We can’t recommend the best home recording microphones for everyone because vocals are a lot like a fingerprint— they’re unique for every singer. Microphones are unique too and each has a different effect on a singer’s voice. The idea is to find a microphone that suits your vocals and style of singing best when recording.
Here is a good selection of affordable vocal microphones that cover a wide range of different frequency responses. Whether it’s a condenser, dynamic or ribbon microphone there’s bound to be a style and model that’s best for your recording style.
If you can, try to borrow or rent some of these to test out first before you buy them. Just because a microphone is more expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be the best one for you.
1. Shure SM7 (Dynamic Microphone)
The Shure SM7 is one of the best microphone choices for recording a powerful and relatively even vocal. It has a sound that’s great for most pop or rock songs.
Being a dynamic microphone, the vocals sound almost as if they’ve already undergone some compression. This makes the mic a great one for keeping the vocal parked in the sweet spot in the mix.
2. C414 (Condenser Microphone)
What would a our tally of best home recording microphones be without the ubiquitous AKG 414. A solid, all-purpose condenser microphone that works well recording vocals across the spectrum.
It has a smooth tone with a boost on the top end to bring out the presence in a vocal. This microphone is one of the best options for people who are recording vocals for the first time.
3. Neumann U47 (Condenser Microphone)
A vintage U47 condenser microphone sounds amazing on vocals but costs about as much as a good used car, so how did it make on the list of best home recording microphones? What we are really suggesting is to give the many new (and much cheaper) U47 clones out there a try.
The original microphone produces a beautifully smooth, dark, and rich tone, and many of the much more affordable knockoffs sound very close to the original. The Neumann microphone model is especially suited to recording low male vocals.
4. Coles 4038 (Ribbon Microphone)
The Coles 4038 ribbon microphone is the best option when looking for a full sound with a sultry low end. It’s a great choice for blues/jazz material, straight R&B or even a little more on the pop side of things.
It comes with a hefty price tag and is certainly not a budget microphone but the quality you get is some of the best on the market for vocal recording or any other instrument.
5. Audio Technica AT2020 (Condenser Microphone)
For a lower priced condenser microphone the AT2020 is impressive, having a good clean sound that works best with classic blues and country vocals. With modern styles, it produces a solid and accurate tone that gives your vocals enough punch to stand out.
With a low price point the AT2020 is perfect for those who are getting started and don’t want to make a major investment just yet.
6. Electro-Voice RE20 (Dynamic Microphone)
From Rap to Radiohead, the RE-20 delivers crispness, depth and has a clear sound with a lot of depth. Forgiving of the environment in which it is being used, making it an awesome option for recording vocals in a noisier home studio.
It is a dynamic microphone like the SM7, so it mainly picks up sounds in close proximity, thereby reducing room reflections. This mic is often also used professionally for voice-overs and is a strong choice for podcasts or interviews.
7. Shure Beta 58A (Dynamic Microphone)
A great choice for a tight budget, the Shure Beta 58A is low-cost mic that produces crisp and realistic vocals.
These are one of the best workhorses for live performances, but paired with the right preamplifier can work wonders in the studio, recording vocals, drums, guitars and just about anything else!
The microphone is at least as important as any other instrument on your track. In the same way a guitar player has a harder time making a bad guitar sound good, a great singer has difficulty making their vocal shine with a poor quality mic.
The good news is there’s an affordable microphone for every type of artist. The best microphones for recording vocals that we’ve gone over in this article:
- Shure SM7 (Dynamic Microphone)
- C414 B-ULS (Condenser Microphone)
- Neumann U47 (Condenser Microphone)
- Audio Technica AT2020 (Condenser Microphone)
- Electro-Voice RE20 (Dynamic Microphone)
- Shure Beta 58A (Dynamic Microphone)
We hope this list of microphones points you in the right direction getting the best possible recordings at home. Remember to test your options at a local music stores before making your selection and you’ll be sure to end up with great results.