High end, top quality microphones:
1) Earthworks SR-30
Quite simply, the Earthworks SR-30 are beautiful-sounding. Based on David Blackmer’s principle that extending a microphone’s frequency response outside the normal range of hearing will allow for a much higher-definition sound, the Earthworks SR-30 are amazing for overheads and acoustic instruments. Earthworks cardioid microphones have patented near-perfect cardioid patterns. The sound across the entire front hemisphere is remarkably uniform and is flatter at 90 degrees than most microphones are on-axis. The SR Series have an incredible transparent sound quality, offering near-perfect polar response and high rejection of sounds at the rear of the microphone, resulting in less leakage and more gain before feedback.
aclk.jpg ¬The Earthworks costs £1,410
Customer reviews: I have long loved Earthworks products, and consider them one of the finest available brands, anywhere. Their commitment to customer service and sound quality is unmatched; the SR-30 (previously the SR-77) are also a favorite of concert tapers for their smooth and accurate recording quality in difficult environments.
2) ARG – C12
The AKG C-12 is a phenomenal vintage microphone; it’s highly prized by collectors and high-end studios for it’s pristine yet warm and detailed response. It’s perfect on vocals and acoustic guitar, but also shines when used on guitar amps. It’s controller offers 9 polar – cardioid, figure 8, and many others.
The ARG costs £3,999.
Customer reviews: Good luck trying to find an original. You probably have heard your engineer friends who own the original say these words, “from my cold dead hands.” This is a mic replicated from a 1950s design but improved upon. If you work with real singers, or need a mic with a pure sound, the C12 VR is it.
3) Neumann U87
This microphone is the modern vocal mic. For many studios and engineers the U87 is the default microphone for voice over and vocals because it delivers a bright, punchy, and modern sound. But vocals are not all this microphone can do. Try it out on other acoustic sources such as upright bass, acoustic guitar, or as room mics. Its switchable polar patterns (cardiod, figure of eight, and omni) increase the mic’s versatility. Be warned though, the U87 has a fairly high output voltage, so use the microphone’s pad for loud sources.The U 87 presents a wide range of features and versatility that make it to one of the most desirable mics available. Our users are recognising the microphone immediately by its distinctive design. Well-known for its warm and well balanced characteristics – your perfect choice as vocal microphone for all types of music and speech. The usage as main microphone for orchestra recordings or as spot mic for single instruments make it the most general-purpose microphone – in studios, for broadcasting, film and television. The U 87* is equipped with a large dual-diaphragm capsule with three directional patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid and figure-8. These are selectable with a switch below the headgrille.
The Neumann is a very popular make regarding the top microphones, the U87 costs £2,057
The Neumann U87 is probably the best known and most widely used studio condenser microphone. Originally released in 1967 as the solid state version of the valve U67, the Neumann U87 condenser microphone has been the industry standard studio condenser since the 1960’s. It is a large dual-diaphragm condenser microphone with three directional patterns: omni, cardioid and figure-8, all of which are selectable with a switch below the head grille. At the back of the mic is a 10 db attenuation switch and a low frequency roll off making the mic capable of dealing with most studio tasks though it’s probably most famous for its use as a vocal microphone.
4) DPA 4022 Compact Cardioid Compact Microphone
DPA produces very accurate microphones. They’re a favourite for recording classical music as well as acoustic instruments, mainly due to their smooth, accurate frequency response.DPA microphones have a very specific “sound” to them; it’s warm, tight, yet detailed; from the 4011 cardioid down to the cheaper, more affordable 4061, they all sound phenomenal.The linear frequency response from 40 Hz to 20 kHz (±2 dB) together with the ultra-small design makes Type 4022 the perfect choice for all kinds of spot miking situations in TV studios or concert halls where near invisibility has to go hand in hand with studio quality audio.
The 4022 costs £1,765
More affordable Microphones:
1) AKG D5
The D5 has a super-cardioid pickup pattern, which makes it less prone to feedback and the pickup of off-axis sound sources.The sonic performance of this mic is a lot more accurate than the trusty ’58, with well-balanced articulation across the vocal frequency range and enough sensitivity to capture dynamic extremities.The frequency range and transient response render a clear vocal performance, and the mid-frequency fuzziness that’s common with dynamic mics doesn’t trouble the D5. The D5 professional dynamic vocal microphone for lead and backing vocals delivers a powerful sound even on the noisiest stage. Its frequency-independent supercardioid polar pattern ensures maximum gain before feedback.The D5 stands for a crisp sound that cuts through every mix. The dual shock mount eliminates any kind of mechanical noise for trouble-free live use. The audience will hear the pristine sound of your voice!
The AKG D5’s price is £70
For the vocalist in need of a good quality mic that’ll take a sound beating, I would happily recommend this mic for live use (I also used it for tracking guides in the studio and was pleased with the results).
2) Shure SM58
This affordable mic is a regular feature of the live music scene, especially for vocals.this is due to its near indestructible construction, internal pop filter and resistance to feedback. It’s also a good beginners mic for home recordists, especially make rock singers, tough it lacks a little in the top end rolling off at 15KHz.
The SM58 is priced at £127
The legendary SM58 is a industry-standard, highly versatile cardioid dynamic vocal microphone, tailored to deliver warm and clear vocal reproduction. the SM58 is consistently the first choice for vocal performances around the globe.
3) Avant Electronics Acantone CR-14
This affordable, retro-style mic s packed full of character, with a warm, dark tone that responds well to EQ boosting in the top end. Being a ribbon mic, though, it needs to be handled with care. Manufactured using the finest materials yielding a very solid feel, superb structural integrity and rugged reliability. The versatile CR-14 mic is able to produce professional results with a warm, pleasing sonic character.The CR-14 has very low residual noise, with no internal active electronics to overload or produce distortion. It also requires no power supply.
This model costs £280
The CR-14 is a robust mic offering a perfect entry point for anyone wanting to add ribbon mic ﬂavour.
4) Blue Yeti Pro
he Yeti Pro is the world’s first USB microphone combining 24 bit/192 kHz digital recording resolution with analog XLR output. Featuring three custom condenser capsules and four different pattern settings, the Yeti Pro can capture digital audio with up to four times the clarity found on CDs. Plus, the Yeti Pro features a cutting-edge A-D converter chip and separate analog circuit path for use with professional studio mixers and preamps. You also get a built-in headphone amplifier for zero-latency monitoring, and direct controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, mute, and microphone gain. So whether you record at home, in a studio (or in the Himalayas!), the Yeti Pro is your ultimate sound solution.
The Blue Yeti’s price varies from £90-300
If you’re looking for an all around great sounding mic without paying a fortune, invest in this one, you will grow into it, podcasting radio quality assured.
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Editor’s Note: This is an old article and things have moved on considerably since the original publication date
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