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Best Vocal Microphone For Recording Is…(2022 Studio Mic Guide!)

What microphone do professional singers use? Here's what to look for in a professional recording microphone...

Spoiler: Not all vocal mics are the best vocal mic for recording.

Perplexing, we know – but it’s no joke! Not all mics are made equal, even they’re specifically designed for recording vocals. Different mics are at home in different environments. They also work better for certain types of voices too. So while one could be the best microphone for singing, another could be the best rap microphone or more suited to live performance. Something you need to establish before making a mad dash for the checkout.

Fail to do so and you’ll likely end up with the most popular or well marketed vocal mic. Not necessarily the best vocal microphone for your voice. A slight difference that believe us, really does make all the difference! As let’s face it, the last thing you want to do is to rip open the box to an pricey vocal mic, only to realise that by doing so, you’ve actually forfeited the right to return it. In other words, exchange it for the mic you would have bought had you read this blog.

A sticky situation, as finding the best vocal microphone for recording you and your voice, could be all that’s needed to differentiate you from other artists. While you can work magic in a DAW, nothing can beat a clear raw vocal! So to help you buy right first time, we’ve reviewed & pulled apart 19 of the best vocal mics you can get your hands on in 2022.

On the hunt for something specific about a professional microphone for singing? Or just curious as to what we think is the best vocal mic in 2022? Use the menu below to find all the answers you need in 1 click…

The best vocal microphones @ a glance…

14 of the best professional microphones for singing

Professional microphones come in all shapes and sizes. Not to mention cater for different voices and styles of singing. So during this rundown of the top 17 vocal mics for singers, each mic’s rank will be based on how it performs in relation to the average singing voice. Something like you’re typical pop vocal.

But just to clear, if certain mics work particularly well with another style of vocal, we will make it known. Classical vocalists or those who’ve got a slight raspy tone, may benefit from reading up on all 17, as these voices tend to be the most difficult to place. Not that it’s stopped us though! So without further ado, here’s our rundown of the best vocal microphones for recording singers in 2022…

* Vocal microphones come in two types – condenser & dynamic. Condenser mics are usually the way to go when recording vocals in the studio, although there are some exceptions like the Shure SM7B (below). If you’re after a mic for more ‘in the moment’ type recordings, then you may actually be after the Best Dynamic Mics For Performing Live instead.

1: Rode NT2-A

2: Shure SM7B

3: Aston Microphones Spirit

4: Blue Baby Bottle SL

5: CAD Audio E300S

6: Shure SM27

7: AKG C414 XLII

8: Audio-Technica AT4040

9: Beyerdynamic M 90 PRO X

10: Shure Super 55

11: Rode NT1000

12: Audix SCX1

Budget no option? Try this…

13: Lewitt LCT 940

Beginners: Here’s the best vocal mic for singing…

14: Tech Zone Audio Stellar X2 Vintage

Which is the best mic for singing? Our editor’s choice

When deciding on the best vocal microphone for recording singers, of course you have to take into account sound quality. But that’s not all. There’s also how usable a microphone is, as well as its build quality. Not to mention its features and price too. Really then when you’re looking for the best mic for singing, you’re actually looking for the best all rounder. A mic that we believe we’ve found.

Latest Price!

At first, we were sceptical about the Rode NT2-A. At the beginning of this review, we didn’t really think it made sense. Why would you buy this condenser mic when you can get its smaller cousin, the NT1-A, for a fraction of the price? A mic that’s a gazillion times more popular & is by far one of the best budget vocal mics out there.

Well you see, while on first impressions the NT2-A doesn’t make a lot of sense once you look beneath that brushed steel body, suddenly all of that changes. Out of all the mics we tested, the NT2-A is up there with the best in terms of sound quality. Rode really did a good job of making this mic sound warm and crisp – exactly the qualities you’re after when recording vocals. Team this with the quiet noise floor (-7DBa) as well as the high max SPL (157 DB) and you really can get some sensational tones out of this mic.

But that’s the thing with the NT2-A , sound is just the start. To put it out there, this is one of ‘the’ best built mainstream mics that we’ve ever come across. The whole feel of this mic just screams premium. There’s a real decent weight to it! You really get the impression that this mic has been well engineered. Everything on this mic, even the XLR port and the switch feel very much ‘part of’ the design, opposed to just being an afterthought. Even the shock mount is made of metal!

Then consider the sheer amount of features that the NT2-A has over the majority of vocal mics – pads, high pass filters, polars patterns etc. And the true flexibility of this mic really does shine through. Yes, it may not be the most forgiving in terms of background noise, but let’s face it, if you’re serious about your sound then you’ll be recording in a studio or soundproofed room anyway.

In fact, that’s the only flaw we could find with this mic, as even the price makes sense when you really look at this mic’s capabilities. Exactly why we’d waste no time in saying that it’s the best microphone for recording singers. The NT2-A is flexible beyond belief, extremely well built and sets you back nowhere near as much as a Neumann mic.

A combo that we think you’ll be hard pushed to beat.

Enjoy this review of the best vocal microphone for recording, and eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Music Production Advice + all our recent Music Kit Reviews.

Or if you’ve still got a burning question about the vocal microphones and how they compare to , keep reading & we’ll do our best to answer any more of your burning questions…

The lowdown on the best professional recording mics + condenser mics in general…

Getting your hands on a microphone for singing is easy, but making sure it’s the right mic for your voice is another thing altogether. To do so you first need to understand:

Your type of voice – To understand your type of voice, you really need to take a step back and really analyse how you sing. What’s your delivery like? Is it soft and whispery like Billie Eilish? Have a slight raspy nature like Duffy? Or pack a real bassy BOOM like you find with Adele & Pavarotti? Different mics respond differently to different vocals, so having an idea of your vocal tone is an easy way to track down the best vocal microphone for recording your voice.

Your budget – Hunting for the best mic for singing, without much understanding of your budget, and you’ll pretty soon find yourself going in circles. Have a rough guide to what this is however, and you can be confident you’re pinning your focus in the right place. Do so and not only will your mic search be faster, but it’ll also be far less daunting too.

Its use – As you’ve no doubt fathomed by now, how suitable a mic is for you voice, can also depend on how you intend to use it. For instance, do you intend to use it to lay down vocals in the studio? Or are you planning on using it for a live performance? Know this and immediately your search for a professional recording microphone becomes a whole lot easier.

For recording vocals, professional singers use condenser microphones.

These are typically best vocal microphone for recording singers, as they’re the most sensitive to sound. If you want to get technical, this is because they operate through electrostatics. All of which means that they use a pair of charged metal plates to create sound.

One is fixed (known as the backplate) and the other is ever so slightly flexible (known as the diaphragm). Together they form what’s known as a capacitor. In other words, when sounds waves strike the diaphragm, it causes the distance between these two plate to alter. The change in distance between the two plates is what produces an electromagnetic signal – one that corresponds to the sound that’s been picked up.

You might also hear of pro singers using ribbon mics too, which you can do. Ribbon mics are equally as sensitive and often praised for their warm tone. However, their diaphragm is significantly more fragile than that you’ll find in a condenser, so as you can imagine it’s something that a loud voice could easily break. And that’s the last thing you want to happen, as ribbon mics are expensive – typically far more than that of your average condenser. A drawback of their smaller popularity.

Billie Eilish has been spotted using many mics over the years, however (if you believe the rumours) just like a lot of professional singers, Billie has a particular habit of using Neumann mics.

Some of the most popular being the iconic U87 and of course, the more affordable TLM 103. A mic that’s actually been manufactured to deliver much the same warmth in tone you get with the U87, only as part of a more compact package & for a friendlier price tag. And yet, despite the fact it being manufactured to be a budget mic (correction: less expensive), it’s safe to say that you won’t find a TLM 103 that’s dubbed as a bad performer. Even the cheapest Neumann mics are pricy for a reason.

That reason being their low self noise, which is probably why Billie and most other iconic vocalists are often said to be using Neumann mics to lay down their vocals. Especially in Billie’s case, this makes a lot of sense, as her vocals have the most incredible whispery tone to them. They sound delicate! Something a mic with low self noise helps to preserve.

Just like Billie Eilish, and in fact a lot of pro vocalists, Beyoncé has been spotted using a selection of Neumann mics.

We can’t quite make out which model, but it looks like either the U47 or U87 was used in the recording of ‘Single Ladies’ & ‘If I Was A Boy’. Queen B’s also been rumoured to have used Telefunken mics when recording in the studio too. For those who don’t know, Telefunken are very much a rival microphone manufacturer to Neumann and have being used by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Snoop Dogg and even the one and only Frank Sinatra!

And as for her ‘On The Run’ tour, B used the Sennheiser’s Digital 9000, which according to sources, she purchased specifically for this tour.

Yes! Condenser mics are great for singing, providing of course you’re in a studio space.

For those of you recording in your bedroom, we’d encourage you to invest in some sort of sound insulation to get the most of these mics. A sound-treated room is really where these mics shine! That’s because condenser mics are some of the most sensitive professional recording mics that you can buy.

Use them in a live setting and you’ll soon see what we mean. While your average dynamic mic will do a great job of numbing out the noise of the crowd, a condenser will pick up every last cheer & whoop! In other words, let your fans drown your vocals. Not good!

Exactly why the majority of condenser mics are not handheld – they’re built to be fixed to Microphone Stands or Boom Arms. They also come with mic cages (or cradles) to prevent any vibrations from the stand being transmitted into the mic.

Equally, you may also see artists use Microphone Reflection Filters with these mics to prevent unwanted frequencies from bouncing back into the mic’s capsule and creating an echo. The technical term for this is reverb. Something you’ll often come across with untreated rooms – a bedroom perhaps. Hence why musicians or vocalists often use the phrase “I can hear the room”.

Yes.

Whether you opt for the most expensive or the cheapest condenser mic, you’ll require 48V of Phantom power. For those who don’t know, this is the power all condenser mics need in order to function. Without it, a condenser mic won’t pick up anything… it’ll be dead.

The easiest (and cheapest) way to supply your mic with phantom power is via an Audio Interface. Essentially a preamplifier that works to stretch out and amplify your vocal, as well as feed it directly into your computer. The whole reason behind this being that condenser mics actually have a pretty low output volume, so if you weren’t to preamplify your recording, all your vocals would be incredibly quiet.

Call them Billie Eilish 2.0.

There’s a real simple reason why singers put their microphone to their mouths.

Because the mic they’re using isn’t a condenser – it’s a dynamic microphone. The type of mic which is used across the majority of concerts, TV shows and live performances. That’s because unlike a condenser, dynamic microphones only really pick up sound that’s close to the mic chamber. Sound that’s further away doesn’t affect their pickup.

Hence why in loud environments you’ll often see artists press these lips up tight to the microphone, as without doing so, they risk the mic picking up the crowd noise. In other words, acting like a huge amplifier for the sounds they don’t want to be picked up. The way to do so being to make sure their voice is the most prominent sound being fed into the mic.

A rather gross consequence of which, is that dynamic mics need to be some of the most regularly cleaned. A chore you won’t have to do nowhere near as often with your average condenser, which sits a good couple of inches from an artist’s mouth, and also in most cases has a pop shield to deflect the majority of contamination. So if you’re Covid-conscious, be sure to clean any dynamic mic on a regular basis.

Microphones that make your voice sound its best tend to be those which have low levels of self noise.

This is because the main thing that actually holds back the quality of your vocals is how much of this self noise your mic produces. Something that comes as a result of current running through its circuitry. Technical boffins call this shot noise. However, that’s not the only way in which self noise is created.

It can also be down to temperature, with hotter environments typically increasing the amount of what’s known as Johnson noise. Scientists describe this as something to do with the agitation of electrons inside an electrical product – that’s about as simple as it gets.

Out of all the Shure mics you can buy, we’d say the best professional recording microphone they produce is the SM7B.

Its most notable use is by none other than Michael Jackson, who used the SM7B to record vocals for his album, ‘Thriller’. Although the likes of Sheryl Crow and even Bob Dylan are said to now put their vocals in the hands of the SM7B. Hence why we listed it above.

If it’s good enough for these superstars, then it could well be the best vocal microphone for recording your voice too!

Most singers have decent sized mouths because of genetics, although some may have just overdosed on the lip fillers.

Jokes aside though, the reason the size of your mouth matters is because it can actually determine the tone of your voice. In particular, it determines your vocal range. While it can obviously differ from person to person, the general trend is that those with smaller mouths tend to have smaller vocal chords. All of which results in a higher pitched voice.

Whereas with a larger mouth, this is reversed. People with larger mouths/ heads typically have larger vocal chords. Therefore giving them a more bassy and booming voice. Look at a picture of Pavarotti and this theory does start to make sense.

The most popular microphone you can buy is actually a dynamic microphone – the Shure SM58. This is the mic you usually see used by TV presenters and singers when performing in a live environment.

However, in terms of a mic for recording vocals, the most popular would have to be the Rode NT1-A. The scaled down version of the NT2-A (featured above). Exactly the reason why we haven’t included the NT1-A in our mic rundown. For the little extra you pay on top, the NT2-A is SO much more flexible and also of you ask us, comes with a slightly better tone for singers.

The NT1-A can sometimes be a tad bright for certain vocals. Something we didn’t find as much of with the NT2-A, which we’d certainly say it’s up there as one of the best vocal microphones for recording singers.