Obviously, the number one best way to get noticed and booked as a singer is to stand at a busy intersection and belt to your heart’s content, but a close second is distributing your talent. Thanks to this fancy thing the kids are using these days called the “internet,” if I’m even spelling that correctly, it’s now easier than ever to get your voice in front of thousands, if not millions, of ears, and being able to send songs quickly to book gigs, auditions, jobs, or whatever it may be is crucial.
Also, knowing about these mics might be important for when you’re in the studio, as many engineers will already have them in their possession, ready to go when you request it.
But, and this is a Sir Mix-a-Lot but, AKA a big but: some mics are ideal depending on your specific voice. If you’re a tenor, you would want to use a different mic than a bass, and if you have a raspier voice, you might want to use a different mic than if you had a booming voice. You want to make sure the unique sound of you voice is as well represented as possible, and we believe these are the best microphones to help you do just that.
• Sopranos and Tenors
High notes are going to need a special kind of microphone, one that is an all-arounder that really captures the pitch without the tinny quality that other (cheaper, let’s be real) mics can cause. That’s why we have to recommend the Neumann U 87. While a brand new one can run over $3,000, a used one that’s “like new” can save you a lot of money. That said, it’s sincerely a good investment.
You might be thinking that altos can often hit the same notes as both sopranos and tenors, and you’re right, which is why the Neumann U 87 would work just fine for altos as well. However, there’s a richness to the alto voice that demands its own mic if that’s your specific singing voice. That’s why we recommend the condenser mic Audio-Technica AT4050, and, bonus, it’s about a sixth of the price of the Neumann. As they put it, and we agree with them: “transparent uppers/mids balanced by rich low-end qualities combine with advanced acoustic engineering for extensive performance capabilities and highest quality.” How about them apples?
If you’re a bass singer, you already know this: your voice can sound muddy when you record with a mic that isn’t specific to your sound (and I don’t mean muddy as in Muddy Waters). The AKG C414 ULS can really keep up with where your frequency goes, not missing a beat when you hit those low, low notes. It’s a condenser mic that looks really cool, and while it sits just under a grand normally, you might be able to find one in great condition for the price of the Audio-Technica AT4050.
A nasally voice can actually help a singer have some individuality. Hey, Bob Dylan is one of the most famous singer/songwriters of all time. And while nasally voices can require a bit of post-production work when recording, there are mics that take some of the work out of it while also help make that individuality pop. The Shure SM7B is dynamic and fits well for all the vocal ranges while ironing out moments that need a bit of flattening. At around $400, it’s pretty affordable for both professional and aspiring singers.
Raspiness can be the bane of the vocal singer, but luckily, we have the remedies that can help with that. With that being said, a raspy voice can be a good thing. I mean, who can’t get down to some Macy Gray, am I right? For the raspy voice, you’re going to want to avoid mics that pick up the mid-range, and ideally a mic that avoids it well. The vacuum tube microphone Peluso P12 might be a very pretty penny at around $1,500, but it’s well worth the money if you have the money. If not, just look for a microphone that’s known for not picking up the mid-range too much.
Your average Joe on the street may not know what a boomy voice is, but audio engineers do. If your voice has been described as boomy, you might want to compensate for the muddiness that comes with all that power. Your voice was almost made for moments when there’s no microphone in sight, but you need to get that beautiful voice out there. For that, you should go with a ribbon mic, and more specifically, the Royer R-101, which also comes with a multi-layered wind screen that will help too. If you’re buying it secondhand to avoid the $800ish price tag, consider buying the multi-layered wind screen separately.