Hottest Microphones

Which microphones bring the most sizzle to your recording sessions?

When you think of microphones what’s the first brand that pops into your head as being desirable and functional?

Maybe it’s a particular model – let us know!

Add your pick here at VOX Daily.

A rose is a rose is a rose… can the same be said about microphones?

Let your mind run wild and forget about the costs associated with some of the most high-end microphones on the market.

After all, when it comes to love, money is no object, right?

Add a comment listing the microphone you deem to be the most captivating!

Looking forward to hearing about your dream microphone and which microphones you believe are the hottest on the plant.



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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Obviously, the best microphone is the one that makes you sound the best and brings the most confidence. I have relied on one microphone for all my recordings. I have found it to be the most versatile in terms of how I can be up close, a bit further away, and reject unwanted noise in such places as hotel rooms etc…or when my girls are rough housing!
    The one I have trusted for years has been the Sennheiser 416. But, that’s not to say it is THE mic to have, but it is the mic to have for me.
    Brian in Charlotte

  2. The ultimate, in my opinion remains the venerable Neumann U87. I’ve never heard anything else like it. There are indeed some more expensive mics on the planet and lots and lots of less expensive mics.
    Neumann offers some more expensive mics than the U87, but that’s the mic of my dreams – one day – my everyday mic right now is a Rode NT1 – kind of a poor man’s Neumann and I’m really happy with it, but I know if I switched it out for the real deal today I’d be astounded by the difference…
    For any of my family or friends who might be reading this – – – less than three months ’till Christmas everybody!!!!

  3. For vocals and acoustic instruments, to my mind, nothing beats the Neumann M 149 Tube, based on the classic U 47. The M 149 Tube is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with switchable polar patterns. It is the first new “tube” microphone design from Neumann in over 30 years, and also the world’s first transformerless tube microphone. I once used the old U 47 making an album for RCA Records but the power supplies were cranky and we had to wait a half hour for the beasts to “warm up.”
    Nat Johnson

  4. Everyone has an opinion about microphones. Whichever sounds best with your voice is the one to have. I’ve enjoyed using or trying out mics over a number of years. I presently use a Neumann TLM 193, a Rode NT1, a Shure KSM-32, (and a couple of usb mics I use while away from the office for quick auditions). The one I am favoring is the Neumann, for its close, warm sound with my particular voice.

  5. Isn’t it amazing how many different types of voices there are within our community? Intelligent design, indeed! And a mic to match each voice!
    Not sure that there is one “best” mic for any voice. But I have always loved my Neumann U89. Bought it decades ago when it was just over 1k… now I see new ones for 3k! IT is true, warm, tells no lies!
    And that brings up another point for those with their own gear. I’ve never regretted the investment I made in my mic. Hey, your voice is your tool, right? You want to show what your voice can REALLY do – and that requires a good mic. Everything else in your studio can (and probably will) be upgraded it but that mic says who you are!
    Larry Wayne

  6. Ditto on the Sennheiser MKH416 also the Neumann U47, add in the older Senn MKH415 and the other Neumann 67, 87. ElectroVoice has its spot also with some older Russian models and Geffel and Telefunken. Charter Oak and Manley are both Cream of the Crop as well in today’s market.
    There are also some mic engineers that customize mics and make em in to hot rods that you would never expect. They make hybrids with all kinds of capsules and tubes and mix and match circuitry with superior results. Most of these mics are in the top music recording studios around the world. You would never know from just looking at these mics… You just have to experience them.

  7. Over the years, I’ve used a wide variety of mics at different studios. The Neumann, Sennheiser, U87, etc, are all very good- but there was one mic that made me ask… what IS this? When I discovered I could actually afford it… I ordered one that day.
    It’s been several months now and I still love my Lawson L47FET! It has a clinical sound that keeps my voice sounding exactly as it should. Plus, when I had a question about the mic, Mr. Lawson himself explained it to me!

  8. Hi Stephanie,
    Believe it or not, I still use an old Shure PE54D dynamic that I used for vocals in bands for years and it still has a great sound. I bought it used in 1974. And its response is flat enough that it’s easily customizable with a good pre-amp. However, if I’m wishing, I really like the quiet warmth of the higher-end Electro Voice (EV) dynamics, which are found in many radio production and control rooms today (even over some condensers I’ve used). They’re a bit spendy, but worth the money.
    Rick Sherwood

  9. All great comments. I’ve been amazed at the quality and sound of the Studio Projects C-1. It was made to mimic a U-87 and is spectacularly close. Street price is around $210.

  10. I’m using an Apex 460 these days. A great sound at a great price. As well I occasionally use an Octava MK319A. It’s a Russian mike I discovered a few years ago. (Go online to check them out as there are fakes out there but some of the sites will tell you how to spot them.) I do covet certain Neumanns,but I’ve been in quite a few studios recently that are very much into Audio Technica and Rode, both of which sounded quite lovely accepting my dulcet tones.

  11. Stephanie,
    The “Best” is totally relative. I’m finding, as time goes on, that for everyday, corporate and website narration, any good condenser mic can do the job. What’s good? I’ve been having great success with my Samson C01U USB powered mic. Crazy? It’s directional so I don’t worry about room sound and it sounds great. Would I use it on a national broadcast spot? I might. I know of some heavyweights using them. I started out using an Audio Technica 3035 and it was a trooper. My TLM 103 picks up my moustache rustling. I may actually go back to the 3035. Anyone want a 103?
    I guess if you’re a studio singer, the Neumann is going to find the perfection and imperfection in your voice. The highenders are also capable of handling that loud outburst a bit better.
    If its money, go around $300 and sound great no matter what. The mic companies have been in business for many years and know what they are doing.
    As a professional, like a plumber or a dentist, having a bunch of tools for different applications is a smart bet.

  12. I think it depends completely on your voice and the environment you’re in. If you’re in a tight, clean studio with no reverb, a Neumann might work well for you.
    Personally, my favorite mic on the planet is the Sennheiser MKH-416, as some have already mentioned. I don’t yet have one. I’m working on that right now! But I’ve recorded on it, and it’s life-changing.
    Ben Patrick Johnson, Joe Cipriano, Mike Madeoy, even our own Brian Haymond, to name a few, all rely on the MKH-416.

  13. About two years ago I was ready to upgrade to a better microphone, but still had a budget to consider. Fortunately, a friend of mine who has a recording studio set up 5 mics at once so that we could really hear the difference in how each recorded MY voice, which is really the most important end result. On the front line were: EV RE-20, Shure SM-7, Shure SM-58 (just because we had it lying around), Sennheiser 421 and the dark horse… the Heil PR-40. The mic I had never heard of won hands down! Heil is apparently a big name in the HAM radio world, but they are really starting to make a name for themselves in the broadcast and voice over market. I have been VERY satisfied with the “budget” mic ($300) of the Heil PR-40.

  14. No other microphone makes my voice sounding as clear and smooth as the Neumann U87 does. Speech recordings or singing – it’s worth every cent I’ve put in it. I was doubter, before I’ve bought it, to be honest. I thought that everybody’s darling can’t be my darling. Well, now it is 😉 I can’t recommend it often enough. Combined with a dry acoustical environment and a nice preamp, you’ll put a big smile on clients faces.

  15. I’ve used a ’59 Neumann tube with M7 capsule, U87, AEA ribbon, RE20, Sennheiser MD 421, Neumann TLM103 (yick, artificial high end, same with anything with a Chinese capsule), Tracy Korby CM1, CAD top of the line at the time, Studio Projects top of the line at the time.
    The best I’ve heard and used is Gene Lawson’s L47-MP II tube. Not just because it sounds good on my voice, but because it does something I’ve seen no other condenser do: sound good-to-great on whatever voice I put into it. I record a fair number of people for testimonials and have had exactly one person sound less-than-very good. High-end Neumanns are wonderful when the right voice(s) is put in front of them, but they are persnickety about what they like. The Lawson thinks it’s an RE20 or Shure SM57, two dynamic mics that are incapable of making anything sound bad. Not necessarily great on everything, mind you, but never bad. Dynamics are almost always more forgiving.
    I have never seen a condenser or ribbon that this is true of except the Lawson tube.
    Kara, above, is right about Gene. I’ve talked to him on a number of occasions, and he is as accommodating as one can get. This is also true of Tracy Korby.

  16. I started out with a Shure SM 57 which is not bad, but not the best for my voice. Moved up to a Rodes NT-1A and it was a BIG improvement!
    Hoping to add a Sennheiser 416 shotgun to the mix in the not-too-distant future!
    Rob Ellis

  17. I started out in early days of VO using an EV RE 20. Then a fellow VO pro (BRIAN LEE) recommended I use a condenser mic. AKG c-3000 was recommended. I bought one back in ’96 for about $700. Used it a few years then went to a cheaper MXL Marshall 2001. It had better TOP end than the AKG which had a better bottom end.
    Then I heard a TRANSOM MIC TEST on the web which tested a bunch of different mics with different genders/voices/tones. The one I liked the best with a similar voice to mine was the Rode NT1. I have one today and later bought a RODE NT1A. That’s my experience so far.

  18. My music group just started putting a studio together and we are using an AKG Perception 200. A Sputnik is in the near future. We’ve been using various Shure products for performing. But for recording, the 200 is really incredible for the money. About $260.00, it’s a condenser type that we really found amazing. The Sputnik is in the 600. to 700. dollar range but rates (I’m told) with the 5k set. I’m also told it can take the abuse of being placed as a bass drum mike. After reading these reviews, I’m looking forward to trying a Neumann U87.

  19. Stephanie,
    My all time favorite microphone is the original AKG C-12. But, to find one in good shape these days involved many thousands of dollars. I’m very happy using my Audio Technica AT-4033. More importantly, my clients are happy with the sound they’re getting.
    Be well,

  20. I have to say that these comments have been very useful in getting an idea on what microphones others consider using. I personally agree with Rob about the Shure SM 57. It works great for me 2

  21. All Tracy Korby (Korby Audio) does is refurbished quality microphones and then put them in his own casings. If you’re going to spend money on a microphone, buy an industry standard not a cheap rip off of one.

  22. THE MIC I USE THE RODE NT-1A THE QUIETEST MIC IN THE WORLD this means a lot in a recording noise floor does matter it’s a very clean precise mic AWESOME ON VOCALS I to heard this mic on a mic shoot out I covered the computer screen so all I could see was to click and here each mic as I listened I put everything bass max tremble max this helped me define the mics that were way too bassy with treble set to max I heard which mic sounded that way like a tin can and which sounded clear in the high ends on guitar the RODE NT-IA STOOD OUT ON VOCALS AGAIN THE RODE DELIVERED A STELLAR PERFORMANCE this was a crude test but effective it did not allow the mic to mask itself a raw test but worth it NOTE BEFORE I BOUGHT IT I AB IT A FINAL TIME AND I WAS SOLD FOR WHAT YOU PAY $226.00 THIS MIC ROCKS!!!!! PUT A MOGAMI 2534 GOLD SERIES MIC CABLE ON IT AND YOU HAVE A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN.

  23. In the 25 years I’ve been voicing and directing voice-overs in Los Angeles, two mics have been the norm for transparency and “naturalness”. The Sennheiser 416 and the Neumann U87. The 416 is crispier with it’s small diaphragm and super-directional characteristics, great for short copy like commercials, trailers and promos. A little more “in your face” sounding. The U87 is warmer and best for long form copy like documentaries, industrial narrations, etc. Also wonderful on women’s voices.That said, with the right EQ and compression, the U87 can also become very crispy. Have them both in your arsenal, particularly If you just do voice-over recording. Cheers. Brent Brace Westside Studios

  24. My votes for Neumann Microphones, and especially the Manley Reference Gold.
    Sometimes a warm and musical sound is required from a Mic, that’s when I’ll use Neumanns.
    There’s no best one mic for me. I also Love the TLM103, it’s such a classy mic of a great Hi-End expensive sound that lends itself particularly well to spoken word in the Recording Studio.
    However, at the end of the day, if you get the opportunity to record with any of the Hi-End mics ie. AKG C12 VR, Manley Reference GOLD, Neumann M149 you’ll end up being spoilt and may never wanna record anything less.
    Josef Horhay
    Mixing Engineer
    Acoostic Zoo Recording Studio

  25. There is such a wide variation of peoples best mics nowadays! I agree with Brian in Charlotte that its all about finding the right mic for your voice an d what u need it for!!
    I recently bought an SE3300, with a reflection filter and i have to say im very very happy with the purchase. It gives a very warm and cuddly sound with feedback and recordings!!
    Id recomend it to anyone on a budget or even if you have money for something more expensive… Dont bother this will do the job and do it well!!!
    Whos your boi?
    I am he,

  26. I haven’t tried all of the mikes listed in these comments, so I can’t definitively say which is best. Opinions may vary based on YOUR ears, and YOUR Voice. But Brent speaks from 25 years experience and I trust that. I have a Neumann TLM 49, and a TLM 103. I’d love to swap the 103 for a Sennheiser 416. I use the the 49, and LOVE IT! It’s perfect for MY Voiceovers. Warm, and crystal clear. It sounds beautiful. I need a 416, for variety. Anyone wanna swap? I appreciate ALL of the opinions here, and thanks for sharing your experiences. Good stuff!

  27. Like many, I have opted for the Rode (NT1-A) which I am quite happy with for now. I can, however, see myself moving up to a much better grage mic (perhaps Neumann) as budget allows.

  28. To me, the RE-20 sounds like a mic in a shoebox of cotton. There’s little ‘air.’ The RE-27 is similar, with more midrange. Neither has appreciable proximity effect (more bass as you get really close.) They are rugged – another reason so many land at radio stations.
    I have been impressed by the sound of a Neuman U-87, a Manley Reference Gold, and a Sennheiser MKH-416. I know these are great mics but also believe the microphone preamp in each case was complimentary to the mic. I spent years behind U-87s and they didn’t come close to one I heard on my voice in Los Angeles. In that case, I even asked the engineer what processing was on line. His response? “None.”
    Another way to audition mics is to rent a recording studio for an hour and have them set up as many vocal mics as they have (preamps too) and have them record you on each, at the same distance to your mouth. A good studio should have several-to-many combos.

  29. Microphones should be chosen based on the voice and the space they will be used in. But, that being said, I have a custom U47 clone that makes many of the popular microphones mentioned here sound like toys. One of my favorite mic/preamp combos is the Brauner VMA with a DW Fearn mic pre. Simply stunning!

  30. Audio Tech AT4033. Rode NT1-a. Still kicking myself for not buying a used, mint KSM27 for $125. I used the AT2020 for 2 years. Built like a tank. Probably the best in the price range. Although, not a fan of mount.

  31. Well I have had the privilege to use many of these mics mentioned on this page…Neumanns (u47, u87), akgs (c414), shures (sm7b, ksm27) And such. I personally own (at4033a, sm57, sm58, sennheiser e945, akg d3000, akg perception 200, at2020, ev nd series, sennheiser e409) and personally what works best for me is my akg perception 200 for recording.

  32. I’m using the “poor man’s” Sennheiser MKH416 from Rode. It’s the NTG-3 Shotgun Microphone and when ran into an Aphex 230 Master Voice Channel with big bottom, an aural exciter, phase rotator and parametric EQ, sounds AMAZING!

  33. I have a voice without any appreciable midrange, so I need a mic that can compensate otherwise I get lost in the mix, I have used over my 20 years of voice-overs, most of the mics that have been mentioned, but some of us need a mic that doesn’t record reality. I use a cheap CAD C400S, it cuts through, and gives me smiles.

  34. I have used just about every mic imaginable over the years – in both a broadcast setting and in recording studios. I used to favor the Sennheiser 412 for broadcast work. For a dynamic, you could really get a lot of subtleties out of it depending on how you worked it. I often used the AKG 414 for recording radio commercials. It had a great ‘edge’ that really cut through without a lot of added EQ.
    HOWEVER, over the years I was told many times by recording engineers that the Neuman U87 was perfect for my voice- they didn’t have to add any EQ at all(narration and commercial work).
    I tried to find a less costly alternative to the U87 over the years and many in the $300.00 range ‘came close’, but as close as any ever came, they were miles apart from from a U87. It’s not right for everyone (budget and voice quality considered), but it is hard to do better

  35. The NT1-A is known to work particularly well with resonant male voices so it suits me fine and I’ve used it with great results for around 2 years. I’ve recorded on a TLM103 in London studios and had some great feedback on the clean sound it produced – so I might invest one day. Also recorded on the U87 in various studios – sometimes the sound has really impressed me and sometimes it sounds like nothing extraordinary – so the audio line and processing/compression etc is clearly a factor too.

  36. Still doing well with an NT1A, with occasional swap to Coles ribbon for low ‘n sweet. Often think I’d like something midway between them: ribbon smiley smooth, plus condenser sparkle, plus the amazingly low noise of the Rode.
    In a padded box I keep the mic that got my first paid VO gig through a 55-year old Cadenza ribbon, and in fond memory the first mike I ever held: a Victorian candlestick phone, wired through a battery to a loudspeaker. Took it to school, aged ten, and gathered the guys and gals around for a ‘radio play’.
    Oh for a recording of that!

  37. I have an Oktava MK-319 (original) that I had modded my Michael Joly, but the capsule got corrupted because of moisture (even though it was behind a couple pop filters, apparently my breath corrupted it?), and when he repaired it he put a sub-par capsule in it. It’s now on a shelf permanently.
    Got an AT 4040, and it’s really nice – I’m a baritone/bass, and in my (mostly) quiet room I get a nice, even sound out of my voice. Tried the sE X1, and it was nice, but for my voice it was less than stellar. Maybe I failed on my EQ, but I felt the sound limited some of the frequencies that added richness to my voice, which the AT 4040 did not.
    I’ve used the MKH 416 in some auditions, and it sounds AMAZING on my voice, without even needing a pop filter. My current rule is that I’m not allowed to buy new microphones unless I make the money from V/O (which is do-able for sure), so it’s waiting on that.

  38. I use a Rode NT1-A and it’s amazing with my deeper voice thru and mbox pro .. I’ll also suggest a blue yeti USB mic . For around $100 and just starting out it really has a great sound . And you don’t need a preamp . I’ve done local radio Imaging gigs win the yeti.

  39. Mics are like opinions and, well…opinions. Everybody has one, right? I have no shortage as anyone who reads my various forum posts knows. But with a lifetime in the business on all sides of the mic, when I got serious about my own studio six years or so back, I researched the living crap out of everything and chose the Lawson L47 as the finest mic that my money would buy. Buying direct from Gene Lawson in Nashville means no distributor markup: you are getting much more mic for your money. I am so pleased with it for my voice: your basic mid-range baritone, non-radio guy sounding. It offers the full roundness of the classic Neumann sound from the U47, after which it’s crafted, but with a better articulation more favored by today’s engineers to a point. I was vacillating between the U87 and the 416 and the Lawson L47 combined them both for me. What I should have compared more was the U67, actually. It was the mic that responded to the emerging close-miking techniques which began in the earlier 60s. The U47 was never designed to be used in such close proximity to sources and caused users to ask for something else. Sinatra, for instance, pictured by his “Telly” (the-then Telefunken-badged U47) never swallowed it. The Lawson L47 has been the most consistently satisfying mic to use for spoken word that I have ever used in my 40+ year career.

  40. ‘Been recommending the Yeti by Blue Microphones to our students for years. Large diaphragm cardiod with a great sound, USB easy to use, low cost software from Reaper (, and you’re all set.

  41. I keep two mics boomed for VO work. A Gefell M930 for med to high SPL reads. And a Flea 12, which is fantastic for warm & fuzzy reads, and long format narrations. They both run through a custom designed & build Fearn micpre/comp unit. The results are stellar.


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