Best Microphones for Vocals in 2024

Looking for a mic to record your vocals in 2024? Explore the best microphones for studio vocals, live vocal recording, and live performances.

Best Microphones for Vocals in 2024

Finding the best microphone for vocals requires understanding various technical aspects that significantly impact recording quality. A microphone's frequency range influences the clarity and depth of sound, while its ability to capture sound accurately depends on sensitivity and polar patterns. For vocal recordings, details and clarity are paramount to capturing artists' nuanced performances.

In 2024, the criteria for choosing the best mic for recording vocals extend beyond just technical specifications; they include factors like audio transparency, frequency-independent directionality, and resistance to feedback and handling noises.

Alongside considerations for dynamic versus condenser microphones and cardioid polar patterns, budget constraints and desired features such as wireless capability or resistance to environmental factors also play significant roles. Take a look at our selection of the best vocal microphones in 2024.

Best Mics for Live Vocals

Photo credit: Vishnu R Nair

Shure SM58

The Shure SM58 is considered the industry standard and the most popular vocal microphone for live performance–and for a good reason. This dynamic microphone is well-suited for live settings because it's not prone to feedback and can handle high sound pressure levels. What's more, it's a very affordable option, coming at just around $100.

While there are more advanced and expensive vocal mics available, the SM58 remains the go-to choice for many professional vocalists and engineers due to its combination of sound quality, durability, and value.

Key features that make the SM58 so widely used:

  • Warm, clear sound quality that is tailored for vocals
  • Rugged and durable construction that can withstand rough handling
  • Cardioid polar pattern that isolates the main sound source and reduces background noise
  • Built-in pop filter and shock mount to minimize wind, breath, and handling noise

Sennheiser E-965

The Sennheiser E-965 is a high-end, large-diaphragm condenser microphone designed specifically for live vocals. It's a flagship live vocal microphone that combines the sensitivity and clarity of a studio condenser with the durability required for the stage. The E-965 was made to provide professional vocalists with a high-performance microphone option for live performances.

Key features that make it well-suited for live use:

  • Switchable polar patterns between cardioid and super-cardioid, allowing the user to optimize pickup for different stage conditions
  • Rugged, metal construction that can withstand the demands of live performance
  • Integrated shock mount to reduce handling noise
  • Low-cut filter and -10dB pad to handle powerful vocals and reduce unwanted noise
  • Excellent frequency response of 40Hz to 20kHz for detailed, studio-quality sound

Some of the other high-quality microphones for live vocals include:

  • Shure Beta 58A. An upgraded version of the classic Shure SM58, with a wider frequency response and super-cardioid polar pattern that helps isolate the vocals and reduce feedback.
  • Electrovoice RE20. A dynamic mic with a tailored frequency response for clear, broadcast-quality vocals. The cardioid pattern helps reject off-axis sound.
  • SE Electronics sE2300. A condenser mic with switchable polar patterns and a neutral-leaning frequency response with a treble boost, making it great for live vocal recording.
  • Shure KSM9. A high-end vocal condenser mic built for live use, with cardioid and super-cardioid polar patterns. It offers detailed, studio-quality sound for the stage.

Best Mics for Studio Vocals

Photo credit: Mike Von

Rode NT1

The Rode NT1 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that has been praised for its rich, full sound and extremely low self-noise. It was first released in 1997 and was Rode's first microphone model. It has since been updated with the NT1-A version. The NT1 is described as having a vintage character with a smooth, detailed sound that helps vocals sit well in the mix. It brings clarity to the midrange without sounding harsh in the high end.

Key features:

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Large-diaphragm (1-inch) gold-sputtered capsule
  • High maximum SPL of 137dB to handle powerful vocals without distortion
  • Wide 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response to capture the full range of voice
  • Includes a shock mount, pop filter, and dust cover
  • Durable all-metal construction
  • XLR and USB connections

Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is a versatile, professional-grade dynamic microphone that excels at capturing detailed, natural-sounding vocals. It's considered the industry standard and the best microphone for recording high-quality studio vocals.

Key features:

  • Wide, flat frequency response from 50Hz to 20kHz for a natural, detailed reproduction of the human voice
  • Cardioid polar pattern that isolates the main sound source in front of the mic and rejects background noise
  • Air suspension shock isolation to reduce handling and stand noise
  • Integrated pop filter and bass roll-off switch to control plosives and rumble
  • Robust, metal construction and cartridge protection

Some of the other high-quality microphones for studio vocals include:

  • AKG C414 XLII. A high-end versatile mic that allows you to tailor the polar pattern to suit different recording situations. It offers great sound quality and is a good choice if you need to record different vocalists.
  • Audio-Technica AT2020. An affordable condenser mic that provides terrific value with great sound quality for the price. It's a good option for those just starting out with home recording.
  • Neumann U87 Ai. The gold standard when it comes to studio mics. Used by professionals across the music industry, it offers exceptional sound quality, versatility, and the ability to handle very loud volumes without distortion.
Check out our Top Picks section to find the best vocal plugins, free DAWs, mixing and mastering tools, and more!

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