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Best Microphone for Metal Vocals

Metal is a music genre characterized by roaring instruments and aggressive vocals. If you’re a metal vocalist, it is important that you pick the right microphone for your use case so your recordings and live performances can sound their best.
The best microphones for metal singers are the ones that can withstand high amounts of sound pressure and loud vocals without distorting. Dynamic mics are usually the best in that matter, so most models on this list are of the dynamic type. Further characteristics such as frequency response and quality of the building components are very important too.

In this article, we present you with a product roundup of 8 mics to find out the best microphone for metal vocals. We’ve ended up picking two models as our favorites and divided them into two categories: best overall and best budget. Keep reading to learn more.

Tip: Check out our related Best Microphone for Vocals article to learn about more mic models.

We Tested 8 Products and Found the Sennheiser MD 421 to be The Best Microphone for Metal Vocals

Sennheiser MD 421

The Behringer XM8500 was our Top Budget Pick

BEHRINGER ULTRAVOICE XM8500

Best Microphone for Metal Vocals in our Tests

Table of Contents

  1. Shure SM7B
  2. Sennheiser 421
  3. Shure SM57
  4. Shure SM58
  5. sE Electronics V7
  6. Audio-Technica AT2035
  7. Behringer Ultravoice XM8500
  8. Electro-Voice RE20

1. Shure SM7B

Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is a legendary microphone found in many broadcasting settings. However, it is also popular in the music production business due to its distinctive heavy sound, making it an excellent choice for metal vocals.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Pattern
  • Built-In Stand Mount
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • Distinctive heavy sound and a wide frequency response, with emphasis on the low frequencies.
  • The proximity effect is very well-pronounced in this microphone, that is, the closer you move to the microphone, the more low frequencies you will have. Good if you want to achieve in-your-face metal vocals.
  • Can withstand lots of sound pressure. This is a characteristic that is very prevalent among Shure microphones.
  • Good at ignoring ambient noise.

Cons

  • The Shure SM7B requires a lot of power so you may need a cloud lifter or an external preamp to be able to record with this microphone in optimal conditions.
  • Not a very versatile microphone since it can’t be used for live performances.

Conclusion

Due to the uniqueness of the sound of the Shure SM7B, we really do advise you to check and listen for yourself. There are a lot of videos on YouTube exemplifying the sound of this mic. And while not as affordable or versatile as other options on this list, it will work exceptionally well for recording metal vocals in the studio.

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2. Sennheiser 421

Sennheiser 421

The Sennheiser 421 was primarily designed with guitar amps and instruments in mind. Guitar amps are naturally very loud and produce an extreme amount of sound pressure, so metal singers have been favoring this microphone for ages especially when recording screaming vocals.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Microphone
  • Cardioid Pattern
  • Built-In Five Positions Bass Roll-Off Switch
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • The construction of this microphone is very rugged and durable.
  • The Sennheiser MD 421 is a very versatile microphone. You can use it for micing amps, drums, and pretty much everything.
  • This microphone can withstand extreme levels of sound pressure, which is perfect for recording metal vocals, especially of the screaming kind.
  • Built-in five positions bass roll-off switch for extra versatility. This also reduces the need for eqing in the mixing process.
  • Good at rejecting feedback and background noise.
  • Very low handling noise.

Cons

  • May not be very practical for live usage.

Conclusion

The Sennheiser MD 421 is an all-in-one solution. Being able to mic practically any instrument you want, the microphone can withstand extreme sound pressure levels and is perfect for recording screaming metal vocals. The only drawback is that it is very expensive and may not be the most practical solution for live usage.

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3. Shure SM57

Shure SM57

The Shure SM57 is the industry standard microphone for recording guitar cabinets and loud instruments, but it can be a great option for metal vocals too. The ability to withstand high levels of sound pressure paired with the ruggedness of this model makes it a very versatile option.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Pattern
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • The Shure SM57 is one of the most durable microphones there is.
  • Even though there is no built-in pop filter, you can easily buy a windscreen to record vocals with it.
  • The Shure SM57, apart from giving you clean vocals, is also great at recording guitars, snare drums and even kick drums.
  • The microphone performs great when exposed to high sound pressure levels and won’t cause any distortion in the sound, even when recording screaming vocals.
  • Great price considering the versatility of this microphone.

Cons

  • Needs an external pop filter or windscreen for recording vocals, so you avoid plosive sounds.

Conclusion

The Shure SM57 is one of the most versatile options on the list. If you’ve ever been to a live music venue, you’ve certainly seen one of these mics in front of a guitar amp cabinet. The only drawback with the model is that it doesn’t have a built-in windscreen, something that can easily be fixed by using a pop filter though.

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4. Shure SM58

Shure SM58

The Shure SM58 is the industry staple when it comes to dynamic microphones for live performance and studio recording. It is very similar to its brother Shure SM57, but with a few key differences such as the built-in ball-grille windscreen.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Pattern
  • Steel Mesh Grille
  • Built-In Windscreen
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • Unarguably, the Shure SM58 is the microphone with the most rugged construction on the market.
  • The wide range frequency response paired with the pronounced boost in the mid range makes it excellent for the human voice.
  • The main difference between the Shure SM58 and the Shure SM57 is that the former has a built-in windscreen that eliminates the need for an external pop filter, making it great for live vocals.
  • While its counterpart Shure SM57 is marketed as an instrument microphone and the Shure SM58 was designed as a vocal one, you can easily remove the windscreen and record instruments with the latter too so it’s a very versatile mic.
  • The proximity effect in the Shure SM58 is very pronounced. Depending on your style of metal vocals, this can be a great feature for achieving a heavier tone.
  • Can withstand high levels of sound pressure.

Cons

  • The on/off switch is only available in the most expensive model of the Shure SM58.

Conclusion

A rugged professional microphone that can be found in any music venue and recording studio, the Shure SM58 is also very affordable and versatile. It is perfect for metal vocals due to its ability to withstand high levels of sound pressure. Also a great choice for those recording in noisy environments since it is very good at rejecting background noise.

Related: Best Wireless Microphone for DJ

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5. sE Electronics V7

sE Electronics V7

sE Electronics is a well-known brand in the music production business favored by lots of famous artists and singers. The sE Electronics V7 stands out with its unique red details in the steel mesh grill and is built using top-notch high-quality components.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Condenser
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Pattern
  • Aluminum Voice Coil
  • Steel Mesh Grille
  • Built-In Windscreen
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • We’ve liked the fact that sE Electronics is very transparent about the components used on their products. You can easily find them on the company’s website and easily understand why this is a quality microphone.
  • The design is very sturdy and looks very durable, with particular features that contribute to the ruggedness of this microphone such as the beveled edge around the grille, which can prevent the mic from rolling over when you put it down.
  • It has a wide range frequency response, wider than most dynamic mics we’ve tested and researched about.
  • The frequency response is also considerably flat, giving a more natural sound to your vocals.

Cons

  • A little bit more expensive than the Shure SM58.

Conclusion

The sE Electronics V7 will bring you everything that you should expect from a professional microphone. A great and versatile option for metal vocals and any kind of music genre, thanks to its considerably flat frequency response. The only drawback is that it is a little bit more expensive than the Shure SM58.

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6. No products found.

No products found.

We’ve decided to include a condenser microphone on the list because, while most metal genres may benefit from the hard sound of dynamic mics, a condenser may be the best option for styles that are less aggressive. The Audio-Technica AT2035 is a great entry-level choice in that case.

Product Specifications

  • Condenser Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Pattern
  • Built-In Low Frequency Filter Switch
  • Built-In 10dB Pad
  • +48V Phantom Power Required
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • Even though it is a condenser mic, the Audio-Technica AT2035 can still withstand lots of sound pressure.
  • This microphone has a great frequency response, particularly on the low frequencies.
  • The dynamic range of this microphone is pretty high so it won’t even come close to distorting in most use cases.
  • The built-in low frequency filter switch is a great convenience. Filtering your low-end at the recording stage may reduce the need for eqing in the mixing process.
  • The built-in 10dB pad is useful if you need to attenuate the signal coming into your preamp or audio interface.

Cons

  • Condenser mics may not be suitable for more aggressive styles of metal.

Conclusion

The Audio-Technica AT2035 is a great condenser microphone that is able to pick up a lot of details and stand a considerable amount of sound pressure, but we wouldn’t recommend it for the most aggressive styles of metal music. For softer styles, though that need a clearer sound, it may work well.

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7. Behringer Ultravoice XM8500

Behringer Ultravoice XM8500

The Behringer XM8500 is one of the preferred choices when it comes to good quality affordable microphones. With a price of around $40 by the time this article was written, it is the best option of budget microphone for vocals.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Pattern
  • Steel Mesh Grille
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • Despite its low price, the Behringer XM8500 can deliver excellent audio quality.
  • The build quality is very sturdy and the design finish looks very professional.
  • Unlike most budget microphones, the Behringer XM8500 has a great frequency response with a consistent low end and the right amount of brightness.
  • Can withstand high levels of sound pressure without distortion.
  • Comes bundled with a carrying case.

Cons

  • Heavier than most dynamic microphones.

Conclusion

Behringer really exceeds all expectations with this microphone. For those recording metal vocals on a budget, there is no better option. Due to the audio quality, ruggedness, and affordability of this microphone, we’ve chosen it as the best budget microphone for metal vocals on the list.

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8. Electro-Voice RE20

Electro-Voice RE20

The Electro-Voice RE20, similarly to the Shure SM7B, has its roots in the broadcasting industry. It is, however, a solid option when it comes to recording vocals, especially with more aggressive styles of music.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Pattern
  • Built-In Pop Filter
  • Built-In Bass Roll Off Switch
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • The sound of the Electro-Voice RE20 is uniquely warm.
  • The built-in pop filter in this microphone is one of the best in its category. It can withstand most explosive sounds even if you sing very close to the mic.
  • The internal shock mount greatly reduce vibration noises.
  • Surprisingly flat frequency response.
  • While the fixed cardioid pattern is the only option with this microphone, it is extremely good at rejecting background noise and room sound.

Cons

  • Not very suitable for live performances.

Conclusion

The Electro-Voice RE20 is a microphone of its own kind. With an unpaired warmness and excellent audio quality, it is surely a great option for recording studios and metal vocals; However, it is not suitable for live performances and can be quite expensive for those on a budget.

Related: Best Microphone for Noisy Environment

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FAQs

What Type of Microphone is the Best for Metal Vocals: Dynamic or Condenser?

Both will work, however, for styles that are more aggressive such as screaming vocals, a dynamic microphone may be more suitable. Dynamic microphones are better at withstanding high levels of the sound pressure created by most styles of metal vocals.

What Equipment Do I Need for Connecting my Microphone to a Computer?

To record vocals on your computer, you’re going to need an audio interface. There are lots of types of audio interfaces, each one with its unique features. We recommend you check our Best Audio Interface guide, as well as all the related articles, for more information on the subject.

You will also need a digital audio workstation software. This type of software is the heart of any modern recording studio. There are countless options such as Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, and Studio One. Check out our Best DAW Software 2021 article to learn more.

What are the Differences Between the Shure SM57 and the Shure SM58?

Both are very similar soundwise and use the same capsule design. However, the Shure SM57 has a smaller grill and the Shure SM58 features a built-in steel mesh grille windscreen.

Do I Always Need a Pop Filter for Recording Metal Vocals?

It will depend on the mic. Pop filters are needed for most condenser microphones and for mics that don’t have a built-in windscreen, such as the Shure SM57.

Conclusion

We’ve tested 8 microphones. Each one of these mics showed to be a great option for recording metal vocals, but two of them exceeded our expectations: the Sennheiser MD 421 and the Behringer XM8500. These were our top picks for the overall best and best budget microphone for metal vocals, respectively.

Sennheiser MD 421

Sennheiser MD 421 – Overall Best Microphone for Metal Vocals

The Sennheiser MD 421 is very versatile and can withstand extreme amounts of sound pressure, perfect for metal vocals. Apart from vocals, this microphone is also very good at recording instruments, so it’s an all-in-one investment.

Behringer XM8500

Behringer XM8500 – Best Budget Microphone for Metal Vocals

The Behringer XM8500 is surprisingly good for a microphone that is so affordable. A very popular budget choice that will serve recording purposes for years to come.

How to Buy

If you’ve become interested in any of these microphones, you can find the link for each one of them in their respective titles on the list. Make sure to read our related articles about microphones too before making your decision. Feel free to contact us if we can assist you any further!