We’ve rounded up some of the best expensive recording microphones on the market today for those with larger budgets, including options from Shure, AKG, Neumann and more
As a professional music retailer, we often get asked: What are some of the best expensive recording microphones available today?".
Both home studio owners and those with larger studios or recording outfits choose us to create complete PA and studio packages for them, with microphones ranging from budget-friendly to more expensive recording solutions.
As with anything, you get what you pay for. Fortunately, we only stock brands we believe in and that we know you can rely on like Shure, AKG and more. So, if you’re paying a little more or buying an expensive, high-budget microphone from us, you know you’re getting a recording microphone that will last you a lifetime.
So today we thought we’d highlight some of the best expensive recording mics we have available at PMT. These mics are professional-level recording microphones that studios of all sizes will enjoy, providing exceptional sonic clarity and recording options for anyone. Best of all – you won’t have to upgrade… ever.
Now, let us preface this blog by pointing out that expensive is a subjective term of course… So today we’ve highlighted microphones above £300 and closer to the £500 budget range, with some even topping out beyond the £5,000 mark.
How Did We Choose the Expensive Microphones?
We took into account reliability, construction, those with high-quality parts, and brands widely regarded as the best in the world.
- The budget was above £300 and closer to microphones around the £500 mark - with some exceeding that entirely.
- Microphones had to be of a professional standard that studio owners would be able to rely on, and the microphones must be “known” within the recording world as a go-to microphone for professional use.
- A wide range of frequencies were taken into consideration - with some microphones being good “all-rounders” whilst others are highly-specialised (or at least better suited to particular applications within the studio such as vocal recording or instrument recording).
- These microphones had to be suitable for recording in a studio and provide pro-level results
Let’s dig in!
Show Me the Best Expensive Recording Microphones
In this list, we’ll start with some industry-standard options that are considered “expensive microphones for recording” and work our way into the higher echelons where you might have to sell your car to afford them.
In this list we will discuss the following microphones for recording:
- Shure BETA 27 Instrument Condenser Microphone
- Shure SM7B Dynamic Studio Microphone
- Antelope Audio Edge Solo Condenser Modelling Microphone
- Shure KSM32/SL Cardioid Condenser Microphone Champagne Finish with Shock Mount and Bag
- AKG C414 XLS Condenser Microphone
- Lewitt LCT 840 Tube Condenser Microphone
- Neumann U87 AI Stereo Set Microphone in Nickel
Shure BETA 27 Instrument Condenser Microphone
When you’ve decided you want to upgrade your instrument recording, the Shure BETA 27 Instrument Condenser Microphone is the perfect option and easily one of the best instrument microphones available today.
It’s above the £300 mark, so makes our best expensive recording microphones list and easily fits onto the professional-level category, but we also included it thanks to the fact it is the ONLY large-diaphragm super-cardioid condenser microphone on the market.
This larger low-mass gold-layered diaphragm ensures you capture a huge amount of detail and enjoy superior transient response, whilst the super-cardioid polar pattern rejects almost all unwanted sound and provides superb isolation.
Studio owners will appreciate the versatile 20Hz - 20kHz frequency response and the fact you can reduce the unwanted “boom” and bass frequencies thanks to a 3-position LF switch. The addition of a -15dB attenuator pad switch allows you to record all manner of instruments with exceptional transparent clarity including wind, brass, electric guitar and drums.
This is a great microphone for studio owners, especially if you record acoustic instruments.
Shure SM7B Dynamic Studio Microphone
Well, obviously this microphone is in this list. Every studio needs a Shure SM7B if you want to record high-quality vocals. Whether you’re providing voiceovers, spoken word or capturing singing vocals, the Shure SM7B is an essential studio microphone. At over £300 it’s one of the best expensive recording microphones pushing into the higher budget category, but it’s totally worth it.
Along with the SM58 and SM57, this is a studio essential owing to the fact it provides exceptional clarity whether you’re recording vocals or high gain amplifiers.
The reason this is one of the best expensive studio microphones for recording is that it captures the natural sound of instruments and vocal performances without colouring the sound. However, the 50 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response provides a touch less sensitivity so becomes a little more forgiving at lower volumes – especially useful for vocalists.
An internal air suspension system protects the capsule whilst eliminating mechanical noise. Producers will appreciate the superior rejection of mechanical hum caused by computers and vocalists and recording artists alike will love the cardioid polar pattern which rejects off-axis noise.
This is the go-to broadcast and vocal microphone as you have the ability to switch between flat, bass roll-off and increased presence control, enabling you to take complete control of your sound without the need for an audio interface. The built-in pop filter and included windshield empower vocalists of all styles to record plosive free performances and the max SPL of 180dB provides more than enough headroom to record loud instruments such as acoustic pianos and guitar cabinets.
Check out our article on the Reasons You Need the Shure SM7B here.
Antelope Audio Edge Solo Condenser Modelling Microphone
Next up we have the Antelope Audio Edge Solo Condenser Modelling Microphone. Antelope Audio is a brand currently turning heads thanks to its clever emulation of industry-standard microphones and superb sonic clarity.
This microphone is a great all-rounder and a contender for one of the best expensive recording microphones as it provides exceptional versatility through the emulation of 18 different microphones widely used in the recording industry. It’s basically like having 18 different microphones in 1 sturdy unit.
The single-capsule large-diaphragm condenser design captures all the subtle nuances of your sound source whilst the 20HZ 20kHZ frequency response allows you to capture clarity from any instrument. But it’s the full studio worth of classic microphone emulations at your disposal that make this a must-have studio microphone. You have industry standards like Berlin 47 FT, Minnesota 20 to a Hamburg 441 – all of which are synonyms for classic microphones… just do a little Google.
The cardioid polar pattern rejects off-axis noise, the high-quality construction keeps the capsule safe when you’re setting up or transporting the mic and the low self-noise of 19dB(A) keeps your sound clean and free from mechanical interference.
Shure KSM32/SL Cardioid Condenser Microphone
As we mentioned before, you get what you pay for! The Shure KSM32/SL Cardioid Condenser Microphone Champagne Finish with Shock Mount and Bag is above the £500 price tag, and very much worth every penny thanks to the elite transient response alone.
This is a vocal mic for the sonic purists out there.
This expensive mic for recording provides elite transient response straight out of the box thanks to the Ultra-thin 24-karat gold-layered Mylar diaphragm designed to meet the needs of professional vocalists and producers. The wide and flat frequency range of 20 Hz - 20 kHz makes it a great all-rounder for those who want to record spoken word or singing vocals whilst allowing for a wide range of acoustic instruments too. every tiny detail is captured.
The max SPL of 139dB means you can record strings, brass, acoustic pianos and guitar cabinets with ease, whilst the -15dB attenuator ensures you can record snare and tom drums when needed.
Jumbo acoustic guitars with more “boom” are catered for and the proximity effect can be reduced thanks to 3-position switches for filtering low-frequencies whilst the internal shock mount reduces handling noise.
You hear EVERYTHING you need to with this recording mic and nothing you don’t want.
An elite microphone for those with a little more wiggle room in their budget.
AKG C414 XLS Condenser Microphone
We’re into the higher price tags now with the AKG C414 XLS Condenser Microphone as it’s over £600, but again totally worth it.
This is one of the best expensive recording microphones as it provides 5 switchable polar patterns including cardioid, wide-cardioid, hypercardioid, omnidirectional and figure-8. This makes it perfect for all manner of recording including room recording, ambient noise, duos, drum overheads and more.
This is a particularly useful microphone for those who record more than one instrument at a time and those studio owners in need of a microphone that can adapt to any room or environment as you also have a 3-way switchable bass-cut filter (0/40/80/160 Hz) which cuts out the deep boom and proximity effects. The addition of 3 preattenuation pads (0/-6/-12/-18 dB) allows you to take full advantage of the 140 dB(SPL) max dynamic range and record instruments of all levels including guitar cabs, drums and the shoutiest of vocalists.
A transformerless output keeps mechanical noise low and the onboard LED light ensures you know exactly where you are at all times with the settings. A great all-rounder microphone for those with a higher budget.
Also available as a matched pair here.
Lewitt LCT 840 Tube Condenser Microphone
With the Lewitt LCT 840 Tube Condenser Microphone, we’re certainly in the expensive microphone section. At over £1,000, it’s certainly going to raise your budget, but if you want the rich, tube saturated tonal quality akin to vocal performances of the 70s then you’re going to love this.
The dual triode 12AX7 tube built-in provides a sonic experience that will instantly add warmth and immersion to any recording. The use of a tube offers a tonality that is bursting with soft high frequencies and a full-bodied presence.
The wide frequency range of 20-20,000 Hz and max SPL of 139 allows you to cater for all manner of recording sources whilst a low-cut filter provides superior control over your low end.
You also have 5 polar patterns at your disposal, including Omni, wide cardioid, cardioid, supercardioid, figure-8 making it a great all-rounder for any environment where you want a slight colouration and warmth to your sound.
The included remote control and power supply allow you to set up the LCT 840's polar pattern, pre-attenuation and low-cut. The illuminated design also allows you to make changes when the lights are low ensuring it doesn’t kill the mood when recording!
If you want the vintage tube sound with modern performance and capability – this is a perfect studio microphone solution for audiophiles.
Neumann U87 AI Stereo Set Microphone in Nickel
Last but not least we have the most expensive microphone for recording on our list, the Neumann U87 AI Stereo Set Microphone in Nickel. At over £5,000, it’s reserved for the absolute professionals out there, offering incredible detail that is relied upon by studio professionals all over the world.
The U87 is an industry-standard vocal microphone with three polar patterns including Cardioid, Omni and Figure-8. Whether you’re recording single vocals, choirs or acoustic instruments, the mic can handle it all backed up by a 117dB max SPL which can be attenuated to 127dB.
The 1” diaphragm captures the subtle nuances of whatever you’re recording and the 20Hz-20kHz frequency response caters to all manner of sound sources. The low-cut filter kills the proximity effect and bass boom of an acoustic instrument or vocal performance, and the fact you get two mics in this pack ensures you are able to record vocals and acoustic at the same time, room sounds along with a piano or the power of a drum kit via an overhead placement makes the U87 package a great investment for studio owners.