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The Best Mic for Recording

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Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Recording Microphones

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.


In A Hurry? This Is The Best Recording Microphone

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 in their lineup is the sE Electronics sE2300

This mic is our top choice among the best recording mics as it produces a crystal clear sound, whether it’s being used to record vocals or instruments. It has a neutral-leaning frequency response and a presence boost that enhances vocal clarity and instrumental detail.


Which is the Best Microphone for Recording?

THE BEST OVERALL
sE Electronics sE2300

Hand-crafted and carefully designed, sE Electronics is making their mark in the industry with the sE2300 as one the best microphones around. This…

BEST FOR RECORDING VOCALS
Neumann U87 AI

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, this…

BEST FOR RECORDING INSTRUMENTS
AKG C214

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…

BEST STUDIO MIC
Shure SM7B

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…

BEST DYNAMIC MIC FOR RECORDING
Shure SM57

Shure is a brand that has surely established itself as a powerhouse in the recording world. With almost a hundred years’ worth of experience, there’s no doubt that…

BEST CONDENSER MICROPHONE
Rode NTK

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…

BEST MICROPHONE FOR VIDEO RECORDING
Rode NT-USB

Rode is a brand that’s famous for its quality materials as well as its competitive prices. If you’re aiming to level up your gear for content creation, one of the best…

MOST VERSATILE
Blue Yeti Pro

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. With…

BEST BUDGET
Audio-Technica AT2035

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…

BEST FOR BEGINNERS
Audio-Technica AT2020

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…


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 microphone 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. They’re also known for their highly durable and rugged construction. 

These microphones are less sensitive thanks to their thick diaphragm but also, it’s an attribute that limits their 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 microphones available in the market, they’re still much rarer than dynamic and condenser ones. 

Ribbon microphones should be handled with a lot of care as they are more susceptible to damage. Ribbon mics are recommended for those 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 pickup 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 that 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 are 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. 


Top 10 Best Recording Microphones

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
01 sE Electronics sE2300_RECsE Electronics sE2300• Has three polar patterns
• Excellent sound quality
• Versatile
Check Prices on Amazon
02 Neumann U87 AI_RECNeumann U87 AI• Best for recording vocals
• Delivers warm and clear audio
• Premium quality microphone
Check Prices on Amazon
03 AKG C214_RECAKG C214• Best for recording instruments
• User-friendly
• Has a bass roll-off filter
Check Prices on Amazon
04 Shure SM7B_REC Shure SM7B• Superb audio quality
• Industry-standard mic in recording studios
• Equipped with an internal shock mount and pop filter
Check Prices on Amazon
05 Shure SM57_RECShure SM57• Great with loud instruments
• Excellent in handling loud sound sources
• Dynamic microphone
Check Prices on Amazon
06 Rode NTK_RECRode NTK• Less than 12dBA self-noise
• Tube condenser microphone
• Rich and full-bodied sound quality
Check Prices on Amazon
07 Rode NT-USB_RECRode NT-USB• USB connectivity
• Crisp and clear sounds
• Compatible with numerous devices
Check Prices on Amazon
08 Blue Yeti Pro_RECBlue Yeti Pro• Has a headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring
• Comes with various controls
• Four directional patterns
Check Prices on Amazon
09 Audio-Technica AT2035_RECAudio-Technica AT2035• Reduces ambient noise
• Flatters the human voice
• Crisp and clear sound
Check Prices on Amazon
10 Audio-Technica AT2020_RECAudio-Technica AT2020• Ideal for beginners
• Budget-friendly
• Great quality and durability
Check Prices on Amazon

Let’s Go Over Each Microphone

Hand-crafted and carefully designed, sE Electronics is making their mark in the industry with the sE2300 as one the best microphones around. This 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 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 pop filter along with the microphone.

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

ProsCons
✔ Offers three pick-up patterns
✔ Comes with accessories
✔ Amazing audio quality
✘ Needs phantom power

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, 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 highly capable in the studio as it offers three directional patterns, and no matter which one you select, the sound quality is consistent. 

Aside from 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

ProsCons
✔ Ideal for recording vocals
✔ Premium and robust
✔ Warm and clear audio
✘ Expensive

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, acoustic instruments, pianos, and vocals. 

It provides a detailed up-front sound with its 143dB 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

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

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. 

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

ProsCons
✔ 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

Shure is a brand that has surely established itself as a powerhouse in the recording world. With almost a hundred years’ worth of experience, there’s no doubt that Shure’s microphones are one of the best around. One jewel in their line-up is the SM57, best known as the industry-standard microphone for live performance use. Aside from the stage though, the SM57 is also highly regarded as one of the best recording mics around. 

This dynamic microphone employs a small capsule that makes it easy to fit in drum kits or point directly against the driver of a bass guitar. It’s capable of handling loud sounds without distortion and its presence boost highlights instrumental resonances. 

The SM57 also has a sub-bass attenuation that ensures your instruments won’t overpower other resonant frequencies. While the SM57 can be used to record an acoustic guitar in a pinch, keep in mind that it excels as a recording microphone for louder instruments. 

Pros and Cons of the Shure SM57

ProsCons
✔ Ideal for guitar amps and other loud instruments
✔ Small capsule
✔ No phantom power required
✘ Pricey

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 mic that produces a warm, classic, vintage sound signature is the Rode NTK. This 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 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 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 microphone 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

ProsCons
✔ Ideal for guitar amps and other loud instruments
✔ Small capsule
✔ No phantom power required
✘ Pricey

Rode is a brand that’s famous for its quality materials as well as its competitive prices. If you’re aiming to level up your gear for content creation, one of the best microphones to get is the Rode NT-USB

It’s easy to record content using this USB microphone as it’s essentially plug-and-play and compatible with numerous devices as long as you have a proper adapter. The NT-USB has a durable build and a simple yet effective design, allowing it to fit on any home studio setup. 

The NT-USB offers a sound that is crisp and clear. Unlike other USB mics, the NT-USB blocks out unwanted background noise thanks to its cardioid pattern. It captures sound with full clarity and fidelity. Equipped with a headphone jack that has volume control and a mix dial, this microphone is a clear winner for video creators that want something powerful and easy to set up.

Pros and Cons of the Rode NT-USB

ProsCons
✔ Crisp and clear sounds
✔ Has a headphone jack for zero-latency and accuracy
✔ Convenient to use
✘ Needs to be connected to a computer to adjust gain control

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. 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. 

In addition to capturing vocals, the 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 recording microphone that you can invest in.

Pros and Cons of the Blue Yeti Pro

ProsCons
✔ Zero-latency monitoring
✔ Equipped with various controls
✔ Has four directional patterns
✘ Requires phantom power when used in XLR mode

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 AT2035 is easily one of the best recording microphones around. 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. This microphone’s incredible quality is on par with many other recording microphones on the higher end. 

Pros and Cons of the Audio-Technica AT2035

ProsCons
✔ Can eliminate ambient noise
✔ Rich recording quality
✔ Ideal for voice work
✘ Requires phantom power

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 AT2020 is one of the best recording microphones for newbies thanks to its fantastic sound and a price 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. 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 AT2020

ProsCons
✔ USB connectivity
✔ Affordable
✔ Rich-sounding vocals
✘ May require a pre-amp

Best Microphones for Recording Comparison

ImageModel NameSound QualityDesignFeaturesPriceTotal RatingCheck Price
01 sE Electronics sE2300_RECsE Electronics sE23009.59.59.599.4Check Prices on Amazon
02 Neumann U87 AI_RECNeumann U87 AI9.599.599.3Check Prices on Amazon
03 AKG C214_RECAKG C21499.5999Check Prices on Amazon
04 Shure SM7B_RECShure SM7B9.59999Check Prices on Amazon
05 Shure SM57_RECShure SM57989.588.7Check Prices on Amazon
06 Rode NTK_RECRøde NTK9997.58.7Check Prices on Amazon
07 Rode NT-USB_RECRode NT-USB8.5988.58.5Check Prices on Amazon
08 Blue Yeti Pro_RECBlue Yeti Pro8.5988.58.5Check Prices on Amazon
09 Audio-Technica AT2035_RECAudio-Technica AT203588888Check Prices on Amazon
10 Audio-Technica AT2020_RECAudio-Technica AT202088888Check Prices on Amazon

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 one will depend on what you’ll use it for, where you’ll use it, your budget, and your personal preference. When you acquire the mic that suits you the most, it will definitely go a long way in helping you create top-tier productions.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest quality microphone?

There is no singular answer to which microphone is the highest quality among 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.

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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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