Best Microphones for Recording Vocals (FREE - CHEAP)

07/02/2020
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When it comes to microphones, it’s the first question on any beginner’s mind:

What’s the best mic for recording vocals?

Well the truth is…

A list of the absolute “BEST” vocal mics would have NOTHING under $3000.  And for a basic studio, that’s ridiculous.

But the good news is…

There are plenty great alternatives for much cheaper.

And in todays post, I give you several examples in my top 7 list of Awesome Vocal Mics under $700.

The first mic up is…

1. Shure SM58

Shure SM58 - vocal recording microphone

For a long time now, the Shure SM58 has held the crown of “Most Popular Vocal Mic in the World“.

Check out photos of your favorite singers on-stage, and 90% of the time, they’re holding an SM58.

That because…it’s resistance to feedbackrugged casing, and ergonomic capsule makes it perfect for live performances.

And it works just as well in the studio…

You wouldn’t think that pro studios with unlimited budgets would ever use a $100 mic to record vocals.  But it happens all the time.

That is why, this Shure mic is the obvious choice for ANY new studio.

Now, dynamic mics such as the sm58 are great for certain styles of music.  But since large diaphragm condensers are normally the go-to mic for vocals…

That’s what I’ve chosen for the next pick…

2. Rode NT1A

Rode NT1A - vocal recording microphones

When it comes to mid-priced vocal mics, Rode Microphones are the best of the best.

And that is why, the Rode NT1A is only the first of two condenser mics on this list.

In the category of “Best Cheap Vocal Mics“, it’s the hands down favorite.

The combination of price, sound quality, and overall reputation make this mic the obvious choice for your first vocal mic.

In home studios throughout the World, there is probably none more popular.

Now that we’ve covered my #1 picks for dynamic mics and condenser mics, lets look at 2 alternatives for each.

First up, the dynamic mics…

3. Shure SM7B

Shure SM7B - vocal recording microphone

In the World of dynamic microphones…

The Shure SM7B is one of the few options SPECIFICALLY tailored for vocals.

Its two most common jobs being:

  1. Radio Broadcasting
  2. SCREAMING Rock Vocals

For rock vocals especially, it’s the industry standard.

In fact, the original version of this microphone, the SM7, was likely used at some point by virtually every rock star since it’s release back in 1976.

The most famous example being Michael Jackson’s legendary Thriller album.

Next up, here’s another dynamic mic that’s perhaps even more famous….

4. Sennheiser MD421

Sennheiser MD421 - vocal recording microphone

While not traditionally thought of as a “vocal mic”…

The Sennheiser MD421 is widely regarded as the “Best All-Around Dynamic Mic” on the planet.

It’s great on vocals, YES.  But it also does much more…

It’s works on electric guitar, drums, bass, percussion, and almost anything you can think of.

So if versatility is what you want, I highly recommend this mic.

Now let’s move on to some condensers…

5. Rode NTK

Rode NTK - vocal recording microphones

Most experts agree…for vocals, nothing beats the warm vintage sound of a tube mic.

So on a list of the top mics for recording vocals…we gotta have at least ONE, right?

The problem is…most tube mics cost $3000 or more.

But there are a few exceptions.  And in the “under $700”, there’s none better than the Rode NTK.

If that vintage “tube sound” is what you’re after, then I highly recommend this mic.

Now let’s move on to another condenser mic known more for its versatility…

6. sE Electronics sE2200a II

sE Electronics sE2200a II - microphone polar patterns

Of all the mics on this list, the sE Electronics sE2200a II is the one most likely to raise some question marks.

After all, it’s known neither as a classic nor as a vocal mic.  However…

If there is one type of mic every studio should have..it’s a multi-pattern large diaphragm condenser.

The reason is…they’re so damn versatile.  In addition to working well on vocals, they’re also a must-have for stereo recording.

Now most mics in this category are insanely expensive.  But one notable exeption is…the sE Electronics sE220a II.

If you want a mic that sounds great on more than just vocals, I highly recommend it.

For the last mic on the list, I saved a very special one…

7. Neumann TLM 102

Neuman TLM102

In home studio circles, some might call it the “Holy Grail of Vocal Mics“…

Because for under $1000, the Neumann TLM 102 is about as good as it gets.

Now if you’ve heard of the Neumann Company before…

Then you also know they have long held their reputation as creators of the World’s Greatest Microphones

ESPECIALLY, when it comes to vocal mics.

The problem is the cost.  Many of their flagship models cost upwards of $3000 or more.

But with their newer line of TLM mics, Neumann made their “classic sound” much more affordable to the average guy.

Among the TLM mics, none is more popular than the Neumann TLM102.

The similar, but slightly pricier version of this mic that you should also check out is the Neumann TLM103 – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann).

That’s It

Well guys, that concludes the list. Hope you enjoyed it.