by Tim | 12:39 am

Most music listeners value quality in a song, and that includes vocals. The dilemma is that coming up with quality vocals for a song is not always easy on your life… or your wallet. Sure we can all walk down to our nearest pawn shop and purchase a decent looking microphone, and it may even sound good after recording yourself.

The bottom line is if you want quality results from your microphone, you need to pay for it. I’ve found from even personal experience the cheaper mic might not be the best choice if you want a great sounding song. The only problem was, I never knew what to look for when shopping for a new microphone. It’s a good thing to educate yourself because you wouldn’t want to waste your money on the wrong mic which can be detrimental your entire studio’s quality.

There are two different types of microphones you’ll need to choose from: dynamic and condenser. A dynamic microphone is ideal for on stage performances because if its durability. It can withstand very high pressure frequencies like from guitar amplifiers which give a great live show experience, but not so much while recording in the studio. There’s no match compared to condenser mics since they lack accuracy.

Condenser microphones are more for recording vocals and instruments. There are two types of condenser mics: small diaphragm and large diaphragm mics. A small diaphragm mic gives you evenly distributed frequencies throughout your vocal. A large diaphragm mic records with more detail and captures a deeper range of sound frequencies.

Today I’ll be going over the best studio microphones for recording vocals.

AKG C-214

Also known for its top of the line headphones, AKG brings the C-214 microphone which is an excellent choice for vocal recording. I love the fact that it will reduce the unwanted sounds that resonate from the hardware itself and acurately focuses on the vocals being recorded.

Another great feature it provides is its low noise level capacity which is ideal for recording close to the mic. I can see myself using this one for melodies since I have a lower tone that needs to be recorded right in front of it.

The high quality and durable shock mount and case that it comes with is just another reason to consider getting it. It’s already on my list to have a trial myself.

You can view the $399 price and other details on Amazon.

Neumann TLM-102

Being that this microphone is often considered by many to be the world’s greatest microphone, it deserves some consideration. The Neumann TLM-102 is one of the most used microphones within its industry. Although pricey, it stands alone in vocal recording quality as well as various instruments.

This large diaphragm mic reaches a decibel level high of 144 dB! So if you have a guitar amp or loud drums solos you need recorded to perfection, look no further. It comes with a built in pop filter to contain any vocal pressure going into the mic. I couldn’t ask for more! I can literally scream into the mic with a grip of ‘b’ and ‘p’ mouth pressure and still have a crystal clear recording as a result. Amazing.

This incredible mic cost $699 on Amazon.

Rode NTK

Be ready for this great tube condenser microphone in its prime. The Rode NTK provides us with a great dynamic range and low noise at the same time. It’s ideal for when you’re desiring a detailed vocal right out of the gate when recording vocals and instruments.

This microphone is priced at $529 on Amazon.

Rode NT1-A

This is the all around industry standard microphone sitting at a great price. Although it’s a condenser mic, it has a great dynamic range and is known for its quietness while recording vocals. Its low decibel levels make it great for recording acoustic guitars, drums, pianos, and other instruments.

Another pro is that it comes with a “Complete Vocal Recording Solution” package giving you various essentials for recording at home. This mic is most definitely on my “to-get” list.

All this excellence for only $229 on Amazon!

Shure SM7B

Not only is this mic amazing for recording vocals of the legendary Michael Jackson, but it’s great for many recording styles. The Shure SM7B is ideal for up close singing or spoken vocals. What is very impressive to me is that this is a dynamic microphone but is also incredible for studio recording as well as live performances and podcasts.

Having recorded many rock stars in the past, the Shure SM7B picks up plenty of wide range frequencies and is great for screamed rock vocals.

The price of the Shure SM7B on Amazon is $399.

Conclusion

So, which one stands out the most to you? There are plenty more options for microphones out there that are not on this list that you should consider too. I can’t stress it enough to do your research and have your trials which each one. The best way to know if it’s the right one is to try it in your own home studio.

I hope I’ve been able to help answer any questions you had before reading this. I’d love for you to leave some feedback in the comment section below, as well as any questions you have, or if you just want to chime in on the discussion then feel free. I’ll be sure to respond as quickly as possible.

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Comments

kmv

I’m look for a mic to record voice overs.  I’ve been using my MacBook microphone (shame on me) and am ready to move to the next level up…maybe not pro level, but definitely want something better than what I am getting now.Considering all I am doing is video voice overs for YouTube, do you think that these mics are overkill?  For the price, the Rode NT1-A package looks like it has everything I would need…but if I could spend under $100 and get “pretty good” results, I’d be ok with that as well.So I’ll turn it back to you.  Which one of these mics would you recommend for me?  Maybe you could recommend (or do a review of ) sub $100 mics?  I’ve seen some people say that “cheap” mics (sub $100) are just that…cheap.  Spend the money or go home.  If that is the case, then I better keep saving so I can get that Rode!Thanks for the help!

Jan 30.2019 | 03:32 pm

    Tim

    Hello and thanks for commenting!

    The mics I have in this article are definitely pricey and there are of course cheaper alternatives. If you’re looking for a $100 microphone for voice overs you can always check out the Audio Technica AT2020. You’ll definitely get nice sounding results from it, which is perfect if you’re new to recording, but after a while I think saving up for the higher priced Shure mic or even a not-as-high priced Rode microphone will give you the vocal quality you’re in search of.

    Jan 30.2019 | 07:46 pm

Clement

Thank you for this post, You must have put a lot if energy in compiling this list and I really find it helpful. I think condenser mic are great for vocal recordings. From your list I will pick the Shure SM7B above other, I have heard about Micheal Jackson using for his great recordings. 

Jan 30.2019 | 03:33 pm

    Tim

    Thanks for your comment Clement.

    Absolutely. The Shure SM7B is an outstanding microphone used by an outstanding musician.

    Glad I was able to help.

    Jan 31.2019 | 01:59 am

Renton

This is fantastic post!

I have been living my life without knowing any of this great stuff but I am glad I read this post and found out. So if I have this straight there are basically two types of mics. Dynamic and condenser and then there are two types of condensers which are small diaphragm and a large diaphragm. Is that right or did I make a mistake?

From your list I recognized Shure and the Neumann. I think that the Neumann sounds perfect for me because I don’t really sing but I do play guitar so it would be great for those nice solos and riffs. I have personally heard the difference between high quality and low quality sound equipment so I definitely know what you are talking about.

How easy is  it to set up these mics, are they plug and play or do they require special software?

Thanks for sharing this great information!

Jan 30.2019 | 03:36 pm

    Tim

    Hello Renton. Thank you for your input.

    You are correct, the two types are dynamic and condenser microphones. Within condenser mics you have the option of small or large diaphragm styles. Some say small diaphragm mics are better but everyone has there preference on sound.

    It’s really a simple and fun task to set these up. There may be some assembly required depending on your mic stand and shock mount, but other than that it’s just a simple plug in from your mic to your audio interface. As far as recording software goes, you’ll need one to be able to record anything.

    You can always try a free software like Audacity for example.

    Jan 30.2019 | 07:32 pm

Olushola

Hi,

Reading your article regarding studio mics makes me remember when I first recorded my first song in the studio then. I was a bit nervous but not anymore lolz. Thanks so much for shedding more light on the different types of mics to purchase as I am planning sooner or later to set up my own personal music studio.

Mic is a very important instrument when it comes to making good music. Now I have more idea and understanding about different types of mics, which one to buy and which on to avoid through your post.

God bless you so much and I can’t wait to read your next post.

Regards,

Olushola.

Jan 30.2019 | 03:40 pm

    Tim

    Hello! Thank you for your input and welcome.

    Creating music is a passion of mine and I can always appreciate and respect a fellow musician. Mics are very important, you are correct about that. Although there are ways around a cheap microphone, nothing compares to the results achieved from a professional studio mic. 

    Thank you for reading!

    Jan 30.2019 | 07:19 pm

Sylvia

I am considering buying a new microphone but the purpose of it is to use it for narration.

I was recently asked to make an audio version of my first book, I already have written 5 years ago.

I don’t have a “suitable” mic and I am a bit overwhelmed since I started my research online. The problem here is that you see the products and their qualification of use but, that’s pretty much it no deeper information.

I am glad that I stumbled upon your site and this is just what I think I need.

So far, I have set my eye on the Rode NT1-A, do you think it would be okay for my purpose since it comes with a “bundle”?

I also do appreciate all the information about mics. I personally didn’t know that there are differences etc.

Forgive my ignorance when I say that I always thought a mic is just a mic and yes, that some are better and therefore costs more.

Well, now I know better.

Thanks for sharing all the information, so appreciated.

Jan 30.2019 | 03:46 pm

    Tim

    Thank you for your comment Sylvia.

    And yes, the NT1-A package is absolutely a great choice for your book narration. It comes with essentials like a shock mount, pop shield, all your necessary connections, and it comes with a DVD that covers various tips for recording.

    Thanks for reading!

    Jan 30.2019 | 04:19 pm

Humayra

HI Tim,
This article is a great representation of a professional studio microphone. One of my friends is very interested to buy a high-quality microphone which will be noise free and very clear voice recording support. He wants to use it for multiple purposes which will cover film voice, commercial video, and channel video. I am going to share this article with him. Thanks for posting helpful product information.

Jan 30.2019 | 06:02 pm

    Tim

    Thank you for your feedback and welcome to Home Studio Nation.

    The microphones I’ve included in this article would be great for film voice overs and what not. A couple you can consider are the Shure SM7B and the AKG C-214 which are perfect for noise reduction and spoken vocals.

    Jan 30.2019 | 07:09 pm

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