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You’ve practiced and practiced, you’ve honed your skills as a singer, and now it’s time to take your talents to the stage! But how do you amplify such a unique voice for everyone to hear? By using a quality microphone, of course.
There are two main types of microphones to consider for live vocals—dynamic and condenser. Generally speaking, computer dynamic mics are preferable in live situations, because they tend to be less sensitive than their condenser counterparts.
We’ve included what we feel are the smartest options for anyone looking for a great microphone at a fair price, whether it is a dynamic or a condenser design.
Our Top 3 Picks For Best Microphone For Live Vocals
Durable Microphone For Live Vocals
The industry standard, and for good reason. Enter any reputable live music venue around the world and you’re liable to see at least a handful—if not a locker full—of legendary Shure SM58 mics. They’re a workhorse solution for almost any application where you need to make someone’s voice louder, and they will likely work flawlessly long after you’re dead!
The SM58 is a dynamic microphone featuring a cardioid polar pattern (meaning it “hears” sound from primarily one side and rejects sound from the other).
For live purposes, this helps to eliminate feedback problems when paired with loud stage monitors. The SM58’s pattern measures evenly across the frequency spectrum, allowing for a consistent and predictable sound, no matter who is holding the mic.
The ‘58 pioneered an integrated pop filter that helps tame those dreaded plosives (bursts of air from making “p” and “b” sounds). This mesh metal sphere is also made to absorb the energy from an impact, helping cement the SM58 as one of the most durable microphones ever designed. There are even videos of users rolling over an SM58 with a truck with no effect!
Pros and Cons
- Cardioid dynamic mic
- Extremely durable
- Great for vocalists who like to use the “proximity effect”
- It requires the external Pop filter for the studio recordings.
- Shure SM58 is meant to be handheld.
Shure Beta 87A
Excellent Noise Cancellation Microphone For Live Vocals
The Shure Beta 87A can serve for everything from live performance to podcasting. In fact, it excels in all of these areas. It has a very tight sound for the studio and is capable of picking up nuances in the singer’s voice that other microphones might miss.
The Shure Beta 87A uses an electret condenser design. This type of mic is normally better-suited to a recording studio environment than the stage due to its increased sensitivity, but Shure has produced something that bridges the gap between the two.
The Beta 87A has a supercardioid pattern, giving it all the benefits of a dynamic mic while providing the detail of a condenser. It does require 48v phantom power to operate, but most mixers will provide the needed voltage with the simple push of a button. These extra features come at a cost when compared with the other mics we’ve listed, but if you’re looking to increase the quality of your live vocal sound, the Beta 87A is a great choice.
Pros and Cons
- Supercardioid condenser mic
- Enhanced rejection from sides and back
- Clear, detailed sound
- The highs are a bit brittle
- It’s hot (picks up every sound)
Sennheiser e835 Live Vocal Microphone
Consistent Sound Quality Microphone For Live Vocals
Sennheiser’s e835 is a hand-held dynamic vocal microphone for use on stage. The microphone can handle high sound pressure levels and it is also very effective at rejecting feedback.
It features an internal shock-mount for low handling noise and its rugged construction means that it should withstand years of use. It comes shipped with a standard microphone clip and a carry pouch.
The microphone has a frequency response that has been tailored for vocals with a presence boost around 5kHz to help you cut through the mix and well-defined mids that sound clear and unmuddied.
It has a cardioid pickup pattern to help with isolation on stage and a hum compensating coil to minimize unwanted noise. It connects via a standard XLR cable (not included) and there is a version available with an on/off switch if required.
There is very little to fault with the microphone at this price, however, there are better microphones out there (the Sennheiser e965 for example) if you have the budget.
As well as being a great choice for lead vocals on stage, the e838 can also produce good results on instruments such as snare and guitar cabinets. It has stiff competition from other microphones such as the excellent AKG D5 as well as the famous Shure SM58; however if you are looking for your first live vocal microphone, the Sennheiser e835 is definitely also worth trying out and comes highly recommended.
Pros and Cons
- Cuts through high on-stage levels
- Clear reproduction with a high presence
- Consistent sound quality (varying distances, moving off axis)
- Vocals can be muffled sometimes
- Midrange limitation
There is a multitude of options for recreating stunning vocals for your live performances, and we’re here to help you find the best sound for your dollar. Of course, if you are looking for a recording microphone you will need something different.
Lower sensitivity makes dynamics less prone to feedback and bleed. However, many audio professionals prefer to use specially-designed condenser mics to get the best of both worlds.
The SM58 is known as the world’s most popular performance microphone. It is an instantly recognizable icon for performance and can be seen in the hands of anyone from Pop Idols and Presidents, to Podcasters, Poets and MC’s It is also a very effective microphone for live streaming and podcasting.
Simply connect the SM58 to either an MVi, an X2U, or your audio interface of choice, and you’ve got a very affordable and durable kit for your live performance.
The Beta 87A is pricey, but for a condenser mic it’s quite competitively priced. A quality condenser microphone like the 87A can provide detail and a smooth frequency response that most dynamic live mics simply cannot. If you can swing the extra cash, you may be rewarded with a surprisingly realistic vocal sound!
For people who had enough microphones that aren’t as quality as they thought, or aren’t just able to find the one that meets their needs, investing in a microphone such as the Sennheiser E835 definitely brings benefits. Sennheiser comes from a very well-known brand, but the brand doesn’t speak for itself.
It’s the quality build and design, including the features and great sound of Sennheiser E835 that are backed up by a big number of 10 years warranty. It’s definitely guaranteed that you won’t regret your decision. To see similar products, visit Amazon.com