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Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Studio Microphone

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

Whether you plan to record music, produce podcasts, or improve the 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 researching. 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 discover which mic you should invest in, here’s your ultimate guide to studio microphones and our top picks for the best studio microphones 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
Most Versatile
Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is hailed as the go-to and do-all mic in the industry placing it as the top 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:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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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 control 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

✔️ Versatile
✔️ Most ideal for vocal recordings
✔️ 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:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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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 this microphone features a real-time tone correction, it 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

✔️ Cardioid polar pattern
✔️ Great for vocal recordings
✔️ 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

✔️ 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 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.

This mic from Audio-Technica 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 AT2020 is a desktop studio mic that can pick up noise vibrations if not careful.

Pros and Cons of the Audio-Technica AT2020

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

Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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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

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

Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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Sennheiser mics are known for their excellent quality, which is why they’re used by many professionals all over the world. Hailing from the brand is the MD 441-U, a mic that was created as a dynamic mic with the properties of a condenser mic. 

This dynamic supercardioid condenser mic is the pick of popular artists such as Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. This mic delivers a detailed sound reproduction thanks to its outstanding on-axis directionality and off-axis rejection. It’s equipped with a bass roll-off switch, a brilliance switch, and five-position switches, offering a full sound. For those who want to record vocals and instruments in a neutral mode, you’d be surprised to find that it has a linear frequency response of 30Hz to 20kHz.

Interestingly, many also claim that the MD 441-U can deliver a sound akin to a large diaphragm condenser mic. This is due to the bucking coil design of the MD 441-U, allowing it to have a low self-noise level while performing at high gain levels.

Pros and Cons of the Sennheiser MD 441-U

✔️ Dynamic mic with condenser mic properties
✔️ Supercardioid pickup pattern
✔️ Suitable for recording vocals, acoustic instruments, guitar/bass cabs, kick drums, and more
✔️ Excellent noise rejection
✔️ 30Hz to 20kHz frequency response range
✖️ Expensive

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

Compared to other ribbon mics that have heavy and fragile bodies, the Royer Labs R-121 ribbon mic has a compact and lightweight yet durable body. It’s so robust that it doesn’t need nor won’t take any damage from phantom power.

Many professionals consider the R-121 as the best recording microphone for brass instruments and electric guitars as it offers a classic, full-bodied, natural sound. It has a flat frequency range and can handle high sound pressure levels easily. The R-121 also has less proximity effect unlike other ribbons. Aside from recording instruments, the R-121 is also great for recording voices as its bipolar pickup pattern can balance two vocalists well.

If you want something classic with a warm and natural sound, definitely add the R-121 to your mic locker.

Pros and Cons of the Royer Labs R-121

✔️ Ribbon microphone
✔️ Lighter and more robust than most ribbon mics
✔️ Popular to use with guitar amps, strings, and drum overheads
✔️ Flat frequency response
✔️ Does not need a phantom power
✖️ Expensive
✖️ Needs a shock mount

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

Audio-Technica is a brand that’s well-trusted by many professionals, producing many high-quality microphones and other audio equipment. Aside from the AT2020, another one of the best recording microphones around is the Audio-Technica AT2035.

This microphone has a switchable 80Hz high-pass filter and 10dB pad, allowing it to handle high-pressure levels with ease. It provides a smooth natural sound that’s ideal for studio recordings. The low noise levels of the AT2035 also mean that you can capture detailed sounds without worrying about picking up background noises. It also comes with a custom shock mount and a durable padded pouch.

Best of all, the AT2035 has a price tag that’s perfect for many beginners or those who are just starting to build their home studios.

Pros and Cons of the Audio-Technica AT2035

✔️ Can eliminate ambient noise and other low sounds
✔️ Excellent audio quality
✔️ 80Hz high-pass filter
✔️ Comes with custom shock mount that eliminates electronic noise
✖️ Requires external power

Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  
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Many microphone brands taut their products to be applicable in many recording situations but in reality, only a few mics are true all-rounders. One of them is the AKG C214. A large diaphragm condenser, the C214 excels in everything, from guitar amps to acoustic music instruments, pianos, and vocals.

The C214 has a vast frequency response range and a large diaphragm capsule, allowing it to deliver a detailed sound and handle high volumes. Its versatile sound range is capable of preventing louder sounds from sounding too shrill, offering a solid low-end.

AKG also designed the C214 with an all-metal die-cast body, making it shock- and scratch-resistant. Furthermore, its capsule is protected by a mesh grille and designed with an integrated suspension to reduce mechanical noise and resonance. If you want a good studio workhorse, the C214 is for you.

Pros and Cons of the AKG C214

✔️ Wide frequency response range
✔️ Incredible build and design
✔️ Works well with numerous sound sources
✖️ May have difficulties with plosives and background noise

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

Tube microphones can be noisy but that isn’t the case with the Lewitt Pure Tube. This microphone features its own power supply and an incredible low-noise performance. This recording microphone has a tube encased in a solid and robust body, protecting it from all sorts of danger.

It’s equipped with a cardioid pattern and has a fairly flat frequency response, making it ideal for vocal recordings. Aside from being a vocal mic, the incredibly quiet performance of this mic also works well with acoustic applications such as an acoustic guitar. It also includes accessories such as a shock mount and a carrying case.

Pros and Cons of the Lewitt Pure Tube

✔️ Great for vocal recordings
✔️ Fairly flat frequency range
✔️ Excellent build quality
✔️ Comes with a shock mount and a carrying case
✖️ Not as versatile as other recording microphones

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

Starting a home studio can both be daunting and exciting. You’ll need a variety of tools to make the best vocal recordings, and the most important of all those is a microphone. Studio mics can be expensive and if you’re just beginning to build your studio at home, you’re likely searching for a budget-friendly option. 

The ALABS XLR Condenser Mic is one mic that can pick up clear sound and produce high-quality vocal recordings without hurting the pocket. Equipped with a 25mm electret capsule inside, this large diaphragm condenser has a cardioid pickup pattern, minimizing background noise. It has a wide frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, allowing it to produce high-resolution audio recordings. 

While it’s not a plug-and-play microphone due to its XLR connection, this ALABS mic is compatible with many sources such as a PC, iPad, tablet, or smartphone. You just need to connect it to an external power source and you’re good to go!

Pros and Cons of the ALABS XLR

✔️ Affordable
✔️ Compatible with many sources
✔️ Great for recording in a home studio
✔️ Good noise rejection
✔️ 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response
✖️ Requires an external power source

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 mic 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 generate an electrical signal. Dynamic mics 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. Dynamic mics have a thick diaphragm that limits their frequency response, making them excellent in handling noise. This is also the reason why the dynamic microphone is 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

Compared to dynamic mics, condenser microphones rely on capacitance to generate an electrical signal. This means that condenser mics 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. Condenser microphones are built with light weight 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 build, condenser microphones are more sensitive and responsive to vocals and high frequencies. This makes condenser mics the go-to microphones for recording vocals, audio tracks, voiceovers, drum overheads, and instruments like acoustic guitars in controlled settings. Condenser mics are also often more expensive than dynamic mics.

How to Choose a Studio Microphone

May these be expensive microphones or budget mics, the quality of your mic 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.


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 ranges.

Pickup Pattern

The polar or pickup pattern of a microphone determines the direction of the sound it can capture. When it comes to picking a recording microphone, it’s important to consider the pattern to know when you need to include or exclude certain sounds. 

Cardioid mics are highly sensitive to sounds in front of the microphone and capture very little from behind, minimizing unwanted background noise. This makes them a popular choice for vocal recordings, both on stage and in the studio. Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound from all directions, making them another popular choice to have in recording studios. Unfortunately, omnidirectional mics are also susceptible to room noise and prone to feedback, which makes them a poor choice for live applications.

Supercardioid and hypercardioid recording microphones have narrow patterns, making them ideal for isolating vocals on stage. On the other hand, a recording microphone with a figure 8 pattern is bidirectional, meaning it picks up sound from the front and rear but rejects it from the sides. Many use a figure 8 microphone to record vocals of two vocalists singing into the same mic or a vocalist and instrumentalist. 

Having an array of studio mics with various patterns in your mic locker can help you a lot as you’ll be able to use the best one to capture the sounds that you need.


Where do you plan on using the mic? Determine if it will be used in a vocal booth, home studio, 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.

Which Is the Best Studio Microphone?

The best microphone for recording vocals in the studio is the Shure SM7B. This microphone can be used for any kind of vocals, be it pop, rap, or even rock. Other solid studio picks that can record either vocals or instruments are the Neumann TLM 102, the AT2020 by Audio-Technica, and the Shure MV7.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Does a studio mic 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 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 music?

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 is 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.

What mics do professional musicians use?

Professional musicians use a variety of microphones that suit their needs. Many of the popular microphone brands are also the brands that musicians use, and these include Shure, Audio-Technica, Sennheiser, AKG, and Neumann.

Which is better for a recording setup, USB or XLR mics?

Many professionals prefer XLR mics over USB mics. This is because XLR connectors are much more balanced and offer protection against unwanted background noise. They are also more robust than USB mics. However, this doesn’t mean that USB microphones aren’t good at all. Many of them work just as well as XLR ones.

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

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. The SM7B 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”.

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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