by Stefan Wyeth | Approximate reading time: 5 Minutes
Recording At Home: The Best Vocal Microphones for Beginners

Recording At Home: The Best Vocal Microphones for Beginners  ·  Source: RODE / Shure

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Buying your first microphone? We’ve got some recording tips and a selection of the best vocal microphones for beginners to help you decide.

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So you’ve decided to start writing and recording your own songs at home, but don’t know where to start? Well, rest assured, we’ll cover a few guidelines for recording vocals at home and look at some great mics to get you started.

The Best Vocal Microphones for Beginners

Before you choose a mic, find the quietest room in your apartment or house as this is likely to be the best place to record. Then you have to decide between using a dynamic or a condenser microphone.

There are some key differences between these microphone types which we’ll cover along the way. So look out for the best option for your style of vocals and the room you’re using.

Also, there will be some alternative USB mics mentioned, so be sure to investigate these further if you don’t have an audio interface.

Shure MV7X

The Shure MV7X is a broadcast mic designed to be a more affordable version of the SM7B. Because it’s designed for speech, its sound in the vocal range is detailed. What’s more, as a dynamic mic, its localized pickup range reduces background noise considerably.

Shure MV7X
Shure’s MV7X · Source: Shure

This makes it possible to capture great recordings even in untreated rooms. Provided you have a Cloudlifter or similar gain booster to optimize the signal before it goes into your audio interface, you’ll be recording clean vocals in no time.

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The reason for this is that most dynamic mics are low-output devices by design. Therefore, when you add the necessary gain from your interface you noticeably increase the noise floor.

However, if you don’t have an audio interface, the Shure MV7 is a USB version with 24-bit 48 kHz recording and a built-in headphones output.

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Shure MV7X
Shure MV7X
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Shure MV 7 Black
Shure MV 7 Black
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Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator
Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator
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Shure BETA 57A

If you’re buying your first mic, it’s worth getting something that sounds good on virtually any sound source. From vocals to guitar amps and drums, the BETA 57A will provide a clear and detailed picture of any performance.

Shure BETA 57A
Shure BETA 57A · Source: Shure

Unlike the SM57 or SM58, the BETA 57A has a super-cardioid pickup pattern. This makes it more suited for use in tight recording spaces where the acoustics are less than ideal.

In addition, the BETA 57A has a slightly higher output than its SM series cousins. While it’s still a dynamic mic, it will give you a marginally better gain structure when used with the average audio interface.

Overall, it’s a great starter microphone for vocal recording or use in your rehearsal room or at live shows. What’s more, you can use it with the Shure A57 AWS windshield for added protection against plosives and sibilance.

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Shure Beta 57 A
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Shure A57 AWS
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Audio-Technica AT2020

For a mic that costs less than $100, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Audio-Technica AT2020. However, because it’s a condenser mic, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Audio-Technica AT2020
Audio-Technica AT2020

For starters, a condenser will capture far more of the surrounding environment than the average dynamic microphone. While this does make it better suited to certain vocal styles, there is also a higher risk of background noise and harsh room reflections.

This means that if you are recording in an even slightly noisy space or reflectivity is a factor, then perhaps a dynamic mic is a better choice. That being said, by using accessories like an absorber shield, a pop filter, and a shockmount, you can improve your recordings drastically in any room.

This will ensure that the levels of reflections are far lower in your recordings and there are no vibration noises. If you don’t have an audio interface, you can consider the AT2020USB-X with its 24-bit 96 kHz recording capabilities.

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Audio-Technica AT2020USB-X
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Audio-Technica AT 8175 Pop Filter
Audio-Technica AT 8175 Pop Filter
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Audio-Technica AT8458a
Audio-Technica AT8458a
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RODE NT1-A

If you’re looking to put together some demos, the RODE NT1-A is a tried and tested home recording solution for musicians. Its large diaphragm design offers excellent clarity and intelligibility with vocal recording.

Rode NT1-A Complete
Rode NT1-A Complete · Source: Rode

Furthermore, the package includes a shockmount, pop filter, and cable. This means you have everything you need to get started with doing vocal recording in your home studio.

As a condenser, the NT1-A does have a particularly bright high-frequency range that you might need to subdue slightly with some EQ in post-production. In addition, you can also use the RODE WS2 windshield to help in this area.

You will, of course, require an audio interface here, so you’ll want the NT1 5th Gen with its integrated 32-bit 192 kHz AD converter if you don’t already have one.

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Rode WS2
Rode WS2
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AKG P220

The AKG Perception series microphones have been a part of home recording setups for many years. With its rugged construction and cardioid pattern, the P220 is a great first microphone for vocal recording.

AKG P220
AKG P220 · Source: AKG

It’s a large diaphragm condenser with a bright high-frequency range, perfect for capturing modern Pop, Hip-Hop, and RnB vocal styles. Moreover, the mic can handle an astounding 155 dB SPL, so you can get quite close up with your vocal delivery.

You might need the help of a pop filter to reduce sibilance and plosives, but overall, the P220 is a great choice for an upfront vocal sound. For attenuation, there’s a -20 dB pad switch for dealing with really loud sources.

Meanwhile, the 300 Hz high-pass filter removes any unnecessary low-end from your recordings when you need it. Furthermore, the P220 includes a shock mount and a protective carry case for easy transportation and storage.

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K&M 23956 Popkiller
K&M 23956 Popkiller
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The Best Vocal Microphones for Beginners:

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Recording At Home: The Best Vocal Microphones for Beginners

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