Welcome fellow musicians, podcasters, and all aspiring audio engineers! If you’re looking to equip a home or professional recording studio, one of the most important purchases you’ll make is deciding on a microphone bundle. Choosing the right microphones and accessories can be the difference between lackluster tracks and radio-ready recordings.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll uncover the top 5 microphone bundles perfect for studio recording, from budget-friendly starter kits to pro-level setups. You’ll learn insider tips on selecting the best microphone bundle for your specific needs, whether you’re tracking vocals, instruments, or broadcast audio.
We’ll also dive into frequently asked questions about condenser vs. dynamic microphones, polar patterns, essential accessories, and mic placement techniques. Read on to boost your studio sound quality… no engineering degree required!
The 5 Best Recording Studio Microphone Bundles
When evaluating microphone bundles, here are the key factors to consider:
- Mic types included – Look for bundles with both condenser and dynamic mics to handle varying recording tasks. Condensers like large diaphragm mics are great for vocals and acoustic instruments. Dynamics excel on louder sound sources like guitar amps and drums.
- Polar patterns – Cardioid mics work well for podcasts and vocals. Omnidirectional and bidirectional patterns capture room ambiance in stereo recording.
- Reputation of the brand – Stick with well-known professional audio companies for the best quality and reliability.
- Included accessories – Shock mounts, pop filters, cables, and carrying cases are vital extras.
- Budget – You can get high quality studio mic bundles across a range of price points.
With those criteria in mind, here are my top recommended recording studio microphone bundles:
AKG P420 Project Studio Recording Pack
The AKG P420 bundle provides amazing value in an all-in-one studio mic kit.
- P420 large diaphragm condenser mic
- P170 small diaphragm condenser mic
- Perception 120 large diaphragm dynamic mic
- 3 shock mounts, 3 pop filters, cables, case
- P420 – Cardioid polar pattern, two-way bass cut filter, -20dB pad
- P170 – Cardioid pickup, wide frequency response
- P120 – Cardioid dynamic, solid bass reproduction
Sound Quality: Warm, balanced tone. The large diaphragm P420 excels on vocals and acoustic instruments. Perfect for home studios on a budget.
Price: Around $500
- Great variety of professional condenser and dynamic mics
- Quality AKG engineering and build quality
- Pop filters and shockmounts included
- Rugged carrying case to protect mics
- Would benefit from a stereo mic like a matched pair
Shure PG27 Studio Vocal Microphone Pack
Get superb lead vocals and backing tracks with Shure’s PG27 condenser mic bundle.
- PG27 large diaphragm condenser mic
- 2 PG57 small diaphragm condenser mics
- 3 shock mounts, cables, case
- PG27 – warm, smooth tone. Cardioid polar pattern.
- PG57 – crisp, natural audio. Cardioid pickup pattern.
Sound Quality: Excellent clarity on lead and harmony vocals. Warm low end.
Price: Around $300
- Renowned Shure mic quality
- PG27 excels on lead vocals
- PG57s great for acoustic guitar, piano, drums
- Quality accessories included
- Lacks a dynamic mic like the SM58
MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Bundle
The MXL 770 bundle brings pro-level condenser mics at an entry-level price.
- MXL 770 cardioid condenser mic
- MXL 990 cardioid condenser mic
- 2 shock mounts, 2 pop filters, cables, case
- 770 – FET preamp, low noise, wide frequency response
- 990 – High SPL handling, vintage tube saturation
Sound Quality: Crisp, full-bodied, and warm. Excellent on vocals, acoustic guitars.
Price: Around $250
- Two high quality large diaphragm condensers
- Warm, rich sound with plenty of detail
- Quality shock mounts and pop filters
- Affordable price point
- Lacks a dynamic mic option
- Condensers require phantom power
Behringer XM8500 Vocal Mic Pack
Get rich vocals at a steal with the budget-friendly XM8500 bundle.
- 3 XM8500 dynamic vocal mics
- 3 mic clips, cables, case
- XM8500 – Cardioid pickup, vocal presence boost
- Large diameter diaphragm, 50Hz to 15kHz range
Sound Quality: Clear, detailed audio for the price. Good presence on vocal tracks.
Price: Around $60
- Amazing value 3-pack
- Quality cardioid dynamic vocal mics
- Crisp vocals and warm low end
- Ultra-affordable price point
- Lacks condenser mics and accessories like shockmounts
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio Mic Bundle
The AT2020 bundle delivers smooth, natural condenser microphone sound.
- AT2020 large diaphragm condenser mic
- AT2035 large diaphragm condenser mic
- 2 shock mounts, 2 pop filters, cables, case
- AT2020 – Cardioid polar pattern, custom condenser capsule
- AT2035 – Cardioid polar pattern, robust low end
Sound Quality: Clear, crisp audio with excellent transient response.
Price: Around $300
- Renowned Audio Technica reputation
- Two high quality large diaphragm mics
- Great accessories – shockmounts and pop filters
- Balanced sound for vocals, acoustic instruments
- Lacks dynamic mic option
How to Choose the Best Recording Studio Microphone Bundle
Now that you’re acquainted with some excellent studio microphone bundle options, let’s explore some key factors to consider when making your choice:
Determine Your Budget
Studio mic bundles span a wide range of price points to suit different budgets. High-end bundles with Neumann, Telefunken or AKG tube mics can cost over $1000. However, you can get professional quality audio from great mid-range bundles between $300 to $600 featuring brands like Shure, Audio-Technica or MXL.
For those just starting out, even sub-$100 options like the Behringer XM8500 provide amazing value. Determine how much you can invest upfront which will narrow down your options.
Consider Necessary Mic Types and Polar Patterns
Factor in the types of instruments, vocals, and audio sources you want to record to choose the right microphone types and polar pick-up patterns.
For recording vocals and acoustic instruments like guitar, piano, strings, and woodwinds, a large diaphragm condenser mic with a cardioid pickup pattern is a perfect choice.
To capture drums, amplified instruments like guitar or bass amp cabinets, or distortion-heavy sound sources, you’ll want the mid-boost and high SPL handling of a dynamic mic.
For a well-rounded studio bundle, look for a mix of condenser and dynamic mics, potentially with multiple polar pattern options like cardioid and omni mics.
Seek Out Bundles With Accessories
One major advantage of a studio mic bundle is getting vital accessories like shock mounts, pop filters, and cables all in one package.
A shock mount suspension helps isolate the microphone from vibrations for cleaner recordings. Pop filters control harsh plosives on vocal tracks. XLR cables ensure pro-level connectivity. Carrying cases protect your mics when transporting them.
Bundles that include accessories save you from extra purchases down the road. On a budget? Prioritize a quality shock mount to start with.
Research Mic Brand Reputations
When making a significant audio investment, it pays to stick with established professional brands like Neumann, Shure, AKG, Audio-Technica, Rode, sE Electronics, MXL, and others with a proven track record.
Browse forums and reviews to learn about build quality, longevity, sound characteristics, and potential issues for microphones that interest you. While you pay more for the brand name, the quality control and engineering from industry leaders is worth the cost.
Listen to Mic Sample Recordings If Possible
Every microphone model has unique tonal characteristics. When possible, listen to sample vocals, instruments, podcasts, and other recordings made with any mics you’re considering.
Many retailers include audio samples on mic product pages. You can also find samples on manufacturer websites and YouTube reviews. Get a sense of the overall sound signature and if it matches your taste.
Ensure XLR Studio Connectivity
For the best audio quality and flexibility, ensure your chosen microphone bundle includes XLR cables and connectors.
XLR allows you to connect to audio interfaces, mixers, and studio preamps. It carries a balanced signal for cleaner audio and avoids interference. XLR connections are more durable than consumer 1/8″ or USB cables.
Some budget options may only include 1/8″ connections which limits their studio use. It’s worth paying a little more for XLR capability in your bundle.
Weigh the Pros and Cons for Your Needs
We’ve highlighted some pros and cons of each recommended bundle. But you’ll want to make your own pros/cons list based on your planned microphone uses, current gear, and long-term goals.
If you want to record acoustic instruments in stereo, for example, a bundle with matched condenser mics makes more sense. If you need to mic guitar amps and drum kits, look for dynamics and condenser options. Your intended use case should drive your decision.
Don’t Neglect Microphone Accessories
Premium microphones require quality accessories to optimize sound quality. A shock mount and pop filter are generally must-haves for any condenser vocal mic.
With bundles, you don’t have to worry about piecing together compatible accessories one by one. Take advantage of the cost savings and convenience this provides.
Even budget bundles can benefit from aftermarket upgrades like an isolation shield or reflection filter for quality vocal takes. Prioritize accessories that control your recording environment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Recording Studio Microphone Bundles
What’s the Difference Between Large and Small Diaphragm Condenser Mics?
Condenser microphones capture sound through an electrically charged thin diaphragm which vibrates when hit by sound waves.
Large diaphragm condensers feature a 1″ or larger membrane. They accentuate low end and are ideal for richer vocal tones. Small diaphragm condensers use a half-inch or smaller membrane. They provide crisper high-end clarity on instruments, percussion and overhead drum miking.
In general, large diaphragm condensers excel on vocals while small diaphragm models are favored on instruments. However, it depends on the specific mic’s characteristics. Try out different condenser mics to choose what fits your sound.
Do I Need Phantom Power for a Condenser Mic?
Yes, nearly all condenser microphones require phantom power to operate. Phantom power sends DC current down mic cables to power the electronics in a condenser mic.
Most audio interfaces, mixers, and mic preamps supply phantom power. Just engage the 48V switch to power up condensers. Make sure to disable phantom power when plugging in ribbon mics which can be damaged by DC current.
For the best sound, provide sufficient clean phantom power from a stable source. Some USB hubs and low-cost mixers may not adequately power hungry condensers. Verify your interface or mixer provides at least 10mA of current per phantom power channel.
What Polar Patterns Should I Look For?
Polar patterns determine how sensitive a microphone is to sound arriving from different directions. Here are a few common polar patterns to look for in recording studio bundles:
- Cardioid – Picks up sound from front, less from sides. Good for vocals, podcasts, instruments.
- Omnidirectional – Uniform sensitivity around mic. Useful for ambient room miking.
- Bidirectional – Sensitive to front and rear, rejects sides. Beneficial for two-person interviews.
- Stereo – Pair of matched directional mics. Creates immersive stereo imaging.
If possible, choose a bundle with multiple polar pattern options like cardioid and omni. This lets you tackle varying recording needs.
How Important are Mic Accessories Like Shock Mounts and Pop Filters?
Microphone accessories make a significant difference in audio quality, especially shock mounts and pop filters.
Shock mounts suspend the mic capsule to isolate it from vibrations, rumble, and handling noise. This prevents unwanted mechanical noise from marring your recordings.
Pop filters block fast moving air molecules from plosives (“b” and “p” sounds) that can distort mixes.
While you can record without them, every vocal mic will benefit from a shock mount and pop filter for professional results. Other accessories like reflection filters and isolation shields can further improve sound but aren’t as essential.
What’s the Benefit of Getting a Bundle vs. Individual Mics and Accessories?
Purchasing a matched microphone bundle offers a few key benefits:
- Cost savings – Bundles give you a bulk discount compared to buying each piece separately.
- Guaranteed compatibility – Bundles include components designed to work together seamlessly.
- Convenience – Less research needed to assemble suitable accessories.
- Expandability – Start with a bundle and add to your microphone locker down the road.
There’s also something to be said for the simplicity of an all-in-one recording kit for beginners rather than attempting to pair mics and accessories individually.
What’s the Best Way to Position Studio Mics?
Proper microphone positioning minimizes noise and maximizes the desired sound. Here are some quick tips:
- Angle mics 10-30 degrees off-axis from the sound source instead of straight on to avoid breath blasts.
- Place mics close enough to pick up detail but not so close that sound distorts – test distances.
- Isolate sources with shielding and dampening to avoid unwanted spill from other instruments.
- For vocals, position the mic just above nose level pointed down slightly to capture a balanced tone.
There’s an art to finding the ideal spot. Sweat the mic placement and small adjustments to get things sounding just right.
Start Recording Studio-Quality Audio Now
Equipping your recording studio with exceptional microphones doesn’t need to be a stressful process if you break it down systematically. Keep the key factors like microphone types, necessary accessories, sound characteristics, and your budget in mind when evaluating bundles.
Recording directly into a DAW or analog mixer, even a simple 1-2 mic bundle can immediately step up your home recordings. As you continue expanding your studio, remember to focus first on performance, arrangement, and mic technique before upgrading gear endlessly.
The most expensive mics can’t save a poor performance or bad mic placement. Learn to capture pro-quality source audio and your tracks will shine. Thanks for reading – now get out there, start a recording session, and make some musical magic! Let us know if you have any other mic bundle questions.