You cannot underestimate the value of a condenser mic, especially when it comes to recording vocals or vocal performances. Your microphone’s ability to pick up your voice and eliminate distracting sounds from the recording space are two of the most important factors in determining the overall quality of your voice. This is where the best condenser mic for vocals can fit the picture.
Therefore, whether you’re recording vocals in a professional recording studio or in the comfort of your home, you need a good condenser mic.
In this detailed guide, you will discover all there is to know about condenser microphones, as well as learn how to choose the model that will work best for you. We also evaluated some of the best-performing condenser mics to find the top ones for recording vocals. So far, we’ve identified the top 7 condenser mics for vocals and will review them in detail in this guide.
|Overall Best Condenser Mic for Vocals||AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone|
|Most Durable Condenser Mic for Vocals||Shure PGA27 Condenser Microphone|
|Most Stylish Condenser Mic for Vocals||MXL 990/991 Recording Condenser Microphone Package|
|Best Professional-Quality Condenser Mic for Vocals||MAONO PM500 Cardioid Studio Mic|
|Best Budget Condenser Mic for Vocals||TONOR TC-777 Condenser Mic for Vocals|
|Most Portable Condenser Mic for Vocals||ZealSound USB Microphone|
|Most Versatile Condenser Mic for Vocals||MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone|
Condenser vs. Dynamic Mic – Which Is Better for Vocals?
Condenser mics are superior to dynamic mics in terms of their frequency and transient responses. They’re literally the best mics for recording vocals.
A condenser microphone depends on capacitance to create an electrical signal. One conducting plate is a narrow diaphragm at the mic’s output end, while the other is a rigid backplate. The distance between the diaphragm and backplate shifts due to the vibrations caused by sound waves passing through the diaphragm. This phenomena results in a change in the capacitance of the circuit. The fluctuating capacitance is converted into an electrical signal, which is then sent to your amplifier, mixing desk, or audio interface.
The special feature of this design is a thin diaphragm, which vibrates more freely and quickly than the diaphragms found in other kinds of microphones. Therefore, condenser mics have a wider frequency response, allowing them to recreate sounds with higher precision.
They are particularly effective in picking up delicate noises higher up the frequency spectrum that are beyond the reach of even some of the best dynamic microphones. For this reason, musicians use condenser mics to record acoustic guitars.
Condenser microphones often need an external power source for their internal circuitry (also known as phantom power). Therefore, you should purchase an audio interface or phantom power supply designed for them; if you want to get the most out of your condenser mic.
Things to Consider When Looking for a Condenser Mic for Recording Vocals
Choosing the right microphone is especially crucial if you are recording in a home studio, which often does not have the same high-tech acoustic treatment as professional studios. So here’s a list of things you should keep in mind when you buy a condenser mic.
Variations in the Pickup Pattern
Pickup pattern refers to the area from which a microphone will “pick up” sound. For example, a microphone equipped with an omnidirectional capsule will pick up sound (pretty much) equally well from both the front and rear of the device. If you want to record a small group of singers or percussionists, or have a great space and want to catch the natural features of the room in addition to the actual sound you’re recording, an omnidirectional pickup pattern can be a nice feature to have.
When recording live voices using a condenser microphone, you need a polar pattern that is either cardioid or supercardioid as these microphones are capable of picking up very subtle sounds.
Dynamic Ranging and Headroom
When you buy a more expensive condenser microphone, you are paying for the dynamic range and headroom that you have to work with.
Consider the dynamic range to be the difference between the quietest and loudest levels that the recording device can produce. While some microphones will have a response that is exceptionally good over their whole dynamic range, other microphones will not.
No matter how careful you are, you will eventually drop your microphone. Accidental impacts easily destroy condenser microphones because of their mechanical construction.
Your condenser microphone of choice should be equipped with a shock mount to avoid damaging the capsule. The microphones on this list all come with some shock mount, which is a big plus.
In addition, you should use a condenser microphone equipped with a pop filter or windscreen to dampen unwanted sibilant and plosive sounds. Condenser microphones are especially vulnerable to pops and hisses, and an external pop filter is impractical in a live setting. Once again, we’ve opted for mics that already have a pop filter.
When searching for high levels of information at all frequencies, the frequency range is essential.
If you have a deep voice, the microphone should be able to pick up the sound without distorting the quality of your speech, even if it is loud. The same principle applies to voices with a higher tone.
If you want to capture your voice’s higher registers and the finer details without distortion, buy a microphone with a high-frequency range.
Tubes vs. FETs
The internal active circuitry of a condenser microphone will either be based on tube technology from the 1900s or solid-state FET technology from the 1940s. The sound produced by FETs is cleaner and purer, in contrast to the harmonically rich warmth that is provided by tubes.
Top 7 Condenser Microphones for Recording Vocals
1. AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone
Overall Best Condenser Mic for Vocals
- Very economical and suitable for a studio
- Given adequate room, the sound is good for vocalists
- Clear sound quality
- Strong construction from a reliable brand
- High-end can be a little harsh
AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone comprises a wide diaphragm and cardioid polar pattern. So it’s perfect for capturing vocals and acoustic instruments in a live setting.
AKG is a brand that consistently produces high-quality microphones, regardless of price, and AKG Pro Audio P220 is no exception. The AKG P220 condenser mic, like the rest of the P-series, is constructed entirely of metal, making it one of the highest-quality options available. We wouldn’t mind lugging it about since it is substantial and durable.
If you use this vocal mic for a live performance, you’ll probably be blown away by how clear the sound is. We ran the audio without equalization and were blown away by how well it came through. Additionally, it comes with a bass-cut filter. It’s not very usual to find a built-in function like this, but it’s one of the more useful.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a microphone that excels in performance and sound quality, go no further than the AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone. This mic is perfect for beginners in the production or recording industry who want to hone their skills before investing in a higher-end model. In fact, it’s perfect for beginners, intermediates and experts!
View on Amazon: AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone
2. Shure PGA27 Condenser Microphone
Most Durable Condenser Mic for Vocals
- Clear highs and strong lows
- Shock mount included
- Rejects unwanted noise
- Very durable
- Well designed
- Somewhat radio-frequency-sensitive
The broad cardioid diaphragm and custom frequency response of the high-end Shure PGA27 Condenser Microphone allow for accurate reproduction of vocals, acoustic instruments, and amplification in both live and studio settings.
Due to the design and construction, you can be confident that it can withstand even the most demanding recording environment. The microphone fits perfectly in its teeny-tiny home, much like a hard-boiled egg in its plastic container. We loved the ingenious design that kept the microphone in place and effectively dampened out low-frequency noise.
Although it records speech well from a distance of about a hand’s breadth, the PGA27 lacked the low end of several competing microphones. It turned out that at this range, the regular and hi-passed samples sounded quite similar to one another. This microphone can record loud sounds without coloration or distortion since it contains a switchable -15 dB high-pass filter.
In conclusion, the Shure PGA27 Condenser Microphone is the best option for you if you want something that will endure for a longer period and are interested in making a one-time investment in a microphone.
View on Amazon: Shure PGA27 Condenser Microphone
3. MXL 990/991 Recording Condenser Microphone Package
Most Stylish Condenser Mic for Vocals
- Durable hard case
- Excellent tones on the electric and acoustic guitars and vocals
- Capable of reducing multiple background noises at once
- Well designed
- We did not come across any issues
Take care of all your recording needs with the MXL 990/MXL 991 Recording Condenser Microphone Package, including voices, drum overheads, acoustic guitars, and more! In addition, there are a total of two studio condenser microphones included in this package.
The quality of the vocal microphones with both large and small gold-sputtered diaphragm versions left us awestruck with their appearance. The package comes with a hard-mount microphone stand adapter, a durable carrying bag, and an additional hard-mount microphone stand adapter from MXL called the MXL H-03. It is an all-in-one package!
The 991 produced a pleasant sound on the two instruments we tried it out on, and our experts believe that it would be an excellent choice for either a room mic or an overhead drum mic. On the other hand, the 990 provided a smooth, sweet high end and a tight, strong bass when we tested it, making it ideal for recording voices.
In conclusion, if you’re someone who is starting MXL 990/991 Recording Condenser Microphone Package is an excellent choice. It gives you two of the best condenser mics so that you may experiment with different placements and approaches in style.
View on Amazon: MXL 990/991 Recording Condenser Microphone Package
4. MAONO PM500 Cardioid Studio Mic
Best Professional-Quality Condenser Mic for Vocals
- Records clear and crisp sound
- Easy to use
- Decent bass makes it ideal for recording different types of instruments
- We did not come across any issues
The MAONO PM500 Cardioid Studio Mic is hard to beat in terms of quality and performance. It is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone suitable for singers, instrumentalists, podcasters, live streamers, and other audio professionals in a professional setting.
We liked the solid metal case encasing and the high quality of the microphone. In addition, the smooth metal surface and modern aesthetic appealed to us.
Exceptional-end large-diaphragm condenser microphones, like the Maono PM500, provide high sensitivity and precise frequency response. Our initial impression was how good the voice sounded on our recordings, thanks to the even frequency distribution. Furthermore, we were pleased with how clear and unprocessed the voice came through.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a professional quality condenser mic, go for MAONO PM500 Cardioid Studio Mic. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on your podcast or putting up a new streaming channel; in our opinion, the PM500 is a wonderful alternative for people who want a professional microphone in their recording studio.
View on Amazon: MAONO PM500 Cardioid Studio Mic
5. TONOR TC-777 Condenser Mic for Vocals
Best Budget Condenser Mic for Vocals
- Superior constructional quality
- High quality sound
- Easy to set up and use
- Not sensitive enough
The TONOR TC-777 Condenser Mic for Vocals is an extremely cost-effective USB cardioid condenser microphone that offers a lot for the money. You can work on improving the audio quality of your live-streaming, videos on YouTube, Skype, Zoom, and so on.
TONOR was able to include all of the necessary components despite the TC-777’s plastic construction, which is appropriate given the device’s price point. It’s all plastic, so the mic is lightweight and easy to carry everywhere. It differs from the typical cylindrical form of a microphone in that it has a more squared-off appearance.
We observed that the TONOR TC-777 is superior to any gaming mic, and completely suited for usage in voice chats and video conferences without any issues whatsoever.
In conclusion, if you are on a tight budget and want to make a bang for every buck you spend on your condenser mic, go for TONOR TC-777 Condenser Mic for Vocals. It is an excellent choice for upgrading sound quality. It comes with a refined pop filter that picks up crisp and bright voice without air flow noise.
View on Amazon: TONOR TC-777 Condenser Mic for Vocals
6. ZealSound USB Microphone
Most Portable Condenser Mic for Vocals
- Strong build
- Easy to use and carry
- Built-in controls
- Value for money
- Great sound quality
- 360-degree rotating design
- Excellent noise reduction
- We did not come across any issues
The ZealSound USB Microphone is another microphone on the market that ought to be on everyone’s list of potential purchases. We found it user-friendly since you can plug it in and start using it right away; there’s no need to install additional drivers for it to function.
The sleek appearance and lightweight design of the microphone are a big plus. You can carry it everywhere! We liked the built-in features of the mic; for example, the LED light shows the mic’s status, if it’s muted or active. There is also a control for reducing the background noise; just below that is the button to silence the device.
Because of its cardioid pattern, it reduces ambient noise from the room’s sides and back to a minimum. In our tests, we found that this low-cost USB microphone has a pleasantly unexpected sound quality and performs an excellent job of recording your speech while minimizing any background noise that may be present.
In conclusion, the ZealSound USB Microphone is your best pick if you want a microphone that incorporates most of its functionality into its design, allowing you to take it with you almost everywhere you like.
View on Amazon: ZealSound USB Microphone
7. MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone
Most Versatile Condenser Mic for Vocals
- Durable and sturdy
- Excellent, clear and crisp sound
- Picks up wide range of frequencies
- Balanced bass response
- A little expensive
The MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone is a large-capacity condenser microphone with a sleek, low-profile spider shock mount. It can be used well with various sound sources, including vocals, acoustic stringed instruments, pianos, and drums.
The MXL 770 looks stylish, thanks to its beautiful matte charcoal finish with gold writing and trim. The overall look is still quite classy in our opinion. The golden accents give it a touch of elegance and timelessness. The black exterior and chrome grille on the chassis are also quite iconic.
The astonishingly excellent high-end of this studio mic, which comes at a price that is almost unheard of, left us quite pleased. It also does an excellent job of taming the bass. All of the features make MXL 700 a very versatile professional microphone. Acoustic pianos, electric guitars and amplifiers, and vocals, you can use it to record it all and more!
In conclusion, the MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone is an excellent voice microphone for those with just a C-note and enough spare coins to get them through the weekend’s pizza budget. It is a great entry-level versatile microphone that won’t break the bank if you’re just getting started with recording.
View on Amazon: MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone
Frequently Asked Questions About Condenser Mics for Vocals
Yes, condenser mics are superior in sensitivity, frequency response, and dynamic range. So, certainly, they are better for vocals. For example, condenser microphones produce the highest quality results when recording vocals or acoustic instruments in a studio.
The Neumann TLM 103 Microphone is Billie Eilish’s choice when she records her voice. The sound quality of this microphone is legendary for its clarity and precision. Because of its very low self-noise, this microphone is ideal for capturing Billie’s soft, delicate singing. The 103, true to its “TLM” moniker, is a transformerless mic producing acoustically neutral sound.
Yes, a condenser mic is good for singing. Condenser mics are best for recording voices and high frequencies.
The best way to use a microphone is to imagine the finished sound you’re going for and then use it to get there. Different vocal mics and applications will provide varying results.
We highly recommend that you go with the AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone since it has all of the attributes of a fantastic condenser mic.
With that said, experimenting with as many microphones as you can get your hands on is the best way to find out which is ideal for your needs. To be able to purchase high-quality live vocal condenser mics that have been fine-tuned specifically for usage in a concert environment, you should increase your budget wherever it is possible to do so.