Our #1 Rated
Neumann TLM 102 MT
Our #1 Rated
Neumann TLM 102 MT Condenser Microphone
Despite its incredible tolerance for loud stereo settings, we were amazed at how small and lightweight it is. We were producing crystal clear vocal recordings in minutes!
Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Mic
We found it to produce barely any feedback whatsoever and vocals cut through clear and crisp. Even on stage.
Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic
Worked particularly well with hard-hitting styles like metal and rock – it’s no wonder it’s been used by legends like Kurt Cobain and Owl City in the past.
Rode NTK Premium Tube Cardioid Condenser Microphone
The NTK has become known as one of the industry’s leading mics for rap vocals due to its high SPL specs and low noise.
Audio-Technica AT4050 Multi-Pattern Condenser Mic
The high-pass filter also did an excellent job at cutting through any low-end tones from acoustic instruments. Something we gave the most marks to out of all the other mics.
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
The warm sound quality makes it a perfect addition to any home studio set up while the high SPL worked a treat in use with instruments like guitars and drums.
If you’re unsure where to start shopping for your new microphone, consider the basics first.
When it comes to recording vocals, quality is something that should never be compromised.
If the mic doesn’t handle feedback well or you have to turn the gain right up to hear it, your vocals are probably going to sound quite trashy, and not in the good way either.
Plus, decent microphones aren’t cheap. You’ll want to make sure you go for something which will last and be able to withstand a good beating if you’re transporting it around for gigs, or it accidentally slips out your hand and onto the floor.
Here’s some of the technical aspects worth paying attention to before you choose:
- Frequency Response– The range of frequencies: measured in kilohertz (kHz). The bigger the range in microphone, the better.
- Sound Pressure Level (SPL)– Threshold of hearing: measured in decibels (dB). A good mic will be sensitive enough to pick up even low-volume sounds without you needing to whack the gain right up.
- Impedance –Resistance to an electrical current: measured in Ohms (Ω). Most mics pick up some low-level noise, but it’s better to have a low impedance with microphones.
- Polar Pattern–This is typically found in large diaphragm and ribbon mics. It is essentially the directional sensitivity of where the mic picks up sound i.e. front, sides, both.
We took into account all the above when testing out a range of different mics, both big and small, in the condensers and dynamic categories.
Here’s our top 6 recommendations we concluded were the best and most suitable for both home recordings and live/stage performances.
- Neumann TLM 102 MT Condenser Microphone
- Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Mic
- Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic
- Rode NTK Premium Tube Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Audio-Technica AT4050 Multi-Pattern Condenser Mic AKG 240 MKII
- Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic MicrophoneBeyerdynamic DT 1350 Pro
Particularly if these items aren’t included, you may want to consider investing in some extras for your mic. These will make transporting, setting up and taking care of it a lot easier. You don’t need to go over the top costs, but ultimately they’ll make the recording and mastering processes much smoother and nicer to work with.
Pop Filter – We were using the Stedman Proscreen Xl to test the mics that didn’t come with a pop shield included. It does a fantastic job at reflecting the noise away from your mic, and the price is well worth it for the clarity. Alternatively if you’re on a budget, you can pick up the On-Stage Stands ASFSS6GB Dual-Screen for under 30 bucks. It did a decent job at stopping those pesky “b”‘s and “p”s coming through but you ultimately get what you pay for.
Mic Stand and Shockmount – If you’re going to be doing long hour recording sessions, you’re going to want to free up your arms and be able to relax properly. The stand will keep your mic in place and at a set distant. That way there’s no scattered range or different volumes going on. The shockmount is designed to soak up any unwanted noise and keeps your vocals clean. It also gives you more flexibility during the post-production phase.
Isolation Shield – Not essential, but vocal booths definitely make a difference. Especially when it comes to reflecting background noise and providing transparency behind vocals. We used the Neewer NW-5 which is especially ideal if you’re recording in a room with little or no soundproofing.
We hardly found faults with any of the above 6 recording microphones.
They all worked exceptionally well when it came to handling environmental feedback and harsh frequencies. Practically all of them produced clear-cut vocals in a variety of different settings.
We tested them in concert halls, next to building sites, and put them right up close to amps which would shatter ears in most normal mics.
It’s safe to say each one passed the test with flying colors! So whether you’re looking to create podcasts, scream satanic poetry at sweaty crowds, or conduct your own hardcore rap battles – these microphones will be more than sufficient in covering all of your vocal recording and performing needs.
What is the purpose of phantom power?
In short, phantom power is essentially the the way condenser mics are powered to receive a remote signal from the mixer. Condenser mics do not have an outside source to power them, so the voltage supply must travel up and down the same cables as the audio, meaning the supply from the in-line source (such as a mixer or interface) is classed as “phantom.”
Why am I experiencing a humming sound in my condenser microphone?
Most mics can emit some kind of hissing or humming noise from time to time, and this doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the mic itself. It could be anything from an effect you’ve added in your DAW, some EQ or compression issues, or if you’re using a wireless mic or external interface – there may be a wiring issue or fault with the preamps. Check these things first and if the problem still persists and is highly noticeable, contact the manufacturer for a replacement.
What is the roll-off switch on my mic?
The roll-off switch allows you to filter certain frequencies from the audio signal chain, which means you can achieve a better balance of mids and lows during recording and mixing because the switch lets you filter out annoying noises like wind, breath and background rumbles. Sometimes, the roll-off might be listed as bass roll-off, low-frequency roll or low-cut filer on your mic.