Here are our Top 5 Vocal Microphones for Under £500!
When it comes to choosing your first mic, or an addition to your already healthy selection of mics, it can often be daunting and very unclear as to which would best suit your voice, room or style of music.
If you’re looking for a mic, but drowned in choice, let’s try to narrow it down for you…
First up, a personal favourite of mine.
This is a phenomenal value-for-money microphone that competes directly with mics 5 times the price. It proudly features a frequency response practically identical to the notorious Neumann U87, with a vintage style character boasted by it’s elegant and unique design. It’s a high-performance, switchable pattern, microphone utilising a 1” gold evaporated capsule. A switch on the mic body selects from Omni, Cardioid or Figure-of-Eight polar patterns.
The Spirit is a modern, but classic sounding microphone designed to deliver a glistening open sound with sparkling harmonics. This superbly natural microphone captures a transparent, but characterful recording with all the detail in the high range, without adding the harshness that some condenser microphones seem to. I have only had good experiences with this mic and based on the many positive reviews floating around the internet, so has its users.
At this price point, the Aston Spirit is hard to beat for sure.
Additional Accessories: Aston Halo Shadow Reflection Filter, Aston SwiftShield Universal Shock Mount and Filter Set.
It wouldn’t be a “microphone shootout” without at least one Neumann mic in there. As it’s safe to say, every studio needs at least one microphone from Neumann.
Neumann mics have always been unavailable to the masses, with most standard early prices well above £2000. However, the TLM range challenges this with a super high-end microphone with all the character and body of the originals, at well under half the price. A slight boost above 6 kHz provides for excellent presence of the voice in the overall mix, which is extremely linear, ensuring minimal colouration and a clearly defined bass range. It’s a highly versatile mic that replicates true audio better than most.
The TLM 102 is ideal for the home recording and project studio sector, as well as for the broadcasting area, especially when clear lines of sight to the speakers are a priority. You cant go wrong with this microphone!
The Shure SM7B is slowly making its way into studios of all shapes and sizes. It’s become an industry standard for harsher, punchy vocals and can work wonders for helping a vocal cut through the mix. A recent visit to AIR studios left me lost for words when the engineer chose not to use the £5000+ AKG C12 and instead the SM7B. But once I heard the comparison for myself, I understood clearly his reasoning and got myself an SM7B on order.
It has a smooth, flat, wide-range frequency response appropriate for music and speech in all professional audio applications, whether its close-talking, loud/soft vocals or more commonly, broadcasting. Just make sure you have a preamp with enough headroom to drive it and get the best out of it!
My personal recommendation for an interface w/ preamp that can get the best out of the SM7B is the Audient ID range.
Few brands out there have a reputation like RODE for high-quality microphones at an affordable price. Rode dominates the entry-level market for their production of warm-sounding, thick luscious vocal microphones and have proven to be an asset in any studio.
The Rode K2 Valve Microphone is a great example of rode’s tonal character, with its incredibly smooth, rich tube-sound well suited for all vocal types. Using the remote power supply of the Rode K2 Microphone, you can also continuously vary the mic’s polar patterns to suit the environment, space and style of your recordings. So If you have a thick, characterful voice, the K2 will ensure to show-off the full range of your vocal capabilities and provide you with hands-on control to keep things interesting.
Additional Accessories: Rode NTSM6 Shockmount & PopshieldSE Electronics Dual Pop Pro
Last but not least, the AKG C214. AKG need no introduction with this series of microphone, with a presence in nearly all modern-day studios, the new C 214 is designed as a cost-effective alternative to the high-end, industry-leading C 414 family.
It captures sound combining one side of the legendary C 414 dual-capsule system and AKG’s patented Back-Plate Technology which results in an outstanding performance close to the famous C 414 B-XLS. It produces clear and precise vocals, without the harshness you get from many other condensers. It’s capable of handling the rigours of high-pressure sound such as amplified guitars, with a sensitivity perfect for voice and orchestral instruments as well. So for those of you with loud and abrasive vocals, this one is definitely worth considering!
Although this isn’t my personal first choice vocal microphone, there are definitely sessions where this mic proves to be best suited over many others. It’s a matter of style and scenario, producing exceptional results if cleverly used.
The C 214 comes complete with carrying case, windscreen, and spider suspension mount included.
Additional Accessories: sE Electronics Dual Pro Pop
For more information or to further this discussion, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on 01273 665400 or our Pro Audio specialists on 01273 665413.