Recording vocals at home presents several challenges. We’re going to discuss these and look at some of the best value microphones for vocal recording.
Apart from budget limitations, most of us aren’t working in soundproof or treated acoustic environments. This means having the most sensitive valve microphone might not give you the results you imagine.
Instead, you could end up capturing a passing car or your neighbour’s washing machine in pristine audio quality. For this reason, dynamic mics are often preferred. While condensers may require close-mic techniques and low-gain settings.
Choosing the best value microphones for vocals
Gain management is essential, regardless of which type of mic you’re working with. In addition, your audio interface’s preamps might not have enough discrete gain to match your choice of mic and deliver the recording standard you desire.
For this reason, make sure you investigate:
You may have seen, heard of, or even used mics on this list – let’s find out why.
The 58 is the world’s most popular stage microphone, but it’s also great for recording. The off-axis cancellation is excellent, so you can record in tight spaces without worrying too much about reflections.
The optional windshield can reduce sibilance and plosives, but more than anything the 58 requires sparing use of gain. Moreover, it’s flexible enough to use handheld or on a stand, as long as you get your mic distance correct you can get great results.
Shure SM58 Quality Bundle
The AT2020 is another mic that shines on multiple sources, vocals being one of them. This medium-diaphragm cardioid condenser captures a wide frequency range and doesn’t need a high-end preamp to get good results, although this does help.
As it’s a condenser, the AT2020 needs a shock mount and pop filter to reduce any incidental noise. Overall, it’s a versatile mic that can produce decent vocal recordings in a quiet environment.
Audio-Technica AT 2020 Bundle
The MV7X has already taken the podcasting world by storm as an affordable mic that offers excellent intelligibility. A budget broadcast-style mic built for capturing the human voice, this is a great choice for vocal recording at home.
The localized pickup pattern makes it useable even in reflective environments that aren’t ideal for recording, but it’s still a relatively low-output mic. This means it will perform at optimal with a Cloudlifter or another in-line mic pre.
The SM7B is a professional recording and broadcast microphone that has been used for years in studios around the world. Renowned for its clarity and great low-end on vocals, it’s an excellent recording tool we’ve heard on some of our favourite records.
In addition, it’s equipped with low-cut and mid-boost switches so you can optimize it somewhat to fit your voice and recording environment. One thing about the SM7B, however, is that it’s low output mic so the average audio interface doesn’t have enough gain to drive it.
Shure SM 7 B
Neumann TLM 103
The TLM 103 is widely used as a budget alternative to the famous U87 condenser microphone. It’s an excellent choice for female vocals, and it’s designed to produce great recordings plugged straight into your audio interface.
The 103 is particularly sought after for the pleasing way it captures high frequencies. It’s more expensive, for sure, but you’re still getting a mic that punches way above its price range in terms of audio quality.
Neumann TLM 103
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