There's a huge difference between microphones for on stage use and the studio. So today, we're looking at the 8 best microphones for recording vocals to help you get the best vocal sound when you're laying down your tracks!
Getting the right microphone is essential if you want your recordings to accurately represent the feeling, emotion and nuances of your voice or vocal performance. Whether you're recording music, podcasting or providing a voice over for a cartoon (you lucky thing!) you need a reliable and sturdy microphone - preferably a cardioid pattern mic that's designed to reduce unwanted ambience. So today, we're going to look at the best microphones cardioid pattern condenser mics for recording vocals. Although these are all cardioid pattern mics, some have the ability to switch between different patterns which can be extremely useful if you want a versatile mic.
Here's our 8 Best Microphones For Recording Vocals
1.Aston Spirit Multi-Pattern Condenser Microphone
The Aston Spirit Multi-Pattern Condenser Microphone is an extremely innovative microphone aimed at studio owners in need of a versatile, reliable and extremely hard wearing mic. Developed by some of the worlds leading audio engineers, the Aston Spirit is a rare breed of microphone owing to it's almost indestructible design, born out of the need for a mic that can withstand constant use and transport between studios. The unique wave-form mesh head has been specifically crafted to add a great deal of protection against damage from accidental knocks. The capsule itself is protected within a shock resistant chassis, carefully placed behind a mesh pop filter, thus providing a safer atmosphere and removing the need for an external pop filter.
The Aston Spirit is also a multi-pattern condenser microphone with a polar pickup pattern switch. This means you can enjoy the recording capabilities of omni, cardioid and figure of eight pattern recording. To say this mic is versatile is an understatement. You can also switch between -20, -10 and 0dB padding, making it an ideal microphone for recording brass, drums and anyone with a particularly loud voice! The Aston Spirit could be the last mic you ever need, for vocals, guitars and whatever you want to (literally) throw at it! Perfectly coupled with the Aston Halo Pro Reflexion Filter & Portable Vocal Booth for the ultimate isolation.
2. Shure SM7B Dynamic Studio Microphone
The Shure SM7B Dynamic Studio Microphone is an industry standard vocal microphone that can also be used for voice-over work, radio broadcasting and of course studio lead vocals thanks to the flat, wide-range frequency response. The Shure SM7B is the perfect studio vocal mic thanks to the fact it has been designed to shield against the electromagnetic hum which can sometimes occur from studio monitors and speakers - ideal when you're recording! This means you get a noise free signal at all times and the recording you end up with is exactly what you expect it to be. The fitted pop filter ensures those annoying explosive breaths and sounds are eliminated so recording close-up is never a problem. For those recording spoken word, podcasts or voice overs, you'll be pleased to know that the SM7B now comes with a A7WS detachable windscreen which provides a warmer tone overall and reduces plosive sounds even more.
3. Sennheiser Mk4 Digital USB Condenser Studio Microphone
The Sennheiser Mk4 Digital USB Condenser Studio Microphone is perfect if you need to be able to record high quality vocals directly to your iOS devices or via USB directly to your DAW. However, don’t be thinking that the USB connectivity is in any way inferior to a traditional XLR connection – no way! This is an absolute powerhouse of a microphone that has been specifically designed to capture the true large diaphragm condenser detail. There’s actually a built-in Analogue-to-Digital conversion within the microphone, providing 24-bit / 96kHz conversion which is as good as the high-end audio interfaces out there!
You get everything you need including a USB cable and Lightning iOS cable so you can record straight out of the box making it one of the best microphones for recording vocals. This is ideal for those with a mobile studio or for recording artists that want to be able to record professional level recordings anytime inspiration strikes.
4. Neumann U 87 AI Microphone in Nickel
The Neumann U 87 AI Microphone in Nickel was voted ‘Best Microphone’ by readers of Sound On Sound magazine during the Winter NAMM show of 2012 – so that’s an indication of how revered this microphone is and one of the reasons why it sits firmly in our best microphones for recording vocals list.
It’s also been the most widely used studio microphone for over 50 years, so there’s that too!
You have 3 polar patterns: omni, cardioid and figure-8 to choose from all of which can benefit from the switchable low cut and pad. We could go on all day about this microphone, but anyone who has ever stepped foot in a recording studio or heard a piece of music will instantly recognise this microphone thanks to its solid bass response and excellent midrange detail. It has very low self-noise and its versatility means it can be used for everything from guitar and bass cabinets to classical recordings, choirs, pianos and more.
5. Shure SM58 Dynamic Microphone
The Shure SM58 may be the worlds most widely used live vocal mic, but it's also an excellent microphone for recording vocals in the studio too! Although it's not a condenser microphone, it's used frequently for live recordings. The dynamic capsule and cardioid polar pickup pattern makes it an effective vocal mic by removing unwanted noise and ambience whilst producing accurate and pronounced vocals. In fact, this microphone has been relied upon by some of the worlds leading artists and almost every stage in the world for over 50 years.
The Shure SM58 comes with built in pop filter, 50 to 15,000 Hz frequency response and uniform cardioid pickup pattern, finished in a hard wearing case that is designed to withstand years of touring. Hook this thing up to your system and see why your favourite artists rely on this awesome piece of kit that is perfect for studio recordings as well as live performance.
Want more detail? We also recommend the Shure Beta 58A, which features increased sensitivity, high frequency response as well as a Supercardioid pickup pattern making it ideal for recording not only vocals, but acoustic instruments in beautiful detail, too!
6. SE Electronics Z5600a II Condenser Microphone
A versatile mic is a recording partner for life, and the sE Electronics Z5600a II Condenser Microphone will happily join you on your journey from studio to studio, song to song. This large diaphragm condenser provides you with the ability to switch between a selection of polar patterns including cardioid, omni, figure 8 as well as 6 intermediate stages which is accessed via the AC power unit. The SE Electronics Z5600a II is fitted with a dual triode ECC83 tube to provide warmth, response and clarity in your recordings. As any guitarists and studio professionals out there will understand, there's simply nothing better than the sound a warm tube can produce.
Every nuance and subtlety in your vocal recordings will be captured beautifully, especially considering the 20Hz ~ 20kHz frequency response. All vocal styles will be captured beautifully as will any other instrument you decide to record. The microphone comes in a wooden presentation case along with a large shock mount and brushed aluminium power supply all presented in a full aluminium flight case for easy transportation.
7. Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package
Another fantastic option for the home studio enthusiast, vocalist or podcaster is the Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package. You have everything you need to make studio quality vocal recordings anytime, anywhere. The NT1A cardioid polar pattern microphone contains a large 1" capsule with gold plated diaphragm for ultimate sensitivity, effectively picking up all the nuances of your recording - an essential quality for recording artists.
The cardioid pickup pattern ensures you don't pick up that unwanted ambience, whilst the wide dynamic frequency makes it a fantastic tool for a wide variety of different vocal styles. Whatever your singing style, the Rode NT1-A Condenser mic can handle it. The 10 year extended warranty ensures you're in safe hands too!
In the box you get a suspension mount, pop filter and dust cover to keep your mic safe in transit or when it's not being used. A great budget friendly option and one of the best microphones for recording vocals available.
8. Aston Stealth Microphone
Predominantly a broadcast microphone, the Aston Stealth Microphone makes our best microphones for recording vocals thanks to the fact it’s got 4 switchable voices and a unique Sorbothane internal shock mount system which reduces the need for a shock mount/cradle.
Whether you’re using it to record podcast vocals, voice overs or singing your heart out, the Aston Stealth can handle it all with ease. There are 4 different voices within the Stealth, each with their own discrete signal paths. The 2 vocal settings have been optimised for different vocal textures, both ideally suited to spoken word. The third setting is ideally suited towards all manner of guitar recording such as Spanish guitar, electric guitar cabs and steel string acoustic guitars making it quite versatile.
However, it’s the 4th channel that really piques our interest here. This 4th setting is a dark, vintage setting which is reminiscent of classic ribbon mics. The fact the microphone was developed in partnership with over 90 top engineers, producers and artists who undertook a series of blind listening tests to find the best possible sound means that it’s actually better than a lot of the industry standard microphones out there. This is essentially 4 microphones in 1 and a ribbon mic for around £300 – a must-have.