When it comes to microphones, the first question that comes to mind is:
What’s the best mic for recording vocals, youtube videos, streaming, gaming and podcasting?
Well the truth is…
There is no one mic that is best for everything and you have to buy one according to your needs and budget.
In this guide, I’ve mentioned ten best microphones starting from $7 and you’ll find many mics here for your specific needs whether it is podcasting, streaming or for recording vocals.
Best Microphones of 2018:
When buying a decent microphone you don’t need to have a bunch of specifics in your head. But if you’re going to buy a microphone for a specific purpose than you have to remember some technical details like pattern and frequency response etc.
Look at the comparison table. I will provide you with more information that will help you in our Buyer’s Guide later.
All microphones listed here are worth their price and are best of the best as compared to other mics available in the market.
Shure microphones are very good and this particular SM58 microphone deserves to be on number one position in the list.
A standard on stages throughout the world for years, the Shure SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone offers a carefully tailored frequency rise at about 4,000 Hz for smooth as silk vocals that stand out in the mix.
Long associated with its unmistakable sound and unsurpassed reliability, the Shure SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone is widely considered the most popular mic in the world.
Designed for professional vocal use in sound reinforcement and studio recording, the Shure SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone utilizes a highly effective, built-in, spherical filter that minimizes wind and breath pop noise while the cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source and minimizes unwanted background noise.
The tailored vocal response on the SM58 is a legendary tone that has become a world standard.
Shure SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone Features:
- mid-frequency presence rise for world-famous SM58 Mic sound,
- Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source,
- Minimizes background noise,
- Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise,
- Rugged construction for extreme reliability in demanding applications,
- built-in spherical wind and pop filter,
- 50 to 15,000 Hz frequency response,
- Supplied with break-resistant stand adapter which rotates 180 degrees,
- Legendary Shure quality,
- and reliability,
- Includes a mic stand adapter and a zippered storage pouch.
|Frequency Response||50 to 15,000 Hz|
(at 1,000 Hz Open Circuit Voltage)
|-54.5 dBV/Pa (1.85 mV)
1 Pa = 94 dB SPL
|Impedance||Rated impedance is 150 Ohms (300 Ohms actual) for connection to microphone inputs rated low impedance|
|Polarity||Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3|
|Case||Dark gray, enamel-painted, die cast metal; matte-finished, silver colored, spherical steel mesh grille|
|Connector||Three-pin professional audio connector (male XLR type)|
|Net Weight||298 grams (10.5 oz)|
|Dimensions||162 mm (6-3/8 in.) L x 51 mm (2 in.) W|
|SM58-LC||Includes Stand Adapter and Zippered Pouch|
|SM58S||Includes Integrated On/Off Switch, Swivel Adapter and a Zippered Pouch|
|SM58-CN||Includes 7.6 m (25 ft) XLR-Male to XLR-Female Cable, Swivel Adapter and a Zippered Pouch|
|SM58-X2U||Includes X2U XLR-to-USB Signal Adapter and 9.8′ USB Cable|
- Frequency response tailored for vocals, with brightened midrange and bass rolloff
- Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source and minimizes background noise
- Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise
- Effective, built-in spherical wind and pop filter
- Supplied with break-resistant stand adapter which rotates 180 degrees
- Legendary Shure quality, ruggedness and reliability
- Cardioid (unidirectional) dynamic
- Frequency response: 50 to 15,000 Hz
Some users have complained that the switch is faulty in this microphone but still this is the best microphone you can get under $100.
This microphone is best for creating YouTube videos and if you need a USB mic then this is the best microphone you can get in this price range. The Yeti uses Blue Microphone’s proprietary tri-capsule technology to produce pristine, studio-quality recordings.
It features four different pattern settings so you can record vocals, instrumental music, podcasts, or interviews in ways that would normally require multiple microphones. With simple controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and microphone gain, you’ll be creating exceptional recordings right out of the box.
Blue Yeti USB Microphone Features:
- The ultimate professional USB microphone
- Tri-capsule array – 3 condenser capsules can record almost any situation
- Multiple pattern selection – cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo
- Gain control, mute button, zero-latency headphone output
- Perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings, conference calls
- Plug ‘n play – Mac and PC compatible
- Unique positionable design
|Studio-quality audio via digital USB||✓||✓|
|3 condenser capsules in a Tri-capsule array enable 4 recording patterns||✓||✓|
|Color options||Whiteout, Silver, Platinum, Blackout||Black|
|Adjustable Microphone gain control for varying volumes||✓||✓|
|Zero-latency headphone output with volume control for direct monitoring||✓||✓|
|Adjustable angle on its integrated custom-designed desk stand||✓||✓|
|Driverless installation for both Windows and Mac||✓|
|Professional recording via analog XLR||✓|
|Separate analog circuit path||✓|
|Maximum recording resolution||48 kHz/16-bit||192 kHz/24-bit|
Four Different Pattern Modes for Versatile Recording
|Stereo Mode||Cardioid Mode||Omnidirectional Mode||Bidirectional Mode|
|The stereo mode uses both the left and right channels, and is ideal for capturing a realistic, general sound image.||
Well-suited for podcasts, vocals, or game streaming, cardioid mode records sound sources that are directly in front of the microphone. It delivers a rich, full-bodied sound.
Omnidirectional mode picks up sound equally from all directions. It’s best used in situations when you want to capture the ambience of ‘being there’—like a live recording of a band’s performance.
|Bidirectional mode records from both the front and the rear of the microphone. It’s ideal for capturing the nuance of a musical instrument, or recording an interview between two people.|
- Great clarity
- Built-in headphone jack
- Multiple pattern selection – cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo.
- Perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings, conference calls.
- Hassle-Free Setup
- You can control Your recording in Real-Time
- You can use this for FaceTime and phone calls as well
Now I would not say that this mic is perfect but this is the best microphone within this price range and the best part is that this mic can be used for various purposes as well.
The Samson Go microphone is the best gaming microphone high-quality USB external option. Samson Go Mic Compact USB Microphone is a versatile computer-based miking and recording solution.
Due to its custom compact design, the Go Mic is able to clip directly onto your laptop or sit unobtrusively on your desk. Plug and play operation also means it’s completely compatible with a Mac or PC, with no drivers required.
The Go Mic is perfect for recording music, podcasts or field recording, but its range of functionality extends beyond typical USB microphones. The Go Mic is also ideal for voice recognition software, iChat, web casting and even Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone Features:
- Portable USB condenser microphone
- Mac and PC compatible, no drivers required
- Custom, compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk
- Perfect for recording music, podcasting and field recording, voice recognition software, iChat, VoIP and web casting
- Switchable cardiod or omnidirectional pickup patterns
- 16-bit, 44.1kHz resolution
- Smooth, flat frequency response of 20Hz–18kHz
- Stereo 1/8″ headphone output for no latency monitoring
- Includes USB cable, cable clip and carry case
- Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software (Mac OS X/Windows) available for purchase
Communication Clarity: If you’re a frequent online communicator, Go Mic provides an easy, inexpensive solution to enhance the quality of your communication.
Whether your preferred method of interaction is Skype, iChat or VoIP, Go Mic can introduce a level of clarity you didn’t think was available. With Go Mic, you can make any online interaction clearer and more personal.
• Small for travel or for a laptop
• Folds easily for safe storage
• Lasts a long time (I have never dropped mine so I don’t know the extend of that durability)
• Has different settings omni and cardioid
• USB available
• Not the best quality if you’re used to Studio quality mics
• The hinge on which it pivots can wear down after time causing it to drop.
If you’re an advanced podcaster than you definitely need to invest in the Heil PR-40.
According to Dan Benjamin, author of the Podcasting Handbook, the “Heil PR-40 is the best dynamic mic I’ve ever used, and I’ve used most of them.” This mic is also recommended by Cliff Ravenscraft, aka the Podcast Answer Man, because it will help improve the quality of your podcast.
The Heil PR 40 represents completely new dynamic microphone technology designed for a wide range of professional applications such as sophisticated recording, live sound, and commercial broadcast.
Producing the widest frequency range available in a dynamic microphone, the PR 40 outperforms most condenser microphones, and can withstand huge amounts of SPL. At the same time, it maintains the 25 year Heil Sound tradition of superbly natural voice articulation.
Some features of Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone:
- Generating element: Copper-wound dynamic with neodymium magnet structure
- Body: Steel body with zinc die-cast bottom ring
- Frequency response: 28Hz to 18kHz
- Impedance: 600 ohms balanced
- Output level: -53.9dB @ 1,000 H
- Great sounding microphone for multiple needs
- Best for podcast work
- Microphone is very rich in tone
- Good for interviews, Youtube videos and webinars as well
In some cases, this mic needs preamplification. Ideally, you want to use this with a preamp with a good clean 40dBs+ of preamplification. You can use this with Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP which works beautifully with this mic, but any comparable quality mic preamp will do.
I wasn’t expecting to make a ‘budget’ category when I began writing this article. The easiest budget answer is to just use your headset mic, even though it’s probably terrible.
But then I used the Zalman ZM-Mic1, and was shocked you could get such an upgrade for only about $7. The ZM-Mic1 doesn’t have top-of-the-line fidelity, but I’m willing to bet it’s significantly better than whatever mic you’re using now.
This mic was so impressive for its price that it demanded attention on this list. Compact headphone microphone of excellent sound quality, ease of use, and sensitivity.
Zalman Zm-Mic1 High Sensitivity Headphone Microphone Features:
- It has attractive & compact design
- Localization – English
- High Sensitivity Headphone Mic
- 3 Mini Clips for Tidy Arrangement
- Decent sound.
- Long cable.
- Clips to route mic cable alongside headphone cable.
- No frills
- Ridiculously cheap
- An upgrade from most headset mics
- Incredibly thin cable.
- Highly sensitive capsule.
- Audible hissing sound from input at all levels.
- No shirt clip. (Only clips onto cables)
- Picks up ambient noise
If you don’t mind spending extra for arguably the best mic for streaming and gaming out there, Razer has you covered.
The Seiren Pro is very versatile in its modes and capabilities, which is why I recommend it if you want a mic that will serve you outside of streaming. Made specifically for streamers, this incredible mic is hard to beat in just about every department.
The Razer Seiren Pro is a versatile multi-pattern XLR and USB digital microphone with the recording capabilities of a professional-grade studio setup.
The Razer Seiren Pro comes with four recording patterns: stereo, cardioid, bidirectional and omnidirectional. Each pattern will give you studio-quality sound. An advanced high-pass filter function eliminates unwanted background noises such as your computer fan, air conditioner, outside sounds, etc. This filter will definitely come in handy if you live in a noisy environment and want your voice to remain clear.
Razer Seiren Pro Elite XLR Microphone Features:
- Built into the Razer Seiren Pro are three 14mm custom tuned condenser capsules in an array that is capable of 4 different recording pattern configurations
- The Razer Seiren Pro can easily switch up to four different dedicated recording patterns to suit a variety of audio capture needs
- Ensure you sound exactly the way you want your audience to hear you, and use the included controls to adjust the mic gain and headphone volume
- Unique to the Razer Seiren Pro is its high-pass filter. It lets you remove low-end rumbles and hums, typical ambient sounds found in home or studio recording environments
- The Razer Seiren Pro gives you the option to plug in the mic directly into a pro mixing board opening up your recording options
- HD recording with outstanding clarity
- 4 adjustable recording patterns (Cardioid, Stereo, Omni, Bi-directional)
- Quick controls for pattern switching, headphone volume and mic gain
- Built-in headphone amplifier with zero latency output
- Play and play recording via single USB or XLR connection
- High-pass filter-filters frequencies below 100Hz
Zero Latency Monitoring: The Razer Seiren Pro comes with a headphone amplifier built-in, compatible with any 3.5mm headphones. With zero latency output when plugged directly into the Razer Seiren Pro, accurately monitor your recordings in real time. Ensure you sound exactly the way you want your audience to hear you, and use the included controls to adjust the mic gain and headphone volume.
Note: This feature is only available when connected via USB.
High-Pass Filter Switch: Unique to the Razer Seiren Pro is its high-pass filter. It lets you remove low-end rumbles and hums, typical ambient sounds found in home or studio recording environments. This creates a cleaner, clearer recording.
- Sizable and seems very durable
- Quality is good
- Very sensitive
- Supports both USB and XLR
Sometimes due to it’s sensitivity, this mic picks up noises but with proper settings you can use this mic to it’s full potential. It will take some time to adjust the settings to find what works best for you.
Even if you’ve never owned a single microphone before…
Odds are you still know the Blue Snowball…because the damn thing is everywhere.
For pretty much any type of vocal recording, whether it be podcasting, voiceovers, Youtubing, or Skype calls…
The Snowball is one of the standard go-to mics that everyone has at least considered at some point. This mic looks cool, it’s super easy to use, it doesn’t take up much space, and it sounds great.
It’s never been easier to get high-quality sound for your voice and computer-based audio recordings. At home, the office-or anywhere for that matter-the Snowball ice USB microphone delivers audio quality that’s light years ahead of your computer’s built-in microphone.
The custom cardioid condenser capsule offers crystal-clear audio for communicating, creating and recording. Snowball ice is Skype certified so you’re guaranteed to get great-sounding results, and comes ready to go with an adjustable desktop mic stand and USB cable.
Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone Features:
- Custom condenser capsule offers crystal clear audio for Skype, Messages and FaceTime
- Record vocals, create podcasts, and add narration to your home movies
- Add crystal clear audio to recordings for YouTube
- Easy plug and play directly to your Mac or PC-no drivers to install
- Ships with desktop stand and USB cable
If you’re looking to step things up even further while still keeping the convenience of a USB mic, the Rode Podcaster may be worth a look.
As the name suggests, it’s designed with voice recording in mind and is similar to Rode’s widely well-regarded Procaster XLR mic.
At $229, the mic certainly isn’t cheap, but that does buy you a solid all-metal construction in addition to great sound, as well as an impressive ten-year warranty.
Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone Features:
- Broadcast quality sound
- High output dynamic capsule
- Balanced, low impedance output
- Internal shock mounting of capsule for low handling noise
- Internal pop-filter to reduce plosives
- Robust, all metal construction
- Designed and manufactured in Australia
- Includes RM2 stand mount, 3/8 inch adaptor, ZP1 zip pouch
- Broadcast quality sound
- Very little background noise
- High output dynamic capsule
- Balanced, low impedance output
- Internal shock mounting of capsule for low handling noise
- Internal pop-filter to reduce plosive
- Built like a Tank
- Amazing Sound Quality
- Needs a lot of clean gain, noise floor will be very high if paired with bad preamp
- Very bassy, could easily be fixed with EQ
Shure’s microphones are a fairly safe bet across the board, but the MV5 is one standout USB option on the entry-level side of things.
The Wirecutter recommends it as a more portable and slightly cheaper alternative to the Blue Yeti, and it’s consistently well-reviewed among customers and other publications alike.
Another key advantage is that in addition to a standard USB connector, it also comes with a Lightning cable that’ll let you plug it straight into your iPhone or iPad for some really portable recording sessions.
Shure MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone Features:
- Apple MFi (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) Certified for direct connection to any iOS device without the need for any additional adapters or connection kits
- 3 DSP Preset Modes (Vocals, Flat, Instrument)
- Automatically applies gain, EQ, compression and limiting for optimal results
- Built-in headphone output for real-time monitoring
- Custom-tuned microphone capsule provides best-in-class audio
- Available in 2 colors gray with black foam and black with red foam
- Included anodized aluminum desktop stand and integrated thread mount compatible with any standard 1/4″ camera tripod thread
- Low-profile, portable design measures only 2.5 inches / 7 cm tall (5.5 inches / 14 cm on included stand)
- Includes one (1) MicroB-to-USB cable and one (1) MicroB-to-Lightning cable
A good USB microphone will be all many people need, but your options really open up when you move to more professional-level mics that use an XLR cable.
At $99, Audio-Technica’s AT2020 is a popular option that’s widely praised, but you will have to also factor in the cost of a separate audio interface.
Audio-Technica’s stringent quality and consistency standards set the AT2020 apart from other mics in its class.
Its low-mass diaphragm is custom-engineered for extended frequency response and superior transient response. With rugged construction for durable performance, the microphone offers a wide dynamic range and handles high SPLs with ease. The AT2020: the new standard for affordable side-address studio condensers.
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio Microphone Features:
- The price/performance standard in side-address studio condenser microphone technology
- Ideal for project/home-studio applications
- High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility
- Custom-engineered low-mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response
- Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of desired sound source
Microphones appear to be quite simplest of the equipment and possibly much simple in construction too. But, when you move ahead to buy one for your needs – you would be overwhelmed with the choice available at your disposal. You have practically a variety of shapes, sizes and price points. That is exactly why we have been attempting to help you out with a buying guide for the microphones so that you would be able to make a wise decision.
Best Microphone Buying Guide – Tips for Buying the Microphone of your Choice:
The microphones do come in a wider variety of options. That would possibly make you understand the overwhelming choice that the genre offers you. There is indeed plenty of specifications, features and types of microphones available for you and it could indeed be the toughest task and a confusing one at that.
The following tips would probably be helpful for you in choosing the best microphone that would meet your needs.
The Purpose – What Are You Using It For?
This would be the basic point for opting for the microphone of your choice. The major purposes that a microphone is used for would be Studio recording and live on stage performances.
The choice of your microphone should have a bearing on what you are using for. If you are looking for a microphone for the studio environment, condenser microphones would be the best choice. They tend to be accurate and thus would be the best for your studio recording requirements. That will further be dependent upon what kind of recording you are into. Microphones with large diaphragms would be good for vocals, while those with smaller ones can be the best for instruments. Yes, they would need an external power source.
If you are looking for live performances, dynamic microphones would suit better. They are durable enough and thus they can handle multiple set up. The dynamic microphones come with predefined frequencies. The dynamic microphones can be quite durable enough.
Application Specific Microphones
There are several application-specific microphones available in the market. If you are sure what instrument you are using the microphone with, you can straightway opt for the microphone that works with the particular instrument.
A good example can be drum and percussion microphones. There are several custom made microphones specifically designed for instruments like drums, snares, toms, and cymbals. The condenser microphones can handle high frequencies and sounds. There are also microphones specifically designed for Reed, Brass, and Woodwind.
Sensitivity is a measure of how microphone responds to the change in air pressure. Sensitivity is another feature you need to pay attention to. It will again be dependent upon what instruments and environment you would be using the microphones for.
For example, the higher sensitivity can be best for the stringed instruments. However, if you use the same highly sensitive microphones for the drums or similar instruments – you will end up with the unfocused sound effects. In such situations, you would prefer a microphone with lower sensitivity.
Polar Patterns refer to the direction and amount of sounds that the microphone can pick. There are different patterns used – most common being Unidirectional and Omnidirectional polar patterns. There is a bidirectional option available as well.
The meaning should be quite understandable through the names itself. A Bidirectional microphone accepts sounds from two directions, while an Omnidirectional mic would accept the sounds from all directions. A Unidirectional microphone, on the other hand, receives the sound from only one direction. When you opt for the unidirectional polar pattern, you would again find three different options labelled as Cardioid, Supercardioid and Hypercardioid.
Opting for suitable polar pattern would assume importance when you are working in a noisy environment. The unidirectional microphones explained above would capture the sound from the singer alone and reject any sound from the rear side.
Frequency Response is the range of frequencies that the microphone will pick up. The range is specified in terms of high and low frequencies in terms of Hertz. The frequency response should play an important role in choosing a microphone for the purpose that you are opting for.
The frequency response would be dependent upon the instrument that you are going to use the microphone with. If you are using it for vocal music, it should be a good idea to opt for a frequency response between 80 Hz to 15 kHz. Stringed instruments would require a frequency range of around 50 Hz, while the same for drums and similar instruments wound be okay with the lower end of frequency range at around 30 Hz.
USB and non USB Microphones
USB microphone should be the best option if you are attempting to record your sounds directly to your computer or laptop. In fact, this can be useful in studio recordings so that you would be able to use them for audio editing to enhance the audio performance.
Non USB microphones do not come with such features. If you have no needs of opting for recording it on our computer or laptops, you do not need to opt for the USB microphones.
Wireless or Non-Wireless?
Wireless microphones will allow you a better movement options. The wireless microphones use Digital, UHF or VHF frequencies for the wireless functionality. They can be the best when you need to move around on the stage, or at a public function. Programs like exhibitions and seminars where you may need to join the audience or move with the audience would need wireless microphones.
Wireless microphones come in different varieties that would include handworn, clip ons and hand held. The one you would opt for should be dependent upon the way you would want to present yourself and the type of program you are interacting with.
Before We Conclude…
Well, choosing a good microphone should be a cakewalk if you follow a few guidelines we have outlined above. However, it should be noted that microphones come in a multitude of functionality and features. The best option would be research into the options available at your disposal. Ask your colleagues and others about the choicest microphones you can opt for.
Be realistic with your choice and make a learned decision. If we are capable of helping you make a decision, our efforts would be paid off.
In case you feel that we left out some other great microphones, don’t hesitate to let us know.