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The Top 5 Best Vocal Mics For Live Performance

audiosorcerer
|
February 3, 2024 
|
Last Updated on February 3, 2024

Performing live is a whole different beast than recording in a studio. With the noise, weather, outside elements, and accidents waiting to happen, it can be hostile to your audio gear, especially your microphone. Still, your mic will be your best friend during performances, so it’s necessary to pick one that delivers well despite it all. You need a dynamic microphone robust enough to brave the unpredictability of a live session and sounds great too. If all that checks out, this post is for you. Keep reading as we introduce five of the best vocal mics for live performances you should get in 2024!

Included in this guide:

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
Shure SM58 Vocal Microphone

Shure SM58 Vocal Microphone

  • Vocal-focused frequency response
  • A cardioid pickup pattern
  • Built to last with incredibly robust construction
4.8
Check Price
Runner-up
Sennheiser E 945 Vocal Microphone

Sennheiser E 945 Vocal Microphone

  • A super-cardioid pickup pattern
  • Excellent gain before feedback
  • Lightweight but robust build
4.6
Check Price
Top Pick
Telefunken M80 Vocal Microphone

Telefunken M80 Vocal Microphone

  • Condenser-like sound quality
  • Super-cardioid polar pattern
  • Vocal-optimized frequency response
4.6
Check Price
Top Pick
Rode M1 Vocal Microphone

Rode M1 Vocal Microphone

  • Low-impedance output for high-performance applications
  • Excellent weight balance for stage ergonomics
  • Cardioid polar pattern pickup
4.5
Check Price
Lowest Price
SE Electronics V7 Vocal Microphone

SE Electronics V7 Vocal Microphone

  • DMC7 Aluminum Coil 
  • Versatile frequency response
  • Extremely affordable
4.7
Check Price

Related Article: The Top 5 Best Microphones for Recording Vocals In 2024


The Top 5 Best Vocal Mics For Live Performance

The Shure SM58 is an iconic vocal microphone loved by legendary stars and artists like Paul MacCartney, Alice Cooper, and Roger Daltrey. With a frequency response tailored for live vocals (50Hz-15kHz), it’s the perfect stage microphone whether you’re belting your heart out or baring your soul with a ballad. The SM58 effectively cuts through background noise on stage with its cardioid pickup pattern and a pneumatic shock mount, ensuring a crisp and vibrant vocal production. It’s also a favorite among singers for its reliable hardware. A steel mesh grille and enamel-coated metal protect the capsule from damage, making it the best vocal partner for singers who move around.

Pros
  • The bass-roll feature reduces the proximity effect
  • Boosted mid-range for vocal clarity
  • Built-in wind and pop filter 
  • It’s a budget-friendly pick
Cons
  • None worth noting

Sennheiser’s E 945 microphone is a champ when it comes to vocal clarity. Featuring a super-cardioid pickup pattern, it provides a narrower angle of sensitivity compared to typical cardioid mics. It means it effectively rejects unwanted background sound and focuses on your voice for reproduction with natural transparency despite the live environment. The shock-mount capsule is another welcome addition, lowering the mic’s sensitivity to impact and handling noise. Durability-wise, the E 945 is a reliable companion for the most intense stage performances. Reassuringly solid, this masterpiece boasts a metal body and metal windscreen protecting the diaphragm.

Pros
  • A humbucking coil to minimize interference
  • Incredibly stable with a neodymium iron boron magnet
  • Offers a 10-year warranty
Cons
  • Sensitive to plosive and sibilant sounds

The Telefunken M80 Vocal Microphone has a super-cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 50Hz to 18kHz. Any vocal put through it will sound richer, filled with vibrant details even on stage. With its well-balanced low-end response, it makes vocals sound full while helping them cut through the mix. The M80s pick up response is mellow and it represses the noise from handling nicely. It is a bit on the brighter side so that is something to keep in mind.

Pros
  • A thin diaphragm membrane for nuanced pickups
  • Stainless steel to survive years of abuse
  • It comes in five fun colors and designs
Cons
  • It’s hefty and weighs 1.45 lbs 
  • Its brightness doesn’t blend well with some mixes

The Rode M1 is a rock-solid microphone worthy to be in your toolkit. Under its formidable aluminum body is a high-power neodymium capsule, delivering warm vocals with astonishing details. The sharply-angled cardioid polar pattern ensures pick-up with no spill or feedback. Engineered with extraordinary precision, the M1 almost completely rejects noise and impact from handling. An internal pop filter also helps eliminate plosive blasts from spoiling your live performance. The best part? The M1’s ergonomic design makes it remarkably comfortable to hold, perfect for rigorous sessions on the road.

Pros
  • Excellent instrument reproduction
  • Built like a tank with heavy-duty aluminum
  • Lifetime warranty from RODE
Cons
  • Low sensitivity means it requires more gain
  • The higher frequencies can sound harsh

The SE Electronics V7 Microphone proves you don’t need to spend hundreds of bucks to dominate the stage. The V7 exudes a crisp, open sound, thanks to SE Electronics' specialized DMC7 aluminum coil. Paired with a vast membrane and neodymium magnets, you get super-sonic accuracy. Surprisingly for its price, the V7 features a super-cardioid polar pattern, which does its job wonderfully, isolating vocals and filtering excess noise. The vast frequency response of 40Hz - 19kHz is a fantastic feature, allowing the V7 to cater to a wide variety of vocal styles and registers. No wonder Billie Eilish picked the V7 up for her hair-standing whisper-sing live vocal delivery!

Pros
  • Corrosion and dent-proof mesh grille
  • Internal windscreen to minimize plosive blasts
  • Integrated shock mount
Cons
  • Handling noise could use more repression

Related Article: Shure SM57 Vs Shure SM58: Battle Of Two Legendary Mics


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I choose a singing mic?

There are plenty of considerations when choosing a singing mic. The build, pickup pattern, and sound reproduction quality are all crucial. However, consider its practical features, too! Examine the mic’s noise sensitivity, EQ optimization, feedback resistance, grip comfort, and overall usability.

How important is the polar pattern in choosing a vocal mic for live performances?

Very important. The polar pattern determines how well the microphone picks up sound from different directions. For live performances, cardioid or supercardioid patterns are ideal because they focus on sound coming from in front of the mic while rejecting sound from the sides and rear, minimizing feedback and background noise.

What is the difference between wireless and wired microphones for live use?

Wireless microphones offer greater mobility and reduce stage clutter by eliminating cables. However, they can be more expensive, require batteries or charging, and are subject to potential interference. Wired microphones are more reliable in terms of connection, generally cheaper, and don’t require power sources, but they limit movement and can contribute to stage clutter.

Can I use a studio microphone for live performances?

While studio microphones can be used for live performances, they are not always ideal due to their sensitivity to handling noise, susceptibility to feedback, and overall fragility. Live performance microphones are specifically designed to address these challenges, making them more suitable for the demands of live settings.

What mic do most singers use?

The Shure SM58, renowned for its durability, is one of the most popular microphones used by singers. Plenty of famous artists, both old and new, have used the SM58. Musicians like Paul McCartney, Shawn Mendes, and Demi Lovato are known to use the iconic Shure mic.

Product Recap

Are you ready to improve your live performances? Pick up Shure’s SM58 if you want a microphone offering the best balance in fidelity, stellar sound quality, and durability. Of course, Sennheiser’s E 945 is another worthy contender, rocking a super-cardioid pickup, a lightweight yet robust build, and a beautifully detailed reproduction. For a more budget-friendly option, consider SE Electronics V7 for its versatility and outstanding sound, even with a large crowd!

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"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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