Are you a budding journalist, voiceover artist, blogger, singer, or musician?
If you’re here looking to find something to help you hone your craft, we’re definitely with you in getting one of the best studio recording microphones of all time: a condenser microphone.
Condenser microphones, being more sensitive and responsive in reproducing instrument or voice compared to dynamic microphones, will introduce you to the world of voice recording.
Who hasn’t tried listening to podcasts or even tried creating their own podcast? Is there still anyone who has not tried karaoke apps on the computer or phone?
In this day and age, every household needs a real microphone, especially those that have “millennials” around.
Highest Rated Studio Recording Mics – Comparison Table
While there is only a slight variation in star rating among these top ten dynamic mics there were some notable differences. Sennheiser and Shure show a strong presence but there are some surprises.
Here we give you the top ten highest rated recording microphones available online, listed from highest to lowest rating.
Top 10 Studio Microphones – Reviews
Doing our research has brought us these top 10 studio microphones. Here they are listed from highest review to number 10. It’s important to remember that any of these mics are going to get the job done well.
Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 Condenser Microphone
This microphone has enhanced directionality and gives quality output even in less than perfect situations. The shotgun tube makes this a great microphone for YouTube filming or any sort of broadcast vocal recording.
This is the only microphone on our list to get a 100% 5-star rating across all customer reviews.
With microphone prices ranging anywhere from $15 – $1000+ how do you know what you should buy? Is price the biggest determining factor? Can you get a quality microphone without breaking the bank?
AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone
This large-diaphragm condenser delivers quality sound every time. It’s recommended for any recording at home or in-studio. Some of our favorite reviews are:
Shure BETA 87A Supercardioid Condenser Vocal Microphone
Shure BETA 87A Supercardioid Condenser Microphone
This one is a workhorse of a supercardioid condenser. Let’s read some reviews shall we:
AKG P420 High-performance Dual-capsule True Condenser Microphone
This mic features great sound quality and a dual-element design. This allows it to capture a larger variety of sounds. Here are some reviews on what actual users thought:
Marantz Professional MPM-2000U
What?! A USB microphone? Yep! This is the perfect solution for digital home recordings and awesome for plug and play recordings. It comes with a shock mount and carrying case as well. The users had some great things to say as well:
Best Studio Microphone – Buyers Guide
While these features may make you think that this must be some investment only for serious artists, entry-level studio recording microphones enhance gaming (for example with the best gaming headphones without mic), podcasting or the online chatting experience.
Among the three condenser microphones, the AKG Pro Audio P220 has the most modern and sleek design.
In terms of audio quality, AKG Pro Audio again bested the other two studio recording microphones. AKG Pro Audio does a better job of removing background noise and amplifying the main sound source.
Sennheiser though is not very far behind, doing very well in recording singing voice although not much with guitar sounds.
Audio-Technica is not bad either. It does a decent recording of singing and talking voice, as well as some music. So, depending on your purpose for getting a condenser microphone, you may find your perfect match inAKG,Sennheiser or Audio-Technica.
Ease of use, assembly, or setup:
Of the three, AKG’s condenser microphone is the easiest to use. All you need to do is mount the microphone onto the tripod, connect the USB cable to your laptop or computer, and then adjust the mic to your desired angle.
Additionally, there’s no need for installing any software, a 48V phantom power source, an XLR cord, and an audio cable like other mics do.
Neither does AKG’s mic need a pop filter stand to setup like some do. If ease of use is a major consideration, AKG tops this department.
As for the price, AKG comes out as the cheapest; Audio-Technica, second; and Sennheiser, last. The price gap though is quite wide.
And considering that with some you need to purchase or have a 48V phantom power unit, an XLR cord, a boom stand/tripod, and the best audio interface for Mac you can find.
But, of course, if you already have the bells and whistles and cost is an important consideration, AKG can easily win this one.
The Verdict – The Top Studio Recording Microphone…
Among the three, your best option is the AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone.
The device provides a decent audio quality for a pro-level microphone, and it especially does a great job in recording voice not to mention that it looks great and is easy to use.
But if you’re looking for a condenser microphone to record your singing voice, you might find Audio-Technica AT875R to suit you better.
If you fancy a recording setup with the works, Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 is not a bad choice either.
But since you’re willing to get the bells and whistles that a USB condenser microphone can do without, you might as well level up by investing in a high-end condenser microphone.
When it comes to audio recording, no one microphone matches all setups and needs of all users. There is no complete package.
For instance, other kits would include everything like a stand but would need a phantom power supply. Some kits are plug-and-play but do not have a pop filter. It really depends on what the buyer is willing to purchase separately.
As for the needed power supply and soundcard or interface installations, it would be a good investment to spend separately on those if one really wants to have the best possible setup for studio recording.
What Are Good Studio Recording Microphones?
In our tests our top 3 are Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3, AKG Pro Audio P220 and Audio-Technica AT875R. It also depends on your budget or the amount of money you’re willing to pay.
Good Studio Microphones to Choose
Prices range from a hundred to almost a thousand dollars. But before you consider all of that, you should know the different types of microphones that are often found in studios and used on stage.
There are only three main types of microphones, and the first is the one you’re probably most familiar with.
Which Studio Microphone Is Best For Recording?
The AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone.
Buying a microphone may seem easy. You may think that the only factors to consider are the price, aesthetics, or brands.
But when you go to a store and are faced with a wide variety of microphones, you will realize that it is not as simple as you think. Good thing this guide will give you an idea on the different types of microphones and the different specifications that might answer the question “how to choose a microphone for studio recording?”’
Yes, there are a wide variety of microphones on the market and we will help you make the best choice.
Truth be told, the range of choices can be overwhelming and comparing their unique features only makes it more confusing. It is therefore important that you are clear about what you want and need before going shopping for a microphone for your recording studio.
How to Choose a Microphone for Recording
Before buying a microphone, you need to be specific on what features do you want and for what specific purpose will it be used. There are three types of commonly used microphones: 1) the dynamic, 2) the condenser, and 3) the ribbon microphones.
All types of microphones perform the main function of converting air vibrations into electrical signals, but each one has a specific feature that will distinguish them from the others. It is important that you are aware of these distinguishing features before you decide which one to choose.
Aside from having the basic knowledge of the different types of microphones available in the market, it is also essential to know the primary specifications or features of a microphone, or what kind of mic you need to be able to decide when choosing one.
It is always good to remember that no matter how overwhelming the different types of microphones in the market are plus the various features they come with, knowing them would greatly help you understand how to choose a microphone for recording.
Though an expert-level of knowledge is not necessary, a familiarity of the features discussed above would come in handy in choosing the most appropriate microphone for your recording or for whatever purpose you have in buying one.
Picking the Right Microphone for the Job
To get the best possible studio recording, picking the right microphone for the job is paramount. That is why knowing their differences and what they’re best suited for is important.
If you have a home studio, a condenser mic is ideal. If you have a loud guitar amp, then you need a dynamic mic. If you need to record woodwind or string instruments, invest in ribbon mics.
Consider Your Purpose
At the end of the day, the microphone you buy is going to depend on what you plan to do with it. Recording your saxophone will require a different microphone than a recording microphone you’d purchase for recording a podcast.
Make sure to do your research on what your recording niche requires from a microphone.
Then, purchase a few different types of mics to figure out which works best for your setup and style. Amazon’s return policy makes this simple. Since Amazon offers a full refund return policy you can try as many mics as you like risk-free.
Figure Out Your Space
Before you purchase any equipment, plan out your recording space. Will you have the whole basement to work with or a small corner of your bedroom? Are you going to be able to set up a dedicated home recording studio or will it be in a multi-purpose space?
If you’re building in a place that will be used for other things you’re going to want a different, easy to break-down, setup for your recording equipment.
Make sure you have exact measurements of the space you are allotting for recording. Be realistic in your measurements.
You are going to need to fit some stuff in here. Leave room for a desk or table, a computer or laptop, a comfortable chair, and any necessary stands and windshields that will be needed. Consider storage for your equipment and your instruments.
What is Microphone Directionality?
This is how a microphone picks up sounds when recording vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and anything else you want to record. Microphone directionality is how the recording changes by where the mic is placed.
These changes are graphed out in charts called polar patterns. Polar patterns graphs show the frequency response of the microphone when the source of the sound is moved.
When you are talking about the best PC for music production, a microphone for recording vocals, or a microphone for recording large groups of people, you are looking for omnidirectional microphone systems.
These have the frequency range and build quality to handle loud sound and soft sounds and accurately pick up the sound source while keeping a low noise level.
You should use a unidirectional cardioid pattern microphone for studio recording in less than ideal conditions.
This is why so many of the cardioid microphones rate high for home recording studios. Your studio monitors will be able to pick up these differences so you can compare.
Frequently Asked Questions
What microphones do recording studios use?
As per our research, the following mics are the ones that are most regularly used and appreciated by real recording studios:
1. Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3
2. AKG Pro Audio P220
3. Audio-Technica AT875R
4. Shure BETA 87A
5. Marantz Professional MPM-2000U
6. Dayton Audio EMM-6
7. MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
8. MXL V67G
9. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
10. Sennheiser e945
How much does a recording studio mic cost?
Recording studio mics can cost anywhere between $80-$2000, depending on the quality of sound that you are looking at. See our guide to microphone prices here.
What is a good cheap microphone for recording vocals?
The AKG Pro Audio P220 is a good quality recording studio mic at a low price.
What are the four types of microphones?
Dynamic Mics: Known for being durable and inexpensive, dynamic mics are perfect for loud instruments such as drums and guitars. Dynamic mics can handle high levels of sound pressure (SPL).
Large Diaphram Condensors: These are probably the first thing that comes to mind when a layperson thinks of recording studios. They use a capacity for converting your sound into electric current, which is why they need a power outlet to work. They are probably the most sensitive mics and can return a much louder signal. They work very well in a quiet environment.
Small Diaphram Condensors: Also called pencil mics, these are smaller versions of LDCs. They are very consistent in their pickup, usually have a good transient response and nice top end. They are good for both stereo and acoustic equipment.
Ribbon Mics: You can easily recognize ribbon mics in pics of old radio broadcasting studios. They are known for adding a vintage quality to your sound.
Should I buy a condenser or dynamic microphone?
It depends on your usage. Condenser mics are best for capturing higher frequencies and softer sounds but don’t do so well when there is a lot of ambient noise. People prefer condenser mics in vocals and recording studios.
Dynamic mics can negotiate nearby noise much better and do well with louder instruments. Most stage performances use dynamic mics. Dynamic mics do not need a power source, which is another advantage for a live setting.
Best Studio Mics was started by a husband and wife team who love the sound and the technicals behind recording it. Both are professional theatre artists, one with a stage management background and one more on stage. One also has experience in film and television work and the different audio requirements of that arena.