In the past, if you wanted to purchase the best vocal mic available, then you would have to literally spend thousands upon thousands of dollars. Fortunately, that has changed just a bit. Although it’s still true that you have to spend some money to buy a high-quality vocal microphone, there are plenty of ones around that capture the human voice very well and are moderately priced.
Finding these microphones can be quite a challenge, however. That’s because in most cases you have to be willing to sift through dozens of microphones to find one suitable for vocals. I said in most cases because we’ve already gone through the trouble of finding the best microphones for vocals and have listed them in a convenient list for your consideration.
Best Vocal Mics Reviews & Buying Guide
#10 Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Cardioid Mic
Although the sound variance of this microphone is a little bit low for many people’s tastes, this mic does have a few features that make it a good introductory microphone. This product can plug into any USB 2.0 port and has a sample rate of 44.1kHz. This product has plug and play capability on most PCs and Macs and has a frequency response of 40 -18 kHz. It’s also an extremely inexpensive vocal mic and comes with a convenient stand. Whether this mic is used for adding vocals to YouTube videos or is used for podcasts, it’s a microphone that can pick up the human voice decently.
- Is a high-quality microphone
- Comes with a nice stand
- This mic is inexpensive
- Sound variance is too low
#9 Blue Yeti USB Microphone
Available in a variety of exciting colors and with a classic look to it, this microphone looks quite nice on any desktop. This microphone comes in either midnight blue, blackout black, Aztec copper, slate, or space gray, and it has a design that allows it to be positioned for best sound. Although this unit is a bit bulky, and can only be moved as far as its USB cable will allow, it does have plenty of nice features. It has a selectable polar pattern (cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional and stereo), has a gain control, a mute button and a zero-latency headphone output. It’s also compatible with Windows and Mac machines and has a convenient mute button.
- Has Plug N’ Play capability
- Multiple Polar Pattern Selections
- Has a zero-latency headphone output
- Has a gain control
- The microphone isn’t portable
- The microphone is a bit bulky
#8 Marantz Professional MPM-1000
This reliable entry-level microphone has a number of features which are interesting. It has a frequency response of 20-20,000Hz, a high sensitivity, and a fast transient response. Although it has a small sound pickup pattern, which can leave the user more or less chained to it, it does have a cardioid polar pickup pattern that reduces background noise greatly. This mic is made with an aluminum plated condenser capsule that allows it to deliver professional results and also allows it to meet the demands of most studio recording sessions. This unit may not be as powerful as more expensive models, but it does give the user a good entry-level mic.
- Has a large diaphragm
- High sensitivity range
- Sound pickup is a bit small
#7 Shure 55SH Series II Dynamic Mic
Although most singers initially fall in love with this microphone’s iconic look, it’s this mic’s performance which will astound them. This product has a frequency response that has been optimized for vocals and speech, so it’s not only a good microphone for singers, but also for podcasts and talk-radio broadcasts. It has a shock-mounted cartridge that helps to ensure that it picks up the sound without adding any interference to it and it has a durable housing that is made out of die-cast metal. Although it’s a little bit heavy for handheld use, and its switch is positioned where it can easily be switched off by the performer, it is a great mounted microphone for studio use.
- Professional quality microphone
- Has a shock-mounted cartridge
- Vocal-optimized frequency response
- Has a self-tensioning swivel mount
- The microphone is a bit heavy
- The singer can accidentally turn it off via its switch
#6 Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
Although this microphone is priced more than many of the other microphones on this list, it does deliver results which can only be described as professional. It has a wide frequency response for reproducing vocals naturally and is shielding against broadband interference. While some people have complained that this microphone has a soft sound reproduction, if it’s paired with a suitable pre-amp, then it works quite well. Other features found on this unit include a yoke mounting that makes it easy to mount and dismount, a pop filter that provides protection against human breath and spittle, and a detachable windscreen.
- Provides professional quality results
- Shielded against broadband interference
- Has internal shock isolation
- Easy to mount & dismount
- This mic is a bit expensive
- This microphone can be too quiet
#5 Rode NT1-A Microphone Package
The first thing worth mentioning about this microphone “kit” is that the microphone within it provides mid-range professional results. That’s because it uses a 1-inch capsule with a gold-plated diaphragm and a wide dynamic range that allows it to pick up the variances in the human voice. It also has a Cardioid polar pattern, is ultra-quiet and uses surface mount circuitry. This high-quality mic is bundled with a number of exciting accessories which include an XLR cable, a shock mount, a pop filter and it’s backed by a full 10-year warranty—which is a further testament to its quality construction.
- Professional-quality microphone
- Comes with Shockmount and Pop Filter
- Comes with XLR Cable
- Has a large gold-plated diaphragm
- This microphone is extremely sensitive to humidity
#4 Shure SM57-LC Dynamic Cardioid Microphone
Absolutely one of the first things that need to be mentioned is that this is a dynamic microphone and not a condenser microphone. As a result, it doesn’t have a pre-amp built into it, so the user is going to have to boost its gain to get serviceable results. However, having said that, when this microphone is paired with a quality pre-amp it produces very professional results. Its frequency response is 40 to 15,000 Hz, it has a Cardioid pickup pattern to filter out background noise and it has an easy-to-hold design that feels very natural in the hand. It’s also very durable and will hold up well to heavy use.
- This is an inexpensive mic
- Provides high-quality performance
- Cardioid pattern reduces background noise
- Easy-to-hold design
- Gain needs to be boosted to be usable
#3 MXL 770X Condenser Mic Package
This package not only comes with a high-quality condenser microphone but also comes with a number of accessories which can be used to set it up and use it. This package comes with a 20-foot XLR cable, a shock mount with an integrated pop filter and of course, the 770X microphone. The microphone has a switchable polar pattern that can pick up sound in the Cardioid, omnidirectional and figure-eight polar patterns to give the user options. If there’s one drawback to this mic, it’s the fact that it doesn’t come with a mic stand, although it can be hung to be used.
- Produces professional results
- Has a shock mount with a pop filter
- Has switchable polar patterns
- Has a high-quality design
- Doesn’t come with a mic stand
#2 Shure SM58S Vocal Microphone
This vocal microphone has a natural feel to it and is made from quality components, so it’s sure to hold up to heavy use. Although the on/off switch is a little too easy to switch while holding the mic, it does give the singer the option of turning the mic off while on stage. It has a built-in wind and pop filter, has a frequency response of 50 to 15,000 Hz and has a pneumatic shock-mount system that cuts down on noise while it’s being handled. This unit also has a Cardioid pickup pattern that isolates the singer’s voice and reduces background noise for a professional sounding result.
- Produces professional results
- The microphone has a natural feel to it
- The mic is extremely durable
- It’s inexpensive
- On/off switch is too easy to accidentally switch
#1 Sennheiser e935 Handheld Microphone
This high-quality microphone is manufactured in Germany from quality components and is designed to be used as a stage microphone. It has an extremely bright sound, which may be good for live performances but may not be ideal for studio performances. It’s also extremely sensitive, even though it has a Cardioid pickup pattern. This mic has a shock-mounted capsule to reduce handling noise and is made with neodymium ferrous magnets, so it stays stable regardless of whether it’s used in a humid climate or not. It also has a metal construction that makes it extremely durable. All things considered, it’s just one of the best vocal mics available.
- Has a high-quality design
- This microphone is extremely durable
- Ideal for live performances
- Has a reasonable price
- The sound is a bit bright
More products also worth checking out:
Vocal Mic Buying Guide
You can have the best voice in the world, and it wouldn’t matter if you used a microphone that ended up flattening out when you sang into it. That’s why it’s important to find the best vocal mic for you and your singing style. Towards that end, we have a few suggestions to offer that should be considered before buying your next microphone.
Types of Microphones
Most of the microphones for vocals that are available nowadays can be broken down into one of three different groups. There are Dynamic Mics, Condenser Mics, and Ribbon Mics. Each of these microphones has their benefits and their drawbacks, so let’s take a closer look at each type to get a feel of what these microphones are capable of offering to a singer. Since dynamic and condenser mics are the most prevalent, those are the microphones we’re going to concentrate upon. We’ll save an examination of ribbon mics for another article.
Dynamic microphones are constructed using a diaphragm, a magnet and a coil of wire. When the singer sings into the microphone, it vibrates this diaphragm, and this causes the wire coil to move in relation to the magnet. This movement then causes an electrical charge to develop in the coil, which is then reproduced by a speaker or saved to another device for recording. This design gives the dynamic microphone some distinctive benefits and drawbacks as we’ve listed below.
- They hold up well to frequent use
- They can handle loud volumes without flattening out or distorting
- They generate a high-gain audio signal
- Aren’t as sensitive for picking up vocal variances
Condenser microphones work a bit differently than dynamic mics. These microphones use two plates and a condenser for their core components. One plate is lightweight and acts as the diaphragm, and the other plate is stationary. When the singer sings into this microphone, the lightweight plate vibrates and changes its distance from the other plate. This distance between the plates creates an electrical field which changes the capacitance of the capacitor. Below are the pros and cons of this particular setup.
- Provides an extremely strong signal
- They are more responsive than dynamic microphones
- They are more sensitive than dynamic microphones
- Sound can distort under a heavy sound load
- They aren’t as durable as dynamic mics
Mic Polar Patterns
Another thing to consider before buying a microphone is the polar pattern of the microphone. When it comes to polar patterns, there are four different types: Omni-Directional, Cardioid, Hyper-Cardioid, and Shotgun polar patterns. Each of these patterns will be dependent on how the microphone is going to be used. If you want to capture sound from around the circumference of the microphone, then an omnidirectional mic would be used. If you only want the mic to pick up the sound from one direction, then you would want a Cardioid or Hyper-Cardioid polar pattern. Most singers choose a microphone with either a Cardioid or Hyper-Cardioid, but once again, this decision has to be informed by how the microphone is used.
Other Things to Consider
Of course, the above microphone specifications are only the basic things to consider. There are a variety of other things to consider, and some of these considerations could fill up a book on electrical sound engineering, so not everyone is going to want to delve into the specifics. Below are some other things the buyer may want to consider before buying a microphone for vocals.
- Mic Diaphragm Size
- Mic Sensitivity
- Mic Frequency Response
- Sound Variance