It has always been a special moment to enter the studio and record a new song or album. I fancy the fact, that, whatever piece of music you’re going to produce, will be for eternity.
Moreover, your recordings will always be the fundament of music promotion. Who wouldn’t want this masterpiece of creativity sound as perfect as it could get?
That’s exactly, why having a powerful and reliable studio microphone in place, is crucial and should be prioritized before many other gears or plugins purchases.
I’m going to introduce you to the 3 best studio microphones for vocals for every budget.
Shure SM 7B
I personally think, you shouldn’t buy any vocal recording mic for less than $ 400. So, the Shure SM 7B would be a decent start for serious recording.
There are plenty of world-famous musicians and producers, who swear by the Shure SM 7B. Michael Jackson (with producer Quincy Jones), the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam or the Foo Fighters all use or have used this inexpensive, still special dynamic microphone.
However, don’t be misled by those popular names as they used tons of super-expensive, high-end additional gears to let the SM 7B shine the way it did. If you work with average pre-amp and without a Cloudlifter, chances are, you won’t get the top sound out of it.
Nevertheless, in summary, it’s safe to say, that it’s the best mike at this price point.
– Classic cardioid polar pattern
– Maximum rejection and minimum coloration of off-axis sound
– Rugged construction and excellent cartridge protection
– Flat, wide-range frequency response for both music and speech
– Bass roll off and mid-range emphasis controls
– Improved rejection against electromagnetic hum
– Internal air-suspension shock absorber to eliminate mechanical noise transmission
– Detachable wind shield A7WS protects against popping noises and gives a warmer sound for close-talk vocals
– Swivel bracket with integrated tripod mount for easy installation provides precise microphone positioning control
– Frequency response from 50 – 20,000 Hz
– Output Impedance: 150 Ohm
– Open circuit sensitivity: -59.0 dBV / Pa (1.12 mV)
– Includes foam win screen, close-talk windscreen, and locking yoke mount.
– Avoid any background noise while recording even in less ideal conditions (home studio)
– Produces crisp, clean and warm professional audio sound
– You can scream without clipping
– You need a capable preamp (+60db gain) and a Cloudlifter to reach its full potential
– It doesn’t work on everything; Pretty poor on acoustic guitar
– Vocal recordings
– Speaker recordings
– Radio DJ
– Broadcast, radio and TV
That’s the one I personally use. I bought the Neumann TLM49 4 years ago, when we reached a certain sound limit in our home studio.
Looking at the studio equipment, I realized, that I still used a lower-priced dynamic microphone for vocal recordings, which didn’t do justice to the level of music we were producing.
Hands down, if I had had the money, I would have purchased the Neuman U87Ai as I always like to go for the best when it comes to music quality. Nevertheless, as far as I was concerned, the TLM49 was the runner-up pro studio mike. So, I went for it and never looked back.
Compared to my old mic, the sound quality of the TLM49 was just night and day. TLM stands for “transformerless microphone”.
– Large-diaphragm studio microphone
– Cardioid directional characteristic
– Warm sound, especially optimized for vocal performance
– Uses famous K47 capsule
– Retro look and sound design oriented towards the legendary M 49 and M 50
– Typical Neumann fine matte nickel finish. The “sound design” is also oriented toward that of the M 49 and the U 47. By combining its retro look with proven Neumann transformerless circuit technology, this microphone ensures low self-noise and the use of high gain levels.
– Looks gorgeous
– Reproduces a rich, smooth, and sweet sound
– Can make a thin voice sound warm, fat, smooth and clean over the entire frequency range
– The TLM 49 can operate at sound pressure levels of up to 114dB without distortion, and provides a dynamic range of 102dB (A-weighted)
– It can also transmit extremely low-frequency signals without coloration
– You have tailored response on the low end
– Shine on both female and male vocals without having to roll-off bass which can muddy up most vocals
– Also great, when used overhead for drumkits
– Achievable and fair pricing
– Does not have any wooden box, comes in a normal paper board retail packing
– Instruments, such as guitar, bass, piano, drums
Neumann U87 Ai – The Gold Standard
Let me finally introduce you to the king of studio microphones.
The best known Neumann U87 Ai has been the studio standard for 50 years and there are good reasons why. This solid high end mike is a powerful industry standard with excellent sound and reliability. It’s for certain, the U87 Ai doesn’t come for free, but you’ll get what you pay for.
This famous model of condenser mic really does sound much better than anything in the mid-priced market
– Large dual-diaphragm capsule
– Three polar patterns: omni, cardioid, figure-8 – selectable with a switch
– Switchable 10 dB pre-attenuation to handle sound pressure levels up to 127 dB without distortion
– Low frequency response can be reduced to compensate for proximity effect
– Vintage record smokey 3D vibe
– Excels at providing great midrange detail and depth with just a touch of air on top
– Clear, clean and real
– It can get boxy but that is easy to fix with EQ
– The price tag is pretty big
– Singer (male & female)
– Acoustic guitar
– Basically, everything you put in front sounds amazing
There’s no doubt about it. If you want to bring your vocal recording sound to the next level, you have to make an investment and get a great studio microphone.
With the Shure SM 7B, the Neumann TLM 49 and the Neumann U87 Ai, you have three top recording mikes available, which meet different budgets.
Check them out, love them, have fun and make great music!
Did you like my review? What do you use for vox recording? Share your opinion, I’m interested!