The best dynamic microphone is a standpoint of a musician’s arsenal. Of course, microphones come in all different shapes and sizes. As we continue writing our microphone guide for each mic out there, we’re presented here with one of our favorite makes of types on the planet: dynamic. Although it really depends on your intended use (and a few other factors we list below), there are some pretty affordable dynamic mics out there that are super powerful in terms of quality and overall build. Let’s check out the top 10 best dynamic microphones available today.
What is a dynamic microphone?
A dynamic microphone is a type of mic that uses an electromagnet. The coil and magnet built into the microphone vibrate to create the audio signal. Because of this, they’re suited well for handling high sound pressure levels (as compared to other popular mic designs, such as condenser or USB, although with condensers, it depends on the amp). You don’t need phantom power, or an external power source for dynamic microphones.
So what exactly are dynamic mics used for? A variety of applications, actually. In fact, they’re one of the best as compared to the other many types of microphones when it comes to versatility and overall use with just about any activity of recording or performing on stage. They’re most typically used in live performance settings for vocals, but also any other instrument that needs projection, such as drums, guitar, guitar cabs, and more. Although we personally recommend using a condenser microphone for recording vocals and other instruments in the studio, dynamic mics are still used at times for this. It all depends on the person’s preference. However, we’ve come to learn that dynamic microphones are by far the best types of mics for performances\live applications. We can’t tell you how many artists\performers we’ve met who have more than one Shure SM57 or 58 in their toolbox just to have on deck. It’s a staple for many in the recording and performing realm.
Dynamic vs. condenser microphones
This can get to be a relatively long explanation, but to put it simply, the differences really come down to the microphone specifications. Dynamic microphones do not need phantom power, are typically cheaper, handle a higher sound pressure level (SPL) (depending on the preamp for the condenser mic, however), and are more suited for recording instruments other than your voice (in terms of performing, these are preferred for vocals). Some are also a bit lighter and can be held more conveniently which are ideal for vocalists on stage or even those partaking in lectures, speeches, sermons, etc., not to mention are less risky taking on the road since they’re typically lower in price and a bit more rugged in build in (in case you drop it).
You may like this article on dynamic vs. condenser microphones we’ve recently written if you want some more info. You can also read our best condenser microphones article for some help in that category if you decide on its contrary.
How to choose your dynamic microphone
- Your budget – Fortunately for you and I, the range for dynamic microphones is very large, and there are many relatively affordable models if you’re in need of a budget-friendly solution. There are indeed professional quality dynamic microphones ranging from $100-$1000. However, there’s a huge difference between a $20 or a $150 dynamic mic, as compared to hitting near a grand, so we recommend saving up as much cash as you can or really deciding what is worth the investment. Also, are you buying in bulk? I know some people who have wanted to buy more than one (for numerous reasons, such as more than one speaker, vocalist or multi-instruments), so keep that in mind when you’re planning your budget of course.
- Your intended use – Are you performing? Recording? Performing or recording something in particular? All of the above? Most dynamic mics are so versatile you can record or perform anything with them. There are a few exceptions, such as kick drum mics or even recording drums in general, but besides that, you’re good to go.
- Connectivity – A pretty big majority of dynamic mics come as XLR, but some are starting to come in as popular USB microphones as that connectivity becomes more prominent in the market.
- Additional accessories? Wind screens, pop filters, cables, mic stands, travel pouches, etc. — there are many out there. Which are you needing? Some come with accessories included, others don’t.
The top 10 best dynamic microphones
The following is our list of the best dynamic microphones in the market today. Be sure to keep our above checklist in mind when sifting through the models, and remember, let us know if you have any questions or comments down below.
If we didn’t have this at least within our top 3 of the best dynamic microphones, we wouldn’t be able to continue writing this article as we’d have lost all of our credibility. Also, those who are deep within the microphone game would have some words with us as well! If you aren’t aware, Shure microphones are some of the best ever. This particular model was the first microphone I had ever bought. In terms of price points, it’s within the middle at typically a hundred bucks (depends on the site, check for yourself for exact price). You have a very nice build (I’ve dropped mine numerous times and it continued to live — although we don’t recommend doing that on purpose), a nice built-in shock mount system, and the grille is steel mesh. The frequency response is solid at 50 to 15 kHz, and the mid-range is ‘brightened’ (what also makes it famous) so it is specifically tailored for vocals but we feel the frequencies are pretty accurate. The Shure SM58 is one of the most famous dynamic microphones in the world.
We know this is a top 10 list for a reason, but whenever we’re asked which dynamic microphone to buy for vocals, we say the Shure SM58 with no questions asked. If you are looking to use your dynamic mic for other purposes such as acoustic guitars, guitar cabs or drums, scroll down a few for their other famous SM model, the SM57.
Here’s another name you may be familiar with. Sennheiser is typically well-known for their headphones, but this model has proven itself to be one of the heavy hitters in the market. The E835 comes with a solid metal housing, great feedback rejection, noise isolation (for what’s in front of it), and high SPL like most dynamic mics should. Great for vocal stage presence or even semi-pro recording at home. The frequency range is a tad bit wider than the Shure but it isn’t noticeable really. The mic also comes with a microphone clip as well as a pouch for some convenience traveling.
The Sennheiser E835 is another one of our favorite picks as the best dynamic microphone in the market today, and it’s praised for its superior audio quality as compared to many others in its price-range. We would only grab this if it is cheaper around the net, otherwise we’d stick with the SM58. However, if it is cheaper, we would grab it because it would be a steal.
This one is a big favorite with broadcasters and sound engineers, however we wouldn’t just limit it to those uses in particular. It’s great for recording vocals, various instruments and even other more leisure uses like podcasts, gaming, etc. The RE-20 has a variable-D which helps minimize proximity effect, a cardioid build with a 180 degree off-axis (helps with pickup as well as elimination of ambient noise), as well as a nifty bass roll-off switch. If you have the budget, this is definitely one of the best dynamic microphones on the planet.
The Electrovoice RE-20 is quite famous with the microphone experts, especially when it comes to the obvious most important part of a microphone in general — sound.
Blue Microphones enCORE 100
Blue microphones continues to grow exponentially as the years go by. The highs are quite balanced (for those vocals of course), overall very clear sound quality and Blue always has some of the best builds of gear in the market. In terms of comparing with the prior two models, it really comes down to price again. Although famous for their desktop USB microphones (I’m sure you’ve heard of the Yeti by now), this particular model in the Blue enCORE 100 has been chosen to be in the top 3 because of the superb quality.
We’d still recommend the SM58 or E835 over most, however if you’re a Blue microphones fan and want to stick by them, this mic is sometimes a few dollars cheaper than the other top dynamic microphone models. Either way you go, you will not be disappointed. Once again, if you aren’t concerned with vocals, read the next on the list.
Here’s the other amazing Shure dynamic mic we were talking about. If we had to choose however, this would be our pick for best instrument dynamic mic. I’ve seen snares (for high SPL and frequency), acoustic guitars, electric guitar cabs, pianos, and more be recorded and performed with this thing. Super rugged build, of course (I guess everyone calls their build that word, but this thing is a little piece of metal in your hand or on your stand that isn’t going to break easily), clean and rich sound, nice shock-mount system built-in and more.
If you want a dynamic mic that is the most versatile (in our opinion), grab this and don’t second guess yourself. The Shure SM57 as stated previously is more geared towards applications that do not involve vocals, although this is quite fine for that as well.
Audio-Technica is a favorite among audiophiles but have been in the microphone game for decades. You can also connect it via XLR so don’t worry if that’s what you still want — it’s nice to have the option however. You’re also getting a headphone output built-in to the mic as well as level control. This is more so a desktop microphone for home recording use since you get a little stand go along with it. We’d recommend saving up the cash for one of the prior models listed if you plan on performing in a relatively large setting, otherwise this is a great lower price-point microphone with USB connectivity to use on your computer as well.
The Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB brings us a relatively new concept; a dynamic microphone that has USB connectivity.
We love this dynamic microphone for many reasons. For one, the build is extremely rugged, and it’s great for recording instruments (or voice, of course) with high sound pressure level — guitars, drums, and more. There’s also a full-bodied pattern with five-position bass control for even more dynamic and custom fit to what we’re attempting to record (or perform). Other highlights this mic is known for include the feedback rejection, easy handling and of course, overall clarity being unmatched.
The Sennheiser MD421 is another high-end cardioid dynamic mic that brings us excellent quality, build and of course, sound.
This one is stated to be more of a “broadcast microphone”, but we can also see it being used to record some vocals in the studio or perhaps run a podcast if that’s what you do as well. The build is a bit more thick than others, so you have a larger mechanism built-in to handle a good amount of audio source. You can also mount it in a more traditional “broadcasting mic” way (the sell their stand separately).
It has great side rejection if you have some outside noise you want to get rid of, and although this isn’t ideal for performing vocals on stage as many of you may be here for, it’s an option to keep into consideration. The MXL BCD-1 is a bit more expensive than others, but it’s a very high quality model in terms of sound quality and build and is definitely one of the best dynamic microphones to buy today.
Yes, just one more Shure model in here but it is for good reason. You get a mic clip, zipper pouch and user guide along in the package. Although not as high quality as the SM models, you’re getting a well-made mic with a metal finish and grille. The construction is definitely rugged as compared to others in the market and the sound quality is quite suitable for even semi-pro environments considering the price. Great sound rejection from the sides so it’s going to focus on what’s in front of it (such as with a band or others speaking\singing on stage). We’d grab this if you can’t afford the SM models and still want a solid dynamic mic with that Shure reputation in your repertoire.
The Shure PG58 is about half the price of the SM models (double-check the websites, it may change), and is available in versions with various cables or an off\on switch.
To end our list lightly, we have a very cheap solution in case you wanted a simple pick with very little damage to the wallet. If you want one of the cheapest dynamic mics out there, here’s what’s topping off our list. Pyle is a pretty good brand when it comes to gear, but they’re more known for the super cheap yet relatively decent options out there. This particular dynamic mic has a steel mesh grill, normal frequency response, decent SPL handling and it weighs only 1.5 lbs. We’d recommend the PDMIC58 if you’re buying in bulk or need a cheap, easy solution.
They have a lot of packages around websites like Amazon that come with multiple models as well as cases and various other accessories. It’s a great solution but probably a waste of money if you’re doing anything serious with it. With the Pyle PDMIC58, we’re talking super, super budget-friendly here.