Last week, we featured five quality dynamic vocal mics to help those of you out there who needed a few solid suggestions. Today, we're taking a look at five quality condenser vocal mics that are sure to feel right at home in your collection or as your main workhorse.
Similar to the standard AT2020 as far as specs are concerned but able to connect directly to a computer, the AT2020 USB is a great choice for home musicians as well as podcasters. This mic is known for its tonal consistency across a wide dynamic range along with a subtle sweet-spot which enhances the upper mid-range and lower treble frequencies. Its cardioid polar pattern and low mass diaphragm also help reduce the unwanted pickup of sound from the sides and rear to improve clarity as you record. The AT2020 USB also works perfectly with high-end digital recording equipment thanks to its low self-noise. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense, plug and play mic that boasts quality sound, the AT2020 USB should easily fit the bill.
The V69 ME is a large diaphragm tube condenser microphone that boasts a classic sound that nicely enhances both vocal and instrument performances that lends itself just as well in a professional or home studio setting. Featuring a small boost in the top-end which gives off a bit of brightness while still maintaining the warm tones of a high-quality valve mic, this mic requires very little EQ maintenance and will easily make your vocals sound nicely in the mix. And thanks to its extremely low noise level, warm tone and wide dynamic range, the V69 ME works equally well on both analog and digital recording devices.
Known for its reasonably bright sound and solid thickness in its output, the 2200a II has a balanced sound that works well for vocals. While its predecessor, the 2200a MKII, boasted a multiple polar pattern, this more affordable, fixed-cardioid version retains the classic sound of the original along with a new black finish and an overall smoother character. Just take a listen to Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” to hear this mic in action and you’ll know why the 2200a II was her mic of choice. Overall, this mic is a great choice for both home studio and professional applications.
A more affordable, cost-effective alternative to AKG’s superb C414 microphone series, the C214 delivers a similar sound in terms of tonal characteristics thanks to their shared high-quality one-inch capsule (which sits on an integrated suspension to reduce mechanical noise). Not only does this large diaphragm condenser deliver highly detailed vocal recordings, it also works just as well on solo instruments. Need to record up close? Not a problem! With its switchable 20dB attenuator and bass-cut filter, the C214 can handle close-up, high-output sound with almost no proximity effect. All in all, if you want the outstanding performance that lives up to the famous quality of the C414 XLII – but at a much more economical price – the C214 is the mic for you.
If you’ve ever been to the movies, listened to the Beatles or Frank Sinatra, you’ve heard a Neumann. Respected by musicians and professional audio engineers alike, Neumann microphones have a rich, long history of being among the most coveted mics – and rightly so – but they do not come cheap. Most cost thousands of dollars, that is, until now.
Built as their entry level mic, the TLM 102 MT is a large diaphragm, side address mic that boasts a clear, open midrange and powerful, punchy mids that create a very forward sound. No more foggy vocals as the TLM 102 MT will give them excellent presence in the overall mix along with minimal coloration and a clearly defined bass range. While this mic works best with vocals, its large diaphragm capsule (and maximum sound pressure level of 144 dB) allows the TLM 102 MT to work with loud instruments as well, be it a drum kit or amp.
While the TLM 102 MT might be one of the pricier options on this list, it’s a steal for a Neumann!
There you have it, five outstanding condenser vocal microphones that are sure to shine in your home studio. With that said, there are certainly plenty more amazing vocal condenser mics around that are certainly worth your investment – especially if price is not an issue. And like any other instrument and their tonal characteristics, one microphone will not fit all so never be afraid to shop around.
And don’t forget to check out our entire selection of condenser microphones at the best prices around!