A cardioid dynamic microphone ensures that guitar amps, vocals, and more are at center-stage and is the easiest way to make sure room noise, overhead cymbals, and anything else you don’t want into your mix is left behind.
A dynamic microphone is a good place to start, but adding the best cardioid dynamic microphone to your setup is an efficient and relatively cheap way to boost your audio quality, immediately.
From budget mics to more established industry standards and USBs, today, you will learn the top cardioid dynamic microphones on the market.
The Shure SM7B’s accessible pricing, unparalleled vocal quality, and high-end construction are just some of the reasons why this mic is found in studios across the world. We just love it!
In This Article
The Top 7 Cardioid Dynamic Microphones for Podcasting, Singing, and Videos
- Top Pick: Shure SM7B
- Runner-Up: Electro-voice RE20
- Best Under $200: Rode Podmic
- Best Under $100: Shure SM58
- Best Budget: Behringer XM8500
- Best USB Mic: Samson Q2U
- Best for Live Vocals: Sennheiser e945
Other Recording Microphones We Reviewed
The Top 11 Cardioid Dynamic Microphones
Top pick: Shure SM7B
Our top pick goes to the Shure SM7B, and it’s easy to see why. It makes recording high-quality audio painless. It doesn’t matter if you’re a broadcaster, singer, or someone who enjoys recording cannon fire in their free time. This dynamic mic will always provide you with a polished result.
The humbucking coil stops interference from other electronics, leaving you with a clean signal. An essential feature if your rig is surrounded by computer monitors and other studio equipment. The built-in pop shield ensures that your vocal take remains free from breath noises and plosives.
Boasting a classic cardioid polarization pattern, this mic will only record whatever is in front of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re singing or speaking, the captured signal will sound just like the real thing.
You can even make rapid EQ changes. With the included bass roll-off and presence boost controls, it’s now easier than ever to achieve a sound that perfectly represents your style.
It’s starting to become clear why professional podcasters such as Joe Rogan use this dynamic microphone.
Often regarded as a “secret weapon”, the Shure SM7B was the clear winner for our top pick. The air suspension shock isolation eliminates mechanical noises, making sure you’re free to move around while recording. It’s also nice to see that the mic includes a detachable windscreen.
Shure SM7B Key Features:
- Built-in noise protection filter
- Doesn’t pick up surrounding sounds or interference
- Bass roll-off and presence boost controls
- Internal “air suspension” shock isolation to prevent internal noise transmission
Runner-Up: Electro-voice RE20
All the way back in 1968, the Electro-voice RE20 was launched. Its target audience – broadcasters. Yielding some very clever technology and combining it with a build-quality that would make Volvo proud, this mic really is impressive.
But don’t be put off by its age…..
Still found in both broadcast and music studios across the globe, this mic delivers an instantly recognizable tone that is loved by all podcasters and voice-over artists. And it’s easy to see why.
With windshields covering every opening, and a heavy-duty noise filter placed on top, it’s clear that this is primarily a vocal mic. As a mic with a cardioid pickup pattern, it does a fantastic job of only capturing what is directly in front and attenuating background noise.
One of the most impressive features is its ability to reduce the proximity effect. By using EV’s “Variable D” technology, the mic will increase intelligibility and tighten up the low-end, leaving you with a silky smooth radio-ready voice.
It’s also fantastic for studio settings! Ideal for reproducing extreme Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs) with no distortion, this is a go-to dynamic mic for kick drums and guitar amps.
This mic undoubtedly deserves our runner up spot. If you need a mic that can provide truly amazing results across a variety of different applications, then the Electro-voice RE20 will not disappoint!
Electro-voice Key Features:
- Can reproduce extreme SPLs with no distortion
- Shock-mount and pop-filter reduces noise
- Windshields cover every opening
- Steel case provides excellent magnetic shielding
Best Under $200: Rode Podmic
The Rode Podmic is a mic that is specifically aimed at podcasters. And thanks to its manageable price tag, it’s one of the most accessible dynamic mics on this list.
The styling of this mic is absolutely gorgeous. Boasting a grille that is evocative of retro broadcast mics, this microphone instantly looks at home in a podcast environment. And thanks to the swing clip design, it works perfectly with table-top stands, as well as regular boom arms.
This pickup pattern minimizes any off-axis sounds. This enhances the overall clarity of your voice and provides you with an A-grade result.
Yielding an internal pop filter, this mic makes sure that your signal is always free from plosives and other environmental noises. A nice addition is the internal shock mount, which eliminates any mechanical noises.
We really like the Rode Podmic. At under $200, it’s hard to fault! All you need is an XLR cable and an interface, and you’ll be ready to take over the world!
Rode Podmic Key Features:
- Specifically optimized for speech applications
- Produces broadcast-quality audio
- Built-in pop filter reduces plosives
- Will give your voice a silky, professional quality
Best Under $100: Shure SM58
For anyone who has been in a studio or live environment, this pick will come as no surprise. Thanks to its class-leading vocal clarity, the Shure SM58 is a true veteran of the recording world.
Although it looks simple from the outside, this dynamic microphone’s basic design is actually a key feature. You can expect this mic to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. Drop it, throw it in your bag, launch it at your sound engineer – it just doesn’t matter. The heat and water-resistant adhesives ensure that the cartridge is always protected.
Specifically built to handle the voice, this mic leaves background noise behind. It doesn’t matter what stage or venue you’re at, you will only get the raw crisp sounds from this mic.
By boosting the mid-range of this mic, your voice will always be able to cut through the mix. And thanks to the shock-mount system, any handling noise gets absorbed… leaving you with clear, interference-free sound.
(It’s worth noting that SM58 actually shares the same capsule design as it’s more slender sibling – the Shure SM57!)
It comes as no surprise that the majority of the world’s superstars use this dynamic mic. By leaving the four-figured condenser microphones at home and instead opting for the Shure SM58, most singers feel like they give a more natural performance.
This is a super-reliable mic which should be part of everyone’s microphone collection. Although it won’t have the clearest audio out of all the dynamic mics on this list, it’s impossible to ignore because of the alluring price tag. There’s a reason this has been an industry-standard dynamic mic for over 50 years.
Shure SM58 Key Features:
- Famed for its incredible durability
- Excellent feedback suppression
- Vocal-friendly frequency response curve
- Works for both live performances and studio recordings
Best Budget: Behringer XM8500
The Behringer XM8500 is a home recording enthusiast’s dream come true!
Despite being our budget pick for the best dynamic microphone, we’re sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the sound quality it offers. And coming in at less than $20, we really can’t fault it.
This mic actually shares a lot of features with the more expensive models on this list. It has an integrated shock mount, uniformed pickup pattern, and is built to last! So how did Behringer manage to make it so cheap?
The secret lies in the capsule and its limited frequency range (50Hz – 15kHz). Let’s be real here, this is not a mic for high-end studio recording.
But Behringer did this for a reason… A lot of mics start to feedback at 15kHz, making them a nightmare in live situations. Not the Behringer XM8500 though. The feedback suppression is fantastic and would give mics ten times the price a run for their money.
Behringer XM8500 Microphone Key Features:
- Vastly reduced plosives thanks to the two-stage pop shield
- Built-in shock mount system reduces handling noise
- Excellent feedback suppression
- Perfect for both vocals and amplified instruments
Best USB: Samson Q2U
If you’re unsure of where you’ll be recording music or voice, then the Samson Q2U mic is a very good option. Boasting XLR and USB connectivity, this mic can importantly do both analog and digital recording. I/O has never looked (or sounded) so good!
If a microphone is going to be the first purchase of your rig, it makes sense to go USB. Simply plug-in to your computer and it will start working straight away. No need for an expensive audio interface and more complicated cables – it just works.
But if you plan on upgrading your rig in the future, don’t think you’re going to need to buy a new mic… You’ll also find an XLR output on the base of the mic, making it compatible with all professional interfaces. This is the main reason the dynamic mic has a solid rating of 4.2 stars on Amazon!
What really makes this an all-in-one solution is the headphone output. An uncommon feature among professional microphones, it actually makes a lot of sense. By plugging in your headphones, you can monitor what you’re capturing with zero latency.
The Samson Q2U really is the king of mobile recording music. With the right adaptor, you can even plug this mic into an Apple or Android device. This is why we love it and why we gave it our best USB award. Included with the microphone is a desktop tripod stand, stand extension, mic clip, USB cable, and an XLR cable.
Samson Q2U Key Features:
- Plug directly into your computer
- Zero-latency monitoring thanks to the onboard headphone jack
- XLR enables studio usage
- Perfect for recording vocals on the road
Best for Live Vocals: Sennheiser e945
If you’re familiar with live sound, then our next pick requires very little introduction. The Sennheiser e945 is often considered a must-have microphone in the singer’s arsenal. It adds a lively character to your vocals, helping them sit nicely in the mix.
So why is it used so much in live sound?
Thanks to the supercardioid pickup pattern, the Sennheiser mic has outstanding side rejection. This tighter pickup angle reduces side bleed, resulting in a cleaner overall sound. You will instantly be the sound guy’s best friend with this mic!
What’s more, the mic has a very respectable frequency response (40 Hz -18,000 kHz), a hum-reducing coil, and a robust build quality.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t an exclusive live sound microphone. The Sennheiser e945 will still make a fantastic podcast or singing microphone at home. So if you wish to take the stage at your local venue or record in your apartment, the Sennheiser will get the job done.
Sennheiser e945 Key Features:
- Offers a very natural and smooth sound
- Supercardioid pickup pattern reduces off-axis noise
- Delivers a very clear and powerful response
- Shock-mounted capsule has low sensitivity to impact
The beauty of these dynamic mics is their versatility. Their hassle-free design enables you to record anything from loud amps to spoken voice with ease. What’s more, due to their robust nature, they’re fantastic for recording loud sound sources.
Ever been asked to record a tuba quartet? Neither have we… but if the privilege ever arises, then a dynamic microphone from this list would offer a fantastic starting point.
If you’re looking for your first mic, then a budget dynamic microphone is the way to go. As nice as a top-tier condenser microphone looks, you need to be able to justify the (often) gargantuan price tag attached to them. And if the history books have taught us anything, it’s that the Shure SM58 will get the job done – with professional results. Perhaps save your money instead of buying that expensive condenser microphone, as often times condenser microphones may not be worth it for the stage you’re at.
The Cost of Dynamic Mics
Dynamic mics don’t often get above $1000. A microphone condenser setup is often way more expensive than a normal dynamic mic. This is because a dynamic mic can only be so complicated. You see ultra expensive condensers out there because there’s more to the manufacturing process than a dynamic mic.
If you are a beginner then you’ll want to find a good dynamic mic and just stick with that. A new dynamic mic will get you where you need to be and you can make due until you start getting more mics.
Before going out and buying your first mic, there are a few features that you should consider. It’s important to understand precisely what you’re purchasing to ensure that you get the right tool for the right job.
- Polar Pattern: When shopping for a new mic, it’s very important to consider the polarization pattern you need. The majority of dynamic mics have a cardioid (or unidirectional) polarization pattern. This pattern is fantastic for capturing the sound in front of the dynamic microphone and rejecting background noise and other unwanted sounds.Other polar patterns include omnidirectional, bidirectional (or figure of eight), supercardioid, and hypercardioid.
- Pop Filter: Pop filters are an essential piece of equipment for recording the human voice. Typically made from layers of a semi-transparent material, the filter reduces any popping sound caused by fast-moving air. To learn more about pop filters and whether or not you need one, check out this article.All of the mics on this list have different styles of filters built around the capsule.
- If you’ve ever tried to record yourself saying “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”, then you’ll know how essential a pop filter is!
What are dynamic microphones used for?
Just about everything! If you’ve ever been to a live concert, church service, or watched the TV, it was probably recorded with a dynamic microphone. Their use of a cardioid pickup pattern, boosted midrange, and shock isolation makes them fantastic for nearly every application.
Are condenser mics better than dynamic?
It all depends on two things:
- What you’re recording
- and WHERE you’re recording
Condenser microphones deliver a more delicate sound. This is great is you’re recording something quiet and require professional results. But their delicate nature in sound is also applicable to the way they’re built. This is why condensers are often found in studios and controlled environments. This article further discusses the pros and cons of each type of mic.
Other Recording Microphones We Reviewed
Though we’ve given you a ton of choices above, there are other fish in the sea. Whether you need something different for your project, or didn’t find something in your price range, we’ve got you covered. What follows is a list of other mics we checked out for our top slots we reviewed, but that didn’t make our top list.
Perfect for stage presence or to croon or just talk into in a studio, this mic is great for just about any task. It comes with a cardioid or supercardioid pickup pattern, the cartridge is shock-mounted to remove the sound of handling noise, and the swivel mount gives any user a wide range of control.
Shure 55SH Key Features:
- Comes in standard or Supercardioid pickup pattern
- Ideal frequency response for vocals
- Shock-mounted cartridge
- Self-tensioning swivel mount
The built-in preamp allows for less extra equipment. That, plus the headphone output which allows you to monitor your vocal playback in real time, makes it a handy mic to have in your sound kit!
Apogee MiC Plus Key Features:
- USB Mic
- Built-in Mic Preamp
- All digital connection
- Headphone output
Sometimes It’s About Feel
Let’s say you want to mic a bass guitar or even a drum set. What’s the right choice? Which one will make it sound good? Well, unfortunately trying to make something sound good, or right, is also relative.
In your search to find the right tone for your music or voice, you’ll need to get a few different dynamic mics for your gear set up. Do you need low tones from the bass guitar? Do you need a higher frequency sound from symbols on your drum set?
Feel free to buy a few different dynamic mics and then just return the ones you don’t use until you find the best one. You won’t know what can make for the best sound until you use 2 or 3 mics on your gear. The right one will only come from a little home research and time testing everything out with your gear.
With smooth sound output from an XLR and USB compatible mic, not to mention how easy to use it is with any device. Including a built-in headphone jack that’s completely controllable from the mic itself, this mic is useful to have around in any scenario.
Audio-Technica AT2005 Key Features:
- Both USB and XLR capable
- Built-in headphone jack
- Adjustable headphone volume
- Accessories compatible with Windows and Mac
Backed by the Shure brand along with a sound that speaks for itself, this mic is great if you’re looking for something durable on a budget.
Shure PGA58 Key Features:
- XLR capable
- Three power cable options
- On/off switch on mic itself
- Stand adapter included
Investing in a dynamic microphone is essential for almost all kinds of recording. But due to the number of microphones available on the market, it’s understandable why you may feel a little overwhelmed by the choice.
With our list, you can now easily find the perfect dynamic microphone to suit your budget and needs.
Any of the microphones we’ve suggested here would be very beneficial to your setup, but our top choice for the best dynamic cardioid microphone is the Shure SM7B. Its rugged construction, combined with the built-in pop filter, makes this microphone very compelling for podcasters. We’re sure you’ll also enjoy the extra included filter screen. It’s clear to see why this is used for a wide range of professional recording applications.
To conclude, you really can’t go wrong with any of these microphones for podcasting, singing, or videos. They will all capture your voice with fine detail, last for years to come, and won’t require you to remortgage your house to afford them!