Best Mic For Recording Vocals

A good microphone is often the most important piece of audio gear in your arsenal.  If you’re in the market for a new mic for recording vocals there are some really great options out on the market today.  

You can even get mics that don’t rely on a recording studio - you can hook your mic up to your PC or Mac.

Best Mic For Recording Vocals

And the even better news is that we’ve handpicked our Top 5 mics for recording vocals and you can go through our reviews of them very shortly.  We’ve tried to include mics for different budgets and price ranges.  

We’ve also got a buying guide for you, which we think will shed some light on what your options are and hopefully help you to decide which one is the best one for you.

Top 5 Best Mic For Recording Vocals

OUR TOP PICK

best condenser mic for vocals

Summary

Here’s another microphone that’s widely talked about in musical circles, and one that has become an industry-standard in condenser microphones.  

This condenser microphone stands in contrast with dynamic microphones in that, as we discuss in our buying guide, it’s better suited to gentle vocals.  It provides excellent sensitivity and will capture every detail and nuance of your vocal performance.

It has a gorgeous warmth, clarity, and features an extended dynamic range.

It’s a cardioid microphone which means it picks up sound predominantly from the front, and significantly less from the back and sides.

It’s stand out feature is its incredibly low self-noise of just 5dBA, making it one of the world’s quietest microphones.  It also features a high sound pressure level normally only found in more expensive microphones.  This means it’s ideal for vocals, and also works well for recording guitars too.

The package includes everything you need to get a truly professional vocal recording, including a studio-grade pop Shield and shock mount, a 20' Microphone cable, a dust cover, and a handy instructional DVD.

It comes with a full year’s warranty which can be extended up to 10 years once you register, and the warranty includes both parts and labor.

Customer feedback on the Amazon page is incredibly positive, with the majority of the 650 plus customer ratings being 5 stars out of a possible 5.  With many customers agreeing that this microphone gives the best bang for buck, saying that even though it’s from a mid-price range, you get just as good quality that you do in the more expensive alternatives.

Pros:

  • industry-standard in condenser microphones
  • provides excellent sensitivity
  • gorgeous warmth and clarity
  • extended dynamic range
  • cardioid microphone
  • incredibly low self-noise
  • high sound pressure level
  • studio-grade pop Shield and shock mount
  • 10 years warranty available
  • Impressive customer feedback

Cons:

  • Please ensure that you buy from an authorized distributor to ensure that you don’t get lumbered with a knock off version.

EDITORS CHOICE

best microphone for recording vocals at home

Summary

This dynamic microphone has a legendary reputation.

In our buying guide, we talk about the different types of microphones you can get and how a dynamic microphone really suits certain types of music and vocals.  

The Amazon customer feedback on this microphone is phenomenal - after well over 450 customer ratings, the average customer rating comes in at a very impressive 5 stars out of 5.

With this microphone, you get a flat, wide-range frequency response, which provides amazingly clean and natural reproduction of vocals.  You get rich crystal clean lows and super smooth highs.

We love its bass roll-off and mid-range emphasis.  Exactly what you want in a dynamic microphone.  It gives a real warm tone for close-talk vocals.

If you want to use it in a home studio, you’ll benefit from its rejection of electromagnetic hum, shielding the recording from any broadband interference emitted by computer monitors.  And as a cardioid microphone, the sound is picked up from the front of the mic, and there’s reduced pick up from the back and sides, doing away with any background noise. 

It also sports an air suspension system which practically eliminates any mechanical noise transmission.  And there’s a really effective pop filter which does away with the need for any add-on protection against explosive breath sounds, no matter how close-up the vocals.

Pros:

  • Very popular microphone
  • Impressive customer feedback
  • flat, wide-range frequency response
  • clean and natural reproduction of vocals
  • bass roll-off and mid-range emphasis
  • It gives a real warm tone
  • rejection of electromagnetic hum
  • cardioid microphone
  • air suspension system
  • really effective pop filter

Cons:

  • Requires a decent mixer or preamp since it needs lots of clean gain
  • It can be expensive if you buy at a time when there’s no discount applied.

BEST VALUE

usb condenser mic for vocals

Summary

Blue Yeti is another big name in microphones and this particular model is one of Amazon’s best sellers in the studio microphone category.

It’s a USB mic, that will hook up to any PC, or Mac, so you won’t need a traditional home studio and you can get recording your vocals right in your living room.  It’s perfect for putting your vocal performance out on the web, whether it be via Facebook or YouTube, or anywhere else.

The sound quality is superb for this price range.

There’s no latency on your recording, so you get real-time precision through the built-in headphone output, and you can make any adjustments, using the onboard controls before you go live.

It’s stand out feature is it’s multiple pickup patterns, so you can have it set at cardioid when you just want sound picked up from the front of the mic, or you can have at Omni, which will allow several voices in the room to be picked up.

We love the Blue Sherpa Companion app you can use it with.  It lets you fine-tune your sound, mic gain, headphone volume, and pickup pattern from your desktop.

We also love its retro visual design, and how it’s available in different color options.

The customer feedback on the Amazon page is really impressive.  After well over 900 customers rated it, the overwhelming majority gave it 5 stars out of 5.

Pros:

  • Good, well-established brand
  • Affordable price
  • Amazon bestseller
  • Plug into your PC or Mac
  • Superb sound quality
  • No latency on your recording
  • Choose from cardioid or omni
  • Great desktop app with it
  • retro visual design
  • Impressive customer feedback

Cons:

  • Not well suited for recording multiple vocal sources unless very close to the microphone

RUNNER UP

usb condenser mic for vocals

Summary

We’re going to level with you here, when we saw how affordable this mic is, we thought it wasn’t going to be good quality - but we were very pleasantly surprised.

We also assumed the reason it was flying off the shelves was also down solely to the price.  But it is genuinely a really good microphone.  

After well over 4000 customer ratings, the average Amazon customer rating for this mic comes in at an impressive 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5, with the majority of customers giving it 5 stars.

But you don’t have to go by written reviews to get a picture of the sound quality - one Amazon customer has uploaded a video where he uses this mic to demonstrate exactly he gave it 5 stars out of 5.

You can plug the mic straight into a PC or Mac without having to download any special drivers, and it’s compatible with any recording software or communication platform.

It has a smooth, extended frequency response which is ideal for home studio recording and voiceover use.  The recording quality is clear and crisp in a normal speaking voice, and you won’t need to project your voice at all, and you can just sing as you normally would.

It has a cardioid pickup pattern, so it will pick up sound from the front of the mic, rather than the back or sides.

You can adjust the voice input volume via a dial on the mic itself, which can be handy.

It also comes with a small metal tripod, which is great because it leaves your hands free to use your chosen software on your PC or Mac while you’re recording your vocals.

Pros:

  • Super affordable
  • One of Amazon’s best sellers
  • Impressive customer feedback
  • Really good sound quality
  • Use with a PC or Mac
  • Smooth, extended frequency response
  • Recording quality is clear and crisp
  • Cardioid pickup pattern
  • Voice input volume dial
  • Comes with a small tripod

Cons:

  • Some customers recommend using a pop filter to use with it.
  • Some customers report a humming noise being emitted when recording, but this can be rectified by using a software program like Audacity.

RUNNER UP

good cheap microphone for recording vocals

Summary

This mic from Audio-Technica is one of Amazon’s best sellers for the category - and for good reason too.  It’s a very affordable mic, with exceptional detail and low noise.

It has a diverse range of applications, you can concentrate on recording at home, use it in a professional studio, or stream live on the web. 

It has a wide dynamic range, which is just what you want in a mic for recording vocals.  You get a real smooth natural sound.

It’s a cardioid microphone, so it will pick up noise from the front of the mic rather than from the back or sides.

It can handle high sound pressure, for those loud singers amongst us.

We love its high-pass filter which filters out bass frequencies and allows high frequencies to pass.

It comes with a shock mount to isolate the microphone from mechanically transmitted noise.

Customer feedback on the mic has been incredibly positive.  Well over 450 customer ratings have been given on the Amazon page, and the large majority of customers have scored it 5 stars out of 5.

Pros:

  • An Amazon bestseller
  • very affordable mic
  • exceptional detail
  • low unwanted noise
  • wide dynamic range
  • real smooth natural sound
  • cardioid pickup pattern
  • switchable 80Hz high-pass filter
  • comes with a shock mount
  • Very positive customer feedback

Cons:

  • Requires phantom power
  • For best results, you should look into buying a pop filter to use with it

Best Mic For Recording Vocals Buying Guide

Your first decision should be what type of microphone to go for.  Your options include dynamic vocal mics, condenser vocal mics, small diaphragm condenser mics, and ribbon vocal mics.  Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.  We’ll go through each in turn.

Dynamic Vocal Microphones

Dynamic vocal microphones are great for stage performances, through their ability to handle high sound pressure levels, and they tend to be cheaper than other microphones.  However, they can lack in their sensitivity.  

Altogether, this makes them better suited to some forms of vocals over others.  They’re excellent for rock, metal, and aggressive rap, but not so good for folk singing or softer vocals.

They can add a lot of warmth and character to your vocal performance.

And you may be able to get the lack of sensitivity to work in your favor, for example, if you wanted to record somewhere where they may be some unexpected background noise.

It’s handy that you can plug them in to just about anything - audio interface, PA system, mixer, or an amplifier.

If you think a dynamic microphone is what might be best for you, we strongly recommend that you go for our Number 2 pick, the Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone, if you have the budget for it.

Condenser Vocal Microphones

Large condenser microphones meanwhile provide excellent sensitivity and sound quality and will capture every detail and nuance of your vocal performance.  They’re great for home studios because of their wide frequency response.  And they handle transients better too.

It’s for these reasons that much of our Top 5 picks are made up with large condenser microphones, with the only exception being our Number 2 pick which is a dynamic mic.

There are 2 things you need to know about condenser microphones though before you buy.  They will need 48 volts of power to operate, so you will have to ensure that your audio interface or mixer can hook that up for you.

The other thing you’ll need to do is get some kind of cradle mount for it, seeing as they can be quite fragile.

Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphones

Small diaphragm condenser mics have a lot in common with their larger diaphragm counterparts.  Obviously the difference between them lies in the size of the diaphragm.  The consequence of this is that the coils in the small diaphragm condenser have less mass, which makes them more responsive to transients and so it’s able to capture more dynamic sound.

Ribbon Vocal Microphones

Ribbon mics are kind of a specialty mic that tends to be used more in professional studios than in home studios.  They have all the sensitivity of a condenser microphone, but thanks to their unique make up they produce a somewhat different sound, quite dark and full of character – almost vintage-sounding.  If it doesn’t sound quite the way you want it you can always tweak it in your recording software.

What to look for in a mic for recording vocals

Cardioid mics are a good choice for recording vocals because they pick up sound with high gain from the front and sides but very poorly from the rear.  This makes them a great choice use in a home studio where they may background noise coming from elsewhere in the house.  You can get dynamic cardioid mics or cardioid condenser mics.

The other thing to look out for is a wide frequency reach, since the human voice itself has a very wide range, going from as low as about 300 Hz up to 3400 Hz. For instance, choir singers exercise a wide range of vocal frequency, which is why we have tested products on the market for the best choir mic.

Recording vocals without a recording studio

As we mentioned in our introduction, you don’t need a recording studio in order to record vocals.  There are 3 good quality, affordable mics in our Top 5 picks, the latter 3, which can connect directly to your PC or Mac via USB.  And with the no-latency aspects, once you’re set up you can even go ahead and live stream to your fans!

Brand and Cost

Some of the mics in our Top 5 picks have legendary reputations, specifically our Number 1 pick, the Rode NT1-A Anniversary Vocal Cardioid Condenser Microphone, and our Number 2 pick, the Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone.  Both great microphones.  

But unfortunately, such premium products come at a premium price.  Which is fine if you can afford it, but for those who can’t, there are some good alternatives to choose from in our remaining 3 top picks.