Microphone Buying Guide

There are many different types of microphones, and when it comes to finding the best mic for you, you really need to consider several factors. To find the best microphone you can start by first determining the type of microphone you're looking for. Then you can start looking through different microphone reviews, as these should give you an idea as to what the best mic is based on what it can do. In general, you will be looking at different types such as:

  • -A handheld wireless microphone – one used on a stage
  • -A computer microphone, for use with a computer and recording
  • -A shotgun microphone – generally used for filming based on design

And many others too. What really makes for the best microphone depends on what you need it for.

There are many brands to choose from as well. Some brands are more specific than others, having a focus on dynamic microphones, for instance, versus let's say shotgun microphones. Some of the more well known and reliable brands include Shure which manufacturers terrific stage and studio micropohones, Sony which also manages to make some very affordable mics that you can use in a variety of settings, as well as Logitech – who specialize in creating microphones that you can use with your computer. Knowing what the best brands are will really go a long way in helping you find the best microphone.

Choosing the right microphone is not always an easy thing to do though. You can look at all the microphone reviews in the world and still struggle - the main thing you want to focus on is to simply figure out what you want to use your microphone for and make your purchase based on that. Also think about all the technical features that you want to prioritize, and attempt to get the balance between cost and affordability – the more you pay the better the product, but you need to keep your purchase within certain budget constraints so you do not end up overspending.

But where should you go to buy a microphone in particular? Many favor looking in music stores like Guitar Center, but the internet can also be a great place to find them. Amazon and Musician's Friend are great websites to use. Amazon, specificically does not only have a range of trustworthy consumer mic reviews that you can take a look at, but their prices will tend to beat any competitor by a fairly large margin as well. The fact that their mic reviews are written by those who owned and used the product also lets you know it is trustworthy, while the specifications and features of each microphone are laid out clearly so you can make the best decision possible.

--Below we've listed the cream of the crop, the creme de la creme. Only the top 3 microphones in each respective category have been reviewed. Why review bad products? Exactly. We've only reviewed the best of the best and made a quick and easy guide for you to follow to find the best microphone that will fit your specific needs. If the #1 rated mic falls a little out of your price range or is missing a few features that you need, we've also picked out 2 great alternatives in each category. The truth is that you really cannot go wrong with any of the top 3 mics in each category. Still, we recommend the #1 rated mic if it has all the features you're looking for and falls within your price range.

Best Microphone According To Type

The best way to go looking for the best microphone in particular is to order by type. It is likely you will be looking for one type in particular, so laid out below is a list of the best microphones by type.

Best Wireless Microphone

Shure PGX24/SM58 Handheld Wireless System

Shure is always a dependable brand when it comes to microphones, and for a wireless microphone in an affordable price range you simply cannot beat the Shure PGX24/SM58. At just over $300 it comes with a range of useful features, along with instant automatic setup to make ease of use unmatched. Reviews are incredibly positive, making the Shure PGX24/SM58 Handheld Wireless System one of the best microphone systems out there.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Recording Microphone

Blue Bluebird Cardioid Condenser Microphone

For a microphone that simply does the basics of recording, the Blue Bluebird cannot be beaten. At just under $300 it is a high quality product, with overall cutting edge design.

Blue makes it especially for quality purposes, so that when recording voice or singing you know that the quality is pitch perfect in audio recording. For a recording microphone you cannot get better – reviews are entirely positive, making the Bluebird a brilliant purchase for both newcomers and experienced users alike.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best USB Microphone

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

If you are looking for a simple microphone that will be universal and is easy to use, again Blue has the answer with the Blue Yeti USB Microphone. At under $150 you cannot get a better deal on a high quality microphone. Reviews are unanimously positive, making the Yeti an ideal microphone for anyone.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Lavalier Microphone

Shure PG14/PG185 Wireless Lavalier System

Anyone who needs to perform public speaking or in any other context like this can benefit from a Lavalier microphone system, such as the Shure PG14/PG185 Wireless Lavalier System. Shure are well known for their high quality in Lavalier microphones, with the Shure PG14/PG185 being both high quality and affordable.

Key Features

  • 13.6 x 10.6 x 3.8 inches in size
  • 2.8 pounds in weight
  • Transmitter gain control included
  • Effective in spoken word presentations

Reviews are positive awarding over 4 and a half stars overall, making this ideal as a Lavalier system. For any wireless microphone system, Shure is really the way to go. Shure as a brand is specialized in creating only the best, simply because they have huge amounts of experience overall. The exact type of wireless system that you need will vary depending on what you need it for, but if you are looking for a great quality system to use while performing, acting or recording, Shure is your best bet overall, so simply look for an affordable and high quality system that you can use for all of your microphone needs, whatever they may be in the long run.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Wireless Microphone System

Shure PGX24/SM58 Handheld Wireless System

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Computer Microphone

Logitech USB Desktop Microphone

Logitech is well known for creating great quality computer microphones, and they do not disappoint with the Logitech USB Desktop Microphone.

At a price of under $20 you cannot go wrong, with a small size that fits easily on your desk for use with you desktop or laptop computer.

Key Features

  • 12.8 ounces
  • 5.4 x 2.2 x 10.2 inches in size
  • Plug n play
  • Gives great voice clarity overall
  • Can be twisted to a position easiest for you

80% of total reviews are extremely positive, nearing the 5 star mark on average for overall quality. For a computer microphone you cannot get anything better.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Microphone According To Design

You may not want to look by type of mic, but rather by overall design. The list compiled below gives a great idea as to what you can look for in overall features and design in any microphone you may be looking for.

Best Headset Microphone

Audio-Technica ATW-701/H92-TH

When looking for a high quality headset microphone, the Audio-Technica ATW-701/H92-TH is your best bet. The design on this mic is truly perfect, as well as being affordable, making it useful for all of your needs. For the price, at under $250, you cannot really find a better option. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive, giving the ATW-701 about 4 stars on average, making it a really good purchase with a lot of decent features included.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Gooseneck Microphone

Audio-Technica Propoint Gooseneck Microphone

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Shotgun Microphone

Rode VideoMic Pro VMP Shotgun Microphone

For the avid filmmaker out there, the benefits of the shotgun microphone are numerous. Being able to employ a microphone that does not get in the way and picks up sound both near and far is a huge benefit for anyone. Luckily, the Rode VideoMic Pro VMP Shotgun Microphone does this incredibly well. Reviews are incredibly positive, simply because this is such an affordable and useful microphone for filming.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Condenser Microphone

Neumann KMS105

The Neumann KMS105 microphone is a great example of everything that you would need in a simple and effective condenser microphone. For anyone who wants to easily be able to record in any kind of studio, be it for a radio show or record, the Neumann KMS105 is absolutely perfect and affordable.

Key Features

  • Frequency range of 20 Hz
  • Weighs just 1 pound
  • Supercardioid
  • Neumann sound is perfect
  • Can be used pretty much anywhere

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Dynamic Microphone

Audix OM-7

For an easy to use and versatile microphone at a reasonable price point, the Audix OM-7 Microphone is simply the best. Used in a variety of applications all around the world, Audix is well known for their incredibly high quality microphones at surprisingly affordable prices. The Audix OM-7 Microphone itself comes in at just under $160.

Key Features

  • 45 Hz frequency response
  • Weighs just 1 pound
  • Clear and natural vocals, produces a really good sound overall
  • The best live microphone you can get

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Omnidirectional Microphone

Shure VP64A

For anyone wanting a simple to use omnidirectional microphone, you cannot beat the Shure VP64A Omnidirectional Handheld Microphone. Anything handheld is absolutely necessary for performers and the like, and Shure is a well known brand name that produces consistently high quality products – the Shure VP64A Omnidirectional Handheld Microphone being one of them. At just over $70 you cannot really beat it on price.

Key Features

  • 22 x 6 x 4 inches in size
  • 12.8 ounces in weight
  • Low handling noise overall
  • Water-resistant

Reviewers mark this mic as being a great option for an omindirectional mic, giving it just under 4 stars on average.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Microphone According To Instrument

If you are looking for a microphone based on the instrument you want to record, we also have a list of the best microphones to use according to instrument.

Best Drum Microphone

Pyle-Pro PDKM7

Having a microphone that is specifically tailored to the instrument you want to use it with can be incredibly beneficial. Not only will it be designed to specifically pick up the sounds that you want recorded, but at times it can filter out ones you do not want. The Pyle-Pro PDKM7 is a great example of one that you can use with a drum kit, specifically designed for such an application. With an overall low price this drum mic set is very popular, garnering a lot of favorable reviews.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Guitar Microphone

Audix OM-7

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Vocal Microphone

Audix OM-7

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Harmonica Microphone

Shure Green Bullet 520DX

For those wanting a harmonica microphone, again Shure saves the day with their brilliant Shure Green Bullet 520DX. Unique due to its overall dynamic cartridge and brilliant response, there is a lot of customization and overall ease of use with the Shure Green Bullet 520DX. As a high impedance mic there is not much better for whatever your needs are. As with many Shure products, reviews are entirely positive, helping give peace of mind that this mic is perfect for your needs.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Specialty Microphone

If you are looking for special types of microphone we also have you covered - just look below.

Best Noise Cancelling Microphone

Olympus ME-52W

If you need something that is not only a good quality microphone but removes extraneous noise, perhaps from an awkward environment, the Olympus ME-52W Noise Canceling Microphone is for you. At less than $20 it is an amazing bargain, for use in a number of different applications.

Key Features

  • 5 x 2 x 0.1 inches  in size
  • 1 ounce only in weight
  • Comes with 3 foot extension cord for portability
  • Cuts out a lot of extraneous noise

Overall reviewers say it has brilliant sound quality, something essential for a mic like this.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Karaoke Microphone

NADY SP-4C

For a dynamic and karaoke microphone the NADY SP-4C is perfect. At a brilliant price of around $15 it certainly won’t break the bank, and will allow you to perform all manner of karaoke pieces that you want, for a great price. Obviously it doesn’t come with as many professional features as a more expensive mic would, but for price the NADY SP-4C cannot be beaten. For what it is at its price, the 4 star average makes this mic ideal for any karaoke machine, just so you can have a good time.

Full Review

Top 3 In Category

Best Camcorder Microphone

Rode VideoMic Pro VMP

Full Review

Top 3 In Category