Most of the professional microphones are XLR mics for a reason – these microphones offer better customization and adaptability. They need to be connected with a digital audio interface that converts the audio files into digital signals. But these are more durable microphones that makes processing and boosting much easier. One may consider XLR mics a bit of a nuisance as they require a complete setup, but the sound quality of XLR mics over USB mics are simply in a different league.
In this article, we will look at some of the best XLR microphones for your convenience. To make it a comprehensive guide, we have included mics for all budgets. Whether you are a beginner with a low budget or a professional looking for a pro mic for your setup, we have you all covered.
Also, if you are looking for a USB microphone instead, we’ve got that covered as well.
Also Read: – Best USB Microphones
Best XLR Microphones
We have selected the following XLR Microphones as our best recommendations.
Audio-Technica AT2020: Best Budget-friendly XLR Microphone
- Budget friendly Microphone
- Handles SPLs well
- 20dB noise control
Audio Technica is a reliable brand with low budget mics. The AT2020 is an XLR condenser microphone at a very low price. The mic comes with a rugged build that makes it a durable option. As it’s a condenser microphone, it does need a phantom power source to operate.
The AT2020 is a reliable option for beginners. It is engineered with extended frequency response. The mic captures the clear sound with even the slight variations, and its high dynamic range handles high SPLs very well.
Being a low-budget microphone, it works best in home studios. It provides 20dB noise control. It eliminates the background noises.
The microphone does not come with a pop filter, so you have to buy one separately. Other than that, it’s a quality XLR mic for a low budget. It works great for podcasting, live conferences, or going live on Facebook.
Audio-Technica AT2035: Mid-range XLR Microphone
- Mid-range Mic
- Rugged Build
- Comes with a shock mount
- High Pass filter to improve audio
This one costs a little more than AT2020. The AT2035 is a quality mic that is designed for both beginners and professional studios.The cardioid condenser microphone levels up your sound game, providing exceptional audio with very low noise. To improve the audio, it comes with an 80 Hz pass filter and also 10dB pad.
The mic performs well for recording high-frequency sounds. It captures the subtle nuances of your sound well and reproduces it with excellent clarity. The mic works great for vocals and even singing.
Overall, it’s a reasonably priced XLR mic that is great for recording voice-overs, videos, live streaming. The little bummer is that it does not come with a stand though the package includes a shock mount to keep the mic stable while recording.
Shure SM58S: Premium Vocal Microphone
- Built-in pop filter
- Rejects off-axis sound
- Boosts the bass frequency
- Comes with a sturdy stand
Our next option is the Shure SM58S, which is an XLR dynamic microphone. The mic is excellent for live performances of comedians, singers, motivational speakers and everyone looking for a handy microphone in front of the live audience.The microphone offers a carefully tailored frequency rise above 4,000 Hz that makes your vocal stand out in the mix.
It features a special cardioid pattern that is excellent for rejecting off-axis sound. The mic comes with a built-in spherical filter that minimizes the effect of wind and p-sounds while performing. The microphone boosts the bass frequencies that give silkier and richer bass sound. You can make use of the proximity effect for creating several sound effects by playing around with proximity effects.
Overall, the dynamic XLR microphone comes with a rugged built that makes it suitable for various applications. It comes with a stand and an adapter that rotates to 180 degrees.
MXL Mics 770: Low-Budget Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Multipurpose microphone
- Good for singers
- Wide dynamic range
- Low priced microphone
This one is also a multipurpose condenser microphone that comes at a very low price. The price and quality make it an excellent choice for those on a very low-budget. The microphone comes in an easy to store plastic carrying box. It comes with a shock mount as well.
The build quality is solid, especially if you look at the price. This one has an all-metal body and a metal grill as well. The mic also has some substantial weight to it. Being a condenser microphone, it requires 48V phantom power to work.
The mic provides a very solid bass to your voice that makes singers and vocalists love about this microphone. It comes with a high-quality FET preamp with balanced output and a wide dynamic range. However, the microphone may not give you nice and smooth high ends.
Overall, it’s an entry-level microphone that may fit the needs of some beginners, podcasters, live streamers but may not work well if you are looking for more professional audio for instruments, singing, or even gaming.
Neumann U 87: Premium Quality XLR Microphone
- Premium option
- Large-diaphragm microphone
- Full of wonderful features.
- Smooth and silky sound
- Comes with an expensive shock mount
This one is a premium option and designed for professionals. The XLR microphone comes with a wide range of features that makes it a very versatile microphone.
The microphone is a good choice for musicians, instrument recording, or singers. It comes in an impressive wooden box for storage when you are not using it. The mic brings along a very high-quality shock mount. The shock mount alone is worth several hundred dollars. The mic has an all-metal body with the metal grill on the top of the mic.
It’s a large diagram mic that comes with multi-pick up patterns. The mic features three picks up patterns that are: omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure 8.
The mic gives easy control over several options. You can change the pick-up pattern right on the mic below the head grill. At the back of the mic, you also get a high pass filter.
It also contains a 10dB attenuation to remove the noise from audio. The powerful microphone can handle the high-pressure audio well. That makes it very suitable for loud instruments like drums. It produces high-quality sound without any distortion.
It gives controlled lower ends, a forward midsection, and a smooth and detailed high-end audio. The audio is very subtle, conveying the slight nuances of the sound.
Overall, it’s an expensive microphone with an audio quality that justifies the price. What it does not do good is rejecting the background noise. If you are using the microphone in a room with lots of background noise, the mic is not going to help you much in rejecting the noise.
The microphone is perfect for singing and instrument recordings. It gives the detailed audio and may not hide the faults if you have a less appealing voice.
Rode Procaster: Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone
- Broadcast quality microphone
- Rejects the background microphone
- High-frequency response
Rode is a well-known name when we talk about quality microphones. This Rode Procaster is an excellent choice for studio recordings, podcasting, and singing or instrument recording.
The microphone gives a broadcast quality of audio that is perfect when you need loud and clear audio. The audio is free of noise or any distortion while recording or playing. Being a dynamic mic, it works well in eliminating background noise.
Rode Procaster has an extending frequency response between 75 Hz to 18 kHz. That means it will eliminate the background noises well. The mic has a sensitivity of -20 dB that means great audio quality and clarity.
As it’s an XLR dynamic microphone, it does not require any phantom power. The mic comes with a decent stand. It has an internal shock mount that keeps it sturdy and does not let slight movements affect the audio. Also, it has an internal pop filter, so your P-sounds are not puffing anymore.
Overall, it’s a good midrange XLR microphone that can enhance the audio quality of your voice-overs and podcasts. It’s great if you are serious about producing quality audio and videos. The rugged build will keep it performing well for years.
Electro-Voice RE20: Dynamic XLR Microphone for Professionals
- Good quality microphone
- Durable steel construction
- Variable D design that reduces proximity effect
The Electro-Voice RE20 is a premium dynamic XLR microphone for professionals. The mic comes with a very decent look and great features for audio recording or going live.
The microphone comes with a very durable steel body. It is smooth and nice, as you would expect a mic in that price range. The mic has a special variable-D design that reduces the proximity effect. The mic has a built-in pop filter and also a shock mount, so it reduces the vibration-induced audio.
It is a large-diaphragm mic that provides the option of neutral mode and a high-pass filter to enhance the audio quality. It’s a cardioid microphone that captures clear sound. The audio is free of any noise coloration.
Overall, the microphone works best for radio, broadcasting, voice-overs, and instrument playing. The price seems a bit high, but the smooth and clear sound it produces provides good value for your money.
AKG Pro Audio P420: A Multi-pattern XLR Condenser Microphone
- Condenser microphone
- Multi-pattern microphone
- Bit noisy
AKG P420 is an XLR condenser microphone. We can consider it a mid-range condenser microphone for home studios, podcasters, and YouTubers. The Microphone comes with a sturdy build. It has a metal body with a mesh grill. It has some weight to it, and it’s not light at all. You will only find one button on the mic that is for pattern selection.
It’s a multi-pattern microphone. The multi-pattern mics are very versatile in handling different types of podcasts or recordings. It features three picks up patterns that are cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. So you can make use of it for conferences, discussion programs, interviews, or if you have a co-host.
The mic has a 15 dB noise level that may be a problem if you are recording voice-overs. But for gamers and other studio recordings, it works well. It’s an XLR condenser microphone, so it requires phantom power for performing.
HEiL Sound PR-40: XLR Condenser Microphone with Good Quality
- Comes with accessories
- Rejects the background noise
- Broadcast quality sound
The Heil Sound PR-40 is also a quality mic for those who can afford a bit expensive microphone. It’s an XLR dynamic microphone so you won’t need phantom power. The build quality is pretty impressive. It has an all-metal body with a metal grill. The mic comes with a windshield. It also has a built-in pop filter as well.
It has a cardioid polar pattern, making it a directional mic. These kinds of mics are great if you have a home studio that is not being treated or made soundproof. It rejects the off-axis sound well and records clear and noise-free audio.
The microphone comes with a frequency response between 28Hz-18KHz. It gives smooth broadcasting quality audio that is perfect for studio recordings, podcasting, documentaries, and for some types of videos as well.
The microphone comes in an easy-to-carry bag. It comes with a secure mount and a built-in adapter as well.
Overall, it’s a great microphone for studio recordings. The broadcast quality sound may not make it a perfect choice for singing or instrument recordings. But it gives clear and crisp audio for different types of recording.
Shure SM7B: XLR Dynamic Microphone With different Modes
- Quality build
- Comes with a windshield
- The internal air suspension system
- Multiple modes for different types of audio
The Shure SM7B is an XLR dynamic microphone that is also among our premium options. The mic will cost around $500, but will be worth the money if you’re after the iconic broadcaster sound profile that only the SM7B can deliver.
The mic has a solid built and well-thought design. It comes with a windshield that not only controls the puff sounds but also cuts down some high frequencies.
The good thing about this XLR mic is that it does not need a shock mount at all. It has an internal air suspension system that makes it handle bumps and vibrations without affecting the audio.
The Shure SM7B is a versatile microphone that allows you to change the tonal quality of your sound to suit different recording purposes. It has some switches at the back of the mic that change the modes. You can have a flat mode, a low-cut filter, mid boost sound, or activate both low-cut and mid boost sound. So you can play around a lot with these switches and create your desirable audio effects.
The mic has a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response between 50 Hz to 20KHz. The mic has a flat and wide frequency response that makes it excellent for speeches, YouTubers, or Podcasters. The microphone has a proper broadcast-quality sound profile, unlike low-quality mics that only create radio-like audio. It produces a clear and natural sound with clarity. Overall, it’s a very versatile microphone and gives the value of your money.
Buying Guide of XLR microphones
Here are a few things to consider while selecting an XLR microphone.
• Type of Microphone
One of the first choices you need to make before buying an XLR mic is whether you need a condenser microphone or a dynamic microphone.
- Dynamic Microphones: These are great when you need a directional microphone. They are mostly cardioid pick-up patterns. The best thing about these mics is that they reject the background noise, giving clear audio without coloration. The microphones are the best choice if you have a home studio where you get lots of background noise that you don’t want to affect the audio quality of your recordings. Dynamic microphones are great for live performances, and also they don’t need phantom power.
- Condenser Microphones: These are more sensitive microphones. They provide better frequency response and precise audio recordings. These are excellent for studio recordings when you have a well-treated studio without any background noise. The condenser mics need phantom power to operate. Though it is not an issue as almost all digital audio interfaces provide the phantom power.
Now when it comes to the budget, there is a large variety of options. You can get an XLR microphone under $100 or can go as high as a few thousand dollars. The budget also depends on what you need and how serious you are about your audio recordings.
If you are a beginner, you may not need a high-end microphone. Something as budget-friendly as Audio Technica AT2020 would do the job.
But if you are professional and looking for a microphone to level up the audio game, then you should invest in something expensive as your budget allows.
The choice of the budget also depends on what you are planning to do with the microphone. For simple YouTube videos or podcasting, you can settle on a less expensive mic. But for voice-overs, video recordings, singing, and instrument recordings, you need a quality microphone with a better frequency range.
• Polar Pattern
Microphones have different polar patterns for picking up sound. The choice of the polar pattern depends on the application. For studio recordings, Cardioid patterns work fine. If you need more directional mic, you can look for a super-cardioid pattern.
The cardioid pattern rejects the background noise, resulting in less noise in your recorded audio.
• Multi-pickup Pattern
If you need a quality mic for versatile purposes, we will recommend you invest in a multi-pickup pattern mic. These are excellent for making use of mic for versatile purposes.
With multi-patterns, you can select the omnidirectional, figure 8, or cardioid patterns as you need them. In our list, the AKG Pro Audio P420 is a great option for a multi-pattern XLR microphone.
Accessories are just as important as the mic itself for several reasons. Some of the less-expensive microphones are available as stand-alone mic where you get the only mic; for the complete kit you need to spend a little more bucks, like the Audio Technica AT2020. You can get the mic under $100, but for the complete kit like a mounting stand, you need to spend a little more.
Here are some examples of accessories that you might need in your setup:
- Shock Mount: Shock mounts are important for saving your audio from accidental bumps or vibrations. Most of the high-end mics come with their shock mounts, but for less expensive ones, you need to buy separately. As the price of the microphone goes up, the features get more convenient. Some high-end microphones like Shure SM7B do not even need a shock mount as they have an air suspension system that works like a shock mount.
- Windshield: A windshield helps you create better sounding audio with a less shrill noise. It works great for high-frequency audio and makes it sound smooth.
- Pop Filter: If your microphone does not have a built-in pop filter, we will recommend investing in a pop filter to enhance the sound quality.
- Mounting Stand: If your mic does not come in a good mic stand, then you’ll need to purchase one separately. Look for a stable stand that allows adjustment.
- Boom Pole: If you are shooting videos, a boom pole is a must-have item. It helps you keep the mic as near to the subject as possible. As we all know, the microphones need to be as close as possible for capturing the audio.
- XLR Cable: Make sure that you buy an XLR cable if your mic does not come with one.
If you are recording YouTube videos, better pay some attention to the looks as well. The mic should blend in your overall studio interior and enhance its aesthetic appeal.
XLR microphones are a professional way to enhance the audio quality of your videos or recordings. They may not provide the simple plug and play setup like the USB microphones, but they have their advantages.
All options in our list of best XLR microphones are carefully selected for your convenience. We choose the Neumann U 87 as our best option as it has plenty to offer. With that said, make sure you decide what type of microphone you’re looking for and what you plan to do with it before making a purchase.
Are you getting an XLR microphone to complete your podcasting setup? Check out our full guide on podcasting equipment to learn more about what will go well with an XLR microphone and how it works with the rest of your setup.
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.