9 Best Microphones For Recording Vocals That Sound Professional

by Tracy Jackson

Last Updated on March 18, 2022 by Tracy Jackson

best microphones for recording

Are you looking for the best microphone to record vocals in a recording studio?

In this blog post, I will compare nine of the best microphones on the market.

But, of course, each microphone has its specifications, pros and cons, and prices.

My top pick is the Blue Yeti, a budget-friendly option that delivers excellent sound quality.

However, the Shure SM7B is my favorite, thanks to its impressive features and affordable price tag.

Disclaimer: If you buy something using the links in this article, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Know that I only promote stuff that I use and trust for the sake of my readers and the reputation of this site.

Image Product Features Price
Best Overall

Shure SM7B

Shure SM7B

9.7

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Budget Pick

Blue Yeti

Blue Yeti

9.5

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Rode NT-USB microphone Rode NT-USB microphone

9.2

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Rode NT1A Rode NT1A

9.1

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SE Electronics sE2200 microphone SE Electronics sE2200 microphone

8.5

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Slate Digital VMS ML-1 Slate Digital VMS ML-1

8.1

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Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Mic Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Mic

8

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Neumann TLM 103 Neumann TLM 103

7.9

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Neumann U 87 Ai Microphone Set Neumann U 87 Ai Microphone Set

7.8

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Best Microphones For Recording Vocals Under $200

1. Blue Yeti – $114 on Amazon

Blue Yeti - best microphones for recording

If you’re looking for a microphone that will help you record professional-sounding vocals, the Blue Yeti is a great option.

This mic is perfect for those just starting with recording, as it’s easy to use and produces excellent sound quality.

The Yeti comes with a stand and can be plugged directly into your computer via USB.

It also has three different pattern settings, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

The Blue Yeti is an excellent option for recording high-quality vocals if you’re on a budget.

Specifications:

Blue Yeti specifications

Patterns: Cardioid/Omni/Figure-8/Stereo

Output: USB

Pros:

-The Blue Yeti is a versatile microphone that you can use for studio recording and live to stream.

-It has a clear, rich sound quality that makes it great for recording vocals.

-The Blue Yeti is also very easy to use, with a simple plug-and-play design that makes it ideal for beginner and intermediate users.

-It is also very affordable, making it an excellent option for those on a budget.

Cons:

-The Blue Yeti can be pretty sensitive, so it may pick up background noise if you’re not careful.

-It is also relatively large and bulky, so it may not be the best option if you’re looking for a portable microphone.

-The Blue Yeti requires a USB connection, so it is not compatible with all devices.

You can buy the Blue Yeti for $114 on Amazon.

2. Rode NT-USB microphone – $169 on Amazon

Rode NT-USB

The Rode NT-USB is an excellent option for a high-quality yet affordable microphone for recording vocals.

It features a USB connection, making it compatible with PC and Mac computers.

It also has a built-in pop filter and comes with a stand, making it perfect for home studios.

Specifications:

Rode NT-USB

Patterns: Unidirectional cardioid

Output: USB

Pros:

-The Rode NT-USB is a great-sounding microphone that is perfect for recording vocals.

-The built-in preamp gives the vocal recordings a professional sound,

-the USB connectivity makes it easy to connect to a computer for recording.

Cons:

-The Rode NT-USB is a bit more expensive than some of the other microphones on this list, but it is definitely worth the investment if you are looking for a high-quality microphone for recording vocals.

You can buy the Rode NT-USB for $169 on Amazon.

Under $500

3. Rode NT1A – $228 on Amazon

Rode NT1A

The Rode NT-IA is an excellent option for those looking for an affordable, high-quality microphone.

It’s a large-diaphragm condenser mic that you can use for both vocals and instruments.

It has a clear and natural sound and works as well as microphones that cost much more.

So if you’re looking for a versatile microphone that will give you professional results, the Rode NT-IA is an excellent option.

Specifications:

Rode NT1-A

Patterns: Unidirectional cardioid

Output: XLR

Pros:

-The Rode NT-IA is an excellent microphone for recording vocals. It has a very clear and natural sound.

-It is also very affordable, making it an excellent option for those on a budget.

-The Rode NT-IA is also very versatile and can be used for a variety of different applications.

Cons:

-The Rode NT-IA is not the most durable microphone and is not suited for live performances.

-It is also sensitive to background noise and can pick up unwanted sounds if not used properly.

You can buy the Rode NT-1A for $228 on Amazon.

4. SE Electronics sE2200 microphone – $299 on Amazon

SE Electronics SE2200

The SE Electronics sE2200 is an excellent option for a quality microphone that won’t break the bank.

This mic has a large diaphragm, which gives it a warm sound that is perfect for vocals. It also has a high SPL rating, allowing it to handle loud sounds without distortion.

If you’re looking for a quality microphone that will give you professional-sounding vocals, the SE Electronics sE2200 is an excellent option.

Specifications:

SE Electronics sE2200

Patterns: Unidirectional cardioid

Output: XLR

Pros:

– It’s a very popular microphone among professional vocalists, so you know it’ll do a great job capturing your voice.

– It has a very clear and natural sound, so your vocals will sound great when recorded with this microphone.

– It’s very affordable, so it’s a great option if you’re on a budget.

Cons:

– It’s not the most versatile microphone, so it might not be the best option if you’re looking to record other instruments as well.

– It doesn’t have a powerful presence, so it might get lost in the mix if you’re recording with many other instruments.

You can buy the SE Electronics sE2200 for $299 on Amazon.

5. Shure SM7B – $399 on Amazon

Shure SM7B

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line microphone that will give your vocals a polished, professional sound, look no further than the Shure SM7B.

Big names in the music industry often use this mic, and it’s easy to see why – it offers superb clarity and detail while still maintaining a rich and full-bodied tone.

It’s also great for recording in less than ideal environments, as it has built-in pop and wind filters to help reduce noise.

The only downside is the price tag – at $399, it’s one of the more expensive microphones on this list.

But if you’re serious about getting great-sounding vocals, it’s definitely worth the investment.

Specifications:

Shure SM7B

Patterns: Unidirectional cardioid

Output: XLR

Pros:

-The Shure SM7B is an excellent microphone for recording vocals.

-It has a comprehensive frequency response and can handle high SPLs, making it great for recording both male and female vocals.

-It also has a built-in pop filter, which is excellent for reducing plosives.

Cons:

-The Shure SM7B is a bit pricey, requiring an external power source.

-Additionally, the built-in pop filter can sometimes cause sibilance issues.

You can buy the Shure SM7B for $399 on Amazon.

Under $1,000

6. Slate Digital VMS ML-1 – $769 on Amazon

Slate Digital VMS ML-1

If you’re looking for a high-quality microphone that won’t break the bank, the Slate Digital VMS ML-1 is a great option.

It’s a large-diaphragm condenser mic with three different capsules to choose from, so you can get the perfect sound for your voice.

The mic also comes with a shock mount and pop filter, so you can get started recording right away.

Specifications:

Slate Digital VMS ML-1

Patterns: Cardioid

Output: XLR

Pros:

-The Slate Digital VMS ML-l is an excellent microphone for recording vocals.

– It has a very clear and natural sound, and it doesn’t add any coloration to the voice.

Cons:

-The only downside is that it’s a bit expensive, but it’s definitely worth the price.

You can buy the Slate Digital VMS ML-1 for $769 on Amazon.

7. Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Mic – $699 on Amazon

Neumann TLM 102

The Neumann TLM 102 is a studio-grade condenser microphone that’s great for recording vocals. It has a large diaphragm, which gives it a clear and natural sound.

It’s also very sensitive so that it can pick up even the softest of sounds. As a result, it is excellent for recording things like whispering or singing in a soft voice.

The Neumann TLM 102 is also very durable and has a long lifespan. In addition, it comes with a ten-year warranty, so you know it’s built to last.

If you’re looking for a high-quality microphone that will give you professional-sounding results, the Neumann TLM 102 is a great option.

It costs $799, which is a bit high, but it’s worth the investment if you’re serious about recording vocals.

Specifications:

Neumann TLM 102

Patterns: Unidirectional cardioid

Output: XLR

Pros:

-The Neumann TLM 102 is a high-quality, large-diaphragm condenser microphone that’s great for recording vocals.

It has a very clear and accurate sound, and it can handle high volumes without distorting.

-It’s also quite rugged and well-built, so it can withstand the rigors of recording in a professional studio.

-It comes with a shock mount and a pop filter, which are essential for recording vocals.

Cons:

-It’s a bit expensive, but it’s worth the price if you’re looking for a high-quality microphone for recording vocals.

-It’s large and heavy, so it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for a portable microphone.

You can buy the Neumann TLM 102 for $699 on Amazon.

Premium Microphones For Superior Sound Quality (Over $1,000)

8. Neumann TLM 103 – $1,095 on Amazon

Neumann TLM 103

If you’re looking for a high-end microphone that will deliver professional results, the Neumann TLM 103 is a great option.

It’s a large-diaphragm condenser mic used in studios for recording vocals and other instruments.

It has a warm, clear sound with excellent detail and depth. The TLM 103 is also very versatile, making it a good choice for various recording applications.

The only downside to the TLM 103 is its price tag.

It’s one of the most expensive microphones on this list, but it’s worth the investment if you’re serious about getting great results.

Specifications:

Neumann TLM 103

Patterns: Unidirectional cardioid

Output: XLR

Pros:

-The Neumann TLM 103 is a workhorse microphone that you can use for various applications, including recording vocals.

-It has a comprehensive frequency response and a large diaphragm, which makes it ideal for capturing the nuances of a vocal performance.

The TLM 103 has a low noise floor, which is essential for getting a clean recording.

Cons:

-The Neumann TLM 103 is a bit pricey, but it is worth the investment if you are looking for a high-quality microphone for recording vocals.

-Additionally, the TLM 103 requires an external power supply, which can be a bit of a hassle.

You can buy the Neumann TLM 103 for $1,095 on Amazon.

9. Neumann U 87 Ai Microphone Set– $3,650 on Amazon

Neumann U 87 Ai Microphone Set

The Neumann U 87 Ai is a world-renowned microphone often used in professional recording studios. It has a unique sound that is perfect for capturing vocals.

The microphone includes a shock mount and a pop filter, making it ideal for recording in any environment.

If you have the budget for a high-end microphone, the Neumann U 87 Ai is worth considering.

It is one of the best microphones for recording vocals with professional results.

Specifications:

Neumann U 87 Ai Microphone Set

Patterns: Cardioid/Omni/Figure-8/Stereo

Output: XLR

Pros:

-The Neumann U 87 Ai is one of the most popular microphones used in professional studios.

-It has a wide frequency response and a high sensitivity, making it ideal for recording vocals.

-It is also very versatile and can be used for various other instruments.

Cons:

-The Neumann U 87 Ai is a bit on the expensive side.

-It can be challenging to find replacement parts if something breaks.

-The microphone is large and bulky, making it difficult to transport.

You can buy the Neumann U 87 Ai microphone set for $3,650 on Amazon.

How does a microphone work?

Microphones work by converting sound waves into electrical signals. The most common type of microphone is the dynamic microphone, which uses a moving coil to create an electrical signal.

When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it vibrates the coil, which creates an amplified current sent to a recorder or PA system.

Condenser microphones are another popular type of microphone that uses a capacitor to convert sound waves into electrical signals.

The diaphragm gets electrically charged, and when sound waves hit it, the capacitor stores energy from the vibrations.

This stored energy is then converted into an electrical signal and sent to a recorder or PA system.

Many different microphones are available on the market, and each has its unique sound.

When choosing a microphone for recording vocals, it is vital to select one that will capture the full range of the human voice.

Polar patterns

Omnidirectional

Omnidirectional microphones have a uniform pickup pattern. That is, they pick up sound equally well from all directions.

Therefore, you can use them when the microphone is some distance from the sound source, such as when placing it in the center of a room to record an interview or conversation.

Bidirectional

Bidirectional microphones are ideal for recording vocals. They have two diaphragms positioned back-to-back and pick up sound from both the front and rear of the microphone.

The double diaphragm minimizes off-axis coloration and allows for more accurate sound reproduction.

Bidirectional microphones are often used in pairs to capture a stereo image of the sound source.

They are also commonly used for interviews to pick up sounds from both the person speaking and the interviewee.

Unidirectional

Unidirectional microphones are ideal for recording vocals as they only pick up sound from one direction.

In addition, they can be positioned close to the mouth without picking up any ambient noise from the room.

There are a few different types of unidirectional microphones, each with its strengths and weaknesses. The most common type is the cardioid microphone.

Cardioid

Cardioid microphones are ideal for recording vocals because they capture sound from the front while rejecting sounds from the sides and back.

They are suitable for use in noisy environments.

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a cardioid microphone.

First, consider the size of the diaphragm. The larger the diaphragm, the better the microphone will capture low frequencies.

Second, look for a microphone with a built-in pop filter. Pop filters help reduce unwanted plosives and sibilance in your recordings.

Subcardioid

Subcardioid microphones are ideal for recording vocals because they have a natural sound.

They also reject background noise, so you won’t have to worry about unwanted sounds marring your recording.

If you’re looking for a microphone that will help you record professional-sounding vocals, then a subcardioid mic is a great option.

Supercardioid

Supercardioid microphones are the best microphone for recording vocals because they have a tighter pickup pattern than other microphones, which means they pick up less background noise.

Supercardioid microphones also have a higher sensitivity, allowing them to pick up even the softest sounds.

Hypercardioid

Hypercardioid microphones are some of the best microphones for recording vocals that sound professional.

They have an excellent directionality and can reject off-axis sounds very well, making them ideal for recording in less-than-ideal acoustic environments with a lot of room noise.

They also tend to have outstanding frequency and transient responses, making them great for capturing the nuances of a vocal performance.

When using a hyper-cardioid microphone for vocal recording, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, because of their directionality, they can be more susceptible to feedback from loud sound sources than other types of microphones.

Be sure to keep this in mind when setting up your recording environment and position the microphone accordingly.

Second, because they reject off-axis sounds so well, it can be challenging to balance the vocal and the accompanying instruments when using a hyper-cardioid microphone.

Keep this in mind when mixing your recordings.

Dynamic Mics vs. Condenser Mics vs. Ribbon Mics

When it comes to recording vocals, there are three main types of microphones that you can choose from – dynamic mics, condenser mics, and ribbon mics.

Each type of mic has its strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to choose the right one for your needs.

Dynamic Mics

Dynamic microphones are the most versatile type of microphone, and they’re typically more affordable than the other two types.

They’re well-suited for recording vocals and acoustic instruments, and they can handle high SPLs (sound pressure levels) without distortion.

However, dynamic mics usually have a lower sensitivity than condenser mics, which means they might not pick up all the subtle nuances in your performance.

Condenser Mics

Condenser microphones are the go-to choice for many professional studios, as they tend to produce a more detailed and accurate sound.

They’re also more sensitive than dynamic mics, so they’re able to pick up even the slightest nuance in your performance.

However, condenser mics are typically more expensive than dynamic mics, and they require phantom power to operate.

Ribbon Mics

Ribbon microphones are the least common type of vocal mic, but musicians often use them in professional studios for their smooth and natural sound.

In addition, ribbon vocal mics are very sensitive, so they’re able to pick up even the most minor details in your performance.

However, they’re also the most delicate type of microphone, so they can be easily damaged if they’re not handled carefully or placed on an unsteady mic stand.

So, which is the best type of microphone for recording vocals?

That depends on your needs and budget.

If you’re looking for a versatile mic that’s affordable, a dynamic mic is a good choice.

On the other hand, if you need a more detailed and accurate sound, go with a condenser mic.

And if you want a smooth and natural sound, a ribbon mic is the way to go.

USB vs XLR connection

There are benefits and drawbacks to both USB and XLR microphones, so it’s essential to understand the difference before purchasing.

USB microphones are typically more affordable than XLR microphones, and they’re also much easier to set up.

So a USB microphone is a great place to start if you’re new to home recording. However, XLR microphones offer better sound quality and more flexibility.

Conclusion

So there you have it, my list of the best microphones for recording vocals that sound professional.

If you want a budget-friendly option that delivers excellent sound quality, then you should go for the Blue Yeti.

However, if you’re after maximum features at an affordable price, then the Shure SM7B is what you need.

I hope this guide has helped you narrow down your choices and find the perfect microphone for your needs.

Thank you for reading!

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