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The Best Microphones for Lead Vocals | Our Big 5

Published: Fri May 04, 2012  News Feed

The Best Microphones for Lead Vocals

 

 

When it comes to lead vocals, the best singer in the world could sound awful if they haven’t used the “right” mic. The mic you choose should depend on the vocalist’s voice and what does it justice. Period!

The majority of engineers and producers will usually opt for a condenser microphone for lead vox as opposed to a dynamic or ribbon mic, but there’s a lot to be said for these often overlooked two.

Just because everybody says that a certain microphone is the best for female alto’s or sounds brilliant on an acoustics’ fretboard does not mean that it will for the vocalist or guitarist that you’re working with. Choosing a mic with a good reputation is a great starting point when it comes to recording, but you should always do a little experimenting, discover what works well with your source and what doesn’t sound so great. That said... you might not want to completely discard the idea of using a dynamic microphone on lead vocals, at least until you’ve tried a few out for size.

The Big 5

In the realm of lead mics there’s something that we call the Big 5. The 5 microphones that are believed by many to be the best for vocals. The Telefunken ELA M251, AKG C12, Neumann M49, U47, U67, U87.

Now, you could ask any engineer in the world if these mics are actually any good and you will most likely get yeses all around, but like we said before, the best mic for “your artist” is a different kettle of fish altogether. Plus, those mics up there will most definitely set you back financially, which is why we’re going to give you some wallet-friendly alternatives to get you started with vocal recording.

 

Our Favourite 5 for Lead Vox

Shure SM58

The SM58 is the world's most popular vocal mic; it's massively versatile and suitable for everything from stage to studio use. Hard-wearing, rugged and reliable.

Rode NT1-A Vocal Pack

The RØDE NT1-A has deservedly become an industry standard; renowned for delivering the warmth, extended dynamic range, clarity and high SPL capability usually only featured by some of the most expensive microphones.

sE Electronics 2200a

The SE2200A studio condenser mic draws on and improves the incredible specifications that won the original SE2200 so many awards around the globe.

Whilst it still shares the same 1” gold vacuum plated diaphragm as the SE2200, the electronics are all new and much improved offering low self generating noise and therefore a better signal to noise ratio.

AKG C 414 –XLS

AKG released this new generation XLS model to replace the legendary C414. All of the improvements that were made are answers to requests from ever-demanding recording studios, broadcast stations and concert engineers, but with the basic sonic character of the original C 414 unaltered.

sE Electronics Z3300a

The Z3300A is the most versatile class A FET microphone in the SE Electronics range and utilises a large 1.07” twin diaphragm which gives the engineer a choice of three polar patterns, omni, cardioid and figure of eight.

Couple this with a 100Hz low cut filter and new ultra clean, ultra quiet Z range electronics and the Z3300A is the ultimate solid state microphone for almost all recording applications, from vocals, to pianos and acoustic instruments.

 

For more information on finding the right microphone, see here!

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