All professional sound engineers know that the right mic setup is essential to a great sounding recording. However, if you’re new to recording tracks, then you probably don’t know what type of microphones you need, what makes each type great, and how using the correct mic can totally change your sound for better or for worse. When you’re working in a studio, you end up learning that certain types of microphones will work better for recording specific instruments, but if you have no real experience and you’re searching for mics to add to your home studio setup then it’s important that you do a little research and learn what each type of mic can offer in terms of sound and recording quality.
Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of the best microphones for recording reviews, whether they’re a popular choice for drumming, vocals, guitar, or acoustics, we’ve got it all.
These reviews will give you an in-depth look at some of the leading mics, how they work, and what the pros have to say about their performance.
Of course, your budget will play a major role in terms of which mics you buy, but we’ve found great quality mics that will work well for any budget.
We’ve also included an extensive microphone buying guide that details what type of features you should look for in a recording quality mic, what you can expect as far as performance and sound, and we’ve also detailed what you’ll need for a small home studio setup.
We hope these reviews and the buying guide will give you a clear idea of what you need, what will work best for you, and of course, what you’re looking at as far as cost.
You’ll also find other helpful information on our site, including an article that details how to make a home studio booth on a tight budget, and some neat vocal mixing tips that you can try out the next time you’re in the studio.
The microphones have been broken down by category, to make it easier for you to find the exact style of mic whether it’s a condenser, tube, or dynamic mic. Each type offers something different to the recording process.
If you don’t know much about microphones then these categories can help to guide you in the right direction if you’re looking for mics specifically for vocals, drums, or guitars.
Studio recording probably isn’t as easy as you thought it would be, but with the right tools, you’ll have no problem getting the right setup and using the techniques you’ve learned that can help to beed up your vocals.
So strap in, and get set for some eye-opening reviews that will help you to narrow down your choices for the type of mic setup that can totally change your sound for the better.
Top Condenser Microphones For Your Home Studio
AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII Vocal Condenser Microphone Review
The C414 is one of AKG’s top-selling models, along with the ever-popular C214. However, the C414 has undergone some pretty incredible changes in the way of removing and adding transformers and even changes made to the exterior. Now, the latest version features LEDs. While the new design of the latest C414 may not look very drastic, basically everything about the mic has been redesigned in order to retain the original sound while improving the mic’s overall performance at the same time.
This mic will allow you to truly fine-tune your vocals, so you can finally get the type of full, rich sound you’ve been searching for.
This mic has a more pronounced presence peak compared to the C214. It also features an additional lift that’s above 3 kHz, which gives it a more open top end that will be useful when it comes to miking vocals in order to capture a crisp sound. The mic is also a great choice for miking instruments at a distance because the higher lift works to compensate for HF loss that can occur at a distance.
This multi-pattern mic utilizes a gold diaphragm in which only the front portion of the diaphragm is coated. This works to avoid any type of electrical shorting that can occur between the backplate and diaphragm when at high SPL. The capsule is suspended in a four-point suspension. The manufacturer offers a new design even when it comes to how the filter, pad, and various pattern options are selected. Instead of using slide switches, the microphone is now equipped with a rocker switch that’s linked to non-volatile memory and status LEDs so the settings remain in place even when you disconnect the mic from the power source.
Using five steps you can switch the pickup pattern in order to encompass figure eight, narrow cardioid, cardioid, wide cardioid, and omni. The LEDs will light up below the setting you’ve chosen. You can also lock your settings by pressing the rocker switch for a few seconds. Press it an additional time to unlock the settings.
When it comes to tone quality, the top end seems much smoother than the C214. Even the top lift sounds more open than harsh.
Die-hard fans of the classic C214 have to admit, while it doesn’t quite offer the same type of sound quality, it comes very close. The mic’s top end is very smooth and similar to the C214, but due to the tube versus transistor design, some of the lows and mid-range don’t allow this model to match up to the same sound quality you’ll get from the C214.
The mic offers a total of three different bass-cut filters.
The pad switch features three decibel settings.
This mic features a more modern look compared to the C214.
It also offers plenty of free accessories, including a free pop filter and mic mount.
You’ll enjoy a total of five setting options on this popular multidirectional mic.
We love the ability to lock-in the mic’s settings so it’s always ready to go.
This mic is less susceptible to temperature and humidity thanks to a redesign that moved the function switches to a low-impedance section. This redesign also minimizes switching thumps.
Many consumers described the included mic mount as flimsy, so you’ll probably want to upgrade it as soon as possible. This seems to be the only issue musicians came across with this mic.
While this mic is a little on the pricey side, the new design and upgrades have allowed it to retain the type of classic sound and quality it’s known for. The redesign also introduces some great improvement both technical and practical. Additionally, when it’s compared to competing models, you’ll find that they don’t offer the same type of control system that this AKG model does. This mic is perfect for vocals and percussion instruments and can shine in pretty much any type of setup. Bottom line, the C414 is at the top of its class, thanks to its impressive sonic signature. If you want a mic that will give you an incredible vocal performance by adding just the right amount of power and warmth, then your search stops here.
Rode NT1000 Condenser Microphone Review
Rode is a company that’s known for their affordably priced yet powerful mics that are often equipped with some of the best basic features around. The NT1000 is one of their most popular models, and it’s definitely a mic that’s keeping Rode’s reputation alive.
The NT1000 vocal condenser microphone features a one-inch capsule and gold-plated diaphragm. The mic uses a cardioid polar pattern and offers ultra-low noise transformer-less circuitry.
It’s also made with a heavy-duty cast metal satin nickel body and a heat-treated high-strength welded mesh head for improved durability.
Basically, this microphone is a total workhorse.
The mic is best described as a side-address no-nonsense cardioid microphone. This means the microphone stands up straight and the vocalist will sing into the side that has the small dot located below the grille. The mic is more sensitive in the direction of the dot and will be the least sensitive on the opposite side. As the vocalist moves around the dot the mic will be increasingly less sensitive from the front to the back.
In terms of usability, this is a very straightforward mic. It’s equipped with the standard XLR cable and will require forty-eight or Twenty-four-volt phantom power, which is the standard for this type of microphone.
The mic doesn’t come with a bass roll-off switch, so every nudge, bump, and step will be transmitted through the mic stand and into the microphone. While we can understand the reason behind omitting a roll-off switch in order to preserve the pristine electronics, now using a suspended shock mount will be essential. The manufacturer sells a great shock mount with a built-in pop filter that’s very convenient, and simple, but unfortunately, it’s not included in this package so you’re looking at an extra expense.
For many, using this mic right out of the box will be tough, especially in typical home studio conditions if they don’t take caution against low-frequency noise.
In terms of sound quality, this mic sounds just like its frequency response chart. Ideally, a microphone would be able to hear every frequency equally well and would be able to plot a straight line on the response chart. But if there was a mic that worked that well you would only have to buy one mic for your entire setup and unfortunately, that mic doesn’t exist.
This model features some useful bobs and dips. When it’s at 150Hz, which is the lower end of the frequency spectrum, the mic will begin rolling off low frequency. While it doesn’t do so enough to compensate for the lack of the roll-off filter, it does a good job of getting rid of at least two decibels or more of frequencies that are below 100Hz. This, in turn, works to minimize bass proximity. As the vocalist gets closer to the capsule, the amount of bass in the signal will increase. This can help to fatten up the vocals but it can also be too overpowering. The natural roll-off is a great feature that ensures a well-rounded, rich sound.
This mic features natural roll-off, compensating for the lack of a roll-off switch, ensuring a well-rounded sound.
This is a well-built affordable mic that’s made from a heavy metal that has been machine welded to the diaphragm basket, giving the mic a high-end feel.
A great lightweight model, this mic weighs just a little over two pounds.
It’s very easy to use, offering a rich sound that’s perfect for vocal recording.
It can also handle sound pressure levels up to 140 decibels.
In order to get the most out of this mic, you must purchase a shock mount.
The NT1000 by Rode is packing some serious power. Easy to use and set up, the natural roll-off, makes up for the lack of a built-in bass roll-off switch, however, the fact that you’ll have to use a shock mount in order to get the best sound possible is disappointing to some. Overall, for the price, you really can’t go wrong with a mic that’s built to last and one that offers some of the best vocal sound quality around for a condenser microphone in this price range.
AKG Pro Audio C214 Condenser Microphone Review
AKG has a reputation for producing some of the most popular studio quality mics in the industry. Their condenser mic the C214 is a more affordable option and it’s designed for solo instruments and use as a lead vocal mic. You can purchase the mic alone, or opt to buy additional accessories that can change the mic’s sound.
For close-up vocal recording, this cardioid microphone features a bass-cut filter and switchable twenty-decibel attenuators. The manufacturer claims that the high-pass filter is able to cut bass by six decibels per octave, beginning at 160 HZ.
The mic comes with a shock mount, protective case, and cable. The body of the mic is made of all-metal die-cast that’s coated with a finish that’s scratch-resistant.
The included shock mount is nearly indestructible and features a solid, simple design.
The included switches enjoy a recessed design that makes them easier to use.
The edge terminated one-inch capsule is housed in a double mesh grille and has been mounted onto an integrated suspension. It promises very minimal impact on an acoustic performance with high RF immunity.
This microphone is a great choice for the musician who’s looking for a condenser mic that’s a step up from other budget-friendly models. It’s also the go-to mic for R&B and hip-hop performances.
While most models in the price range feature a flat, neutral response, the C214 offers a small touch of warmth that’s designed to accentuate the vocals. It’s very bright and clear, but it won’t sound too harsh. It’s also a good choice for vocalists who don’t speak or singly clearly into the mic.
Bottom line, this is a crisp sounding mic that blows other lower priced models out of the water.
The mic itself has been marketed as very versatile.
While not an ideal mic to use for vocals, the C214 can really shine when used with acoustic guitars, electric guitars, guitar amps, pianos, percussion instruments and drum kits.
The mic is easy to position and place in the mount and will sound great in most recording situations.
It excels with vocals, guitar amps, acoustic guitars, drum kits, and hand percussion instruments.
Like the popular AKG model the C414, this mic is designed to handle high-pressure sound easily.
The mic’s sensitivity will work best for male vocal performances.
The mic’s scratch resistant finish and durable construction will protect the mic against damage during transport and everyday wear and tear.
When used to record drums some consumers felt that there wasn’t much extreme low end because the mic is flat below 500 HZ.
It’s also not the most diverse mic for vocal recordings. The mic tends to fall flat when recording women’s vocals, especially if the singer is a soprano, giving the recording a somewhat thin sound.
Most recording artists should instead use a mic that offers more bump on the end. However, hooking it up to a preamp or audio interface can do wonders when it comes to improving the sound.
Overall, this is a good cardioid mic that offers the type of studio quality sound you need when recording certain instruments. Unfortunately, it’s not the best choice for recording high-pitched vocals, which is a huge downside for audio engineers or artists on a budget. Because AKG markets this model as versatile, it’s kind of a letdown that versatility is exactly what it lacks. A great condenser mic for instrumental tracks, this AKG mic is a good score for consumers looking for a backup mic, but by no means should this model be your go-to for recording female vocals.
Best Dynamic Microphones
|Product||Best For||Polar Pattern||Cost|
|Blue Microphones Bluebird Cardioid Condenser Microphone||Vocals, Piano, Acoustic Guitar||Cardioid||$$$|
|Heil PR40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone||Vocals, Piano, Acoustic Guitar||Cardioid||$$$|
Blue Microphones Bluebird Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review
Blue Microphones has created the Bluebird which is their newest condenser mic featuring a cardioid polar pattern. It comes equipped with a sleek design, versatile recording capabilities, and pop filter, cable, carrying case and shock mount. Unlike other mics produced by Blue Microphones, this model is designed for a wide-range of applications, including drumming, vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, hip-hop tracks, and percussion instruments. Affordably priced and surprisingly versatile, this mic is a great buy for both home and studio recording.
The Bluebird is 220 MM in length and 44 MM in diameter. The mic’s capsule head is designed somewhat larger than other models in this line and features a flattened front surface, as opposed to the usual spherical shaped mics Blue Microphones is known for. Like the name, the Bluebird comes in a matte dark blue.
The manufacturer claims the Bluebird features a 20 HZ to 20 kHz frequency response. Consumers reported that the mic has a flat overall response, with a peak at about 12 kHz and a small lift at 2 kHz. The mic’s bottom end tends to roll off gradually from about 500 HZ if you use the Bluebird at a distance.
Aside from the mic, this package also includes a wooden box and an accessory pack. This pack contains a high def mic cable, shock mount and a pop filter that’s made out of metal mesh. The mic cable is covered with transparent blue plastic for improved durability.
The connectors are pretty standard, and the cable’s braided wires have been soldered to the connector at both ends.
The included shock mount is also standard, featuring two level arms that are designed to expand the inner tube slightly, for simple mic installation.
The pop filter is a metal disc that measures in at 65 MM in diameter. It’s anchored in place by two knurled bolts. When the bolts are released the block splits in half and clamps around the stalk located below the mic capsule. When the filter is securely mounted in front of the capsule it gives the whole setup a pro feel.
This model sounds very smooth through the mid and upper-mid range and offers improved clarity at the top of the spectrum. This means that it’s able to capture a lot of detail. The type of sound clarity it offers can work well with most music genres.
Musicians who used the Bluebird felt that it has an obvious hyper-cardioid polar response, however, this model is actually marketed as a basic cardioid mic.
A versatile mic that’s easy to use, this is a great budget-friendly mic that offers a unique sound most musicians will love.
The only complaint we came across involved the mic stand. Many buyers reported that the stand’s screw frequently came loose and had to be retightened before use. This isn’t a major issue, but it’ll definitely require an upgrade somewhere down the line.
Overall, users found the mic to be very compatible with a wide range of genres. The mic’s flexibility is perfect for the artist or sound engineer on a budget. It’s also one of the quietest mics on the market but it’s still able to offer the user a wider range. This package features solid components and a mic that allows you to test your skills with a number of genres. If you’re on a tight budget and looking for a versatile cardioid mic then we highly recommend the Bluebird. Its rich, smooth sound is what makes it such a popular choice among both pro and amateur musicians. If you’ve never used a Blue Microphones mic before, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its top of the line sound quality.
Heil PR40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone Review
The PR40 dynamic studio recording microphone by Heil features low-end response and the type of sound quality that makes it able to compete with higher-end brands in the industry such as Sennheiser. For a dynamic mic, this model offers a surprisingly wide frequency range and is able to cover 28 HZ to 18 kHz. A model that received mostly positive feedback from the pros, this dynamic mic has a lot to offer the vocalist.
The PR40 is a gold colored mic with a steel body and zinc die-cast bottom ring. The mic’s capsule has been mounted in a Sorbothane shock mount. The humbucking coil works to minimize any risk of interference caused by other electronic devices in the vicinity.
The mic’s basket screen consists of a couple of mesh screens measuring in at different diameters and enlarged by an internal breath blast filter.
The manufacturer seems to take a different approach when designing this dynamic mic because unlike most models, the mic offers a tight polar pattern and almost perfect rear rejection.
The PR40 has a solid bass response, so it works well with bass and electric guitars. A common worry when an artist or engineer purchases a dynamic mic is the fact that many of them tend to fall flat or sound dull once the mic has been put to the test, but this model offers nothing but smooth sounds on highs. The mic’s high-end is able to extend up to 18 kHz. This means that you can use this mic for a number of music genres, in addition to recording vocals. It’s also able to capture acoustic sounds with heavy detail and a dense mid-range.
The mic can handle a wide range of genres.
Perfect for vocals, not to mention acoustic guitars and hand percussion instruments, the mic offers smooth highs for a well-rounded sound.
The included boom is very stable and has a long reach, making it perfect for a variety of applications.
The manufacturer has marketed the PR40 as one of the quietest mics ever, but consumers don’t seem to agree with this statement, although the model’s self-noise is pretty low. This mic has an unusual amount of low-end for a dynamic mic, but for some reason, Heil doesn’t heavily market this fact.
Some users had issues with the mic’s softness. The right type of preamp is needed, otherwise, you’ll find that you have to turn the mic up to max volume, which will add a ton of buzzing to your tracks.
Some consumers felt that the overall sound of the mic fell pretty flat, but at the same time, the sound did not seem dull at all. During the recording process, the mic is strong in the mids but doesn’t overcrowd the entire spectrum the way some mics can. Many musicians who purchased this mic specifically for vocals stated that it has become their go-to mic for vocal recordings. We give this mic two thumbs up for its versatility and sound quality. Bottom line, it’s a great starter mic that’s reasonably priced. It’s also a great option if you need a dependable mic for vocals.
Top Rated Wireless Microphones For Singing Live (Can use for Recording Too)
|Product||Polar Pattern||Best Use||Cost|
|Shure SM58 Wireless Vocal System Microphone||Cardioid||Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass||$$$$$|
|VocoPro 8800 wireless microphone system||Cardioid||Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Speaking||$$$$$$$|
Shure SM58 Wireless Vocal System Microphone Review
Shure offers an extensive line of wireless studio quality recording products and gear. Over the years they’ve built quite a reputation in the industry for sound quality and versatile equipment that’s affordable and reliable.
This system features the popular Shure SM58 wireless mic, one wireless receiver, two handheld transmitters, the power supply, charge cable, rechargeable lithium battery, microphone clip, and carrying case.
The Shure SM58 wireless system is equipped with twelve channels, which helps to prevent interference from other wireless or electronic devices in the vicinity. You’ll even be able to use a number of wireless devices at the same time without the fear of overlap. Sold separately is a wireless mic belt pack that can be used for other mics or wireless devices.
This mic has a reported range of 300 feet, so you can move about freely onstage. Other wireless devices with poor range make the performer remain within certain parameters onstage in fear of dropping the signal during a performance. This is a line-of-sight wireless product, which means in order to keep a strong signal during a performance you’ll need to keep the mic in sight of the receiver, otherwise, the signal will be dropped.
Setup is pretty simple. Take the receiver and press the group button, which allows it to scan for the best channel. Next, set the transmitter to the channel and group setting. You can set the channel and group manually. You can use up to twelve wireless devices at the same time. Some consumers noted that it was difficult to run more than two or three wireless devices on the same receiver because of interference in the area.
With a cable-free singing experience, this Shure mic wireless system performs well onstage and in the studio. You can visit the Shure website to use their frequency finder if you have issues connecting or finding a solid frequency. The frequency finder will ask for your location and the model number of your product. After you’ve entered this info, the program will provide you with the best channels to use in your area. The site mentions if you’re using multiple systems then the results for the recommended channels will be invalid. Instead, the site recommends using the receiver’s automatic scan function for the best results.
The SM58 provides fourteen hours of use per charge.
The mic is designed with a high-impact plastic casing, which makes it lighter, but also puts it at risk of getting damaged if dropped.
The mic offers a solid bass response.
The mic works incredibly well on bass guitar cabinets and is also a solid performer when it comes to electric guitars as well.
Other models of wireless mics in this price range are made from reinforced steel. Some consumers felt that the plastic casing on the SM58 made the mic look cheap.
Setup and use are made more difficult with the more wireless devices you operate at once.
This Shure system is a combination of new school meets old school, offering a mic that can easily handle classic rock vocals, guitar, and bass. The digital wireless system features smart power options and intelligent technology that makes this one of the most reliable wireless mic systems on the market.
VocoPro 8800 Wireless Microphone System Review
The VocoPro 8800 wireless microphone system is a great choice for large vocal groups or it can be used for seminars or other types of public speaking engagements that require several people on stage at once. Marketed by the manufacturer as a flexible and versatile wireless system, the 8800 offers easy setup and great tonal qualities.
This set consists of the UHF eight-channel wireless system, eight mic transmitters, eight mic stands, two four channel cables, ten mic windscreens, carrying bag, and an aluminum carrying case.
In order to make it easier for the user to keep track of each mic and its corresponding receiver, VocoPro has color-coded the mics to match their respective receiver. Eight jacks are located on the receiver for individual output.
If you’ve used a wireless mic system in the past then you’re probably familiar with the many problems that can arise when it comes to dropped signals and even interference.
When using the system, we noticed that the signal would begin to break up once the mics were moved around. When consumers called VocoPro customer service to report this issue they recommended avoiding the M and Q frequencies. Other consumers didn’t run into any issues with this system when using all eight mics during a performance, so signal dropping may just be a matter of location. As recommended by the manufacturer, never turn your back on the receiver during use, otherwise the signal will be dropped immediately. This means the performer will need to be more aware of their position on stage and the location of the receiver at all times. It can take some getting used to, but it’s definitely a better option than using a number of corded mics onstage at once.
The system offers easy setup and use.
The set is priced affordably, especially considering the number of mics that come in this package.
According to the pros, the tonal quality of these mics is great, even when you have to shout.
The mics are great for vocals, acoustic, electric guitars and more.
Many buyers reported that the set is perfect for presentations, podcasts, and live stage performances.
Some users had complaints regarding issues with running into dead zones when walking around on stage. There is also an issue with the mic’s range capabilities. The manufacturer claims that the mic’s range is 150 feet maximum, but consumers ran into issues with the signal dropping at just around sixty feet away from the receiver.
Because the receiver’s design includes antennas that screw in, you won’t be able to mount it in a rack. Other wireless receivers feature removable antennas, making us feel that this was a big design flaw for this set.
If you live in the city, interference can be another major issue, however, this is common among all wireless systems.
You’ll also run into problems with interference when more than three or four mics are used at once.
There has been mixed feedback regarding signal drops that can occur. For some, the system dropped frequently, which can make purchasing this system somewhat of a gamble. Ultimately, it will be more of a matter of where you use the mics. If you run into frequent interference problems, contact customer support immediately for troubleshooting tips or information regarding their return policy. Aside from dropped signal issues, this is a great, large wireless system that offers impressive tonal quality and easy setup. Overall, we felt that the 8800 can really shine in the right environment.
Best Tube Microphones For Pristine Vocal Tracks
Rode K2 Tube Vocal Microphone Review
The K2 by Rode is a tube vocal mic that comes equipped with internal shock mounting and a gold sputtered one-inch capsule diaphragm. It features top of the line valve circuitry and offers a wide dynamic range.
Appearance-wise, this model is almost the same as the past NTK tube mic by Rode, however, it does come equipped with a different grille that features a tougher support frame. The large tube is held in place with a porcelain socket with the help of a plastic spring clip. The mic’s electrical and mechanical engineering is up to the usual Rode standard.
Inside, all of the mic’s electronic components are mounted to a circuit board that’s made from glass fiber. The capsule itself has been shock mounted. The included steel grille mesh provides better than average screen from radio frequencies and also works to protect the capsule from any type of physical damage that can occur from a minor fall or during transport. The mic’s all-metal housing is finished with a nickel plating that’s been beautifully machined. You can easily access the tube compartment by unscrewing the main body sleeve. Additionally, the internal valve can be easily replaced, no soldering required.
The mic comes with a molded RC2 travel case and the power supply, shock mount and multi-pin XLR cable.
This model doesn’t have any switches or other types of controls. The microphone’s pattern can be adjusted using the rotary control which is found on the power supply, which offers a variety of widths including cardioid and omni, to figure eight. As is a tradition with Rode, you’ll also find a gold plated stud that indicates the hot side of the capsule.
You won’t find a filter or pad switches on the power supply, however, this shouldn’t be an issue considering most mixers and preamps feature low-cut filters.
Most musicians found that the K2 was a litter sweeter sounding than the past NTK, and it does offer a very flattering sound, which is why most musicians tolerate tube mics in the first place. In addition to beefing up vocals, it can also capture high-end detail in a manner that allows the vocals to sound less aggressive and much smoother. Like with the NTK tube mic, since the K2 lacks a bass roll-off switch you’ll probably need to engage the low-frequency filter of the mixer or preamp when you’re recording some vocals. You’ll also definitely need to use a pop filter.
Basically, the K2 is a very classy sounding mic that has been specifically designed to offer a sound that’s reminiscent of a vintage studio microphone. However, many musicians found that it was quieter than a classic tube mic, and definitely more affordable to service considering the tubes used in this mic are easy to come by. This is the perfect mic to use if your voice could use some filling out, or if the vocalist’s voice is in need of rounding off. It also offers a solid performance when used for hand percussion instruments or acoustic guitars.
The mic combines evenness of tone with warmth.
The K2 is a great choice for acoustic or pop music.
The mic offers a no-nonsense punchy sound that’s been slightly compressed without ragged edges.
The mic is equipped with multi-pattern functionality and offers a solid performance.
With a nice, balanced weight, and an elegant design, this tube mic will take you back to the golden age of music, but aside from the classic rich sound it offers it can also take your vocals to the next level, thickening weaker vocals and offering a clear, powerful sound that works well for both male and female vocalists.
In order to avoid sibilance, you’ll definitely need to use a good pop filter.
While this is certainly a great package, a short XLR mic cable would have been a nice addition for a quick mixer connection.
While the Rode K2 tube microphone isn’t exactly the cheapest mic you’ll find on the market, it offers great quality both sonically and mechanically. If you’re looking for a multi-pattern large diaphragm tube microphone, then you should definitely give this model a second look.
MXL Genesis Flagship Tube Condenser Microphone Review
The Genesis Flagship by MXL features a narrow cardioid pattern and a flat response. This is pretty unusual considering most large diaphragm microphones feature a noticeable presence peak. Closer inspection of the polar pattern shows that the microphone is pretty sensitive to any sounds that come from directly behind it, indicating that the mic’s capsule design veers a little towards the hypercardioid pattern.
This mic uses a new old stock Mullard 12 AT7 tube and it’s powered by an external supply unit. The mic itself is large, coming in at fifty-nine millimeters in diameter. The grille is gold plated and the body is done up in a deep red.
The 150 Hz six-decibel octave low cut filter switch is placed on the body of the mic, in addition to a ten-decibel pad switch. Aside from a seven pin Mogami cable, the microphone also comes with a fifteen foot three-pin XLR cable, pop filter, and a shock mount.
You’ll also find a rigid stand clip in this package, which attaches to the outer threaded section of the XLR housing.
The mic itself comes in its very own plush lined wooden box, which helps to keep it secure and protected during travel.
Most of the mic’s circuitry is mounted onto a single circuit board that’s populated by good quality components. The 12 AT7 tube fits neatly into the ceramic base and is clamped in place with a metal hoop. The electrolytic capacitors connected to the tube are 250V rated, so you know the tube is run at a high voltage that’s suitable.
The mic delivers natural, rich sounding vocals that balance the clarity with low-end warmth while also adding much-needed density to the vocals.
When used for acoustic guitars, you’ll enjoy a solid tonal balance. The results will never be scratchy but you’ll notice just the right amount of zing from the strings.
The mic also handles percussion instruments well, resulting in a detailed, crisp sound.
The fact that the mic has a nearly flat response is what makes it so versatile compared to a microphone that’s designed to provide deliberate coloration. While this mic tends to sound airier than some of its competitors, many pros highly recommend it for studio use, especially as the main mic for vocals.
As a vocal mic, this model is predictably good sounding, however, it’s obvious lack of coloration makes it a good choice for percussion and acoustics as well.
The mic offers a detailed, controlled midrange, tight lows, and an open sounding top end. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a tube mic that can handle a variety of vocalists and instruments. The transient response is detailed and quick, featuring a tonal character that avoids sonic flavor and instead leans more towards accuracy.
While there’s no single mic on the market that can handle it all, the Genesis does an admirable job working with a variety of sound sources, including bass and guitar amps. This mic will be a valuable addition to your setup, especially if you don’t have many mics to work with.
The perfect multitasking tube mic for the musician on a budget.
This is a mic that offers a clean, crisp sound, and works best for vocals, percussion instruments, and acoustic guitars. However, it’s versatile enough to handle most instruments fairly well.
For some, the included shock mount was difficult to install.
You won’t find an onboard pad switch.
When you use the mic with loud sound sources you may need to use a pad on the mic preamp or an inline pad.
The mic also doesn’t come with a high-pass filter switch, which means you’ll probably want to use one on the preamp when tracking.
Most musicians will choose this mic primarily for vocal use, however, it’s also a great choice for the musician who’s searching for a good tube microphone that they can use for just about anything. For the price, we feel that the Genesis is a total steal. This mic offers the perfect combination of reasonable pricing and sound quality. If you’re in the market for a great tube mic, then this model is definitely worthy of your consideration.
Avantone Pro CV12 Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone Review
The Avantone CV12 brings back that classic tube mic sound that offers the best in vocal quality. The fact that it features a wide range of polar patterns means that it’s able to handle a variety of sound sources ranging from vocals to drum overheads.
This large-diaphragm tube condenser mic is a nine-pattern switchable tube condenser with a dual thirty-two-millimeter gold sputtered capsule. Equipped with a custom retro shock mount, this is a very versatile mic that can adapt to almost any type of recording setup.
Aside from its versatility, the microphone’s stellar performance and what it can add to your vocals will have you running out to buy more for your entire home setup.
The mic’s exterior features a polished nickel trim and elegant red finish for a classic look. It offers a balanced, smooth, warm sound that’s perfect for vocals and much more.
While it truly shines on vocals, it’s also a great choice for acoustic guitars, piano, mandolin, or it can work as a room microphone.
This is no ordinary condenser. With a design that’s based on European vintage mics, its transformer coupled tube circuitry provides a warm sound that works to thicken up thin vocals.
It also seems hyped in the upper mids and mids and tends to pick up hard consonants, which is a huge plus for vocalists.
The mic arrives in a tough aluminum case with a foam rubber lined interior that hugs the mic tightly, keeping it nice and secure during transport. The included shock mount is sturdy and solid and allows for more precise mic positioning that also works to minimize any unwanted vibrations. This type of isolation setup offers pro results.
The included nine-pin cable is long and thick and will accommodate any type of mic position you need in your home studio.
The mic is pretty hefty, so you’ll need to use a heavy-based mic stand or you could end up tipping your whole setup over.
The mic offers a clear, sharp high end and very round low bass. When recording vocals, you won’t have to deal with harsh tones. The tube really works to give the mic nice smooth saturation that leaves the vocals sounding almost silky.
You’ll definitely be impressed with the level of detail this mic is able to pick up, such as softening of the vocals and small intonations.
When you’re using a preamp, you’ll notice the frequencies really stand out.
The power supply offers access not only to the figure eight, cardioid, and omni patterns, but also features a total of six in-between settings. While the majority of vocals are best suited to cardioid, you can experiment to find other settings that can work just as well.
The model’s omni mode is perfect for ambient room miking.
The mic is very reliable and works well to thicken up vocals, making the vocals sound lush and full.
This mic is a great choice for male vocalists with strong mids and it’s powerful enough to be used as a primary vocal mic.
Once you plug it in you’ll find that its performance can rival higher-priced models.
The rugged design consists of precision machined brass.
The top end is a bit too bright for some vocalists.
The included shock mount won’t fit a standard American boom stand or mic stand unless you remove the European mic insert.
A mic that’s more than just good looks, this multi-directional mic has it all. It’s reasonably priced and easy to use and set up, even for beginners. It’s also perfect for a wide range of applications, not just vocals. Use it as your go-to mic to record your acoustic guitar, or try it out on overhead drums. The possibilities are endless.
This model is made from only the finest materials. We felt that the manufacturer did a great job of recreating a classic design. With nine pickup patterns to choose from, you’ll be able to record vocals or pretty much any instrument, with ease. This very versatile mic can produce pro results with a pleasing sonic sound, which is just what you’d expect from a classic tube microphone.
Home Studio Microphone Buying Guide (2017 Edition)
When you’re shopping for the best microphones for recording, you’ll come across a wide selection of microphone types including tube, dynamic, and condenser mics. The many different features that are associated with each different type of microphone can quickly become confusing, if not downright overwhelming.
While generally, it’s true that price often reflects the quality of a microphone, in many cases, you can find a reasonably priced model that will work with your recording needs and your budget.
Additionally, a little research can go a long way in terms of narrowing down your search to find the best recording mic for your home studio setup.
But before you dive in and begin exploring your options, it’s important to learn more about each type of microphone based on style, recording quality, and overall functionality, before you buy.
To help you find the right match, this guide will cover many of the important characteristics to look for based on microphone type.
So, let’s begin.
You’ll often find that a dynamic mic is the most popular choice for live performances, mainly due to their durable construction. In the studio, the go-to option is the condenser mic. A condenser mic consists of a thin conductive diaphragm that’s located near a metal plate, known as the backplate. Combined, these elements create a capacitor. A battery or phantom power source will supply the capacitor with an electric charge. The diaphragm will vibrate due to the pressure of the sound waves. When this occurs it changes the distance between the backplate and diaphragm, resulting in variations in output voltage. These variations will create the mic’s electronic signal.
Condenser mics utilize phantom power supplied by the mixer input, internal batteries, or an external power supply. Currently, most models of mixers have phantom power options on microphone inputs. However, if you’re using a late model mixer, you may want to ensure that it features phantom power before you purchase a condenser that will require it.
Out of all the different styles of mics to choose from, the condenser features the best transient response and the widest frequency response. They also usually offer lower noise and higher output compared to dynamic mics.
There are a couple of basic types of dynamic mics: moving ribbon and moving coil. Moving coil dynamic mics are ideal for general purpose use and they’re actually very versatile. They feature a simpler design than the condenser mic and only include a few moving parts. These mics are built-solid and designed for handling high sound pressure, they are usually priced affordably and are also resistant to moisture. All of these reasons sum up why they’re commonly used on stage.
Condenser mics don’t require external power or batteries and have no internal amplifier.
This mic uses a thin diaphragm, magnet, and wire coil to capture an audio signal. The coil is attached to the diaphragm, so when the diaphragm vibrates in response to sound waves, the coil will move past the magnet, back and forth. This will create an electric current that’s channeled from the mic along the wires.
Moving ribbon mics are considered much more fragile compared to moving coil models. This type of condenser is often used in the studio as opposed to live stage performances. The ribbon mic features a unique ribbon sound and works well on guitar cabinets and brass instruments.
A tube microphone is a type of condenser mic and it features a small tube inside the body. This style was created long before transistors were incorporated inside today’s mics. But, back in the day, the only option was to make preamps that are built around smaller tubes in order to amplify the signal. Yet, these microphones still remain popular these days, thanks mainly to their tonal response, natural compression, and generally warmer sound.
How do these Mics Compare?
When it comes to frequency response, condenser mics tend to work better on high-frequency instruments including cymbals, piano, acoustic guitars, electric guitar cabs, and drums.
In terms of diaphragm weight and size, the reason condensers tend to work better with higher frequencies is because they use a lighter, smaller diaphragm.
Compared to low frequencies, high frequencies contain less energy and they don’t have the sheer power to move mass, which is why the heavier diaphragms that are found in dynamic microphones are less responsive.
However, there is a bonus that comes from using a heavier diaphragm. The larger mass can generate enough voltage to rid the need for an external power source. Because of this, dynamic microphones are known as passive.
Condenser mics are known as active and they require a phantom power source that can amplify its weak voltage.
A condenser microphone is able to record softer sounds and achieve higher gain thanks to phantom power.
As far as diaphragm durability goes, a lighter diaphragm is more fragile. At a higher SPL, they can even be damaged.
For this reason, a stronger diaphragm is a much better option for loud instruments, such as drums.
Not only is the diaphragm in a dynamic mic stronger, the mic’s construction and design are much stronger as well. If you drop it on the ground it will be more likely to survive the fall compared to a condenser. The dynamic mic’s resistance to moisture is another reason why they are the perfect choice for live music performances.
Condenser mics can’t handle extreme changes in humidity. If your mic setup consists of mainly condenser mics, this can be very limiting if you also use them for live music performances.
Which Microphone is Best for Studio Recording?
Many newbies mistakenly believe that a condenser mic is the better choice for studio recording over the dynamic mic. But the truth is, neither microphone is better overall. There’s no microphone on the planet that will work perfectly for every recording situation. In the studio, a wide range of microphones are used. Each mic is designed for a specific task. Both condenser and dynamic mics have a lot to offer in terms of recording quality and response.
Researching Your Options
We’ve reviewed some of the top models of dynamic, tube, and condenser mics on the market, researching each mic to learn more about the different features available, while also taking a closer look at performance both in the studio and on stage. We hope these best microphones for recording reviews can help you narrow down your choices to find a mic that can take your recording sessions to the next level.
This buying guide has covered all the cool features each make and model has to offer. If you’re serious about studio recording and need microphones you can rely on for great sound quality, the odds are you’ll find everything you’re looking for right here.