16 Best XLR Microphones for Musicians, Streamers and Podcasters: Complete List by Scott Winstead

Most live performers only hit the stage with XLR microphones, which are the same ones that studios use. You may worry that these models won’t fit your budget, but they come in a range of prices. Take a look at the 16 top models that I found, including a few of them priced at less than $100 for shoppers on a tight budget.

My Top PickAudio-Technica AT2020

Audio-Technica AT2020

What’s inside?

  • 20 to 20,000Hz frequency response range
  • Maximum of 124-decibel input level
  • 48V DC phantom power
  • 3-pin XLR output connector
  • Cardioid polar pattern

Killer feature: Professional sound quality

Check price on Amazon →

Check price on B&H →

Check price on SweetWater →

Check price on Guitar Center →

My top pick is the best microphone, but it’s far from your only option. No matter what you want to do with your device or how much you can afford to spend, make sure that you check out my other top picks.

Also GreatShure PGA48

Shure PGA48

What’s inside?

  • Handles all types of speech patterns and voices
  • Convenient power switch
  • Response range of up to 15,000Hz
  • Adapter for use with stands
  • Zippered storage pouch

Killer feature: Rejects unwanted sounds

Check price on Amazon →

Check price on B&H →

Check price on SweetWater →

Check price on Reverb →

As one of the most affordable models in the world, the PGA48 weighs less than two pounds and is great for carrying around. If you still aren’t sure if it can meet all of your needs though, take a look at my other top pick.

Also GreatShure SM7B

Shure SM7B

What’s inside?

  • Wide frequency response range for voices and instruments
  • Yoke mounting option
  • Pop filter for close-up work
  • Built-in shock absorption for mechanical noises
  • Removable windscreen

Killer feature: Efficient shielding to prevent electromagnetic sounds

Check price on Amazon →

Check price on B&H →

Check price on SweetWater →

Check price on Reverb →

Capable of rejecting electromagnetic humming and the other noises that you hear when working, it’s no wonder that the SM7B is so popular with shoppers. Though this isn’t my top pick, I think it’s a great model for the money.

I also encourage you to take a look at the SM58-LC from Shure, which has a stronger frequency range than other affordable choices do at 50 Hz to 14 kHz. With the included break-resistant stand and zippered storage case, you can use this device almost anywhere.

Buyer’s Guide

This guide will help you in choosing the best device considering all your wishes and opportunities.

Step 1: Consider Your Content

Consider Your Content

One of the most important things to consider when choosing an XLR mic is the type of content that you want to create. Do you dream of streaming video games online and picking up fans who will turn to you for tips on future releases? Maybe you want to become a streamer who shares tips on making it in the entertainment industry or becoming a successful writer. Some models are perfect for podcast creators, too. Whether you focus on restaurant reviews or true crime, you need a device that can pick up your voice and anyone you bring onto your podcast. You’ll also find devices that can handle any interviews that you do to introduce guests to your audience.

The models designed for other types of recording are a little different. Though some are perfect for singers, others are better suited for musicians. A model designed for singers will ensure that it picks up every note that you hit and records those notes. You can hear those notes when you play the song back. Models for musicians work with all types of instruments, including guitars and drums. I recommend that you identify the content that you want to create before choosing an XLR model.

Step 2: Factor in Your Budget

Factor in Your Budget

Though it’s easy for some shoppers to drop thousands of dollars on new equipment without thinking twice, not everyone is as lucky. You do not need a top-of-the-line or state-of-the-art mic to start your first podcast. Some of the models priced at $100 or less can help you create a podcast that people love. As you build up your audience and get ad revenue, you can spend a little more on a new device and other equipment.

Make sure that you think about your budget in terms of everything that you need and not just a recording device. Do you need speakers that let you hear your recordings or editing software to edit your work before putting it online? Maybe you need a few cables that you can run around your studio or soundproofing supplies to block out the street sounds. When you sit down and create your budget, think about how much you want to spend in total. You can then look at how much you can afford to spend on all of the equipment that you need.

Step 3: Look at the Types of Microphones

Look at the Types of Microphones

Once you decide to start shopping for a recording mic, think about whether a dynamic or condenser model is best for you. Looking at where you will use it and the sounds that you want to capture can help you choose which one is best for your needs. Let’s say that you want to record hard rock music or songs backed by multiple instruments. Dynamic models are best for those situations. A dynamic model can pick up the strongest of voices and ensure that any instruments in the background also come through. This type also comes in handy when you want to play live because the device ensures that the audience can hear you over the roar of the crowd.

Condenser models are usually better for studio sessions. They do a better job of picking up lighter and softer sounds. Have you ever worked with someone who spoke so softly that you could hardly hear them when standing beside them? Now try to imagine using a microphone to pick up that person’s voice. Condenser models can pick up soft voices without requiring that the person stand close to the device. You’ll also find that condenser models are better for studio sessions with recording artists who have higher singing voices.

Step 4: Think About the Environment

Think About the Environment

Choosing the right XLR device will also require that you think about your main recording environment. Do you plan to spend a lot of time in a professional studio that has soundproofed walls and new equipment? Those sessions will require a model that is compatible with all of your equipment. If you plan on spending a lot of time on the move such as recording interviews for a podcast, you want one that weighs less and has an ergonomic design that can fit in your hand.

You’ll also find that those designed for home studios are often different from those used in pro studios. A home model may come with a zippered pouch or another type of bag. This allows you to keep the device safely stored between your recording sessions and keep it away from dust. You can also use the pouch to carry the device to sessions that you schedule in the homes of others or different studios. No matter what environments are on your mind, you can easily find a microphone that works in each one. You just need to look at detailed reviews to make sure that the model can handle those environments.

Now that you know what to pay attention to while choosing a device, it’s time to get into the details. Read through my ultimate picks to find the best device for your vocals.

Best XLR Microphones
Audio-Technica AT2020

One of the most affordable options available.

Category: under $100
My choice among condenser microphones!
Amazon →B&H →SweetWater →
Marantz Pro MPM1000

Its impressive features make it perfect for live streams and podcasts.

Category: under $100
Amazon →B&H →Reverb →
Rode PodMic

The leading choice on the market for podcasters.

Category: under $100
Amazon → B&H→SweetWater →
Shure PGA48

Strong enough to use every day.

Category: under $100
My choice among budget microphones!
Amazon →B&H →SweetWater →
MXL Mics 770

Highly affordable for musicians and others.

Category: under $100
Amazon →Mxlmics →B&H →
Neewer NW-700

Adds a professional touch to home recordings.

Category: under $100
Amazon →Neweer.com →
Blue Ember

Has a compact size to keep it out of your way.

Category: under $100
Amazon →Bluemic →B&H →
Shure SM58-LC

A leading choice for both singers and musicians.

Category: under $100
Amazon →B&H →SweetWater →
Rode Procaster

Creates professional broadcasts in any setting.

Category: under $300
Amazon →B&H →SweetWater →
Shure SM7B

One of my top picks for XLR mics.

Category: under $300
My choice among dynamic microphones!
Amazon →B&H →SweetWater →
AKG Pro Audio P220

Capable of recording most voices and instruments.

Category: under $300
Amazon →AKG →B&H →
Stellar X2

Offers neutral and balanced recordings.

Category: under $300
Amazon →Techzone →
Shure MV7

Compatible with the Shure app to give you more options.

Category: under $300
Amazon →B&H →SweetWater →
Shure Super 55

Great choice for users on the go.

Category: under $300
Amazon →B&H →SweetWater →
HEiL sound PR-40

Suitable for indoor and outdoor recording.

Category: under $500
Amazon →B&H →Reverb →
Electro-Voice RE20

A nice choice for close-up voicework.

Category: under $500
Amazon →B&H →SweetWater →

Best Microphones Under $100

Here are my reviews of the cheapest models with an XLR connector:

1. Audio-Technica AT2020

As my top pick for the best XLR microphone, the AT2020 has both a cardioid polar pattern and a unidirectional design that detect noises from all directions. Whether you stand in front of or behind the device, you can rest assured that it will hear your voice. Some found that it does a better job of picking up louder voices than softer ones though, which may mean that you need to stand a little closer when recording.

Audio-Technica AT2020
“With its studio-quality articulation and intelligibility, the AT2020 is ideal for musicians, streamers, podcasters, and other content creators.” – audio-technica.com

With a 20 decibel SLP rating, the AT2020 is a good option for home studios. While it detects all types of noises, it doesn’t produce as much interference that can leave the room as other models do. You’ll also like the low-mass diaphragm that extends the range of its frequency response while also helping the response last longer. Though you may think that these features only come in the most expensive models, the AT2020 shows that you don’t need to spend a lot to equip your home studio.

Top Features:

  • 20 decibel SLP
  • Three-pin XLR connector
  • Low-mass diaphragm
  • 20 to 20,000Hz frequency response range
  • 74 decibel signal to noise ratio

Pros:

  • Perfect for most home studio jobs
  • Provides many of the same benefits that professional devices do
  • Offers strong sound quality
  • Great choice for beginners
  • Works well with loud and booming voices

Cons:

  • Does not include any cables or adapters
  • Not suitable for all professional projects
  • You may have problems using it with a computer
Audio-Technica AT2020
Credits: audio-technica.com

Best for: home studio recording artists

Though the AT2020 is my top pick, you don’t need to take my word for it. The video below helps you see why so many recording artists choose this model when they work at home.

Thanks to the low price tag and impressive features, it’s no wonder why so many pick the AT2020 for their home recording needs.

Buying Options:

2. Marantz Pro MPM1000

As a wired microphone, the Pro MPM1000 has a sensitivity range as low as 38 decibels. Not only does it work well for most users, but it includes mounting hardware that gives you the option of using it on a desk or with a floor stand.

Marantz Pro MPM1000
“The MPM-1000 Studio Series microphone is a high-quality condenser mic that delivers studio-grade audio performance along with unexcelled value.” — marantzpro.com

The Pro MPM1000 comes with a windscreen and a shock mount that work together to block other noises such as people talking behind you and mechanical hums. I’m a big fan of this model for beginners who want to save money as they learn the ropes of podcasting and live streaming.

Top Features:

  • Built-in condenser capsule
  • Internal shock mount
  • 20 to 20,000Hz frequency response range
  • High sensitivity
  • 77 decibel signal to noise ratio

Pros:

  • Works with both stand and desk mounts
  • Includes a windscreen for background noise elimination
  • Affordable price tag
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Leading choice for home recording artists

Cons:

  • Doesn’t deliver the best sound quality
  • May have issues picking up sounds from a few feet away
  • Can sound lower than you would like
Marantz Pro MPM1000
Credits: marantzpro.com

Best for: podcasts and live streaming

Take a look at one of my favorite videos to see why the Pro MPM1000 is so popular for home artists. You can watch this video before you use my link.

Whether you want to live stream or share podcasts, you may want to compare the Pro MPM1000 to similar models such as the PodMic.

Buying Options:

3. Rode PodMic

Podcasting is an easy way to reach fans and even make some money as you talk about your favorite topics. With the PodMic, you will have no problem creating content that listeners can hear on their devices.

Rode PodMic
“The PodMic is optimised for use with the RØDECaster™ Pro Podcast Production Studio, but will also offer exceptional results with any high-quality microphone interface.” – rode.com

This one has internal shock mounting that reduces vibrations to put the focus on the voices of you and your subjects. It also has a high output impedance and a low sensitivity rating that work together without phantom power to deliver the quality that you want with less editing required.

Top Features:

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • 320 output impedance
  • 20Hz to 20,000kZh frequency response range
  • Metal construction
  • Sensitivity as low as -57 decibels

Pros:

  • Capsule design is perfect for interviews
  • Pop filter cuts down on interference
  • Easy to use with other Rode accessories
  • One of the best options for podcasting
  • Delivers solid sound quality

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work well for live streams
  • Works better with deeper voices
  • Requires that you sit close to use it
Rode PodMic
Credits: rode.com

Best for: podcasters

If you don’t have time to run sound tests at home, check out the video review of the PodMic below. You can get a good look at the sound that it delivers when using it at home.

Though the low price makes the PodMic appealing, you may want to compare it to microphones from Shure and other companies before reaching for your credit card.

Buying Options:

4. Shure PGA48

Make your living room feel more like a stage with the PGA48 from Shure. Not only is this perfect for karaoke nights with your friends and family, but it works just as well for home studio recording and podcasting.

Shure PGA48
“Legendary Shure quality construction ensures exceptional performance in rigorous environments.” — shure.com

The included XLR cable is compatible with most of your equipment and lets you hook it up without going through a bunch of steps. Shure gives you a zippered carrying pouch to keep the device safe and an adapter to use with the stand of your choice. The PGA48 can stand up to daily use and users who like to move as they record and perform.

Top Features:

  • XLR connector
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Built-in power switch
  • Stand adapter
  • Includes a zippered carrying pouch

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Compatible with equipment from other manufacturers
  • Comes with a holder and XLR cable
  • Has an impressive sound quality
  • Holds up to daily use

Cons:

  • Produces more noise when you hold it vs. using it with a stand
  • You can accidentally hit the power switch
  • Not suitable for live or stage performers
Shure PGA48
Credits: shure.com

Best for: home recording and karaoke singing

Thanks to the video below, you can see some of the top benefits of using the PGA48 at home. You can quickly watch this video before checking out my other reviews.

From home karaoke recording to podcasting, the PGA48 can handle most of your needs.

Buying Options:

5. MXL 770

Capable of picking up both instruments and voices, the MXL 770 is one of the best models to use in any studio setting. Weighing only one pound, it comes with a unidirectional polar pattern that helps it pick up the top sounds from across the room.

MXL Mics 770
“To achieve this MXL uses a high-quality FET pre-amp and transformerless balanced output for wide dynamic range and low noise.” — mxlmics.com

You get an attenuation switch that works at settings of -10 decibels along with a high frequency range. The included shock mount prevents vibrations and easily connects to different surfaces or stands. This one also comes with a rugged carrying case when you want to use it in different places.

Top Features:

  • Gold diaphragm
  • 30Hz to 20,000kZh frequency response range
  • Attenuation switch
  • Durable carrying case
  • High-pass filter

Pros:

  • Perfect for recording all types of voices and instruments
  • Works with most types of phantom power
  • A nice budget choice
  • Shock mount with adapter support
  • Produces sounds similar to expensive models

Cons:

  • Requires both phantom power and an XLR cable to use it
  • Has issues with sound isolation
  • You may find that the stand is hard to use
MXL Mics 770
Credits: mxlmics.com

Best for: vocal and instrument recording

To see how the 770 works in the real world, check out the following video. You can even see how well it works in sound tests.

The MXL 770 is a great option for shoppers on a budget. Once you try it, you may even think that the price was a mistake and that it’s worth more.

Buying Options:

6. Neewer NW-700

Get ready to take the world by storm with the NW-700, which is one of the few microphones that will deliver pro results in any setting. Thanks to the adjustable stand, you can now change the position of this model to make sure that it works for you. This also helps you pick up voices when you interview others along with the instruments that you use.

Neewer NW-700
“The set can be used for karaoke, in sound reinforcement or recording, to pick up voice or instruments, indoors or outdoors.” — support.neewer.com

Though you do need some accessories to use this device, you get a high frequency response range as well as a windscreen that keeps it from picking up other sounds. You also get a foam cap that lets you use the NW-700 outside.

Top Features:

  • Condenser model with an upgraded audio circuit
  • Windscreen works as a pop filter
  • Adjustable scissor arm stand
  • Foam cap for outdoor use
  • High frequency response range

Pros:

  • Comes loaded with accessories for recording
  • Adjustable stand helps you get it in the right spot
  • Blocks other noises to help your vocals sound clearer
  • Lets you take the device outside for interviewing and recording
  • Compatible with most electronic equipment and instruments

Cons:

  • Requires a sound card and other accessories to use it
  • Not compatible with Macs
  • Has a learning curve for new users
Neewer NW-700
Credits: support.neewer.com

Best for: professional audio recording

See what other reviewers loved about the NW-700 in the video listed below. It might make you take the plunge and order today.

Whether you want to record a new song or work on a podcast, the NW-700 delivers the best sound quality for the money.

Buying Options:

7. Blue Ember

You no longer need to adjust your device to make sure that it doesn’t appear in your shots because this Blue Ember has a low-profile that keeps it out of the way. Not only is it more compact than other models, but it also weighs less. That makes it easy to carry it around for interviews and use it outside of your studio.

Blue Ember
“Ember’s precise cardioid polar pattern and custom-designed phantom power circuitry ensure remarkably consistent frequency response with ultra-low noise for a rich, smooth vocal sound.” — bluemic.com

You may dislike that design though as it makes it hard to find a compatible shock mount. A shock mount is a must-have as this model can pick up soft and loud noises. Though it does not come with an XLR cable, it works with the cables that you already own to quickly connect it to all of your equipment.

Top Features:

  • Built-in condenser cap
  • Strong cardioid pattern
  • Low-profile design
  • XLR connector

Pros:

  • Compact design won’t show up in your camera’s field
  • Acts as an upgrade when compared to other microphones in this price range
  • Easy to set up
  • Compatible with lots of accessories and equipment

Cons:

  • You may need a signal booster in some situations
  • Works better when paired with a shock mount
  • Price rises when you add the must-have accessories
Blue Ember
Credits: bluemic.com

Best for: podcasting and live streaming

Get a better look at this Blue Ember in the review that I found. In just a few minutes, you’ll see why so many podcasters love it.

To record live streams and podcasts at home that have a professional look, this is a great model to try.

Buying Options:

8. Shure SM58-LC

Priced at right around $100, the Shure SM58-LC delivers the sound quality and results that you expect from a Shure while also helping you save money. With a frequency response range of 50 to 50,000Hz, it can detect the softest of voices nearby and pick them up.

Shure SM58-LC
“When wind and plosives try to take over, the spherical mesh grille and built-in pop filter keep them out of the mix.” — shure.com

Shure gives you a pop filter that protects against both electronic and wind noises. Thanks to the pneumatic shock system, the SM58-LC also does a good job of cutting back on the noises produced as you move and handle it.

Top Features:

  • 50 to 50,000Hz frequency response range
  • Pneumatic shock-mount
  • Cardioid pickup polar pattern
  • Enamel and metal construction
  • Built-in pop filter

Pros:

  • Perfect for projecting one or more voices across space
  • Suitable for all types of vocal recording
  • Durable design holds up to daily use
  • Stand adapter is resistant to most damage
  • Works with or without a computer

Cons:

  • Does not have a built-in power switch
  • May need an amp to use it for projecting
  • Can produce some popping sounds
Shure SM58
Credits: shure.com

Best for: vocal recording and singing

To get a better idea of how the SM58-LC from Shure can meet your needs, I encourage you to watch the video that follows. You can check it out after reading my short review.

From giving lectures that everyone in the crowd can hear to recording vocal tracks in a studio setting, the Shure SM58 has all of the features that you need.

Buying Options:

Top Microphones Under $300

These models are a bit more expensive but they are also a bit better.

9. Rode Procaster

You can sit as close as you want to the Rode Procaster without worrying that it might miss some of the words that you say. Specifically designed for podcasting, it has a tight polar pattern that picks up all types of speech patterns.

Rode Procaster
“The Procaster features an internal pop filter, designed to minimise plosives sounds that can overload the microphone capsule and distort the audio output.” — rode.com

Even if you interview guests with low or soft voices, you can still record them. With the included zippered pouch, you can safely store the mic between your recording sessions and keep it safe. Rode also added a built-in pop filter to reduce background noises.

Top Features:

  • Unidirectional cardioid polar pattern
  • 3/8-inch adapter for use with stands
  • Zippered storage pouch
  • Internal pop filter
  • Built-in shock mount

Pros:

  • Eliminates mechanical noises caused by electronics
  • Offers professional sound quality
  • Has the clean gain that you want
  • Delivers lots of bass sounds
  • Durable design for regular use

Cons:

  • May need a preamp or other accessories
  • Has some pickup from behind the mic
  • You might notice that the internal parts move as you use it
Rode Procaster
Credits: rode.com

Best for: podcasting and broadcast recording

The following video lets you see why the Procaster is such a popular choice for podcasting at home. You can see how you can use it no matter what subjects you address in your podcasts.

For both broadcast recording and podcasting, you can’t go wrong with the Rode Procaster.

Buying Options:

10. Shure SM7B

The removable windscreen that comes with the Shure SM7B both reduces some sounds and focuses on voices when you or your guests sit closer to the microphone. You can also use the pop filter when you sit close to stop this device from picking up the sound of your breath.

Shure SM7B
“The air suspension shock isolation and the pop filter eliminate both mechanical noise and breathiness. So words get through and the rest stays out of the mix.” – shure.com

The captive nut stand works with the yoke mount to let your mount the microphone overhead. You can also adjust the nut as needed to change the angle of the SM7B. Shure also gives you an internal shock system that eliminates all types of mechanical noises.

Top Features:

  • Removable windscreen
  • Built-in pop filter
  • 50 to 20,000kZh frequency response range
  • 150-ohm impedance
  • Mounting bracket included

Pros:

  • Nice and fast response time
  • Mounts overhead to detect and pick up more voices and sounds
  • Adds a deeper and richer tone to some voices
  • Designed to stand up to daily use
  • Reduces the sounds of breathing

Cons:

  • Not as sensitive as you might expect
  • May require the addition of a line or signal booster
  • Can pick up lots of floor noise
Shure SM7B
Credits: shure.com

Best for: podcasting and live streaming

I recommend watching this short video to see some of the features that make this a good choice for podcasting. You’ll also see some of the benefits of using it for live streaming.

As it cuts back on breath sounds and picks up soft voices, the SM7B is perfect for interviewing guests and creating fun podcasts.

Buying Options:

11. AKG Pro Audio P220

AKG Pro Audio makes the P220 for those who want an affordable way to get professional results at home. This is a device that you can use in your studio without worrying about mechanical noises and electronic sounds getting in your recordings.

AKG Pro Audio P220
“A switchable bass-cut filter and attenuation pad make it perfectly suited for use on loud sound sources with sound pressure levels up to 155dB SPL. The rugged and roadworthy design also makes the P220 a perfect choice for on-stage applications.” – akg.com

It has a frequency response range of up to 20,000kZh and a sensitive range of down to -20 decibels. You may find that it produces better results when used with deeper and silkier voices than it does with those who have higher pitches.

Top Features:

  • Adjustable bass-cut filter
  • Attenuation pad works at 155 decibels
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • 200 ohms electrical impedance
  • Sensitivity range down to -20 decibels

Pros:

  • Adds a warm touch to your vocals
  • Can detect all types of instruments
  • Easy to both setup and use
  • Works nicely with deeper voices such as baritones
  • Comes with a shock mount

Cons:

  • Can have an uneven response range
  • Only works with phantom power
  • May not pick up soprano and higher voices
AKG Pro Audio P220
Credits: akg.com

Best for: vocal and instrument recording in home studios

Watch the following video to see how the P220 can deliver professional results in your home studio. The video also looks at how you can use this model with other equipment.

If you want to produce strong audio clips and recordings at home that you can share online, try the P220 on for size.

Buying Options:

12. Stellar X2

The Stellar X2 is a must-have microphone for those who want neutral and balanced sounds. Not only does it have a frequency response range of up to 20,000kZh, but it features a built-in condenser made from both Mylar and brass that can last for years.

Stellar X2
“Powder-coated paint is evenly applied and heat-treated to provide it with a smooth and scratch resistant surface.” — techzoneaudioproducts.com

The gold traces inside the device are more conducive than other materials to deliver better audio quality. You’ll also like that it has an optimized circuit that both produces less distortion while picking up softer tones.

Top Features:

  • Balance and neutral range of frequency responses
  • Mylar and brass condenser capsule built inside
  • Optimized circuit to work with lower/softer noises
  • Rugged and durable iron body
  • Sensitivity range as low as -31 decibels

Pros:

  • Delivers warm and clear sounds
  • Offers the same quality that expensive microphones do
  • Works well when voices are close by
  • Produces less distortion as it records
  • Detects a range of both voices and instruments

Cons:

  • Requires an audio interface to use it
  • Produces some dull or flat sounds
  • Not the best option for voiceover work
Stellar X2
Credits: techzoneaudioproducts.com

Best for: vocal and instrument recording in studio settings

Before you drop $200 or more on this device, watch the following video. I recommend that you look at both the X2 pros and cons before you buy.

Thanks to the pop filter and other impressive features, the X2 adds a warm touch to any voice and can make instruments sound clearer.

Buying Options:

13. Shure MV7

The MV7 might be the only microphone that you ever need for creating podcasts at home. It comes with options that let you connect it to other equipment via an XLR cable or USB cord. Built-in support is also available for headphones to help you focus on your recording.

Shure-MV7
“Whether you’re a podcaster that likes to get up close and personal with the microphone, or a streamer that likes a bit more breathing space, you can select from ‘near’ or ‘far’ depending on your preference.” — shure.com

I like the auto-level mode that lets the MV7 automatically adjust its settings based on how you want to use it and the sound of your voice. You can also use the ShurePlus app to get more control over those settings and use this device away from your system. This app is compatible with most mobile devices.

Top Features:

  • Auto level mode
  • XLR and USB outputs
  • Voice isolation technology
  • Preset positions
  • Built-in headphone support

Pros:

  • Works well in all types of rooms and studios
  • Comparable to professional models
  • Delivers impressive sound quality
  • Comes with free software
  • Works with the Shure app to give you more control

Cons:

  • Included boom stand doesn’t work well
  • You may need a better windscreen
  • Can pick up some echoes
Shure-MV7
Credits: shure.com

Best for: podcasters

Check out the software that you can use with the MV7 along with other features in this video. It also shows you why this is a top choice for podcast creators.

As strong as the MV7 is for podcasting, you may want to check out other Shure microphones.

Buying Options:

14. Shure Super 55

Vintage designs are popular with many recording artists, but one of the best modern models with that design is the Super 55. As soon as you grab this and slip into your studio, you’ll want to belt out all of your favorite classic songs. Don’t let the design make you think that this can’t handle the needs of today’s artists though.

Shure Super 55
“The shock-mounted cartridge minimises stand noise. So swing while you sing. It can handle the motion.” — shure.com

The Super 55 has a unidirectional cardioid pattern that helps it pick up any nearby voices along with the sounds of instruments and other equipment. It has a thread that is compatible with most accessories and comes with a zippered pouch that keeps it safe between your sessions. Shure also offers technical support online when you buy the microphone. You simply register the Super 55 online and set up an account. Shure will then let you ask questions and get help when you need it.

Top Features:

  • Unidirectional cardioid pattern
  • Compatible thread adapter for use with other equipment
  • Comes with a zippered pouch for storage
  • Include online technical support
  • Rejects most types of feedback

Pros:

  • Follows the natural voice patterns of users
  • Rugged and durable design
  • Low price tag
  • Perfect for video recording and live streaming
  • Picks up all types of voices

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work with all types of mounts
  • Can produce some hissing sounds
  • May require that you use an optional windscreen
Shure Super 55
Credits: shure.com

Best for: those who like to move as they record

Do you love the look of the Super 55 but want to see if the vintage design can handle modern recording? Check out the video I added below to see what other reviewers liked about this model.

Those who love vintage microphones but don’t want to worry about how to use them with modern equipment will get a kick out of the Super 55.

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Leading Microphones Under $500

Here’s my review of the most expensive models on this list.

15. HEiL Sound PR-40

HeiL makes some of the best equipment for professional and beginning recording artists such as the PR-40. Thanks to the three-pin connector, it is compatible with your favorite accessories as well as an optional windscreen that the company makes. Even without the windscreen, it does an adequate job of preventing background noises and mechanical hums from interfering with your work.

HEiL Sound PR-40
“PR 40 will provide a flawless, smooth, flat response from 28 Hz all the way up to the 18k Hz, making this a great microphone for everything from vocals, to bass drums and tom drums, to guitar and bass cabinet mic’ing and more.” — heilsound.com

The PR-40 weighs over one pound, which can make it feel too heavy in your hand. This model has the balanced impedance that you want to give your recordings a smooth and even tone. Many like how well the PR-40 picks up different types and levels of sounds, including both voices that are softer and louder as well as most instruments. This device also does an amazing job of focusing only on sounds in the vicinity.

Top Features:

  • 28Hz to 18kHZ frequency response range
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Off-axis rear projection
  • Balanced impedance
  • 148 maximum SPL

Pros:

  • Available in two finishes to match your studio
  • Dual mesh screens act as filters for your recording
  • Smooth response that lacks mechanical noises
  • Available in two finishes to match your studio
  • Compatible with an optional windscreen for outdoor use

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work with all types of accessories
  • Costs a little more than other microphones
  • Can feel heavy when used in your hand
HEiL Sound PR-40
Credits: heilsound.com

Best for: professionals and those with more money to burn

Get a look at how the PR-40 performs and some of the features that you’ll want to use in this short video. It goes into greater detail than I had a chance to do in my short review.

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16. Electro-Voice RE20

The RE20 shows that you can get more for your money when shopping for an XLR microphone. Thanks to the classic design, you might feel like an old-school broadcaster every time you step into the studio. With the included adapter, you can use the RE20 as a recording boom or on a floor stand. That adapter absorbs shocks and reduces the line hums that you can sometimes hear.

Electro-Voice RE20
“The RE20 dynamic cardioid microphone is truly an industry standard, a firm favorite for broadcasting, podcasting, and sound engineering worldwide.” – electrovoice.com

Weighing less than two pounds, this model features a two-pin connector that also functions as a three-pin connector. It has high sensitivity and comes with a pop filter that allows this model to pick up the voices of anyone in the room when they stand close by. The frequency response range of 45 to 18,000Hz ensures that those with both loud and soft voices can use the RE20. Though the higher price tag might put the RE20 outside of your budget, it has some great features that make it one of the best around.

Top Features:

  • 45 to 18,000Hz frequency response range
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Mid-bass switch
  • Classic design
  • Large diaphragm

Pros:

  • Pop filter focuses primarily on voices
  • Prevents line hums
  • Reduces noises caused by vibrations
  • Comes with an internal shock mount
  • Includes a stand case

Cons:

  • The high price tag doesn’t fit all budgets
  • Weighs a little more than other mics
  • Not the best option for instrument recording
Electro-Voice RE20
Credits: electrovoice.com

Best for: close-up vocal work

When you can afford to spend more on an XLR microphone, you want to make sure that it meets your needs. I recommend taking a look at the video below to see how the RE20 works in real life. You can also get a look at some of the features that you’ll use.

The RE20 is one of the top choices for those who can spend more than $300 on a mic.

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Must-Haves

There are some must-have items that you may need as an addition to your microphones.

1. XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable

XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable

To use any of the devices on my list, you may want to add a few accessories to get more out of them. I recommend the XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable from Amazon Basics. Designed specifically for mics, this six-foot cable lets you quickly connect your device to equipment with a different adapter. It has copper shielding inside along with copper conductors to cut back on other noises and any type of interference. As a bonus, you get a one-year warranty with this cable.

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2. XLR to XLR Two-Pack Microphone Cable

XLR to XLR Two-Pack Microphone Cable

The XLR to XLR Two-Pack Microphone Cable from Cable Matter is also useful. This two-pack comes with two cables that work with most microphones. At 10 feet in length, the cables give you more freedom of movement and are great for use in your studio or on the stage. The conductors are free of oxygen to ensure that you get crisp sounds with no interference. This set is compatible with any type of equipment that has an XLR connector, including lighting and speaker systems.

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3. Gearlux XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable

Gearlux XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable

You may want to consider the Gearlux XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable, too. At 25 feet in length, this is one of the longest cables that you can buy. You get two cables in the set. Both of which are perfect for using your microphone with a home computer or audio equipment when recording. The cables are also great for live shows where you perform in front of a crowd because they do not pick up interference and deliver all of the crisp sounds that you want.

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Useful Resources

Wrap Up

A good XLR microphone serves you well as you perform live in front of others and produce work in a studio. Whether you want to create videos for YouTube and podcasts that you share with listeners or want to record books and songs, you need the best device that fits your budget. I recommend that you check out all of the models listed above and watch the YouTube videos to find the perfect one.

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