Top 10 Dynamic Vocal Mics for Live & Home Recording

Dave Mostert
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Today, we’re living in a time of amazing access to equipment. With the internet at our fingertips and e-commerce available to billions of people around the world, musicians can find whatever instrument or piece of equipment they want. New musicians often get lost in the options available to them from sources such as Amazon and Musician’s Friend.

Because of this, I created this guide to the best dynamic vocals for recording and performing.

NameCategoryProduct
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic MicrophoneBest OverallShure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal MicrophoneBudget PickBehringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR MicrophoneUpgrade PickAudio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

1. Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

Our rating: 9 / 10

Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

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Pros:

  • Tri-color Gold, Nickel and Black finish
  • Very ruggedly built — good for high-drama singers
  • Can be used as a Routing Microphone
  • Powerful Cardioid Polar Pattern
  • A better choice than the Shure SM58 because it does not need a batter for operating
  • The built-in filter will make the vocals sound less harsh
  • Works great with vocals for recording and live performing
  • You should use your own pop-filter with this microphone as it does not come with one

Cons:

  • The mic-stand mount is not the prettiest, but that is not anything to worry about
  • The price is not for those with a tight budget

Shure has been making great microphones for many years now, and the Shure SM7B is a big reason for this. It is a condenser microphone, a little more expensive than the SM58 mentioned previously, and has a rugged yet elegant appearance. It’s definitely a better buy than the SM58, and you can read here to learn more about that.

The diaphragm is large and has a cardioid polar pattern that is gold plated. This helps you get directional accuracy so that you can avoid feedback and pop noises.

2. Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

Our rating: 9 / 10

Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

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Pros:

  • Feature three switches
  • Low-cost
  • Pop filters
  • Rugged

Cons:

  • Very directional
  • Fairly heavy

The Shure SM57 has been around since 1966, and since then it has become one of the most highly rated microphones out there. It’s now the industry standard mic.

The SM57 features three switches. These options will enhance your performance and make your recordings sound more dynamic. These microphones also come with built-in pop filters, which will help you record vocals more clearly when you’re performing.

These are best suited for performing at home or in a small venue. If you’re hoping to take them on the road, you’re going to need a case. And if you’re planning to use them in a professional recording studio, you’re likely going to have to spring for a shockmount to isolate them from vibrations. We also recommend installing foam in the handles, which will help to reduce the booming and improve sound quality.

3. Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

Our rating: 9 / 10

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

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Pros:

  • Very durable
  • Made for mid-level vocal recording
  • Can be used for devices like Mac/PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones
  • Versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Extra padding for added comfort
  • Zero feedback
  • Cost-effective
  • A great choice for home recording studios

Cons:

  • Not for professional recording studios
  • Professional-level vocals may require a more advanced dynamic vocal mic
  • Low-end sub bass may not be clear enough, and vocals may have a slight hum to them (this is not unusual for this type of dynamic mic)

Overall, this mic gives you everything you need in a dynamic vocal microphone. On top of that, the price is fairly affordable. Here are some specs that make it our top choice for dynamic vocal microphone:

Type: Dynamic cardioid

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

4. AKG D5 Vocal Dynamic Microphone

Our rating: 8 / 10

AKG D5 Vocal Dynamic Microphone

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Pros:

  • Extremely high quality audio
  • Incredible noise rejection and feedback suppression
  • Available in various colors
  • Provides smooth and versatile frequency response

Cons:

  • More expensive than average mic
  • Slightly heavier than similar models, which may not be desirable for some users

The AKG D5 is a condenser microphone with a dynamic range. It offers a smooth transient response with a wide frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. It also offers a flat frequency response, which is essential for live and professional studio applications.

While it’s priced on the higher end, many people who have purchased this product have deemed it worth the cost. It has a lightweight and durable structure that makes it feel durable and sturdy. In addition, it is suitable for everything from vocals to instruments. It’s also built to minimize background noises, so it’s ideal for any live performance or studio recording.

The sound that it produces is fantastic, which is not to be said for many other products of its kind. The bass response is smooth, but it still feels powerful and dynamic. You’ll be able to hear everything from the softest sounds to the deepest bass tones, but you’ll be free from distracting background noises.

5. Pyle-Pro Includes 15ft XLR Cable to 1/4'' Audio Connection

Our rating: 8 / 10

Pyle-Pro Includes 15ft XLR Cable to 1/4'' Audio Connection

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Pros:

  • Great sound quality, especially for the price
  • Comes with a mic stand and a big case for easy transport
  • Comes with a spare cable
  • Excellent customer service
  • It’s large and durable
  • The cable is long enough to be used comfortably with a live setup

Cons:

  • It’s not durable enough to take a beating
  • The case is too big and flimsy to be convenient

With up to 12 years’ worth of experience producing live sound equipment, Pyle Pro has a good reputation in the industry.

They also offer high-quality products at a reasonable price, and the Pyle-Pro PDMIC58 is no exception. Made of rugged steel with a steel mesh grille, this dynamic microphone is built to withstand harsh use. Despite its ruggedness, it still sounds great, and at this price you can’t really go wrong … plus Pyle-Pro offers an excellent warranty.

This is a seriously useful microphone.

6. Sennheiser E835 Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sennheiser E835 Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone

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Pros:

  • Cardioid pattern isolates your voice from unwanted background sounds
  • Multi-purpose mic
  • Made in Germany with high-quality components
  • Heavy-duty rugged construction
  • Extremely affordable considering the quality

Cons:

  • Transition between on and off-axis sound is not as big as other mics (although still relatively big)
  • Includes only one mic clip

The Sennheiser E835 dynamic microphone is a cost-effective mic that features the legendary warm, bassy tonality of Sennheiser microphones. This is one of the best live vocal mics. It is an excellent choice for lead vocalists, DJs, karaoke, instruments, and for recording guitar cabinets.

The cardioid pattern of the E835 helps in isolating the desired audio source while eliminating unwanted background sounds. It features sturdy metal components and an XLR connector for audio output. The E835 is quite durable and is made of high-quality materials.

The capsule has a damped design that helps to prevent unwanted breath sounds and popping. It is also equipped with a 3-position switch that allows you to switch from normal to high-pass to low-pass response. This makes it versatile in its application.

7. Shure SM58S Vocal Microphone

Our rating: 8 / 10

Shure SM58S Vocal Microphone

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Pros:

  • Known for its excellent live vocal performance
  • Durable and reliable
  • Comes with integrated switchable high-pass filter to reduce breath/wind sounds
  • Has a cardioid pick up pattern that minimizes audio from other instruments
  • Can handle high sound pressure levels (SPL) of up to 155dB

Cons:

  • Doesn't come with a carrying case
  • Does not come with an XLR cable

If there is one thing that you can consider the standard for professionals, it should be the Shure SM58S microphone. The SM58S is the second generation of the SM58 B (the Type 1), which has been the industry standard for live vocals for decades.

The SM58S microphone with on off switch has been designed to give you the best sound quality for your live vocals. You will have the choice of using the on/off switch if you don’t want to work with the noise reduction filter.

If you are wondering about why it has an “S” suffix, it’s because this mic comes with a swivel design. Its outer grille and the grille mounted on the capsule can move and fold inward for improved protection.

8. Shure PG58-XLR Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone

Our rating: 7 / 10

Shure PG58-XLR Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone

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Pros:

  • Wide frequency response
  • Durable construction
  • Includes all accessories you need to start using it
  • Dynamic cartridge
  • Constant level output

Cons:

  • A bit pricey
  • Pre-amps are recommended to achieve the best sound quality

If you’re looking to upgrade from your home recording setup, then check out this dynamic microphone from Shure.

Not only is it designed to sound great in the studio, but it also has the firmness required to sound great live, making it suitable for professional artists. Plus, it is built rugged and can withstand plenty of abuse without wearing out.

The Shure PG58-XLR has a wide frequency response, ensuring that your vocals are packed in the full range of sound. It’s also dynamic with a cardioid pickup pattern, meaning that it will reduce the amount of background noise. Plus, it allows you to record tracks without a separate pre amp.

9. Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone

Our rating: 7 / 10

Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone

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Pros:

  • Tuned for maximum precision and resolution
  • Ideal for recording singers and choirs
  • Stylish, durable design
  • Great value for money
  • Comes with an inline mic clip

Cons:

  • Not suitable for loud concerts
  • Mic stand adaptor not included

If you are a budding vocal artist or a band that wants to record some vocal tracks, you probably need a great vocal microphone to achieve some serious sound quality. It’s not a surprise that the Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphones is our number one choice.

It features a 6-inch, hand numbered-cardioid capsule with an XLR output connector. The mic has been designed to pick up the essential frequencies from the singer’s voice, minus the noise and feedback. It will help you achieve clarity with your vocals and is perfect for home or studio use.

This microphone offers a wide dynamic range and captures added textures and nuances in your voice. There’s also the fact that some reviewers state that it has better sound quality than some big brand names that are way more expensive.

10. MXL BCD-1 Dynamic Podcast Microphone

Our rating: 6 / 10

MXL BCD-1 Dynamic Podcast Microphone

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The BCD-1 podcasting microphone from MXL is designed for versatile applications, such as voiceover work, podcasting, and gaming. According to reviews, this mic is ideal for tasks that involve soft voice, such as singing, running dialogue, and speaking voice. It can also ideally transform your voice so that it has a clearer, defined tone that renders it sound more professional. The sound produced is said to be natural and smooth, which makes this mic a good option for broadcasting music, jingles, skits, and voiceovers.

The MXL BCD-1 is mounted on a heavy-duty, lightweight aluminium body that makes the mic durable. The mic is easy to set up and connect, and comes with a small, compact aluminum carrying bag.

This dynamic mic requires a phantom power supply from a pre-amp or digital mixer. It features a cardioid pickup pattern, a frequency range of 50 Hz – 18 kHz, and a sensitivity rating of -45 dB.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What type of microphone is best for live vocals?

For live vocals, dynamic mics will be your best bet for several reasons. One of the biggest reasons (and the one that we care most about as a live act) is feedback. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a performance and having a microphone screech at you every time you round a certain note.

We find that these type of microphones also have a more expressive response. For example, when there is a lot of energy on stage, the vocals will sound very warm, full, and forward in the mix. When the stage is relatively empty, the mic will sound much more muted, resulting in a much more raw and earthy tone.

Can dynamic mics be used for recording?

Absolutely! Dynamic mics are extremely sensitive to the faintest sounds, making them excellent for recording. Because of that, they are often again used for recording, especially for instruments with high sound sensitivity such as an acoustic guitar.

Their acute sensitivity is also the reason why they’re less often used on stage. Since they pick up everything, it’s easy to pick up a loud noise in the background, such as the sound of a nearby speaker, and make it part of your recording.

Dynamic mics, however, are often used on stage for the instrument calls that need an especially sensitive microphone, such as a sax, mandolin, or a bass.

They’re also used for stage vocals because they are able to capture a voice with natural tones, which always comes through on recordings, no matter how strong the voice may be.

What's the best microphone for live performance?

The purpose of a microphone differs depending on the venue you are in. For a live performance or recording, you will likely want a microphone that best suits your needs and skill level. Live singers often use dynamic mics because of their natural sound and built-in microphone preamps. High-end stage mics are also built to handle live music without the likelihood of experiencing distortion.

Wireless systems for live performances also exist if you want more freedom of movement while singing. Some stage microphones have a particularly tall profile (10" or more), which makes them ideal for a live setting as they cut down on the chances of having a mic whipped around and into nearby microphones.

Conclusion

Our search for the best dynamic vocal mic for live and home recording led us to these 6 mics. We found them to be the most popular mics for their intended use, and have provided our in-depth reviews on them for your consideration. Our Top 10 includes both picks for best budget, best for home recording and best for live performance, as well as more in-depth analysis of the best high quality microphones.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic MicrophoneBest OverallShure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal MicrophoneBudget PickBehringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR MicrophoneUpgrade PickAudio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone