The Best microphone brands 2021 Reviewed: Ultimate Guide

On this very date, the market is flooded with a hundred brands of microphones. But just a few can be classified in the best microphone brands list. best microphone brands

Microphone usage covers an enormous peripheral. Ranging from vlogs, recording, voice-over, live streaming, and so on. Also, considering most smart devices nowadays are fitted with a mic, the industry just gets bigger. But for music producers, musicians, and so on, it literally trickles down to a quality microphone, that’s just undebatable.

So, here is a list of the best microphone brands designed for specific tasks: vocals, recording, guitar cabs, etc.

1.Shure

2.Neumann

3.AKG

4.Sennheiser

5.Audio-Technica

So quickly let’s check out why the above microphone features in our top list brands and what they are best suited for.

Read Also: Best Microphone for Acoustic Guitar Recording

The Best microphone brands 2021 Reviewed

1. Shure

Shure microphone tops the world’s most dominant brand for years now. It takes us back to 1925, the founder Sidney N. Shure turned a passion for crafting superb microphones and audio electronics into an obsession.

Since that boat for excellence sailed, the company has thrived to manufacture dynamic and tailored microphones that work the way you want to.

A couple of years down the line, Shure introduced the Model 33N Two-Button Carbon mic and was among a few U.S companies to adopt it then. These are lightweight and pocket-friendly mics, unlike the latter heavy and costly units.

If we talk about famous people and events down history, a Shure mic cannot go unmentioned.

The microphone has been featured in the Grammys, U.S presidential address, the Olympics, and the list goes on. Shure model 42 was their first condenser while the Model 99 Modulator was Shure’s initial wireless mic and Model 70 was their first crystal unit.

Let’s check out some of the best Shure microphones

Shure SM57

Specification

  • Type: Dynamic- moving coil
  • Frequency Response: 50-20,000 Hz
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Sensitivity: @ 1kHz, open circuit voltage, -56dBV/Pa [1] 1.6mV
  • Output Impendence: 310 Ω

It goes without saying, the Shure SM57 stands as the most prominent microphone in history. For musicians looking to record astonishing sounds then grab the SM57. It’s perfect for studio applications.

Shure SM57

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Arguably, we have other sound mics in its category but none can equate to the SM57 popularity. The mic is designed to be used with electric and acoustic instruments for pristine results. 

Try to wreck this kid either by dropping it or whack it with a stick, it barely breaks hance guarantee durability.

No studio in the world will miss the inexpensive Shure SM57 microphone and that tells you something. It only gets better as, since U.S president Lyndon B.Johnson,  the White House has used the Shure SM57 as the standard mic.

Shure SM7B

Specification

  • Type: Dynamic- moving coil
  • Frequency Response: 50-20,000 Hz
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Sensitivity: @ 1kHz, open circuit voltage, -59dBV/Pa [1] 1.12mV
  • Output Impendence: 150 Ω

The SM7B has been such a great dynamic mic since its introduction in 1973. It was initially called SM7 before the name was revised in 2001. Its versatility and inexpensiveness make it perfectly crafted for vocals in pro studios and home use.   

It features an internal shielding designed to shun electromagnetic hum that might be caused by computer monitors, monitors, and other electrical devices.

The SM7B is equipped with an A7WS windscreen that perfects its close-talk feature. This is ideal for applications like television, News Desk, talk shows, Narration, and recording studios (Instrumental and vocals)

Shure 55SH Series II

Specification

  • Type: Dynamic- moving coil
  • Frequency Response: 50-15,000 Hz
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Sensitivity: @ 1kHz, open circuit voltage, -58dBV/Pa [1]
  • Output Impendence: 150 Ω (270 Ω actual

The Shure 55SH Series is an iconic mic that features the UNIDYNE design packed with the latest acoustic components to deliver the currents trends standards.

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It comes with a cardioid (unidirectional) pick pattern so you won’t pick sound from the microphone’s rear. This allows you to use the mic close to a loudspeaker with zero feedback issues.

Features brilliantly tailored frequency response solely crafted for vocals, instrumentals music, and speech.   

And most folks will agree, the series II is quite a sexy vocal mic. I mean it just boosts your confidence on stage with its classic look when you are performing.

2. Neumann

I literally asked over 500 sound engineers and the name Naumann kept popping up among the top microphone recommended. That simply elevates this model as an alpha microphone.

The large pool of Neumann microphones includes units that capture a massive sound range with low noise, excellent capture, and tremendous depth. Every single mic is engineered with specific applications well thought of.

Neumann condenser mics are more prominent as countless great musicians of all times have used one of the mics to record iconic music.   

U 87 Ai– Perfect for drum overheads

Specifications

  • Low-Noise FET circuit
  • Studio Standards for Vocals & instrument
  • Dual-Diaphragm condenser capsule
  • -10 dB Pad
  • Cardioid, Omni & Figure-8 Polar Patterns
  • 48V Phantom Powered

The iconic U 87 mic first surged into the market back in 1967 and it became Neumann’s most popular studio mic ever. It later got some modification to better the initial unit.  


U 87 Ai Check Price on Amazon

When recording in the studio, capturing the full dynamic range for your instrument is key and that’s what the U 87 Ai is designed for.

The U 87 Ai features high SPL handling making it a smart pick for capturing loud sound sources clearly. It’s fitted with very low self-noise.

There’s no single pro studio you’ll walk in and you are not welcomed with one or entirely it’s not mentioned.

TLM 105– Popular for vocal sound

The TLM 105 is a vocal solution genius. It got a wide balance response and top-notch noise rejection feature making it a great pick for instrument use as well.


TLM 105 Check Price on Amazon

It’s a cardioid condenser that ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response thus offer brilliant feedback from stage monitors by providing great resistance.

Due to its remarkable performance on the stage, it has attracted producers and is now being used in many studios.

When doing live loud recording, the TLM is designed to perfectly isolate vocals with decent sibilance and offer a complete full bottom end without sound bleeding in.

The TLM 105 is super addictive and is the kind of mic that will become a key unit in your mics collection.  

KM 184- Best for rear sound rejection

Specification

  • Cardioid Polar Pattern
  • 15 mV/Pa Sensitivity @ kHz into kohm
  • Rated impedance 50 ohms
  • 138 dB Max SPL for THD 0.5%

Another German iconic microphone that’s rich in clarity and sound depth is the incredible KM 184. Introduced in 1993, this mic is famous for offering producers and musicians premium performance and features in various instruments.

KM 184 Check Price on Amazon

The Neumann 184 is a condenser mic that comes in a pencil statue in a single, cardioid pattern and weighs only 80g.

Considering this is a transformerless FET mic, you can bid goodbye to distortion and enjoy producing neat sound at all levels.

This mic features a smooth frequency response and clocks lows of 13 dBA self-noise. It’s designed to manage sound pressure levels as high as 138 dB. So, you can use this mic on the stage or studio and it will deliver the sound you truly desire.

In a nutshell, the engineering craftsmanship involved in this mic is the greatest refresher on Neumann mics to the producers and musicians

3. AKG

The AKG company traces its origin back to Vienna, Austria founded by Dr. Rudolf Görike and engineer Ernst Pless in 1947. The company originally aimed to offer technical cinemas equipment such as film projectors, light meters, loudspeakers, and film projectors.

Since then, the company has thrived on designing and manufacturing top-notch audio equipment and made for itself a name that stands out when listing the top best microphones worldwide.

Here are the 3 best microphones from AKG:

AKG C214

Specification

  • 20 mV.Pa Sensitivity
  • 1 inch Large Diaphragm Condenser
  • Cardioid- Polar Pattern
  • 136 / 156 dB SPL Max
  • 123 / 143 Db-A Dynamic range
  • 20-20,000 Hz Frequency Range

If you are looking forward to investing in a multi-purpose studio mic then grab the C214. I mean it features a large-diaphragm condenser designed to work with pretty much every app- pianos, vocals, acoustic instruments, and so on.


AKG C214 Check Price on Amazon

It’s a brilliant alternative for the premium expensive mic from the same line as the likes of C414 but less cheap with almost the same quality.

The elements incorporated in the signal chain are just a magical experience since it will capture voices making singing such an effortless task.  

AKG C414

Specification

    • Condenser Mic
    • 20Hz-20kHz
    • Polar Pattern: Omni, Cardioid, Wide Cardioid, Hypercardioid, Figure-8
    • 140dB Max SPL
    • Sensitivity: 23 mV/Pa
    • Output Impendance: 200 ohms
  • 88dB Signal to Noise Ratio

These mics dived into the market in 2004 and marked the start of AKG’s C series next generation microphones. The C414 is one of AKG’s most prominent mics that has shifted to be a professional studio standard mic.

  AKG C414 Check Price on Amazon

It’s tailored with the upgraded nylon capsule version which is cheaper to manufacture and delivers pristine sound results unlike the previous lustrous brass capsule used in the CK12.

The AKG C414 is primarily designed to offer a natural sound that works with pretty much every recording source.

AKG P170

Specification

  • Switchable: 20dB preattenuation pad
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency range: 20Hz-20kHz
  • +48 phantom power
  • All-metal made, heavy-duty

Kicking in with a thud from the P series is the sleek, stylish, and powerful AKG P170 mic. It’s a super affordable mic and sounds exactly how you want it on any setup you need.

AKG P170 Check Price on Amazon

This small-diaphragm mic is carefully engineered to deliver astonishing performance on percussions, recording overheads, and other apps. I mean it works magic both in-studio and lives performance.

It’s a mic worth giving a shot!

4. Sennheiser

When the topic Sennherser pops up, the image depicted is enormous. The microphone manufacturing company was found in 1945 and gradually crawled into other audio units.

Since Sennherser’s ship of manufacturing sailed, we’ve seen their product skyrocketing and you can mealy miss their products in 3 out of 5 random homesteads.

I cannot afford not to mention their premium headphones.

So, check out 3 of Sennheiser’s best microphones.

Sennheiser E835

Specification

  • Dynamic mic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • XLR Connectors
  • 40Hz-kHz Frequency Response
  • 350 ohms Output Impendance

Searching for a budget-friendly mic with super quality features, then grab the Sennheiser E835. It stands out as the most popular dynamic mic in Sannheiser’s battalion of microphones.

Sennheiser E835

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The E835 features a pick-up pattern cardioid that means it will only pick sound from the front and reject the side sound. So, no background noises.

For all your vocals the E835 is the remedy. It’s designed to tactically reduce the proximity effect and with a wide frequency, you’ll enjoy a natural seamless sound.

The Sennheiser E835 is a pro in speech, studios, concerts, and the list goes on.

Sennheiser MD 441 U

Specification

  • Dynamic Mic
  • Supercardioid Polar Pattern
  • 30Hz-20KHz Frequency Response
  • XLR Connector
  • 200 ohms Output Impendence

The MD 441 U still stands as one of the greatest dynamic mics for vocals and instruments ever produced in the Sennheiser list of mics.Sennheiser MD 441 U

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It was first introduced in the year 1966 and has since then proved to be a super accurate and versatile mic to use.

The MD 441 U proves to be a quiet mic with top-notch bleed rejection from connected apps. This mic is a magical pick for live or studio recording, vocals, flute, and pretty much every instrument you need.

Sennheiser MK 4

  • True condenser design
  • Large- diaphragm capsule
  • 20Hz-20kHz
  • 50 Ω Nominal Impendance
  • 10 dB(A) Equivalent noise level
  • 140 dB Max sound pressure level
  • 48 V phantom powering (P48)

If you are just starting your audio engineering career then MK 4 is the go-to-mic. It’s an affordable and high-quality mic.

Sennheiser MK 4

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The Sennheiser MK 4 is very sensitive and will record super detailed sound. This makes it an ideal pick for studio recording.

The mic is a large-diaphragm mic that is easy to handle and features 1 inch true condenser that delivers a powerful rich sound.

The MK 4 will work with vocals and your acoustic instruments efficiently.

I will totally recommend this mic for upcoming sound engineers.

Conclusion

In the real world, you’ll hardly have the chance to test-run every microphone brand to know which to settle at. That’s why I decided to drag myself into the long list of the microphone currently in the market, do an in-depth search, and managed to fish out the best mics.

This article includes microphones that suit both professionals and starters.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the content and enjoy picking your ideal microphone. 

 

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