With so many dynamic microphones and varying price points, it's easy to get confused when making your purchase. To save you a headache, we have compiled a list of the best dynamic microphones in 2021.
Whether you're a music producer, vocalist, guitarist, or drummer - dynamic microphones help you stand out! Dynamic microphones are best used for recording low-to-mid frequency instruments. These include drums, camp sounds, and vocals. Since they're considered an all-around microphone, they're great for full and mellow recording situations. And if you're a vocalist and used to playing live, there's nothing as sturdy and sound-friendly as a dynamic microphone. We'll start with a list of the top dynamic microphones in the market, followed by a detailed buying guide to help you choose the one that suits you best!
Here you will find helpful answers about dynamic microphone features and pricing.
What Is a Microphone?
A microphone is a piece of equipment that turns sound waves into electrical energy. You can connect a microphone to your recording gear if you want to track vocals for songs or make podcasts. You can also connect it to an amp or speaker to amplify your voice on stage for an audience to hear you.
Things to Consider When Buying a Dynamic Microphone
There are lots of things to consider when shopping for a dynamic microphone. These include:
The polar pattern of a microphone determines how and where sound is detected. It also dictates the angles to which the microphone is sensitive to sound. Many microphones can switch between patterns, adapting to several situations. Typical patterns include:
Omnidirectional: These types of microphones can pick up sound from all angles, no matter where they are pointed. Omnidirectional patterns are great for microphones that clip onto your clothes.
Cardioid: Cardioid microphones are very popular among vocalists who perform on a loud stage. They are only sensitive to sound from where they are pointed, which limits a lot of feedback.
Supercardioid: These types of patterns are more narrow and direct than the cardioid. They are great for rejecting ambient sound but will still be sensitive to noise directly behind where it is pointed.
Hypercardoioid: These patterns are even more focused than super cardioid mics, making them useful for picking up a single source from lots of background noise.
Bi-directional: This is sometimes referred to as a figure-of-eight pattern. Microphones with a bi-directional pattern will detect sound from in front or behind the diaphragm. However, they won’t pick up a lot of sound from side angles.
Dynamic, Condenser, or Ribbon?
While this article is primarily about dynamic microphones, it is important to know the difference between the various types of microphones on the market.
A dynamic microphone is the cheapest type of microphone, built with a vibrating coil. These types of microphones are perfect for gigging, as they are incredibly reliable and durable. In addition, they are good if you need to record guitars or drums because they can cope with high sound pressure levels.
If you want the best sound quality, you should choose a condenser microphone. These mics produce a much higher sound fidelity than dynamic mics due to a thin diaphragm membrane. The results are always crisp, clean, and nuanced. However, they will cost you more money because the components are delicate and finely tuned. These microphones also require phantom power to work, which means you may have to invest in a preamp to get the most out of them.
You should also consider why you need the microphone in the first place. Some microphones are better suited to certain jobs than others.
Mic-ing up Amps
As a music producer, you have to play with different techniques and tricks to record your desired signal. At times, you'll be passing your guitar through an effects pedal, into an amp, and you'll need to record it into your DAW. That's when you use a mic (preferably a dynamic microphone) to record the sound out of your amp! Similarly, you can use different microphones to get a large stereo width while recording drums and such.
A condenser will give you better vocal quality, but they are harder to maintain over time. The main thing to look for is a cardioid polar pattern to stop feedback. In short, if you’re singing live, a dynamic microphone is the more durable and reliable option!
An acoustic guitar is a much more subtle and delicate instrument than an electric guitar. For this reason, you will want to use a condenser or ribbon mic to capture the nuances of the sound. And if you're recording two same acoustic guitar mono tracks, panned to left and right - using a dynamic microphone on one side and condenser on the other can give you all the stereo width and frequency difference that you want!
You want to avoid causing feedback when using a microphone for public speaking. However, you also do not need to capture every fine detail of your vocal performance either. Therefore, you can use a dynamic microphone and keep it near or far from your mouth as required.
If you are recording directly into a DAW on your PC, you need a mic that is easy to use and also good for clear vocals. We recommend buying a USB condenser-style microphone for this sort of task. These products often come with their own bases, boom arms, and grips, perfect for desk work. If you're planning to invest in a microphone for podcasts, avoid going for a dynamic microphone.
How Much Do Dynamic Microphones Usually Cost?
Like most musical equipment, dynamic microphones vary in price greatly. If you are on a minimal budget, you can find microphones for as little as $60, sometimes less. However, we would not recommend using them in any professional capacity.
If you are looking for a popular, high-quality microphone, you should expect to pay somewhere in the region of $150-$500—generally, the more expensive the microphone, the better the sound!
Best Dynamic Microphone FAQ
Q: What is the most popular dynamic microphone?
A: Without a doubt, the most popular dynamic microphone brands are Shure (known for the SM57 and SM58) and Sennheiser (who make the E835 and E935), with countless musicians and sound techs opting for one of these two brands.
Q: What is a ribbon microphone?
A: Ribbon mics can be considered dynamic microphones because they do not use phantom power. However, they are much warmer and offer a higher quality sound than the regular dynamic alternative. On the other hand, they cost a lot more money, and they are very delicate, so they should only be used for studio work.
Within the city limits of NOLA, you may find Camilla hammering away on her 88, playing anything from old jazz to modern country music. Camilla's goal is to one day open a piano studio in New Orleans where she can teach the black and whites and other common jazz instruments to enthusiastic students. Ms. Haywood hopes to bring instruments to old and new musicians alike, reviewing pianos, orchestral instruments, and other products that make her tap her fingers to the beats.