The 10 Best Microphones to Power up Your Live Performances
Your mic will be your best friend when performing live, so it's vital you choose one you'll be able to rely on gig after gig. To help save you some time searching the web, we've built a list of the best vocal microphones to join you on your live shows.
The best microphones for live vocals in 2023
As a singer, choosing the right type of mic is a huge step. No matter if you’re using your mic to record vocals in the studio or performing live on stage, you need to make sure your choice of equipment is spot on. Here are 10 of our favourite vocal microphones to help take your live performances to the next level.
1. Shure SM58
Takeaways: Perfect all-rounder for vocal performances. Great value for money.
Best for: Exciting live performances and rock singers.
Kicking our list off is the classic and widely respected Shure SM58. Renowned for its durability and used by countless pop stars, presenters and famous speakers, this dynamic vocal microphone is a top choice for live performances.
The SM58’s tailored frequency response ensures clear and vibrant vocals throughout live performances - whatever your singing style.
With excellent feedback rejection and a built-in pop filter, the SM58 is a reliable option for musicians looking for consistent, high-quality performances on an independent artist's budget.
2. Behringer XM8500
Takeaways: Great entry-level live microphone.
Best for: Smaller stage live performances.
Behringer’s XM8500 comes in as a strong contender for the best budget live mic. At an amazingly affordable $29.99, the XM8500 is often tipped as the best alternative to the Shure SM58 - offering similar performance at a much lower cost.
It goes without saying that this model won’t quite have as much durability and technical detail as some of the more expensive options, but as a beginner mic, it’s pretty spot on.
3. Shure Beta 58A
Takeaways: A technical and reliable mic for quieter singers.
Best for: Low and softly sung vocals.
Our second entry from Shure, the Beta 58A is another mic that’ll help you get the best out of your vocals. Offering users a super-cardioid polar pattern as opposed to the standard cardioid pattern of the SM58, the Beta 58A comes in at a higher price than its sister mic - but this also means it comes with the additional upgraded shock mount and more high-end frequency detail.
The Beta 58A is a fantastic choice for singers with a more sensitive sound that could do with being given a little bit of volume boost.
4. Telefunken M80
Price: $249.00 – $379.00
Takeaways: Head-turning looks and high-end performance.
Best for: Live vocals and instruments.
Entering our list towards the top end of our price range is the Telefunken M80. The sleek and stylish M80 is another superb option for getting the very best out of your live performances. But it does come at a cost.
Equally at home in the recording studio, the M80’s performance matches its looks and is perfectly designed to capture lead vocals, loud drum snares as well as many other instruments.
5. Audio-Technica AE6100
Takeaways: Dependable mic for rough and ready artists.
Best for: No-nonsense vocals for touring bands.
Audio-Technica's hyper-cardioid AE6100 microphone has been crafted for easy stage handling and perfectly capturing your sound's natural quality.
A trusty choice for live performances, the AE6100 is made up of a strong steel body and has been set up to handle any unwanted sound with ease.
6. Sennheiser e835
Takeaways: Affordable and reliable mic delivering crisp & clear vocals.
Best for: Live performances.
Designed with live performances in mind, the Sennheiser e835 is a popular vocal microphone choice amongst musicians looking to get the clearest and crispest sounds. The dynamic cardioid microphone is known for its clear projection and is intended for live performance as well as home recording.
Offering vocalists an uncomplicated and solid experience, the e835 is also top choice for recording vocals at home as well as on the big stage. It’s also become a user favourite amongst lecturers and public speakers, highlighting the e835's ability to produce excellent vocal delivery. Great value for money.
7. AKG D5
Takeaways: Robust and reliable mic for live shows. A budget-friendly option for all members of the band.
Best for: Live performances - lead and backing vocals.
Built for strong lead and backing vocals, the AKG D5 dynamic vocal microphone delivers powerful sound even on the noisiest of stages. Ensuring trouble-free live performances, the D5 offers singers crispness that cuts through every mix.
Built for reliability, the D5's super-cardioid polar pattern and integrated shock mount provide users with flawless audio perfect for taking to the stage. A no-nonsense mic option for both lead and backing vocals.
8. Sennheiser e945
Takeaways: Awesome addition to any singer's toolkit. Higher price but more focus on vocals than the e835 model.
Best for: Live performances - lead vocals.
Our second mic choice from Sennheiser is their e945 dynamic vocal microphone. Another robust and reliable mic which should be part of every singer’s toolkit, the e945 is perfect for ensuring the emphasis is well and truly put on the vocals.
The e945 is a true all-rounder, with an extremely high resistance to feedback making it a tried and trusted partner for faultless performances.
9. Neumann KMS 105
Takeaways: High-end cost, high-end performance.
Best for: Top-level solo singers
The most expensive and definitely the most high-spec option on our list is the Neumann KMS 105. This studio-grade vocal mic is as good as it gets.
The MNS 105 is the go-to for the most demanding live performances and is unsurprisingly the preferred choice of the world’s biggest stars. If you’re at a level where you can afford and justify the high price tag, then absolutely go for it.
10. SE Electronics V7
Takeaways: Great price. Great mic.
Best for: Reliable performances touring on the road.
Closing out our list is the SE Electronics V7 Dynamic Microphone. Another durable and rugged all-round vocal microphone, the well-priced V7 is designed to last and help you belt out perfect songs night after night.
A stylish and affordable microphone that can help emerging musicians build up their stage presence.
And with that comes the end of our guide to the best microphones for boosting your live performances. Some mic options will suit your particular budgets and performing preferences and others might not.
Remember that throughout your music career, all of your needs and equipment requirements may change so you should try to keep up to date with the latest products out there that can help you get the best out of your performances. Your mic needs to get you all the way through your vocal warm ups to the final encore on the big stage. Choose wisely!
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