Whether you’re looking for a last-minute holiday gift or dog-earing something special to spend your tax return on in 2022, you can’t go wrong with a great studio microphone. And we sure do have a lot of them here at Vintage King!
From classic tube condensers to modern modeling mics, there is a truly a microphone that will fit every studio no matter what type of audio you record. Let's take a look at our top 10 best selling microphones of 2021 and discuss what makes them so special.
Since its release, the Shure SM7b has become an industry-standard vocal microphone for nearly every genre. While it first found popularity as a broadcast mic, the SM7b can be heard on thousands of classic tracks, from pop and rock to hip hop and R&B. With a focused cardioid pickup pattern, a built-in shockmount to reduce handling noise, and a flat frequency response from 50 Hz to 20 kHz, the SM7b is a studio workhorse that’s at home in any mic locker.
Whether you’re in the studio or on the stage, the Sennheiser MD 421 II is a versatile dynamic mic that’s ideal for capturing sources with high SPLs. With a five-position bass roll-off switch, the MD 421 can be tuned to bring out the best in a wide range of instruments, from electric guitars and bass to hot brass tracks and even drums, especially toms. On the “M” (music) setting, the MD 421 delivers rich, warm tones with a powerful low-end, while the “S” (speech) setting offers improved focus and clarity.
Perhaps one of the most highly sought-after mics of the 21st century, the Sony C800G is a modern classic that makes any source sound like a million bucks. Equipped with the same capsule design as the Neumann K67 large-diaphragm condenser mic, and a hand-selected 6AU6 vacuum tube, the C800G delivers pristine sound with powerful lows, warm mids and silky-smooth highs. Favored by vocalists such as J. Cole, Dr. Dre and Eminem, the C800G has been used on countless rap, pop and R&B hits over the last 30 years.
Originally designed by the BBC, the Coles 4038 is often referred to as a “desert island microphone,” and for good reason. With an exceptionally flat frequency response from 30 Hz to 15 kHz, the 4038 delivers unmatched acoustic performance. The Coles 4038 brings out the most brilliant details in any source, from drum kits to guitar cabs to vocals. And with a rugged brass body, the 4038 is surprisingly durable and stands up to frequent use.
Looking for a ribbon mic that won’t break the bank? Check out the Royer Labs R-10. This colorful ribbon mic is hand-built and combines the same ribbon element used in the renowned R-121 with an all-new custom transformer. An internal shock mount isolates the ribbon from shocks and vibrations, while a multi-layered wind screen provides superior protection from air blasts. Plus, the R-10 uses a unique offset offset-ribbon design for added versatility, providing two unique tonal responses from the front and back of the mic.
Why choose just one microphone when you could have them all. The ML-1 is a large diaphragm modeling microphone from Slate Digital that’s able to emulate a wide range of classic tube mics. Simply record with the mic, get a pristine track and then choose from eight beloved mic models (including a couple from this very list), along with two classic preamps to find the perfect sound for any source.
Arguably one of the most recognizable microphones in the world, the Neumann U 87 is a staple in the recording industry and can be found in studios all around the world. Originally created as a solid state version of the legendary U 67 tube condenser microphone, the U 87 Ai combines the K67 dual diaphragm condenser capsule with innovative FET technology to deliver unparalleled clarity. With the U 87 in your locker, you’ll never have to wonder which mic to reach for again.
The Townsend Labs Sphere L22 is a dual-capsule, large-diaphragm condenser modeling microphone, capable of emulating some of the most popular mics on the planet. Optimized to work with UAD’s Apollo platform and available in all major native plug-in formats, the Townsend Labs Sphere currently offers 15 unique mic emulations with more being added all the time. Best of all, the Sphere lets you tweak your sound before or after recording, including polar pattern, phase and even proximity effect.
Perhaps the most unique mic on this list, the Beyerdynamic M160 is a ribbon mic with an unusual hypercardioid polar pattern that works great for drums, acoustic instruments, vocals and more. The focused pickup pattern helps reject unwanted noise, especially when performing in the same room as others, while the extended frequency response delivers a warm, silky sound that engineers love. From John Bonham's huge drum tone on Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" to Jimi Hendrix’s roaring guitar cabs, the M160 can be heard on countless classic recordings.
If you don't know the story about the Josephson E22S, it's a good one. Created by David Josephson based on the demands of beloved engineer Steve Alibini (Nirvana / The Pixies), the E22S features a unique design that enables it to be placed easily in between pieces of drum hardware. Steve Albini says, "“The specific need addressed by the e22S was drum kit recording, and the mics are used in that capacity nearly every day, but once they were in our hands, they quickly became a favorite mic for many instruments, including acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, guitar amplifiers, organ and horns. The e22S is easily the most versatile microphone in our cabinet."