Today we are going to roundup four of our best-selling dynamic handheld microphones that you can buy for around $100. Each microphone was recorded directly into a Roland UA-1010 OCTA-CAPTURE Audio Interface with no additional microphone pre-amp in-line. Dynamic mics are self-powered and typically less-sensitive than their condenser counterparts. Now, all of these microphones are designed for live vocal performance but they can be found in studios around the world as well. They’re rugged, have low handling noise, and do a good job of rejecting unwanted sounds. For each microphone that I describe I’ll use it to record my vocals. This way you can get an idea of their tonal differences.
Our first microphone is the Sennheiser e835, a German engineered and built staple of the Sennheiser line. It has a cardioid pickup pattern that does a great job maintaining vocal uniformity even then you’re not directly on the mic. Of the four mics the 835 probably does the best job handling proximity effect, which is the increased bass response you hear as you get closer to the mic. It has a slightly boosted midrange that helps bring out vocal presence and clarity, and features a rugged metal housing that should keep it protected for years to come.
The next mic in our handheld roundup needs little introduction, it’s the Shure SM58. While it may have a fairly pedestrian frequency range of 50-15kHz, it’s widely considered the most popular mic in the world and has been used extensively for almost 50 years. And, for good reason. It has legendary reliability and features a slight mid-range lift to bring out your vocals. Engineers know what they’re getting when mixing an SM58. Lastly, it has a metal housing and pneumatic shock-mount system that reduces handling noise.
Our third microphone is the Samson Q8. The first thing you’ll notice is its solid build quality. It definitely has some weight to it. But, there are a couple of other differences that this mic brings to the table. The Q8 is the least expensive mic of this group to feature a neodymium element. Basically this means you’re going to get a hotter signal and typically a better signal to noise ratio. Secondly, the Q8 provides a super-cardioid pickup pattern. This pattern can help better isolate the vocals, but just remember, as with all super-cardioid microphones, floor monitor placement is critical since they pick up additional rear sound sources.
The last mic on our list is the Electro-Voice ND767A. Like the Samson Q8, it features a high-gain neodymium element and tight super-cardioid pickup pattern. However, there are a couple of other design elements that EV has added to this versatile mic. First, it just feels different. Their “Warm Grip” handle is made of a light-weight hard rubber which is very comfortable and does a great job of reducing handling noise from rings on fingers to fingernails. Additionally, you’ll notice the 767A has a warm low-end tone due to its unique Vocally Optimized Bass, or VOB. This technology dampens low frequency resonant peaks, improving clarity and providing a consistent sound throughout its frequency response which is the widest of this group.
Although all of these microphones are tailored for vocals don’t be afraid to try them out in other applications. Handheld dynamic microphones are rugged, durable and have been used for years to mike amplifiers and instruments as well. They can be found in every soundman’s toolkit.
Now let’s try these handhelds out recording a guitar amplifier. For each Handheld Mic Guitar Recording example we start by recording a Fender Stratocaster through a Fender Deluxe Reverb. We then ran the signal into a Studio Projects VTB1 Preamp set to it’s “all tube” setting. The VTB1 can vary its tone between Tube and Solid State settings. The result was recorded with the MOTU UltraLite mk3 Audio Interface.
If you have any questions about these dynamic handheld microphones or about any of the microphones we sell, speak to a Sam Ash Expert at 800-472-6274 between 9AM and 12 Midnight EST. They can assist you to pick the perfect microphone for your needs – always at the guaranteed lowest price.