Best Recording Microphones

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 27, 2017
Whether you want a quality mic for voiceovers, podcasts or for capturing your instrument play and live performance, in this review, you can find high-quality recording microphones to use in any of these situations. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Polar Patterns
Frequency Response
Interface
Maximum Sound Pressure Level
Warranty
 
PROS
Large 1" capsule is ideal for recording vocals, percussions, and guitars.
CONS
Pop-filter holder is integrated with the shock mount.
OUR VERDICT
This is a professional mic, designed for recording both vocals and instruments with full attention to details in professional and home studios.
detailed parameters
Polar Patterns
Cardioid
Frequency Response
20 Hz - 20 kHz
Interface
3-pin XLR
Maximum Sound Pressure Level
137 dB SPL
Warranty
1 year + 10 years extended
PROS
Exceptional mic for live performing and recording. Features pneumatic shock-mount system for handling noise reduction.
CONS
SM58S model comes without XLR cable.
OUR VERDICT
Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular mics for on-stage performances and TV shows is also one of the most suitable for their recording.
detailed parameters
Polar Patterns
Cardioid
Frequency Response
50 Hz - 15 kHz
Interface
3-pin XLR
Maximum Sound Pressure Level
94 dB SPL
Warranty
2 years
PROS
Features several pick-up patterns for different applications.
CONS
Not too small dimensions.
OUR VERDICT
Blue Yeti is a popular choice for podcasters, voiceovers, and live streamers. It boasts several pick-up modes and can even be used for interviewing several people at once with only 1 mic.
detailed parameters
Polar Patterns
Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
Frequency Response
20 Hz - 20 kHz
Interface
USB 2.0
Maximum Sound Pressure Level
120 dB SPL
Warranty
2 years
PROS

-10 dB bass switch enables the loud noise protection for undistorted audio recording.

CONS

On/Off or mute switch would be welcomed.

OUR VERDICT

The highly sensitive capsule diaphragm of CAD U37 USB microphone can capture the smallest details of your voice or instrument playing even in noisy places.

detailed parameters
Polar Patterns

Cardioid

Frequency Response

20 Hz - 20 kHz

Interface

USB 2.0

Maximum Sound Pressure Level

N/A

Warranty

2 years

PROS

Has both USB and XLR-out ports.

CONS

A very bright LED light.

OUR VERDICT

ATR2100-USB mic is a flexible solution for capturing sound during both studio and live performance. This mic can be hooked up either to a computer or mixer via one of its 2 ports.

detailed parameters
Polar Patterns

Cardioid

Frequency Response

50 Hz - 15 kHz

Interface

3-pin XLR, USB 2.0

Maximum Sound Pressure Level

N/A

Warranty

Lifetime limited

What is a Recording Microphone

The recording microphones are designed specifically for capturing sound with the highest quality and close attention to the slightest details in order to record it for further reproduction. As a rule, these mics are connected to the special sound recording equipment that comes in different sizes and shapes but, in general, enables various attunements and adjustment. Such equipment can be very expensive but the microphones are sold separately from it. What's more, you can also find high-quality USB mics that are excellent at capturing the quality sound with its smallest tone details right from your computer or even tablet if it has an appropriate USB port. We'll try to cover the best models of both types.
On a related note, we can recommend you to check out more reviews from similar categories: condenser microphones-only guide and in-ear monitors.

Rode NT1A

Choice of Professionals

A good voice requires a quality mic to record it. In the case of the Rode NT1A, you are getting a reliable studio microphone, approved by many pros and amateur singers and instrument players. Anyhow, its characteristics are simply great. First of all, it can capture sound in the 20Hz - 20kHz frequency range that is ideal for both speech and musical performance in a studio. Also, it has very low self-noise at only 5 dB. This makes it one of the quietest condenser mics among available options. A large capsule with a gold-plated diaphragm is pretty sensitive, though. Therefore, we utterly recommend using it either in a well-insulated room or at least with a sound shield. Additionally, the mic comes in the set with a 20-feet XLR cable and Rode special SM6 shock mount with a detachable pop filter to protect it from the popping impacts produced by sudden air blows while recording speech or singing. The mic's build quality also looks pretty reliable. No wonder that the company covers it with 1-year standard warranty and an option to add 10 years more after online registration. Overall, this is a fine example of professional recording microphones that can become a permanent solution in various sound recording studios, where it can be employed for recording songs, voiceovers, podcasts, and so on.
Review of Rode NT1A Ultra low noise

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Rode NT1A
Rode NT1A
 

Shure SM58S

On-Stage Solution

The Shure SM58 is an amazing choice if you require a reliable mic for the live performance on a stage or in a TV studio, as well as for recording. It has a recognizable design and is one of the best-selling mics all around the world. It is a handheld model with an option to attach it to a stand. Despite being pretty lightweight, this mic is designed for professional application. It has pretty balanced sound characteristics, optimized specifically for singing and speech recording. Also, it has a built-in pop filter that effectively protects the diaphragm from the rapid popping sounds, providing clearer, undistorted audio.
The Shure SM58S model comes with an on/off switch on the body, allowing you to turn it off during a performance. The package also includes a zippered pouch for storing and a swivel adapter for the mic stand. Note, it comes without an XLR cable, so don't forget to purchase one separately if you need it. As for the sound characteristics, the mic has a standard for dynamic models frequency response from 50 Hz to 15 kHz with accentuated brightened mid-ranges.
Review of Shure SM58S with On Off Switch

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Shure SM58S
Shure SM58S
 

Blue Yeti

Listen to My Voice

In a relatively short period of time, Blue Yeti has established itself as one of the most popular gaming microphones for streaming videos. It has many options that make it a capable mic for sound recording and processing. Its 3-capsule design allows various applications with different pick-up patterns. For instance, the bidirectional pattern will be suitable for interviewing 2 people at a time. The omnidirectional mode will work for capturing sound from all directions, allowing recording several people's talk at once. The standard cardioid mode is supported just as well and best used by a single performer. The given Blue Yeti mic is distinguished by none-to-zero self-noise that allows users to derive a crystal-clear sound in any mode.
The Blue Yeti is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X and higher. Most of the options have the corresponded controls right on the mic. For instance, a gain control knob changes the volume of recording sound. There's also a volume knob for headphones that you can also connect to the mic via a 3.5mm port. The mute button allows turning the sound off quickly which may come in handy during a live-streaming performance, etc. All in all, considering all the mentioned features, the Blue Yeti mic will satisfy the needs of most customers who seek an optimal choice in terms of price and quality ratio.
Review of Blue Yeti USB

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Blue Yeti
Blue Yeti
 

CAD U37

PERSONAL STUDIO IN YOUR APARTMENT

The CAD U37 USB Condenser microphone can help you perform professional audio recording right in your home studio or even in a well-soundproof room. It can work with both Windows and Mac OS computers and requires no driver installation. With the 20 Hz - 20 kHz frequency range, it's suitable for both speech, singing, and music recording. On the outcome, you can get a pretty warm sound with the accentuated mid-ranges. However, the best part about it is that it costs half the price of the competing mics with similar characteristics.

The mic comes in the set with a small-yet-steady tripod and a 10-feet USB cable to hook it up to your computer. The feature that adds to the usability of the mic is that it's got a special switch on it to reduce bass, dampening the ambient noise in a room. This comes in especially handy during podcasting and live streaming performance when you'd like to derive a clearer sound for your viewers and listeners. Another useful feature we'd like to make a note of is a turn-off -10 dB overload protection. Switching it on allows users to reduce distortion of the banging sound and too loud voices. Overall, we can recommend this mic to all beginning artists, podcasters, and streamers who'd like to use it for recording voice, speech or instrument performance at home.

Review of CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
CAD U37 Review and Sound Test - CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone Review
CAD U37
CAD U37
 

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB

MULTIPURPOSE MIC

The Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone offers you flexibility how you can use it: in a studio with a professional mixer, at home with a computer or on a stage for PA speeches. This has been achieved by integrating two outputs instead of one. Now a user can connect it either to a computer via a USB cable or to a sound system via a 3-pin XLR cable as the mic comes with both cables included. Speaking of sound characteristics, they aren't on par with more expensive peers but still good for small recording studios and at-home use. Like the majority of modern mics, this one has a 3.5mm port allowing users to use it together with headphones.

You will surely like the build quality of the Audio-Technica ATR2100 mic. It's not for nothing Audio-Technica company has gained reputation of one of the leading manufacturers of audio equipment which is recognized for its robust design and long service life worldwide. With that said, the Audio-Technica ATR2100 mic can survive intensive use at ease and faithfully serve you for many years. The manufacturer covers this microphone with a lifetime limited warranty to give customers confidence in its credibility and quality.

Review of Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB USB/XLR Microphone

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone Review and Sound Test
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB
 

Sources:

1. Microphone Buying Guide, Musician's Friend. December 9, 2013.
2. Andrew Blackman How to Choose the Right Microphone for Voice Recording, Envato Tuts+. March 19, 2015.
3. Microphone, Wikipedia. November 4, 2016.
4. Alan Henry How to Choose the Best Microphone for Your PC, Lifehacker. March 24, 2014.
5. The Beginner’s Guide to Recording Studio Microphones, E-Home Recording Studio.
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