Top 10 Live Microphones

This is our Top 10 Live Microphones for 2018 with reviews from our own industry professionals.  Persuasion Sound has captured live sound with a wide variety microphones.  We hope that this list serves you as general guide to help you finding the right microphone at a reasonable price.  We have also provided direct links so you can make your purchase.

Hand Held Microphones

Sennheiser

Sennheiser E835 is a dependabel hand held microphone with feedback rejection, ultra-low handling noise (Internal shock mount), and rugged construction. Very comparable to the the SM58 but I prefer the E835 because of it’s crystal clear high end and 10-year factory warranty.  The E900 series is nice upgrade that is finely calibrated, natural sounding, highly dynamic, and rich in detail.  Also with a cardioid pickup pattern (Insulation from other on-stage signal, Neodymium ferrous magnet with boron  (Keeps microphone stable regardless of climate) and made in Germany.

 

Shure

The Shure SM58 is the most popular choice for live sound in the world. You can throw it against the wall and it will still sound good. The frequency response is calibrated for vocals, with brightened midrange and bass rolloff to control proximity effect. Internal pneumatic shockmount system cuts down handling noise. Effective, built-in spherical wind and pop filter reduces breath noise and plosives. The Beta 58a Dynamic Vocal Microphone is a similar mic but has better isolation for live vocals with it’s Supercardioid polar pattern.

The SM86 Handheld Condenser Microphone will give you studio quality sound on a live stage. It is possibly the most rugged condenser mic I’ve ever come across. Has an internal shock mount and 2 stage pop filter design. Phantom Power is required.  Shure BETA87C has a uniform cardioid polar pattern for maximum isolation and has a 3 stage pop filter to minimizes breath pop and noise.

Shure KSM8/B This is the best handheld dynamic mic Shure has designed. Patented cartridge design features two ultra-thin diaphragms (one active and one passive) and a groundbreaking inverted airflow system. Exceptional rejection of handling noise without any loss of low-frequency response. Unmatched control of proximity effect means a huge sweet spot

Shure KSM9/CG Exceptional consistency across all frequencies, providing more gain before feedback, while decreasing proximity effect. Dual gold layered, low-mass Mylar diaphragm design. Premium electronic components including Class A transformerless preamplifier circuitry. This mic has a switchable polar pattern between Supercardioid and cardioid. I would certainly baby this mic regardless of it’s durable design. 

Shure 55SH SeriesShure Super 55-BLK  has a classic appearance with modern performance quality. Frequency response tailored for speech, vocals and instrumental music. Cardioid directional pattern for optimum performance in adverse acoustic environments. 

 

 

AKG

The D8000M is a supercardioid polar pattern dynamic mic that ensures the most gain before feedback at a extremely high sound pressure level. This is a decent quality mic at a low price ($49.98) great for all you penny pinchers out there. Equipped with an indestructible metal casing, rugged spring steel grill, and a scratch-resistant black finish.

The Perception AKG P3S mics are handy cardioid dynamic microphone designed for backing vocals and instruments. Includes a mute switch and rugged wire-mesh cap with internal windscreen. Another budget mic that will get the job done for live use.

AKG P5i high-performance dynamic vocal microphone delivers powerful sound for lead vocals. AKG P5i features embedded HARMAN ioSYS technology so it automatically configures with the HARMAN Connected PA app and ecosystem.

AKG D5 Vocal Dynamic Microphone designed for lead and backing vocals. Patented AKG laminated varimotion diaphragm.  Similar quality of mic to the Shure SM58 and Sennheiser E835 except this mic has a Super-cardioid polar pattern and not just a cardioid.

C7 Hand Held Condenser Mic takes studio quality onto the stage with the AKG C7 handheld condenser microphone. Expect clear sound reproduction and sparkling highs when you sing into this mic, thanks to its custom-tuned capsule and hand-selected components. Feedback is a non-issue, by virtue of the C7’s open-space supercardioid design. A mechano-pneumatic shock absorber suspension and multilayer pop noise protection prevent unwanted vibrations and plosives from reaching the capsule and spoiling your performance. Rugged zinc alloy construction, a spring steel grille, and a 24-karat gold-plated capsule ensure that the AKG C7 handheld condenser microphone can handle the demands of your toughest gigs.

The AKG C535 EB reference handheld condenser vocal microphone is a classic, legendary microphone that provides the ultimate combination of excellent, highly detailed audio and exceptional ruggedness. Clean highs, true mids, and a low-cut switch to keep handling noise to a minimum on stage.  A bass cut/roll off filter and a switchable pre-attenuation pad let you match the frequency response and output level.

AKG C636 has the same transparent, pure tone of the legendary AKG C535 studio performance mic. With its manually tuned 24-karat gold-plated capsule generating a pure transparent tone, the C636 retains the spirit of the classic AKG C535 condenser microphone, while being updated to meet the demands of today’s top vocal performers. World’s first double-shock suspension system isolates the capsule from handling noise.

 

 

 

Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica ATR-1500 is a very affordable mic that is good for home karaoke or non-professional users. 

Audio-Technica AT2005USB & ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone. Has a extended frequency response ideally suited for podcasting, general home recording, and on-stage use. Built-in headphone jack allows you to directly monitor from your microphone  (interesting design but also for non-professional users)

Audio-Technica ATM510 Cardioid Dynamic Handheld Microphone is AT’s answer to the Shure SM58. Has a cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides and rear.  

Audio-Technica AT2010 is the most affordable handheld condenser mic I’ve seen on the market at $99.  AT is well known for being an affordable pro audio company that delivers great live and studio gear. This mic  has natural sonic characteristics with a cardioid polar pattern, a fixed-charge back plate permanently polarized condenser, and a multi-stage grille design offers excellent protection against plosives and sibilance.

Audio-Technica MB 3k Handheld Hypercardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone. Not everyday you come across a hypercardioid hand held that with a mute switch. Hi-ENERGY neodymium magnet for improved output and transient response. Again, another great AT mic that won’t eat up your budget.

Audio-Technica ATM610a Hypercardioid Dynamic Handheld Microphone. When AT prices a mic dynamic mic at $149 you know a special engineering touch was involved. The Audio Technica ATM610 hypercardioid dynamic vocal microphone is tuned for clear, detailed, extended-range reproduction of lead and backup vocals.  An innovative dual-wall floating construction; the back-cavity assembly “floats” inside the handle shell, providing outstanding isolation from handling noise.

Audio-Technica ATM710 Cardioid Condenser Handheld Microphone excels in venues with controlled stage volume or in-ear monitoring. Has a cardioid polar pattern and superior anti-shock engineering. A very solid condenser design for studio-quality performance for live settings.

Audio-Technica AE5400 Cardioid Condenser Handheld Microphone. Same large-diaphragm element as the renowned AT4050 studio microphone; true condenser design! AT calls this the ultimate vocal performance instrument. High-quality double-sided PCB uses surface-mount components. Extensive grounding plane and attention to best-practice grounding methods minimize electrical noise.  This is definitely one of the best handheld mics I have come across.

 

 

Telefunken

The German company had produced an extensive product spectrum of devices and systems since 1903.  Very well known for high-end microphones and engineering. Because of their expense they are not my first recommendation but definitely make the purchase if you want cutting edge quality and a flashy brand name.

Neumann

Another German company very well known for high end microphones and engineering. It is difficult to imagine a professional audio studio without a Neumann microphone. For decades, Neumann has been regarded worldwide as the standard-setting, leading manufacturer of studio microphones. And the same can be said for their handheld microphones. Again because of their expense they are not my first recommendation but make the purchase if you want the top quality and brand.

 

AUDIX

Audix I5 dynamic microphone is clear, accurate, and has a wide frequency response.  Mainly used for instruments such as the snare, toms, guitar cabs, and can be used for vocals. Uses a VLM (very low mass) diaphragm that provides excellent transient response. Audix is assembled and tested in the USA.

Audix OM2 Dynamic Vocal Microphone provides exceptional gain before feedback (50Hz-16kHz). This is a comparable mic to the SM58 and the E835 but with a better price tag.  Also has a clear and accurate hypercardioid pattern.

Audix OM5 Dynamic Microphone, Hyper-Cardioid naturally attenuated at 120Hz to reduce boominess and handling noise (48Hz-19kHz). Mid-range tailored for clarity and presence VLM (Very Low Mass) technology delivers outstanding transient response. The OM5 is known for its clarity, resistance to feedback and ability to handle sound pressure levels in excess of 144 dB without distortion.

Audix OM6 Song Writer Dynamic Vocal Microphone provides coloration and a tight pickup pattern (40Hz-19kHz). Crosby, Stills, and Nash used the OM6 to deliver their trademark vocal sound. The Audix OM-6 also has just the right resonance and SPL’s to let a female vocalist excel without fear of distortion or feedback.

Audix OM-7 Microphone is the top of the line in the OM Series, the OM-7 is highly regarded for lead and background vocals (48Hz-19kHz). Designed specifically for pro touring, the OM-7 features a “controlled low-gain output stage” resulting in significantly higher gain before feedback. It is clear, natural and undistorted sound even under the most critical live conditions.

Audix VX5 Condenser Microphone, Super-Cardiod an excellent-sounding hand-held vocal condenser mic that’s well-suited for a variety of live, studio, and broadcast applications. The VX-5 boasts a smooth frequency response of 40Hz-16kHz. Its supercardioid polar pickup pattern makes it ideal for capturing vocals, and is also great for capturing acoustic instruments (drum overheads, brass, woodwinds, guitar, and more). It handles SPL up to 140dB (with a -10 pad) without distorting. Great off-axis rejection and resistance to plosives only add to the Audix VX-5’s ever-increasing presence on pro stages.

 

 

Heil Sound

Heil Sound is assembled and tested in Illinois. The PR-20UT Dynamic Handheld Microphone has a heavy steel construction to allow for rigors professional use.  Has a low-mass NdFeB diaphragm and large voice coil assembly to provide a high level of pattern control, and a linear frequency response.  The cardioid pickup pattern rejects off-axis noise and is solid for picking up live vocals.

The Heil Sound PR 22 UT  incorporating a large (1.125”) diaphragm, patent pending ISO BAND™ isolation mounting that offers greater articulation and low handling noise. “stage-friendly” mic that can take a full-on snare hit & deliver the richest sounding snare with no overload. Also able to deliver rich vocals, warm & accurate guitar, piano, and more.

Heil Sound PR 22 Noise-Rejection Microphone is an upgrade from the UT version and can be used to mic anything from vocals to snare drums. Heil has developed the patent-pending IsoBand technology, which uses a Sorbothane rubber suspension system in order to eliminate low frequency handling noise. The mic uses the special low-mass NdFeB diaphragm and a large voice coil assembly to provide exceptional performance, including a cardioid pickup pattern with off-axis rejection.

Heil Sound PR 35 Dynamic Microphone has a matte black rubberized finish and adds a low-cut roll-off switch to prevent low-end feedback loops from ever getting started. The PR 35 will provide high-end studio results live or in the studio. In addition to vocals, the PR 35 is great for a variety of instruments including guitar cabinets, drums, and more. It’s built with the specifications of the PR 30 (large 1.5” shock-mounted hum-bucking), voice-coil to ward off unwanted handling noise & electronic interference, and provides great rejection of off-axis/180 degree noise as well.

 

 

Roland

 

Samson