Tube microphones are the best for vocals. The diaphragm plays the main role for clear vocal input. So, do us a favor and don’t ask why tube microphones are costly. The sensitivity and the pattern are crucial for the microphone. We kept the cost in mind. But our priority was to notify you of the microphones in the market that suits best for vocals.
Tube Microphone Buying Guide
After considering the budget, take a look at your recording environment. The mic has to do a lot with the surrounding environment. The reason is coming up shortly.
We prepared a five-step guide for you. Take a glance before choosing any microphone. This guide will assist you to have appropriate knowledge before buying a microphone.
Types of microphones
You can categorize the microphones the way you want. In general, there are three types of microphones:
- Dynamic microphones: Dynamic microphones use an electric coil for audio input. They are jack of all trades in one word; plus, they come at an affordable price. Dynamic microphones are frequently used in presentations and stage performances.
- Condenser microphones: Condenser microphones are ideal for audio recording. They come in a wide range of frequencies. The diaphragm is very sensitive. These are more costly considering the top-notch audio it offers.
- Ribbon microphones: Ribbon microphones take up audio input in front and back of the microphone as it has a bidirectional pick-up pattern. Although mostly used in radio studios, they are popular in recordings right now.
So, where are tube microphones?
Basically, tube microphones offer clearer and warmer voice output, thanks to the large and powerful diaphragm. It takes more vibrations, helping to make a clearer sound. That is why it is best for vocal input.
However, there are tube microphones that work well with instruments too. These are generally multi-pattern microphones that take audio inputs from different directions.
There is an attenuation pad inside tube microphones that takes out the low noises. Thus, it reduces signal distortion and ensures better audio output.
Two reasons you want to buy a microphone: for voice input or for instrumental input. Decide what your area is.
Some mics in the market work great in both ways. The range of frequency plays a major role here.
Tube mics already offer a clearer voice. However, for the additional record, you may look for a frequency range between 50Hz to 15KHz. It will suit almost all genres of music. It works well with the vocal recording too.
The frequency range varies from instrument to instrument. For bass guitars, you might look for a lower range for greater bass; the lower range should be around 30Hz. Kick drums require a higher range. The upper range should more than 1000Hz.
Pattern and Sensitivity
Unidirectional microphones take input from one direction only. The name says the type; it suits best for audio coming from one direction. So, it is best for vocal recording like in lectures.
Polar pattern microphones take input from different angles. It is good for recording collective voice recording. There are more typos in the polar pattern also.
Higher sensitivity is great when you are recording in a quiet environment. Studios do have a quiet environment, but higher sensitivity is not for stage performance.
Lower sensitivity is more efficient in louder surroundings. It helps you pick up lower ambient noise. It is better for stage functions. You may also want low noise coming from the microphone itself if it is for a home studio.
Best Tube Microphones in 2021
We discussed with the professionals and reviewed all the available tube microphones. Here is a list that contains all the features you will look for before you select the microphone.
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1. Rode K2 – Best Overall
Here we have a Rode K2 with a combination of art and audio output. It is a brilliant choice because of its stunning incredible sensitivity.
The structure is amazing, with a high-quality power supply and a 6922 twin-triode tube. Rode K2 offers ultra-low noise with dynamic sound. It is perfect for track recording, YouTube vocal input. The variable polar pattern is suitable for both direct vocal or instrument.
It provides a wide range of frequencies so that you can use it in the vocal or instrumental recording. Not to mention the affordable price, which is extraordinary.
Rode K2 comes with an eye-catching electric shockmount. It is long-lasting and has multiple years of warranty. It is a great improvement over any mediocre tube mics.
- Large-diaphragm providing excellent, warm vocal output
- Classic design, sturdy build
- Offers wide frequency range for audio input
- The polar pattern makes it suitable for vocal and instrumental recording
- Does not cancel ambient noise
2. Neumann M147 – Best Vocal Input
Neumann M147 is a splendid choice as a tube microphone. It has a unidirectional polar pattern which makes it the best choice for recording vocals.
It has an M147 vacuum tube with a K47 dual diaphragm. The diaphragm works as the resistance converter. The vacuum tube and the diaphragm ensure a lower noise level. The M147 tube ensures superior sound quality regardless of the studio environment.
The aluminum body along with the steel standmount is a total package, ensuring long-lasting service. The body also has an eye-catching design.
Neumann M147 offers both vocal and instrument usage. Its special feature is high sensitivity. It ensures top-notch sound quality, which makes it a top choice for recording any genre of songs.
- Minimizes noise and ensures the best audio input
- Guarantees seamless audio transition
- Vacuum tube and diaphragm block ambient noise
3. MXL Revelation – Acceptable All-Round Choice
Have is the tube condenser microphone from MXL. It is the most balanced option considering the affordable price.
It is a polar pattern microphone that picks up input from different angles. It has a large dual gold-sputtered diaphragm. In addition to that, the EF86 pentode tube ensures warm sound quality.
MXL Revelation comes with a shockmount and a Revelation power supply. It has a natural frequency response that adjusts the frequency on its own.
It comes with proper wiring ensuring seamless connection. The overall design is also pretty great. If you have a decent budget, MXL Revelation will be an appropriate choice for you, especially with the audio quality.
- Adjustable polar pattern
- EF86 pentode tube offering balanced audio output
- Records vocals or instrumentals with the natural frequency response
- Professional vocal and instrumental recording ensured
- Doesn’t block self-noise
- The sound may distort at peak decibels
4. Sennheiser – Best for TV Reporters
Here we have a tube microphone from Sennheiser. It is a highly sensitive mic with a long interference tube.
Sennheiser Pro MKH416 takes up to 130dB sound. It is very sound-sensitive. It is a 48V phantom-powered microphone. It has increased directionality for the long interference tube. Plus, the directivity increases with the super-cardioid polar pattern. It generates almost no self-noise.
It also provides a wider range of frequencies, which will help pick up clearer sound.
Sennheiser Pro MKH416-P48U3 works surprisingly well in unfavorable atmospheres. That is why, it the first choice for the TV reporters; at least, the mic structure says so!
- Instant access and connectivity
- High sensitivity sound output for ensuring the best broadcast experience
- Blocks self-noise
- Balanced and seamless sound quality
- No active noise cancellation
- Suitable for only vocal input
5. Warm Audio – Budget Friendly
Warm Audio WA-47jr offers a whole lot of warm sound in your studio.
WA-47jr has K-47 capsule. It comes with 3 polar patterns that ensure stunning fidelity. As a result, it is good for instruments too.
The multipattern large-diaphragm FET ensures high-quality audio transmission. The 10dB attenuation pad and 70Hz highpass filter that blocks noise below a certain level. With that, we prefer Warm Audio WA-47jr for vocal input especially. Considering the audio quality, warm Audio WA-47jr comes at the cheapest price among the tube microphones.
- Three polar patterns, can be used for instruments and vocals
- Genuine voice quality ensured
- Long-lasting and attractive design
- Does not provide high modulation for audio transmission
- Bit depth is not the best suit for high-quality output
Tube microphones are popular currently. What YouTubers look for is microphones offering powerful vocal input.
But if you are on a budget, we will recommend you the Rode K2. It provides a warm and clear sound output and it is long-lasting. I doubt there is another tube microphone offering the same output in that price range.
You can also read How to Connect Multiple Microphones to One Input.