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10 Best Studio Microphones for Recording Vocals in High Quality

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10 Best Studio Microphones for Recording Vocals in High Quality

Do you know what to look for to find the best studio microphone for your podcast, music, or other content? Not every mic is designed to pick up the nuances in different voice frequencies to deliver clear, crisp vocal recordings. It’s important to understand which microphone features are needed for vocal recordings to ensure you get the best quality possible. 

We’ll help you pinpoint the best studio recording microphone for your needs by explaining the differences between microphone types and exploring key features to keep in mind when comparing your options. We’ll also give reviews of some of the best studio microphones for vocals available on the market and provide our top picks for the best recording microphones for different recording scenarios.

What Microphone Should You Use in a Studio?

Any microphone can be used to record vocals, but condenser microphones are the mic type most recording professionals prefer in a studio environment. These mics are very sensitive and provide crisp vocal recordings. Condenser microphones are able to capture a wide frequency response, which means they can accurately record both high-pitched and low, bassy voices. This ability to record many different types of voices is what makes them so popular with recording professionals. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between condenser and dynamic mics and to get our pick for the best condenser mic for vocals. 

Types of Microphones

Make sure you understand the differences between mic types before taking a look at our list of the best recording microphones for vocals. Microphones can differ when it comes to how they record sound, their recording directionality, and how they connect to other recording equipment. 

Condenser vs Dynamic

Condenser microphones capture sound when the mic diaphragm vibrates against the mic’s charged backplate, which converts sound waves into electrical energy. These mics have smooth frequency responses and their low-frequency response tends to be better than that of dynamic mics. Condensers are great microphones for recording voices, especially in a studio setting. They’re more sensitive than dynamic mics and capture clear, detailed sound in vocal recordings. 

Dynamic mics use a diaphragm and coil of wire to capture sound. Sound is recorded when a dynamic mic’s diaphragm vibrates and the vibration is transferred to the attached coil to produce an electrical signal. These mics are great for capturing drums and other instruments.  

Polar Patterns

A microphone’s polar pattern determines how the capsules inside the mic pick up sound. Polar patterns are also called pickup patterns and they indicate how sensitive a microphone is to sound coming from different directions. With a clear understanding of polar patterns, you’ll be able to place your mic to effectively pick up vocals and minimize background noise in your recordings. 

Studio microphones will use one or more of the following polar patterns for recording: 

Cardioid

This polar pattern is the most common and the most popular choice for recording vocals. Mics with a cardioid polar pattern are the most sensitive in the front and don’t pick up background sounds coming from behind the microphone. They’re more resistant to feedback when compared to omnidirectional microphones. 

Supercardioid

Mics with a supercardioid polar pattern are also most sensitive to sound from the front and they have a narrower pickup field than cardioid mics. These mics are great for isolating single sounds and voices because they don’t pick up much noise coming from the sides or behind the mic. They have a dry signal and are very resistant to feedback. 

Hypercardioid

Hypercardioid mics have an even narrower field of pickup than supercardioid mics. They’re sensitive to sound directed at the front of the mic and are more effective than cardioid or supercardioid mics at rejecting unwanted background noise coming from the sides or from behind. Mics with this type of polar pattern are the most resistant to feedback. 

Omnidirectional

Mics that use an omnidirectional polar pattern are sensitive to sound coming from every direction, so they don’t have to be pointed a certain way to record effectively. These mics are less sensitive than cardioid microphones, but they will pick up more background noise coming from anywhere in your recording environment. If you plan to use one of these mics, make sure you have a lot of control over the noise levels in your studio.

Bidirectional

A microphone with a bidirectional polar pattern is equally sensitive to sound coming from in front of and behind the mic. These mics will totally block out sound coming from the sides. Bidirectional polar patterns are common in mics with larger diaphragms and have the lowest bass response. 

USB vs XLR

How do you plan to connect your microphone to your other recording equipment? Knowing this is important because it will determine whether you need a USB mic or an XLR mic. USB mics connect with a standard USB connection used by most electronics. XLR mics use three-pin or five-pin connectors to link to recording equipment. An XLR mic will generally produce better audio quality because the XLR connection provides balanced audio, which produces cleaner audio transfer. 

How Do I Choose the Best Studio Microphone?

It can seem overwhelming when you’re trying to choose the best voice recording microphone for your studio because there are so many great options out there. Below are some of the factors you should consider when comparing mics to find the best recording microphone for your needs. 

Price

Have a clear idea of how much you’re willing to invest in a new studio microphone. There are great mics available at all price points, but the best studio mics will cost more because they provide the highest quality recordings. 

Polar pattern

Be sure to check out a mic’s polar pattern before purchasing one. Cardioid mics are better suited for recording vocals. Though you can record vocals with an omnidirectional mic, your recording quality will be affected by background noise and feedback issues.

Microphone type

Condenser mics are generally preferred over dynamic microphones for vocal recordings because they’re more sensitive and they tend to have wider frequency response ranges. Dynamic mics can be used for vocal recordings, but condenser mics will provide better overall quality for your recordings. 

Studio setup

If you’re recording in a home studio with just a computer, you might want to consider a USB mic to keep your setup simple. Professional recording environments or more advanced home studios are better for XLR mics, which often attach to recording equipment like amps or sound mixers.

10 Best Studio Microphones in 2023

Our list of the ten best microphones for recording vocals will help you narrow down the field to find the right mic for your needs. We’ve included a variety of mics to give you options when it comes to connection type, polar patterns, and mic type. After you’ve finished reading our reviews, check out our picks for the top mics on our list.  

1. Blue Yeti X

Blue Yeti X microphone for studio recording
Blue Yeti X

Price: $169

Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, Stereo

Type: Condenser

Connectivity: USB

The Blue Yeti X is a versatile studio mic with four different polar pattern options that make it great in any recording environment. This recording mic includes a smart knob so you can monitor and adjust voice levels in real-time to give you more control over your recordings. It also includes easy controls for headphone output volume and muting. Blue VO!CE software is included with this mic and provides enhanced vocal effects, voice modulations, and HD audio samples you can use to improve the overall quality of your recording. 

One of the drawbacks of using this mic is that it can sometimes pick up background noise you don't want in your recordings. Check out our review to learn more about this Blue Yeti microphone and other mics available from this manufacturer.

2. Audio-Technica AT2020

Price: $99

Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Cardioid

Type: Condenser

Connectivity: XLR

This studio recording microphone delivers great quality for its low price point. It’s great for home studio recording because of its noise level of 20 dB SPL. The Audio-Technica AT2020’s low-mass diaphragm provides a wide frequency range that enables the mic to accurately record all types of voices. You may want to consider investing in a pop filter and shock mount to help mitigate unwanted sounds in your recordings since this mic doesn’t have any noise cancellation features.

3. Rode NT1

RODE NT1 best studio microphone for recording
Rode NT1

Price: $228

Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Cardioid

Type: Condenser

Connectivity: XLR

The Rode NT1 is a good recording mic for both vocals and instruments. It has a detailed midrange response, but can also clearly capture high frequencies and the warm, rich sounds of voice with lower bass. One of the best things about this recording studio microphone is that it comes with a complete kit to help you capture high-quality vocal recordings. In addition to the mic, you get a suspension shock mount, a removable pop filter, and an adjustable mic arm. 

4. Shure SM7B

Price: $399

Frequency response: 50 - 20,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Cardioid

Type: Dynamic

Connectivity: XLR

Professionals love the Shure SM7B studio recording microphone because of its smooth wide-range frequency response that makes it perfect for recording vocals for any type of content. This mic has built-in features to eliminate the electric hum of computers and other recording equipment that can sometimes be picked up in recordings. If you want to invest in this mic, make sure your recording setup has what you need to get the best possible quality—a preamp is necessary to make sure your gain levels are where they need to be. 

5. Audio-Technica AT2035

Audio Technica AT2035 studio microphone for recording
Audio-Technica AT2035

Price: $149

Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Cardioid

Type: Condenser

Connectivity: XLR

The Audio-Technica AT2035 captured detailed recordings with low noise. This studio microphone has a switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and 10 dB pad and can handle high-pressure levels with ease. The mic provides smooth, natural sound for studio recordings and comes with a custom shock mount to help eliminate electronic noise. Make sure you have an XLR cable or be prepared to purchase one because a connection cable is not included with the microphone. 

6. Behringer C-1

Price: $49

Frequency response: 40 - 20,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Cardioid

Type: Condenser

Connectivity: XLR

The Behringer C-1 is a great budget mic for beginners or anyone looking to add another recording microphone to their setup. The mic’s ultra-low noise, transformerless FET input is great for eliminating low-frequency distortions in recordings The Behringer C-1 features a die-cast metal chassis that makes it super durable and a gold-plated XLR output that provides the best possible signal integrity. Be aware that this mic requires +48V phantom power. 

7. Samson C01

Samson C01 studio recording microphone
Samson C01

Price: $79

Frequency response: 40 - 18,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Hypercardioid

Type: Condenser

Connectivity: XLR

This condenser microphone features a dual-layer 19mm diaphragm that produces a smooth, flat frequency response. The mic’s large diaphragm gives it the ability to capture both high frequencies and warm bass tones accurately in recordings. The Samson C01’s design includes a heavy gauge mesh grill, a gold-plated XLR connector, and LED monitoring. This mic comes with a swivel mount that easily attaches to any standard microphone stand

8. Rode NTK

Price: $529

Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Cardioid

Type: Condenser

Connectivity: XLR

The Rode NTK is a little pricey, but this recording microphone is worth the investment—it’s built to last and comes with a 10-year warranty. This large-diaphragm tube condenser mic gives vocal recordings a smooth, warm tone and accurately captures vocals across a wide frequency range. Its design features a hand-selected twin-triode 6922 valve and a 1” gold-sputtered capsule. The Rode NTK comes with accessories that include a power supply, shock mount, and ring mount. 

9. Elgato Wave: 3

Elgato Wave 3 microphone for studio recordings
Elgato Wave: 3

Price: $154

Frequency response: 70 - 20,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Cardioid

Type: Dynamic

Connectivity: USB

The Elgato Wave: 3 is used by podcasters, gamers, and musicians alike. The onboard level controls are easy-to-operate and the mic includes built-in headphone that makes low-latency monitoring simple. This mid-level mic has a 24-bit depth and a maximum sample rate of 96kHz. It also has a knob for adjusting mic gain, headphone volume, and blending audio. The Elgato Wave: 3 also comes with free software called WaveLink for digital audio mixing. 

10. Shure SM27

Price: $349

Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz

Polar pattern: Cardioid

Type: Condenser

Connectivity: XLR

The Shure SM27 is designed for use on stage or in a studio. The mic has a low-mass large diaphragm that provides an extended frequency response to clearly pick up vocal nuances. The Shure SM27's durable metal construction and compact design make it a great choice for recording professionals who need a mic that can be easily transported. This recording microphone features a 3-position adjustable low-frequency filter to help reduce background noise and the mic's three mesh laters reduce noise caused by wind or breathing.

The Best Overall Studio Microphone

We've chosen the Audio-Technica AT2035 as the best overall mic because of its sensitivity and low noise levels. You'll be able to capture detailed recordings with this mic without having to worry about electrical hum or other background noises in your recordings. The included shock mount is great for improving the quality of your audio.  

The Best Microphone for Recording Vocals

Our pick for the best vocal studio microphone is the Rode NT1. This mic provides clear, detailed recordings across high, mid-range, and low frequencies so you can capture all different types of voices. We also like this mic because of all of the accessories that are included that can help improve the quality of your vocal recordings. 

The Best Studio Microphone for Podcasting

The best mic for recording vocals for a podcast is the Shure SM7B. Many podcast professionals, including Joe Rogan, use this mic to get smooth and clear recordings. The mic’s built-in features for noise cancellation will save you time in post-production.  

Read more: The Best Podcast Microphone For Every Need and Budget

The Best Mic For Home Studio Recording

We’ve chosen the Shure SM27 as our pick for the best mic for recording in a studio at home. This is a great microphone for recording vocals in a home studio because of its extended frequency response and low-frequency filter that helps reduce background noise. 

Find the Best Studio Microphone For Your Vocal Recordings

When searching for a studio mic to record vocals, keep an eye on mic types and polar patterns. Having a clear picture of your budget and understanding of your recording environment goes a long way too. You can capture vocals with any type of mic, but cardioid condenser microphones will provide the best vocal recordings because of their design.  

FAQs on Best Studio Microphones

Do you still have questions about how to identify the best mics for recording vocals? Our frequently asked question section has answers to questions commonly asked about the best studio microphones for vocals. 

What Microphone do Most Artists Use?

Many recording artists choose to use Shure and Audio Technica microphones for their studio recordings. Check out the list of studio recording microphones in the above article to read reviews of mics from these manufacturers. 

What Microphone do Singers Use in the Studio?

Singers use a wide variety of mics when recording in the studio, but tend to prefer cardioid condenser mics since they’re great at picking up vocals. Our list of the best studio mics for recording vocals in the above article features many different cardioid condenser microphones.

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