When it comes to microphones, there are two main categories: dynamic and condenser.
Dynamic microphones are the standard choice for many sources when recording in the studio. And are the most commonly used microphone for live performances. This is because they offer greater background noise elimination than condenser mics. And, they do not require additional power to operate as condenser mics do.
A little dynamo…
The name “dynamic,” however, can be confusing since it does not refer to the tone or sound quality of the microphone.
Dynamic microphones are dynamic, based on how they function. They are like a little dynamo, where a thin (usually copper) coil is wound around the outside of a magnet. The coil is attached to a membrane that moves with sound vibrations.
A dynamic microphone is converting the mechanical energy of the moving coil and membrane into electrical energy that produces the sound signal.
Dynamic microphones offer a more natural and at times, almost raw, sound reproduction. The rawness is often highly-prized in the recording studio to get the most sonic fidelity out of the instrument as possible.
From deep and murky bass guitars to brightly fluttering brass and woodwind. And, from quiet conversational broadcasts, to bellowing presidential rallies. Dynamic microphones have been at the heart of audio projection and reproduction for a long time.
The question, then, is…
Well, gather around ladies and gentleman. We are here to take you through the best dynamic microphones on the market today and find out exactly, which is the perfect dynamic microphone for you…
- Top 10 Best Dynamic Microphones For The Money 2023 Reviews
- 1 Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
- 2 Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone
- 3 Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
- 4 Electro-Voice RE-20 Cardioid Microphone
- 5 Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic
- 6 Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone, Cardioid
- 7 AKG D5 Vocal Dynamic Microphone
- 8 MXL Mics Dynamic Microphone, Black (MXL BCD-1)
- Best Dynamic Microphones Buyer’s Guide
- And The Winner Of The Best Dynamic Microphones Is…
Top 10 Best Dynamic Microphones For The Money 2023 Reviews
1 Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
The President’s Microphone
The Shure SM57 microphone is pretty much the standard by which all other studio microphones are measured. This microphone can be found pretty much everywhere and anywhere.
From small clubs and bars to stadiums and studios, the Shure SM57 has been the go-to microphone for many of the best musicians in the world. As well as being up close and personal for some history’s most memorable speeches. The Shure SM57 has the honor of being the microphone of choice, used by the White House and the President of the United States since the 1970s.
Known for its long-lasting durability and clean, wide frequency response this microphone gets used for recording all kinds of instruments and vocals.
The Shure SM57 is a unidirectional microphone and has basically set the standard for how instruments should sound on a recording. It is particularly well-versed in recording drums and guitar amplifiers. In fact, it’s the most used microphone for recording snare drums in history.
Offering a warm, clean sound alongside a contoured presence, this microphone is one of the most versatile on the market.
The uniform cardioid pattern used to pick up sounds works to isolate the main sound source and eliminate background noise. This makes the Shure SM57 a great choice for live performances as well as studio work. The microphone can be positioned wherever you like without the need to worry about feedback.
The Shure SM57 is not like other microphones designed solely for vocals. This is because the Shure SM57 does not have a frequency curve that has been set to match vocal ranges. Instead, the Shure SM57 allows for a frequency response range of 40Hz to 15,000HZ without any frequency rise.
This means that even the highest sound pressure levels won’t cause any distortion. It is also another reason why the Shure SM57 is so often used in drum recording, especially for the snare and kick drum.
The sound is unaltered and is recorded exactly like it is played, giving the recording a raw and natural quality that many artists have come to love.
If your in any way doubtful about its abilities, it has been used by Paul Rogers of Free and Bad Company fame for most of his career and was also Lemmy from Motorheads favorite microphone for live and studio use.
When it comes to dynamic microphones that provide professional-quality reproduction of drums, amplifiers, and vocals, the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone continues to lead the way.
- Incredibly durable and versatile.
- Ideal for recording drums and amplifiers.
- The frequency response is 40Hz to 15,000Hz.
- Clean and warm sound.
- No sound alteration.
- Preferred mic of the President and Lemmy!
- Unidirectional design is not ideal for broadcasting or live-streaming.
2 Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone
The Singer’s Microphone
The Shure SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone is the standard vocal mic of choice for on-stage performances. This microphone is regarded by numerous professionals as the most popular microphone in the world due to its signature sound and unmatched reliability.
The frequency response is tailored to vocals with a brightened mid-range and bass roll-off that helps control the proximity effect.
When the sound source is very close to any microphone, it will boost the bass frequencies. The result is a warmer and richer sound than when the source is farther away. The design of the Shure SM58 makes certain that the vocalist has full control over how much of the proximity effect is utilized.
The frequency rise has been carefully calibrated at 4,000Hz. The full frequency response range is 50-15,000Hz, making this microphone highly versatile when it comes to vocal projection and reproduction.
This unidirectional dynamic microphone features a uniform cardioid pickup pattern that eliminates background noise and ensures the vocals are sweet and silky smooth. Working in tandem with the cardioid pickup pattern is a highly-effective spherical filter for wind and pop noise. This filter further reduces unwanted noise even in outdoor settings.
As a microphone build for vocals and especially for live performances, the Shure SM58 also features a pneumatic shock-mount system that works to eliminate the noise that comes from handling the microphone. The Shure SM58 also comes with a break-resistant stand adaptor that can rotate 180 degrees.
Well, as far as live recordings are concerned, we would conservatively estimate that 95% of every live vocal ever recorded for release on an album, CD or DVD was recorded with this microphone. We know that seems unbelievable, but take a look at the picture, then check any live concert footage, and you’ll more than likely see this mic in the singer’s hand, or the wireless version or the Beta version (a blue ring around the ball).
For studio use, it is Bono from U2’s mic of choice, as well as being widely used by Chris Martin of Coldplay and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
As far as durability is concerned, the name Shure says it all. Long considered the most reliable dynamic microphone-maker in the world, Shure continues to ensure their products are ready to rumble.
- Designed for live vocal performances.
- Cardioid pickup pattern eliminates background noise.
- Built-in spherical wind and pop filter.
- Frequency response range of 50-15,000Hz.
- Tailored frequency rise at 4,00Hz for vocal clarity.
- Highly durable and effective.
- For vocal use only.
- Not ideal for broadcast or live-stream purposes.
3 Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
The Broadcasters Best Friend
When it comes to working in a radio station, broadcaster booth, or studio, the need for microphones that get rid of unwanted noise is of paramount importance.
Especially in settings where there are lots of other electrical appliances and equipment that hum, whirl, tick, click, and buzz effective noise-canceling microphones make a world of difference.
In order to protect against electromagnetic hum and broadband inference from computer monitors, Shure improved the shielding in the SM7B to more effectively reject electrical noises of all kinds.
The Shure SM7B also features internal “air suspension” shock isolation that pretty much gets rid of all mechanical noise.
The Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone that has a smooth and flat wide frequency response. The range is 50 to 20,000Hz which provides you with an amazingly clean and natural reproduction of vocals and instruments alike.
This dynamic microphone is more than capable of handling vocals as well as live instrumentation and amplifiers. However, the Shure SM7B really comes into its own when used in a TV or radio broadcast studio where voices need to be at their finest.
The Shure SM7B features bass roll-off and mid-range presence boost controls that allow you to adjust it’s EQ curve to best suit the source you are recording. The design also works well to reduce the reverberation and echoes of the room your recording in.
A truly professional-grade dynamic microphone, the Shure SM7B can just as easily provide superb vocal reproduction in home studios used for podcasts and live-streams. The standard windscreen and pop filter basically cut out any excess noise, and ensure the sound is clear and balanced.
Additionally, the Shure SM7B comes with an A7WS windscreen that allows the user to talk very close to the microphone without worrying about distortion or pops. An added benefit of the extra windscreen is that it warms up the vocals in close-talk settings.
Yoke mounting with a captive stand nut means that you can quickly and easily position this microphone exactly where you want it.
Well the most famous example of the use of this microphone was for the recording of Michael Jackson’s vocals for the album Thriller, the biggest selling album the world has ever known. It is also widely used in the studio by Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers and James Hetfield of Metallica.
For great-sounding vocals in radio or broadcast settings, the Shure SM7B will provide you with exceptionally clear and balanced sound reproductions.
- Improved shielding to eliminate electromagnetic noise.
- Standard and extra A7WS windscreens warm-up close-taking vocals and eliminate background noise.
- An excellent choice for narration and up close talking.
- Smooth, flat, wide-range frequency.
- Cardioid polar pickup pattern.
- Highly-durable and balanced frequency reproduction.
- Not an ideal vocal microphone for live use.
- Yoke mounting is more suited for studio and broadcast booth settings than for concerts or on-stage performance.
- A little pricey.
4 Electro-Voice RE-20 Cardioid Microphone
The Swiss Army Microphone
Chances are you have seen and heard the Electro-Voice RE-20 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone. It is a hugely popular choice for live-streaming and podcasting but is also a favorite of recording studios around the world.
Often used in combination with a unidirectional dynamic microphone to record guitar and bass amplifiers, the Electro-Voice RE-20 helps to capture the character of the recording room. This microphone is often used inside of kick drums as well.
While the Electro-Voice RE-20 is a great microphone for studio recording, it flourishes in broadcast settings and applications. Thanks to its exclusive Variable-D technology, the Electro-Voice RE-20 cancels out the bass boost from the proximity effect that is common among other directional dynamic microphones.
The proximity effect happens when the sound source is very close to the microphone, which causes the mic to boost the bass frequencies to compensate for the source proximity.
With the Variable-D technology, you can get as close to the mic as you want without any additional bass boost.
Even extremely close to the sound source, the Electro-Voice RE-20 will reproduce sounds with clarity and definition. In broadcast settings, noise reduction is essential. The RE-20 further reduces background noise with its blast and wind filters on every acoustic opening.
A heavy-duty pop filter protects against proximity effects and explosive vocals. And, there is an internal shock mount element that reduces vibrational noise and hums.
This is a large diaphragm dynamic microphone that combines a large Acoustalloy diaphragm with a low mass aluminum voice coil. The result is a microphone that is capable of reproducing high-pressure levels without overloading or distorting.
As a cardioid microphone, the RE-20 offers the greatest rejection at the back of the microphone. This means when talking, you don’t need to stay right in front of the mic to get a clear and balanced sound. The Electro-Voice RE-20 gives you the freedom to move in rhythm with your words while keeping the frequency response consistent.
The frequency range is 45-18,000Hz, which makes the RE-20 a microphone that captures incredibly detailed sounds across a very wide frequency range.
The most famous user of the RE-20, both live and in the studio is Thom York from Radiohead. Other singers who have favored the mic include Joe Strummer from the Clash as well as Amy Winehouse.
There is a lot more that could be said about the Electro-Voice RE-20, but the fact it is the most widely-used broadcast microphone, kind of says it all.
- Most popular dynamic microphone for broadcast settings.
- Great for recording instruments and vocals.
- Variable-D technology eliminates proximity effects.
- Large diaphragm and cardioid patterns allow for more movement when speaking.
- Virtually eliminates every kind of background noise.
- Solid and sturdy.
- Not ideal for live on-stage performances with a musical group.
- Requires a preamp to get the fullest sound potential.
- Not cheap.
5 Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic
The Drummers Microphone
The Sennheiser MD-421 II is widely known as one for the best dynamic microphones for recording drums, especially toms, where it is unrivaled, and guitar amplifiers. The sound qualities of this microphone mean it can deal with any recording setting or condition imaginable.
The MD-421 II is a tried and true professional-grade dynamic microphone. It has been built to provide effective and clear sound reproductions, and reject feedback.
As a cardioid polar pattern microphone, the MD-421 II can effectively reduce off-axis noise and interference. This pattern also works at rejecting feedback from monitors and amplifiers. It features a Dynamic Capsule which provides you with an even frequency response when up close or standing back from the microphone.
The large diaphragm means that the MD-421 II won’t have any issues with high-pressure levels. This, combined with the dynamic element, makes the Sennheiser perfect for recording drums and electric guitars.
Because drums produce sounds with high pressure levels. You can feel the pressure coming off a drum head, just like you can feel it from a guitar amp. High-pressure levels can easily distort or overload lower quality microphones.
Another feature that works to reproduce high-pressure level naturally and effectively is the 5-Position Bass Roll-Off. With the flick of a switch, the MD-421 II can provide flexibility in the low-end presence and response. This feature lets you use the MD-421 II in a variety of recording situations.
Loads of artists, especially in the ’70s and especially in the disco and funk scenes, but there are no really famous examples of vocal performances with this microphone. That said, 98% of every tom you have ever heard on a CD was recorded with this microphone.
Sennheiser says they are committed to the “pursuit of sound perfection.” One listen to the MD-421 II, and you will be hard-pressed to disagree.
- Perfect for recording drums, especially toms, and electric guitars.
- Large diaphragm with a cardioid polar pattern for noise elimination.
- 5-position bass roll-off feature offers versatility.
- Can handle very high-pressure levels.
- Can be used for broadcast purposes.
- Reliable and rugged.
- Not a good microphone for on-stage vocals.
- Tends to darken the sound a bit.
- A bit expensive.
6 Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone, Cardioid
The Home Studio Hero Microphone
The Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 Dynamic microphone is a very inexpensive option for home studio recording and novice audio reproductions of all kinds. It offers excellent sensitivity and accuracy that professionals value, at a price that is right for those working out of their home.
This microphone is robust and resistant to moisture, which is quite helpful for those with a home studio that may not have climate control.
The Behringer XM8500 features a cardioid pickup pattern that rejects feedback and off-axis sounds. This means that you are getting just the sound source without any background noise to worry about.
The frequency response is 50 to 15,000Hz. This is incredibly flat that includes a smooth mid-range presence rise for high-quality vocal reproduction. This dynamic microphone also features a very high output, so you need not concern yourself with being heard clearly and accurately.
The spherical wind and pop noise filter ensures your sound is full of clarity and unaltered definition. The integrated shock mount system, mic-stand adapter, and impact resistant carrying case make the Behringer XM8500 durable, adaptable, and easy to set up.
Many people in their home studios. It is not a recognized live or pro studio microphone.
For the home music enthusiast, the Behringer XM8500 offers incredible sound reproduction at a very low cost.
- Professional quality at a price everyone can afford.
- Cardioid pickup pattern eliminates background noise.
- Spherical wind and pop noise filter.
- Responsive and robust.
- Perfect for home studios and practice settings.
- Good for travel and beginners.
- Suitable for vocals only.
- Not great for broadcast purposes.
- Bass response is often lacking.
7 AKG D5 Vocal Dynamic Microphone
The Vocalist Value Microphone
The AKG D5 Dynamic Microphone was designed with lead and backing vocals in mind at a price that is easy on the wallet. As a handheld microphone, the AKG D5 delivers the freedom to move all over the stage without a loss in signal strength or clarity. There are no mounting or mic-stand adapters needed.
Even on the most raucous of stages, the AKG D5 dynamic mic is powerful enough to cut through any mix. This microphone offers substance and a crisp sound that stands out during live performances. It is also a great microphone for karaoke, lectures, and speeches.
It is an amazingly clear and noiseless dynamic microphone. The D5 features a super-cardioid polar pattern that results in full-throttle gain before even the slightest hint of feedback.
The AKG D5 offers a unique diaphragm design; the patented Laminated Varimotion Diaphragm. It is the first microphone with a diaphragm where the thickness varies relative to the diameter.
The Laminated Varimotion Diaphragm allows the AKG D5 to fine-tune itself without the need for additional tuning resonators. Essentially, this diaphragm allows you to sing as close as you want at very high output levels without distortion or overload. This is a major advancement in vocal and audio reproduction.
The dual shock mount basically gets rid of all mechanical noises, so the D5 is a great on-stage companion.
The AKG D5 is built for rough and tough use. The solid mesh grille is strong and durable.
Unlike most of the microphones featured in this review, which are classics that have been around for many, many years. The D5 is a newer microphone design that has not been used by many famous singers yet, but we are sure it will be…
You can expect the AKG D5 to deliver clear, crisp vocals that are rich with tone and definition.
- Patented Laminated Varimotion Diaphragm provides high output response without distortion or feedback.
- Designed for lead and backing singers.
- Super-cardioid polar pattern allows for clarity and feedback suppression at high gain levels.
- Handheld design.
- Very powerful.
- Uniquely designed for live, on-stage vocal performances only.
- Smooth texture can make it a little troublesome to hold with sweaty palms.
8 MXL Mics Dynamic Microphone, Black (MXL BCD-1)
The Goldilocks Microphone
The MXL BCD-1 is not too hot nor too cold. It’s not too big nor too small. This dynamic microphone can stand out during live performances, while it can just as easily capture the ambiance of the recording space.
With rich, warm tones that are still bright, and plenty of output the MXL BCD-1 is at home recording vocals in a studio or providing a defined performance on-stage.
It features a cardioid polar pattern that eliminates background noise. The side-rejection on the BCD-1 is perfect for noisy rooms. With a tuned grille that gets rid of internal reflections and a built-in shock mount, the MXL BCD-1 is noiseless and clear.
The frequency response range is 40-15,000Hz. This microphone serves up a nice bottom end but still has a bright and crisp high frequency that makes it a nice choice for vocals on a musical track, or for use in broadcast situations.
One interesting aspect of the MXL BCD-1 is that it seems to really pick up on the sound character of the room. This can be an advantage when you want more of the natural acoustics of the environment to feature in the sound reproduction.
A built-in swivel mount makes positioning this mic where you want it quick and easy. A hard case with molded padding and cushioning makes traveling safe and secure.
This microphone is limited to home use on the whole.
The MXL BCD-1 Dynamic Microphone is a good choice for those who are looking to get well-rounded vocal reproductions at an affordable price.
- Plenty of output to cut through the mix.
- Warm, rich bottom end with bright clear highs.
- Cardioid polar pattern eliminates background noises.
- Swivel mount makes positioning quick and easy.
- Tends to thin out when output is pushed higher.
- Not ideal for sound reproduction of instruments.
Best Dynamic Microphones Buyer’s Guide
Now that we have looked at the best dynamic microphones on the market, we would like to take a moment to offer a few more thoughts.
Dynamic microphones are pretty much the standard for live vocals and recording a number of instruments in the studio. That being said, some dynamic microphones are specifically designed to handle vocals, or the high-pressure levels associated with instruments like drums and amplifiers.
What’s It For?
You will, therefore, need to know exactly what you are going to using your dynamic microphone for. If you are looking to record only instruments, and especially drums, you will need a microphone that has been designed for those tasks.
If you are going to doing a podcast or live-stream, a dynamic microphone that has a large diaphragm and is geared towards voice reproduction is your best bet.
Workhorse Dynamic Mics…
Of course, there are also the workhorse dynamic mics that have no trouble with either vocal or high-pressure levels, like the Electro-Voice RE-20. For these kinds of microphones, bear in mind you are going to be paying more.
Also, take into consideration if you need a microphone that travels well or one that stays in the same place most of the time.
Get Some Protection…
Dynamic microphones are by their nature pretty darn tough because they get used frequently in live settings and are eventually going to hit the floor at some point. If you are going to be using your new dynamic microphone in lots of different venues, you’ll need one that comes with a solid carrying case and one that is tailored to on-stage performance.
And The Winner Of The Best Dynamic Microphones Is…
Each of the dynamic microphones we looked at here are quality microphones that can serve a multitude of purposes. However, we know there is one on the list that out-does all the others.
The best dynamic microphone is…
This dynamic mic does it all. It’s great for use in the studio recording vocals, guitars, bass guitar cabinets, kick drums, floor toms or just about anything. It can also shine on the stage during live performances, especially as a group mic for backing vocals.
It has found a place among broadcasters as a very quiet and clear option for close-talking as well as allowing for greater freedom of movement.
Overall, the Electro-Voice RE-200 holds a special place in the audio reproduction world thanks to its high-quality sound, excellent frequency response, and durable construction.
A special nod goes out to the…
Simply because of its unbelievably low price and versatility as a beginner or home studio microphone.
We hope this article was helpful, and you know have a better idea about which dynamic microphone is the right one for you. Have fun with your new dynamic microphone and enjoy all the high-quality sound reproduction your new mic has to offer.
Until next time. Make music, make happy, and make the world a better place.