Best microphone for recording vocals

The Best Microphone For Recording Vocals

Intro to the Best Mic for Recording Vocals

In the world of music, the right microphone isn't just a tool; it's the bridge between your voice and the world's ears. Whether you're a budding artist in your bedroom studio or a seasoned vocalist laying down tracks in a professional setting, understanding the nuances of microphones for singing can transform your audio experience. This guide is your compass in the vast sea of audio gear, designed to navigate you towards the perfect microphone for your vocal needs.

From the crisp clarity required for capturing the delicate nuances of a vocal performance to the rugged durability needed for live stage shows, the choice of microphone can make all the difference. As we delve into the fundamentals of vocal microphones, comparing dynamic and condenser types, and exploring the convenience of USB options, we'll uncover the layers that contribute to making an informed decision. Join me on this journey to find not just any microphone, but the best ally for your voice.

 

Fundamentals of a Vocal Microphone

Diving into the world of vocal microphones unveils a landscape rich in technicality and artistry. At its heart, a microphone for singing must excel in translating the human voice into pure, captivating sound.

This journey begins with understanding pickup patterns—omnidirectional for capturing sound from all directions, cardioid for focusing on sound from the front while minimizing side and rear noise, and bidirectional for front and back sound capture.

Each pattern offers unique advantages, whether it's the natural ambiance of an omnidirectional or the focused clarity of a cardioid.

Frequency response, too, plays a pivotal role. It's the range of frequencies a microphone can pick up. A broad, flat frequency response is ideal for vocal recording, ensuring every note and nuance is captured with fidelity.

From the deep, resonant lows to the sparkling highs, the perfect microphone will deliver a balanced, true-to-life sound. As we explore the fundamentals of vocal microphones, remember, the right choice brings your voice to life, making every performance a testament to your art.

 

The Best Microphones for Recording Vocals

 

1.  Neumann U87 Mic for Recording Vocals

The Neumann U87 stands as a titan in the realm of vocal microphones, embodying excellence with its unparalleled clarity and versatility. Esteemed for decades by audio professionals, this condenser microphone captures the essence of vocals with a fidelity that has made it a studio staple worldwide.

Key Features:

  1. Three Polar Patterns: The U87 offers cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8 patterns, providing flexibility for any recording scenario.
  2. 10 dB Attenuation Switch: Accommodates loud sources by reducing sensitivity, ensuring pristine recording quality without distortion.
  3. Low-Frequency Roll-Off Switch: Minimizes rumble and handling noise, focusing on the purity of vocal recordings.

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound quality, capturing a full range of vocal nuances.
  • Versatile for various applications beyond vocals, including acoustic instruments and room miking.
  • Durable and reliable, with a long history of professional use.

Cons:

  • High price point, reflecting its professional studio-grade quality.
  • Requires careful handling and maintenance to preserve its pristine condition.

In summary, the Neumann U87 is a legendary microphone that offers unmatched sound quality and versatility. While its investment reflects its professional-grade performance, its ability to elevate vocal recordings makes it a cherished tool in studios worldwide. Whether for music, voiceover, or podcasting, the U87 stands as a testament to Neumann's commitment to audio excellence.

 

Also Read: Best Vocal Presets for FL Studio

 

2. AKG C414 Vocal Mic

The AKG C414 is a multi-pattern condenser microphone cherished for its versatility and detailed sound reproduction. A staple in studios around the globe, the C414 excels in capturing everything from vocals to a wide array of instruments, making it a go-to microphone for many audio engineers and producers.

Key Features:

  1. Multiple Pickup Patterns: Offers nine selectable polar patterns, allowing for great recording flexibility in various acoustic environments.
  2. Overload Warning Indicator: Features a pre-attenuation pad and overload warning indicator, ensuring optimal signal integrity without distortion.
  3. High Sensitivity: Captures subtle nuances with its high sensitivity and wide frequency response, delivering a detailed and natural sound.

Pros:

  • Exceptional versatility with nine polar patterns for various recording scenarios.
  • High-quality sound reproduction, capturing a wide dynamic range with clarity.
  • Robust build quality, ensuring durability for studio and live use.

Cons:

  • Premium pricing, reflecting its professional studio quality and versatility.
  • Can be overwhelming for beginners due to its extensive features and settings.

In summary, the AKG C414 stands out as a versatile and detailed condenser microphone, ideal for capturing a wide range of vocals and instruments. Its multiple pickup patterns and high sensitivity make it a powerful tool for achieving professional-grade recordings. While its price may be on the higher side, the investment is justified by its unparalleled flexibility and sound quality, making it a valuable asset in any recording environment.

 

3. Shure SM7B Vocal Recording Microphone (Best Value)

 The Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone that has become a staple in both broadcast and recording studios for its warm, smooth sound and its exceptional ability to handle high sound pressure levels (SPLs). Celebrated for its reliability and performance, the SM7B is favored by vocalists, podcasters, and audio engineers alike for a range of applications from professional music recording to voice-overs.

Key Features:

  1. Flat, Wide-Range Frequency Response: Provides exceptionally clean and natural reproduction of both music and speech.
  2. Improved Rejection of Electromagnetic Hum: Ensures protection against the buzz of computer monitors and other studio equipment.
  3. Air Suspension Shock Isolation and Pop Filter: Minimizes mechanical noise transmission and breathiness in vocal recordings.

Pros:

  • Renowned for producing a warm, smooth sound, enhancing vocal recordings.
  • Capable of handling extremely high SPLs, making it versatile for various recording settings.
  • Features like the internal air suspension shock isolation and built-in pop filter significantly reduce background noise and plosives.

Cons:

  • Requires a substantial amount of gain, which may necessitate a high-quality preamp or an inline gain booster.
  • The microphone's weight and size demand a sturdy stand or boom arm for proper positioning.

In conclusion, the Shure SM7B's reputation as a go-to microphone for recording vocals is well-earned, thanks to its warm sound profile, ability to handle high SPLs, and built-in features that combat background noise and electromagnetic interference. While its need for additional gain and robust support might present minor challenges, the SM7B remains a top choice for anyone looking to achieve professional-grade audio quality in their recordings.

 

The Best USB Microphone for Vocals

1. Blue Yeti USB Microphone for Vocals

The Blue Yeti is a USB microphone that stands out for its exceptional versatility and ease of use, making it a favorite among podcasters, streamers, and home recording enthusiasts. With its tri-capsule technology and multiple pattern selection, the Yeti offers studio-quality recording capabilities without the need for an external sound card or audio interface.

Key Features:

  1. Tri-Capsule Array: Allows for recording in stereo or three distinct patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional), catering to various recording situations.
  2. Plug-and-Play: Compatible with both Mac and PC, the Yeti requires no additional drivers, enabling easy setup and use.
  3. Onboard Audio Controls: Features include microphone gain, mute button, and zero-latency headphone output for real-time monitoring.

Pros:

  • Versatile recording patterns make it suitable for everything from solo podcasts to group interviews.
  • High-quality audio capture with minimal setup, ideal for beginners and pros alike.
  • Durable construction and aesthetic design that fits well in any studio setup.

Cons:

  • Its size and weight may limit portability for those on the move.
  • Can pick up background noise if not used in a controlled environment, requiring careful placement and possibly additional sound treatment.

In summary, the Blue Yeti USB microphone is a standout choice for those seeking a combination of quality, versatility, and ease of use. While its size may pose a challenge for mobile recording setups, its performance and feature set make it a valuable tool for anyone looking to produce professional-grade audio from the comfort of their home or studio.

 

Also Read: Best DAW for Recording Vocals

 

2. The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ USB Vocal Recording Mic 

 The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is a highly regarded USB microphone that combines Audio-Technica's renowned sound quality with the convenience of USB connectivity. Designed to offer studio-grade recordings directly to your computer, the AT2020USB+ is a go-to for musicians, podcasters, and voice-over artists seeking clear, professional audio.

Key Features:

  1. High-Quality A/D Converter: Ensures pristine sound quality with a 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate for superb audio.
  2. Mix Control: Allows users to blend their microphone signal with pre-recorded audio, perfect for podcasting or adding narration to videos.
  3. Headphone Jack with Volume Control: Offers zero-latency monitoring, so you can hear yourself in real-time without any delay.

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound clarity, capturing vocals and instruments with precision.
  • Easy to set up and use, making it ideal for both beginners and seasoned professionals.
  • Durable build quality that promises longevity even with regular use.

Cons:

  • Limited versatility in recording patterns compared to some competitors.
  • Some users might find the need for additional accessories for optimal positioning and sound treatment.

In conclusion, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ stands out for its excellent sound quality, ease of use, and thoughtful features like mix control and real-time monitoring. While it may not offer the pattern versatility of multi-pattern mics, its performance in capturing clear and detailed sound makes it a top choice for anyone looking to produce high-quality audio recordings with minimal fuss.

 

3. Rode NT-USB Vocal Microphone with USB

 The Rode NT-USB is a versatile, studio-quality USB microphone designed for recording singing, musical performances, and spoken word directly to a computer. Its plug-and-play design, combined with Rode's reputation for durability and audio quality, makes it a favorite among content creators and musicians looking for high-quality recordings without the need for an audio interface.

Key Features:

  1. Zero-Latency Monitoring: Includes a built-in headphone jack for direct monitoring of microphone input without delay, ensuring perfect performances and recordings.
  2. On-Mic Mix Control: Allows users to adjust the balance between direct microphone input and source output for optimal sound.
  3. Premium Pop Filter: Comes with a high-quality pop shield, reducing plosives for clearer audio capture, especially important for vocal performances.

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality with clear, detailed capture of vocals and instruments.
  • Easy setup and use, ideal for both novice and professional users.
  • The included pop filter and stand enhance recording quality and stability.

Cons:

  • Some users may prefer more recording pattern options for versatility.
  • The price point might be higher compared to other USB microphones, reflecting its premium features.

In summary, the Rode NT-USB stands out for its exceptional recording quality, user-friendly features, and comprehensive package, including a pop filter and desk stand. While it may come at a premium price, its performance and durability justify the investment for serious content creators and musicians seeking reliable, high-quality audio recording capabilities.

 

Selecting the Best Microphone Stand for Stability and Flexibility

 

1. K&M 210/9 Microphone Stand

The K&M 210/9 microphone stand combines robust construction with versatile positioning to support vocal performances in studios and live settings. Recognized for its stability and flexibility, this stand is a go-to for professionals who demand reliability during recording sessions or performances.

Key Features:

  1. Telescopic Boom Arm: Offers adjustable length and angle, allowing for precise mic placement in complex setups.
  2. Solid Metal Construction: Ensures durability and stability, preventing tipping during use.
  3. Easy Height Adjustment: Features a smooth, reliable clutch mechanism for quick height changes without sacrificing stability.

Pros:

  • Exceptional build quality that withstands rigorous use in any recording or performance environment.
  • Versatile boom arm adjustment for optimal microphone positioning.
  • Dependable stability reduces the risk of equipment damage.

Cons:

  • The high-quality construction comes at a premium price compared to other stands.
  • Heavier than some alternatives, which might affect portability for gigging musicians.

In summary, the K&M 210/9 microphone stand is an excellent investment for those seeking a reliable, flexible solution for microphone placement. Its superior build quality and adjustability features make it a preferred choice among professionals, ensuring that microphones remain secure and precisely positioned for the best sound capture. While the price and weight may be considerations for some, the performance and durability it offers are unmatched.

 

2. The On-Stage Stands MS7701B Mic Stand

 The On-Stage Stands MS7701B merges durability with affordability, presenting an ideal choice for musicians and podcasters who need a reliable microphone stand without breaking the bank. This stand is celebrated for its robust construction, adaptability, and ease of use, making it a staple in both home studios and live performance settings.

Key Features:

  1. Foldable Tripod Base: Ensures stability on various surfaces while being compact for easy transport and storage.
  2. Adjustable Boom Arm: Allows for flexible positioning of the microphone, accommodating different recording environments and techniques.
  3. Height Adjustability: The stand's height can be easily adjusted to suit different users and applications, from seated to standing performances.

Pros:

  • Affordably priced, making it accessible for beginners and professionals alike.
  • Sturdy construction that provides reliable support for microphones.
  • Lightweight and portable, ideal for gigging musicians and traveling podcasters.

Cons:

  • Some users may find the locking mechanisms less robust over time, requiring careful handling.
  • The lightweight design, while enhancing portability, might not support very heavy microphones or devices without proper balance.

In summary, the On-Stage Stands MS7701B microphone stand is an excellent choice for those seeking a balance between quality and affordability. Its portability and ease of use make it suitable for a variety of settings, from home studios to live performances. While it offers exceptional value, users with very heavy microphones should consider the stand's weight and balance to ensure optimal performance.

 

3. The Rode PSA1 Microphone Stand

 The Rode PSA1 stands out as a top pick for studio and broadcasting professionals, delivering unparalleled flexibility and stability for recording sessions. This swivel-mount studio microphone boom arm is designed for broadcasters, podcasters, and music producers who demand the best in terms of both functionality and aesthetics. Its seamless movement and robust design ensure that microphones are securely positioned for optimal sound capture.

Key Features:

  1. 360-Degree Rotation and Reach: Offers a wide range of motion with a horizontal reach of up to 32.5 inches and a vertical reach of 33 inches.
  2. Internal Spring Mechanism: Provides smooth and quiet operation, allowing for easy positioning without disrupting the recording environment.
  3. Two Mounting Options: Includes a desk clamp for temporary setups and a desk insert for permanent installations, making it versatile for various studio setups.

Pros:

  • Exceptional build quality ensures durability and longevity.
  • The internal spring mechanism allows for silent adjustments during live broadcasts or recording sessions.
  • Versatile mounting options cater to both temporary and permanent studio setups.

Cons:

  • Higher price point compared to other microphone stands, reflecting its professional-grade quality.
  • May require a solid, sturdy desk to support its weight and operational torque, which could be a limitation for some home studio setups.

In summary, the Rode PSA1 is a professional-grade studio boom arm that offers superior flexibility, stability, and quiet operation. Its build quality and performance justify its higher price, making it a worthy investment for serious broadcasters, podcasters, and music producers. With the right setup, the Rode PSA1 can significantly enhance the quality and ease of audio recording.

 

Essential Accessories for Vocal Recording

When diving into the world of vocal recording, the microphone itself is just the beginning. Accessories like pop filters, shock mounts, and others play a crucial role in capturing pristine audio. These tools help to mitigate unwanted noise, vibrations, and harsh plosives that can detract from the clarity of the recording. They are the unsung heroes that ensure your vocals are as clean and professional sounding as possible, whether you're laying down tracks in a home studio or a professional recording environment.

 

1. Nady MPF-6 Pop Filter 

An indispensable tool for any vocalist, the Nady MPF-6 Pop Filter is designed to fit seamlessly into any studio setup. This pop filter excels in reducing plosives, those pesky bursts of air that can cause distortion and clipping in vocal recordings.

Key Features:

  1. Double Screen Mesh Design: The MPF-6 uses a dual-layer mesh screen that effectively disperses air pressure, drastically reducing plosives without compromising sound clarity.
  2. Flexible Gooseneck: The pop filter features a fully adjustable gooseneck, allowing for precise positioning in front of the microphone to capture the optimal sound.
  3. Universal Clamp Mount: Its versatile clamp easily attaches to any microphone stand, making it compatible with a wide range of recording setups.

Pros:

  • The dual-layer mesh effectively minimizes plosives, ensuring clearer vocal recordings.
  • Highly adjustable gooseneck provides flexibility in positioning for optimal performance.
  • The universal mount ensures it can be used with a variety of microphones and stands.

Cons:

  • The gooseneck, while flexible, may require frequent readjustment to maintain the desired position.
  • Some users may find the mesh screen too large for compact studio setups.

In summary, the Nady MPF-6 Pop Filter is a must-have accessory for vocal recording, offering effective plosive reduction without affecting the quality of the audio capture. Its ease of use, coupled with the flexibility to fit almost any recording setup, makes it an invaluable tool for both novice and experienced vocalists alike. Ensuring clean, professional-sounding recordings, the MPF-6 is a wise investment for anyone serious about their vocal tracks.

 

2. Rycote USM Universal Studio Mount

 In the realm of vocal recording, the Rycote USM Universal Studio Mount stands out as a high-quality shock mount designed to isolate microphones from stand and floor noise. This accessory is a boon for recording artists, ensuring that vibrations and handling noises don't compromise the purity of vocal tracks. With its innovative design and superior materials, the Rycote USM offers unmatched performance for studio recordings.

Key Features:

  1. Universal Compatibility: Designed to fit a wide range of microphone sizes, making it a versatile option for various studio setups.
  2. Unique Lyre Suspension: Utilizes Rycote’s patented Lyre technology for unparalleled isolation from vibrations and handling noise.
  3. Durable Construction: Built with quality materials that ensure longevity and reliability, even in demanding studio environments.

Pros:

  • Exceptional vibration isolation enhances recording clarity by minimizing unwanted noise.
  • Its universal design ensures compatibility with a wide array of microphones, offering flexibility for studio setups.
  • Robust construction guarantees durability, providing a long-term solution for recording needs.

Cons:

  • The premium quality comes at a higher price point compared to some other shock mounts on the market.
  • Its size and design might be more cumbersome for smaller studio spaces or simpler setups.

In conclusion, the Rycote USM Universal Studio Mount is an essential tool for anyone looking to achieve professional-grade recordings free of unwanted vibrations and noise. Its universal compatibility, coupled with the innovative Lyre suspension system, makes it a top choice for recording artists and producers seeking the utmost in recording purity. Despite its premium price, the investment in a Rycote USM can significantly elevate the quality of vocal tracks, making it a valuable addition to any studio setup.

 

3. Auralex MoPADs

Auralex MoPADs revolutionize the way studio monitors perform, offering an affordable yet impactful solution to enhance sound clarity through isolation. These pads are ingeniously designed to decouple your speakers from their resting surface, effectively reducing unwanted vibrations and resonance. By providing a stable and optimized platform, MoPADs ensure your monitors deliver the truest sound possible, an essential for any mixing and mastering process.

Key Features:

  1. Effective Isolation: MoPADs efficiently isolate studio monitors from their surfaces, minimizing vibration transfer and enhancing overall sound clarity.
  2. Adjustable Angles: With multiple angle configurations, MoPADs allow for precise listening and mixing positions, catering to personal preferences and room acoustics.
  3. Versatility: Compatible with a wide range of monitor sizes, these pads can support up to 100 lbs., making them suitable for nearly any studio setup.

Pros:

  • Immediate improvement in sound clarity by reducing surface vibrations, resulting in cleaner mixes.
  • Customizable setup options with different angles to optimize listening position and room integration.
  • Universally compatible with most studio monitor sizes, offering flexibility for any studio arrangement.

Cons:

  • Some users may seek more significant acoustic treatment solutions for larger studio spaces.
  • The aesthetic design is basic and utilitarian, which may not appeal to all users.

In summary, Auralex MoPADs stand out as a cost-effective solution for enhancing the acoustic performance of studio monitors. Their ability to isolate, coupled with the flexibility in monitor positioning, makes them a valuable addition to both home and professional studios. Despite their simple design, the benefits they offer in sound clarity and mix accuracy can't be overstated, making MoPADs a must-have for serious audio engineers and music producers.

 

Check out our most popular presets, books, and courses.

 

Concluding the Best Microphone for Recording Vocals

In the quest for the perfect vocal sound, the journey begins with selecting the right microphone. Whether you're recording in a studio, laying down tracks at home, or capturing vocals for a podcast, the microphone is your first port of call in translating your voice into the digital realm. This guide has walked you through the essentials—from dynamic and condenser mics to USB options and specialized vocal mics—highlighting how each type caters to different recording environments and vocal styles.

Choosing a microphone isn't just about picking the highest-rated or most expensive model; it's about finding the mic that resonates with your voice and fits seamlessly into your recording setup. Consider the acoustics of your space, the style of music you're producing, and the intricacies of your vocal tone. The right microphone can elevate your vocals, capturing every nuance and emotion. So, take your time, experiment with different options, and remember, in the world of music production, your microphone is not just a tool—it's your partner in artistic expression.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Featured collection