April 2021

Microphone Rankings Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Microphone rankings posted by key online experts, as of April 2021.

Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Microphones.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Microphones, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for April 2021 ranking

We ranked Blue Yeti #1 in April 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Blue Yeti as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best microphone overall

Pros
Versatile
Reasonably priced
Great sound quality

Cons
Not as precise as specialized mics
So-so mount

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MusicTech

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IGN

Best Plug-and-Play Mic for Streaming and Podcasting

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Pitchfork

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Just Creative

The best and easiest microphone for any user

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We ranked Shure SM58 #2 in April 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best music microphone

Pros
Optimized for music
Not very expensive
Durable build

Cons
No easy USB connection
Not ideal for desktop setup

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IGN

Best Handheld Microphone for Streaming and Podcasting

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Pitchfork

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Just Creative

The best handheld microphone

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CBR

Pros
Proximity effect is reduced with brightened mid range and bass roll-off
Brilliant-quality sound with crystal clear vocals
Minimal plosives due to in-built wind and pop filter
Convenient stand adapter and zipper pouch

Cons
On/Off button does not exist

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We ranked Shure SM7B #3 in April 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
MusicTech

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IGN

Best Professional Level Microphone

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Pitchfork

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Just Creative

The best high-end microphone

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PianoDreamers

Best known as MJ's Vocal Mic

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We ranked Shure MV7 #4 in April 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Shure MV7 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
PC Gamer

The best hybrid USB/XLR microphone

Pros
Excellent Vocals
USB/XLR combo
Versatile
Easy Use software

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Music Radar

The best microphone for content creation

Pros
Dual output adds versatility
MOTIV app is genuinely useful

Cons
USB-C connection would have been preferable

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MusicTech

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Just Creative

The best USB microphone for podcasting

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We ranked Blue Yeti Nano #5 in April 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

A great compact Blue Yeti microphone

Pros
Great sound
Study build
Cheaper than the Blue Yeti

Cons
No stereo mode
Basic controls

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PC Gamer

The best microphone for entry level podcasters

Pros
Very small and light
Easy to use
Great sound-quality

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IGN

Best Portable Mic for Streaming and Podcasting

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Just Creative

The best portable microphone

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We ranked Sennheiser MD 421 II #6 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Sennheiser MD 421 II as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Pitchfork

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CBR

Editors' Choice

Pros
Robust microphone for professional use
Dust and humidity resistant
Consistent signal at reasonable distances due to dynamic capsule
Minimal off-axis noise and ambiance

Cons
Costly

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Music Grotto

Pros
Crisp recording with or without background instrumentals
Excellent for loud vocals
160 max SPL
Effective feedback rejection

Cons
May not work well for very subtle vocals
Mic clip is somewhat weak
Some high notes sound sharp

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We ranked Shure SM57 #7 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Shure SM57 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Pitchfork

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PianoDreamers

The King of Versatility

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We ranked Audio-Technica AT2035 #8 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
MusicTech

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Just Creative

The best high-quality microphone kit

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Music Grotto

Pros
Max SPL of 158 dB
Includes 10 dB pad
Custom shock mount for isolation
Clean recordings for home studio performances

Cons
Very sensitive to sound
Does not include a storage case or instructions

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We ranked Elgato Wave 3 #9 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best microphone for streaming

Pros
Good for streaming
Intuitive setup
Simple design

Cons
No standout features
Can pick up background noise

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PC Gamer

Best microphone for streamers

Pros
Clear audio
Digital mixer
Simple mounting

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IGN

Best Customizable Microphone for Streaming and Podcasting

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We ranked HyperX QuadCast S #10 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

A gaming microphone with customizable lighting

Pros
High sound quality
Customizable lighting
Built-in shock mount and pop filter

Cons
Standard QuadCast is cheaper

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PC Gamer

The best microphone with RGB

Pros
Easy to set use
Touch-sensitive mute button
Built-in Shockmount
Cool RGB lighting

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IGN

Best Broadcast Mic for Streaming and Podcasting

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We ranked Neumann U87 Ai #11 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
MusicTech

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Pitchfork

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PianoDreamers

The King of Microphones

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We ranked Samson G-Track Pro #12 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Samson G-Track Pro as #1.
Critic endorsements:
IGN

Best Microphone for Streaming and Podcasting

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Just Creative

The best microphone for podcasting

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We ranked Rode Procaster Dynamic #13 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
IGN

The Cheaper Professional Option

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Just Creative

The best microphone that’s built to work

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PianoDreamers

More than just a podcasting mic

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We ranked Warm Audio WA-47 #14 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Warm Audio WA-47 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
CBR

Premium Pick

Pros
Specially crafted for vocals and instruments
Most coveted all vacuum tube large condenser microphone
7 pin cable modifies the sonics completely
Excellent reflection filter improves the quality of voice recordings

Cons
Holding it at 2 and 3 o’clock positions return noticeable proximity effect

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Music Grotto

Pros
Studio-quality construction and design
140 dB max SPL
Low-noise tube for optimal smoothness
Almost mimics the classic ‘47

Cons
Could be pricey for a home recording mic
No hard case included for storage

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We ranked JLab Talk #15 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best microphone for $100 or less

Pros
Excellent value
High sound quality
Four directional patterns
Easy to set up and use

Cons
Can pick up background noise
Bidirectional mode can be ignored

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IGN

Best Budget Microphone

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We ranked Rode NT1 #16 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

The best affordable condenser mic

Pros
Low noise
Sound quality
Integrated shock mount

Cons
Not a lot

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CBR

Pros
Negligible low self noise of only 4.5 dB
Prevents all irritations for engaging and engrossing recording sessions
Body of 6061 aluminum and nickel plating prevents corrosion
Telescopic arm and pop shield with two axes of adjustment supports versatile applications

Cons
Need to soundproof your recording space

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We ranked Sontronics Podcast Pro #17 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
MusicTech

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Just Creative

The best-looking podcast microphone

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We ranked Blue Microphones Snowball #18 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
IGN

Best Ultra Cheap Microphone for Streaming and Podcasting

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Just Creative

The best small microphone for podcasters

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We ranked Fifine K669 #19 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Just Creative

The best budget-friendly USB microphone

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CBR

Best value

Pros
Voice input is adjustable
Enhances and uplifts the sound quality of your audio projects
Comes with tripod desk stand for secure and easily portable tabletop use
Durable and rugged metallic body

Cons
The microphone stand is not completely stable

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We ranked Aston Origin #20 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

An excellent low-priced condenser mic

Pros
Fantastic price
Boutique appearance

Cons
Very few

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Music Grotto

Pros
Versatile for most voices
127 dB max SPL
Custom, mountable end caps
Built-in shock isolation adds a layer of durability

Cons
No shock mount included
Low-cut filter doesn’t lend to dynamic vocals

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We ranked AKG C636 #21 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

A great handheld condenser and the best microphone for master reference

Pros
Clear, well balanced response
Superb feedback rejection
Excellent off-axis attenuation

Cons
You have to pay for quality

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CBR

Pros
Prevents all common issues of a stage microphone
Extremely tough body made from zinc alloy and a spring steel grille
Unfiltered and refined studio fidelity sound
Custom tuned and capable of processing 150dB SPL

Cons
A bit expensive

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We ranked Rode NT1A #22 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
MusicTech

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Pitchfork

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We ranked Electro-Voice RE20 #23 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
MusicTech

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Pitchfork

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We ranked Audio-Technica 2020 #24 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
IGN

Best XLR Mic for Streaming and Podcasting

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CBR

Pros
Excellent vocal microphone that generates all the minute modifications present in the singers voice
Threaded stand mount rotates smoothly and connects securely
Brilliant starter microphone for studios
Offers incomparably versatile microphone for varied uses

Cons
Excludes the pop filter which is better than the wire mesh

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We ranked Maono AU-A04 #25 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Microphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Just Creative

The best microphone kit for beginners

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CBR

Pros
Can be easily fixed on your collar or tie with a sturdy metal clip
Convenient to use with a mobile by plugging its thin pin into your mobile’s 3.5 mm headset jack
78-inch long cord for flexibility to record your podcast away from the sounds of the PC
Captures sound evenly from all around the microphone

Cons
Not very rugged

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