The 30 Best Microphones on the Market Today

By Michael Hahn 12.17.18

The sounds in your tracks can come from so many different sources. Sample packs, VST synths and audio effects make up a big part of modern music production.

But for sounds that live outside of the digital world, the only way into your DAW is through a microphone.

Microphones are the main tools we have to interface with sounds in the real world, and they’re some of the most exciting pieces of equipment for recording engineers.

But there’s so many mics out there. Sifting through hundreds of pages to find the best mics for your project can be pretty frustrating and uninspiring…

Of course, the right microphone depends on so many factors. This list includes mics that are available on the market today and focuses on some of the best choices to get you started on your microphone journey.

Here’s the thirty best microphones currently in production—why they’re good and what they do best.

1. Shure SM57

The Shure SM57 is an indispensable studio and stage classic dynamic microphone. No list of the best microphones would be complete without the versatile Shure SM57.

This is the go-to mic for guitar cabs and snare drums and should be in every engineer’s mic locker.

2. Rode NT1A

The Rode NT1A has the reputation of the first choice entry-level condenser microphone for all applications.

It’s full-range frequency response, high SPL handling and warm sound make it an excellent choice for a wide variety of sources and uses.

3. AKG C414 XLS

The AKG C414 XLS is unmatched in terms of versatility. The classic multi-pattern design with selectable pad and low end roll-off makes this mic suitable for almost any task: from airy vocals to pianos to drum overheads.

4. Sennheiser MD421

One of the great dynamic designs from Sennheiser, the MD421 is another studio staple.

It’s particularly effective on toms, guitar and bass cabs and kick drums.

5. Neumann U87ai

The Neumann U87 is probably the most legendary name on this list when it comes to recording vocals.