Are you in the market for a microphone?
Don’t say no. If you are a serious vocalist, then you are ALWAYS looking out for the latest and greatest microphones on the market. (And we already know that you’re a serious vocalist, because you’re here, reading the TVS blog, after all.)
Maybe you’re already a microphone aficionado, and reading this blog post will be like eating candy for you. Perhaps you aren’t yet an expert, and you’re wondering which are the best microphones for singers. Whatever brings you here, read on, because this post is for you.
If you are a dedicated vocalist studying the TVS method, then you’ll definitely want to start training with amplification. That much is a given. So let’s discuss some of the different types of microphones out there, talk about a few of Robert Lunte’s go-to recommendations, and then check out some of the newest, coolest mics from the recent 2018 NAMM show.
First off, basics.
Feel free to skip this first section if you’re already a complete authority on microphones.
For the relative newbies to the world of vocal amplification, there are TONS of different mics on the market, but we’re going to briefly discuss a few major classifications today:
- Dynamic Microphones
- Condenser Microphones
- Ribbon Microphones
- Modeling Microphones
- Wireless Microphones
Read on to find out the some of the main differences between these types of tech.
Dynamic microphones are more commonly used in live settings, on stage. They are generally the most sturdy microphones out there and are usually on the less expensive side. If you have never before purchased a microphone, a decent dynamic mic is an excellent place to start, as they are the top recommended microphones for beginners.
Condenser microphones are more commonly used in studio settings. Typically a bit more delicate than dynamic microphones, condenser mics are more sensitive and responsive, and they offer a more true-to-life sound than dynamics. They can pick up on finer nuances in sound. If you are looking for a microphone to use in a home studio that has some degree of soundproofing, you might want to look into condenser microphones.
Ribbon microphones are a unique style of mic, built around a thin piece of metal — the “ribbon.” They have a rich natural sound and can capture the glorious tone from old recordings made in the 40s. However, they are often very delicate and fragile and they can be quite expensive. There are ribbon mics out there designed for live use, but they can still be a little more easily damaged than your go-to dynamic mic… so be very careful if using a ribbon mic on your next rock gig, and maybe consider saving the ribbon for studio use only!
Modeling microphones are more of a specialty item right now, but they are promising technology, poised to change the way we record vocalists and change the way we even think about mics. These are microphones that are designed to “model” other microphones.
Picture a microphone that can recreate either the same iconic sound from the mic the Frank Sinatra used… OR the same sound from the mic that your favorite radio host uses today. These microphones are incredibly versatile. They pair with advanced modeling engines to create killer recordings, and they are nothing short of amazing to hear in action.
Wireless microphones are used in any setting where the vocalist needs to be moving around a great deal. Training with a wireless microphone can be incredibly useful for vocalists who need to prepare for work in musical theatre or in any active performance setting. (Think of Beyoncé. Does she just stand and sing in front of a stationary mic at every show? Absolutely not.) Vocalists need to be able to perform in various different settings, with various different microphones, so training on a wireless system can be extremely beneficial, even for a beginning vocalist.
Robert’s Top Recommended Microphones
To access the full list of mics that Robert recommends that vocalists use, in order to train with amplification, then you’ll need to pick up your copy of The Four Pillars of Singing. However, we can tell you two hand-picked mics from Robert Lunte’s list:
1) The Sennheiser e935 Dynamic Microphone
This is a robust, reliable handheld microphone that’s rugged enough for a rock concert. The capsule is shock-mounted, so moving the microphone around is not going to disturb your sound. The cardioid pickup pattern ensures that your vocals are being picked up well — not the surrounding noise on the stage.
2) The Rode RODELink Performer Kit Digital Wireless Audio System
The Rode RODELink Performer Kit is a fabulous solution for the vocalist on the lookout for a wireless microphone. Comfortable to wear and easy to set up, this system is something to consider if you’ve ever wanted to train with amplification and teach yourself to samba at the same time.
3) Vintage Microphones from the 60s, 70s & 80s
One of the most interesting and fun ways to purchase a microphone is to shop for refurbished microphones from previous eras. Many of these microphones sound great, just as good, or almost as good as contemporary microphones. They are all very rare. Great for microphone geeks and collectors. The industrial design and novelty of vintage handheld microphones is a big reason why these microphones are sought after. Here are two sites where Robert Lunte shops for vintage microphones. Reverb & Mic Hawk.
Mics from the NAMM Show
All right, if you are an all-out microphone junkie, thanks for sticking around for the fun part of the post. We posted a few of these throughout the post…but check out these awesome photos from Robert’s amazing time at this year’s National Association of Music Merchants show. These mics are on the bleeding edge of musical technology. They are for vocalists who want to try something new and stand out. So check ‘em out!
And there you have it, folks! An overview of the different types of microphones out their for vocalists, a few of Robert’s top recommended microphones for singers looking to train with amplification, and some seriously cool photos from NAMM.