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The Best Mic for Recording


Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Mic for Recording

If you’re a vocalist, a musician, a voice-over artist, a filmmaker, an online content creator, and the like, you’ll need to have the best recording microphone to accurately capture a high-quality audio signal. Investing in the best recording mic that suits your needs can definitely level up the sound quality of your medium.

Whether you have your own dedicated recording studio or you just want to start recording in your bedroom, picking the best microphones for recording will help a long way. Having the best microphones in your arsenal can help you achieve a sound that’s clear, concise, and detailed. In this guide, we rounded up the best microphones for recording in different applications. Take each mic into consideration to find the right microphone for you.

Which is the Top Recording Microphone?

Editor's Choice

The Best Mic for Recording
Best Overall
The Best Mic for Recording
Best for Recording Vocals
The Best Mic for Recording
Best Studio Microphone
sE Electronics sE2300

The sE Electronics sE2300 is a handcrafted and carefully-designed versatile microphone that can work as a vocal microphone, mic for recording instruments, and more.

Neumann U87 AI

The Neumann U87 AI is considered as the gold-standard vocal mic that has become an industry and world favorite for vocal recording.

Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is one of the best microphones for recording because of its ability in rejecting off-axis noise while amplifying sound excellently.

Sound Quality: Design: Features:
Sound Quality: Design: Features:
Sound Quality: Design: Features:

Let’s Go Over Each Top Recording Mic

The Best Mic for Recording

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

Hand-crafted and carefully designed, sE Electronics is making their mark in the industry with the sE2300 as one the best microphones around. This condenser microphone is highly versatile with its three pickup patterns and a high-pass filter, allowing it to be used in a variety of recording situations. The sE2300 has a neutral-leaning frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz and a slight boost in the treble range, producing a crystal clear sound quality.

Not only does the sE2300 fully capture the human voice, but this mic also works well in recording musical instruments. It can handle anything from a solo violin to a full orchestra even with percussion. It can also record electric and acoustic guitars equally well. sE Electronics has also made certain that your recording experience is convenient by including a shock mount and a built-in pop filter along with the microphone.

Similar to other XLR microphones, the sE Electronis sE2300 will require phantom power. Although the setup of this XLR mic will ask for more effort from your end, it is definitely worth it.

Delivering a natural sound that holds up great with any sound source, incredible versatility, and comes with a competitive price tag, the sE2300 has proved itself to be one of the best microphones in the industry and would make a great addition to any studio.

Pros and Cons of the sE Electronics sE2300

✔ Offers three pick-up patterns
✔ Neutral-leaning frequency response
✔ Comes with accessories
✔ Amazing sound quality
✖️ Needs phantom power

The Best Mic for Recording

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

A microphone with an excellent lineage behind it is the Neumann U87 AI. Considered as the gold-standard microphone when it comes to recording vocals and voice overs, this large-diaphragm condenser mic provides a high-end, open, and airy sound. 

Its balanced frequency response and sensitivity allow users to get up close and personal with the sound source. The U87 AI is one of the best vocal microphones as it is highly capable in the studio. This microphone offers three directional patterns, and no matter which one you select, the sound quality is consistent making it a superb vocal microphone.

Aside from recording vocals, the U87 AI also serves as an excellent spot microphone for individual instruments. Orchestra recordings and acoustic instruments are just some of the applications that showcase the versatility of this microphone. Moreover, the microphones are hand-crafted in Germany, ensuring premium quality and durability that will last for a lifetime. It’s no surprise that the U87 AI is an industry favorite and one of the best microphones in the world.

Pros and Cons of the Neumann U87 AI

✔ Ideal for recording vocals
✔ Premium and robust
✔ Warm and clear audio
✔ Balanced frequency response
✖️ Expensive

The Best Mic for Recording

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

If you listen or watch podcasts, you’ve most likely seen and heard the Shure SM7B in action. Known for its faithful vocal reproduction, the SM7B is one of the best microphones in the industry. This recording microphone’s original version has cemented its legendary status with its role in the creation of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, which also makes it one of the most popular vocal mics in the industry. 

The SM7B is an updated dynamic microphone with a cardioid directional pattern that delivers a clear, smooth, and focused sound. This recording microphone can bring out the best in a deep baritone, smooth out a high soprano, and can record audio that’s as soft as a whisper or as loud as a gunshot. It’s also known for its ability to reject off-axis sound. It’s equipped with a switch that rolls off unwanted low-end rumbles. 

Handling noise is an easy feat for the SM7B as it’s armed with an internal shock mount as well as a pop filter to protect your audio from plosives and distractions. The Shure SM7B is an excellent microphone for both home and studio environments and can amplify your voice in the best way possible.

Pros and Cons of the Shure SM7B

✔ Superb sound quality
✔ Dynamic microphone for studio use
✔ Has an internal shock mount and pop filter
✖️ Expensive
✖️ Does not come with its own mic stand

The Best Mic for Recording

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

If you’re looking for something flexible that comes at a great price point, one of the best recording mics that you can get your hands on is the Blue Yeti Pro usb mic. With multiple pickup patterns, this mic offers great audio that makes it highly attractive to both amateurs and professionals. You can adjust the multiple recording modes as you see fit. 

This mic comes with a headphone jack for latency-free monitoring, volume control, and microphone gain control. Moreover, the Yeti Pro has USB connectivity and a dual XLR breakout capable, allowing you to connect with a recording interface, mixer, and other professional studio gear to up the ante on your recordings. That means the Blue Yeti Pro is both a usb microphone and an XLR microphone thus, making it one of the best microphones for recording because of its versatility and duality.

In addition to capturing vocals, the Blue Yeti Pro can also be used to record instruments such as an acoustic guitar. If you want to elevate both your content and skill, the Yeti Pro can be the best microphone that you can invest in.

Pros and Cons of the Blue Yeti Pro

✔ Zero-latency monitoring
✔ Equipped with various controls
✔ Has four directional patterns
✔ Both a USB microphone and an XLR microphone
✖️ Requires phantom power when used in XLR mode

The Best Mic for Recording

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

Creating content with good audio can be difficult with only the use of your device’s built-in microphone. Having an external microphone will make your projects sound crisp and clear. However, not everyone has the budget for high-end microphones. It’s a good thing though that there are more affordable options out there in the market, such as the Audio-Technica AT2035.

With a rich, detailed sound that captures and flatters the human voice perfectly, the Audio-Technica AT2035 is easily one of the best recording microphones around and can still battle it out in the list of great vocal mics.

It employs a side-address cardioid directional pattern and has low self-noise, making it an ideal option for any user. Its high sensitivity can capture the nuances of the voice, producing a sound that’s natural, warm, and full of depth on the low-end. The Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone’s incredible quality is on par with many other recording microphones on the higher end.

Pros and Cons of the Audio-Technica AT2035

✔ Can eliminate ambient noise
✔ Rich recording quality
✔ Ideal for voice recordings
✖️ Requires external power supply

The Best Mic for Recording

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

When discussing recording microphones, there’s no doubt that condenser mics are the top choice as they provide an exceptional sound and are capable of capturing details that other microphones cannot. One condenser microphone that produces a classic, vintage, and warm sound signature is the Rode NTK. This condenser microphone has a body made of premium metal, finished in satin nickel, with a grille mesh to top it all off.

Different from other condenser mics, the Rode NTK is a tube microphone. Implied in its name, a tube mic has a vacuum tube inside it. Sound waves hit the condenser diaphragm and when the diaphragm moves, it causes a coinciding audio signal and electrical signal at the capsule’s output and the power supply unit effectively polarizes the condenser capsule. It powers the vacuum tube inside the mic as well. 

The Rode NTK condenser microphone comes with its own dedicated power supply unit to run its active components. Described by many as one of the quietest microphones in the market, the NTK has less than 12dBA self-noise, allowing users to record audio without any interference from the mic itself. This recording condenser mic offers vocals that are rich and full of personality. Apart from vocals, it’s also capable of recording instruments, such as an acoustic guitar, with a precise sound.

Pros and Cons of the Rode NTK

✔ Ideal for guitar amps and loud sound sources
✔ A large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a small capsule
✔ No phantom power required
✔ Has excellent self-noise level
✖️ Expensive

The Best Mic for Recording

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

Looking to record instruments but unsure of which microphone to use? Well, the AKG C214 might be the answer to your problem. This large-diaphragm condenser mic uses a cardioid pickup pattern and excels in almost everything, particularly with guitar amps, drum overheads, instruments, pianos, vocals, and other loud sound sources — similar to most XLR microphones.

This great mic provides a detailed up-front sound with its 143dB extended dynamic range. There’s a touch of brightness to the C214’s sound that complements anything from acoustic guitars to heavy percussion. This mic also has an integrated capsule suspension technology that reduces mechanical noise and resonance.

The C214 has a 160Hz bass roll-off filter that can be switched off, reducing low-frequency rumble without affecting the recorded voices or instruments. It also has a pre-attenuation pad that allows users to record intense sound sources such as guitar amps, trumpets, drum kits, and the like, preventing the mic from overloading the pre-amp.  

Additionally, the AKG C214 has a beautiful all-metal die-cast body that’s shock- and scratch-resistant and its double mesh grille protects the capsule. A foam windscreen and a spider suspension mount are included with the microphone, and you can store them in a neat metal carrying case that you can take anywhere with you.

Pros and Cons of the AKG C214

✔ Ideal for instruments
✔ Easy to use
✔ Incredible design
✖️ Single pick-up pattern
✖️ May have difficulties with plosives and background noise

The Best Mic for Recording

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

If you’re just starting out in the recording world, you may be hesitant to get a microphone that comes with a high price tag or a microphone that can be complicated to use. The Audio-Technica AT2020 is one of the best recording microphones for newbies thanks to its fantastic sound in recording vocals and instruments while maintaining a price tag that won’t break the bank. It has a clean, natural sound that performs well with both voices and instruments.

This microphone employs a cardioid polar pattern that easily reduces ambient noise, allowing it to work well in a home studio as well as a professional studio environment. This classic mic also has a frequency response of 20 to 20,000Hz making it an excellent vocal mic. It’s got a hefty build and a well-formed metal casing, promising quality and durability for years to come. Set up is also incredibly easy, thanks to the pivoting threaded stand mount included. The AT2020’s USB connectivity makes it a user-friendly choice for users, especially beginners.

Pros and Cons of the Audio-Technica AT2020

✔ USB connectivity
✔ Affordable
✔ Great for vocal recording and voice overs
✖️ May require a pre-amp

What Kind of Mic is Best for Recording?

The idea of buying a recording microphone may seem quite daunting, especially when there are numerous ones out there in the market. One aspect that is very important to consider is the type of microphone to use. There are three main types: dynamic, condenser, and ribbon. Here’s a breakdown of each type:

Dynamic Microphones

A dynamic mic is probably the one that looks most familiar to people. Usually, dynamic mics are the microphones that audiences see on stage at most performances. Dynamic microphones are able to handle loud sound sources. A dynamic mic is also known for its highly durable and rugged construction. 

A dynamic mic is less sensitive thanks to the thick diaphragm but also, it’s an attribute that limits its frequency response. That isn’t entirely bad at all, though, as it also allows dynamic mics to be capable of handling noise.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser mics are more complex and sensitive than their dynamic counterparts as they rely on an electric charge to generate a signal. Condenser microphones have thin, fine diaphragms that are either large or small in size and vibrate in a fast manner. Their thin diaphragms allow them to have a wide frequency response. 

They also specialize in picking up delicate and detailed sounds. Because of their diaphragm and internal parts, condensers are less robust and are better suited for studio use.

Ribbon Microphones

Based on the name, ribbons mics utilize a moving ribbon inside the body of the mic to produce sound. This technology is quite old, and while there are modern ribbon mics available in the market, they’re still much rarer than dynamic and condenser ones. 

A ribbon mic should be handled with a lot of care as this sensitive mic is more susceptible to damage. Ribbon mics make for the best microphones for recording if you are looking for a warm, vintage sound.

What Are Polar Patterns?

A polar pattern or a pickup pattern is the shape around the microphone in which it captures sound. Different microphones employ different polar patterns; some only have a single pattern while there are others that are capable of switching between various patterns. Knowing polar patterns can greatly help in selecting the best microphones to record the sound that you need.

One of the most popular patterns in microphones is the cardioid polar pattern. Cardioid mics are sensitive to sounds in front and capture little noise from the rear. A mic with a cardioid pickup pattern is highly popular for semi-isolating vocals and other sound sources. Cardioid polar pattern microphones are also susceptible to the proximity effect, which is a boost in bass frequencies, making them the go-to mic of radio DJs and voice-over artists.

Super/Hypercardioid mics have a similar front directionality like cardioids, however, they cover a narrower area of sensitivity. They have an enhanced ability to reject unwanted noise and have a higher resistance to feedback. Omnidirectional recording mics have a pickup pattern that captures sound from all directions. They have an open sound with a great bass response. However, they are susceptible to room noise and are prone to feedback. 

Another pickup pattern that you may find in microphones is Figure 8. This type of polar pattern gets its name from its graphical representation which looks like the number 8. Mics with a Figure 8 pickup pattern are able to capture audio both from the front and back and reject sound from the sides. Last but not least is multi-pattern mics. These microphones usually employ several pickup patterns and have a switch on them that allows you to select the pattern that you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest sound quality microphone?

There is no singular answer to which microphone is the highest sound quality of all. The top-notch quality that you are looking for in a microphone may be different from what others deem as the highest-quality mic. 

Some may think that the mic with the most premium quality may be the most expensive one but that isn’t the case at all. The highest quality microphone is the one that can meet all your audio quality standards, budget, and needs.

What mic does Billie Eilish use for recording vocals?

According to a blog post by Tunedly, it is reported that Billie Eilish uses a Neumann TLM 103. Said microphone was used in recording vocals for when Billie Eilish and her older brother, Finneas O’Connor, took home five Grammy wins in the same year.

Along with the Neumann TLM 103, the Universal Audio Apollo 8 audio interface was used to further amplify and tweak the vocal recording and recording audio.

In case you are interested in vocal microphones, then we have also created a guide on the best microphone for vocals. Be sure to also check out our guide on the best way to set up a mic for vocal recording so you can produce quality results!

Do studio mics need a mic stand?

Having a microphone stand is helpful in assuring that your microphone will stay firm and stable in its position. By doing so, you can be assured that your mic will not wobble or fall down while you’re recording vocals or instruments. A standalone microphone will benefit greatly from such an accessory! With that said, a mic stand is one of the essential items in a recording studio.

Final Note

Using an external microphone to record a variety of applications can make your audio sound clear and professional. This guide gives you a brief overview of the best microphones for recording, but of course, the best microphone will depend on what you’ll use it for, where you’ll use it, your budget, and your personal preference.

Ultimately, when you acquire the microphone that suits you the most, it will definitely go a long way in helping you create top-tier productions. With that said, it pays for you to do the extra research, read up on reviews, and test these recording devices out! After all, these are investments and tools made to help you out in producing the best content and recordings as much as possible.

The Best Mic for Recording

Editor’s Choice

sE Electronics sE2300

sE Electronics is a brand that has risen to the top of the industry with their microphones becoming a popular appendage in home studios and professional recording studios alike. One of the best microphones for recording in their lineup is the sE Electronics sE2300

The sE Electronics sE2300 is the best microphone in our list when it comes to producing a crystal clear sound, whether it’s being used to record vocals or instruments. It has a neutral-leaning frequency range and a presence boost that enhances vocal clarity and instrumental detail making it the overall best microphone.

Ash Burnett

Hailing from Chicago, IL - Ash made his break into journalism at the age of 23 writing music reviews for a local website. Now in his late 30's and after being pulled closer towards the technical side of the music and live gig industry, he founded Shout4Music to write thorough microphone reviews.

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