Best Studio Microphones for Recording Vocals

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If you’re looking to buy a studio microphone for home or studio recording, picking the right one can be a daunting task with all the different options available in the market right now. (Seriously, it’s like a sea of microphones out there).

Keep in mind, though, that not all microphones are created equal. Some fare better than others based on several factors, including the type of microphone, frequency response range, sensitivity level, and several other elements.

In this guide, we explore the best studio microphones for recording vocals in 2020. They are worth checking out if you’re in the market for a new one.

Best Studio Microphones for 2020

 NameTypeFrequency Response RangeOpen-Circuit SensitivityMaximum input sound levelBuy Now 
Audio-Technica AT2020 – Editor’s PickCardioid condenser20-20,000 Hz-37 dB (14.1 mV / Pa)144 dBView Price
ZINGYOU BM-800 Cardioid condenser20-20,000 Hz-34 dB (19.95 mV / Pa)132 dBView Price
The Neewer NW-700Cardioid condenser20-16,000 Hz-38 dB (12.6 mV / Pa)132 dBView Price
Rode NT-USBCardioid condenser20-20,000 Hz-32 dB (25.1 mV / Pa)110 dBView Price
Neewer NW-800Cardioid condenser20-16,000 Hz-37 dB (25.1 mV / Pa)132 dBView Price
MXL 990 XLR  Cardioid condenser30-20,000 Hz-36 dB (15 mV / Pa)130 dBView Price
Shure SM7BCardioid dynamic50-20,000 Hz-59 dB (1.1 mV / Pa)180 dBView Price

1. Best Overall – Editor’s Pick

The Audio-Technica AT2020 condenser microphone is outstanding in every aspect you would expect from a great-quality cardioid condenser mic. It delivers clean, crisp, and airy vocals, which, when combined with a compressor plug-in, provides clarity, especially when close-miking voices.

Its open-circuit sensitivity is 14.1mV / Pa and comes with a built-in secondary layer of fine mesh to filter out popping. All in all, if you’re looking for a low-cost mic that delivers a refined and believable sound on vocals, the Audio-Technica will not disappoint.

Features

  • Permanently polarized cardioid condenser
  • 20-20,000 Hz frequency response
  • -37 dB (14.1 mV / Pa) open-circuit sensitivity
  • 144 dB SPL maximum input sound level
  • 48V phantom power requirement

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Superior engineering
  • Great sound on vocals

Cons

  • May have a slightly higher-than-average noise level

2. Best for Sensitive Capture

Finding a mic that accurately captures a wide frequency response range for vocals can be quite difficult, to say the least. The ZINGYOU BM-800 microphone performs exceptionally in that regard.

It is designed for professional studio musicians and new performers alike. Its cardioid polar pattern is highly effective in isolating sound pickup from the rear and sides, to provide a high-quality recording every time.

Features

  • Polarized cardioid condenser
  • 20-20,000 Hz frequency response
  • -34 dB (19.95 mV / Pa) open-circuit sensitivity
  • 132 dB SPL maximum input sound level
  • 48V phantom power requirement

Pros

  • Comes with a soundcard, power cable, anti-wind foam cap, adjustable suspension scissor arm stand, pop filter, and shock mount
  • High sensitivity capture
  • Has a high signal-to-noise ratio for less distortion

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with conventional male to female XLR connectors

3. Best for Versatility

When choosing the best studio microphones for recording vocals, one of the most important considerations is the sound quality it delivers. You also need to consider how versatile it is.

The Neewer NW-700 professional recording microphone is well-known for its versatile character. You can mount it on the adjustable scissor-arm stand for musical recording or mount it on a broadcast announcer’s desk. It uses a cardioid pickup pattern to isolate the main source of sound while minimizing any unwanted noise to deliver a clear and crisp recording.

Features

  • Polarized cardioid condenser
  • 20-16,000 Hz frequency response
  • -38 dB (12.6 mV / Pa) open-circuit sensitivity
  • 132 dB SPL maximum input sound level
  • 48V phantom power requirement

Pros

  • Comes with power cable, ball-type anti-wind foam cap, and metal shock mount
  • Highly versatile
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Is not compatible with Mac OS devices

4. Best for Device Compatibility

The Rode NT-USB microphone is one of the best side-address studio-quality mics you’ll come across. It is ideal for recording a wide range of musical performances and has several spoken applications, including voice-overs and podcasts.

The best part about it is the fact that it is compatible with computers and devices that run on both Mac OS and Windows. Moreover, unlike other mics in the market, the Rode NT provides the convenience of USB connectivity.

Features

  • Polarized cardioid condenser
  • 20-20,000 Hz frequency response
  • -32 dB (25.1 mV / Pa) open-circuit sensitivity
  • 110 dB SPL maximum input sound level
  • 48V phantom power requirement

Pros

  • Comes with a USB cable, a storage pouch, ring mount, tripod desk mount, and pop shield
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Compatible with Mac OS and Windows-powered devices

Cons

  • Ultra-high sensitivity, which can be an issue when recording in non-insulated environments

5. Best for Minimizing Distortion

The problem with overly sensitive condenser mics is that they are not ideal for use in non-insulated environments. Nonetheless, you also don’t want a mic that cannot pick up vocals in clear, crisp detail, which is a pretty important consideration for sound recording.

The Neewer NW-800 professional studio microphone provides the perfect balance of the two. It isn’t as sensitive as some of the condenser mics you’ll come across and delivers clear vocals with minimal noise and a decent amount of off-axis rejection.

Features

  • Polarized cardioid condenser
  • 20-16,000 Hz frequency response
  • -37 dB (14.1 mV / Pa) open-circuit sensitivity
  • 132 dB SPL maximum input sound level
  • 48V phantom power requirement

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Minimal noise distortion
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • Heavier than most microphones

6. Best for Professional Musicians

The MXL 990 XLR microphone is specifically designed for the studio environment. It comes with a large diaphragm, to receive and record sounds clearly with minimal noise and distortion. This is partly why it is such a hit among recording artists and studio owners all over the world. Its sleek design is a bonus.

Features

  • Polarized cardioid condenser
  • 30-20,000 Hz frequency response
  • -36 dB (15 mV / Pa) open-circuit sensitivity
  • 130 dB SPL maximum input sound level
  • 48V phantom power requirement

Pros

  • Exceptionally large diaphragm for accurate sound capture
  • Comes with a built-in pop filter
  • Provides a professional sound

Cons

  • Captures ambient sounds when it is not used in an insulated setting

7. Best Unidirectional Microphone

The Shure SM7B cardioid dynamic mic has long been the industry standard for studio recording, as well as radio and television broadcasting. It offers an exceptionally smooth frequency response and is designed to pick up sound from a single direction. This makes it perfect for recording vocals and other sound sources.

Features

  • Unidirectional cardioid dynamic
  • 50-20,000 Hz frequency response
  • -59 dB (1.1 mV / Pa) open-circuit sensitivity
  • 180 dB SPL maximum input sound level

Pros

  • Superior noise rejection capability
  • Perfect for live recording
  • Provides rich and clear sound

Cons

  • Some professionals feel that this particular vocal microphone does the bare minimum to boost vocals

A Total Game-Changer

There you have it – the best studio microphones for 2020. Getting the right vocal mic is a total game-changer for your song recordings, video chats, podcast recordings, and gaming experience.

It will completely change the way you record and experience sound. But don’t take our word for it – try it out for yourself. The difference is mind-blowing!

Are you looking to set up a studio? Check out our blog for the ultimate professional recording studio equipment list.

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