Best Microphones for Recording Vocals (2023) – Home & Studio

Author: Dedrich Schafer | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

There are so many different microphone brands, each with tons of models that picking the right one can feel impossible.

And then you are met with spec sheets with numbers and words that you just can’t wrap your head around.

Luckily, I have compiled this list of some of the best microphones for recording vocals, both at home and in the studio.

Best Home & Studio Mics for Recording Vocals

1. Rode NT1-A

The Rode NT1-A is one of the most popular microphones for both home and studio work. If you have ever used one, you will know exactly why.

If you have never experienced the NT1-A, I can promise you won’t be disappointed. There just aren’t many mics in this price range that can compete with it.

This mic has become a mainstay in both home as well as professional studios. It has a fantastic dynamic range and great warmth.

This mic will be able to capture the bassiest of voices, all the way to the highest - all while giving your voice a very rich, full sound.

Even though it adds some warmth, I think it still keeps your voice natural. The NT1-A doesn’t change the sound of your voice, it just enhances it.

You will need 48V phantom power to run the NT1-A. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen is fairly inexpensive and provides phantom power.

Luckily, the NT1-A isn’t loud. Its self noise is only 5dBA, so you can pick up the slightest noise without worrying about noise from the mic.

On the other end, it can also handle loud noises with ease. If you do metal vocals or just have a loud, powerful voice, you can easily record with the NT1-A.

The NT1-A is a very solid mic, well-built and tough. It has quite a bit of weight to it but I wouldn’t call it heavy. This is just a fantastic mic, one that I think needs to be in everyone’s studio.


2. Shure SM7B

If you have watched a podcast or a live stream, you have likely seen the Shure SM7B. This has quickly become one of the most popular choices for professional sounding audio.

The SM7B is a very durable, well-made mic. It can take quite a beating and will just keep going. It is also designed to be pretty much plug and play with its attached mount and built in wind shield.

The SM7B sounds naturally a bit bassier in my opinion. It isn’t boomy, there is just a slight emphasis on the low end. I tend to reach for the EQ whenever I use the SM7B.

This gives the mic some extra weight and punch. This makes it ideal for more aggressive vocals like metal. It has actually become quite popular for recording metal vocalists.

Even with the warmth and bassiness of the mic, it still manages to be very clear. Your voice is going to be very audible, and with its flat frequency response, very natural sounding.

The one slight issue I have is that you have to stay quite close to the mic. This is a very directional mic.

Moving too far away from the diaphragm results in quite a bit of volume drop off. You have to keep the mic pretty much aimed directly at your mouth and right against it for the best sound.

The SM7B is a bit more on the expensive side. But I think for what it offers, it is fantastic. It is also still affordable enough for most.


3. Aston Microphones Origin

The Aston Microphones Origin is a very unique mic. It is probably one of the more unique mics in this price range.

The Origin has a very cool design. It almost looks like it was made in the 1800s. And it isn’t just all style. There is more than enough substance here as well.

The Origin has a very rich sound. Vocals are very natural sounding, with this nice touch of warmth. There isn’t a particular emphasis on any frequencies. It has a fairly flat frequency response.

As far as build quality, I was a bit concerned. The mic doesn’t look like the sturdiest thing. But once you pick it up, you can feel that it is quite solid. It has an all metal body and grill, so no worries about it breaking easily.

You should also take note of where the badge is on the mic. The design of the Origin makes it look like an omni-directional or even bi-directional mic. But this is very much a cardioid mic and the logo shows where the diaphragm sits.

While I appreciate the included mic stand, I don’t think the Origin is quite made for it. Since the mic mount is on the under side of the mic, there isn’t much room for movement. The included cables also aren’t too bad, but I would probably still just use a brand I know.

I would recommend getting a suitable shockmount like the Aston Microphones Swiftshield. It also comes with a pop filter. Phantom power is also a requirement.


4. Neumann TLM 102

Neumann is one of the biggest, most highly regarded names in mics. That sets a pretty high bar for the TLM 102.

The TLM 102 might not be quite as impressive looking as other Neumanns. But what does matter is still very much present: the sound.

Frequency response is about as flat as you would expect on a Neumann. Vocals are recreated accurately and naturally.

Neumann has added a nice boost around 6kHz. This gives vocals a very wonderful presence. It also helps vocals stand out more in the mix.

Despite its smaller stature, the TLM 102 still manages to feel solid. Not too surprising for a Neumann, I have never used one that felt cheap or flimsy.

Its smaller size also means that it is pretty lightweight. No fears of the mic drooping, and your vocalist doesn’t have to look around a big mic to talk to you.

I have also noticed that vocalists like to hold the mic in their hands while using it. This lets them put on a more energetic, exciting performance when recording.

The obvious problem with the TLM 102 is its price. It is cheap compared to other Neumanns, but still expensive.

This is very much a mic that is more likely to be in a professional studio rather than a home one. Of course, Neumann mics just have that something special and are worth the price.

You can get a more affordable mic without sacrificing on quality. But if you can afford it, the TLM 102 is a fantastic mic.


5. AKG C214

AKG is a well-loved brand when it comes to audio. Not just for their high quality monitors and headphones, but also for their high quality mics.

The C414 is perhaps their best and most famous. So, the C214 sharing a lot of the same DNA is a very good sign.

It even uses one part of the C414’s dual capsule system. That means that you can expect a sound that is familiar to the C414.

What you are getting is a mic that is very well suited to vocals. The C214 has a very rich sound and captures vocals very accurately.

What really impressed me was how nuanced the sound is as well. The C214 is able to capture slight details. Allowing for some really dynamic vocal performances.

The frequency response isn’t perfectly flat. I noticed a slight dip in the midrange, before getting a boost in the low highs again. My guess is this was done to keep the sound under control in the midrange, and then to give it some richness in the highs.

You are also getting a few nice extras with this mic. A nice shockmount and pop filter, although the pop filter isn’t my favorite. And then there is the very sturdy carrying case. It looks great and will keep your mic safe against practically anything.

Overall, the AKG C214 is an excellent mic. It is a bit more expensive than other mics on this list, but definitely well worth it.


6. Warm Audio WA-47Jr

Warm Audio might not be the most recognizable name on this list. Despite that, they have made quite a mark with their excellent, affordable recreations of classic mics.

The WA-47Jr is their take on the classic Neumann FET 47. And I think they have done quite an excellent job.

Right off the bat, the WA-47Jr resembles the familiar, cylindrical design, while still being its own thing. It has that same sleek metal body, with the big diaphragm mesh on top.

It has a very solid construction. I actually dropped it by accident and it chipped the corner of my desk. Not a scratch on the mic itself though. And even though it is so sturdy, it still manages to be light compared to many other mics this size.

The sound is similarly robust. While a recreation will never really match the original, I think the WA-47Jr comes close enough for its price.

The sound is clear and smooth. It is also quite natural without any added warmth or brightness. You are getting an accurate, true recreation of your vocals.

There is a bit of a dip in the low mids. But this can be easily fixed with some light EQ.

The mic has some added versatility as well. It has three selectable polar patterns: cardioid, omni-, and bi-directional. That means you can use it as a normal vocal mic, a room mic, with multiple vocalists, etc.

If you are looking for an affordable singing microphone for recording, the WA-47Jr is the way too go.


7. sE Electronics sE2200

When it comes to affordable, quality recording mics, sE Electronics is among the best. Their sE2200 is not just one of their most popular mics, but one of their best.

As far as construction goes, there isn’t much to say. The mic has a solid metal body and grill and feels about as sturdy as you would expect.

Sound quality is the real draw with this mic. Frequency response is quite flat, making for accurate and natural sounding vocals.

This is a great mic if you want your vocals to sound “honest”. The sE2200 doesn’t add anything to your voice, it just gives you what your voice sounds like.

This is great for getting a true, acoustic vocal performance. But this can also be useful if you are planning on using a lot of effects since you will just have the raw vocals with no added processing.

This is another mic where you have to make sure the logo is facing towards you. This is a cardioid mic and the diaphragm is located on the side of the logo.

My only real complaint is with the included pop filter. It is just bad. It is flimsy and doesn’t do much. Don’t even try to use this mic with the included filter.

The included shockmount also isn’t the best, but it is fine for what it is. A replacement isn’t absolutely necessary.

But other than that, the sE2200 is a fantastic mic for home use or anyone looking for a good, affordable vocal mic.


How to Choose a Good Microphone for Recording Voice?

When choosing the best mics for home studio vocals, there are a few things you should consider.

The most important will be:

  • The type of microphone
  • The polar pattern

Let us take a brief look at these two points and what they entail.

Microphone Type

There are three types of microphones: dynamic, condenser, and ribbon.

Dynamic

These are usually the cheapest types of mic. They aren’t very sensitive, but are designed to be very durable.

This is because they are generally meant to be used on stage. This is usually a loud environment where mics are almost guaranteed to be dropped, knocked, or thrown.

Since dynamic mics aren’t that sensitive they have a hard time picking up background noise, thus preventing feedback. They can also take a beating, and you won’t be heartbroken when one breaks.

Condenser

Condenser mics will be the ones that you most commonly find in studios. They are more expensive than dynamics, but are more sensitive.

This makes them ideal for recording acoustic instruments, vocals, and even amps. They can pick up the slight details, resulting in a fuller, richer sound.

They are also more fragile. This means that you don’t want to move them around too much. Not to mention that they usually also require external power in the form of phantom power.

Condenser mics aren’t very practical to use on stage, but in a studio where they aren’t being moved around much, they are great.

Ribbon

These are your least common mics. They are very expensive, very fragile, but also very sensitive. These are able to recreate the most natural and accurate sound.

You are really only going to find ribbon mics in professional studios. They aren’t very practical to use and require certain skills to use properly.

Polar Pattern

There are a few different polar patterns, but the most common ones are: cardioid, omni-directional, and bi-directional.

Without going into too much of the science behind polar patterns, this is simply a way of indicating how a mic captures sound. Depending on what you are recording, you will use different polar patterns.

For instruments, amps, and vocals, you will typically use cardioid. This is when the mic picks up sound in front of the diaphragm, while rejecting everything from the sides and back.

Bi-directional, or figure-8, is used when you want to capture sound at the front and back of the mic, while rejecting everything to the sides. This is usually used when you want to record two or more vocalists standing either side of the mic.

Omni-directional is when the mic captures sound equally in a 360 degree sphere around it. This is normally used for recording the sound of a room or a choir standing around the mic.

For vocals, especially at home recordings, you will likely only need a mic with a cardioid pattern. It is still a good idea to get a mic with switchable patterns, should you want to experiment in the future.

Sound Treatment

This is something that many people who record at home forget. You need to treat the room you record in well.

This means putting up acoustic treatment, both absorption and diffusion. For vocals, you will likely also need a separate vocal booth like this portable one.

But you should also get your room measured and tested so that the correct treatment and right amount is put up. You can’t just stick acoustic treatment to a wall and expect it to work.

You can have the best mic in the world, but if your room isn’t treated correctly, it isn’t going to sound good.

Conclusion

While this is still just a handful of some of the great vocal mics out there, this should serve as a good guide to find one that suits your needs. I also hope that now you understand some of the key terms used when talking about mics a bit better.

Avatar photo

About Dedrich Schafer

Dedrich is a guitar player, songwriter and sound engineer with extensive music production and studio experience. He mostly listens to classic rock and punk bands, but sometimes also likes listening to rap and acoustic songs.

Leave a Comment