Most are familiar with the two principle microphone options available, i.e., Dynamic or Condenser. They both do essentially the same job but in different ways and therefore are better in certain environments.
Dynamic microphones are at their best recording sounds that are louder. Their areas of operation do crossover at times, but generally speaking condenser microphones are better in the studio environment than for live use.
The design of a Dynamic microphone is different to that of a condenser. It takes the signal picked up by the diaphragm and then amplifying it using a wire coil. This makes Dynamic microphones best suited to a loud environment, and you will find them being used on most instruments, including drums and vocals.
So, let’s take a look at the best dynamic microphones around and find the best one for you…
Top 8 Best Dynamic Microphones in 2023
1 Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
The Shure SM57. Some might say the industry standard in many ways.
It is designed as an instrument microphone rather than a vocal mic, though of course it is widely used in both areas. It is not an exaggeration to say it is possibly the most widely used microphone in existence and works well either in the studio or live on stage.
Working especially well when it is used for close miking amps and speakers, which therefore makes it perfect for studio work. It is well known for its frequency response and the natural presence boost which brings out clarity in guitars and drums and even in vocals.
It has long been established as a microphone for all seasons because it will bring the best out of and can handle anything. Because of this, it is a kind of default microphone to use in any situation. It is unlikely you will go to a professional recording studio and not find many SM57’s being used.
In particular, the cardioid polar pattern creates a lot of isolation. So much so that in a live situation it can be placed near one instrument and the effect of other instruments around it are greatly reduced, thus allowing more gain before the potential of feedback.
There is one other thing it is well known for; it is rather tough. In fact, that is an understatement. It will handle years of abuse and still come back for more. You only have to look at how the mics are used in some live acts to know they have to be rugged. This one tops the bill in that respect.
The Shure SM57 is a workhorse of the microphone world, and it is also a well-respected mike and surely one of the best dynamic microphones it is possible to acquire.
Very good price considering the quality it offers.
Frequency response 40 to 15,000 Hz.
2 Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone
So, do Shure microphones actually rule the recording world you ask?
There are a lot of people that would answer that for the money you pay for them they are the best dynamic microphones you can get. You might have to pay a lot more to get something better. The SM58, like its cousin the SM57, is a tried and trusted microphone.
This model, though whilst being able to handle just about everything, is specifically designed for vocals. In its construction, it has a metal ball grill and inside a pop filter to eliminate plosives.
As with the SM57, the cardioid wiring will cut out background noise and isolate the main frequency, thus reducing any overspill. In a live environment where there is the potential for so much that is an important point.
Also, there is a built-in shock-mount system to eliminate any noise generated by handling.
It incorporates a feature called Proximity effect. This is where the microphone will boost the bass frequencies if required and in certain circumstances, to give a warmer and richer sound.
It is built with a typical Shure rugged frame and will withstand rough handling.
It’s wrong to think that the SM58 is only for vocal applications. It has been designed that way for a reason but is equally at home miking up anything that is required.
There is a reason though that this microphone is so popular and widely used. Simply put it is because it is good and there’s nothing much else you can say. It is rugged and tough and will stand the rough and tumble of a live concert, but the sound it produces remains exceptional.
In many ways, it is the microphone by which others are judged, and there is no greater accolade than that.
For such a quality microphone, the price is very attractive.
Frequency response 50 to 15.000Hz
Also see: Shure SM58 Review
3 Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
When you need a microphone for a live performance, then you want the best quality you can get. For work in a recording studio, the level will go up a bit. But, for broadcasting, you are looking for something very special.
Equally comfortable in the recording studio or a radio broadcast studio this microphone excels in every way.
There is a difference of course in using a microphone for recording a vocal track or for a quiet speaking tone, and the flat wide-ranging frequency response of this mic makes it perfect for either scenario.
There are presence boost and bass roll-off controls with a display showing the response setting. And, the built-in pop filter eradicates the need for extra filters to prevent against the usual unwanted sounds of close microphone vocal work.
Further, there are filters included to eliminate potential interference from computer screens, or any electromagnetic hum and shock isolation will cancel out any accidental mechanical noise.
It produces a clean sound devoid of the slightest of background noises and is therefore perfect for audio work. And, in addition to its standard facilities, it also includes the A7WS windscreen for close up speaking applications.
If you are looking for a microphone to give your vocals, spoken or sung, that extra lift then this is a microphone that will do that.
As with all Shure microphones, it has a rugged construction and is well built.
It has an attractive price for what it can offer, but is quite a bit more expensive than the first two Shure microphones.
4 Electro-Voice RE-20 Cardioid Microphone
Electro-Voice is well known for making quality audio and sound equipment, and their microphones are considered by many as being some of the best available.
This particular model is a cardioid microphone that has a host of features, far too many to go into in any detail in this review but we will cover some of the relevant issues for people looking to buy a quality microphone.
Made from steel, it is essentially built like a tank. It has a large number of acoustic openings. It thus has an omnidirectional attitude in its usage.
Behind each acoustic opening is a sturdy wire grill and an integral blast and wind filter. These filters are so efficient that vocalists can get right up close to the microphone without fear of popping,
These filters also act as shock protectors against any external noises or contacts that may occur.
Electro-Voice has introduced their variable-D technology, which eliminates the bass boost when someone is in use close up. The effect of that is to provide a natural sound when used in close proximity areas with acoustic guitars, bass drums and of course vocals.
The specially designed coil in this microphone reduces the effect of any magnetically induced noise. This makes it noise-free in areas where other microphones might struggle with hum or buzz.
As an omnidirectional microphone with filters on each acoustic opening, it is ideal for recording more than one singer at a time if that is what is required.
There is no doubt that this is a quality microphone ideally suited for recording or broadcasting and must be considered one of the best dynamic microphones.
It excels with the low frequencies making it great for kick drum and bass guitar through an amp.
It is priced very competitively.
5 Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic
When you see something is manufactured in Germany, then you know that it is going to be exceptional in some way. They can rightly lay claim to being the very best in some circles.
Sennheiser, of course, is German and brings this excellence of design and manufacture to the sound equipment and especially their microphones.
The MD421 is one of their most popular and respected microphones. It is so acclaimed due to its versatility in being able to work in many environments.
It is great for vocals and group vocals, but it works well with guitars and drums. A full-bodied cardioid design it has a bass control with five settings allowing it to work with most instruments. This will allow you to get clear and natural results when the instrument or vocal source is close to the microphone.
It has an excellent feedback rejection of unwanted sounds that may be recognized from elsewhere making it a great microphone for studio and live work.
Its hardened glass composite and steel construction make it a rugged, tough piece of kit. Sennheiser though prides themselves on the quality of the sound that this microphone provides and it certainly delivers.
It is versatile and is great with most instruments and most environments, but it is the crisp and clear reproduction of sound that this microphone is known for and makes it so widely used.
By using the five position selector switch for bass roll off, it will actually give you a variety of tonal options that adds another dimension to its performance.
This microphone represents a great addition to any working environment and at the price is just great value for money.
It is, though, rather large, so some thought should be given to that.
Frequency response 30-17,000 Hz
6 Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone
Behringer is a company we are all familiar with for producing some good equipment, especially their range of effects pedals, at a very competitive price.
This microphone falls very much at the other end of the price range of most of the microphones we are reviewing, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got a place to fit in.
It has many of the attributes of microphones far more expensive. Its cardioid pickup pattern design means that there is good feedback rejection and separation of sounds at source and wide frequency response. And, built-in to this microphone is a shock mount system to reduce movement noise if it is being handheld.
It is also fitted with a spherical wind and pop noise filter as standard.
Of course, it does lack some of the finer features of the more expensive microphones such as proximity control but given the price of this microphone what has been included is quite incredible.
The sound is good and clear, the feedback quite low, and the frequency range quite high. It is a good microphone for those on a budget for either studio or live work.
Given all the features and its performance level of producing a crisp, clear sound, this has to be considered one of the best dynamic microphones out there for the price.
If we have to find fault with it, it doesn’t come with a microphone cable.
However, it’s great value, and that is only matched by its performance.
Frequency response 50Hz to 15kHz.
7 AKG D5 Vocal Dynamic Microphone
AKG is well-known for producing some of the highest quality microphones in recording history.
Established in Austria just after the second world war, they have just recently been swallowed up within the South Korean Samsung organization so we are left to watch with interest whether that will have an impact on quality in the future.
They have recently had their HQ transferred to California.
It has been seemingly designed with live performance in mind, because many of the features lend themselves to that area of operation. And, the sound pressure level is excellent and means you can sing very close to the mic without suffering distortion.
The supercardioid design pattern makes sure that you will get the maximum gain before feedback interferes.
Importantly though from a live performance perspective is that a built-in dual shock mount will reduce any mechanical handheld noise to an absolute minimum, thus making it perfect for use on stages worldwide.
If there is one microphone in the same basic category as the ever-popular Shure’s, that will take them on; this could well be the one. The sounds are crisp and clear and for a dynamic microphone, very powerful, and it suits both lead vocal and backing vocals.
What you are getting here is a quality microphone with a growing fanbase appreciative of its performance level.
How they have produced a microphone this good for such a competitive price is beyond us.
It is built to last as well with a tough metal grill.
Frequency range 70Hz to 20kHz
8 MXL Mics Dynamic Microphone
MXL is a division of Marshall Electronics.
No, not THE Marshall, another company specializing in consumer and industrial electronics. Owner Leonard Marshall has a particular personal interest in microphones hence their involvement in the field, which has been and is significant.
When we saw this microphone for the first time, we thought it was designed to work in a war zone.
No bad thing. Of all the equipment on a stage in a live performance, it is the microphones that are possibly at most risk, and yet they are often the items with the worst protection — not this one.
Over and above the build quality, it is a quality microphone.
It is an ‘end address’ mic as against a ‘side address,’ meaning it accepts sound from the end of the microphone as against the side of it. And, despite the acoustic spaces, it has good side rejection that is a real advantage if you are in a noisy environment.
It has a built-in shock mount to eliminate handling issues.
Excellent is the way we would describe it, clear and punchy. Lovely rich bottom end with crisp highs give it an all-round warm tone. It works great with vocals on music tracks but where it really excels is as a broadcasting microphone.
If you are working from home doing podcasts or your own radio shows, then this is worth a close look. It has everything needed and sounds great without any added EQ or after effects.
A great microphone at a great price.
Time To Buy One Of The Best Dynamic Microphones Available?
You have decided you need a new microphone, whether as an addition or a replacement, and you want to know what is the best dynamic microphone out there.
There are quite a few options, and we have looked at some of the most popular because that is what the majority of people will be looking for.
But first, we must ask the most important question…
What Will You Use Your New Microphone For?
You need a very clear vision of how you will use it as that will determine what sort of microphone you will be looking for.
Is it for live work, maybe in a controlled environment, or will the singer be trying to catch the audience as per Roger Daltrey? If so, you should be looking at something that is not going to fall apart easily and will take knocks.
You may also have to consider eliminating overspill from other instruments.
Perhaps it’s for studio work, but here again, the type of studio work is important to identify. Will it just be used for vocals, or will you be miking up live instruments. Again there are microphones more suitable than others for those activities.
We have even looked at excellent microphones for broadcasting, which is a totally different discipline.
There are some old favorites on the list, tried and trusted products, and a few that might just challenge them.
Have an idea of what you want to spend and be prepared to be a little bit flexible to allow you to get exactly what you want.
Always bear in mind though that expensive doesn’t always mean its the best.
The vocals are what people pay attention to first in most cases, and if your new mic is for that, then it needs to be as good as you can get.
So, take your time to decide.
What microphones do your favorite singers use? Or what is the most commonly used mic to record a snare drum?[/su_note]
It may also be worth considering what microphones your favorite singers use, because they may be within your budget. For example, Bono, Chris Martin, and Trent Reznor all use the Shure SM58 exclusively live and most of the time in the studio. While Paul Rogers and Lemmy both use the Shure SM57.
And they are two of the cheapest mics in this round-up. While James Hetfield and Anthony Keidis use the Sm7 in the studio. As did the singer who recorded the biggest selling album of all-time – that’s right, Michael Jackson used a Shure Sm7 to record Thriller.
If you want to record, for example, a snare drum, then it’s useful to know that probably 95% of all the snare drums ever recorded, have been done with a Shure SM57. As have most guitar amplifiers and cabinets. And, it’s a cheap microphone!
Do a little research. You may be amazed that the microphones used by the worlds biggest artists to record the biggest hits in the most expensive studios, may well be on this list and within your price range.
So,What Are The Best Dynamic Microphones?
As always a difficult choice.
We would require a microphone that could be used live but would maybe also be used in a studio environment both for miking instruments and possibly backing vocals. We’ve looked at so many of the classics, household names you know you can rely on, but we have decided to go for a change.
The sound is impressive, the features all we want and the build is sturdy. The price is extremely attractive as well, and our choice is the best dynamic microphone is the…
An excellent microphone and one that deserves to be considered as the best dynamic microphone around.