10 Best Headset Microphones for Singing [Out of 24 Tested]
Posted in Recording & Audio Equipment | Last Updated on September 24, 2019
Headset microphones give performers and speakers a lot of freedom. When both of your hands are free, your performance gets better because you can reinforce your message better with gesticulations and demonstrations. Also, if you’re a performer that loves to thrill your audience with choreography while singing, a headset mic will give you the freedom you need, with top quality sound at the same time.
If you’re looking to get yourself a headset microphone, this article has the best ones listed for you. Here are our top 7 best headset microphones for singing:
If you don’t mind your headset mic being quite visible during a performance, the SM35 will serve you just right. You can choose between two different versions; wired and wireless. The wired version of SM35 connects to the sound system via an XLR cable. You can use the wired version with most Shure receivers and transmitters.
This microphone is quite bulky, but it is quite flexible and can be easily adjusted to fit different head sizes. The flexibility is an important factor, since the mic has a cardioid pattern, which means that you will only get the best results when the sound source is directly in front of the mic. Because the mic is flexible, you can easily position the head of the mic directly in front of the speaker.
- Solid build
- Good noise handling
- Quite bulky
Shure GLXD14R/MX53-Z2 with MX153 Wireless Mic
Shure demonstrates their superior technology with this wireless system. This system can handle up to nine microphones without any of them clashing in transmitting frequency.
This is made possible by the automatic frequency management system. While using some other systems, you may have experienced the embarrassment of your system picking up sound from another mic in another room, such that your audience hears what the speaker outside the room is saying. This cannot happen with GLXD14R/MX53-Z2 system.
Another factor that makes this system so excellent is its sound quality. The MX153 headset microphone has a frequency range of 20Hz to 20000Hz. The frequency response is quite flat.
You can rely on this mic to give you an accurate production of whatever sound is fed into it. It has a maximum SPL of 107db, so be careful with loudness. Actually, this should not be an issue if you’re simply using it for speech; but if you’re a singing drummer, the low maximum SPL might be an issue.
- Automatic frequency selection prevents clash of frequencies.
- Flat frequency response guarantees natural sound production with no coloration.
- Low maximum SPL, may have distortion with loud sources.
JK MIC-J 071S
MIC-J071S is definitely one headset mic that won’t take so much from your budget. It is a wireless mic that works with most Sennheiser receivers and transmitters; particularly those in the Evolution series. This mic can be described as stealth because of its thin, compact, and unassuming design. It can easily blend into the speaker or singer’s skin. This becomes a big advantage if the show video is recorded and close up shots of the performer are taken without the mic getting in the way of aesthetics.
It has a frequency response range of 20Hz to 20000Hz; basically what we look for in any professional mic. It has an omnidirectional polar pattern. This is both an advantage and can be a drawback at times. With this pattern, you need not worry about bass buildup due to proximity effect; you can get as close as you want without any unwanted boom. On the flip side, omni directionality means that the mic will pick up sound from all sides, which can be inconvenient for a singing drummer, for instance.
- Relatively low cost
- Super lightweight
- Stealthy design
- Feels flimsy
- Omni Directionality renders it not suitable for some uses.
Audio-Technica System 10 ATW-1101/H92-TH
For this Audio Technica system, the first good thing I noticed is how slim the mic is. Even though you’re wearing it on your head, it is not obtrusive in any way. The receiver has the automatic frequency scanner feature that enables it to search for available frequencies on its own.
To complete this setup, you need to add the Pro92cw head-worn mic to the mix. It is quite comfortable to wear; it has contours in the right places that fit right over your ears. This way, it does not come off even when you shake your head vigorously (drummers take note).
It has good quality sound. The frequency response is wide enough to deliver speech and singing quite well. The chart shows a slight presence boost between 6kHz and 15kHz. In case you connect this mic to mediocre mixing equipment, the presence boost will serve you well.
- Design blends in easily without being so obvious
- Omnidirectional polar pattern makes it immune to bass buildup when it’s close to the source.
- Picks up surrounding sound
Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx
This is a wired microphone unit, so no receivers or transmitters. Even though it’s connected via a cable, it is well packaged to stay right on your neck without slipping off. Those pads that look like ear muffs on the mic are actually meant to help it clamp on your head comfortably and firmly.
This mic’s polar pattern gives it an edge. It is a hypercardioid microphone. This means that the mic is optimized to capture the sound that is fed directly into it. You should also be careful with placement because anything short of direct on-axis placement will result in loess quality of sound.
Its frequency response range is 200Hz to 18kHz. 200Hz for a lower frequency boundary means that you will lose some bass frequencies, but on the other hand, you avoid bass buildup due to proximity effect. This is a common issue with mics with the 8HEx’s polar pattern.
- Rejects surrounding noise
- Immune to bass buildup
- Sounds a bit thin due to 200Hz low frequency boundary.
The PGA31 is a good choice for singers on a budget. It really demonstrates value for money. It is a wireless unit that can be combined with most Shure transmitters and receivers. This mic will be a good fit if you're singing in a relatively small venue.
The PGA31 has a pretty flexible build that makes it easily adaptable to different people. The wireframe build and the gooseneck design combine to give it high flexibility. This means that you have enough room to set up the mic so that the capturing end faces the source directly without being a nuisance to the user.
Despite the flexibility of this mic, it is quite bulky. This means that regardless of how much manipulation you can do, there's no keeping this mic out of sight. However, it is sound quality is crisp and stands out in a performance. It's a cardioid mic, so you have the added advantage of noise rejection. Combine this with the mic design, and you have a mic built to avoid external noise.
- Good value for money
- Gooseneck design gives added flexibility
- Quite bulky
Shure SM31FH Microphone
Shure SM31FH is one headset microphone that was made to survive performance rigors without breaking a sweat. The body is built with water-resistant capabilities. Of course, it may not survive drowning, but it can deal with sweat and occasional water spills. It’s also corrosion-resistant. Little wonder it’s marketed as a fitness headset microphone.
Connectivity is another strong point of this headset microphone. A BLX system will connect to the SM31FH easily. Also, interference or clashing of frequencies is a very slim possibility, because the mic has a Quickscan feature that looks for available frequencies before connecting.
This mics frequency response is not flat, which is alright because it is optimized to make a spoken speech or singer vocal have more presence and clarity.
- Water resistant
- Presence boost may not work for all voice types.
This is one mic that is perfect for singing drummers. It practically has everything they need. The CM-311A is a headset mic that is powered either by a 9V battery or phantom power. What makes this mic perfect for singing drummers is the Differoid noise-canceling technology. This mic takes noise rejection up a notch by having up to 12db more gain than conventional mics before feedback. It has a unique ability to almost wholly reject sound coming from monitors behind it, thereby preventing unwanted sound from being captured.
Additionally, CM-311A is lightweight and is designed such that it snaps on your ears and doesn’t fall off while drumming. Another really cool feature of this mic is its maximum SPL. It can take up to 148db before any distortion of sound. This means that even while it isolates itself from other sounds, this mic can still survive really loud source recording.
- Self-isolating microphone
- Lightweight and easy to use
Headsets Suitable for Drummers
Shure BETA 54
This is another singing drummers’ sweetheart for a number of reasons. Shure BETA 54 has a snap-fit design that uses different components to stay attached to the drummer’s head. This headset mic has over the ear hooks that go on both ears and soft clamp pads that hug the sides of your head so comfortably. There’s no fear of the mic dropping from your head during a performance.
Also, with a maximum SPL of more than 140db, this mic ensures that the singing drummer does not have distortion or clipping in his vocals. Most singing drummers would sing quite loudly, especially while playing hard because they’ll want to hear their voices above the drums. Shure BETA 54 has what it takes to handle this kind of volume.
Lastly, it’s a supercardioid mic, which means it provides a high amount of ambient noise rejection. This headset mic has a frequency range of 20Hz to 20000Hz, which captures the full vocal range, and its response is tailored to support vocals, making it crisp and clear in the mix.
- Stealthy design
- Fits firmly on the head
- Can record loud sources without distortion
- May allow some ambient sound from the sides.
For singers that love to perform with dancers, doing the rigorous routines with them while also singing the song, headset microphones are ideal. However, even within this category, their options are limited.
This is because they need lightweight microphones that will be out of their way, during the performance. AKGC520 is such a microphone. It is a wireless microphone piece that is compatible with different transmitters and receivers, including those made by Shure.
Some really cool features make it ideal for live performance. One of such features is the flexibility in setting up. You can fix this mic on either side of your head.
Also, the gooseneck design helps to make sure that the mic head is directed at your mouth correctly. What’s more? AKG managed to find a place for a shock mount in this compact frame. This means that even if there are vibrations due to sudden movements in the performance, you won’t feel such in the sound produced.
- Lightweight and compact design.
- Shock mount prevents vibration noise.
- Not a right choice if you’re on a budget.
Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Headset Mic
Wired vs Wireless
If you choose to get a headset mic, it’s always better to get a wireless one. I say this because most times, the reason you consider using a headset mic in the first place is for convenience. So, if you really want a convenient user experience, go for the wireless ones.
However, also note that if a wired headset mic and a wireless one are the same price, the wired one is likely to have better sound quality. Wireless mics that sound great are generally more expensive than their wired counterparts.
If you’re using a wireless one, you may or may not have bought it with its own bodypack. There are wireless headset mics that work with a wider range of bodypacks, even the ones made by other brands. Choose a wireless mic that connects easily with a wider range of transmitters for ease of use.
Ambient Sound Rejection
This is most important for singing drummers. If your mic does not adequately reject background noise, you may have muddled sounds from your monitor, and the FOH engineer will have a tough time.
This is why you should avoid omnidirectional mics if you can; they pick up sound from everywhere. Instead, go for cardioid or supercardioid headset mics. For general singing, omnidirectional mics will work well with correct placement.