Is it time to try a condenser microphone for your show instead of using a dynamic mic? Although dynamic microphones are generally more rugged than condenser mics, there are times where they just don’t capture the full range of sound. Let’s look at these two microphones from Audix and Shure and see if it’s time for you to switch.
Audix VX5 Condenser Microphone, Super-Cardioid
If you want studio-quality sound while you’re live on stage, this may be the microphone for you. On the downside, if you have a soft voice and you’re competing with loud instruments, this may not be the ideal choice because this mic may need some equalizer help.
The frequency response on the VX5 is better than you’ll get with a dynamic mic, ranging from 40Hz to 16.5kHz. The pickup pattern is a tight super-cardioid, which means the singer must stay in front of the mic. On the bright side, the VX5 is very resistant to feedback. The steel mesh grill has a multi-stage pop filter already built-in to handle plosives and light wind. Inside, the mic has a 0.55-inch gold-vapor diaphragm for excellent conductivity.The zinc-alloy and brass body of the VX5 ismade to be taken on stage and on tour.
If the show gets loud, there’s no problem. The VX5 can handle over 140dB of SPL with the bass roll-off filter and the -10dB attenuation pad turned on. That means the mic doesn’t distort, and it ignores up to 20dB of ambient noise on the stage. The roll-off filter cuts down on handling noise, too. (But be sure to put on a foam windscreen for windy performances outside because the supercardioid pattern picks up some sound from the rear.)
More than just vocals, the VX5 can amplifystringed and percussion instruments, as well as pianos. Since it accepts anywhere from 18 to 52 volts of phantom power, it works with a variety of mixers.It’s a handy mic to have if you can’t afford lots of others.
More features of the Audix VX5 microphone
- Electret condenser
- Impedance is 150 ohms
- Self-noise rated at 26dBA
- Connector is XLR male (gold-plated)
- Weighs about 8 ounces
- Comes with mic clip and carrying pouch
- 3-year warranty
Shure BETA 87A Supercardioid Condenser Microphone for Handheld Vocal Applications
The Shure Beta 87A is like the Audix VX5 in that it will help you get studio-quality sound while on stage. It’s also an electret condenser mic with a tight supercardioid pickup pattern. Unlike the VX5, the 87A doesn’t have switches to turn on bass roll-off and attenuate high SPLs. Everything is built-in already.
The 87A compensates for proximity effect, or the boom that happens when the user is close to the mic. A speaker or singer can get maximum bass effect without boom even with their lips touching the grill. The grill has an internal pop filter and wind screen to soften plosives and cut down on wind and breath noise.
The maximum sound pressure level for the 87A is 140dBA, the same as for the VX5, so it handles loudness without distortion. The frequency response is less on the low end and better on the high end, ranging from 50Hz to 20kHz. This microphone is really made for vocalists, unlike the Audix VX5 that can support instruments, too.
The body of the 87A is aluminum and the grill is made of steel to avoid dents.It’s resistant to electromagnetic and RF interference. There is an interior shock mount to reduce handling noise.Like the VX5, this mic also needs phantom power between 11 and 52 volts.
More features of the Shure BETA 87A microphone
- 117dB dynamic range
- 5dB self-noise
- 150ohms impedance
- Weighs 7.6 ounces
- XLR connector
- 1 or 2-year limited warranty
Both of these are durable enough to replace a dynamic microphone, and they bring studio-quality sound to the stage.
If you’re primarily a vocalist, and you don’t need or want to deal with switching filters on and off, the Shure BETA 87A is for you. It gives a presence boost to thin voices. It handles loud shows too.
If you want the flexibility of a mic that works for voices as well as instruments, the Audix VX5 is made for you. You control whether you want the bass roll-off filter and attenuation on or off. Audix also offers a longer warranty.