14 Best Live Vocal Microphones – Top Stage Mics in 2021

This post was most recently updated on November 28th, 2021
    

Quick-Access To The Best Live Vocal Microphones👇

Our Top PicksBrand
Top Pick🏆 Shure KSM8
Runner Up🥇 Sennheiser e945
Best Live Vocal Mic Under $100🥈 Shure SM58
Best Cheap Live Vocal MicShure PGA48
Best Microphone for Singing LiveShure KSM8

It’s easy to look after your mics in a studio, but what about when you take to the stage?

That’s where it gets serious.

It’s important to make sure you have the best microphone for the job.

If you’re searching for the best microphones for other settings, check out this post.

Otherwise, in this article you’re going to:

  1. Learn all about what a great stage microphone can offer you.
  2. These best live vocal mics for the money
    1. Best Microphone for Live Vocals: Shure KSM8
    2. Best Budget Microphone for Live Vocals: Sennheiser e945
    3. Best Live Vocal Mic Under $100: Shure SM58
    4. Best Cheap Live Vocal Mic: Shure PGA48
  3. And 17-more unique live performance mics.

Let’s dive in.

21 Best Microphones for Live Vocals

Editor picks:

Best Microphone for Live Vocals: Shure KSM8

The Shure KSM8 is the best microphone for live vocals because its built like a tank with a dent resistant carbon-steel grille and has internal hydrophobic lining which provides water, wind and polosive protection at the highest level.

If you’re searching for a microphone that you can trust, Shure are one of the industry leaders for live microphones and when you check this out you will agree.

The KSM8 also has a custom designed shock mount which helps reject any handling noise. This means while you’re jumping around on stage, your mic will remain quiet and stable sounding, even from most impacts.

Key Features of the Shure KSM8

  • Dent resistant grille
  • Water and wind resistant lining
  • Natural and detailed vocal sound.

Best Budget Microphone for Live Vocals: Sennheiser e945

Sennheiser e945

The e945 is the pinnacle of dynamic mics for live vocals. It is rugged, reliable, sports a supercardioid pickup pattern, and also boasts a neodymium ferrous magnet to keep it stable in any environment.

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With a hum compensating coil and a rugged metal body that won’t let you down even in the most chaotic gigs, the Sennheiser e945 is without a doubt the best budget microphone for live vocal use.

Great sounding live vocals don’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, Sennheiser believes they should be something anyone can afford.

One thing that can plague live vocalists is microphone noise. The e945 has

Many people that have tested this mic against the industry leading live vocal mics have been converted, so the e945 must be doing something right, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Key Features of the Sennheiser e945

  • Hum compensating coil
  • Consistent vocal response
  • Rugged, road ready metal body

Best Live Vocal Mic Under $100: Shure SM58

Shure SM58

This Shure dynamic mic is tailored for smooth and silky vocals. Appearing on stages around the world, the 58 will give you premium tech at a very reasonable price.

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If you’ve ever stepped foot on a stage before, you will have experienced the Shure SM58. This is the industry standard for live vocal mics, it’s reliable, robust and it sounds great. That’s why it’s the best live vocal mic under $100.

The price means you can buy a few, beat them up, use and abuse them, and still get years of use from them. Good SM58’s never die, they just keep on working.

The SM58 also has a pneumatic shock mount to reduce handling noise in the heat of the moment and a tight cardioid pattern that is great at rejecting unwanted stage noise.

Key Features of the Shure SM58

  • Dynamic cardioid mic
  • Lightweight handheld mic
  • Robust, practically unbreakable

Best Cheap Live Vocal Mic: Shure PGA48

Shure are known as the leaders of the live microphone world, and they come up top in many topical arenas when it comes to microphones. Believe it or not, they also produce the best cheap live vocal mic on the market, the Shure PGA48.

This is a great mic not only because of its price, but it really is a Shure mic through and through. It’s very similar aesthetically to the SM58 and it functions very similarly too.

You get that great Shure sound in a robust microphone that’s specifically tuned for the voice, what’s not to love?

The PGA48 is designed to pick up vocals while rejecting other background noises which makes it a fantastic on stage mic.

Key Features of the Shure PGA48

  • Classic Shure looks
  • Tuned for vocal use
  • Rejects background noise on stage

Best Microphone for Singing Live: Shure KSM8

The Shure KSM8 is the best microphone for singing live. Let’s not beat around the bush here.

If you’re a professional singer you’ll always want your voice to sound like it’s at its best. Why wouldn’t you?

The KSM8 is the tool for the job. This is Shure making microphones at the top of their game. The KSM8 is built around that same indestructible architecture we’ve all come to expect and love from Shure.

Sound wise, you get a huge range covering 40Hz up to 16kHz with a very natural sound capture. This mic will show off all the detail and nuances of any singer that chooses it.

Key Features of the Shure KSM8

  • Internal shock mount
  • Huge frequency response
  • High, dynamic output levels

Best Condenser Microphone for Live Vocals: Neumann KMS 104

For years vocalists have been keeping condenser mics for studio use. The sound of a studio vocal and a live vocal are different things because, let’s face it, condenser mics are not cut out for on stage use.

But, Neumann refused to accept that.

The Neumann KMS 104 is the best condenser mic on the market for live vocals. Yeah, you read that right… live vocals.

This handheld condenser will give you that classic Neumann studio sound, but in a package that is robust and stage ready. The KMS 104 might just become the most versatile microphone you’ll ever own.

Key Features of the Neumann KMS 104

  • Studio sound on stage
  • Classic Neumann tones
  • Delivers crisp, clear vocals

Best Affordable Condenser Mic for Live: AKG C636

If you like the idea of taking a condenser mic out on stage but don’t want to spend a lot of money, then the AKG C636 is a serious contender for what you need. This is the best affordable condenser mic for live use because it delivers great results at a great price.

AKG are known for making very solid stuff, their mics are often found on stages and studios and the C636 is no exception.

This handheld condenser has a cardioid polar pattern and can handle a high SPL of 150dB, making it perfect for keeping your vocals crisp and clear even on the loudest stages.

The C636 is a studio grade microphone wrapped up in a durable stage ready shell.

Key Features of the AKG C636

  • 20Hz – 20kHz response
  • Cardioid Condenser mic
  • Handles high SPL of 150dB

Best Cheap Condenser Mic for Live: Sennheiser e865

Sennheiser e865 Buy Now on Amazon
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This is a killer mic for the price. I mean, come on, it’s less than 200 bucks. It’s hard to find anything else that could be considered the best cheap condenser for live use. The Sennheiser e865 really is something special at this price.

It’s got a super cardioid pickup pattern and incredible transients, once you hear it you’ll doubt the price being so low too.

It’s perfect for anyone who wants to try out a condenser mic for live use, but again, don’t let the price put you off.

The sound quality of the e865 will please even the biggest mic geeks out there.

Key Features of the Sennheiser e865

  • Distortion free sound
  • Super cardioid pattern
  • Great transient response

Best Wireless Microphone for Live Vocals: Shure QLXD2/KSM9

Shure QLXD2/KSM9 Buy Now on Amazon
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As you start to move up to that big stage, you have to put on a show. That’s why you need to check out the best wireless microphone for live vocal use, the Shure QLXD2/KSM9. This is the ultimate, pro wireless mic package.

It runs over 2x AA batteries which will give you 9 hours of wireless freedom. You can also use rechargeable batteries which will give you an additional hour of use time, but there aren’t many situations where you’ll be using the mic for 10 hours at a time.

The QLXD2/KSM9 has a 100m, line of sight range, which should be enough for even the biggest stages. Wherever you perform, this should give you all the freedom you require.

Key Features of the Shure QLXD2/KSM9

  • 100m wireless range
  • 9 hours continuous use
  • Cardioid/Super Cardioid patterns

Best Cheap Wireless Microphone for Live Vocals: Shure SLX2/SM58

So, you’ve learnt the SM58 is the best budget mic for live vocals, after all, it is the industry standard. But, what if I told you that you could have that SM58 reliability AND be wireless. Pretty cool right?

Introducing the Shure SLX2/SM58, the best cheap wireless mic you can get.

Usually cheap and wireless aren’t two words that go together, but seeing the Shure SM58 name tagged into this will reassure you that this certainly outperforms the price point it sits in.

This battery powered mic works over a 300ft range for performing on huge stages! The SLX2/SM58 gives you that crisp SM58 tone, but without the cables!

Key Features of the Shure SLX2/SM58

  • It’s a wireless SM58!
  • 300ft operating range
  • 8 hours continuous use

Best Dynamic Microphone for Live Vocals: Shure KSM8

Dynamic mics are perfect for live vocals. They offer you a controlled, tight response, ideal for capturing your voice clearly in loud conditions. The best dynamic mic for this job is the Shure KSM8.

The KSM8 is the best because it’s designed to be the best. It’s got a spec list that would easily convince you that it costs three times what it really does.

The ultra thin diaphragms give fantastic, speedy vocal transients and it covers everything form 40Hz up to 16kHz.

The mic captures a very natural tone so whatever your voice type, the KSM8 will make you sound as natural as you do in the room.

Key Features of the Shure KSM8

  • Low handling noise
  • Large frequency response
  • Natural sounding on vocals

Best Stage Microphone: Shure SM58

Shure SM58

This Shure dynamic mic is tailored for smooth and silky vocals. Appearing on stages around the world, the 58 will give you premium tech at a very reasonable price.

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The Shure SM58 is just one of those microphones that it’s hard to imagine not having access too. It’s the best stage microphone by a long shot. It’s robust and virtually unbreakable and it’s fast become many singers go-to microphone.

It’s built to stand up to the rigours of even the most intense live performances.

You will probably never see a live music event without SM58s. It’s an essential mic for any vocalist to try out for live use.

It’s got very low handling noise due to the shock mount system and it’s for a tight cardioid pattern for capturing your vocals even on a loud stage.

Key Features of the Shure SM58

  • Rock solid design
  • Perfect for rejecting background noise
  • It’s the industry standard mic for live music

Best Cheap Stage Vocal Mic: Shure PGA48

Shure PGA48

It might not be branded as a bass amp mic, but the PGA48 certainly does the trick.

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If you’re looking for your first proper mic for vocals then you should start strong. The Shure PGA48 is the best cheap stage vocal mic around. It gives you that classic Shure sound and reliability and change from 50 bucks!

It even comes with a 15ft XLR cable so you can plug it straight in and sing away!

The Shure name comes with a banner of trust and robustness. Just because this mic is not expensive, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform. You still get that high quality sound and function of a typical Shure mic.

The PGA48 has a cardioid pattern that works great for rejecting unwanted noise, but if things get two loud, you even have a thumb switch to turn the mic off.. Just remember to turn it back on before you start singing again!

Key Features of the Shure PGA48

  • On/off switch
  • Includes 15ft XLR cable
  • Designed for clarity of voice

Best Shure Mic for Live Vocals: Shure KSM8

The Shure KSM8 is always the top choice for anyone looking for the best Shure mic to take on stage for live vocal use. It’s a dual diaphragm dynamic mic that sounds as good as it looks.

It’s super high spec and, like all Shure mics, is indestructible. Try and break it… I dare you.

Best Microphone for Live Recording: Neumann KMS 104

If you want a mic for live recording then you need something that delivers studio grade audio. The Neumann KMS 104 is the ultimate studio grade condenser, but it’s in a handheld stage mic format. Take that classic Neumann tone to the stage and make your recordings incredible.

Best Affordable Microphone for Live Recording: AKG C636

Live recording on a budget? I hear ya! Check out the AKG C636. This is the best affordable mic for live recording and it packs some serious punch. It’s got a super wide frequency response and a max SPL of 150dB so your live vocal recordings will be distortion free!

Best Microphone for Metal Vocals Live: Shure SM58

Shure SM58

This Shure dynamic mic is tailored for smooth and silky vocals. Appearing on stages around the world, the 58 will give you premium tech at a very reasonable price.

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Ok, let’s get heavy for a second. If you’re a metal singer you need the Shure SM58. Hands down, it’s the best mic for metal vocals on stage. It’s got a tight, focused sound and a high max SPL meaning you can scream as loud as you want and it still won’t give up.

Best Sennheiser Stage Microphone: Sennheiser e945

Sennheiser e945

The e945 is the pinnacle of dynamic mics for live vocals. It is rugged, reliable, sports a supercardioid pickup pattern, and also boasts a neodymium ferrous magnet to keep it stable in any environment.

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The Sennheiser e945 is the best Sennheiser mic you can get for stage use. It’s quickly becoming known as the SM58 killer and I think if you spend 5 minutes singing with it, you’ll find out why. It delivers fantastic, high headroom sound gig after gig.

Best Headset Microphone for Live Performance: Audio-Technica 3000 Series Wireless System

Audio Technica 3000

The Audio Technica 3000 is a professional-level headset with an amazing, compact condenser mic. The headset and accessories are lightweight, easy to use, and long-lasting.

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If you play an instrument, or you just want total freedom then the Audio-Technica 3000 Series is a great mic for you. It’s the best headset mic for live performance and it gives you 100m of freedom. It comes bundled with a wireless transmitter and receiver and takes seconds to set up!

Best Wireless Headset Microphone for Live Performance: Audio-Technica 3000 Series Wireless System

Audio Technica 3000

The Audio Technica 3000 is a professional-level headset with an amazing, compact condenser mic. The headset and accessories are lightweight, easy to use, and long-lasting.

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If you want to run around the stage, and keep your hands free, you need a headset mic. The Audio-Technica 3000 Series is the best wireless headset mic for any live performance use. It allows you to run around up to 100m and keep your hands free for additional instruments.

Best Live Vocal Mic Under $200: Sennheiser e865

Sennheiser e865 Buy Now on Amazon
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If you’re wondering what the best live vocal mic you can get for under $200 is then look no further than the Sennheiser e865. This supercardioid mic has a sky high SPL rating and a frequency response to rival even the most expensive mics.

Best Live Vocal Mic Under $300: Sennheiser e945

Sennheiser e945

The e945 is the pinnacle of dynamic mics for live vocals. It is rugged, reliable, sports a supercardioid pickup pattern, and also boasts a neodymium ferrous magnet to keep it stable in any environment.

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You don’t have to spend all your hard earned cash to get a great mic. The Sennheiser e945 is the best live vocal mic you can get for under $300. It’s a dynamic mic with a tight cardioid pattern to keep your voice sounding crisp and clear in the mix.

Best Live Vocal Mic Under $1000: Neumann KMS 104

If you’re someone who loves singing and wants to treat yourself then you’ll love, and I mean LOVE, the Neumann KMS 104. It’s the best live vocal mic for under $1000 and it’s a Neumann! It gives you that classic studio grade Neumann sound in a mic you can take anywhere with you.

Can You Use a Condenser Mic for Live Performance?

Absolutely!

While not all condensers are suitable for live performance due to their sensitivity, there are some amazing handheld condensers such as the Neumann KMS 104 or the AKG C636 that will give you that studio style condenser sound on any stage.

These have been designed specifically with the aim of getting a condenser style response in a live environment without the additional sensitivity of a studio condenser.

Conclusion

Well, now you should be pretty clued up about the best mics for live vocals. These mics are without question the top stage mics for 2021.

It really doesn’t matter what your budget is. If you’ve got $100 or $1000 to spend, you can come away from this with a microphone that will give you great sound.

For live performances you must ensure your mics are reliable. You don’t want your mic failing on you in the middle of your big song. The mics in this article are names you can trust, after all they’ve been appearing on stages around the world for decades.

Once you sing into one of these, you’ll never accept anything less than perfect.

2 thoughts on “14 Best Live Vocal Microphones – Top Stage Mics in 2021”

  1. Hi, what do think about the Shure 565SD compared to the SM58 for live vocals for a tenor-alto range male singer like me? Thank you!

    1. Hey Dean! the answer would depend on the sound color that you want from the mic. The Shure 565SD has a very distinctive coloration, it has a warm sound related to its frequency response. If you want a clear and more natural sound, go with the SM58, but if you want a more Vintage coloration on the microphone, the 565SD is a good option.

      keep singing!

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