So, let us say that you have decided to stop singing in the mirror using a hairbrush and you have decided to move onto something a bit more professional. That’s great and all, but you are going to run into a problem, namely, that in order to sing properly, you need a good microphone.
While things like vocal talent and training matter quite a bit, the reality is that the quality of the microphone that you end up using is going to have a significant impact on how you sound and what others think of your singing. So, needless to say, getting a good microphone is extremely important.
If you are interested in singing, then you can’t just grab any type of microphone, what you need is a singing microphone (these are commonly referred to as vocal mics as well).
These mics are, as you might guess based on the name, designed to pick up the human voice while singing. Whereas some other mics may be designed primarily for saying speaking, singing mics are better able to catch the wide array of tones, speeds, and other vocal cues that pop up when singing.
If you happen to be new to the world of microphones, or if you are just starting your singing career, then you may find this article useful.
In it, you will find out all the information that you could possibly need to know to pick out a really useful microphone to use. We will cover as much as we think is necessary for newcomers. At the same time, old hands might find this article useful as a sort of refresher course for what to look for in good microphones.
Singing Microphones- What Is It?
So, we already covered this in the introduction to this article, but we wanted to go over it again briefly just to make sure everyone is on the same page with regards to what singing mics are exactly.
Microphones are made for different purposes, and not all are well-equipped to record your singing. A singing microphone is one that is designed to cut through ambient audio and relay accentuate your voice and your voice alone. Without one, you are just never going to sound as good as you realistically should.
The Types Of Singing Microphones
If we wanted to go truly in-depth, we could probably write an entire article on all the various categories and sub-categories of singing mics out there, but that would be unnecessary in our view as it is only crucial that you really know the two types of mics, as opposed to the dozens of different subcategories.
For those who aren’t familiar with microphones at all, the two main types of vocal mics are dynamic mics and condenser mics. Let’s go over each kind individually to explain what you need to know about them.
Dynamic Singing Microphones
When it comes to live singing, such as on a stage or at karaoke, dynamic mics are king. They are built to be both simple and tough, both of which are obviously useful in a live singing environment. They work by having a very thin, simple diaphragm to detect audio.
The way that they are designed to help make them less sensitive to audio. Now, that may sound like a bad thing for a singing microphone, but you have to consider their purpose.
Live environments are noisy and there is a lot of ambient noise floating around. A sensitive mic (like the condenser mics that we will talk about in a moment) would pick those ambient noises up.
A dynamic mic shouldn’t pick up those ambient noises, meaning all that comes through is your lovely voice. As a sort of cherry on top, they tend to be a lot less expensive to boot.
So, what’s the downside? Well, they simply just don’t sound as good as their condenser counterparts. This is why they are generally relegated to live singing engagements, where quality isn’t everything like it is for say recording music.
Condenser Singing Microphones
The counterpart to the dynamic mic is the condenser singing mic. These mics tend to be wired and have quite complex setups. Likewise, they are also more complex when it comes to how they operate, as they possess much more complex internal mechanisms and diaphragms.
While this makes them unsuited to anything live (trust us, you don’t want to ever drop a condenser mic, you will be out a lot of money), it does make them the best option for those who are planning on signing in a very closed, controlled environment like a recording studio.
They are so sensitive that they will pick up even very slight changes in your vocals, as well as other small audio cues. This is why they are the absolute best option for recording your voice, but also why they only work in small, controlled environments. Make no mistake about it, your condenser mic will pick up even the slightest ambient noise.
Singing Microphones: Consider How Much They Cost
Since this article is geared towards people who might not be all that familiar with microphones, we figured that we should take a moment to quickly explain how to fit a mic into your budget.
That may sound simple at first but finding the right vocal mic for your budget is a lot easier said than done; it also happens to be one of the absolute most important things that you need to think about when buying your first microphone.
A big part of what makes it tricky is the fact that there can be an absolute ton of variation when it comes to the prices of microphones, so it is difficult to know if you are getting a quality mic just based on the price that you are paying.
At the same time, it is also a good thing because it means that no matter what budget you are operating on, everyone can afford to get a high-quality singing microphone that lets them belt out a great sounding tune.
To give you an idea of just how much price variation there can be, let’s take a look at the prices of two singing mics from a very well-respected brand in the form of Shure.
On the one hand, we have the Shure SM58S, which is a fairly standard singing mic to start off with; the mic costs a bit over $90. On the other hand, we have the Shure BETA 58A, which is a higher-end mic from them that costs around $160.
That’s a $70+ difference from the same brand. This isn’t even getting into the options that can cost well north of $300.
What we want to impart to you is the importance of setting a budget and trying to find a good mic that fits into it. Don’t feel like you have to go all out, especially if this is your first one since you can find very good options at surprisingly reasonable prices.
Consider Picking Up Some Accessories
In addition to buying your singing mic, you might also want to consider buying some accessories to go along with it to help improve its functionality.
The biggest one that immediately pops into our heads is a good stand, but there are some other accessories out there that can also be helpful depending on what exactly you plan to use your mic for.
A lot of accessories (such as pop filters) can actually be used to help improve the quality of budget singing microphones, so that is something that you may also want to keep in mind.
What To Do After You Have Gotten Your Mic
Once you have your singing microphone of choice picked out, you want to both set up your recording area (assuming that is what you bought your microphone for of course) and you want to learn some basic microphone maintenance tips to ensure that you get the most use of what you just bought.
First off, keep your mic in a dust-free area when not in use. Dust is the great killer of all electronics, including microphones. It can interfere with the sensitivity of the diaphragm of the mic. Make sure your mic is kept in a bag or under a cover, as this prevents dust from settling on it.
Secondly, if you are using something like a condenser mic, then you want some sort of filter to keep your salvia from getting inside the mic. Over time even small amounts of salvia can get inside the microphone and cause minor damage that will eventually cause a noticeable decrease in the sound quality of the mic.
Finally, when it comes to cleaning your microphone (this should be done every once in a while), you never want to use any sort of harsh cleaning chemical on the sensitive parts of the microphone.
Use something very gentle like a swap or a soft toothbrush soaked in diluted alcohol. This can be used to gently scrub a microphone clean and help to restore its original sound quality.
Like this guide? Then you’d definitely love our other guides on the best microphone for vocals.