7 Best Handheld Microphones for Live Performances

As a live performer, finding the perfect handheld microphone can be like discovering a hidden treasure chest filled with sparkling gems. With so many options available, it's crucial to choose a microphone that not only fits your budget but also delivers exceptional sound quality.

In this article, I'll guide you through the top 7 handheld microphones for live performances, highlighting their unique features and benefits. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your musical journey, these microphones will make you feel like a true rockstar on stage.

Shure SM58 – The Classic Choice

When considering the best handheld microphones for live performances, one can't overlook the Shure SM58 – a classic choice.

The Shure SM58 has earned its reputation as the go-to microphone for countless performers around the world. With its iconic design and exceptional performance, it has become synonymous with reliability and quality.

The Shure SM58 boasts a frequency response tailored to vocals, ensuring clear and crisp sound reproduction. Its cardioid pickup pattern effectively reduces background noise and feedback, allowing the performer's voice to shine through. The microphone's built-in shock mount system further minimizes handling noise, ensuring a professional and polished performance.

Durability is another key feature of the Shure SM58. Its rugged construction can withstand the demands of live performances, making it a reliable choice for touring musicians and stage performers. The microphone's steel mesh grille provides excellent protection against drops and impacts, while its robust build ensures longevity even in the most demanding environments.

Furthermore, the Shure SM58 promotes a sense of belonging among performers. Its presence on stages worldwide creates a sense of familiarity and community, connecting artists and audiences alike. With its rich history and continued popularity, the Shure SM58 has become a symbol of professionalism and excellence in the music industry.

Sennheiser E835 – Affordable and Reliable

Moving on from the classic choice of the Shure SM58, let's now explore the Sennheiser E835 – an affordable and reliable option for handheld microphones in live performances.

When it comes to affordable performance options, the Sennheiser E835 stands out as a budget-friendly choice that doesn't compromise on quality.

Here are two reasons why the Sennheiser E835 is a reliable and budget-friendly microphone for live performances:

  • Clear and crisp sound: The Sennheiser E835 features a dynamic cardioid pickup pattern, which means it captures sound primarily from the front while reducing background noise. This ensures that the vocals are clear and intelligible, even in noisy environments. The microphone also has a frequency response tailored for vocals, providing a smooth and natural sound reproduction.
  • Sturdy construction: Built with durability in mind, the Sennheiser E835 is designed to withstand the rigors of live performances. Its rugged metal construction can handle the demands of touring and regular use, making it a reliable choice for performers on a budget.

With the Sennheiser E835, you can expect a microphone that delivers excellent sound quality and reliability without breaking the bank. It's a great option for those seeking affordable performance options and reliable, budget-friendly choices for their live performances.

Audio-Technica AT2020 – Versatile and Clear

Now let's delve into the versatility and clarity offered by the Audio-Technica AT2020 handheld microphone. When it comes to versatility in different performance settings, the AT2020 excels. Whether you're performing on a small stage, in a large auditorium, or even in a studio recording session, this microphone delivers exceptional results. Its wide frequency response and extended dynamic range allow for clear sound reproduction of both vocals and instruments.

One of the standout features of the AT2020 is its ability to capture vocals with remarkable accuracy. The microphone's cardioid polar pattern ensures focused sound pickup, reducing unwanted background noise and feedback. This is particularly beneficial in live performances where background noise can be an issue. The AT2020's high SPL handling capability also makes it suitable for capturing powerful vocals without distortion.

In addition to vocals, the AT2020 also performs admirably when used to amplify instruments. Its wide frequency response captures the nuances of various instruments, allowing for a natural and detailed sound reproduction. From acoustic guitars to drums, the AT2020 provides a clear and true representation of the instrument's tone.

AKG D5 – Excellent Feedback Rejection

While the Audio-Technica AT2020 excels in versatility and clarity, the AKG D5 stands out for its excellent feedback rejection. When it comes to live performances, the AKG D5 is considered one of the best handheld microphones in the industry. Its ability to reject feedback is unparalleled, making it an ideal choice for artists who want to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted performance.

Here are some key reasons why the AKG D5 is the best option for live performances:

  • Superior Feedback Rejection:

The AKG D5 utilizes a supercardioid polar pattern, which effectively rejects unwanted noise and feedback from monitors and speakers. This allows performers to have maximum control over their vocals, even in high-volume environments.

  • Clear and Detailed Sound:

The D5 is known for its exceptional clarity and detail in reproducing vocals. Its tailored frequency response ensures that every word and note is heard with precision.

While the Shure SM58 is considered the industry standard for live performances, the AKG D5 offers an equally impressive option with its superior feedback rejection. With the AKG D5 in hand, performers can confidently take the stage, knowing that their vocals will be heard with clarity and precision, without any unwanted interference.

Electro-Voice RE20 – Professional Studio Quality

With the Electro-Voice RE20, I found a handheld microphone that offers professional studio quality for live performances. This microphone is renowned for its exceptional sound quality and is widely used by professionals in the industry. The RE20 features a dynamic element that's specifically designed to capture vocals and instruments with utmost precision and clarity. Its frequency response is tailored to deliver a smooth and balanced sound, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

One of the standout features of the Electro-Voice RE20 is its ability to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion. This makes it perfect for capturing powerful and energetic performances without compromising on sound quality. The microphone also boasts excellent off-axis rejection, ensuring that unwanted background noise is minimized.

The Electro-Voice RE20 is built to withstand the rigors of live performances. It features a rugged and durable construction, making it suitable for use on stage. Additionally, its internal shock mount helps to reduce handling noise, allowing for a clean and professional performance.

Rode M1 – Durable and Dynamic

Continuing the discussion on handheld microphones for live performances, the Rode M1 stands out as a durable and dynamic option. When it comes to durability, the M1 is built to withstand the rigors of the road. Its all-metal construction ensures that it can handle the bumps, drops, and general wear and tear that comes with touring and live performances. You can rely on the M1 to hold up night after night, giving you peace of mind during your shows.

In terms of performance quality, the M1 delivers exceptional sound reproduction. Its dynamic capsule captures the nuances of your voice with clarity and precision, allowing your vocals to cut through the mix. With a frequency response tailored for vocals, the M1 ensures that your voice sounds natural and balanced on stage.

To further enhance its performance, the M1 features a tight cardioid polar pattern. This means that it effectively rejects unwanted noise and feedback from the sides and rear, allowing you to focus on your performance without distractions. Additionally, the M1's internal shock mount minimizes handling noise, ensuring that only your voice is amplified.

With its durability and performance quality, the Rode M1 is an excellent choice for live performers looking for a reliable and powerful handheld microphone. Join the ranks of artists who trust the M1 to deliver their vocals with clarity and impact.

Neumann KMS 105 – Premium Vocal Clarity

Moving on from the discussion on the Rode M1, let's now explore the Neumann KMS 105 and its exceptional vocal clarity. The Neumann KMS 105 is renowned for its ability to deliver optimal sound reproduction, making it a top choice for professional live performances.

One of the standout features of the Neumann KMS 105 is its premium vocal clarity. The microphone captures vocals with remarkable precision and detail, ensuring that every nuance and subtlety of the performer's voice is faithfully reproduced. This level of clarity allows the audience to fully appreciate the artist's vocal talents and adds a sense of intimacy to the performance.

In addition to its exceptional sound quality, the Neumann KMS 105 also boasts superior build quality. Constructed with robust materials and a solid metal housing, this microphone is built to withstand the rigors of live performances. Its durable construction ensures that it can handle the demands of being used night after night on stage without compromising its performance.

Whether you're a professional vocalist or a live sound engineer, the Neumann KMS 105 is a microphone that delivers exceptional vocal clarity and reliability. Its optimal sound reproduction and superior build quality make it a worthy investment for those seeking a microphone that can elevate their live performances to new heights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Price Range of These Handheld Microphones?

The price range of handheld microphones can vary depending on several factors. Factors affecting microphone price include brand reputation, build quality, features, and wireless capabilities. Prices can range from $50 to $500 or more.

Are These Microphones Compatible With All Types of Audio Systems?

Yes, these handheld microphones are compatible with most audio systems, but there may be limitations. It's important to check the specifications and ensure they match the requirements of your specific setup for optimal performance.

Can These Microphones Be Used for Recording Purposes as Well?

These handheld microphones have impressive recording capabilities and can be used for various purposes. Their versatility in usage allows for seamless transitions between live performances and studio recordings, making them a valuable tool for any musician.

Do Any of These Microphones Require Additional Accessories or Equipment for Optimal Performance?

Yes, some of the recommended handheld microphones for live performances may require additional accessories for optimal performance. These accessories can range in price depending on the specific microphone and its requirements.

Are There Any Specific Features or Technologies That Set These Microphones Apart From Each Other?

There are countless features and technologies that set these microphones apart from each other. From different types of polar patterns to wireless connectivity options, each microphone offers unique advantages for live performances.


After extensive research and testing, these seven handheld microphones have proven themselves to be the cream of the crop for live performances.

From the classic Shure SM58 to the premium Neumann KMS 105, each microphone offers its own unique qualities and benefits.

Whether you're a professional musician or a passionate amateur, investing in one of these microphones will undoubtedly enhance your live performances and leave your audience in awe.

Don't settle for subpar sound quality, choose one of these top-notch microphones and experience the difference for yourself.

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