The human voice is one of the most recognizable sounds in the world. Therefore, when recording voices, capturing a sound that is both realistic and good quality is the key to successfully conveying a sense of familiarity. However, to do this, you need a microphone that can adequately duplicate the vocal frequencies.
Choosing a microphone is a very subjective matter since everyone’s voice has a distinctive tone, and performers’ intended applications and performance styles differ widely.
This article will discuss the criteria that should guide your search for the ideal mics for recording vocals. We will also list our picks for the top 7 microphones for recording vocals in 2023.
|Overall Best Microphone for Recording Vocals||Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone|
|Most Versatile Microphone for Recording Vocals||Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal Microphone|
|Best Microphone for Recording Vocals in the Studio||Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone|
|Best Microphone for Professional-Quality Vocal Recordings||Neumann Pro Audio Cardioid Condenser Microphone|
|Best Microphone for Recording Vocals at Home||Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone|
|Most Durable Microphone for Recording Vocals||TZ Stellar X2 Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser XLR Microphone|
|Microphone for Recording Vocals With Best Design||MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone|
What Type of Microphone Is Best for Recording Vocals?
Condenser mics are your best bet when recording voices and other high-frequency sounds. The majority of studio applications use condenser microphones. Condenser microphones, also known as capacitor microphones, are typically utilized as studio mics due to their clarity and precision.
Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Microphone for Recording Vocals
Types of Microphone
There are three types of microphones: dynamic, condenser, and ribbon. Each uses a distinctive approach to transform acoustic signals into electrical.
The Proximity Effect
Another very important factor to consider is the proximity effect. The proximity effect is a phenomenon that causes the low frequency response to increase when the mic is brought closer to the source. The bass boost increases with proximity. Although this could lead to issues, it also offers new opportunities for shaping the sound.
You should consider the proximity effect while looking at various vocal microphones, as cardioid and shotgun microphones are susceptible to the proximity effect when used in close quarters.
Low frequencies become more prominent when you move the sound source closer to the microphone (or bass tones), and this may come as a beneficial feature for someone who has a weaker voice, as it will make the tone seem richer. As a result, if you have a deep voice, you’ll need to move away from the microphone to get a clear recording.
The Polar Patterns
An audio microphone’s polar pattern determines which sounds it accepts or rejects based on the direction from which it is coming. The omnidirectional microphone can pick up the sound from any direction. Bi-directional microphones pick up east and west sounds and are also known as Figure 8 microphones. A unidirectional microphone can only pick up sound coming from one direction.
Three polar patterns are available for unidirectional microphones: cardioid, supercardioid, and hypercardioid. Unidirectional microphones are the most popular variety. Rear- and off-axis noises are rejected by all three of these patterns, regardless of where they originate.
A loud environment, such as miking a band’s singer, necessitates using polar patterns. The signal will not get muddled or produce feedback if you use a cardioid, supercardioid, or hypercardioid microphone since these microphones tend to reject all other sounds except the vocalist’s voice.
The frequency response of a microphone describes the range of frequencies it can pick up, from ultra-low to ultra-high, and the unit is hertz, representing the lowest and highest frequencies. A suitable option for a vocal mic would be one having a frequency response of 80 Hz to 15 kHz.
The microphone’s sensitivity measures its effectiveness as a transducer, i.e., how it converts audio signals to electrical energy signals. A vocal mic’s sensitivity rating depends on its output voltage (audio signal strength) and the sound pressure level it handles. It is possible to increase the volume of the signal output by using microphones with greater sensitivity ratings.
Top 7 Microphones for Recording Vocals
We will thoroughly overview some of the top voice mics available today. You’re likely to discover the ideal vocal mic among these 7 possibilities, whatever you need to use it for. So let’s look at them one by one.
1. Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone
Overall Best Microphone for Recording Vocals
- High-quality audio
- Strong construction
- Effective on-mic filtering
- Reliable and consistent outcomes
- Suitable for vocals as well as instruments
- Excellent for broadcasts, radio, and podcasts
- Requires a suitable preamp or mixer
The Shure SM7B is more of a conversation microphone but works well as a vocal microphone for singing. King of Pop, Michael Jackson even used it to record his successful album Thriller. We have rated it as the overall best microphone for recording vocals because its features have no parallel on the market.
We noticed that this dynamic microphone is no exception to the rule that Shure microphones are exceptionally robust. Therefore, you can utilize SM7B for live performances even though it is perfect in the studio setting.
In our tests, the SM7B performed admirably, and we could adjust it to suit a broad range of voices and applications; whether we wanted to soften a shrill or remove the body from a bass-heavy voice, that is too loud. It is adaptable, and we could quickly make these adjustments thanks to SM7B’s dual-tone controls.
The passive EQ has two bands, one for low cut/high pass and one for boosting the presence. The feminine voice benefits from the presence boost, while the male voice benefits from the low cut.
The SM7B can readily handle loud sound sources since it’s a dynamic mic rather than a condenser. The mic’s design is intricate; it has an internal suspension and shock mounting mechanism to eliminate handling noise and vibration. Additionally, it contains electromagnetic shielding, which prevents humming from entering your audio stream as it is a nuisance in studios with a lot of equipment.
It has a built-in pop filter that doesn’t let plosives get through, making it a perfect microphone for circumstances when a pop filter is unavailable. Moreover, the SM7B features a cardioid pattern, making it exceptionally successful at accurately and thoroughly collecting sound even if you can’t switch between other polar recording patterns.
In conclusion, Shure SM7B is an excellent vocal microphone, it costs a fraction of what you’d pay for a high-quality microphone, and you’ll be pleased with both the quality of the build and the sound you receive from it. We strongly advise it for those with a pro recording studio.
View on Amazon: Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone
2. Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal Microphone
Most Versatile Microphone for Recording Vocals
- Consistent responsiveness across the voice frequency spectrum
- Less expensive than other mics
- Classic appearance and a contemporary tone
- Comes with a swivel mount and an integrated mic stand
- Excellent sound quality and tone
- Long-lasting toughness and sturdiness
- Not as sensitive as other Shure mics
- Picks up background noise
The sound quality of Shure Super 55 Deluxe mic is outstanding. In addition, it’s capable of handling loud sounds without clipping. Consequently, the Super 55 microphone delivers the best sound quality available at this price point and deserves its place as the most versatile microphone for recording vocals on our list.
We got exceptional sound quality and clarity unmatched in this price category and strong off-axis rejection that reduced background noise while we were recording when testing. We were impressed that the self-tensioning swivel mount enables tilting up to 45 degrees forward and backward. Additionally, it has a dependable performance thanks to the tough die-casting for long-term dependability.
Moreover, satin chrome-plated die-cast enclosure, polar pattern with deep blue foam, and frequency response optimized for natural voice and speech clarity are only some of the features of this model.
The Shure Super 55 is the greatest option for both beginners and experts because it has a frequency response of 50Hz to 15kHz. You can use the purity and brightness in the sound it offers for any live or recorded application without losing either.
In conclusion, Shure Super 55 Deluxe microphone is a fantastic choice in terms of functionality and sound quality. So, if you’re searching for affordable vocal mics with all the capabilities you need for live performance or studio use without sacrificing quality. In that case, you cannot go wrong with Shure Super 55 Deluxe.
View on Amazon: Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal Microphone
3. Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Best Microphone for Recording Vocals in the Studio
- Excellent build quality
- Fantastic value for money
- Uncolored frequency response
- Incredibly low self-noise level
- Comes with SM6 shock mount with pop shield
- We did not find any issue
There are few mics on the market that can offer the best of both worlds: the Rode NT1-A is one such microphones. It’s marketed as “the world’s quietest studio condenser mic” because of its low self-noise, which measures at just 5 dBA in this instance, and we have chosen it as the best microphone for recording vocals in a studio.
We found that it’s ideal as a voice microphone because of its high SPL (Sound Pressure Level) capacity, but it can also authentically capture strong instrumental sounds without distortion. You get a shock mount, a pop filter, and 20 meters of high-quality microphone wire in the box, so you can get to work immediately.
In our testing, we found that this microphone produces a fuller, more immediate sound owing to its gold-plated diaphragm, which is unusual for a microphone at this price point.
As you may anticipate, this microphone has a one-year guarantee. However, if you register it, your coverage will be increased by up to ten years. For such a low-cost microphone, it is a lot of value. This high-quality mic won’t break the bank if you’re considering setting up a home studio but aren’t yet fully committed.
An instructional DVD is included with the microphone to help you get the most out of your recording experience.
In conclusion, Rode NT1-A is excellent for those who are anxious to begin recording at home but have restricted financial resources and those who like singing while playing the guitar. You can start setting up your home studio by purchasing this mic.
View on Amazon: Rode NT1-A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
4. Neumann Pro Audio Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Best Microphone for Professional-Quality Vocal Recordings
- Compact design; suitable for travel
- Broad frequency response and a unique electric circuit
- Great sound quality
- Versatile to use in any setting
- We encountered no issue
The size of the Neumann Pro Audio Cardioid Condenser Microphone sticks out at first look, making you wonder whether it is a Neumann microphone. But don’t be fooled by its small size; despite its small size, this device has a lot of quality and power. Due to its fantastic features, we have included it as the best microphone for professional-quality vocal recordings on our list.
With a cardioid pattern capsule, the Pro Audio Cardioid is an ideal microphone for Neumann’s new generation of microphones, which are suitable for a wide range of applications. When recording vocals, the 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response range of the Pro Audio makes it a clear winner.
Regarding sound quality, the Pro Audio is an extremely low noise microphone that faithfully captures the source material. After 6 kHz, our team discovered that it amplifies the frequency response to provide some presence and make the sound considerably nicer. In addition, the voices are enhanced and given additional character by the smoothness.
When recording in a studio, the Pro Audio’s tiny form is beneficial since it won’t block your view of the recording engineer if you record in a windowed booth.
The Pro Audio is incredibly quiet and has a high degree of clarity. The design doesn’t use a transformer; instead, it uses an electric circuit that avoids interference. This condenser mic also includes a built-in pop filter and shock mount mechanism, which you don’t generally see in condenser mics because on-stage performances use dynamic mics more commonly. Regardless, it broadens the microphone’s scope of applications.
In conclusion, the Neumann Pro Audio is the ideal studio microphone in terms of portability and sound quality. It’s a bit pricey, but a quality microphone is well worth the money. It would suit intermediate to advanced producers in both professional and hobby studios.
View on Amazon: Neumann Pro Audio Cardioid Condenser Microphone
5. Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
Best Microphone for Recording Vocals at Home
- Crisp and clear sound
- Good build quality
- Outstanding transient response
- Extremely affordable
- Extremely adaptable and applicable to virtually any situation
- Reduced mass diaphragm
- Needs a pop filter
- Not suitable for live recordings
The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a fantastic affordable microphone for your studio recording needs at home if you’re on a budget and want a dependable, high-quality microphone and has gotten rave reviews on many music websites.
An AT2020 microphone is an excellent choice for those already familiar with their sound; if not, you can expect a lot of detail and a clean, smooth sound with a broad dynamic range.
We found that using a gooseneck or a conventional microphone stand, we could record into the AT2020 side-address microphone whether standing or sitting. It has a low-mass diaphragm, which enables a very quick transient response and a wide frequency range.
The AT2020 is an excellent microphone that works well for various vocalists; unfortunately, it does not have a high pass filter or an attenuation pad as one of its selectable features. In addition, it does not have any noise reduction features, an integrated pop filter, or shock mount, and it may be somewhat noisy sometimes. Therefore, you will need a higher powerful preamp to alleviate this issue.
In addition, since it is a condenser microphone, you’ll need an audio interface or preamp with an onboard phantom power (+48 V) button to power the amp. Even though it is a primary microphone, it still has fantastic sound, and simplicity isn’t a negative thing if the final output sounds good.
In conclusion, the Audio-Technica AT2020 is an excellent microphone for those just starting. Despite this, it sounds and feels high-quality and will last long. You can use it at home, in your bedroom, or a small project studio, but it won’t be good enough for a high-quality studio.
View on Amazon: Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
6. TZ Stellar X2 Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser XLR Microphone
Most Durable Microphone for Recording Vocals
- High-quality construction
- Balanced and neutral frequency response
- Clear and natural warm tone
- Great value for money
- Super low self-noise
- Does not handle transients well
Stellar X2 has a beautiful, small structure and a polished appearance, and the iron jacket on the main body gives it a sturdy feeling. The mesh grill is also of iron, and all these features make it the most durable microphone for recording vocals on our list. It has many other things going for it, and we will tell you about them.
We found the microphone comes in a sturdy box with all the necessary testing materials. Inside the package, you’ll find a sturdy carrying case for the microphone, as well as a shock mount, windscreen, and pouch.
Our team tested Stellar X2 for studio use, and we found it ideal since it has a clear, natural warmth and is relatively quiet. As a result, there is very little internal noise. So you will have to spend a lot of money to get anything close to this.
People who want to record voiceovers will like this function much since it ensures a crystal-clear recording without requiring further post-production filtration. In addition to saving post-production time, the final mix is better off when you use as few filters as feasible in the beginning.
We loved the warm and natural tone of Stellar X2, along with the low noise floor. We tested mics that, after extended listening, either sounded too muddy or too bright and harsh. Stellar X2 tone is right in the middle—neither too soft nor too bright.
In conclusion, you can’t go wrong with the Stellar X2. It can easily compete with microphones that cost five or ten times as much. For voice performers, it’s a must-have addition to any mic bag and a solid investment. So whether you’re a musician, a podcaster, or a voice actor, this mic is worth your time.
View on Amazon: TZ Stellar X2 Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser XLR Microphone
7. MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone
Microphone for Recording Vocals With Best Design
- Affordable price and value for money
- Beautiful and stylish design
- Comes with a casing and a shock mount
- Easy to set up and use
- Can record voice and instruments
- Most suitable for higher frequencies
- Highly sensitive, can pick up harsh T’s and P’s
You can’t go wrong with the MXL 770, which has everything you need to get the most out of the microphone, including the shock mount and a protective case. It’s not only visually appealing, but it also performs well.
We discovered that the MXL 770 features a six-micron gold-sputtered small diaphragm behind its metal hood. As a result, the mix can handle sounds ranging in frequency from 30Hz to 20kHz.
Additionally, it contains a low-noise FET preamp, which reduces background noise and unwanted sounds. We liked the exquisite overall design. The golden accents give it a vintage flair, and the black chassis grille and body are pure vintage.
On testing, our team was impressed by its performance. It took up sound from the front while blocking sound from all other directions because of its cardioid pattern. In addition, the MXL 700 is a very adjustable microphone. Besides acoustic pianos and electric guitar amps, you may also use them for keyboards, percussion (save for the kick drum), and vocals.
The MXL 770 voice department is suitable for podcasts, video calls, streaming, narration, and commercial recordings. The MXL 770 provides excellent sound quality straight out of the box. There is a noticeable shine and crunch to the mid-range tones, making your voice more prominent and distinct from the background noise.
In conclusion, the MXL 770 offers a beautiful design, a durable chassis, and a powerful sound. We believe MXL 770 should come at a far higher price range than currently offered. This microphone is ideal for usage in a studio or on stage. We highly recommend it.
View on Amazon: MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone
Frequently Asked Questions About Microphones for Recording Vocals
Professional singers use both dynamic and condenser microphones. Condenser microphones are superior to dynamic microphones for capturing vocals since they can pick up far more detail and are the type of microphone that is the most linear. Musicians and vocalists use dynamic microphones in live sound vocal applications, but in studio vocal recording applications, they prefer to use large-diaphragm condenser mics.
Condenser microphones are excellent for recording vocals because of the increased information they can pick up from vocal performance. However, when it comes time to mix, you will have a voice track that is richer in tone and sounds more genuine due to using a condenser microphone.
Check the Placement of the Microphones: The place you put your microphone with any instrument is more important than anything else on this list. Your recording will sound a certain way depending on how near you place your microphone to the vocalist and where you place it in the room. Getting the location correct can account for most of the problems that plague vocal recording sessions nowadays. With that in mind, you’ll want to leave plenty of room around your microphone so that the singer’s voice is not reflected into your microphone by the walls.
Adjust Accordingly For Height: When a performer sings with their head tilted back, you can help free up their airways by putting a microphone just above the singer’s lips. Even though this position may result in some of the most clear-sounding vocals, it can make them sound nasally in specific instances. Placing the mike slightly below where the mouth is might enhance the chest voice of baritones, who must “reach” to hit their lowest notes.
Put a Stop to the Pop: An often-overlooked component of the voice recording setup, pop filters play an essential role. In contrast to windscreens, pop filters remove plosives — air bursting from a singer’s mouth – from recordings. Insert a pop filter between your vocalist and the microphone to provide a more consistent voice output!
Because they can sustain high amounts of sound pressure before beginning to distort, dynamic microphones are a good choice for live performances. As a result, these mics are more dependable and sturdy, making them ideal for recording vocals, drums, and guitar amplifiers.
We hope our buyer’s guide will be helpful if you’re on the market for a voice recording microphone. We highly recommend that you get the Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone since this particular model fulfills all of the requirements one may have for a vocal microphone.