Vocal Month: Beatboxing – Picking the Right Vocal Microphone Part II

To continue on our quest of choosing the right vocal microphone we tracked another style of vocals to help understand the caliber of the microphones for the shootout. Gene Shinozaki is a local Boston resident that performs on the streets and in the in the studio. You can subscribe to his page here. Here’s the beatboxing mic shootout that we did with him in less than 1 minute:

Interestingly enough, recording a beatboxer is a pretty useful way of understanding the true range of a microphone without having too much setup involved. Beatboxers use all different types of techniques to warp and skew their mouth in ways that span a wide frequency spectrum. Producers like Timbaland and the like will even use this on their tracks to enhance them.

A Beatboxing Perspective

Let’s look at the set of microphones from a beatboxer’s perspective now that we understand how they sound on a female vocalist.

Condenser Microphones


As we said before, this microphone is great for drums so it translates well to a beatboxing style vocals. Both Snare and Kick drum sounds come across with both presence and clarity – which would be great for layering over itself or a backing track. The lesson to be learned here is that this microphone is not advertised as a Vocal microphone – but in a pinch could be used to capture a vocalist’s performance that is in need of some emphasis in the mid to low-end range.



This microphone is a similar style to it’s more expensive counter-part, the C414. These microphones are nicely priced and offer up a wide range of uses. Again this is another solid choice for this style vocals due to it’s heavy response to low and high frequencies. In the beatboxing world, just like the EDM and Hip Hop world, there is a need for a lot of low end in the music as well as detail in varying  other frequencies. Out of the three Condensers that we tested this one seems to speak to me the most.



This is probably one of the better choices for Vocal Microphones as it has demonstrated great output from both the female vocals as well as handling the beatboxing vocals. For the studio this microphone is pretty nice and well-balanced throughout. But, if you’re looking for aggression in your vocal quality then it might be worth it to check out something that is more for drums than sweet and silky vocals. This microphone get’s my vote for beauty but it may or may not be the microphone you’re looking for to capture the quality you need. Like we stated before, it’s all a matter of opinion.

Dynamic Microphones


In moving to the dynamic-style microphones, the MD421 sounds the thinnest of the three microphones when it comes to range. When you listen to this compare and contrast with the second two examples to understand how the the snare sounds do not have as an aggressive of an attack as they do when compared to the PR22 UT or the SM7B. The best way to compare these are to listen for one sound, and concentrate on that. Your critical listening skills will start to take form and you’ll be able to form an opinion on what you’re hearing.

I personally loved the sound of the MD421 on our female vocalist’s voice in part 1. I think it rivaled the sound of the more expensive MA200. This goes to show you how your opinion of a microphone can change as you work between different styles and different vocalists.


PR22 UT & SM7B

Both the PR22 UT and the SM7B contend for my favorite dynamic microphones for beatboxing vocals. As we discussed in the previous article, the PR22 UT has some recent innovations that make it’s sound unique to the world of dynamic microphones. It’s punchy and very abrasive so it captures the essence of this style of vocals with a lot of character. The SM7B on the other hand produces a less extreme version (again in my opinion) of the PR22 UT so it’s a gamble as to which would serve you better and in what situation they would work. I would think that the PR22 UT makes a great microphone for performance and that the SM7B would make a great microphone for studio related work. Regardless they both sound great on these vocals.

Check out Part 3 here.

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