When it comes to live performance, the microphone can often be the unsung hero of the stage. A good microphone can make all the difference in capturing the nuances of your voice and projecting it to the audience with clarity. But with so many brands and models on the market, it can be overwhelming for singers to choose the right one.
A good starting point is to stick with some of the tried and trusted Microphone brands that have stood the test of time. Iconic brands such as Shure, Sennheiser, and, more recently, Blue are just a few of the go-to microphone brands industry professionals naturally seek out for live and studio environments.
Here we look at the top 8 most popular microphone brands for singing, a little about their history and some of their most popular mics. We’ll cover everything from dynamic mics to condenser mics, for both live performance and home recording.
Shure is one of the most respected and well-known microphone brands in the music industry. Founded in 1925, the company has a long history of producing high-quality microphones used by musicians and performers at every level of their career. From pub gigs to stadiums, Shure microphones have been a staple around the world for decades.
Popular Shure Microphones
The Shure SM58 is one of the world’s most popular and recognisable vocal mics. Known for its durability, the SM58 is a great choice for live performances, providing a clear and natural sound that’s resistant to feedback. The SM58 is a dynamic microphone, which means it can handle high sound pressure levels, making it great for live performances.
The Shure SM7B is a versatile and highly sought-after dynamic microphone, known for its smooth and natural sound. It’s a popular choice for podcasting, streaming, and vocal recording, and it’s also great for live performances. As an added bonus, the SM7B has a switchable bass roll-off and mid-range boost to help reduce unwanted noise.
Shure Beta 87A
The Shure Beta 87A is a high-quality condenser mic famous for its clear and accurate sound. It’s an excellent choice for singers and performers after a more detailed and precise sound. The Beta 87A is a popular choice in studios but works well for live use. It’s a supercardioid polar pattern, which helps to isolate the sound source and reduce ambient noise.
Founded in 1962, Audio-Technica is a Japanese audio equipment company with a reputation for producing high-quality vocal microphones, headphones, and other audio equipment. Its continued innovation has made it a trusted name in the industry and a go-to mic brand for many musicians and audio professionals.
Popular Audio-Technica Microphones
Audio-Technica Pro 8HEx
A dynamic microphone that boasts exceptional noise reduction capabilities, making it a top choice for live performances. Its extended frequency response captures every nuance of the voice, while its cardioid polar pattern isolates the sound source and effectively blocks out ambient noise.
A highly sought-after condenser microphone that offers exceptional sound quality at an affordable price. Its clear and natural sound makes it an excellent choice for singers who want to capture the nuances of their voice. Its cardioid polar pattern effectively isolates the sound source and minimises ambient noise, ensuring a crisp and accurate recording every time.
An affordable condenser mic that delivers fantastic clarity, making it a top choice for both studio recording and live performances. Its large diaphragm captures every intricate detail of the voice, while its switchable 80Hz high-pass filter and 10dB pad work together to eliminate unwanted noise and enhance vocal clarity.
Sennheiser is a name synonymous with audio excellence. Founded in 1945 by Fritz Sennheiser, the company has a rich history of producing high-quality microphones used by musicians around the world.
From its humble beginnings in a small German laboratory, Sennheiser has grown to become one of the world’s most respected and recognisable microphone brands.
Popular Sennheiser Microphones
The Sennheiser e965 is a professional-grade condenser microphone designed for live vocals. It has a super-cardioid polar pattern making it perfect for use on stage. It also boasts a wide frequency response and high SPL handling, which means it can handle a wide range of vocal styles, including loud vocals.
Sennheiser MK 4
The Sennheiser MK 4 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone designed for professional studio recording and live performance. With its cardioid polar pattern and wide frequency response, it produces a smooth and natural sound that’s well-suited for vocals. The MK 4 also has a built-in pop shield and shock mount to reduce unwanted noise and vibrations.
Sennheiser E 835
The Sennheiser E 835 is a dynamic cardioid microphone that’s perfect for live vocal performances. It’s a versatile microphone that’s built to withstand the rigours of touring.
One of the standout features of the E 835 is its “Presence Boost” – a switchable boost in the 4-16kHz range to add clarity and definition to your vocals, making them stand out in a mix. It also has a hum compensating coil that helps to reduce electromagnetic interference, which can be a common issue on stage.
Blue (which stands for Baltic Latvian Universal Electronics) are a relatively new company, but have quickly established themselves as a leader in microphone innovation. The company’s clever designs and cutting-edge technology have made their mics a favourite among vocalists and musicians everywhere.
Popular Blue Microphones
The Blue Yeti
The Blue Yeti is one of the most popular and versatile microphones out there. It’s a USB microphone that’s perfect for recording vocals. It has the option to select multiple polar patterns, so you can pick the one that best suits your recording situation. Plus, it has a built-in headphone amplifier, so you can hear yourself loud and clear as you record, and a mute button so you can take a quick break without having to unplug.
The Blue Snowball
The Blue Snowball is a great option for anyone looking for a high-quality microphone on a budget. It’s a USB microphone that’s perfect for getting demos down fast. It has a cardioid polar pattern to reduce background noise and is packaged in a sleek, modern design.
The Bluebird is a top-of-the-line condenser mic that’s perfect for any recording situation. The Class-A discrete preamp provides a high-quality, transparent signal with low noise, making it ideal for capturing the nuance of your performance. The high-pass filter and -20dB pad allow for precise adjustments making it versatile for a variety of vocal styles. The Bluebird’s cardioid polar pattern effectively isolates the incoming sound, making it a great choice for recording in noisy environments. The Bluebird provides the perfect balance of versatility and clarity, making it a standout choice for both professional and home recording setups.
Blue Snowball Ice
The Blue Snowball Ice is a slightly more advanced version of the Snowball; perfect for those who need a microphone that can handle louder recording situations. It has a cardioid polar pattern, a built-in stand and easy plug-and-play USB connectivity. It’s also one of the most affordable condenser microphones on the market and a great starting point for budding musicians.
Rode are an Australian-based company, well known in the professional audio industry for their high-quality microphones and audio equipment. Since its inception in 1967, Rode has grown to become one of the most respected microphone manufacturers in the world.
Rode offers a wide range of microphones designed for different applications, including studio recording, live sound, broadcast, and film production.
In the music world, they’re well known for their high-quality condenser microphones, such as the Rode NT1-A, which has become one of the most popular studio microphones in the world.
Popular Rode Microphones
The Rode NT1-A is a large diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern, designed for low self-noise and high clarity – the perfect mic for home studio and professional recording environments.
The Rode M1 is a handheld dynamic microphone built for live use. It has a tight cardioid polar pattern, which means it primarily picks up sound from the front while rejecting sound from the sides and rear. The M1 is excellent for singers who want a high-quality microphone with longevity.
Neumann have long been the industry leader in microphone technology. With over 90 years of experience in crafting professional-grade equipment, Neumann’s microphones are the go-to choice for recording studios, live performances, and broadcasting. From their iconic U47 to the cutting-edge TLM 103, Neumann’s microphones capture sound with unparalleled precision and clarity.
Popular Neumann Microphones
Considered one of Neumann’s flagship microphones, the U87 is a classic choice for recording vocals and other instruments. It is a large diaphragm condenser microphone with switchable polar patterns, making it versatile for various recording situations.
This is a newer model that’s becoming increasingly popular, particularly in home studio setups. With its small diaphragm, this is a condenser microphone designed to deliver a transparent, neutral sound.
This classic microphone was first introduced in 1947, and is considered one of the most sought-after microphones in the history of recording. It was widely used by many of the world’s most famous recording artists, and it is still highly regarded today for its warm, rich sound.
AKG is an audio and microphone brand with a rich history and a reputation for excellence. Founded in Vienna, Austria in 1947, AKG has been at the forefront of audio technology for over 70 years. With a long list of industry accolades and a loyal following of professional musicians and producers, AKG has established itself as a trusted name in the world of audio.
Popular AKG Microphones
This handheld condenser mic offers a warm, natural sound with a high level of feedback rejection. It’s a versatile microphone suitable for live performance and recording, making it a popular choice among singers.
A professional-grade handheld condenser microphone with switchable polar patterns and a built-in preamp. It offers exceptional clarity and a high level of rejection to ambient noise, perfect for recording and live use.
This large diaphragm condenser microphone is designed for studio recording and is suitable for a wide range of instruments, including vocals. The P220 offers a warm, rich sound and has a switchable polar pattern, making it a versatile choice for different recording situations.
With nearly a century of experience in audio engineering, Beyerdynamic has established itself as a leader in the industry, known for crafting some of the most respected and widely used microphones in the biz. From their early days developing audio equipment for the German Armed forces to today’s cutting-edge technology, Beyerdynamic has a reputation for producing sound equipment with exceptional quality.
Popular Beyerdynamic Microphones
The M88 is a dynamic mic with a tight polar pattern designed to reject unwanted noise from the sides and rear. The M88 has a robust metal construction, making it a fantastic touring mic to use on stage.
The Beyerdynamic TG V50d is widely used by vocalists and considered a reliable mic that delivers in all live settings.
With its supercardioid pattern, the TG V50d allows for a high level of feedback rejection and reproduces sound clearly and naturally.
It also has a built-in hum bucking coil which makes it perfect for use on stage where interference can be a problem.
Choosing the Microphone Brand that Suits You
Choosing the right microphone can make all the difference when it comes to capturing your unique voice. By sticking with some of the tried and trusted microphone brands in the industry, you can count on a quality product that’s done the rounds. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out different models and brands to find the one that best suits your needs.