Top 11 Best Dynamic Microphones On The Market In 2020


Dynamic microphones are chosen in studio, broadcast and stage applications for their ruggedness; high sound pressure capability; coloured frequency response, and affordable price point among other reasons. Not all dynamic microphones are created equal, though, and this article aims to provide you with the top 11 best dynamic microphones on the market today.

The top 11 best dynamic microphones on the market are:

In this article, we’ll go through each of these microphones in detail and discuss why they are considered to be the best. Before doing so, we’ll set the stage by going over the definition of a dynamic microphone and the criteria that make up the best dynamic microphones today.

TO SKIP THE PREAMBLE AND JUMP AHEAD TO THE TOP 11 BEST DYNAMIC MICROPHONES ON THE MARKET, CLICK HERE!

Shure, Electro-Voice and Sennheiser are featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

Heil and Audix is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.


What Is A Dynamic Microphone?

A dynamic microphone (more specifically known as a moving-coil dynamic microphone) is a transducer that converts sound waves (mechanical wave energy) into audio (electrical energy) via a movable diaphragm and the process of electromagnetic induction.

The defining component of a dynamic microphone is the moving-coil cartridge transducer. Let’s talk about the cartridge in greater detail, starting with a simplified diagram to show the main working parts of the transducer:

Within the cartridge, we have a conductive coil attached to a diaphragm that moves within a peculiarly designed magnetic structure (made of magnets and pole pieces). Electrical leads are connected to either end of the coil to effectively use the voltage/signal of the cartridge.

To explain how the dynamic microphone transducer works, let’s begin with the sound waves. Sound waves cause localized variation in sound pressure level within their medium (air in the case of most microphones). Any pressure difference between the front and backside of the mic diaphragm causes the diaphragm to move.

As the diaphragm moves, so too does the attached conductive coil. It’s important to note that the dynamic does not need to be, nor should it be, electrically conductive.

As the coil moves within the permanent magnetic field (supplied by the magnetic structure), a voltage is induced across it via electromagnetic induction. Since the coil moves back and forth with the sound waves, the voltage is alternating. This AC voltage is effectively our mic signal and represents the sound pressure variation quite well.

This method of energy conversion is completely passive (it requires no power to function properly). This signal created by the dynamic cartridge is then sent to the mic’s output.

Many dynamic microphones feature an output transformer to step-up the voltage of the signal and to provide some protection from stray voltage and electromagnetic interference though an output transformer is not absolutely necessary. Transformers are also passive devices that work on the principle of electromagnetic induction, or inductive coupling, to be more specific.

For everything you need to know about dynamic microphones, check out My New Microphone’s Complete Guide To Moving-Coil Dynamic Microphones and/or What Is A Dynamic Microphone? (Detailed Definition + Examples).


What Characteristics Does A Great Dynamic Microphone Have?

Every dynamic microphone model will have its own sound and performance characteristics. That being said, there are a few factors to take into consideration when choosing the best dynamic microphone. They are:

  • Ruggedness/Durability
  • Sensitivity
  • EMI immunity
  • Versatility
  • Price

Ruggedness/Durability

Dynamic microphones are known for being tough as nails. It’s one of their main selling points. Choosing a durable dynamic mic, then, should be easy but is still worth mentioning here.

Sensitivity

The passive transducer and electronics of a moving-coil dynamic microphone cause a fairly low output. The output sensitivity specification should be noted when considering which dynamic mic to buy or use. A lower sensitivity rating ultimately means the mic will be more reliant on a strong preamp to sound great.

The other definition of sensitivity refers to the mic’s ability to pick up the small nuances in a sound. While condenser microphones typically excel at this, dynamic microphones are often preferred since they’re not so sensitive. This low sensitivity is advantageous when recording in less-than-ideal or otherwise noisy environments.

To learn more about microphone sensitivity ratings, check out my articles What Is Microphone Sensitivity? An In-Depth Description and What Is A Good Microphone Sensitivity Rating?

EMI Immunity

The electrically conductive coil in a dynamic microphone naturally acts as an antenna for external electromagnetic fields. This naturally makes dynamic mics susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Professional-grade dynamic microphones typically have static coils incorporated elsewhere in the microphone body to eliminate, or at the very least mitigate, this EMI. When an external electromagnetic field generates a voltage across the moving-coil, an oppositely phased voltage is generated across the fixed coil. These two voltages cancel each other out, eliminating EMI from the signal.

This drastically improved the signal-to-noise ratio in the mic signal and is a must-have in this list.

For more information on signal-to-noise ratios in microphones, check out my article What Is A Good Signal-To-Noise Ratio For A Microphone?

Versatility

Dynamic mics are best-known for their use as live vocal mics, drum mics and guitar cabinet mics. However, there are many dynamic microphones that excel in applications other than the commonalities listed.

A great dynamic microphone is versatile. It works well in a multitude of miking techniques on a variety of sound sources and is a go-to in the studio, broadcast, and stage environments.

Price

Dynamic microphones are relatively cheap compared to ribbon and condenser mics. The best microphone is often the same as the best microphone in your budget and so price should be a factor in choosing the best dynamic microphone.


A Few Extra Notes

A few last words before we get started.

The microphones on this list have been selected based on the following:

  • Personal experience.
  • Outreach to mentors and their opinions.
  • Forum research.
  • Price point.
  • Product descriptions, sales pages and datasheets.

Remember that this list is simply my opinion and is certainly not an end-all-be-all. I would fully expect the next person to have a different list than me and, in that spirit, I anticipate you may disagree with some of the items on this list.

That being said, I believe the following microphones are the best of the best dynamic microphones on the market and I hope you enjoy reading through this article!


The Top 11 Best Dynamic Microphones On The Market

The top 11 best dynamic microphones on the market according to My New Microphone are as follows:


Shure SM57

The Shure SM57 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video), nicknamed the studio workhorse is perhaps the most commonly used microphone in music recording studios and live stages.

Shure SM57
  • Frequency response: 40 Hz – 15,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: cardioid
  • Sensitivity: -56.0 dBV/Pa (1.6 mV/Pa)

In terms of durability, the SM57 is king. This mic (along with the SM58 which we’ll get to next) is practically indestructible. Shure even has footage of this mic getting dunked in liquid; frozen; lit on fire; dropped from a helicopter, and ran over by a tour bus. The same footage shows the microphone continuing to perform afterward with acceptable results.

The Shure SM57 is a cardioid mic so it does an excellent job at capturing its intended on-axis sound source while rejecting sound from the rear and, to a lesser extent, the sides.

This cardioid pattern makes the mic excellent at isolating sound sources when close-miking. Individual drums, guitar cabinets, and every other sound source can be captured by the 57 with ease in the studio and on the stage.

The frequency response of the SM57 features a presence rise that peaks at about +7 dB at 6 kHz. This helps with the intelligibility of sound sources but also may sound overly “honky” on certain sources.

This rise in sensitivity is followed by a pretty rapid roll-off that terminated the 57’s response at around 15 kHz. A first-order low-end roll-off is also part of the 57’s frequency response starting at about 200 Hz with -6 dB/octave.

Let’s have a look at the Shure SM57 frequency response graph:

Shure SM57 Frequency Response Graph

The high and low-end roll-offs of the SM57 help to improve the gain-before-feedback of the microphone during live sound reinforcement. Combine this frequency response with the cardioid polar pattern and we a mic capable of excellent isolation of independent instruments. No wonder the 57 is used so often on the live stage.

To further improve upon the clean sound capture of the 57, Shure has designed a pneumatic shock-mount system for the capsule to reduce handling noise and other mechanical vibrations in the mic signal.

The flat frequency response from 200 Hz to about 3 kHz yields a pretty natural midrange, which is important in the overall clarity of the sound. However, if we’re looking for a neutral or natural sound mic, the SM57 (like the vast majority of dynamic mics) is not our best bet.

Shure’s SM57 is rarely ever the absolute best-sounding microphone in any situation but it’s never a terrible choice. Its extreme durability and unmatched versatility make it an excellent tool in anyone’s mic locker (or hardware toolbox, for that matter).

Whether you’re an amateur musician, a professional audio engineer or the president of the United States (yes it has been the goto mic for presidential speeches), the Shure SM57 is an excellent mic to have (or have several of). Regardless of the sound source or recording/reinforcement environment, the 57 is a near must-have. Luckily the price point of the Shure SM57 is in a very affordable range.

The Shure SM57 comes with a 2-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • A25D Swivel Stand Adapter
  • 95A2313 Storage Bag

Shure is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

The Shure SM57 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
Top 12 Best Microphones Under $150 For Recording Vocals


Shure SM58

The Shure SM58 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is a close relative of the above-mentioned SM57. This microphone is best-known as the most popular live vocal microphone to ever be produced.

Shure SM58
  • Frequency response: 50 Hz – 15,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: cardioid
  • Sensitivity: -54.5 dBV/Pa (1.85 mV/Pa)

Much like the SM57, the SM58 is built to last. The same torture tests of the 57 mentioned above have been conducted on the SM58, notably: lighting on fire; submerging in liquid and freezing; dropping from a helicopter, and driving over with a tour bus. Though the 58 looks like it takes more damage (due to the deformation of the grille), it continued to work nearly as good as new.

So you can imaging the microphone would be tough enough to handle the rigours of the road. Getting dropped; sweat and beer-soaked, and hot-patched are, unfortunately, not so rare of occurrences in the world of live sound. The 58 can handle all of this without critical damage.

The cardioid polar pattern is one key factor of the 58’s success as a live vocal microphone. Its unidirectionality makes it intuitive to point in the proper direction while its rear null point is super effective at rejecting sound.

Why does this matter? Well, a vocalist should be able to hear himself or herself when singing and a common method of achieving this is with foldback monitors. The singer stands in front of the floor monitor and the mic signal is played through the monitor speaker.

Pointing the microphone at the vocalist and away from the monitor means the mic will effectively pick up the vocals and reject the monitor sound. This is how vocal mics are set up in order to get the most gain before feedback.

The pneumatic shock-mount system further improves gain before feedback bu mechanically isolating the capsule and reducing handling noise.

Another key trait that makes the SM58 a superb live vocal mic is its frequency response.

The SM58 has a pronounced presence boost that really accentuates speech intelligibility. This helps vocal be heard more clearly in loud environments and dense mixes. Not only will the audience be able to hear the singer more clearly but the singer will hear herself more reliably as well.

This presence boost is followed by a fairly steep high-end roll-off that terminates the mic’s response at 15 kHz. A roll-off like this does remove all of the brilliance or shine from the mic signal but it also reduces cymbal sound and other high-frequency noise for the mic signal.

The low-end roll-off is a natural first-order (6 dB/octave) reduction that begins just about 100 Hz. This helps to reduce low-end rumble and electromagnetic interference noise in the signal.

This roll-off is also beneficial due to its counteracting the proximity effect. The proximity effect is common to all pressure-gradient directional mics (like the 58) and causes a boost in low-end frequency response as the mic gets closer to its sound source.

When singing live, it’s important that the vocalist gets as close to the mic as he or she can in order to get as much signal as possible without feedback. So, naturally, there is a bass boost that comes with this technique.

Here is the frequency response graph of the Shure SM58:

Shure SM58 Frequency Response Graph

Another significant design highlight of the Shure SM58 is the spherical steel mesh grille which has multiple purposes.

The grille primarily acts as a protective shield for the cartridge and diaphragm. The steel mesh is sturdy and will cave in rather than break. A foam filter is placed just inside the grille and helps to protect the cartridge from moisture.

The mesh and foam also act as a pop filter, guarding the diaphragm against vocal plosives which often result in an overloading of the cartridge and a “pop” in the audio signal. Additionally, the grille minimizes wind and breathe noise and also helps to reduce proximity effect by physically separating the sound source from the capsule.

A pneumatic shock mount mechanically isolates the cartridge, lessening vibrational noise.

So as a live vocal mic, the Shure SM58 is an excellent performer. However, it’s also a great choice for other sources in live environments and in the studio. We could think of the 58 as a more natural-sounding 57 with an increased bottom end.

We can even remove the ball grille from the 58 to get the capsule closer to its source (and to make the mic look more like a 57) but this comes with the risk of an exposed diaphragm which can be more easily damaged.

The Shure SM58 comes with a 2-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • A25D Swivel Stand Adapter
  • 95A2313 Storage Bag

The Shure SM58 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
Top 10 Best Microphones Under $500 for Recording Vocals
Top 12 Best Microphones Under $150 For Recording Vocals
Top 20 Best Microphones For Podcasting (All Budgets)


Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is the third mic on this list from the tycoon dynamic mic manufacturer Shure.

Shure SM7B
  • Frequency response: 50 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: cardioid
  • Sensitivity: -59.0 dBV/Pa (1.12 mV/Pa)
  • EMI pickup:
    60 Hz: 11 dB (equivalent SPL/milliOersted)
    500 Hz: 24 dB (equivalent SPL/milliOersted)
    1 kHz: 33 dB (equivalent SPL/milliOersted)

This SM7B has become an industry-standard in broadcasting and is a regular choice for recording harsh vocals in rock and metal genres. In recent years, it has gained great popularity in the podcasting world (perhaps due to the notoriety of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast).

This industry-standard dynamic microphone is built with a moving-coil cartridge is similar to the Unidyne III design found in Shure’s SM57/SM58. It also has a cardioid polar pattern designed to reject off-axis audio and pickup only the intended close-miked source.

In contrast to the 57 and 58 mentioned above, the SM7B sounds very natural. Its frequency response is much flatter and more extended in the low and high-ends. That being said, the SM7B does feature the characteristic high-end roll-off of dynamic microphones (starting around 14 kHz).

The result is a smooth and warm capture that suits vocals particularly well, whether in the music studio or in broadcast situations.

Versatility has been built into the SM7B in the form of a bass roll-off filter and a presence boost switch:

The bass roll-off engages a high-pass filter at 400 Hz with about -3 dB/octave. This helps to reduce low-end rumble, mechanical/handling noise and electromagnetic hum while also mitigating the proximity effect.

The presence boost increases the presence range of the frequency response by about 3 dB from 2 kHz to 4 kHz. This helps to accentuate speech intelligibility and the presence of other sound sources in a mix.

Here is the graph of the Shure SM7B’s frequency response:

Shure SM7B Frequency Response Graph

To further the cleanliness of the mic’s sound, the cartridge of the 7B is internally shock-mounted to reduce handling noise. A humbucking coil protects the mic from EMI/EMF/RFI (electromagnetic interference) noise. The cup-shaped perforated grille and removable windscreen are designed to reduce wind and plosive noise in the mic signal.

The major con of the Shure SM7B is its notoriously low sensitivity. At only 1.12 mV/Pa, the microphone may actually have difficulty picking up a soft voice or a voice at a conversational level.

It is advised to use the Shure SM7B with a high-quality high-gain preamp, particularly when recording speech. A common accessory of the SM7B is the Cloud Microphone’s Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator (link to compare the prices on B&H Photo/Video and Amazon) that provides 25 dB of clean transparent gain.

When the proper gain stages are in place, you can bet that the SM7B will be an excellent tool in your mic locker for vocals and voice in a variety of applications. This versatile mic also sounds great on percussion and loud guitar amps but is best-known, as we’ve discussed, for its performance on the human voice.

The Shure SM7B comes with a 2-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • A7WS Detachable Windscreen
  • RPM602 Switch Cover Plate
  • Swivel (Yoke Mount) Stand Adapter

The Shure SM7B is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
Top 11 Best Microphones For Recording Vocals
Top 12 Best Microphones Under $1,000 for Recording Vocals
Top 10 Best Microphones Under $500 for Recording Vocals
Top 20 Best Microphones For Podcasting (All Budgets)


Electro-Voice RE20

The Electro-Voice RE20 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is a standard moving-coil dynamic microphone in broadcasting, podcasting, and music recording.

Electro-Voice RE20
  • Frequency response: 45 Hz – 18,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: cardioid
  • Sensitivity: 1.5 mV/Pa
  • EMI pickup: -130 dBm (typical 60 Hz/1 milliOersted field)

The RE20 is one of EV’s mics that utilizes Electro-Voice’s proprietary Variable-D (Variable-Distance) technology.

Variable-D virtually eliminates the proximity effect in the RE20. It utilizes multiple ports along the length of the microphone body that allow sound to reach the rear of the diaphragm. High frequencies enter the port closest to the diaphragm; mid frequencies enter midway along the length of the microphone case, and low frequencies enter the port farthest from the diaphragm.

This yields the microphone’s cardioid polar response and the offsetting of the frequencies acts to rid of the proximity effect.

The result is a consistent colour when close-miking, even if the sound source (often a vocalist or person speaking) moves relative to the mic.

The cardioid polar pattern of the RE20 is also quite consistent and shows very little off-axis colouration (change in frequency response), even at its rear null point of -16 dB.

Electro-Voice’s RE20 has a flat, natural-sounding frequency response. Its presumed high-end roll-off only begins around 10 kHz and gently rolls off the mic’s sensitivity until 18 kHz.

The low-end is well-represented in the RE20, which yields an excellent bass response even without proximity effect. If the low-end is too much, the RE20 has a bass roll-off switch that engages a high-pass filter at about 400 Hz with roughly -3 dB/octave.

Let’s have a look at the frequency response graph of the Electro-Voice RE20 (it shows the response from the rear in the same graph):

Electro-Voice RE20 Frequency Response Graph

Electro-Voice’s RE20 design incorporates a heavy-duty internal pop filter to reduce vocal plosives and wind noise; an internally shock-mounted cartridge to mitigate mechanical/handling noise, and a humbucking coil to eliminate electromagnetic interference in the mic signal.

With a sound that is comparable to an old-school condenser mic, the RE20 is a go-to for vocals, voice-over, broadcasting, and bass and percussion instruments in and out of the studio.

The Electro-Voice RE20 comes with a 2-year warranty and includes the following accessory:

  • 81715 stand clamp

Electro-Voice is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

The Electro-Voice RE20 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
Top 20 Best Microphones For Podcasting (All Budgets)


Sennheiser MD-441U

The Sennheiser MD-441U (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is the most expensive dynamic mic on this list but for good reason.

Sennheiser MD-441U
  • Frequency response: 30 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: supercardioid
  • Sensitivity: 1.8 mV/Pa +- 2 dB

The supercardioid Sennheiser MD-441U is marketed as a dynamic microphone with the sound of a condenser.

This “condenser character” is achievable by means of a low-mass diaphragm with an extended flat frequency response and precise transient response, and a consistent [supercardioid] polar pattern.

The 441U is arguably even better than a condenser mic, especially at high sound pressure levels, due to its distortion-free reproduction of loud sounds.

The Sennheiser MD-441U is quiet, too, with a spring-based capsule shock mount to provide excellent rejection of mechanical noise and a humbucking coil to eliminate EMI. Since the mic is passive it does require significantly more preamplifier gain than an active condenser would.

This microphone features a superb rectangular grille that acts to reduce plosives, breath noise and wind noise while also, to some extent, reducing proximity effect (by ensuring space between the capsule and the sound source).

There are 2 switches on the body of the 441U that alter its frequency response:

The first switch yields a 5-way high-pass filter and is built into the collar around the XLR connector. This switch offers intricate HPFs with “M” (music setting) being the flattest and “S” (speech setting) being the most rolled-off. Options 1, 2, and 3 are intermediate roll-offs between the M and S settings.

The second switch is the brilliance switch that engages a broad 5 to 7 dB boost from 2,200 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

Here is the frequency response graph of the Sennheiser MD-441U with the 5 high-pass filter options and the brilliance switch engaged:

Sennheiser MD-441U Frequency Response Graph

Whether we’re recording sources that are typically captured with dynamic mics or with condenser mics, the versatile MD-441U is our best friend. There’s really no off-limits application for this microphone (in studio and on stage), though it is often chosen for vocals, horns, woodwind, drum overheads, and as a room mic.

The Sennheiser MD-441U comes with a 1-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • Hard-shelled carrying case
  • MZQ 441 microphone clamp

Sennheiser is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

The Sennheiser MD-441U is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
Top 12 Best Microphones Under $1,000 for Recording Vocals


Heil PR40

The Heil PR40 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is another broadcast-standard dynamic microphone that certainly deserves a spot in this list.

Heil PR40
  • Frequency response: 28 Hz – 18,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: cardioid
  • Sensitivity: -53.9 dBV/Pa @ 1 kHz

This dynamic mic possesses a wide frequency response range and an excellent unidirectional cardioid polar pattern.

Its low-mass diaphragm reacts to sound pressure variation very accurately and the rear acoustic labyrinth “phasing plug” offers excellent rear rejection as part of the mic’s cardioid polar pattern.

This diaphragm and its coil move in a Sorbothane shock-mounted cartridge with a custom magnetic alloy of neodymium, iron, and boron. The transducer signal is relatively strong and does not require an output step-up transformer to boost the signal.

The frequency response of the PR40 is relatively flat for a dynamic mic. It has the typical low-end roll-off (starting around 100 Hz and -6 dB/octave) and high-end roll-off (beginning around 12 kHz). There is also a presence lift of about 8 dB between 5 kHz and 12 kHz.

This gives the mic a dynamic character with a knack for capturing voices due to the presence boost. Its low-end roll-off helps to mitigate the proximity effect and allows for excellent low-end when close-miking bass instruments, deep voices, and drums.

Here is the frequency response graph of the Heil PR40 with an on-axis line and an off-axis line.

Heil Sound PR40 Frequency Response

Heil’s PR40 is designed with a dual-mesh screen grille. Each screen has different diameter apertures that allow sound to reach the diaphragm while rejecting plosives and wind noise.

To further reduce unwanted noise, the PR40 has an integrated humbucking coil that diminishes EMI noise.

The Heil PR40 is a go-to in voiceover and broadcasting situations but also excels on percussion instruments (particularly the kick drum) and guitar and bass amplifiers. It is a practical choice in the studio and on the stage.

The Heil PR40 comes with a 3-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • Cast metal microphone holder
  • Padded leather bag with molded foam insert

Heil Sound is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.

The Heil PR40 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
Top 20 Best Microphones For Podcasting (All Budgets)


Sennheiser e 935

The Sennheiser e 935 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is a handheld dynamic microphone designed for on-stage use.

Sennheiser e 935
  • Frequency response: 40 Hz – 18,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: cardioid
  • Sensitivity: 2.8 mV/Pa (-51dBV/Pa)

This live vocal mic presents a smooth and natural sound compared to many other, more coloured, dynamic mics. The lightweight diaphragm of the e 935 offers an accurate transient response that is also missed with the conventional dynamic mic.

Its durable build allows for impressive longevity on the road. The consistent cardioid pattern; low sensitivity, and rolled-off frequency response makes it as resistant to feedback as it is to physical damage.

As with many top-of-the-line dynamic mics, the 935’s capsule is internally shock-mounted and its design incorporates a humbucking coil. These features improve the mic’s signal-to-noise ratio by reducing vibrational noise and electromagnetically induced noise, respectively

The e 935 frequency response is actually quite flat for a live vocal microphone. Rather than focusing intently on the presence band for speech intelligibility, Sennheiser has produced a more natural-sounding microphone that allows the true voice to be heard.

That being said, the e 935 does have the slightest broad presence boost. It also has the typical high-frequency and low-frequency roll-offs. The frequency response of the e 935 can be seen below:

Sennheiser e 935 Frequency Response Graph

Like many popular live vocal mics, the low-end roll-off helps to reduce mechanical noise while improving the gain-before-feedback of the mic. The proximity effect of the cardioid mic brings back the bass response for the voice.

The wireless version (SKM 500-935 G3) is one of the most popular live vocal mics today.

The Sennheiser e 935 comes with a 2-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • MZQ 800 microphone clamp
  • Pouch
  • User manual

Telefunken M80

The Telefunken M80 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is a dynamic microphone designed as a natural-sounding alternative to the presence-heavy industry-standard live microphone.

Telefunken M80
  • Frequency response: 50 Hz – 18,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: supercardioid
  • Sensitivity: 1.54 mV/Pa

The M80, like the aforementioned MD-441U, is a dynamic microphone with a condenser character. Its low-mass diaphragm captures sound with great clarity and its relatively extended frequency response offers a bright and open sound.

The high SPL capabilities and ruggedness of a dynamic combined with the clarity of a condenser makes the Telefunken M80 an ideal choice for on-stage applications and particularly for vocals.

The grille protects the cartridge from physical damage and plosives. This mic’s head assembly is also designed synergistically to reduce proximity effect and exhibit a consistent supercardioid polar pattern.

The big present sound of the M80 is made possible by its custom-wound output transformer that really brings out the strength of the low-end and the detail of the high-end.

Although the M80 is made as an alternative to the mid-range/presence-heavy live vocal dynamic mics (like the aforementioned Shure SM58), it also portrays a strong presence boost in its frequency response. The graph of the frequency response is shown below:

Telefunken M80 Frequency Response Graph

All-in-all though, this microphone is very accurate and neutral. It brings out the intelligibility of vocals and can be used with great results in the studio and on the stage. Though it is intended for live vocal use, it also excels when close-miking snare drums or guitar cabinets.

The Telefunken M80 comes with a 1-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • Leather zipper bag
  • M780 mic clip

Audix i5

The Audix i5 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is another excellent jack-of-all-trades dynamic microphone and is sometimes compared to the legendary Shure SM57 (mentioned above as number 1 in this list).

Audix i5
  • Frequency response: 50 Hz – 16,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: cardioid
  • Sensitivity: 1.6 mV/Pa

The Audix i5 is a cardioid dynamic mic with excellent isolation and gain-before-feedback for use on the live stage.

Marketed as an all-purpose mic, the i5 utilizes Audix’s proprietary very-low-mass (VLM) diaphragm for natural transient response and accurate sound reproduction.

With a max SPL rating above 140 dB, this microphone will easily handle most practical sound sources without distorting.

The Audix i5 is actually quite coloured. It has both a low-midrange boost (+5 dB centred at 150 Hz) and a presence boost (+9 dB centred at 5500 Hz) that really add character to a captured sound source that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

Let’s have a look at the i5’s frequency response graph below:

Audix i5 Frequency Response Graph

The sound of the i5 is beefy and open at the same time without sounding too muddy or aggressive. Of course, the sound is obviously coloured but on certain sound sources this can work out well. These sources are listed by Audix to include:

  • Snare drums
  • Toms
  • Guitar cabinets
  • Bass cabinets
  • Brass
  • Flute
  • Woodwinds
  • Acoustic instruments
  • Vocals
  • Speech

The durable build makes the i5 a safe bet in the studio, on stage and in broadcast environments.

The Audix i5 comes with a 5-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • P1 carrying pouch
  • MC1 unbreakable nylon mic clip

Audix is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.


Beyerdynamic M 201 TG

The Beyerdynamic M 201 TG (link to check the price on Amazon) is a moving-coil dynamic microphone disguised as a small-diaphragm pencil condenser mic.

Beyerdynamic M 201 TG
  • Frequency response: 40 Hz – 18,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: hypercardioid
  • Sensitivity: 1.2 mV/Pa (-58 dBV/Pa)
  • EMI pickup: >18 dB at 50 Hz

The Beyerdynamic M 201 TG looks like a pencil microphone and, in many ways, acts like a small-diaphragm condenser microphone.

First, its small moving-coil cartridge yields a very consistent hypercardioid polar pattern. It’s not that SDCs have strong hypercardioid patterns but they do have consistency in their polar responses throughout their frequency response range. The M 201 also has a consistent pattern.

The frequency response of the M 201 TG is quite extended and rather flat, especially considering it is a dynamic mic. Flat extended frequency responses are common among SDCs.

Let’s have a look at the M 201 TG frequency response graph:

Beyerdynamic M 201 TG Frequency Response Graph

As we can see, the response is very accurate and even has a slight increase in sensitivity in the upper-frequency range. This is practically unheard of with dynamic microphones.

The 3 variations in the low-end of the response graph refer to the proximity effect at 3 different distances (1 meter, 10 cm and 2 cm). This is useful information to know when choosing to close-mic a source with the M 201.

The low-mass diaphragm of this mic is made of a polyester film known as Hostaphan, which is similar to the typical Mylar used to make most dynamic diaphragms.

The rugged design of the M 201 TG includes a humbucking coil to reduce electrical interference.

These design features and specifications make the Beyerdynamic M 201 TG a surprisingly accurate dynamic mic. This microphone is marketed as an all-purpose instrument microphone and that is exactly how it works best, whether in the studio or on the stage.

The Beyerdynamic M 201 TG comes with a 2-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • Carrying pouch
  • Mic clip
  • Windscreen

Sennheiser MD-421 II

The Sennheiser MD-421 II (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) gets the final spot in this list.

Sennheiser MD-421 II
  • Frequency response: 30 Hz – 17,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: cardioid
  • Sensitivity: 2 mV/Pa +- 3 dB

Sennheiser’s MD-421 II is a reproduction of its classic MD-421 from the 1960s. The MK II is designed to sound the same but to cost less to manufacture.

Improvements have been made in the chassis, bass roll-off switch, and housing. The newer version is built with more satisfying durability and better weight distribution.

In terms of sound, the new MD-421 has an increased presence compared to the original that some people like and others do not.

To further describe the sound of the 421 II: it’s clean, punchy and accurate.

The cardioid polar pattern yield excellent sound isolation in noisy environments and stages where feedback is an issue. Though the mic looks as if it’s a side-address, the on-axis response actually points out of the top of the mic (through the solid band).

Like the MD-441U, Sennheiser’s MD-421 II has a 5-position bass roll-off switch with intricate filter designs. The flattest position is the “M” (music mode) setting while the greatest cut happens in the “S” (speech mode) setting. There are 3 intermediary positions.

Let’s have a look at the MD-421 II’s frequency response graph with the filters noted:

Sennheiser MD-421 II Frequency Response Graph

The odd shape of the MD-421 II has prompted Sennheiser to create a custom mic clip. Though this clip does allow for great flexibility in terms of positioning, its quick-release trigger is somewhat faulty and will sometimes drop the mic (in the worst way possible) during set up or, even worse, during a performance.

With that disclaimer out of the way, the MD-421 II is actually a great versatile microphone.

It sounds awesome on toms, snare drums, guitar cabinets and vocals and is an excellent choice for many other instruments in the studio and on the stage as well.

The Sennheiser MD-421 II comes with a 1-year warranty and includes the following accessories:

  • Carrying case
  • Microphone clamp for 3/8″ thread

The Sennheiser MD-421 II is also featured in My New Microphone’s 50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones).


This article has been approved in accordance with the My New Microphone Editorial Policy.


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