What Microphone to buy if we all need our own mic

For some reason every comedy poster has one of these stupid Elvis mics. You don’t want one of these stupid Elvis mics.

As parts of the world are coming out of a global pandemic, some of the most gross people you may be friends with, stand up comedians, are at risk of infecting each other with any number of diseases. I’ve never been a germaphobe before, but now I feel like a life long advocate for every comic bringing their own mic to a show.

Here are some reasons to bring your own mic.

  1. Theoretically it only has your germs on it.

That’s it, you weirdos. It doesn’t take an epidemiologist to realize that using your own mic exposes you to less people’s germs.

So lets talk about mics.

If you’re a stand up comedian you want a handheld dynamic microphone. You’ll read things about how condenser microphones sound better, reproduce a voice better, are clearer, etc. All of that may be true, but in live setting in a shitty basement they are prone to feedback, and the mixing board they are plugged into may not even have the necessary power to run them.

Do you want a switch on your mic? An on/off switch? No. When have you ever been on stage and wanted to turn your mic off? The only thing that happens to on/off switches is that they accidentally get turned off or left off and disrupt a show.

Get a dynamic microphone with no switch.

The easiest choice: Shure SM-58

If you’ve done comedy two times there is a near 100 percent chance you’ve used an SM58. They are the exact mic most people think about a comedian holding. They cost about $100. They’re available in every city you perform in.  Almost all types of ‘foam windscreens’ made for handheld mics fit them. They won’t sound shitty on any sound system and no sound person will struggle to make it sound good on their speakers. If you can afford this microphone and hate reading shitty blog posts, stop right here. Buy this microphone. Keep the next 10 minutes of your life.

Other good $100 mics:

Sennheiser e835 – I actually prefer this mic to the SM58.

Audix OM2 – This mic sounds great but I’ve found it can produce some noise from handling it. It also feels small in my hand, which is a preference thing, and also not open for your euphemisms or a ‘that’s what she said’ joke, you hack.

Encore Blue 100 – I have always thought this mic sounds muddy, presuming I actually know what people mean when they say a mic sounds muddy. Feels good in the hand. The black version looks good on stage, but they make a version that has a shiny silver grill and it looks dumb.

sE Electronics V7 – These are fine. Are they any better than the other mics? No. But they look cool, and if you’re using your own mic they look unique compared to other people’s handheld mics. Are we running the risk of getting our microphones mixed up at shows? I don’t know.

More expensive mics

Sennheiser e935 – This is my favorite handheld mic. It’s incredibly clear for a dynamic mic. That being said, it can be prone to ‘plosives’ which are the sounds of air overloading the mic when you say words with P or B as hard consonants.

Shure Beta 58A – This is an upgraded version of the SM58 that was the first mic I mentioned. It’s great. It’s clearer for technical reasons I wouldn’t pretend I am smart enough to communicate, but this is a great mic. Sounds similar to the 58 but better. You want a more detailed explanation google an engineer on YouTube talking about it.

Inexpensive mic options:

Shure SM48 – Looks exactly like the SM58 mentioned above. Performs very well also, and only costs $40. This was the first microphone I owned and if I wasn’t a fucking dork I probably never needed to buy another mic.

Mics to avoid – I really hate Behringer mics. They pick up tons of handling noise and sound like shit. They feel flimsy and I have noticed they feedback a lot. Also, you might see mics for very inexpensive and think they are a great deal. You might read Amazon reviews and see people talking about how good they sound. Those people are wrong. If $40 is too much to invest in your comedy career, please quit.

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