform: Mac, PC
- Format: AAX, AU, RTAS, VST
15. Audio-Technica AT5040
A-T has prospered within the high-efficiency, mid-priced mic class, however, has by no means tried to interrupt the “premium mic” class. The AT5040 is that attempt.
A-T engineers utilized a rectangular diaphragm, however not only one; they used 4, wired collectively and configured like a windowpane (two high, two wide).
Discrete parts, inner shock mounting, assembled by hand in an aluminum and brass body, together with one of the best shock mounts we’ve ever seen, all packaged in a sturdy Pelican-style case: Altogether, that is one of the best microphone package deal A-T has ever made. It’s below $3,000: not the very best echelon of mics, however up there with some extremely regarded studio requirements.
The frequency response of the AT5040 is comparatively flat for a great vocal mic. Of the numerous engineers to which I loaned the AT5040, we heard constant feedback about how pure it sounded, nevertheless, it would possibly disappoint engineers (like myself) that search for a character in a mic and attempt to carefully match the sound of a mic to the sound of a voice.
The output stage is extraordinarily hot; we were shocked there was no pad and no high pass filter. I used to be ready to make use of a standalone phantom supply to power the mic and ran the mic output straight right into a Gates Sta-Level. It sounded nice.
- The massive diaphragm microphone in a class of its personal
- 4-part rectangular aspect
- 4 Matched ultra-thin diaphragms
- Cardioid Condenser
- Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 50 Ohms
- Max. SPL: 142 dB
Condenser microphones, however, might be largely cut up into two distinct camps. Firstly, large-diaphragm condenser mics deliver taste and shade to a sound and are good for vocals, speech, and acoustic instruments.
Conversely, small-diaphragm condensers are very good selections for tonal accuracy and produce an extra constant result throughout the frequency spectrum.
You’ll see small-diaphragm condensers used on cymbals, or as overhead or ambient mics to fill out a general mix, for instance. Condensers can supply a spread of pickup patterns, from cardioid by means to omnidirectional.
In the end, the most effective microphone for you may be dictated by a variety of elements, together with price, needs, and scenario.
What are your thoughts on our selection? Check what type of preamp will you need with those mics. Create the perfect combo and be issue-free with your picks. We believe that we delivered in-depth insights in our 15 picks for the best studio microphone for vocals, no matter what is the usage.