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Beginner's Gear Guide: Stage Staple Microphones

Beginner's Gear Guides: Stage Staple Microphones

Reinforce and record your live show with these must-have microphones.

When you're building a mic collection for your performance venue or portable PA rig, dynamic mics like the Shure SM58 and SM57 are hard to beat for reinforcing vocals, drums, amps and more. We've also got a few handheld condenser mics for the discerning vocalist.

Need more mobility on stage? Check out our selection of wireless microphone systems, from high-tech digital wireless systems to time-tested UHF analog systems. While handheld wireless mics are ideal for sung vocals, headset microphones and clip-on lavalier mics are perfect for reinforcing presentations or speakers.

Finally, no stage microphone guide would be complete without a few recommendations for live recording microphones. Use these boundary mics, hanging mics, and stereo mics to capture your performance for posterity.
Handheld Vocal Microphones
To most people, "microphone" means "handheld vocal mic." The Shure SM58 dynamic microphone is indispensable for spoken or sung live vocals, while the Shure PGA58 from the PG ALTA series is a comparable low-cost alternative. If you're reinforcing a particularly nuanced vocalist, a handheld condenser microphone like the Sennheiser e965 or Neumann KMS106 can deliver extended high frequencies for a crisper, more detailed vocal sound.

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Shop handheld condenser mics »

Shure SM58 Dynamic Handheld Microphone
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$92.95
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Shure PGA58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone
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Neumann KMS105 Pro Stage Condenser Mic
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Dynamic Instrument Microphones
Once you've miked up the vocals, mic up the kick drum, snare drums, and guitar amps with these tough dynamic microphones. Not only do dynamic mics tend to survive on-stage abuse better than condenser microphones, they also tend to be more affordable -- a plus for anyone looking to build their live mic collection on a budget.

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Shure SM57 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
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Handheld Wireless Microphone Systems
Whether you're miking a church service or a karaoke night, wireless microphones give presenters and performers the freedom to move around the stage. UHF analog systems like the AKG WMS40 Mini Vocal Set are budget-friendly choices, and the Sennheiser XSW35A system is a favorite among vocalists. For a clearer signal, step up to a 24-bit digital system like the Line 6 XDV35 or Shure PGX wireless system.

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Shure PGX Digital Handheld Wireless Microphone System ...
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Headsets, Clip-On Mics, and More Wireless Systems
Wireless headsets are perfect for instructors or presenters that need their hands free. If a headset is too obtrusive, a tiny lavalier microphone can clip on to a performer's shirt, or even hide in an actor's wig or costume. These mics use a "bodypack" transmitter that fits in the performer's pocket. Digital wireless systems tend to be clearer and more robust, while analog UHF systems are more affordable.

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Shure BLX14/SM31 SM31 Wireless Fitness Headset ...
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Stereo Microphones for Live Recording
Recording a show can be a high-pressure situation, since there are no "second takes" with a live performance. Fortunately, stereo microphones make the task of live recording a little easier. Place a stereo mic on a tall stand in the middle of the performance space. If you're already capturing a soundboard feed from your stage mics, the stereo room mic can help give your recording a sense of space.

See all Stereo Microphones »

A matched pair of microphones takes more work to set up than a single stereo mic, but matched pairs you a bit more flexibility with placement. Try setting up up a matched pair of cardioid condenser microphones in an X-Y coincident pair at a 90- to 110-degree angle, with the diaphragms as close to each other as possible.

See all Matched Pairs »

Rode NT4 Stereo Condenser Microphone
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Need it now but short of cash? All we need is the first payment up front and the rest in easy monthly payments!

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We approve everyone, with very few exceptions, as long as we can verify your identity.
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It's just as if you paid the whole amount up front!
No paperwork. Nothing to track.
No application to mail or fax, no bills to pay. We automatically charge the payments to your credit card.

We'll wait on your money so you don't have to wait for your gear!

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