What Microphone Should I Buy?

As we are preparing for performance, some of you have been asking me:

“What microphone should I buy?”

Why wait for the stage to test how loud you are, or how on pitch you are?

Here are two microphones you should consider purchasing if you want to practice with a microphone at home.


Before you start shopping for that mic, determine what you are using the mic for. Below I talk about recommendations for buying microphones for singers and singer-songwriters.

There are two types of microphones:

  • Dynamic microphones
  • Condenser microphones


Dynamic mics

Dynamic microphones are rugged microphones best used for direct vocals or instruments at a live gig, and they often sound very closed and focused. If you want to sing rock or pop vocals on stage, you will often use a dynamic microphone, as it doesn’t capture the surrounding noises but your voice.

A great dynamic microphone for beginners is the Shure SM58. You can drop this microphone, pick it up, and it will still work just as new. A very focused microphone used by rock singers who like to belt, or sing a soft melody on stage.


Condenser mics

Condenser microphones are more fragile microphones best used by vocalists in the studio. The sound of a condenser mic is very warm, and the sensitivity of the microphone lends itself to clean vocals and acoustic guitars. It is best to handle condenser microphones carefully: they can pick up faint sounds in its surroundings (like a door closing in the room above a house). Sometimes condenser microphones are used in a live setting, but often as an overhead microphone for drums and live band.

Another thing I forgot to mention - condenser microphones require phantom power to operate, so must be plugged into the mixer with the phantom power on in order to operate (usually 48v). 

A great condenser microphone for beginners is the Samson C01. When used to record vocals in the studio, it produces a warm sound like none other, picking up every detail of your voice (consonant, vowel, breath). Used by many rock and pop singers, this is definitely a trusted microphone.


Microphones are roughly $150 AUD – but they are a worthwhile investment for any songwriter. Provided you take good care of your instrument, microphones last a very long time (especially those listed above).

Good luck with your hunt for the best microphone, and drop into the studio if you want to try any microphones!


Until next week,

Keep on rockin!