A good vocal microphone is key to a great live show. You can't go wrong with any of the ones we've listed. These are all wired microphones so you'll also need an XLR cable. Some mics use phantom power, which requires external juice from either a mixer or DI Box. Here are the best vocal microphones for live performances under $250 in 2021.
Best Vocal Microphone For Live Performances Under $250
Anyone who’s worked in the recording studio knows the importance of good microphones. When it comes to recording a great sound, the best vocal microphones are what make the difference. If you want to get the most out of your recording sessions, you need to find the right microphone for your needs. Luckily, we‘ve done the research for you. We've scoured the market and found the very best microphones for the jobs you'll be doing.
American Songwriter delivers original review content that connects musicians of all skill level with outstanding products. We help people discover practical products that will improve their lives and are worth the investment, focusing on experience and real-life use cases. In the same way that readers trust American Songwriter to navigate music news, they also trust us to navigate the abundant world of internet shopping. General information about types of products and categories is provided here to assist readers in meeting their varied purchase needs and is not intended to represent the page author's endorsement in any way.
Tips for Buying a Recording Mic
If you want to make the most of your money-saving purchase, there are a few additional techniques to get the maximum benefit from your microphone.
Consider the range of the microphone as well as its sensitivity. Most professional vocal microphones can pick up sound that ranges from a low 40 to a high 80 decibels.
A higher sensitivity level is preferred because the more sensitive your microphone, the better it will pick the lower frequencies. Don’t be tempted to use the lowest setting on your vocal mic. It will sound muffled, which is not what you're trying to achieve. You need the highest sensitivity setting to capture low-frequency sounds without distortion.
Practice makes perfect. Try different phrases so you can get a feel for the sound. Use the mic as a “neck pickup” so that the vocal comes into direct contact with the instrument. This will prevent the neck from resonating with unwanted feedback and will provide a more accurate recording.
Microphone Buying Considerations
The first thing to consider when shopping for a microphone is the type of audio it will produce. There are three main types: vocal, acoustic, and electric. Each is a good fit for certain kinds of performances.
Acoustic microphones are the most basic. They don’t offer much in the way of sensitivity, though you‘ll get plenty of dynamic range with good recordings. The best acoustic microphones for singing are small, lightweight capsules, known as capsule mics. Some come with a carrying case; others don't. Most are manually activated or require batteries.
Vocal mics are designed to capture the original sound of a voice, whether it's deep, low, or high. Acoustic mics are more sensitive, but they produce a distorted sound that's hard to hear in recordings, especially when the vocalist is speaking softly.
Electric mics are better than acoustic at capturing the natural high-pitched tones of the voice. It also produces a more realistic vocal sound, with better extension and separation of low- and high frequencies. You can usually tell a microphone's type from its name.
Vocal Microphone Price Ranges
The cost of a decent pair of high-quality vocal mics can range anywhere from $100 to $2,000, depending on the features included and whether or not they’re certified organic.
For $75 to around $120, you can find basic pairs of microphones that include a microphone and a stand. If you're not a fan of the default position of your microphone, or you want an option that supports cardioid mikes, this is a good range to consider.
In the $125 to-$200 range, the choices get much more interesting, as you get both cardioID and balanced arm mike options, and you start to find higher quality vocal microphones with updated, more ergonomic designs.
Between $200 and $250, good quality microphones start popping up, but they don't come close to matching the price of professional-grade models. The quality of an organic microphone is often subjective, so it's worth shopping around to see what's the best bang for your buck.
Vocal Mic Features
This article covered the whole range of technologies, including passive, active, and hybrid. We chose the products based on the sound quality and features these offer, as well as on their cost.
We scoured the net to find out how well these products worked, how reliable their manufacturer was, what were the most common issues users encountered. Voice mics are supposed to last for a long time, even with long hours spent away from the mic. This is why the battery life is an important feature to look out for, especially if you’re one of those people who work late at night or when the kids are asleep. Most voice mics today have a battery that can last up to 6 hours. However, this is not a guarantee, so it is best to check.
The more connection options, the better. Some voice mic systems connect via Bluetooth, making them more versatile and convenient. On the other hand, others use the power cord to connect to your computer. With this kind of connection, there are a lot of potential issues. It is better to choose a voice-enabled mic that has a USB connection.
When buying a mic, it's always good to consider the size of the device. You can get a versatile unit, but if it doesn t fit in your bag, you won't be able to use it. In this case, choosing a smaller model is advisable.
A mic with a complicated setup will frustrate a beginner. If it takes too many clicks, inputs, or adjustments to get the right sound, then it will be difficult to master. The convenience of a simple setup is also important.
If you want to be productive as soon as possible, look for the design of your voice recorder. Depending on your taste, pick a model that you like and can use easily. One important thing to note is the material used in the body of this mic. Choose something that isn't too bulky, since it won't be convenient to carry around.
Once you’ve determined what type of microphone you need, you should consider some of its key features. You'll want a mic that's durable enough to withstand prolonged use, so you can record your voice over a variety of surfaces. Ideally, the microphone should be dustproof or waterproof, too. While most beginner models use diaphragms, advanced models often use piezoelectric materials that provide better noise cancellation. Some microphones are slightly more sensitive than others, and you want to find a microphone that produces a clear, crisp recording of your vocals. If you choose a more expensive model, it may also feature a noise-cancelling feature. The best microphones also produce a reasonable level of clarity, allowing you to easily hear your own voice in recordings.
Vocal Microphones for Live Performances FAQ
Q: What is a vocal microphone?
A: A vocal mic is simply a microphone that is designed for use with singing. It does not have a dedicated input and output, which is what a speaker mic does, but rather has a USB port. You connect it to your computer via USB, and plug the mic into the USB input. This gives you the same functionality as using a regular microphone, except you can also use it for recording.
Q: What are the differences between a condenser microphone and a dynamic microphone for singing?
A: Condenser mics are designed to pick up low-frequency sounds, such as the hum of a traffic engine. These are ideal for vocals and acoustic guitars. Dynamic mics are more versatile, as they pick sound waves that are higher in frequency than the low frequency sounds picked by condensers, so they’re perfect for acoustic instruments as well as vocal recordings. They‘re often more expensive than condensers.
Q: What type of sound quality is an external microphone good for?
A: External mics are great for capturing high-quality recordings, because they eliminate the need for an internal microphone. A mic with an input for each channel will give you more control over your recording, since you don t need to worry about the microphone picking up anything that s irrelevant to the sound youre trying to achieve. If you prefer, you could use a different mic type for the recording – for example, if you want to record a drumming session, use two external miked drums. However, this will add a mic level of instability to make the drums sound louder or quieter. The most important thing is to find a good mic that will not disturb the flow of your music.
By Jack Stoneybrook
Jack has been a touring guitarist for almost 20 years, playing in a number of country music and rock bands. Jack loves the road and defines himself as a never-ending student of the guitar and other important instruments or tools that make a musician.