6 Best Vocal Recording Microphones of 2018

Anyone wanting to record their voice among other sounds, be it in singing or recording audio for video purposes (documentary guys and YouTube users, you know what I’m saying) needs an excellent recording microphone. So, for those of us looking forward to owning a home studio as a start or advance your recording equipment, know that your current mic can be a deal maker or breaker after taking in your vocals.

Searching for the best microphone to record your vocals gives you more than what you need. With overwhelming results, it is not easy to land on the right one for your singing sessions as you practice or getting your voice in shape for the next audio recording. That is why we have compiled a guide for you to shed light on what you need to look for in a recording microphone plus some of the best selections currently on the market.

You will get a chance to see what you can purchase plus some of the considerations to make before arriving at the final choice.

Recording Microphones Comparison Table

Microphone name

Polar pattern

Diaphragm type

Frequency response

Approx. Price

Switch between cardioid and omnidirectional

Condenser

20 Hz – 20 kHz

$130

Omnidirectional

USB connected

50 Hz – 16 kHz

$22

Cardioid

Condenser

20 Hz – 20 kHz

$75

Cardioid

Dynamic

30 Hz – 20 kHz

$400

Cardioid

Dynamic

50 Hz – 15000 Hz

$100

Cardioid

Dynamic

50 Hz – 20 kHz

$380

Top 6 Recording Microphone Reviews

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

We start with a USB recording microphone that will enable you to record distortion-free sounds on your computer. The Blue Yeti wins the first position after we verified that it has a tri-capsule array which contains three condenser capsules that will record even in the frenzy environments. With your voice next to the mic, every other sound is disregarded.

When recording, you have a choice of selecting multiple patterns. The cardioid mode for vocals, podcasts and game streaming, a stereo mode which uses the right and left channels for realistic sound capturing, a bidirectional mode for recording on both front and rear ends of the mic and lastly, the omnidirectional mode that collects sound from any direction.

Next, when using it, is a 3.5mm headphone jack that you can use to listen to what you are recording with no latency issues. You also have the option use the available controls to adjust the volume, select a pattern or mute when you don’t need to record. Those who have used it will tell you that it is an excellent tool for your vocals, podcasting, recording from musical instruments, conferencing and field recordings. The overall impedance (resistance to the flow of alternating current) is 16 ohms.

What kind of operating system are you using on your computer? Yeti is compatible most of the Windows versions if not all plus Mac OS version 10.4.11 or higher as long as the computer has a RAM of at least 64MB.

The accessories that you might require to use with this microphone include a decent pop filter of your liking. The USB cable is 3 meters long so you can get some distance from your computer especially if you are not alone. Another benefit is that it has a pivot that you can use to adjust the position or fold it down if you need to move it.

What customers say

“I wanted a microphone to record my voice for scientific content before posting it on YouTube. You need a quality voice that explains what is happening and Blue Yeti was there to help me do it. I chose it because it was within my budget range plus it has important controls on it within your reach. The recording is top-notch, but I felt the dial that switches to different modes was tough when turning. Also since it uses USB, you are tied to your computer alone unless you have a receiver that permits the same connection. What made me stick to it is because it will record straight to your computer without using an SD card. Overall, there’s good value for money here.”

Pros
  • Quality sound
  • Simple options to use
  • Easy installation
  • The microphone records straight to your computer
Cons
  • You are only allowed to use a computer since it uses USB connection
  • It’s somehow bulk and heavy
  • The dial to switch modes is somehow tough
FIFINE TECHNOLOGY USB Microphone K668

Here is another recording microphone for pc that you only need to plug and play. The FIFINE TECHNOLOGY USB K668 model connects to your computer for software settings before you go ahead to test it for the first audio recording. It is also compatible with Mac and Windows with nothing else required to install.

When picking up the vocals, the microphone uses the Omni pick-up pattern feature to record in any direction while at the same time canceling the unexpected noise to isolate it from the primary source of the sound. That is why customers will choose it for YouTube, Skype, home studio, Google voice search among other voice recording uses. With a smooth and flat frequency of 50Hz-16 KHz, you have a response from the mic that is excellent for quality singing, voice-overs, and speech. This specification was tested when using the microphone for sound reproduces, and the result was an exquisite sound that internet users can enjoy listening to.

When recording, you don’t need any external storage since everything goes straight to your computer after configuration. For setting up tips, here is what you need to do:

First set up the manual if the computer does not pick the microphone straight away. Go to your computer’s desktop and right click the sound icon that looks like a speaker. Select recording devices and follow the due steps. You can also use the instructions manual to do so. Another tip is trying to connect your microphone in the USB at the back or the one that stands alone (3.0 USB port) instead of the paired ones. Sometimes, after updating your computer, the microphone may not work. At that point, go to privacy setting and set it to allow apps to access it.

Another appealing feature goes to the tripod stand that comes with it. You can twist the microphone for up to 90 degrees not to mention the lower circular move that you can use to rotate it sideways.

One more thing, the best distance to pick up the voices is 3-8 inches after connecting the 5.9ft. cord. Overall, this is a good microphone that comes with a one year warranty which can be extended to two if you register online.

What customers say

“This is a budget-friendly microphone under $50 that you purchase for light audio notes or voice-overs. After buying it, I found that it has plenty of output which prompted me to lower the voice volume to around 40% for the best results. It is also a good idea to test it before doing the main job to avoid being disappointed by the output. Otherwise, it is a suitable microphone that will work on whatever program you are using. The metallic feeling makes it well-built while the tripod base provides a good standing position after appropriate adjustments. This mic will work for you if you don’t have many recordings to do.”

Pros
  • Suitable for beginners low on budget
  • Quality recording of vocals and voice-overs
  • Tripod stand for various positions
  • Metallic design guarantees longevity
Cons
  • Has a high recording volume which needs adjustment

3.MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Now, for those who are starting their singing career or their first quality audio input, here is a recording studio microphone that will take you further. Those who have used the MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser microphone know that it is a multipurpose piece meant for excellent vocals, string instruments, pianos, and percussion.

The microphone comes with a shock mount and a storage case made to protect it when transporting. At a price of less than $100, you have something that offers outstanding features in your voice recording task. The metal construction around it gives it a superior quality with a dense, sophisticated feel. That is what guarantees it’s longtime use if you take proper care.

Being a condenser mic, you expect nothing short of perfection and detail. With a frequency range of 30 Hz-20 KHz, this microphone represents most if not all genres. The high range is best suited for female voice recording since it’s able to receive top pitched notes clearly with balanced bass. The low-frequency end has a roll off feature that prevents the unneeded rumble.

With a FET preamp delivering what the listeners are looking forward to, rap and R n B singers can utilize this microphone depending on how you set the EQ. Instrument recording is also suited with this microphone as the Mogami cable is dedicated to delivering whatever sound it receives. For those of us asking if it can connect to the computer via USB, well, it doesn’t come with one, but you can use it with a Preamp that uses Phantom power and has a USB connection. Your PC’s sound card must also be able to handle the input plus internet connection with the appropriate bandwidth to upload ultimate quality.

What customers say

“If you want to set up a small studio in the house for initial recording before you get to the main stage, MXL 770 is the microphone for you. I took it after worrying on what to pick for my girlfriend who wanted to venture into voice acting. After setting up everything since I’m the tech guy in the house, we were more than happy to achieve a crisp and clear recording. With the right adjustments such as a good audio box, a stand, and cabling, you can connect to your supplies and even record on a flash drive. I highly recommend it if you want to podcast, sing, record instruments or even gaming.”

Pros
  • Budget-friendly microphone
  • Appropriate frequency
  • Can be used for voice recording and acoustic instruments
  • Condenser mic that is well balanced
Cons
  • It’s a powerful microphone that can be somehow confusing if you don’t get the settings right

4.Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone

Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone

Here is the receiver that Sheryl Crow and Michael Jackson utilized to make everything original.

Shure SM7B is a professional recording microphone that renders a flat, wide-range frequency for that clean and clear output for original music or vocal production. Having a bass roll off and mid-range emphasis controls to set the response with the help of a graphics display, all the unwanted sounds are kept out of the main picture. The electromagnetic hum improves the rejection rate when shielding against computer’s monitor broadband interference.

With this microphone, you don’t need a pop filter since it comes with a shock isolation mechanism to get rid of mechanical noise and an included pop filter to handle the breath sounds as the one on the microphone continues to deliver. To improve on the sound quality, the receiver now ships with an A7WS detachable screen that aims at reducing the plosive sounds and give in a warmer voice tone. The frequency is also interchangeable using the response caps to get mild and high boosts.

For mounting and holding specifications, the cardioid mic has a yoke mounting feature and a stand nut which provides easy fixing and unfixing so, you have the ultimate control when it comes to that. Apart from receiving vocals and instruments sounds, it has rugged construction to protect the inner elements and guarantee long time use. If you are asking whether it is necessary to purchase a preamp, yes you need to not forgetting an audio interface that can include one mic preamp. The only flaw with this mic is that it does not come with a stand.

What customers say

“This is a powerful microphone that delivers the right quality if fed to the right power input. You will get distorted sounds that are not up to per if you don’t have the appropriate equipment. I used it with a Grace Design m101, and everything is just amazing. Just make sure you are using the correct preamp for such power.”

Pros
  • Rugged construction suitable for long time use
  • Ideal for loud sounds
  • Can be used for onboard controls
Cons
  • Low output level
  • Requires a powerful preamp which can be expensive

5.Shure SM58-LC

Shure SM58-LC

Here is a microphone brand that has won the hearts of your favorite singers, the Shure SM58-LC. It is designed to be the best microphone for recording vocals, using it in live performances, studio recording, and sound reinforcement. With a frequency response of 50-15000 Hz, it is a mic tailored to deliver excellent vocals through a brightened midrange as they call it and the bass roll-off feature.

The cardioid pickup pattern is uniform so that it can only concentrate on the next immediate voice to it and isolate the background noise. Also, thanks to the shock-mount system that handles mechanical noise by cutting it down.

The rugged metallic design at the top bolds a built-in spherical wind and pop filter to take breaths away as you sing. It is also long to enable holding ability, but if you need to fix it on a stand, it comes with a break-resistant stand adapter which goes a 180 degrees rotation.

You may find SM58 models boasting different features such as one being dynamic and the other vocal. There is no significant difference in both microphones since dynamic means it can do its job – converting the received sound waves into electrical energy. Vocal implies what it should be used to collect.

Apart from famous singers and rappers using it, it is also a great tool to record instruments and karaoke. One more thing, you need to note that it does not come with a cable, hence the name LC, meaning without a cable.

What customers say

“We bought three microphones for our jazz band, and they worked great. The vocalist adored them after seeing what the microphone can do. The best thing is that they are noise cancellers so you can switch them on and off without a pop sound plus they are great vocal receivers. After using them for the first time, we noted how they prevent the band from breathing through the vocals by giving a clear sound without further amplification.”

Pros
  • Great for vocal and instruments recording
  • High-frequency response good for high pitch sounds
  • Simple but rugged design for long time use
Cons
  • No cable included

6.Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic

Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic

We have seen some of the condenser and dynamic microphones that you can choose to record your vocals. Now, the last piece to look at is the Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic which is suited for low and heavy recording. It is indeed dynamic in the sense that it will record vocals and also a wider range of instruments – a reason why you will find it in the studio and live band performances. It is a high-frequency range which goes from 30Hz to 17000Hz with an impedance of 200 ohms.

The microphone comes with a dynamic capsule that gives an even signal response when it’s close to the sound source and also able to handle high SPL levels. With a cardioid polar pattern, you can record noise-free sound that is also not tampered with monitor feedback. Another appealing feature goes to the 5-position bass roll-off which makes the mic a versatile sound picker for even the heaviest instruments.

For durable performance for years to come, the casing has a composite glass housing combined with hardened stainless steel for the rugged specification. Another good thing is that it does not require much power so it can be plugged into almost any source. If you need a USB connection, then you need a suitable interface to make that happen.

What customers say

“I do most of the acoustic recording while at home for practice, and this microphone made a difference after I owned it. I had earlier hesitated to buy it, but after assurance from various customer reviews, I decided to give it a try. The results were outstanding, and my director could notice the difference in guitar recording. I thank this model for making changes in my music career.”

Pros
  • Great for instruments recording
  • Five bass roll-off toggles useful for versatility
  • High SPL recording
Cons
  • Quite expensive

Recording Microphone Buying Guide

Now that you have seen some of the best microphones for recording your vocals among other sounds, it’s time to look at the various terms you will meet when purchasing one. They can be confusing especially when you don’t know what to look for. Here is a guide that explains what various microphones will possess. In the end, you will get a clear picture of what suits your recording tasks.

Recording Microphone

Various types of recording microphones

Dynamic microphones

In this type, the mic’s audio signal comes from how a conductor moves while at the center of a magnetic field. In most designs, you get a thin diaphragm that obeys what the sound pressure delivers. The diaphragm’s movement causes the coil (conductor) within the magnetic field to move, and that generates a small amount of current.

When compared to condenser microphones, the dynamic types are resistant to high sound pressure levels and frequencies. That is why they will take more than what you can feed them. The great advantage of acquiring this type of microphone is having to spend less than when you take a condenser type. Good examples of such receivers include the Sennheiser model that we have reviewed. Sound engineers swear by it.

Condenser microphones

These belong to those who are looking for fidelity in every direction. Condenser microphones respond faster to the speed of sound waves when compared to the dynamic counterparts.

The mechanism behind the sound input and output is composed of a stretched diaphragm that is close to a back plate (more of a metal disk). Keeping them close creates capacitance which receives electrical charge from an external source which includes batteries, phantom power or a dedicated power line. The diaphragm vibrates to respond to the sound waves which cause varying capacitance and voltage. That is how you get the signal output.

You will get different shapes and sizes for condenser types, but they all operate under the same notion.  

USB Microphones

Here, we have the new technology where the USB mic has everything needed to make it work. What differentiates this type from the rest is the addition of two circuits which include an onboard preamp, and an A/D (analog to digital) converter. The work of the preamp is to exclude the need of connecting the microphone to an external mixer while the A/D converter changes the output from analog signals to digital so that they can be computer readable.

That is why it becomes so easy to plug in the mic on your computer, verify the settings, and you’re good to go.

What is frequency response?

Now if you don’t know about frequency response, take it this way, do you wear earphones? If you do, how they output sound is the same way a microphone takes in. These receivers have the same measurable frequency ranges that enable them to pick up the sound.

The best microphone for recording vocals or instruments will have a responsive graph that is flat. That means whatever the little bounces you see on the projecting screen are lows, mids, and highs being equalized. None of the spectrums gains more benefit than the other.

Now, there are some individual cases where the mic is needed to record bass or soprano which both require both ends of the spectrum. For the bass, you need the microphone to achieve a low response while the latter needs a high response. That is why we say it requires both ends of the spectrum.

The good thing is that the frequency range in the reviewed microphones is broad enough to accommodate multiple types of sounds.

SPL (Sound Pressure Level)

The above describes the highest volume that a microphone can take before you hear some distortion in the output. At that point, on the verge of voice distortion, is the highest SPL level of the mic.

Since recording vocals or instruments requires an arranged rhythm despite the aggressiveness, it is a good idea if you the microphone is versatile to pick sound at any level. If the receiver can be adjusted to pick sensitive and maximum sounds using the toggle settings, you can customize it depending on what you are recording.

Those of us on a budget will find this feature useful since you can use one microphone for different occasions which include vocal and instrumental recording sessions.

Polar pattern and what makes the difference

Sound travels through waves in air. Microphones can pick the fashion in which it moves at various angles. That is why it is essential to consider the angle at which your selected mic receives best.

When we talk about the polar pattern in the reviews, we refer to the sensitivity of the microphone when receiving sound at various angles. A receiver is a big stable bubble at the top that can have different shapes depending on the manufacturer’s design.

Cardioid microphones are good at capturing the sound that comes directly from the front and rejects anything else from any other direction. If you are recording vocals, this is the best mic to go for.

If you hear about omnidirectional microphones, those can pick sound from any direction. They are best suited when recording in an audience or sounds from multiple directions.   

Adding a pop filter

That ‘windscreen’ you place in front of the microphone to go between you and the mic is what we are talking about. It is an essential component especially when recording music but most musicians will never utilize it.

Using a pop filter helps you block unwanted air from hitting the microphone and being recorded when pronouncing certain syllables. Many receivers will include this specification but the quality differs, and that is noted by how much air is filtered before getting to the microphone.

Pricing

It is always the norm to check on the budget. As you do so, don’t sacrifice your needs by buying a cheap mic that will just enable you to record sounds with no quality. You will get perfect microphones at $100 or less but always check if there is value for money after buying it.

A mic that offers versatility can be used for various recording tasks, so it is much better to use that one if you have more than one recording to do. We also included multiple microphones in our reviews that have a wide price range, so we have covered what a broader scope of the customers are looking for.

Find Your Best Vocal Recording Microphone

Now, are you looking for a recording microphone for pc, a studio mic or some for the band? We have covered a range of products that cover versatility, heavy recording and budget-friendly aspect too. We hope that you have found information that you are looking for as a beginner or someone who wants to advance their record. If not, or if you do have any questions, don’t hesitate to hit the comment box below.

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