The 10 Best Studio Microphones

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This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in January of 2018. Whether you're just beginning to build a recording space in your home or you're a professional engineer looking to expand your collection of gear at work, our selection of studio microphones has some great choices for you. We've included a variety or options, from condensers to dynamics, ranked here by their overall sound quality, durability, and versatility in different contexts. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Audio-Technica AT 5040

2. AKG C414 XLII

3. Neumann U 87 AI

Editor's Notes

October 16, 2019:

Putting together a list of studio microphones can be challenging in that you have to decide what instruments you're recording in the studio and how you want them to sound. It can't just be comprised of vocal mics, because there are so many different things that need to be miked in so many different ways to get the signal you're after. You'll need a variety of dynamic and condenser mics to put together a full studio. Ultimately, though, our preference does lean toward vocal condensers, as these often prove the most versatile, capable of recording everything from voices and piano to guitar and even drums when placed correctly.

We lost one vocal mic and another specialty item due to availability concerns, specifically the Telefunken CU-29 and the Applied Microphone Technology M40. In the case of the Telefunken, it seems the company has pivoted away from high end mics toward more practical dynamic vocal mics meant to compete in the live performance space, as well as some mid-grade mics designed for live and studio use with kick drums. Nothing from their new collection quite rose to our standards for this ranking.

In their places, we found some compelling options, the most exciting of which has to be the Audio-Technica AT 5040, which employs a four-panel condenser to capture an incredible amount of character in whatever it records.

Special Honors

Vanguard Audio Labs V13 This option has all the look and warmth of a vintage model, with a high-gloss pinot noir finish and a 34mm gold-sputtered Mylar dual capsule that adds a remarkable degree of detail to its classic sound. The one thing holding it back from true greatness, however, it its signal to noise ratio, which could stand to be improved.

Omni8 Audio TF08 This model's attractive honeycomb design wraps all the way around its stainless steel body and allows for no vertical sidebars to interfere with the sounds being picked up by its condenser. It boasts a frequency range with particularly deep bass and sibilance-free high end. It's handcrafted in the USA and comes with a five-year warranty.

Cathedral Pipes Notre Dame The creators of this product apply some interesting vintage characteristics that some recording artists might not realize they'd been missing, like a screw-in cable connection and a German FP86 tube. It's housed in a replica of Neumann's iconic U47 body, but has an eye-catching finish that's uniquely its own.

4. Audio-Technica AT4050 ST

5. Peluso 2247 LE

6. AKG D12 VR Dynamic

7. Audio-Technica AT4053 B

8. AKG Pro Audio C451 B

9. Shure KSM32/CG

10. Sennheiser e901 Boundary Layer

Daniel Imperiale
Last updated on October 20, 2019 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel Imperiale holds a bachelor’s degree in writing, and proudly fled his graduate program in poetry to pursue a quiet life at a remote Alaskan fishery. After returning to the contiguous states, he took up a position as an editor and photographer of the prestigious geek culture magazine “Unwinnable” before turning his attention to the field of health and wellness. In recent years, he has worked extensively in film and music production, making him something of a know-it-all when it comes to camera equipment, musical instruments, recording devices, and other audio-visual hardware. Daniel’s recent obsessions include horology (making him a pro when it comes to all things timekeeping) and Uranium mining and enrichment (which hasn’t proven useful just yet).

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