Last Updated on October 12, 2023 by AG
When it comes to recording music, the quality of the microphone you use can make a big difference. Top microphone manufacturers are known for their excellent sound quality, which can help to capture the true essence of a performance. Using a high-quality microphone can result in a clearer and more detailed recording, allowing the listener to truly appreciate the music.
What Are The Top Microphone Brands?
There are many different microphones available, each with their unique features and qualities. Next to the best polar pattern for your intended use, you should also consider if condenser, dynamic, or ribbon microphones provides the sound you are looking for. Depending on that you can look for a brand that provides the professional audio equipment you are looking for.
It’s important to choose the right microphone for your specific needs, whether you’re recording vocals, instruments, or a podcast. The right microphone can help you achieve the sound you’re looking for and make your recordings sound more professional.
Shure is a well-known American audio company that was founded in 1925 by Sidney N. Shure. They started by selling radio parts and later moved on to producing microphones. In 1939, Shure introduced the Unidyne microphone, which became a game-changer in the audio industry. Today, Shure is a leading brand in the microphone market, offering a wide range of high-quality microphones for various purposes.
Popular Shure microphones and their features
Some popular Shure microphones include:
Shure SM58: This dynamic microphone is perfect for vocals, especially for a live performance. It is known for its durability, clear sound, and ability to minimize background noise.
Shure Beta 87A: A condenser microphone designed for live vocals and studio recording. It has a supercardioid polar pattern, which helps to isolate the sound source and reduce feedback.
Famous artists and songs recorded with Shure microphones
Many famous artists have used Shure microphones for their recordings. For example:
- Michael Jackson recorded his iconic song “Billie Jean” using a Shure SM7 microphone.
- Bono from U2 has been known to use a Shure SM58 for live performances.
- Adele has also used the Shure SM58 during her concerts.
Shure microphones have been a trusted choice for many musicians over the years, thanks to their reliability and sound quality.
Audio-Technica is a Japanese audio equipment manufacturer that was founded in 1962 by Hideo Matsushita. Initially, the company focused on producing phonograph cartridges but later expanded its product line to include microphones, headphones, and other audio equipment. Today, Audio-Technica is known for its high-quality microphones that are used by professionals and hobbyists alike.
Popular Audio-Technica microphones and their features
Some popular Audio-Technica microphones include:
Audio-Technica AT2020: This is a versatile and affordable condenser microphone that is suitable for recording vocals, instruments, and podcasts. It has a wide frequency response and excellent sound quality.
Audio-Technica AT4050: A multi-pattern condenser microphone that can be used for various recording applications, from vocals to instruments. It offers three polar patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-eight) for added flexibility.
Audio-Technica AT2035: A large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern, which makes it great for recording vocals and instruments in the studio. It has a smooth frequency response and low self-noise.
Famous artists and songs recorded with Audio-Technica microphones
Many popular artists have used Audio-Technica microphones for their recordings. Here are a few examples:
- John Mayer has been known to use Audio-Technica microphones for recording his guitar and vocals.
- Taylor Swift has used the Audio-Technica AT4050 microphone for her studio recordings.
- Katy Perry recorded her hit song “Roar” using an Audio-Technica AT4047/SV microphone.
Audio-Technica microphones have been a favorite choice among musicians for their great sound quality and reliable performance.
Neumann microphones have a long and storied history that began in 1928 when Georg Neumann founded the company in Berlin, Germany. Neumann’s first microphone, the CMV 3, was introduced in 1928 and quickly gained a reputation for its superior sound quality. Over the years, Neumann microphones have become synonymous with high-quality audio equipment and are used in the professional audio industry around the world.
Popular Neumann microphones and their features
Some of the most popular Neumann microphones include:
Neumann U87: This is a versatile large-diaphragm condenser microphone that is often used for recording vocals and instruments. It offers three polar patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-eight) for added flexibility.
Neumann U47: A classic microphone known for its warm sound and excellent performance, the U47 is often used for vocals and acoustic instruments.
Neumann TLM 103: A more affordable option, the TLM 103 is a cardioid condenser microphone that is perfect for recording instruments, spoken word, and vocals.
Famous artists and songs recorded with Neumann microphones
Many famous artists have used Neumann microphones to record their music. Here are a few examples:
- The Beatles famously recorded their album “Abbey Road” using Neumann microphones, including the U47 and U67.
- Frank Sinatra was known to prefer the Neumann U47 microphone for his vocal recordings.
Neumann microphones have been the go-to choice for countless musicians and recording professionals thanks to their exceptional sound quality and reliable performance.
Rode microphones were founded in 1967 by Henry and Astrid Freedman in Sydney, Australia. Originally called Freedman Electronics, the company was renamed Rode Microphones in 1990. Over the years, Rode has gained a reputation for producing high-quality, affordable microphones that are popular among musicians, podcasters, and filmmakers.
Popular Rode microphones and their features
Some popular Rode mics include:
Rode NT1-A: This large-diaphragm condenser microphone is known for its low self-noise and clear sound, making it perfect for recording acoustic instruments and vocals.
Rode NT5: A compact, small-diaphragm condenser microphone often used for drum overheads, acoustic guitars, and other instruments.
Rode VideoMicro: A popular choice for filmmakers and videographers, this shotgun microphone provides clear audio for video recordings.
Famous artists and songs recorded with Rode microphones
While Rode mics are popular among independent musicians and content creators, some well-known artists have also used them:
- Sia recorded her hit song “Chandelier” using a Rode NT1-A microphone.
- YouTuber and musician Jacob Collier has used Rode microphones for some of his recordings and live performances.
- Adele recorded her hit song “Rolling in the Deep” using a Rode microphone.
Sennheiser microphones were founded in 1945 by Fritz Sennheiser in Germany. The company quickly gained a reputation for producing innovative and high-quality audio equipment. Today, Sennheiser is one of the most respected brands in the audio industry, with a wide range of microphones for various applications.
Popular Sennheiser microphones and their features
Some popular Sennheiser microphones include:
Sennheiser MD 421: A versatile dynamic microphone, often used for vocals, drums, and guitar amplifiers.
Sennheiser MKH 416: A short shotgun microphone that is popular among filmmakers and videographers for its excellent off-axis rejection and focused pickup pattern.
Sennheiser e935: A dynamic vocal microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, known for its warm and clear sound.
Famous artists and songs recorded with Sennheiser microphones
Sennheiser microphones have been used by numerous famous artists and bands, including:
- U2’s Bono used a Sennheiser MD 421 microphone for some of his vocal recordings.
- Radiohead has used Sennheiser microphones, such as the MKH 40 and MKH 50, during live performances and studio recordings.
- Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has been known to use Sennheiser microphones, like the e935, during live performances.
AKG microphones were founded in 1947 by Dr. Rudolf Görike and Ernst Pless in Vienna, Austria. The company started by producing headphones and soon expanded into microphones. AKG has become known for its high-quality, innovative audio equipment used by musicians, sound engineers, and broadcasters around the world.
Popular AKG microphones and their features
Some popular AKG microphones include:
AKG C414: A versatile, large-diaphragm condenser microphone with multiple pickup patterns, often used for vocals, acoustic instruments, and drum overheads.
AKG D112: A dynamic microphone specifically designed for capturing the low frequencies of bass drums and bass guitar amplifiers.
AKG C451: A small-diaphragm condenser microphone with a bright and detailed sound, great for recording acoustic guitars, drums, and other instruments.
Famous artists and songs recorded with AKG microphones
Many well-known artists have used AKG microphones to record their music, including:
- Frank Sinatra recorded many of his famous songs using an AKG C12 microphone, including “My Way” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”
- Radiohead’s Thom Yorke used an AKG C414 microphone to record his vocals for their album “OK Computer.”
Schoeps microphones were founded in 1948 by Dr. Karl Schoeps in Germany. The company specializes in high-quality condenser microphones that are widely used in film, television, and music production. Schoeps is known for its innovative designs and precise manufacturing, which results in exceptional audio quality.
Popular Schoeps microphones and their features
Some popular Schoeps microphones include:
Schoeps CMC6: A modular microphone system with interchangeable capsules that allow for different pickup patterns, making it versatile for various recording situations.
Schoeps MK4: A small-diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, perfect for capturing detailed and accurate sound from instruments like acoustic guitars and strings.
Schoeps CMIT 5U: A shotgun microphone designed for film and television work, offering excellent directional sound and low noise.
Famous artists and songs recorded with Schoeps microphones
Schoeps microphones have been used by many renowned artists and on various famous songs, including:
- Coldplay recorded parts of their album “A Rush of Blood to the Head” using Schoeps microphones, including the hit song “Clocks.”
- U2’s Bono used a Schoeps MK4 microphone to record his vocals for the song “Beautiful Day.”
- Taylor Swift has been known to use Schoeps microphones during her live performances, delivering clear and detailed sound to her fans.
Brauner Microphones was founded by Dirk Brauner in 1995 in Germany. The company specializes in creating high-quality, handmade, large-diaphragm condenser microphones. Known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail, Brauner microphones have become popular among professionals in the music industry for their outstanding sound quality and unique designs.
Popular Brauner microphones and their features
Some popular Brauner microphones include:
Brauner VM1: A large-diaphragm tube condenser microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, ideal for vocals, acoustic instruments, and orchestral recordings.
Brauner Phanthera: A solid-state condenser microphone with a natural and warm sound, perfect for various studio applications, including as vocal mic and for instruments.
Brauner Valvet: A tube condenser microphone with a switchable cardioid or omnidirectional pickup pattern, offering versatility and a smooth sound for studio recordings.
Famous artists and songs recorded with Brauner microphones
Brauner microphones have been used by many successful artists and on several well-known songs, such as:
- Adele recorded her vocals for the hit song “Someone Like You” using a Brauner VM1 microphone, capturing the emotion and warmth in her voice.
- Norah Jones, known for her soulful and smooth voice, has used Brauner microphones in the studio to record her vocals, enhancing the clarity and warmth of her performances.
Haun GmBh is a German microphone manufacturer that was founded in the 1980s by Herbert Haun. The company specializes in creating high-quality, handmade microphones for various applications, including studio recording and live performance. Haun GmBh is known for its precision engineering, innovative designs, and exceptional sound quality, making it a trusted choice for audio professionals.
Popular Haun GmBh microphones and their features
Some popular Haun GmBh microphones include:
Haun MBNM 410: A small-diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, designed for recording acoustic instruments and vocals with a natural and transparent sound.
Haun MBNM 550: A large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a selectable pickup pattern (cardioid, omnidirectional, or figure-8), making it a versatile choice for a variety of studio applications.
Haun MBC 22: A compact and lightweight boundary microphone that is ideal for capturing the ambiance of a live performance, as well as for use in conference rooms and other similar settings.
Famous artists and songs recorded with Haun GmBh microphones
While Haun GmBh microphones may not be as well-known as some other brands, they have still been used by several successful artists and on various songs, such as:
- The German band Rammstein has used Haun GmBh microphones during their live performances, capturing the energy and power of their concerts.
- Jazz singer Dianne Reeves has utilized Haun GmBh microphones in the studio to record her unique and soulful voice, resulting in a clear and detailed sound.
- Acoustic guitarist Michael Hedges has also been known to use Haun GmBh microphones, like the MBNM 410, to capture the intricate details and nuances of his playing.
Gefell Microphones, also known as Microtech Gefell, is a German microphone manufacturer with a rich history that dates back to 1928. The company was founded by Georg Neumann, who later started Neumann microphones. During World War II, the Neumann factory was relocated from Berlin to Gefell, and after the war, the company continued to produce microphones under the name “VEB Mikrofontechnik Gefell.” After the reunification of Germany, the company adopted its current name, Microtech Gefell.
Popular Gefell microphones and their features
Some popular Gefell microphones include:
Gefell M930: A large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, known for its natural and detailed sound reproduction. It’s ideal for vocals, instruments, and drum overheads.
Gefell M295: A small-diaphragm condenser microphone with a supercardioid pickup pattern, designed for recording instruments and vocals with high accuracy and minimal ambient noise.
Gefell UMT 70S: A versatile large-diaphragm condenser microphone featuring switchable pickup patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8), making it suitable for a wide range of recording applications.
Famous artists and songs recorded with Gefell microphones
- Gefell microphones have been used by numerous well-known artists and on various songs, such as:
- Radiohead, an English rock band, has used Gefell microphones, like the M930, for recording guitars and vocals in the studio, contributing to their signature sound.
- The legendary musician and producer Brian Eno has been known to use Gefell microphones in his work, capturing a wide range of instruments and vocal performances.
There are many great microphone brands, including Shure, Audio-Technica, Neumann, Rode, Sennheiser, AKG, Schoeps, etc. that had a significant impact on the music industry. They’ve provided artists and audio professionals with the tools needed to create high-quality recordings, shaping the sound of countless songs and performances throughout history.
You can’t go wrong with microphones of any of the mentioned brands in this article, but there are still differences in the sound, field of application, and cost, so do some research to find the microphone and brand, that is best for the sound you are looking for.
Whether you are looking for a dynamic mic for your next live performance or a versatile microphone like a condenser mic for your recording studio make sure you check the following tips to find the best microphone for you.
- Listen to examples: Check out recordings made with microphones from various brands to get a sense of their sound characteristics.
- Consider your budget: Some brands may offer more affordable options, while others might be known for their premium, high-end microphones.
- Test microphones: If possible, try out different microphones from various brands to find the one that works best for your specific recording situation.
And I’m sure you’ll find the perfect microphone for your recording needs. And once you found the best microphone for you, make sure you also got the right mic accessories like a pop filter, shock mount, mic stand, and so on, so you get a balanced audio.