Studio microphones can be used by artists, music producers, at-home composers, and even YouTubers, and no matter which you are, knowing how to pick the best studio microphone for yourself could mean the difference of success or stress.
To help you, here is a quick and easy buying guide that you can follow as well as 11 of the best studio mics that we found that you can get today.
There are a few different types of microphones out there, and each type has its own ups and downs. Condenser mics are usually easier to find and are more popular, but they can be a bit inferior to ribbon microphones when it comes to daily, high-performance studio mics. However, ribbon mics can be harder to find and are generally much more expensive.
There is another type, dynamic, but these are generally the lowest quality, but they are usually more affordable.
The pattern is how the mic records the main sound (voice, instrument, etc.) and the surrounding sounds (any ambiance). Mics that have a cardioid pattern are generally more common than the others, especially for recording in large rooms or if you are trying to record sound/music that has more of a 'live' sound.
Omnidirectional mics record sounds from all around the mic equally, which can be great if you are recording multiple people and/or sounds at a single time. Figure-8 mics equally record sounds that are right behind or in front of the mic, which can be great for recording just 2 people or sounds at once. Then, there are some mics that use a combination of these patterns, but these can be a bit harder to find and are usually more expensive.
Generally, the larger the diaphragm, the better the sound. Larger ones that are around 1-inch or larger in diameter are generally the highest quality and the most expensive, and as the size gets smaller, the sound quality generally goes down.
If you are planning to use instruments when recording with your studio mic, know that certain mics capture the sound of certain instruments differently. For example, a dynamic mic or a condenser mic with a large diaphragm is best for electric guitars, but small-diaphragm condenser mics are better for acoustic guitars.
For a more detailed guide on choosing a mic through the sound specs, check out this guide from sweetwater.com that lists a variety of instruments and the different mics that work great with them.
If you are looking for more of a kit to start out with rather than just the microphone, then you will probably want to make sure it comes with some of the basic tools and attachments. The most basic would be an arm stand, table clamp, and a mount. Some come with foam filters, but not all do. Some of the pieces, like the arm, can be basic and simple while others can be a little more advanced and high-quality; some arms can bend in every available direction.
If you are attaching the mic to a small piece of furniture, you may want to keep an eye on the weight of the pic and/or its kit. Some can be as light as a few pounds while others can weigh up to around 10 pounds, which might limit the areas where you plan to install it.
Studio mics can capture and deliver the best possible sound quality whether you are recording with instruments, your voice, or something out of the ordinary, like ASMR. Thanks to the growth in technology, there are many models out there that are under 50 dollars, too.
Other than the features listed above, their design is something that sets them apart. Many of them are available with black bodies and a silver 'top' or white with a silver top, but there are a few custom or unique models that come in colors like green, purple, blue, gold, red, and more; the bottoms and tops.
There is a bit of a controversy when it comes to spending the money on a studio mic versus using a simple mic that you already may have like a phone or webcam microphone. However, using these microphones can cause the audio to become distorted, especially if you are planning on recording instruments.
There are a few tips and tricks that many producers and Youtubers use to help reduce background noise, have a higher quality audio sound, and overall get the perfect take in fewer shots without needing to get all of the accessories a regular studio may have.
Here is a video that gives many of the tips that they use on YouTube.com.
This is one of the most affordable mics on this list, and it is also one of the few kits on this list. It comes with the microphone, which is a condenser with a cardioid pattern, an arm stand, mounting clamp, a shock mount, a pop filter, and an anti-wind foam cap. Altogether, the kit only weighs about 3 pounds.
For being one of the most affordable, the sound quality of this mic is rather surprising, especially when it comes to voice recordings. It does have some trouble picking up deeper tones, though.
This same mic is also available with other attachments, not including some of the ones that this kit does, but there is a kit with the same/similar mic from Neewer that comes with all the attachments; that is the fourth mic.
They can last up to 20 hours on a single charge, which is better than most of the others on this list, and it can be used to make phone calls. The mic is pretty average quality, too, but the connection can lag if you are using the headphones wirelessly while making the call.
This is the first mic on the list that does not come with any attachments or accessories, and the mic is around the average price compared to the others on this list. This is a condenser mic that uses a cardioid pattern, and it weighs around 1 pound.
This mic has a pretty decent sound quality, but the build is a little more impressive since it seems to be one of the more durable models. The design also seems more professional than some of the other models, too, and it can come in black with gold accents, vintage white with silver accents, and sky blue with silver accents.
The noise rejection is pretty decent as well, especially when it comes to humming that is caused by a nearby computer.
This is another kit that comes with a condenser mic that uses cardioid patterns, an arm, a shock mount, a double-layer pop filter, and a windscreen. Unlike most of the other mics on this list, this one is connected through a USB port rather than a different cable, which makes it ideal for Youtubers or users who find adaptors to be rather inconvenient.
This is one of the best affordable mics when it comes to sound clarity and convenience, but the biggest flaw would have to be the mount which is a little on the flimsy side. Depending on what you are mounting it on, the mount can slide and not keep a good hold on certain pieces of furniture and/or finishes.
However, the arm itself is pretty durable and strong.
This is the model that was mentioned earlier that comes with nearly every accessory available including a mount, mounting clamp, cables, arm, pop filter, power supply and adaptor, AUX cable, headphones, and cable adaptor. The microphone is practically identical to the first product; it is a condenser that uses cardioid patterns and is only available in black.
The sound quality is practically the same, but the headphone quality is just as good, too. Unfortunately, the only major downside seems to be that the kit is often out of stock and difficult to find.
However, despite being one of the more expensive options, it does seem to be worth it when it comes to getting all of your equipment in one place rather than spending the time to look around.
This microphone comes with a simple cable, arm, and headphones and it pretty ideal for Youtubers and/or streamers. It can capture voices relatively well with the condenser microphone that uses cardioid patterns, but it is not the best when it comes to most instruments.
However, compared to some of the older models from Audio-Technica, this one is possibly the best, especially when it comes to the durability of the mic itself.
The headphones are possibly the lowest quality of the kit since they do not support high volumes, especially when it comes to the bass, but this does not affect the sound quality of the mic at all, which is a strong redeeming factor.
If you do not care for the stand or the headphones, the model by itself is mentioned later in the list; product number 11.
This is one of the more flashy and colorful mics out there, but depending on the style/model, it can look a little more average and normal. Most of the models come in green with gold, but there is one that comes in all silver.
It does not come with any accessories, but it is one of the longer-lasting models compared to the others on this list, even more so considering it is like them; a condenser mic that uses cardioid patterns.
It can capture sound pretty well, the vocals seem to be the best, but it can be a bit less sensitive than some of the other mics, making it a little lower-quality compared to some of the other models. However, it does do a pretty average to a decent job with noise rejection, which can be great with non-studio users.
This is another one of the few mics that come in multiple colors like green with gold accents, champagne, orange with gold accents, and midnight with black and silver accents.
This mic only comes with a case and shock mount, but both seem to be a little higher in quality than some of the other models. The condenser mic itself is pretty durable too, and it can last for quite a long time.
It does seem to be a good studio mic, depending on what you are using it for. It can capture many tones well, but it does not have the best handle on capturing louder sounds and voices. So, using them to record loud instruments or music like screamo is probably not the best option with this mic.
The sound is pretty clear, and the bass seems clearer than other models, but you may need to play the music at higher volumes since they are not the best when it comes to noise cancellation.
This is another kit that comes with a pop filter, shock mount, and cables, but it also comes with a hard case and a fabric cover for dust protection. Like the MXL V67G, this model also comes in several different models that are all somewhat similar to very similar when it comes to quality.
Like all of the other models, this is a condenser mic that uses cardioid patterns, but it is possibly one of the highest-quality and most expensive mics on this list because it has one of the biggest and best diaphragms.
The kit is also available with just the cable, which is often out of stock, or with the same items in this kit with a boomstick, which can be a little more professional and easier to record with, especially if you stand while you record.
This is another mic that uses a USB cable, and it comes with an arm, mount, foam windscreen, and pop filter. It is another one of the more affordable models that are pretty easy to set up, and the mic is a condenser type that uses cardioid patterns.
It can capture sound pretty well, but it is a little too sensitive if you are recording while gaming; it can capture keyboard and controller clicks rather easily. Still, the durability is something to be rivaled with and the sound quality is pretty decent.
When it comes to vocals, the sounds seem to be a little warmer and richer than with some of the other mics, which can be great when it comes to recording certain singers who have a unique and smooth style.
This is one of the few kits where the mic is available in different colors, though it is only two: a light blue or black. The kit itself comes with a power supply and adaptor, an arm, a shock mount, cables, a pop filter, and more. The mic, like all of the others, is a condenser type that uses cardioid patterns.
When it comes to the sound quality, it is pretty decent for the price that the kit is. The mic can capture voices very well and is even powerful enough to capture a guitar without distorting the sound much if at all, depending on the type of guitar and the volume that it is being played at.
The arm is a little lower-quality, but that is mostly because the joint in the middle seems to have difficulty holding the weight of the mic at certain positions. However, once you have in a position that does not move, it seems to stay still fairly well.
The last on the list, this is another condenser mic that uses cardioid patterns, and it is the mic that was talked about earlier on this list. Unlike the one mentioned in the kit before, this mic does not come with any accessories, attachments, or cables.
However, it works nearly just as well when it comes to capturing sound, and rejecting it too. Even though this is not a kit, it is only available in black with black accents, but it is a little more affordable than the kit, obviously.
The price is a little above average when it comes to the microphone by itself, but since it can capture your voice well and some instruments just as well, it can be worth it if you are looking for a higher-quality mic.
Choosing a winner was a little easier since all of the mics are condenser types that use cardioid patterns, which is clearly more common and affordable than other models. Instead, looking at what they do or do not come with, the potential with vocals and/or instruments, and the durability and lifespans of the mics themselves, we found that the best studio microphone would have to be the Audio-Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Bundle.
It may be the most expensive on the list, but it can come with a complete kit or just the microphone and cables. It also has the highest-quality audio capability, is available in similar or very different models, and is one of the most durable and long-lasting, making it ideal for serious users who want the best equipment.
It is also sensitive, but not too sensitive to cause audio distortion with vocals and some instruments, too, making it even more valuable to users who plan to record music.
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