Take a closer look at some of the best budget live vocal microphones that cost £150 or less and don’t suck
In this blog we’ll be exploring how to get an awesome live vocal sound with the best microphones for vocalists in 2021 and beyond. In a world that is still very much in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more venues are requesting that vocalists supply their own microphones - and so to make things easier we’ve already picked out our favourites for you to check out.
All of these mics are priced under £150, and they all offer a superb build-quality that will withstand the rigours of gigging and touring. Better still, they’re guaranteed to grant you a professional vocal sound no matter what venues you’re set to play at, ensuring that you’re at your best night after night.
3 of the mics on this list are Cardioid mics, and 2 utilise a Super-Cardioid polar pattern. This refers to the sensitivity of the mic to sounds arriving from different angles to its central axis. You can use this image to get a better idea of exactly what this might mean, but it’s something you might consider depending on your monitoring set-up and the sort of venues you’re likely to play. Either type will work - it just usually comes down to a matter of personal preference.
In order to keep things simple, we’ve opted for a selection of dynamic microphones here - these mics are tougher and more durable than studio condenser microphones, and they’re also less prone to feedback on stage. They can handle higher sound pressure levels without distorting, and unlike condenser microphones they don’t require phantom power - meaning they’ll work easily with any live sound system.
Furthermore, they’re all designed to be either handheld or to fit into a standard microphone clip - included with each of our selections - meaning that they’re ideal for both lead vocalists and backing singers.
So without further ado, here are our top picks for the best live vocal mics on a budget..
The first (and most budget-friendly) option on our list is the Shure PGA58.
This mic is a superb option for those who might not quite be ready to splash out on an industry-standard live vocal solution such as the SM58 (more on that later..) but who still want a quality microphone from a trusted brand like Shure.
Despite being a little bulkier than the SM58 this mic actually weighs in at a couple of grams lighter, owing largely to the mic chassis and protective grille being a little less substantial than on its big brother.
This mic is still tough enough to deal with everyday wear-and-tear at gigs however, and it’s a wonderful option for backing vocalists who might not use a vocal mic as extensively as a lead singer.
For added versatility, the PGA58 also features a mute switch, and to add even more value they come supplied with a choice of either an XLR or ¼” jack microphone cable.
sE Electronics V7 VE
Combining vintage aesthetics with stunning modern performance, the sE Electronics V7 VE Dynamic Vocal Microphone is a great choice for vocalists on a budget.
Featuring a super-cardioid polar pattern and internal windshield, this mic also comes complete with clips, a thread adapter, and a carrying pouch.
The all-metal chassis is strong and rugged, but also means that the internal circuitry is efficiently protected from electrical interference and noise. Teamed with the super-cardioid pattern, you can be sure your performances will remain free from feedback and background noise.
It also boasts a custom-developed aluminium voice coil with a neodymium magnet, giving it a refined, powerful output. In addition to this, the gold-plated XLR connector and newly-designed internal shock mount system provide low-level handling noise when compared to cheaper mics.
For a unique, vintage-flavoured vocal mic that ticks all of the boxes, choose the V7 VE.
The Sennheiser E835 is a stylish, professional-grade microphone that is tailored for vocal performances.
Notable features include a hum-cancelling coil and internal isolation system that helps to cut down on electrical interference and handling noise. The build-quality is extremely solid here so you can be sure that this mic will last a lifetime, and it also comes with an included clip and carry pouch.
The sound quality is consistent even at different distances - both on and off-axis - but feedback is still kept to a minimum, allowing you to perform without worrying too much about your mic control and technique.
This mic utilises a cardioid polar pickup pattern with a frequency response of 40Hz to 16kHz, so it delivers a clear and natural sound, with tight low mids and a clear, present treble response.
No matter if you’re using this mic for death metal growls or unassuming backing vocals, it’s a great option on a budget.
Lewitt MTP550 DM
The penultimate mic on our list today comes from Lewitt Audio - and despite being a relative newcomer to the audio world compared to the likes of Shure and Sennheiser, their MTP550 Dynamic Vocal Microphone makes for an awesome cheap live vocal mic.
Weighing-in as the heaviest mic on this list, this mic benefits from a super-tough die-cast zinc enclosure to ensure it’ll survive even the rowdiest of live shows.
The highly-engineered capsule here is rubber suspension-mounted for protection, and this also helps to reduce shock and handling noise. Furthermore, it’s also moisture protected - so it’ll survive years of spit, sweat, and beer. On top of that, there’s a high-performance internal pop filter and wind-shield which helps to cut down on plosives from P’s and B’s.
With a 16Hz-60kHz frequency response, the MTP550 has been designed and produced specifically for getting a perfect vocal sound - and it’s cardioid polar pattern has been engineered for a very consistent performance, meaning it’s great at rejecting feedback. In fact, Lewitt Audio has gone as far as to say that this mic is the most feedback-proof in its class.
The sharp, articulate sound it provides certainly does draw attention on stage, so pick this mic if you want to try a funky newcomer to the live vocal lineup.
Shure Beta 58a
Here we’ll talk about how the Beta 58a might be a better option for some people than just choosing to stick with the SM58. There are already thousands of articles online singing the praises of the SM58, so there’s not much more we can add - but rest assured, either of these mics will work perfectly and offer a stunning live vocal sound.
From a design point of view, the Beta 58a - distinguishable from the SM58 due to the blue ring around the grille - is very similar to the SM58. They’re both the same size and roughly the same weight, but the main difference here is in the grille. The Beta58 has a grille made from hardened steel, making it much more difficult to dent and therefore likely to survive the harshest of impacts.
In terms of performance, the SM58 has a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 50Hz to 15kHz. The Beta model, on the other hand, features the narrower, more focused super-cardioid pattern - meaning it delivers great off-axis rejection on a crowded stage. The Beta mic also gives you an extended frequency range up to 16kHz.
For the most detailed and accurate representation of your voice the Beta 58a utilises a neodymium magnet in the capsule. This makes it more sensitive than an SM58, meaning it comes in 4dB hotter and with a higher signal-to-noise ratio too.
Lastly, the internal shock mounting within the Beta model is also significantly upgraded - so you’ll have better protection against handling noise and vibrations in addition to all of the other enhanced features present on this awesome mic.
The Beta 58a still comes in at under £150 too, making it one of the best value vocal mics in the world.
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Still looking for a cheap live vocal mic? Need more help with vocal equipment on a budget? Call us on 0151 448 2089 or check out your local store to speak to one of our Experts about your needs.