The 5 Best Studio Vocal Mics For Under $500
Rode NT1-A – $229
It’s known as “the world’s quietest studio microphone”. As its tagline suggests, you can turn the NT1-A up to extremely high levels without experiencing hiss or distortion. Ideal for powerful voices that put a sharp edge into their delivery, the NT1-A carries a very bright sound, and has been used extensively within the Hip-Hop and Rap industry. With its gold plated diaphragm and nickel plated body- it looks pretty sexy too.
Blue Bluebird – $293.98
Simply put, Blue does not put out junk. The Bluebird is definitely no exception. For the money, this is one of the best condenser microphones you can buy. The Bluebird is actually marketed as a versatile mic- a beast on acoustic guitar, strings, horns, percussion etc. However, after combing through hundreds of reviews, it became clear that the bluebird absolutely shines on vocals as well. It’s capable of picking up the nuances of a voice- the “little” things that make you sound unique. That being said- The mic is pretty hot, so it would be advised to use within a sound proofed room, as it will pick up ALL sounds. Overall, – a fantastic mic.
SE Electronics SE2200a II C- $298.95
Sure, the name makes it SOUND like it’s a nerd’s microphone (engineers everywhere recommend it) – but it’s actually quite badass. So badass, that legendary blues and jazz singer Amy Winehouse used the original version of the mic on her hit album “Back to Black”. With a cardioid polar pattern and condenser- this mic delivers vocals with transparency and pristine clarity that even the pros can’t turn down. And with that price- it’s a steal.
Shure SM7B – $399
Since the original version of this mic was used on Michael Jackson’s legendary “Thriller” album, the status of this mic kind of speaks for itself. It features a wide range frequency response, and delivers an incredibly clean and natural reproduction of human speech. For this reason- it’s the go-to vocal mic for many artists, especially rock stars. Interestingly, it’s a dynamic mic- which is traditionally used for live performances. Usually, it’s pretty typical to see tube and condenser mics used on vocals in the studio. But at the end of the day- you have to decide what sounds good with your voice. MJ could have picked a fancy $5000 microphone to record with, but he didn’t! Remember that when you’re shopping around.
Avantone Pro CV-12- $499
When it comes to laying down lush vocals, few things can beat the sound of a tube mic. The
CV-12 boasts a warmth and thickness that mics 4 times the price can’t even match. If you’re still not convinced at this mic’s ability to lay down world class vocals, you should know that it is the ONLY mic legendary pop star Taylor Swift will use on her vocals. And believe me, like MJ (R.I.P) – she definitely has options. The CV-12 has 9 different polar preset patterns, enabling crazy flexibility for vocals of different timbres and ranges, as well as other instruments too!