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Best Condenser Microphones for Voice Recording

Whether you’re recording an episode of your podcast, narrating an audiobook, or interviewing a guest, one thing is for certain when you’re recording vocals. You need your audience to hear every word you’re saying.

This isn’t something that every microphone is capable of doing, though.

Background noises, different vocal tones, and how your studio is set up are just a few of the things you need to think about when trying to get the best voice recording quality possible.

This is where condenser microphones come to the rescue! Condenser microphones are designed to produce a clear, natural sound when used for voice recording. They’re highly sensitive too, which means they can pick up every detail of your voice no matter how softly you’re speaking.

Best Studio Microphones for Recording Vocals

However, with so many condenser microphones available to choose from and each coming with its own technical jargon, finding the best one for your needs can become a little tricky.

That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. Below, we’ve put together a list of the best condenser microphones for voice recording.

We’ve also written a super useful buying guide that’s packed with advice on what to look for when you’re buying one, as well as helping to make sense of some of the technical terms.

Settle yourself down comfortably, and let’s begin our journey by taking a look at our top pick.

1. Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
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Featuring an extended frequency response of 40Hz – 20KHz, the AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone from Audio-Technica is capable of picking up a huge variety of tones.

This works in harmony with the low-mass diaphragm to produce crystal clear vocal recordings every time.

The cardioid pickup pattern this microphone operates with also makes it perfect for vocal recording.

Working across a 180º arc, it will only pick up sounds coming from directly in front of the microphone whilst simultaneously blocking out any ambient background noise.

It’s easy to use and can easily be connected to an audio interface or any other recording device with an XLR cable.

The threaded stand mount also makes it easy to install and allows you to position it at the perfect height. Comes complete with a two-year limited warranty.

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Pros:

  • Has an extended frequency response of 40Hz-20KHz to pick up a variety of vocal tones
  • Features a low-mass diaphragm that helps ensure each recording is clear and detailed
  • The cardioid pickup pattern focuses solely on vocals in front of the microphone and cancels out background noise.
  • Can be easily connected to any recording equipment with an XLR connection
  • It also features a thread stand mount that allows you to position the microphone in the optimum position.

Cons:

  • It can only be used with an XLR cable, so it isn’t suitable for recording equipment with a USB connection.

2. Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Rode NT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone
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With built-in volume controls and a 3.5mm headphone jack, the Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone allows you to monitor your vocals whilst you record.

This helps take a lot of hard work out of the editing process and allows you to hear yourself more clearly during your recording session.

To make sure that your voice is being recorded as clearly as possible, this microphone operates with a cardioid pickup pattern. This works by canceling out any background noise and focusing directly on the sound coming from directly in front of the microphone.

It also has a wide frequency range of 20Hz – 20KHz, which can pick up a variety of different vocal tones clearly.

The plug and play USB connection makes it easy to install and compatible with a huge range of recording devices.

A pop filter is also included with this microphone to eliminate plosives, and you’ll also receive a tripod desk stand to keep the microphone stable throughout your recording.

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Pros:

  • Features built-in volume controls and a headphone jack that allows for self-monitoring and level-adjusting whilst recording
  • Operates with a cardioid pickup pattern which focuses solely on your vocals and eliminates background noise
  • The wide, 20Hz – 20KHz frequency range can pick up a variety of vocal tones.
  • Designed with a USB connection for easy plug and play set up
  • Comes with a pop filter, tripod desk stand, and a storage case

Cons:

  • Is on the higher end of the price scale, so not the best option for anybody looking for a microphone on a budget

3. ZINGYOU Condenser Microphone Bundle

ZINGYOU Condenser Microphone Bundle
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If you’re looking for a complete studio set up that won’t break the bank, then this Condenser Microphone Bundle from ZINGYOU could be the perfect choice.

Not only does it include a high-quality microphone that’s ideal for recording vocals, but it also comes with a huge variety of accessories.

Let’s start with the microphone itself. Operating with a cardioid pickup pattern, it will block out any background noise and concentrate solely on your vocals.

It also has a wide frequency range of 20Hz – 20KHz, making it ideal for producing smooth, naturalistic vocal recordings across various voice types.

Amongst the included accessories, you’ll find a shock mount and a pop filter that work together to reduce accidental bumping-sounds and plosives.

This microphone also comes with all of the cables and adapters needed for easy installation, and it’s compatible across operating systems. Includes a one year warranty.

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Pros:

  • A complete microphone bundle consisting of everything you need for a vocal recording set up
  • The microphone operates with a cardioid pickup pattern that ensures your voice is recorded clearly whilst blocking out background noise.
  • Has a wide frequency range to produce natural vocals across a range of voice types
  • The accessory bundle includes a shock mount, pop filter, mic stand, windscreen, cable, and sound adapter.
  • Is easy to set up and is compatible across operating systems

Cons:

  • Can only be used with recording equipment that has an XLR connection port

4. Marrantz Professional MPM1000 Condenser Microphone

Marantz Pro MPM1000 Studio Recording Condenser Microphone
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The MPM1000 Condenser Microphone from Marrantz Professional is built with high sensitivity which, when paired with the 20Hz – 20KHz frequency response, is capable of capturing every subtle vocal detail spoken into it.

It also operates with a cardioid pickup pattern that helps to isolate your vocals and block out ambient noise, ensuring that your recording is as clear as possible every time.

This pickup pattern also makes the microphone perfect for recording near other voices.

A pop filter is included with the microphone, which helps eliminate plosives and ensures every word is recorded with definition and clarity.

It also comes with a shock mount that can be used to mount a traditional stand, and a tripod desk stand to give you versatility over your studio set up.

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Pros:

  • Features high sensitivity and 20Hz-20KHz frequency response for high definition recording across a range of vocal tones
  • The cardioid pickup pattern focuses on vocals and prevents ambient sound from being recorded.
  • Comes with a pop filter to help eliminate plosives and keep the recording clear and concise
  • It also comes with a shock mount for traditional mounting and a tripod desk stand.
  • Can be easily connected to any sound recording equipment with an XLR cable

Cons:

  • The included tripod desk stand isn’t height-adjustable. However, you do have the option to mount your mic traditionally with the included shock mount.

5. Stellar X2 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Stellar X2 Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser XLR Microphone
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Constructed using high-grade iron and featuring a grille to protect the condenser capsule, the X2 Cardioid Condenser Microphone from Stellar is one that is built to last. It’s also a great choice for recording vocals and has various features to ensure your voice is captured with high-definition every time.

As with all good voice recording microphones, it uses a cardioid pickup pattern to concentrate on the sound directly in front of it whilst eliminating background noise.

It also has a high sensitivity level and a wide frequency range that can record various vocal tones and produce them into a natural-sounding recording.

A pop filter is included with this microphone, enhancing its vocal recording quality by reducing plosives and breath noises.

It also comes with a shock mount for easy mounting to an existing stand and a durable storage case to help keep your microphone safe when it’s not in use.

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Pros:

  • Constructed using highly durable materials and features a protective grille to keep the condenser capsule safe from damage
  • Uses a cardioid pickup pattern to record vocals with high definition whilst blocking out ambient sound
  • It’s high-sensitivity works alongside the wide frequency range to record a variety of vocal tones.
  • Comes with a pop filter that helps to eliminate plosives and breath sounds
  • It also includes a shock mount and a durable storage case.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a USB connection option. However, it can be plugged into an audio interface running into a computer.

Buyer’s Guide

Different types of microphones are best suited to different recording situations, so if you’re looking for a microphone to record high-quality vocals, there are a couple of things you need to look out for.

Below, we’ve highlighted some key points to bear in mind when you’re shopping around for a voice-recording microphone. Each of these will help steer you towards the best choice for the task you need it for and will make sure you get the perfect microphone for your needs the first time around.

Cardioid Pickup

When you’re recording vocals, the most important thing to look for in a condenser microphone is the pickup pattern. Of the many different pickup patterns used to record, it’s a cardioid pickup pattern that is best suited for voice recording.

This is because it concentrates on sounds coming from a 180º arc directly in front of the microphone. This means that your vocals are emphasized and picked up clearly, whilst any background noise is blocked out.

A cardioid pickup pattern is also useful for a variety of recording environments. Perhaps you have a podcast with an interview format, but your studio is quite small, and you and your guests are sitting close.

In this case, a condenser microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern will focus only on the voice in front of it without picking up anybody else’s vocals.

This pickup pattern is also great for outdoor recording as it won’t only eliminate background noise but will also help reduce wind noise and leave the vocals on your recording sounding crystal clear.

Sensitivity & Frequency Range

Along with the pickup pattern, your chosen microphone’s sensitivity and frequency range will also play a large role in your voice recording quality.

Certain vocal nuances and whispered words are difficult to pick up, but with a high condenser microphone with a high sensitivity level, every word will be captured clearly.

The wider the frequency range your microphone has, the clearer you’re recorded vocals will be as well.

A condenser microphone is designed to produce natural-sounding vocals. By choosing one with a wide frequency range, the more vocal tones, you’ll be able to record and produce into smooth, conversational sound.

Connection Type & Compatibility

It’s important to look at what sort of connection your chosen microphone features. Some use USB cables while others have XLR cables, and both are ideal for creating a stable connection.

However, depending on your studio setup, you may find that one works better for you than the other.

If you like to record directly into your computer using online recording software, then a microphone with a USB connection will be the best choice for you.

This will allow you to set your microphone up in a ‘plug and play’ style simply by inserting the cable into your computer’s USB port.

If you prefer to use a mixer or an audio interface as a middle-man between your microphone and recording software, then a microphone with an XLR connection will most likely be the most suitable choice for you.

It’s also a good idea to check the microphone’s compatibility across operating systems too. Whilst many are compatible with a variety of software, including Windows and Mac OS, some will only work with certain systems.

Included Accessories

The quality of your voice recording can also be enhanced with some useful accessories, and many microphones come with a range of these to help you get the best out of your recording session. This also gives you extra value for money, so it’s always worth looking into.

One of the best accessories you can get for recording vocals is a pop filter. This is usually placed in front of the microphone and eliminates any plosives that come from pronouncing certain words appearing on your finished recording.

A pop filter also helps to eliminate breath sounds whilst you’re speaking.

A microphone that comes with a stand as an included accessory is a good option to go for as well.

This will help to keep the microphone secure and steady whilst you record. Many stands can also be adjusted to give you a more comfortable recording experience.

Price & Warranty

Finally, it’s a good idea to set yourself a budget before you begin shopping for a condenser microphone as well. Prices can vary depending on the brand, so keep a set amount of money in mind and try to stick to it as closely as possible.

If you can find a microphone that includes a warranty as well, you’ll get even more value for your money.

As with pricing, the length of a warranty can vary, but the longer it is, the more faith you can have in the microphone’s quality. A longer warranty will also allow you to rest assured that, in the unlikely event of something going wrong, you’ll be covered for repair or replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best microphone for voice recording?

A condenser microphone is the best microphone for voice recording. This is because it can pick up a wider range of vocal tones and volume levels through high-sensitivity.

They tend to have a wider frequency response than dynamic microphones, too, so they can create high-quality sound across a range of voice types.

What is a condenser microphone?

A condenser microphone is a highly sensitive piece of recording equipment. Its sensitivity makes it ideal for recording vocals, as it can pick up different tones and volume levels with ease.

It then produces these tones into clear, conservational vocals pleasing to the ear and has a natural sound.