Renee Grant-Williams


Performing live on stage can be a nerve-wracking and daunting experience. So you want to do everything you can to give yourself the best performance possible. Using the right microphone for your vocals is critical when you perform live!

In this series I will give you my list of what I believe to be the top five microphones for live performance on the market today. These five microphones work well for vocals as well as instrumentation on stage and they are all under $100. I’ve even listed one excellent mic for under $20.

Once you’ve gone through this list of five I strongly recommend that you go and test out a variety of microphones before you make a purchase because you are a unique singer and will have your own special needs in a microphone.


Hands down the Shure SM58 is the best all-around singer’s mic. This is the microphone that set the bar by which all other vocal microphone standards are measured.

I have used this mic exclusively with every student that has ever walked into my studio beginning with the very first vocal lesson I gave. One thing that makes it sound so good for vocals is the fact that it has a tremendous mid-range sound and can produce a great bass sound.

I always instruct my students to sing very close to their mics and this particular model was tailor-made for this. It has a built-in spherical filter which minimizes wind and breath “pop” noise which makes it perfect for emphasizing consonants, the cornerstone of my singing techniques.

The gain to feedback ratio is excellent compared to other mics, which to me, is a huge benefit for those singers that just love cranking up the volume. There’s nothing more irritating to your audience than hearing feedback screeching like the fingernails on a chalkboard. This mic also performs very well for all instruments in your band and is used by many for recording.

You will find many of your favorite world-famed artists out there today, singing everything from rap to rock using the Shure SM58 on stage. The clarity and response with this piece of equipment is excellent and is probably the most durable mic ever made! I’ve heard many stories about the durability of these mics. I’ve heard of them from falling off the back of a pick-up truck at 60 MPH, being dropped off of several story buildings, to being used a hammer to fix a broken stage and although sphere may not stay perfectly round after all this abuse, they still worked! What more can a singer ask for in a microphone?


The Shure SM57 is one of the most popular professional instrument microphones ever made. Stick this one in your saxophone, around your drum kit, or in front of any guitar cab and it won’t disappoint, also sounds great for acoustic guitar!

This mic has a very clear tone; it’s compact and extremely durable. Anyone who works behind a board knows this mic. It’s great for recording and frequently used in many home and professional studios. Many of your favorite albums were probably recorded with the SM57, another legendary mic made by Shure!


Part of their “Evolution Series,” this Sennheiser E835 mic has a dynamic presence boost known for producing lots of body with a very clear and crisp sound. Some singers who always used the Shure’s SM57 and SM58 are also very partial to this mic for the lighter, breathier timbre that it adds. This is a great mic for female singers who may not have the huge powerful voice as you find in the typical male singer. It also has really good bass pick up.

One great feature that most love about this mic is the extreme SPL (sound pressure level) handling, which means that you can crank up the volume with very minimal distortion and this is great if you are singing in front of those loud guitar amps, blasting bass, or that drummer that thinks every song is a drum solo! Just another great microphone for all types of singers!

#4 -THE AKG D5

The AKG D5 is another really good choice for the lead singer as well as background singers. This mic does a great job handling background noise and has excellent feedback rejection, making it a perfect choice for a noisy stage.

The AKG D5 has a great pop filter and a very clear sound with less mud, more depth and it is fantastic for high notes making it an excellent choice for those Mariah and Celine singers who are always reaching up for those killer high notes!

This is also another great instrument mic because it’s very good in picking up depth-of-tone from a distance. Another versatile pick that is well suited for both singers and instruments.


Singers as well as engineers love the Electro-Voice N/D767A microphone for it’s great vocal clarity through all frequencies in live performance.

One of the first things you will notice is a higher sensitivity than most other microphones. It has a very warm high end, a smooth bottom and handles low noise well.

This is a great mic for all levels of singers, but I find it to be especially good for beginners because you can hear yourself very clearly on with the Electro-Voice N/D767A.

Caution, this microphone is not as durable as my other suggestions so please, do handle this one with loving care!


Some feel the Behringer XM8500 is a total knock off of my favorite all-around favorite mic, the Shure SM58. Looks just like it but does it sound just like it? Some singers believe it does, but most do not. Some singers do feel it produces a more aggressive, exiting and vibrant sound than the Shure SM58. However, almost all singers agree that it is a heck of a microphone for only $20.

If you are a hobby singer or at the very beginning of a singing career this is a great mic to start out with. It also makes for a great back-up mic or one to use for more informal type performances. And, Karaoke, you would probably own the stage!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series 5 Great Microphones For Under $100. I’m of the opinion that a singer does not need to spend their hard-earned money on a high-end microphone until they are actually earning a living performing. But, even at this level many artist stick with a Shure thing if it works well and gives them the sound they desire. What more can any singer ask for in a microphone?

If this article to helps you choose a microphone please drop us a line and let us know what you purchased and how you like it.


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