Best Dynamic Microphone: Which One to Pick?
Looking for the best dynamic microphone? So I am going to assume that you have read my article about condenser and dynamic mics, their pros and cons, and have decided that the dynamic microphone would be the best fit for you.
Listen, shopping for microphones is never easy. The first thing you see when looking one up on the Internet is a bunch of technical specs such as the dynamic range, impedance, frequency response, and signal-to-noise ratio.
If I was to just see these terms, I would already feel quite overwhelmed. However, it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks.
You don’t even need to know the terms! Who cares about the impedance, for example? Well, I am sure a lot of audio engineers actually do.
Knowing it all, in the beginning, is completely unnecessary though. Moreover, most budget microphones have very similar specs anyways, so why bother. Only if you look at $1000+ microphones and compare them to $100 ones, you will be able to see a significant difference.
We are not spending $100s of dollars on a mic for out budget studio, are we? Good!
How different dynamic microphones from condenser ones?
Dynamic microphones tend to be less sensitive. This is just the general rule of thumb, but it applies to a lot of budget dynamic mics. Most of them actually.
Therefore, the dynamic mic should be the obvious choice for loud drums like snares, “screaming vocals”, and guitars. Obviously, you can use it for a lot more stuff than just the 3 examples above.
Another difference is the frequency response. If you’ve read my list of the best affordable condenser microphones, you might’ve noticed that most of them have the frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
With dynamic mics, it’s usually not as wide. It usually starts from 40-50 Hz and goes up to 15 kHz. While the difference on the lower end is not as noticeable, quite a big chunk of higher frequencies is being rolled off when using dynamic mics.
As I’ve mentioned before, it depends on what you need/want. With most vocals, this range will be fine. And if the higher frequencies are a “must have” for you, then look into condenser microphones.
Almost forgot, generally dynamic mics don’t need a power supply and are good to plug-and-play. If it has an XLR input, you will still need an interface, as adapters don’t always work properly and can screw your pricey microphone up.
If it’s a USB mic, you will be good to just plug it into your PC.
The last feature of a dynamic microphone is their durability and reliability. Since there are few parts to break and no electronics to fail, they tend to be able to withstand a lot more wear and “abuse”.
That’s one of the reasons you see dynamic microphones a lot in bars and on stages because those are not “soft and safe” studio environments.
Hope you liked the little summary about the dynamic mics. Now let’s get to the list.
Best Dynamic Microphone: Which One to Pick?
1) Shure SM57-LC
I have only two Shure microphones on the list, but these guys honestly dominate the budget dynamic mics’ world. If you’ve ever done a research before, you must’ve heard of Shure.
Dominating the market since 1965, they haven’t changed a lot of things and the design is definitely considered an industry standard.
Fun fact, Shure SM57 was a microphone of choice for the White House, which was used for voice projection since the 1970s. So that’s something am I right?
This particular microphone has a pretty average frequency response of 40 Hz to 15 kHz for a dynamic mic.
The pattern it uses to pick up frequencies is uniform cardioid. It’s kind of a heart-shaped pattern that reduces the noises coming from the sides and the rear. Therefore, you vocals/instruments sound a lot cleaner.
The better the mic, the fewer frequencies you will have to cut. However, it comes to a lot of external factors too, such as room soundproofing.
Nothing to worry about in the beginning! As Shure notes themselves, these mics are standard, with no tuning, so you can make it sound the way you want. You will also learn how to tune a microphone one way or another.
This can usually be done through your DAW (digital audio workstation) by adding plugins such as EQ and compression.
As I mentioned before, dynamic microphones tend to be very robust, compared to their condenser brothers.
This very much applies to Shure SM57. For some, it can last even decades. When touring, it’s still one of the top choices for artists!
*More About Shure SM57-LC
2) Shure SM58-CN
As opposed to SM57, this one is actually labeled “vocal”. However, it’s obvious we can just add “vocal” to anything these days. Why is Shure SM58 different?
Well, it’s actually been EQ’d to brighten the midrange and roll the bass off. The vocal range is around 300 to 3000 Hz (plus minus a few hundred on the high end).
This dynamic microphone was designed to boost this frequency range to make the vocals sound better, “fuller”, and more complete.
That’s the main difference between the two. As I mentioned earlier, Shure SM57 has very little EQ, so you have to boost/remove frequencies manually using your DAW (digital audio workstation).
Using SM58 when EQing means a lot less post processing!
Think about it this way. With SM57 you can EQ any sound the way you want. If you use SM58 to record drums, let’s say, the boost in the midrange and the bass roll-off is not something we want.
Sorry, I took so long explaining how these two are different from each other. Let’s go to the specs.
Just like with most dynamic mics, the frequency response starts from 50 Hz and doesn’t go above 15 kHz. May seem a little low as condenser microphones usually go to at least 20 kHz.
Well, SM58 has its own perks. For example, the built-in pop and wind filters. These are the must-haves when performing live! Or even at a karaoke bar!
Also very durable and robust. Just imagine using your expensive condenser when it’s rainy and windy outside! It will start malfunctioning very soon, trust me.
Shure, however, will very likely last you years!
SM58 also doesn’t need a power supply to operate, so it’s a lot easier to use it for any outside-of-studio events.
*More About Shure SM58-CN.
3) Sennheiser E835
We all love Shure but it would’ve been unfair to the dynamic microphones made by other brands.
Look at Sennheiser E835 for example. This professional, powerful, highly dynamic, and easy-to-use dynamic mic is a wonderful choice for a home studio.
With a better frequency response than the previous two (40 to 16 kHz), it offers you a little more flexibility when recording.
I have a friend of mine who leads worship at a local church and has used SM58 for many years until he tried Sennheiser E835. He said that the SM58 was good, but E835 brightened the voice a little more.
I have to note that it’s a lot due to personal preferences. That’s why I always say that there is no such thing as a “perfect microphone”.
If you are a beginner with untrained ears, I may give you a $50 and $1000 mic and you won’t be able to tell the difference. Maybe you will be able to tell they sound a little different, but not which one is more expensive.
All you need when just starting out is a reliable mic that won’t break after a week (I am talking about $20 mics on Amazon).
And Sennheiser E835 offers you everything you may want in the beginning!
*More About Sennheiser E835.
4) Audio-Technica ATR2100
I don’t see a lot of dynamic mics made by Audio-Technica out there. However, this dynamic USB/XLR microphone is a nice bang for the buck.
With a smooth, extended frequency response it will sound amazing both in the studio and live. Even though mostly used for podcasting, I can see it doing well at recording vocals as well.
Nice little thing about it is a headphone jack input to directly monitor the performance while recording, which the dynamic microphones listed above don’t have.
It’s not as rugged and robust and intended more for studio use. It can be a great alternative to the most popular YouTube/Podcasts microphones Yeti and Snowball Blue.
With ATR2100’s plug-and-play function and cardioid pickup pattern, it’s a very good alternative to the “hyped up” Blue microphones.
I remember going to Best Buy and asking for microphones, and all they had was a Yeti Blue. And the lady almost made me buy it. If I didn’t make my research prior to that, I would’ve definitely joined the Blue army.
And I don’t hate on them, I just think they are a little overpriced.
Anyways, Audio-Technica ATR2100 is one of the best bangs for the buck you can find. However, if you need something to tour or perform live with, I wouldn’t suggest picking this bad boy up.
It is rugged and supposed to be a hard one to break, but was designed rather for amateur podcast creators and lets players than artists.
Judge for yourselves though, my word is not written in stone!
*More About Audio-Technica ATR2100.
5) Samson Q2U
I decided to give my boy Samson Q2U a place on this list as well. There were other mics I was considering, but I tried to keep the budget price point without compromising the quality too much.
And this dynamic microphone was just the right fit.
Coming with both XLR and USB outputs, it’s a decent dynamic mic for music production and podcasting. The built-in headphone jack input lets you monitor the recording with no latency.
I honestly wouldn’t say it’s something special. Pretty average sampling rate and frequency response, very simple set up, nothing to tweak.
It’s not EQ’d in any way, so you will have to do this manually.
Samson Q2U is more of a to-go dynamic microphone. With two outputs, you can connect it via USB to your laptop anywhere. And if you perform, you can just use the XLR cable instead.
If you have an adapter, you can even connect it to your iPhone or iPad, which is not very common.
I have to mention that the mic also comes in a bundle. You will get a desktop stand, mic clip, and both USB and XLR cables.
If you are doing podcasting or making a video for YouTube, you are pretty much set.
Using it for music production can be a little harder, mainly because you’ll have to purchase a few microphone accessories also. Not a big deal!
No matter what you are going to use it for, Samson Q2U will do a great job! Moreover, it’s going to last you a while too.
It’s not the most robust mic, but it can surely take a lot more than a condenser microphone.
*More About Samson Q2U.
Conclusion: Which One to Pick?
Okay, so we looked at 5 dynamic microphones. They all have their pros and their cons. Some are more expensive than the other.
Overall, all are high quality, reliable and will make you glad you purchased them (that’s why they are on the list).
I would suggest buying a $25 microphone because technically it’s a bigger bang for the buck, but there is a very high chance they will break in a short period of time.
You wouldn’t want to waste your money, even if it’s $25, right?
My first microphone was an Earamble, that I purchased for $15. It came with a shock mount, power cable, foam cap, manual, and warranty. Oh and a free shipping! How good do you think the quality is going to be?
I don’t have a degree in Business, but no matter how big demand it, you can only lower the prices so much before starting to compromise the quality! Something to think about.
That’s why none of them are on the list, it’s that simple! Hopefully, you enjoyed this article and found this helpful, see you soon!