Updated: Nov 10, 2022
A big part of getting the perfect recording is choosing the right microphone, and there's a lot more to it than a great singer. The lyrics are a place where your listeners really get to connect with your song, and you want the vocal track to be it's absolute best. That means you should put some serious thought into which vocal mic you choose. This will result in a quality recording that is ready for mixing and mastering.
Top home studio microphone choices
Looking for the perfect microphone for your home studio setup? Some vocal mics truly rise to the top. Here is a rundown of the top microphones for the home recording studio.
The XL This mic offers incredible quality for under $100. The MXL 770 has a beautiful vintage look with a black finish and comes with a shock mount and a carrying case, which makes it an even better bargain. The microphone is packed with features including:
a gold-plated diaphragm
switchable bass cut
a built-in FET preamp
If you're looking for a premium, valve condenser mic that gives you amazing warmth and detail, this is the microphone for you. The Rode NTK features a sensitive transducer with a hand-selected twin-triode valve, as well as audiophile-grade components. The result is low noise, an ultra-wide dynamic range, and beautiful tube warmth.
The TLM-102 is at the higher end of most budgets, and there's a good reason. It's a Rolls Royce when it comes to sound, with a large-diaphragm and pressure gradient transducer. It features a compact design, 144 dB sound pressure level, and a slight presence boost that helps your vocals really shine in the mix.
The Shure microphone brand has been an on-stage staple for decades. The stand-by SM-57 is famous for being dropped into a glass of beer pre-gig and still pulling off a solid three-set night. This means you can expect real durability from this trustworthy brand. In the home recording studio, the Shure SM-27-SC is very popular. It comes with a shock mount and a cloth carrying case. There are many features that make this mic a favorite, including:
low-frequency filter with an on-off switch
superior transient response
low-mass large Mylar diaphragm
neutral, flat frequency response
3-position low-frequency filter
This well-known mic is crisp and clear, and a great choice for a budget-friendly vocal recording mic. It features an 80 Hz high-pass filter, flat response, and excellent sound pressure. While many home studio musicians opt for the USB AT2020, for the best quality it is better to go with this model that has XLR connectivity.
AKG C414 XLS
This versatile condenser microphone has a classic multi-pattern design and features a peak hold LED display. This mic has been around for 20 years and is based on the same characteristics as AKG's vintage microphones from the early 70s. It is at the higher end of the price scale, and that reflects the fact that it is engineered to offer beautifully detailed vocal recordings with the highest linearity.
The Elecrovoice RE20 can be found in any professional radio or television broadcast studio. As the broadcast industry standard, it's a great choice if you're podcasting from your home studio. It has a unique, heavy-duty, internal pop filter, as well as an internal element shock mount that reduces vibration-induced noise. It is a perfect choice for recording vocals in part because of its large diaphragm and voice-tailored frequency response.
Looking for a microphone that may outperform mics that are twice the price? Check out the Mojave MA-200. It's a tube mic with a large diaphragm cardioid condenser and has features of more expensive mics like:
Ultra clean signal path
Hand-selected 3-micron capsule
Military-grade vacuum tube
Internal switchable power supply voltage
Jensen audio transformer
This is a new microphone company that is offering a great-sounding microphone. The Origin is a condenser mic that gives a distinctive sound and beautiful aesthetics. It has a solid stainless steel chassis, a built-in mesh pop filter, a unique waveform spring head, and extreme attention to detail. It features advanced electronics and engineering and is designed by top audio professionals.
Blue Microphones Blue Bird
The Blue Microphone brand is becoming increasingly popular due to several factors. It has an appealing look and feel and includes a Class A amp and a wide frequency range. The Blue Bird also comes with its own shock mount, pop filter, and a wooden carrying case. Have a look at the entire series of Blue microphones for a range of great studio choices.
How to choose the best vocal mic
As you can see above, there are a dizzying amount of studio microphones out there for sale, and many are in the sweet spot between affordability and quality. What are the most important things to keep in mind? Here are the 3 main factors when choosing a microphone.
Pick a condenser microphone. These have more sensitivity and range and are much better for recording than a dynamic mic. Condenser microphones are powered by phantom 48V power that is usually provided by your console or audio interface.
Be sensitive to your budget. Remember, you don't need the most expensive mic or the top brand name to get a good sound. Make a list of your must-haves and then shop around at the many affordable options that offer high-end features.
Choose XLR connectivity. An XLR microphone cable to the audio interface is a superior connection than USB to computer.
Once you've got the perfect vocal track with one of these amazing microphones, it's time for the final step that gives your masterpiece its professional finish. Remember, no matter how great your recording is, nothing takes the place of professional mixing and mastering services for a quality finished product. This last vital step will give your song the perfect edge and polish you've looking for. Get the details here.