5 Microphones that Famous Singers Use (Old and New)

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Ever since 1860 when the first sound was recorded, musicians alike have been on a ceaseless endeavor to find new and improved ways to further recording technology. From analog to digital studios, microphones have been an ever-present part of recording setups.

Their importance should not go understated – microphones are arguably the most essential component in translating what you say into a reproducible format – generating the vocals in the records and podcasts you hold near and dear.

That being said, some microphones are more popular than others, today we will be focusing on the microphones that famous singers use both in the past and present-day.

Microphones that Famous Singers Use

There are many qualities that make a microphone more or less popular with singers. In the studio, microphones that capture the nuances of the voice in a pleasing way are favored over the sturdier mics sought after when singers hit the road on performances around the world.

Context is everything – and today we will be showing you 5 of the most popular microphones that famous singers use, and what unique features they have that help these microphones stand out from the crowd.

Neumann U47

Mic type: Condenser

Frequency range: 40 Hz – 16 kHz

Sensitivity: 8mV/Pa

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  It’s only fair we start this list with one of the most popular microphones of all time. The Neumann U47 was the first solid-state microphone to garner wide use among famous musicians. Utilizing a field-effect transistor, the U47’s innovative sound was used by legends such as Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and Jim Morrison.

Straight out of the ’60s and the ’70s, this microphone allowed for the processing of high sound pressure levels, an innovation that allowed for novel sound experiments that defined records of the era. Its frequency response gives vocals an unmistakable full-bodied sound. While this model is still in production even today, its legendary status means the UR47 will run you a pretty penny, to say the least.

If you fancy owning this icon of a mic, click here to see the latest price on Amazon.

Shure SM7B

Mic type: Dynamic

Frequency range: 50 Hz – 20 kHz

Sensitivity: -59dBV/Pa

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  No list would be complete without the Shure SM7B. This legendary microphone still sees massive popularity among podcasters and singers alike. In the record industry, notable users include Michael Jackson – who used the SM7B to record the vocals on his acclaimed Thriller! album, Sheryl Crow, and a recent convert is none other than Bob Dylan.

One advantage of singing into an SM7B that may not be appreciated upon initial inspection is its roll off and boost controls. Especially when recording in an untreated or noisy room, the options for attenuation and boost at select frequency helps in sculpting the perfect tone for your voice.

The SM7B can be bought here at Amazon.

Shure Beta 58A

Mic type: Dynamic

Frequency range: 50 Hz – 16 kHz

Sensitivity: -51.5dBV/Pa

Polar Pattern: Supercardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  While the SM58 is widely known as one of the best microphones for singers on the road, the Shure Beta 58A proves that there is always room for improvement – even on an already legendary product. By combining sophisticated microphone technology with the tried and tested 58 body, the Beta 58A takes the Shure 58 series to new heights.

Favored by singers such as Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, and Elton John, the Shure Beta 58A has firmly established itself as a mainstay in even the highest-end touring rigs around the world. If you are looking for a microphone that is extremely rugged, without sacrificing audio quality, then you can’t go wrong with this mic.

Click here to get more info and see the latest price at Amazon.

Audio-Technica AT2020

Mic type: Condenser

Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 kHz

Sensitivity: -37dB

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  Moving on to a microphone that is making waves in the contemporary recording industry, you can find the Audio-Technica AT2020 on Much of the vocals on Billie Eilish’s first EP and debut album – which are now both multi-platinum records. Along with Billie, her brother FINNEAS is an avid user of the AT2020, along with Canadian multi-instrumentalist Mac Demarco.

This condenser microphone stands out from the crowd thanks in part to its incredible sensitivity. Sitting at -37dB of sensitivity, this mic has is incredibly receptive to vocals both loud and quiet, picking up the minute detail of any style of vocals thrown its way.

To see the latest price and more info at Amazon, click here.

Neumann U87 AI

Mic type: Condenser

Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 kHz

Sensitivity: 28mV/Pa

Polar Pattern: Omni/Cardioid/Figure-8

Connectivity: XLR

Description:  For our final pick we have come full circle back to Neumann. While the U47 may have been an innovation that rocked the recording industry – much like how the Beta 58A serves to amplify what is great about the SM58 – the U87 springboards off of Neumann’s first commercial success, producing a microphone that serves as an upgrade of the original in just about every way.

From Alex Turner to Travis Scott, to Patti Smith, the U87 offers a wider frequency response, higher sensitivity, and more polar patterns than its U47 counterpart. From the mid-’60s to the present day, this microphone can be found in the recording studios of the world’s most iconic vocalists, demonstrating how a great quality product can truly stand the test of time.

Click here to get more information and see the latest price on Amazon.

In Conclusion

From mics that reach back as far as the infancy of recording practice, to those that are sure to stay in one piece as you travel the country, this list has been 5 of the microphones that the most famous singers love to use.

While these are some of the big names in the microphone market, that isn’t to say you can’t achieve high-quality recordings with other microphones. If you are looking to begin your career as a vocalist and are looking for a cheap beginner microphone, check out our list of ‘The Best XLR Microphones Under $100’.