Home Studio Recording: 5 Top Vocal Microphones

In choosing microphones for home studio recording, you will likely be confused by the many that are available. When evaluating these microphones, you may find that they are listed and rated in categories. Understanding these categories is necessary in order to make an educated choice as to which microphone will work best for you. Whether you're looking for the best price or for a microphone that works better for vocals, drums or speakers—each type will have its own advantages. The information listed below briefly reviews the different varieties of microphones and makes a comparison analysis by detailing what makes them work better, what their costs are and which ones are rated higher for combined price and quality by microphone critics.

Starting Out

When evaluating prospective microphones, try to get the feel of those that have varied mic brands, sound reproduction and pickup, and directional patterns. If you're buying from an electronics shop, choose the shop that will allow you to experiment with the various microphone types and brands and that is willing to answer any questions you may have.

Below, you will find information about various types of microphones, along with 5 microphone models that are more highly rated by microphone critics, and why they are highly rated.

Condenser Microphones

A microphone with condenser pickup processes sound waves uses a diaphragm and plate positioned behind it that conducts energy. Some critics believe this type of microphone is more accurate and delivers more quality in captured sound.

Dynamic Pickup

To process sound waves, this type of microphone uses a moving coil that is attached to a diaphragm.

Omnidirectional Microphones

If you want to pick up sound from all directions, this microphone works well. It is also preferred for recording vocals without picking up the usual bass sounds you typically get from mics that are directional.

Cardioid Pattern Microphones

For singers who have richer and warmer bass undertones, use this microphone. But you'll need to place it within two feet of the singer to get the "close miking" effect.


When it comes to balancing cost with quality, this is often the choice of microphone reviewers because of its competitive price combined with versatility and quality in recording vocals or instruments. In addition, no phantom power is required.

Rode NT1-A

Although this condenser microphone offers high quality in recording both instruments and vocals, it is more expensive. Reviewer like it mostly because of the clarity of sound it delivers

Shure KSMN27

For microphones in the lower price range (under $200), reviewer tests showed that sounds created by this model seemed somewhat brighter, especially for recording vocals.

Audio Technica AT-2035

As an inexpensive condenser microphone, this one is top rated by reviewers who say it works well for recording either vocals or instruments.

AKG Preception 220

At $150, this microphone is listed as one of the top five favorites for recording instruments and vocals. Reviewers say it if it had a higher quality sound reproduction it could be ranked higher, but it is still a good buy at this price.