If you are in the market for a mic, but you want one that is tailored to your voice, there are a few things to consider.
Having gone through some popular vocal mics and analyzed their qualities in close detail, we give you our recommendations for the best vocal mic for live performance.
When you are searching for the best vocal mic, you will quickly find that it is not as easy as shopping for an instrument or even a vocal mic used for studio recording.
Most of these models are tailored to the voice, which means that they are designed to cut out frequencies below 100Hz, above 10kHz, and at both extremes of the mid-range.
This will be very noticeable on many singer’s voices, so it may take some tweaking to get it just right.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Choose a Vocal Mic for Live Performance
- 2 6 Best Vocal Mics For Live Performance
- 3 FAQs
How to Choose a Vocal Mic for Live Performance
High Pass Filter Switch
On many mics with variable frequency responses, this switch eliminates low frequencies below 100Hz.
On many mics, this switch will let you pick the minimum frequency, which is often used for singers over the age of 40.
This is usually a low cut filter with an audible effect in the mid-high range, but some models have a gentle boost in the high end. The best vocal mics have little or no presence boost.
Once you have narrowed your selection to a few mics that meet your criteria, it is time to break out the vocal mic analyzer.
Vocal Mic Analyzer
This handy little device measures the frequency response of a mic through a simple microphone cable.
The analyzer comes with software that allows you to compare up to 3 different mics at once.
To use the analyzer, plug it directly into your computer and run the “Analyze Mic” program.
You will need a carbon line mic that is 5m long and can be plugged in with a standard ¼” jack. Plug the mic into one of the inputs of your analyzer and push the “play” button.
This will send a test signal through to all three channels of your analyzer.
The software will calculate the average frequency response for each channel.
Compare this average response to that of each of your mics.
We have found that most vocal mics will have a presence peak between 5kHz and 8kHz, centered around 6kHz.
This is often referred to as the “sibilance” frequency. If you are planning on using your mic for vocals, but not for instruments, this can be used to your advantage.
We suggest setting the EQ switch of your mic to about 3dB above zero at this frequency.
You can fine-tune or auto-tune this setting later in your mixing process.
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6 Best Vocal Mics For Live Performance
1. Shure SM58S (with On Off Switch)
The Shure SM58S Vocal Microphone is a best live vocal mic which delivers consistently clear and intelligible sound quality for all types of applications. The cardioid polar pattern provides superior off-axis rejection and feedback resistance. For crisp, clean vocal reproduction, the SM58S features an integral flat-worn resistant mesh grille, internal pneumatic shock isolation system and a highly durable finish. This microphone is equipped with a On/Off switch.
2. Shure BETA 87A
The Shure BETA 87A is a professional-grade vocal microphone that delivers impressively clear, high-quality sound with a cardioid polar pattern. This microphone features an integral flat-worn resistant mesh grille, internal pneumatic shock isolation system and an extremely durable metal finish. The BETA 87A also has on/off switch.
In addition, the Shure microphone is lightweight, durable and shockproof with an on/off switch. The BETA 87A is capable of recording at up to 90dB SPL (2.83 V/Pa) and features a frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz as well as a sensitivity range of 2.1 mV/Pa -19 dB.
3. Audio-Technica AT2010
The Audio-Technica AT2010 offers the best quality sound that can be achieved through an all-purpose microphone. The cardioid condenser microphone has a sensitivity of 2 mV/Pa -20 dB, which is ideal for instruments with high-output and higher frequency signals. The AT2010 is also shockproof and dustproof. With its on/off switch, the AT2010 provides you with maximum control of your environment. In addition, this microphone has a frequency response (flat on-axis, +/- 3dB) of 50Hz to 20kHz and a polar pattern of cardioid.
4. Blue Microphones enCORE 300
The Blue Microphones enCORE 300 is ideal for lead vocals, background vocals and instruments. The microphone is designed to provide great sound when recording both loud and quiet parts in a mix, with clean, transparent sound reproduction at all frequencies while capturing resonances from over 60cm.
The mic has a frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz and can also be used for instrumented recording such as stringed instruments, wind instruments including brass and woodwinds. Its proprietary polar pattern eliminates interference from unwanted sources such as other people or mechanical noises. This enables you to focus your performance on musicality rather than an external source of the noise.
5. AKG D5
The AKG D5 Vocal Dynamic Microphone is a specialized vocal microphone that is a perfect choice for singers who need a reliable device that delivers night-after-night performances. The D5 Vocal Microphone is a condenser model with a cardioid pattern, and it has an on/off switch for greater versatility. Moreover, the D5 has a frequency response of 60Hz to 20kHz for clear, even sound reproduction.
6. Sennheiser e935
Lastly, the Sennheiser e935 is a handheld vocal microphone that is a professional choice for live venues. This microphone has an on/off switch, which makes it possible to time the performance and keep the unwanted noise out. It is also designed for voice and instrument recording, as well as for studio use.
In short, the Sennheiser e935 Handheld Cardioid Dynamic Microphone is a popular choice among many singers because of its high-performance capabilities and great sound reproduction.
Which type of mic is best for vocals?
The best type of mic for vocals are dynamic and condenser mics. Condenser mics are lighter than dynamic and they reproduce sound better but they are expensive as well
What Microphone do professional singers use?
Microphones used by professionals singers are either electret or condenser mics.
Condenser mics plug into the mixing console and are relatively inexpensive. The condenser mic is preferred by many because they tend to have a cleaner sound. Electret mics do not have to be plugged in and are much more rugged than condenser mics.
Can you use a condenser mic for live performance?
Yes, it is possible to use a condenser mic for live performances but the sound quality will be compromised
A condenser mic needs to be carefully positioned. The distance of the singer from the mic should not exceed a few inches.