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Vocal Microphones for any Budget and the artists that use them.

Vocal Microphones for any Budget!

and the artists that use them.

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You can never have enough mics!

I love collecting microphones. The way each one produces a distinct sound and character when recording different instruments or vocals. Mic choice varies with the artist. Some artists naturally sing more dominant or produce higher frequencies that may be too harsh for some sensitive microphones. However, although it is nice for a professional studio to have multiple choices, most home studios or startups don't have that luxury so they need to purchase a versatile mic that they can depend on regardless of what they need to record. In this case, I am going to focus on recording vocals, however a lot of the options I will present can do great for guitars, pianos, drums, pretty much anything. It's up to you how you use them with your mic technique.

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Microphone Types

  • Dynamic - Pretty much plug and play, not as sensitive to sound so it is widely used for live performances or loud instruments like drums, guitar and bass amps, and loud vocals.

  • Condenser - Used to capture more quiet sounds and higher frequencies to deliver top quality. This is mostly used in a studio setting, for vocals and other delicate instruments. You will need a preamp with phantom power or 48v to power the microphone on.

  • Tube - A tube microphone is a type of condenser mic that used tube circuitry to add warmth and character to audio passing through it. It also acts as a slight compressor giving it the ability to handle loud sounds nicely. It is one of the most sought-after types of mics.

UNDER $500

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Shure SM58 - The only microphone under $100 that I would recommend. If you very limited on a budget this mic can help you tremendously. At only $99, it is a great vocal mic for in studio or live performances. It is a dynamic mic, so no phantom power is necessary. We have a few available at the Forever Current because it is so great.

$99 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SM58--shure-sm58-cardioid-dynamic-vocal-microphone

Used by John Lennon, Rod Stewart, Billy Idol, and much more.

Rode NT1A - Self-proclaimed as one of the quietest mics in the business. This means you don’t have to worry about any low hums or mic noise entering your recordings. Great recording quality and a 10-year warranty to back it!

$299 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/NT1AAnniv--rode-nt1-a-large-diaphragm-condenser-microphone

Hear it used on Bryson Tiller lead vocals on ‘Don’t’

Shure SM7B - Flat, wide range frequency response for super clean vocal and speech. Great vocal mic, especially for podcasting.

$399 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SM7B--shure-sm7b-cardioid-dynamic-vocal-microphone

Hear it used on lead vocals for Michael Jackson album ‘Thriller’ 

Avantone Pro CV-12 - large diaphragm tube condenser mic delivering a warm sound with depth for vocals. Equipped with 9 different polar patterns to make the microphone versatile for any instrument.

$499 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CV12--avantone-pro-cv-12-large-diaphragm-tube-condenser-microphone

Used by Taylor Swift, Nick Jonas, and much more.

$500 - $1000

Neumann TLM 102 - Known for making the some of the best vocal microphones in the industry, Neumann delivers an affordable option to their line. Large-diaphragm condenser mic that offers a boost above 6kHz to deliver the sweet spot for vocals to pop out in the mix

$699 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TLM102--neumann-tlm-102-large-diaphragm-condenser-microphone-nickel

Warm Audio WA -47 - modeled after the famous Neumann U-47 but at a fraction of the cost, you can get a great warm sound from this mic. Large-diaphragm tube mic with 9 polar patterns to choose from. 

$899 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/WA47--warm-audio-wa-47-large-diaphragm-tube-condenser-microphone

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MORE THAN $1000

 AKG C414 - One I have used for many years, I personally love the depth and character this mic gave my clients. I used it mostly on Pop and Hip Hop recordings. 

$1099 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/C414XLII--akg-c414-xlii-large-diaphragm-condenser-microphone

Used by countless of artists such as Stevie Wonder, Sting, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars, Freddy Mercury..the list goes on.

Neumann U- 87 - Widely regarded as the best condenser mic in the 1960s, this mic has been used countless of times on some of you, your parents and grandparents favorite records. From John Lennon and Paul McCartney to Snoop Dogg and Ed Sheehan, This mic makes any vocal stand out in a mix. This is our mic of choice at Forever Current Studios. Book a recording session with us to hear it in action.

$3200 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/U87AiMT--neumann-u-87-ai-large-diaphragm-condenser-microphone-matte-black

Sony C-800G - Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Drake, just a few that use the C-800 as a first choice when laying down their vocals. This mic does it all. It’s a hefty investment but well worth it for a professional recording studio.

$9990 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/C800G--sony-c-800g-large-diaphragm-condenser-microphone

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Interested in trying some of these mics out for yourself? Book a recording session with us and hear the difference!