The Best Dynamic Microphones for a Captivating Vocal Performance

best dynamic microphone

Are you looking to upgrade your live rig so your audience can hear you pack a sonic punch? Then you need a durable, dynamic microphone that can handle the power of your performance without losing any quality.

15 best dynamic microphones for live vocals

Let’s take a look at the best dynamic mics on the market based on their spec and affordability.

For more reviews, head over to our blog to read about the best vocal microphones this year and the best home studio microphones for vocals.

Shure SM57

Shure SM57

The SM57 has been around for decades, thanks in no small part to its nigh-on indestructible design – not to mention the ridiculously high SPLs it’s rumoured to be able to handle (some say over 180dB!). Although very popular with vocalists to this day (especially loud ones), the SM57 was originally designed for instruments, which explains its more streamlined grille.

Pros and Cons

Shure-quality sound at an affordable price

Great for using with instruments, as well as vocals

Lower output, requiring more gain

Doesn’t have a power switch

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A well-built and affordable mic ideal for vocals in a gig setting. The D5’s impedance may be a little high, but its built-in pop filter, its frequency range bottoming out at 70Hz and its tight supercardioid polar pattern add up to a great defense against background noise.

Pros and Cons:

The diaphragm is laminated, which helps reduce feedback when the gain is increased

Supercardioid pattern also helps reduce feedback and background noise

Gives a less detailed sound

Its directional polar pattern means it’s only really good for vocals

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Audio Technica PRO41

Audio-Technica PRO41

Sound like a pro without spending the dough! The PRO41 sports a high quality internal shock mounting, meaning it can withstand both the usual wear and tear of transit between gigs and any on-stage mishaps and still deliver an ultra-low noise performance – plus, it falls way below the £100 mark.

Pros and Cons:

Very small price tag

Low handling noise

Sound quality struggles to hold up in the studio

Doesn’t work as well with instruments

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sE Electronics V7 Dynamic

sE Electronics V7

A sleek, smart, supercardioid dynamic mic promising very low self-noise, the V7 from sE Electronics also features an innovative beveled edge around the grille – so you don’t have to worry about sending your V7 rolling across the stage floor whenever you set it down.

Pros and Cons

Built to survive the toughest stage

Resists feedback very well

Proximity effect more pronounced, creating unwanted bass boost if positioned too close

No on/off switch

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Sennheiser e945

With a supercardioid polar pattern and a shock mounted capsule to help it withstand multiple knocks and drops, the e945 was born for the stage. This vocal mic also lives up to Sennheiser’s levels of audio excellence, producing a crisp sound with minimum feedback.

Pros and Cons:

Excellent Sennhesier quality without breaking the bank

Designed to be extra-responsive to human voice frequencies 

Less crisp at higher frequencies

Less responsive to higher frequency instruments

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Shure SM58

A highly popular microphone for loud live performances, the SM58 is often considered the industry standard for capturing vocal performances. What separates it from the SM57, which is almost identical in every other way, is its trademark steel-mesh grille which houses an in-built pop filter – so you can pack as many p’s and s’s into your performance as you like!

Pros and Cons:

Shure-quality sound at an affordable price

Has an effective pop filter inside a protective metal grille

Not suitable for much else other than vocals

Struggles with higher frequencies

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Audix OM5

Audix OM5

The OM5 from Audix has a hyper-focused hypercardioid polar pattern which helps shut out everything other than your voice. It also has a lower mass diaphragm, which pushes its frequency range up to an impressive 19kHz.

Pros and Cons:

Hypercardioid polar pattern cuts out all unwanted noise

Responds to higher frequencies than most dynamic mics

Higher bass roll-off misses out on lower frequencies

Polar pattern too focused for vocalists who like to move around

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beyerdynamic TG V50d

Beyerdynamic TG-V50d

The ‘plug in and play’ appeal of the TG-V50d, which is so ready to capture your voice that it doesn’t even have an off switch, is only strengthened by its rugged metal body and its natural yet powerful sound. You can also find a version with an on/off switch (for a slightly higher price).

Pros and Cons

Ready to use as soon as it’s plugged in

Lighter proximity effect

Higher handling noise

Requires an external pop shield to deal with plosives

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Shure Beta 57A

Shure Beta 57A

The main feature that earns the Beta 57A a place on our list is its tailored frequency response, with some excellent mid-range boosts designed to bring out the best in your drums and guitar amps, as well as vocals – both on-stage and off. Its die-cast metal handle and dent-resistant steel mesh grille don’t hurt its chances either!

Pros and Cons:

Brings out the warmth in lower voices

Built to last for years

Can make higher voices sound piercing

Has no switches

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Rode M1

Rode M1

The M1 offers a higher output signal than most dynamic mics on the market, with a surprising amount of definition you’d usually expect from a more sensitive condenser microphone. Also, like a condenser, the frequency response is fairly flat, but with a slight boost in the mid range, resulting in a smooth, natural sound.

Pros and Cons

High output, requiring less gain

Extremely tough design

Its flatter frequency response doesn’t cut as easily through the mix during a performance

Requires an external pop filter to help cut out the plosives

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Electro-Voice ND76S

Electro-Voice ND76S

A clear-sounding dynamic mic designed specifically for vocals, the ND76S from Electro-Voice contains a 4-point suspension shock-mounted capsule which is great for eliminating unwanted noise from vibrations – and it can withstand over 140dB SPL.

Pros and Cons

Able to handle very loud sounds

Low noise handling, with an almost silent mute switch

Less rugged design than other mics in its price range

Less responsive to lower frequencies

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Shure 55SH Series II

Shure 55SH Series II

The classic unidyne design gets an update for the 21st century! The 55SH would’ve made our list based on looks alone, but it holds its own in terms of functionality too: a tight cardioid pattern means it can be used in close proximity to speakers, making it a stylish and reliable on-stage companion – the only feedback you’ll have to deal with will be from the new fans the 55SH wins for you!

Pros and Cons:

Similar specs to Shure’s flagship mic, the SM58

Stylish, retro design

Impractical to use without a stand

On/off switch easy to hit accidentally

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If you want the timeless look of the Shure 55SH at a fraction of the price, the PDMICR68SL from Pyle is a fine place to start. The spec of the PDMICR68SL doesn’t quite match that of Shure – its output impedance of 600 is much noisier than the 55SH’s 150, and the Pyle model’s frequency range is a little narrower too – but it’s a strong contender in its price range.

Pros and Cons

Decent performing 55SH-style mic at much lower cost

Well-built die-cast metal body

Higher impedance than most mics on our list

Suffers from same drawbacks as 55SH

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Sennheiser MD 421 II

Sennheiser MD 421 II

The MD 421 is rivaled only by the SM57 and SM58 in terms of legendary status and classic design; like Shure’s flagship mics, this model from Sennheiser has been an industry mainstay since the 1960s. This dynamic mic has a much higher frequency range than most, and also features a 5-stage bass cut switch which gives you greater control over low-end sensitivity.

Pros and Cons

5-stage bass cut switch makes it very versatile

A little on the expensive side

Poorly designed, easily breakable mic clip

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Neumann KMS 105

Neumann KMS 105

A high-end mic from Neumann, the KMS 105 is in fact a handheld condenser mic designed to bring the more delicate condenser sound to a live setting – and it certainly boasts the frequency response to back that up, ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz. With a tough-as-nails steel grille housing a pop filter that can withstand an SPL of up to 150dB, you know you’re getting your money’s worth with this ground-breaking mic.

Pros and Cons

Superior sound quality to dynamic mics

Wider frequency response range and higher maximum SPL reading than any other mic on this list

Very expensive compared to its peers

Not quite as sturdy as some of the less expensive mics we’ve reviewed – handle with care if using in a gig environment

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Why do I need a dynamic microphone?

Whether you’re taking to the stage as a singer or a stand-up comedian, your power lies in your voice – so you need a dynamic microphone that you can trust to get your message across to your audience.

Dynamic microphones are best for capturing louder sounds, and are more frequently used in a live setting. If you want to capture quieter, more detailed sounds in a studio setting, see our list of best condenser microphones.

Pros and cons of dynamic mics


  • They don’t need phantom power to work
  • They are more built more robustly than condenser mics, so they can withstand the wear and tear they’re subjected to on-stage
  • They can handle much higher sound pressure levels, so can be used to capture much louder sounds


  • They can’t pick up extremely low or extremely high frequencies, so can’t give as accurate or detailed a sound
  • They’re much less sensitive, so they can’t pick up quieter sounds
  • They put out a much lower voltage signal, meaning you’ll need to use more gain to boost it, which can result in a more distorted sound

What are dynamic microphones?

Every kind of microphone is a ‘transducer’, which is how any device which converts one form of energy to another is described. Microphones turn soundwaves into electrical signals, which we can then record, amplify, or manipulate in other ways.

A dynamic microphone is made up of three main parts:

  • the diaphragm, an extremely thin piece of material
  • the voice coil, a thin coil of wire
  • the magnet

Dynamic mics are passive, meaning they don’t contain any active circuitry, as opposed to mics that need independent ‘phantom power’, like condenser microphones. 

When soundwaves hit the diaphragm, it moves, which in turn moves the voice coil, which is attached to the diaphragm, into the field of the magnet. This movement creates a current, which can then be read as an electrical signal. This process is also why dynamic mics are sometimes called ‘moving coil’ microphones.

To move the relatively high mass of both the dynamic mic’s diaphragm and the attached voice coil takes a lot of energy, meaning that weaker soundwaves, such as those from quieter or further away sources, may not be picked up.

On the flip side, this also means that it can withstand more powerful soundwaves, or a higher sound pressure level (SPL), from louder sources. This is good news even if you’re planning to crank your guitar amp up to 11 or knock the stuffing out of a drum kit – a decent dynamic mic can handle it all!

Which dynamic microphone should I buy?

This depends a lot on what you intend to mic up – different dynamic mics boost different frequencies, making them more suited to the lower end of the bass drum, or the mid-range of the human voice.

That being said, there are a few specifications that most microphone manufacturers will give you that are worth understanding. It can be a lot to take in at first, so we’ve broken down the most important ones into easy-to-digest chunks for you:

Frequency response

This tells you how effectively your microphone responds to certain frequencies, from the bassy lows through to the trebly highs. The average human ear is generally agreed to be able to hear between 20 and 20,000 Hertz (usually written as 20Hz-20kHz).

Dynamic microphones work best within a narrower range of frequencies than condenser microphones. In a live setting, there’s a lot more low-level background noise from the audience, plus a higher risk of feedback from the onstage amps, so the dynamic mic’s narrower frequency range becomes an advantage.

A decent dynamic mic should be able to pick up frequencies from about 40Hz and drop off at around 15kHz – and most things you’ll want to mic up on-stage will tend to fall comfortably within this range.

Polar pattern

When you’re singing on-stage, you mainly want your dynamic mic to be most sensitive in the area facing you, and least sensitive in the area facing the audience, away from you. Dynamic mics that follow this pattern are known as ‘unidirectional’, meaning they focus in one direction, rather than two (‘bidirectional’) or all around (‘omnidirectional’).

You will likely come across other terms when shopping for mics which essentially mean the same thing. The most common is ‘cardioid’, a word which comes from the heart-shaped pattern of the area in front of the microphone that it focuses its sensitivity on.

Electrical output

This section is all to do with how effectively your microphone can convert soundwaves into an electrical signal when you’re using it with your other devices – so what the output it gives you is, relative to the input it gets. This is mainly affected by audio sensitivity, dynamic range, impedance, and connection type.

Audio sensitivity

The sensitivity of a microphone is measured by the amount of voltage it can put out when it’s exposed to a particular sound level. So when a more sensitive mic and a less sensitive mic are exposed to the same sound level, the more sensitive mic will output a higher voltage. If you’re trying to pick up a weaker signal with a less sensitive mic, you’ll find yourself turning up the level on your audio interface and risking unwanted noise.

Audio sensitivity is measured in both voltage decibels (dBV) and millivolts (mv). If the mic you’re looking at has been measured in dBV, you’ll notice the figure will be given as a negative number, because the signals will in most cases be below 1 volt – so the closer the figure is to zero, the more sensitive the mic is.

Microphones are tested for sensitivity at a standard sound pressure level of 94 decibels (94dB SPL), which is equal to 1 Pascal (Pa). So you’ll see your mic’s sensitivity written as either voltage decibels (dBV/Pa) or millivolts (mV/Pa) – but you can rest assured your dynamic mic will be up to the task if its sensitivity falls between either 1 to 4 mV/Pa or –60 to –48 dBV/Pa.


For a microphone, impedance – measured in ohms (?) – is the measure of how much resistance to the flow of electricity the parts of your mic put up. The lower the impedance, the less interference (such as buzzing and humming) there’ll be to your signal, even if the cable between your mic and your audio interface is very long.

It’s standard practice for microphone manufacturers to state their products’ output impedance in their specifications. 600? and under is considered low, and 10,000? and over is considered high – so choose a mic with an impedance of 600? or under, otherwise you’ll lose signal if you try to use a shorter lead.

Also worth noting is that you need to connect your dynamic mic to an audio interface or mixer with a higher input impedance (10x the output impedance of your mic is usually recommended), or you again risk losing signal.

Connection type

Finally, be sure to check what type of connection your dynamic mic uses before you complete your order. The most common (and highest quality) type for professional performance is an XLR connection – this type of cable is much better at getting rid of any unwanted signal interference.

You’ll likely come across dynamic mics on the market which also have a USB input (which are super convenient if you want to plug them straight into your computer) as well as mics with permanently attached cables, often ending in a jack plug (these are right at the bottom end of the price range, and won’t match the quality of signal an XLR will give you).