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Best Microphone for Noisy Environments

Nowadays, many artists and music producers are recording music in their home studios. And while it’s relatively accessible to get your hands on high-quality recording equipment, there’s still one factor that is difficult to control: unwanted background noise.

Sure, you can always soundproof and sound-treat your room, and there are even DIY ways of doing it, but usually, these solutions cost a lot of money and are out of the question for many budget musicians.

There is still a fix though: using the best microphone for noisy environment. These mics have some qualities that can drastically reduce unwanted background noise such as a unidirectional cardioid polar pattern.

In this article, we will do a product roundup of some of the best microphones in this category, and also give you some tips on how you can further improve your recording environment in order to solve the problem of background noise in your recordings.

Related: Best Microphone for Vocals 

We Tested 7 Products and Found the Shure SM7B to be the Best Microphone for Noisy Environments

Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone

The Shure SM58 was our Budget Pick

Shure SM58 Handheld Dynamic Vocal Microphone

Best Microphone for Noisy Environments – Reviewed in Detail

Table of Contents

  1. Shure SM58
  2. Blue Yeti
  3. Shure SM7B
  4. Audio-Technica BP40
  5. Shure BETA 87A
  6. Audio-Technica ATR2100X
  7. Shure MV7

1. Shure SM58

Shure SM58

When we think about microphones, the Shure SM58 is probably the first one that comes to our minds. The legendary dynamic mic has been around for ages in countless live venues and recording studios across the world.

Product Specifications

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

Pros

  • The Shure SM58 performs very well when recording music in environments with a lot of background noise, due to its dynamic capsule and cardioid polar pattern. That’s in fact why you can see this mic frequently being used in live performances.
  • The design is very sturdy and durable, with an all-metal body. And this is one of the things that the Shure SM58 is known best for.
  • The mid-range boost in the frequency response of this microphone really helps vocals to shine through the mix.
  • This microphone is very versatile too, as you can easily remove the windscreen and use it to record guitar amp cabinets and a lot of different instruments.

Cons

  • As when recording in a noisy environment you’re gonna need to sing very close to the microphone, the proximity effect can easily build up in the Shure SM58.

Conclusion

The Shure SM58 is the industry standard for a reason: it is very sturdy and durable and is a microphone for life. The great thing about it is that it is surprisingly affordable, being priced at around $100 by the time this article was written. This mic will perform excellently even in environments with lots of background noise.

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2. Blue Yeti

Blue Yeti

The Blue Yeti is a USB condenser microphone very famous for its value for the price. While it may not be as quiet as a dynamic mic when it comes to background noise, the Blue Yeti is surprisingly versatile with 4 pickup patterns that can be selected independently.

Product Specifications

  • Condenser Microphone
  • 3 Capsules
  • 4 Pickup Patterns
  • Volume Control Knob
  • USB Connection

Pros

  • This microphone has 3 capsules inside and 4 pickup patterns to be selected: cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and stereo. This makes it very versatile.
  • Talking about ease of use, it doesn’t get easier than with the Blue Yeti. The microphone is plug-and-play, meaning you can just plug it into your computer’s USB port and be ready to record.
  • There are built-in controls in the body of the microphone, making it easier to switch parameters whenever you like.
  • Even though this is a condenser microphone, there is no need for a pop filter as it already has a built-in one.
  • The built-in metal stand may come in handy when recording.

Cons

  • Since this is a USB microphone, you won’t be able to use equipment such as preamps with it so your choices become quite limited.

Conclusion

The Blue Yeti is a great mic for those on a budget since you won’t need any additional equipment to record with it: just plug it in and play. And while it is a condenser mic, the ability of this product to handle high levels of background noise is impressive. This is because it was designed with broadcasting in mind.

The drawback with the Blue Yeti is that your options will be quite limited when it comes to using external equipment such as preamps and audio interfaces.

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3. Shure SM7B

Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B has been the industry standard for broadcasting purposes for many years. And while it was initially designed with that purpose in mind, nowadays it has found its way into the music production business due to its unmatched warm sound.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Pattern
  • Detachable Foam Pop Filter
  • Built-In Stand Mount
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • The sound of the Shure SM7B is unique and unmatched. It is very warm and present while balanced at the same time.
  • Excellent at ignoring and eliminating background noise from your recordings, since this microphone was designed with broadcasting and noisy settings in mind.
  • The foam pop filter is detachable, meaning you can remove it to use the microphone with an external one for more tone flavor options.
  • Can withstand high levels of sound pressure, even if you sing very close to the microphone’s capsule.

Cons

  • Needs more power than most average dynamic mics. You may need an external cloud lift or preamp to get a good tone.
  • The built-in stand mount and the design makes it not so convenient for live performances.

Conclusion

The Shure SM7B is an excellent, unmatched microphone that is incredible at reducing background noise and that’s what led us to choose it as our top pick. However, it is very expensive and may not be an option for everyone. With that being said, the warm, balanced tone of the Shure SM7B is unique and very difficult to replicate.

Tip: If you’re into metal and more aggressive styles of music, you should pick up the right microphone for the task. Make sure to take a look at our Best Microphone for Metal Vocals article.

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4. Audio-Technica BP40

Audio-Technica BP40

Audio-Technica products usually have a great quality versus cost relation. And even though the Audio-Technica BP40 is on the more expensive side, you can usually find great deals that are cheaper than the Shure SM7B, which is a comparable microphone when it comes to sound and tone.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Large Diaphragm Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Polar Pattern
  • Built-In 100Hz High-Pass Filter Switch
  • Boom Arm Mount Included
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • This is a similar microphone to the Shure SM7B, designed with broadcasting purposes in mind.
  • The frequency response has a lot of emphasis on the mid-range, with a very pronounced boost at around 2kHz to 5kHz.
  • Doesn’t require a cloud lifter like the Shure SM7B.
  • We’ve found this microphone to be very resistant to background noise. Several reviews across the internet state the same.
  • Unlike many microphones of the dynamic type, it has a large diaphragm capsule. This can be a plus for vocal recording.

Cons

  • Not suitable for live usage.
  • May need a pop filter and a shock mount.

Conclusion

This is an excellent studio dynamic microphone for vocals. The large diaphragm present on the Audio-Technica BP40 was probably the feature that we’ve liked the most. Can be a great alternative to other broadcast-designed such as the Shure SM7B and the much more expensive Electro-Voice RE20.

The drawback is that this microphone is not suitable for live usage due to its design; And it may need a pop filter and a shock mount as well.

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5. Shure Beta 87A

Shure Beta 87A

The Shure BETA 87A is the microphone of choice for many famous singers. Just like its brother, the Shure SM58, it is very sturdy and durable. Its supercardioid polar pattern has the potential to greatly reduce background noise.

Product Specifications

  • Condenser Microphone
  • Supercardioid Polar Pattern
  • Requires +48V Phantom Power
  • XLR Connection

Pros

  • The supercardioid polar pattern present in this microphone can greatly reduce background noise, even though this is a condenser mic.
  • Just like the Shure SM58, it is a very durable and sturdy microphone.
  • It has a wider dynamic range and more resistance to distortion than most other microphones in the same category.
  • Extra shielded against electromagnetic hum, according to Shure.
  • Surprisingly wide frequency response. Gives out a brilliant and transparent sound.

Cons

  • Requires +48V phantom power to function properly.
  • Increased proximity effect.

Conclusion

The Shure BETA 87A is one of the most versatile condenser mics there is, due to its handheld design. And while it has a lot of sensitivity, it does surprisingly well at ignoring background noise. The drawback is that it may not be the best option for those on a budget, as you will need an audio interface with +48V phantom power to have it functioning properly.

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6. Audio-Technica ATR2100x

Audio-Technica ATR2100x

The Audio-Technica ATR2100x is an XLR/USB recording microphone of the dynamic type. As it can be used both with a USB port and with an audio interface, it is one of the most versatile options on the list. As this is a cardioid microphone, it also deals pretty well with background noises.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Polar Pattern
  • Bundled With Desk Tripod
  • XLR/USB Connection

Pros

  • This microphone can be connected both via USB cable and XLR, making it very versatile and good for those who are on a budget but plan to buy an audio interface later.
  • Comes bundled with a stable tripod stand for desk usage.
  • The noise cancellation is pretty good.

Cons

  • The frequency response has a boost that is too wide from 2kHz to 10kHz. This could be a problem in the mixing process.

Conclusion

The Audio-Technica ATR2100x is a very basic microphone. Sound quality wise, it is decent but you may have problems with the microphone self-noise if used with the USB port. If you’re on a strict budget we would recommend getting the Behringer XM8500 which usually costs half the price and buying an audio interface.

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7. Shure MV7

Shure MV7

The Shure MV7 is a broadcasting-designed microphone just like the Shure SM7B, which gives it a warm and clear audio. With a price more accessible than its bigger brother, this can be a great option if you’re after this kind of tone.

Product Specifications

  • Dynamic Microphone
  • Unidirectional Cardioid Polar Pattern
  • Built-In Arm Mount
  • USB/XLR Connection

Pros

  • This microphone can be connected both via USB cable and XLR for more versatility.
  • This noise canceling microphone has great audio quality, warm and crisp sound. Can even be compared to the more expensive option Shure SM7B.
  • Considerably flat frequency response, with only a few small bumps in the mid-range.
  • If you opt for the XLR only version, the price becomes even more affordable. We recommend getting this version if you already have an audio interface.

Cons

  • A very heavy microphone so not very practical for live usage.

Conclusion

The Shure MV7 is the perfect solution if you want the warmth of the Shure SM7B on a budget. It manages background noise very well too and has excellent audio quality. If you already have an audio interface, we recommend going with the XLR only version.

Tip: If you’re into beatboxing and need a mic that can handle all of the plosives characteristics from this style, make sure to check our Best Microphone for Beatboxing article.

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Things to Look for When Choosing a Microphone for Noisy Environments

Before we head on to our top picks, we would like to list some of the characteristics that we consider to be crucial in microphones for a noisy environment and what you should pay attention to when choosing the best one for your use case.

Dynamic or Condenser Microphone

All of the products in this list except for the Blue Yeti and the Shure Beta 87A are dynamic microphones. A dynamic mic usually has less sensitivity than a condenser mic, making them excellent for recording in a noisy environment. That’s why they are frequently used for live performances.

Most condenser mics are designed for studio use, where you have a soundproof and sound-treated recording room. As said before though, dynamic microphones can also be employed in studio recordings just fine, it will come down to a matter of convenience and preference.

Polar Pattern

Best Microphone for Noisy Environments - Polar Pattern

Cardioid polar pattern graph. Source: Nicoguaro for Wikimedia Commons.

The polar pattern of a microphone refers to where the capsule will pick up the most sound from. As you can see in the image above depicting a cardioid polar pattern, the capsule in this case will focus on only picking up sounds that are coming from the front of it.

There are numerous polar patterns: cardioid, supercardioid, omnidirectional, figure-eight, etc. But for a noisy environment and for recording vocals and most instruments in general, the cardioid and supercardioid patterns are the most favored.

Sensitivity

The sensitivity of a microphone capsule defines how hot the signal produced by the microphone will be when exposed to a certain level of sound. A dynamic microphone usually has much less sensitivity than its condenser counterpart, therefore needing more gain to reach line level.

Frequency Response

Finally, the frequency response is a factor you should pay attention to no matter what use case you’re buying a microphone for. Simply put, the frequency response is a graph that shows how your mic is going to behave on each part of the frequency spectrum.

A lot of microphones have a boost in the mid-range, for example. A flat frequency response is usually desired since it helps make your instrument or voice sound more natural. It is physically impossible, however, for a mic to have a 100% flat response, so there are always some variations.

Bonus: Tips for Reducing Noise in your Recordings

There are a few things you can do to furtherly reduce noise in your recordings, apart from using the right microphone. Here are some of them:

  • Turn off any air conditioners or fans.
  • Use a noise-gate plugin or, better yet, edit every silent part out of your audio after you’re done recording it.
  • Record relatively far from your computer so there are no noises from components such as the laptop fan.
  • Get creative and do some DIY soundproofing to your walls. We’ve written an article about this very subject that may come in handy: How to Soundproof a Wall – 15 Actionable Ways.

Conclusion

After reviewing these 7 noise canceling microphones, one of them was our favorite when it comes to being used in noisy environments: the Shure SM7B. Since this is a very expensive unit, we’ve also chosen the Shure SM58 as a budget option due to it being one of the most durable mics in the market.

Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone

Shure SM7B – Overall Best

There is no other microphone that can be matched to the Shure SM7B. This unit has unique sound quality and, as it was primarily designed for broadcasting, it will do pretty well when it comes to noise cancellation. Cheaper alternative: Shure MV7.

Shure SM58 Handheld Dynamic Vocal Microphone

Shure SM58 – Best Budget

We’ve chosen the Shure SM58 as our budget pick because this microphone is a life investment. The sound quality paired with the sturdy and durable design has led this unit to become the industry standard for ages.

How to Buy

If you’re interested in any of the microphones reviewed in this list, you can find the link for each one of them at their respective titles on the list. Keep in mind that you should always further research about the product before making a decision.We hope this article was helpful. Make sure to read our related articles about microphones and feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions and/or questions!