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Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Studio Microphone

If you’re looking to enhance the quality of your recording into sounding more superior and top-notch by standards, then it may be time for you to invest in a studio microphone.

Whether you plan to record music, produce podcasts, or improve the sound quality of your voice in online video calls or live streams, studio mics can make all the difference in the overall audio – may it be raw or edited.

However, you can’t just buy the first mic you see or purchase the same one as your favorite artist and expect the best without even doing any research. You can buy the most expensive studio mic on the market, but if it doesn’t suit the requirements you need based on how you will use it, then the quality of your sound recording may not be what you hoped for.To help you in finding out which mic you should invest in, here’s your ultimate guide to studio microphones and our top picks for the best studio microphones that are available in the market.


Which is the Top Studio Microphone?

Editor's Choice

The Best Studio Microphone
Best Overall
The Best Studio Microphone
Best Entry Level
The Best Studio Microphone
Best Versatile Studio Mic
Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is hailed as the go-to and do-all mic in the industry placing it as the best microphone for many — professionals and amateurs alike.

Shure MV7

The Shure MV7 is one of the best recording microphones that is easy on the wallet and easy the use while still providing quality results.

Lewitt LCT 640

The Lewitt LCT 640 TS is a proper microphone regardless of the intended application because of its versatility in features, functions, and polar patterns.

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

Let’s Go Over Each One

The Best Studio Microphone

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

If you plan on using your studio microphone for various applications with differing requirements, the Shure SM7B may be your safest and best choice. Hailed as the “go-to and do-all” mic in the industry, the Shure SM7B is one of the best dynamic microphones to date.

Its bass-roll and mid-range emphasis allow vocals to come off as clean, clear, and crisp each time, making it an ideal studio microphone for applications wherein the audio quality of “speaking” or vocal tracks need to be properly enunciated and heard.

It’s one of the best cardioid mics in terms of bass roll-off contro making it a favorite for live performances and vocal isolations that will accentuate a raw and natural sound. May it be used for pop, rap, or rock vocals, this dynamic cardioid mic is a favorite of many recording artists including the likes of Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, and Metallica.

Packing a mid-range emphasis with presence boost control, this can be used as a dual-mic amp setup that can clearly pick up distorted instruments, guitar amps, and screamed vocals while maintaining a clean and clear sound reproduction. However, its self-noise level can be a bit too much, making its sound pickup “too quiet” for some.

Looks familiar? You may have seen it in some behind-the-scenes clips of your favorite recording artists in the recording studio or in ASMR videos on YouTube as this mic is the most commonly used microphone in professional recording studios or home studios.

Pros and Cons of the Shure SM7B

ProsCons
✔️ Versatile
✔️ Built-in pop filter
✔️ Built-in internal “air suspension”
✔️ High build quality
✔️ Can be used as a dual-mic amp setup
✖️ Requires at least a 60dB gain boost from an audio interface or mic preamp as it can be “too quiet”

The Best Studio Microphone

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

A great entry-level microphone that beginners to intermediate users can easily plug and play regardless of the application.

Meeting various requirements, the Shure MV7 remains versatile while maintaining a friendly budget. It can be used as a USB microphone but also has an XLR connection should you want to switch it up. It’s simple, easy to use, and comes with helpful tools and apps depending on where you plug it in. Just make sure that you use the right power supply for it, especially if you’re using the XLR as it will need phantom power.

Since it features a real-time tone correction, this dynamic cardioid microphone saves time that would have been spent on post-production or equalizing the recorded audio. It even has a built-in headphone, which allows for direct mic monitoring while recording so you can hear if there were any unwanted sounds that were picked up right away. Said feature is especially useful if you plan on recording vocals.

Pros and Cons of the Shure MV7

ProsCons
✔️ Cardioid polar pattern
✔️ Dual output
✔️ Real-time tone correction
✔️ Solid build
✖️ Lightning cable is sold separately

The Best Studio Microphone

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

The Lewitt LCT 640 TS is deemed as the ‘innovative mic’ as it is extremely versatile in applications, pickup patterns, and outputs. A dream for those who are looking for multiple uses but have varying requirements, this multi-pattern large-diaphragm is one of the best condenser mics, best omnidirectional mics, and the best studio microphones for studio recordings and more.

May it be recording a person playing an acoustic guitar in a studio, a live performance of a singer belting out, or a streamer in a home studio, the Lewitt LCT 640 TS can adjust accordingly while maintaining excellent recording quality.

While other microphones can only pick up one polar pattern, have one mode, and have a single output, this great microphone has multiple. It can work either in regular multipattern microphone mode or in dual mode. Think of the Lewitt LCT 640 TS as multiple microphones rolled into one making it one of the best studio microphones out there.

However, with so many functionalities, others find this mic to be too complex and pricey. It is important to take note though that you are paying for the functionality of a bunch of other microphones in just a single mic.

Pros and Cons of the Lewitt LCT 640 TS

ProsCons
✔️ Versatile in applications and polar patterns
✔️ Multiple attenuation and roll-off options
✔️ Stylish design
✔️ Comes with accessories
✖️ Complex functions can make it difficult to use
✖️ Pricey

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

The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a condenser microphone that is perfect for podcasts, streaming, and gaming use since it’s built for a USB connection. A growing cult favorite for YouTubers and streamers, the Audio-Technica AT2020 has a mix and volume control function that can blend your mic’s signal with pre-recorded audio — a feature that not most USB mics have.

 The Audio-Technica AT2020 is also one of the best vocal microphones in this list. As the Audio-Technica AT2020 boasts a medium-weight diaphragm and extended dynamic range and frequency response, this vocal mic gives off a rich, deep, and crisp sound that makes it a dream for vocal recording.

However, you may need to purchase a shock mount since the Audio-Technica AT2020 is a desktop studio microphone that can pick up noise vibrations if not careful.

Pros and Cons of the Audio-Technica AT2020

ProsCons
✔️ Aesthetic vintage design
✔️ Perfect for desktop use
✔️ Wide frequency response
✖️ Can be fragile
✖️ Will need a separate shock mount or stand to prevent noise vibrations

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

The Neumann TLM 102 is a vocals specialist condenser microphone that will give you a clean and clear voice quality. This large-diaphragm condenser microphone is versatile enough to pick up vocals, acoustic guitars, and brass instruments in a cardioid pickup pattern.

Perfect for vocal recording applications like clear singing, speech, streaming, and podcasts, the Neumann TLM 102 gives off an airy but woodsy broadcast-like warm sound due to its upper mid, rich low end, and low-mid ranges.

With a wide-range frequency response, this is a go-to condenser mic for artists of the blues and jazz genres. This large-diaphragm condenser microphone also has a built-in pop shield that can also pick up brass instruments without drowning out vocals. Hence, this is one of the best vocal mics in the list that has impressive self-noise level control even without the shock mount.

Pros and Cons of the Neumann TLM 102

ProsCons
✔️ Excellent vocal quality and clarity
✔️ Can be used as a dual-mic amp setup
✔️ Wide-range frequency response
✖️ Pricey

What is a Studio Microphone?

A microphone may be the most important audio recording equipment you will need when setting up your home or professional studio, which means it pays to invest in the best one.

Unlike the standard mic or built-in mics on devices, a studio microphone can superiorly enhance the quality of audio as its features and components are specially built to meet specific and more complex requirements. This mainly explains why microphones are priced differently from one another regardless of their common main purpose, which is to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy (audio signal).


The Common Types of Studio Microphones

Generally, there are 10 different types of microphones. However, studio mics differ in the sense that they are mainly categorized as either dynamic or condenser.

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic microphones capture sound by having sound waves hit their diaphragm, causing the attached coil to move and ultimately mimic the sound. They are built to withstand high sound pressure levels, making them ideal for capturing loud sounds in big places.

Due to its built-in features and custom-built, a dynamic mic can deliver top-quality sound despite any movement in the room or if it’s handheld. This makes the dynamic microphone a go-to for big places, loud events, and live performances where you want to fill and cover every corner of an area. We’ve sourced the best dynamic mics out there in case you’re interested in going loud and big.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones capture sound by having sound waves press against their diaphragm causing their fixed plate to move and mimic the sound in great detail and accuracy. They are built with lightweight and thin diaphragms, making them ideal for capturing more intricate and intimate sounds in closed and studio settings.

Due to their built-in features and custom-built, condenser microphones are more sensitive and responsive to vocals and high frequencies. This makes them the go-to microphones for recording vocals, audio tracks, voiceovers, drum overheads, and instruments like an acoustic guitar in controlled settings.


How to Choose a Studio Microphone

May these be expensive microphones or budget mics, the quality of your studio microphone will significantly depend on meeting the requirements you will need for your intended purpose. There are a lot of factors to consider to help you determine what kind of microphone you may need, but boils down to application and location.

Application

How will you use the studio mic? The common applications for studio microphones would be for recording vocals, instruments, streaming, gaming, content creation, podcasts, speeches, or broadcasts. Each application requires different polar patterns and frequency range.

Location

Where do you plan on using the mic? Determine if it will be used in a vocal booth, home studio, for live events, large areas, or a small room. A mic can choose to focus on the faintest of nuances or just the loud sound sources depending on the type, its frequency response, and self-noise features.


Frequently Asked Questions

Determining the best microphones for recording vocals is tricky as every user will have their own preferences. Vocal mics will have its own sound as well. Check out our guide on the best vocal microphones for a clearer answer with technical explanations.

Does a studio microphone improve sound quality?

Yes, it does, provided that you are able to meet the correct requirements for your intended application and use.

What mic do most artists use?

There are two most commonly used vocal mics by singers: dynamic and condenser.

Dynamic mics are preferred by singers when they would like to capture loud sounds in big places, making them a go-to mic for live concerts and loud events. A large diaphragm condenser microphone is great for singers who would like to fill a large place with their vocals.

Condenser microphones are preferred by singers when they would like to capture sounds in great detail. Small diaphragm condensers are more sensitive, which is why they are mostly used in small studios and preferred by singers who want a more intimate sound.

However, there are a lot more factors that come into play when choosing the best microphone for vocals, so it’s best to check out the guide we have created just for this application. There are also headset mics for easy use.

Which recording microphone is best for recording audio?

The best recording microphone is one that can record any type of audio may this be vocals or instruments while still producing a very clean sound. While there are plenty of factors that will contribute to being dubbed as the best recording mic, plenty of professionals and amateurs claim that the Shure MV7 as the best mic to record audio. Aside from being a USB mic and XLR mic rolled into one, this dynamic mic has a variety of polar patterns to choose from, which can come in handy for multiple applications.


Final Note

Purchasing a studio microphone may be pricey and a tedious process, but it is an investment that will surely be worth it. It can make all the difference in your finished project provided that you are able to meet the correct requirements your application needs.


The Best Studio Microphone

Editor’s Choice

Shure SM7B

Known to be the go-to and do-all mic for many in the industry, the Shure SM7B is arguably one of the best studio microphones to date. An extremely versatile mic that picks up a cardioid polar pattern, the Shure SM7B can be applied for vocals, instruments, streaming, broadcasting, and content creation use.

Its bass-roll off control and mid-range emphasis allow vocals to come off as clean, clear, and crisp may the setting be in a studio or for a live performance. This studio microphone can also be used as a dual-mic amp setup so it can record sound without much distortion, mud, boom, or muffles. It even has a built-in pop filter and built-in internal “air suspension”.

The versatility and durability of the Shure SM7B make it a favorite microphone for many, including world-famous artist and performer, Michael Jackson, who used the original Shure SM7B when he recorded his vocal takes for the song “Thriller”.

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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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