The Best Microphone for Singing for Every Budget

Whether you’ve started a band or want to record music, you need a microphone. Good microphones will reproduce your voice well with minimal noise. Plus, a handy case for carrying the microphone to gigs in would be great.

I’ll be going through the best microphone for singing in every budget. Not everyone can afford a top of the line microphone, but there are good options in each category that will do a decent job. So let’s get into what to look for and check out all the top microphone picks.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Microphone for Singing

2 What to Look for When Purchasing a Microphone for Singing

There are so many different microphones out there. When I was in college, we had to memorize the specs of various microphones so that one day, when we enter the field, we know which mics to use for vocals and instruments. So when I say there are a lot of different mics out there, I mean it!

Here are the basic things you need to know and look for:

Where Will You Use the Microphone?

Not all microphones are good for the stage or outdoor venues. If you want to keep your options open, I would suggest a dynamic microphone. If all you’re going to do is record in a stable studio type environment, then if you prefer the sound of a condenser microphone, then go for it. What are these two types of microphones, you ask?

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic mics work just like guitar pickups. They use magnets surrounded by a coil attached to a diaphragm. When you sing into the microphone, the diaphragm moves the coil up and down with the vibrations. The way it interacts with the magnet produces an electric signal which is sent through to the speaker, which works the same way, just the other way around. That electric signal is converted into an audio signal which we can hear.

Of course, when you send that electrical signal from the dynamic mic into a computer, the DAW (digital audio workstation) is able to interpret that signal as sound. Why dynamic microphones are preferred for stage environments is because they’re pretty rugged and can handle loud vocals. They also respond well to a range of frequencies and aren’t quite as sensitive to small vibrations like musicians jumping around, the stage vibrating, and electrical noise. That said, they work very well in a studio environment too.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones use capacitor plates to produce sound. Basically, you have two charged metal plates. The backplate is fixed while the diaphragm (the other metal plate), moves with the vibrations. This causes an electrical signal. The fancy term is capacitance. The charge is provided by a battery or phantom power (the latter is provided by the sound desk).

Condenser mics bring a different tone to the voice, and many people like them for this reason. Their frequency response is generally flatter, meaning your vocals with all its nuances will be reproduced better. They’re often preferred in studio for vocals. However, they are sensitive to small vibrations, so not great for the stage, and cheaper quality condenser mics tend to be susceptible to electronic interference. So if you’re on a smaller budget, rather go with a dynamic mic.

Other Types of Microphones

While there are other types of microphones, I wouldn’t recommend them for singing.

Well, you could use a ribbon microphone, which is technically a sub-category of the dynamic microphone. Ribbon mics use a delicate, charged ribbon between two magnetic poles. As with the dynamic mic, a diaphragm moves the ribbon up and down to produce the electric signal. These mics are a lot more fragile.

Bear that in mind if you’re going to use them on stage. If you’re very chilled out, then they may be suitable. But if you’re enthusiastic and very loud, best to use a ribbon mic only in a very controlled environment, and only for your voice.

USB microphones are often a budget-friendly option. But the audio quality isn’t what it should be for singing. Great for podcasts, though. It goes without saying that a USB mic is not going to be suitable on stage either. USB cables are also the issue. They aren’t really built for this kind of thing, whereas XLR cables are a staple in the music industry.

Polar Patterns

Polar patterns, or pickup patterns, determine where the microphones pick up the sound from. Vocal microphones typically use cardioid, super cardioid, and omnidirectional polar patterns.

Here’s a brief description of some of the more prolific polar patterns for vocal mics:

  • Cardioid: This pickup pattern is almost in the shape of a heart. This means the mic picks up sound mainly from the front, some from the side, and virtually none from the back. So your vocals will be picked up well, but not the crowd in front of you.
  • Supercardioid: This pickup pattern is the heart shape with a bubble at the back. It picks up sound from the front, a little more from the sides than the cardioid mic, and a little from the back. It’s a popular choice for live sound, as you can up the gain pretty high before getting feedback.
  • Omnidirectional: This type of mic will pick up sound from all directions. So it’s not a great option for noisy live situations. That said, it handles wind and humidity better. It’s also a great option for recording multiple people standing around one microphone. The bass response makes it especially good if you have a very deep voice.
  • Bidirectional: This pickup pattern is also called figure of 8. It’s great for recording duets, particularly in indoors because it’s very sensitive to wind noise. Bidirectional mics pick up virtually no sound from the sides.

Proximity Effect

The proximity effect is that booming sound that occurs when you get closer to the mic. Basically, just lower frequencies. Highly directional mics like the cardioid and bidirectional mics tend to be most susceptible to this. If you tend to sing very close to the mic, you may want to go more for an omnidirectional or super cardioid mic.

In a studio environment, pop shields are often used. This naturally prevents you from getting too close, but they’re not quite as common on the stage. Pop shields prevent those popping sounds that result from bursts of air that tend to happen when you stand too close, or just sing enthusiastically while saying p, b, and d words.

Frequency Response

What you want is a flat frequency response. The flatter the frequency response, the more accurately your voice will be reproduced. Yes, you may want to change the way your voice sounds, but you can do that through the use of EQ, reverb, and other helpful effects. It’s best to start with accurately reproduced, raw audio. However, if you like the way your voice sounds with a certain mic, go for it, despite boosts and dips in the frequency response.

Sound Pressure Level

The sound pressure level, abbreviated as SPL, is how much volume a mic can handle before the sound starts to distort. It’s measure in decibels (dB). If you love to belt or scream, you want a microphone with a high SPL. Generally, a safe choice would be a dynamic microphone. With condenser microphones, exceeding the SPL may even damage the microphone. But, it varies from microphone to microphone, so always check that spec if you like it loud.

To give you an idea, typically, a rock concert is around 110 dB. This is about the lowest SPL you’ll find. There are microphones that handle up to 159 dB. You don’t actually need an SPL that high, necessarily. Over 140 dB, your hearing will immediately be damaged, so I hope you’re not listening or recording things at that level.

That said, getting a mic that can handle really high volumes means you won’t have to worry. To be safe, get one that can handle at least 130 dB. A drum kit can reach volumes of 130 dB. Standing right next to a guitar amp, you may pick up volumes of 135 dB, but it’s about 115 dB if you’re a meter away. Opera singers can reach volumes of up to 130 dB. I’m pretty sure metal vocalists produce somewhere near that.

Once you have a mic that can handle the volume, you just need to make sure that the speakers can too!

THD (Total Harmonic Distortion)

This is often paired with SPL and is expressed as a percentage, this tells you how much noise the current is generating. You want it to be no higher than 1%.

Signal to Noise Ratio

Single to noise ratio, aka. S/N or SNR, indicates the strength of the signal relative to the background noise. It’s expressed in decibels. You generally want it above 74dB.


This is how well the mic converts acoustic energy (e.g. your voice) to electrical energy. Very sensitive microphones are good at capturing sounds that are quiet and further away, but they also tend to capture background noise easily. Low-sensitivity mics capture loud sounds well without picking up too much background noise, although the output can suffer and upping the gain can introduce electromagnetic noise.

Here is an example of the same thing expressed in two different ways.

-32 dB re 1 Volt/Pascal +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz (this would read as -32 dBV/Pa)

25 mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz (this would read as 25 mV/Pa)

This particular measurement indicates high sensitivity.

Here is a medium sensitivity measurement:

8.0 mV (-42 dBV)/Pa

Here is a low sensitivity measurement:

1.0 mV (-60 dBV)/Pa.


Good impedance ranges from 50 to 500 ohms, high impedance muffles the sound and makes the microphone more susceptible to external noise and electromagnetic interference.

Wired or Wireless

Typically, wired mics will provide a cleaner signal. But, wireless mics have come a long way and issues like the signal dropping or interference are down to a minimum.

If you’re pretty active on the stage, a head mic might be more for you. But otherwise a good old mic set up on a mic stand will do. If cables aren’t your friend, a wireless mic that can be removed from the stand without any concerns for large scale public humiliation may be your best option.

Of course, in a studio, it’s purely up to your preferences. Recording sessions are generally more sedate, and if you like to record your vocals separately, you can be free to hold the mic if that’s more comfortable for you.

The Best Microphone for Singing

As mentioned, there are so many out there, so there will be a few options in each budget. Something for everyone.

Budget Microphones (Under $100)

These mics are all under $100 at the time of writing and rated highly.

Amazon Basics Dynamic Vocal Microphone

Another very basic mic, however, it’s designed to be used for singing as well as speaking. No indication of the frequency response curve is given, but this mic should be okay for most singers, though not bass singers who go really low. Unfortunately, the SNR is quite low, so expect some noise. The SPL is okay and should handle your voice just fine. Just don’t stick it in front of an amp cranked really high.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 100Hz-17KHz
  • S/N ratio: 58dB
  • Sensitivity: -53dBV
  • THD: 1%
  • SPL: 134dB
  • Impedance: 600 Ω
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

User experiences:

Most people are happy with this mic for singing, but most use it is a back-up mic. They also feel that this is a sturdy mic.

There were a few complaints about how noisy the mic is and while the overall construction is good, there were one or two complaints about the switch breaking. Also, this mic comes with an XLR-QTR cable, there is no XLR-XLR combo.

Sennheiser XS 1 Handheld Dynamic Microphone

Sennheiser is a popular name in the industry. This is one of their budget mics. It comes with a soft mute switch in addition to the on/off switch. Unfortunately, Sennheiser doesn’t supply specs like the SPL or S/N ratio. But the impedance is within the preferred range. It also has a good frequency response. It’s not flat however, but starts boosting close to the 2KHz mark before dropping off sometime after the 10KHz point. The polar pattern also alters with the frequency range.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 56Hz-16KHz
  • Sensitivity: 1.8 mV/Pa
  • Impedance: 300 Ω
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

User experiences:

Most people are happy with this mic feeling that the construction is good and the sound comparable to more expensive mics.

There were a few complaints that the mic is too quiet and about defective mics.

PYLE-PRO Double Over Ear Microphone Headset

If you’ve decided a head mic is the option for you, here you go. Use it wired or unwired. The impedance is incredibly high, but there aren’t many complaints about muffled sound. While this mic isn’t totally quiet (no mic really is), it’s nearly there thanks to the higher SNR. The SPL is good for vocals.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Omnidirectional
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
  • S/N ratio: 70dB
  • Sensitivity: -45dBV (± 3dB)
  • SPL: 130dB
  • Impedance: 2000 Ω ± 30%
  • Warranty: 30-day money-back guarantee

User experiences:

While more people use this mic for speaking and acting, many say it works well for singing. Most find it stays put well, and this comes from singing drummers, never mind guitarists.

There are a few complaints about it not working with some wireless systems. Some feel this mic isn’t sturdy enough and that the audio quality is lacking.

AKG P120 High-Performance General Purpose Recording Microphone

AKG is yet another big name in the industry and this condenser mic will serve you well. It’s very versatile, even including a bass cut filter and preattenuation pad. The impedance is low, and the SNR is decent, giving you more clarity. It has a fairly flat frequency response compared to many of the mics in this budget category, raising slightly after 10KHz and dips lower than 100Hz, so despite the frequency response, it may not do well for singers with really low voices.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
  • S/N ratio: 75dB
  • Sensitivity: 24 mV/Pa
  • SPL: 150dB
  • Impedance: 200 Ω
  • Preattenuation pad: -20dB
  • Bass cut filter: 300 Hz – 6 dB/octave
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

User experiences:

Most people are happy with the sound quality, saying it’s clear and has really upgraded their recordings.

There were a few complaints that seem to be defective mics, but there were mentions of noisy recordings due to the sensitivity of the mic.

Shure SM58 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone

The Shure SM58 is the industry standard for vocals. It has a fairly flat frequency response and the range is tailored to suit the human voice. It’s not overly sensitive and is one of the most rugged mics out there, standing up even to being run over! The SM58 has an internal shock-mount system that minimizes external noise. It comes with a pouch and a swivel stand adapter.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 50Hz-15KHz
  • Sensitivity: -54.5dBV
  • SPL: 150 to 180dB
  • Impedance: 150 Ω (300 Ω actual)
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

User experiences:

Most people are satisfied with this mic, saying the audio is professional quality and that it’s durable. They enjoy it both for live performance and in the studio, and are impressed in the studio with how quiet the mic is and how it doesn’t pick up on external sound much.

There are a few complaints about the mic being too quiet. The gain had to be upped quite a bit in some cases. Some also mention that the sound doesn’t have enough character, but that’s what generally happens with a flatter frequency response.

Vocal Microphones Under $250

These mics range from $100 to $250 at the time of writing and are highly rated.

TechZone Stellar X2 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

You really get a lot of bang for your buck with this mic. It comes with an aluminum flight case, leather pouch, spring shock mount, a ⅜ to ⅝ inch adapter, and a foam wind cover. So the actual cost of the mic may be lower than this set is priced. Still, the frequency is the flattest yet on this list. The SPL is decent, and the impedance is quite low. So while the THD seems high, the audio is still pretty clear.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-18KHz
  • Sensitivity: -31dBV
  • THD: 5%
  • SPL: 130dB
  • Impedance: 140 Ω
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

User experiences:

Most people are happy with this mic, saying the audio is crisp and clean. The mic and the shock mount are both sturdy. They’re also very appreciative of the carry case.

There are some complaints, mainly from people used to using much higher priced mics, and they feel the sound doesn’t compare. Some say that the gain needs to be upped a lot if you’re recording female vocals.

Sennheiser Professional E 935 Vocal Microphone

This dynamic mic is another popular choice for vocals in the industry. You can use it wired or wireless. The frequency response covers vocals and guitar. The hum compensating coil reduces electrical noise. This mic is also suitable for various weather conditions.

Not many specs are given, but here is what’s available:

  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 400Hz-18KHz
  • Sensitivity: -71 dBV
  • Impedance: 350 Ω
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

User Experience:

Most people love this mic, even preferring it to Shure mics. They describe it as able to cut through the mix well, particularly on stage, as it was designed for this purpose.

Some say that this mic works better for female vocals as it’s boosted in highs.

Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal Microphone

For those who like the vintage look, you can’t go wrong with the Shure Super 55. You can turn the gain up pretty high before getting feedback, and it’s not as susceptible to the proximity effect. Just note that you can’t use it without a stand. The frequency response isn’t flat, having a bit of a boost in the higher frequencies.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Supercardioid
  • Frequency response: 60Hz-17KHz
  • Sensitivity: -53dBV
  • Impedance: 150 Ω (290 Ω actual)
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

User Experiences:

Most love the look and say it does a decent job at recording vocals.

There are a few complaints about the mic being quiet, so you have to put up the gain, and that it’s better suited to warmer voices.

Vocal Microphones Under $500

AKG Pro Audio C7 Reference Condenser Vocal Microphone

If you like to hold your mic during recording, this condenser mic will do well for that. It reproduces the voice clearly with a boost in the high frequencies. It has a decent SPL and isn’t overly sensitive. While the construction is rugged, I’d still recommend you stick to using this mic in-studio.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Supercardioid
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
  • S/N ratio: 73dB
  • Sensitivity: 4 mV/Pa
  • SPL: 150dB
  • Impedance: 600 Ω
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

User experience:

Most people enjoy the sound of this mic.

But some mention that it’s too bright for female voices and is better suited to male voices. It’s also very sensitive.

Beyerdynamic M88 TG Dynamic Microphone

Beyerdynamic is another professional audio brand. The M88 in particular is an all-rounder, being suitable for everything from vocals to the kick drum (provided you use a windscreen) and bass guitar. This mic has been around since the 60s and has stood the test of time.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Hypercardioid
  • Frequency response: 30Hz-20KHz
  • Impedance: 200 Ω
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

User experience:

Most people love this mic for its versatility, saying it responds like a condenser mic but with all the benefits of the dynamic mic that it is.

No one really has a bad thing to say about this mic, other than the odd complaint about the price.

Vocal Microphones Over $500

As you’ve seen, there are plenty of great mics below this price range. You will find excellent quality here most of the time, but it’s not always the case that you will love the mics in this range. Always listen to sound samples on good headphones or speakers, or in live settings to make sure you’ll like the mic. Just also be aware, that during performances, they may use EQ which alters the sound.

Royer R-10 Ribbon Microphone

If you want to give a ribbon mic a go, this is a great option. It handles high SPL and EQ. It reproduces vocals warmly and naturally. Use it in the studio or on stage, it’s rugged enough for both. It has a decent frequency response. This mic comes with a 5-year warranty, the longest warranty period on our list so far. Just note that this mic needs to be used with a stand.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Figure 8
  • Frequency response: 30Hz-15KHz
  • Sensitivity: -54dBV
  • SPL: 135dB @ 50 Hz, 160dB @ 1kHz
  • Impedance: 100 Ω
  • Warranty: 5-Year, First Re-ribbon free in first year

User experience:

No one really has anything bad to say about this mic. It works well for vocals and instruments, and the build is sturdy as are the accessories included (microphone holder, mic sock, carrying case).

Neumann TLM102 Condenser Microphone

Yet, another pro mic. It may be pricey, but with a Neumann, it’s worthy of that price, although this is one of their budget mics. You’ll still find this in many studios thanks to the higher SPL and comprehensive frequency response. While you can mic up instruments, the TLM 102 does best as a vocal mic. There is a boost from 6KHz onwards, but you will still pick up male voices well with this mic. This is because it’s a transformerless mic which results in a higher SPL and wider frequency response.

A quick look at the specs:

  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
  • S/N ratio: 82dB
  • Sensitivity: 11 mV/Pa
  • SPL: 144dB
  • Impedance: 50 Ω
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

User experience:

Most people love this mic, although they do feel that it suits some voices better and some genres better. For example, it suits more traditional singing voices better as opposed to screaming and growling.

Some people received defective mics and some people feel that the TLM103, which is more expensive by a few $100, does a better job on vocals.


A decent microphone goes a long way when it comes to making your voice sound good. Now you understand what to look for and have a few recommendations. Have fun laying down great vocal tracks to go with your guitar tracks.

Happy jamming!

1 The Best Microphone for Singing for Every Budget