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The Best Home Recording Mic 2018

A studio microphone is one of those important things you’ll have to consider setting up your home studio. The best home recording microphones do not necessarily need to be expensive. In the complicated industry where some microphones retail even as high as $10,000, it somehow seems difficult to find any of the lower-end microphones that can easily qualify and fit the tag of the best home recording mic. In this article we present you seven of the best home recording microphones that won’t cost you an arm and leg, most of them retailing for far less than $100.

Top 5 best home recording mic comparison

PictureNameFrequency ResponsePriceRating
Shure SM57 Microphone 40Hz to 15kHzCheck Price 4.7
Shure SM 58 50Hz to 15kHzCheck Price 4.7
Rode NTK 20Hz to 20kHzCheck Price 4.2
Audio Technica AT2020 20Hz to 20kHzCheck Price 4.6
MXL 770 30Hz to 20kHzCheck Price 4.5

Buying a Studio Microphone

There are generally some things you should know when it comes to buying the best home recording microphone for your studio. You’ll want to buy the best and you’ll have to recognize it in this case. First, you should understand that there are two major types of mics available in the market. You must also try to understand the difference between these two as well as a basic understanding of what those terms in the specifications and features mean.

Two Types of Studio Microphones

  • Dynamic Microphones
  • Condenser Microphones

95% of the studio microphones in use falls under either of these two types of microphones. Not that one can be clearly described as better than the other, they are both designed for use and are excellent in different situations. However, we’ll list five ways and criteria to help you choose the best home recording microphone for your home studio. This will determine whether or not you’ll have to go for a condenser microphone or a dynamic type.

Frequency Response

As a rule of the thumb, condenser microphones are better for high-frequency applications such as cymbals, pianos and acoustic guitars while the dynamic types are well-suited to drums and electric guitars. While this is not really a definite conclusion, it is meant to help you in your search for the best home recording mic for your studio.

 

Pricing

If you want a condenser microphone, they are generally more expensive, the costliest dynamic microphones still retail for around $500. The condenser microphones of the highest prices are sold for as much as about $5000 to $10,000. This is quite much but it is worth it in the long run.

 

Durability

You’d want something to last very long, right? Dynamics have a more durable diaphragm and more durable overall construction when compared with condenser microphones. Drop the Shure SM57 on the ground and you can still pick it up and use right away. Some folks even recommend using your Shure SM58 as a hammer if you can’t find your hammer on time, lol! Try this with a condenser microphone and you’ll find yourself in the market for a replacement.

 

Gain Before Feedback

Dynamic microphones allow higher gain before any noticeable feedback and as such, they are more suitable for on-stage performances, unlike condenser microphones.

Condenser VS Dynamic Mics

Given that condenser mics are pricier, you’d think they are better but things don’t work that way. Each type of mic has different areas in which they excel and a good recording studio will not just have one single type of microphone. To make your home studio as professional as it can get, you can get a combination of dynamic and condenser microphones which you’ll be able to use for different recordings that will need special microphone types.

Best home recording mic review

1. Shure SM57 Microphone: Affordable Quality

Best Home Recording Mic

Our Rating: (4.7 / 5)

The Shure brand of microphones does not fail to impress and in the Shure SM57 home recording microphone, you have what you can call an amazing fusion of affordability and quality. For less than $100, the Shure SM57 can be your go-to mic for studio recordings. It’s even been rumored as Lenny Kravitz’s favorite mic and whether you’ll be doing voiceover, youtube recordings, instrumentals and more, the Shure SM57 does not disappoint. For a token, this can be your best home recording mic.

 

Features and Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Dynamic Microphone
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid pickup pattern to reject background noise.
  • Connectivity: XLR connection
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz to 15kHz, contoured frequency for clean sound reproduction for vocals and instrumentals.

 

Pros

  • Great for both beginners and experts alike.
  • Clean sound reproduction and rich high notes.
  • Dynamic and versatile for all types of recordings be it vocals or instruments.
  • Very durable and some consider it indestructible.
  • It perfectly blocks out noise from the background.

Cons

  • It does not have a power switch.
  • It has low gain so your device needs to have a higher input gain to reproduce the sound optimally.

 

2. Shure SM 58: Another Shure Thing!

Best Home Recording Mic 2018

Our Rating: (4.7 / 5)

The SM58 is another Shure microphone that easily makes our list of the best home recording microphone. The SM58 is as durable as its SM57 counterpart and it is probably the most affordable best studio microphone for recording vocals. It is primarily designed for vocals, backing vocals, e t c, and is used even by professionals in expensive, high-end studios because of its ability to prevent distortion even at the highest levels.

 

Features & Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Dynamic Microphone.
  • Polar Pattern: Uniform Cardioid Pickup Pattern for perfect rejection of background noise.
  • Connectivity: XLR Connection (An XLR to USB adapter will help you connect to computer or USB ports on other devices)
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz to 15kHz, designed for vocals with a brightened mid-range and bass roll-off feature.
  • Pop filter: Inbuilt spherical pop filter to filter and minimize the pop effects from wind and breath

 

Pros

  • Extreme durability due to its rugged construction.
  • It is the most used microphone for stage vocals.
  • The microphones offer great value for the cost.
  • Has internal shock mount and pop filters.
  • The grilles are ball-shaped and are very sturdy.

Cons

  • You’ll have to turn up the gain to get the best use.
  • The mic holder looks kind of cheap.

3. The Rode NTK

Rode NTK

Our Rating: (4.2 / 5)

The Rode NTK is one very valuable investment that you can make to perfect your home studio recordings. Though a little costlier than what most other microphones on this list costs, the Rode NTK Microphone has all you’ll need in the best home recording mic. The quality is second to none and the output is immaculate and precise. Considering it’s a condenser microphone, it is still rugged and durable and would outlive most other mics in its price range in a mic shootout. When you consider the value you get from this mic, the pricing is no doubt reasonable.

 

Features & Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Condenser Microphone
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid Pickup Pattern
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 158dB Max
  • Ultra low noise

 

Pros

  • A crisp and warm sound output
  • Durable mic with great value
  • It is one workhorse mic that will keep you coming back for more
  • Its sound reproduction is smooth and pure.

Cons

  • Highs may sound a little tinny.
  • You should ensure the placement is right.

4. Audio Technica AT2020

Audio Technica AT2020

Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)

The Audio Technica AT2020 is a cardioid condenser microphone that is perfect and fitting for your home studio recordings. If you’ll need the best USB microphone for singing or you probably need a youtube microphone setup, the AT2020 fits the bill and will handle all of your recordings perfectly. Though it seems an entry-level model, the AT2020 to some people is the most affordable best condenser mic for vocals as it is able to reject background noise even in untreated studios. Let’s check out the features in the next part of this guide.

 

Features & Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Condenser Microphone
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid Pickup Pattern
  • Connectivity: XLR & USB output for digital recording
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 144dB Maximum
  • Headphone jack for volume and immediate sound monitoring and control

 

Pros

  • The mic is quite affordable and offers great sound quality
  • It is built to last and so it seems heavy but durable
  • The mic is versatile and can handle almost all your home recording
  • It comes with a pouch
  • This AT2020 version comes with a USB output digital recordings

Cons

  • Does not come with XLR cables
  • Lacks shock mount

 

5. MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

MXL 770

Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Although this is considered an entry-level microphone, the MXL 770 easily qualifies as the best home recording microphone as it can easily rival even the most expensive microphones and still come out with its dignity intact.  This is a mic that is often compared to a Neumann or other expensive mic and the sound quality difference at times seems insignificant. The little XLR condenser microphone has some very nice features which we will briefly touch below.

 

Features & Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Multipurpose Condenser Microphone
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid Polar Pickup Pattern
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz to 20kHz, low-frequency roll off to reduce unwanted rumble
  • Sensitivity: 137dB Maximum
  • Connectivity: XLR Connection

 

Pros

  • Great sound quality from a cheap microphone
  • The mic is able to pick up a wide range of frequencies
  • It is versatile and can handle several types of studio recordings
  • Great for people with high voices
  • Great for rap vocals as some consider it the best microphone for rapping

Cons

  • It sounds a little too raw.
  • It comes with a shock mount that is not all great.

Verdict & Conclusion

Setting up a home studio is no doubt an uneasy task especially if you are a total newbie. This is why this guide has been made available to help in your choice of a microphone as this is one of the most important choices you’ll have to make. Here we presented to you the Shure SM57 and the SM58 model to give you sure sound reproduction, the sophisticated Rode NTK for a professional experience, the Audio Technica AT2020 and the MXL 770, all of which will perfectly take your home recordings to the next level. While we’ll not pick any as the top choice, we’ll allow your personal conviction and budget to help you choose your choice. No matter which one you go for, it will eventually be a great experience.

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