8 Best Old School Microphones in 2024

Remember the iconic chrome mics of the 1950s? Those old ones are back in style, but are they the best fit for modern recording needs?

This guide dives into the world of old-school microphones. Compares their key specifications and provides their types and approximate prices.

Plus, it would provide bonus information, ideal for vloggers, content creators, and videographers seeking hands-free audio solutions. 

Whether you’re an accomplished singer, aspiring podcaster, or just love the old-fashioned look, discover here the greatest old-school microphones to make your voice shine (and look good doing it).

What is An Old School Microphone?

Before the invention of current digital recording devices, old-school microphones, also known as vintage mics, were popular. They have a unique sound that newbies can’t match. 

Old-school mics have a certain attraction. These antique microphones are more than simply a means of expressing your voice. They serve as a discussion starter, narrative, and window into the larger history of music.
These mics come in a variety of styles, including condenser, dynamic, ribbon, and more. Each variety has distinct properties and is approved for a specific application.

For example, compact microphones are recognized as voice and sound instruments because of their ability to capture recordings of natural phenomena. However, dynamic microphones are very well known for capturing conversations and are known for their durability. Whereas, ribbon microphones are mainly used to record voice, instruments, and ambient sound due to their unique acoustic properties. 

Old-school microphones are often associated with some of the “vintage sounds” that are difficult to create with current microphones and EQs. The acoustics of historic microphones are often identified in their design. The creation can include features and techniques not found in modern microphones. 

In summary, the old-school microphone is a classic microphone designed to reflect a bygone era. Distinguished by their unique sound and historical value, these microphones come in many varieties, each with unique characteristics and applications. Old microphones aren’t just for show. They bring the magic of the past into today’s music.

This article will explore the appeal of a good old-school machine. These microphones have stood the test of time, not only for their aesthetics but also for their unparalleled sound quality, which audio enthusiasts and musicians continue to evaluate.

Comparison Table

Microphone NamePrice (approx.)TypeImpedanceSensitivityFrequency ResponsePolar PatternPower Requirements
Pyle Classic Retro Dynamic Vocal Microphone$30Dynamic600 Ω-55 dB + 3 db at 1 kHz30Hz-15kHzCardioidHigh
Monoprice Memphis Blue Classic Dynamic Microphone$50Dynamic300 Ω-52 dB50Hz-18kHzSuper-cardioidHigh
Shure SM58-LC$100Dynamic300 Ω-54.5 dB50Hz-15kHzCardioidLow
Carol Classic Retro Dynamic Vocal Microphone$40Dynamic1200 Ω-66 dB120Hz-10kHzSuper-cardioidHigh
MXL 990 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone$150Condenser200 Ω15mV/Pa30Hz-20kHzCardioidPhantom Power (XLR)
Fifine XLR/USB Dynamic Microphone$70Dynamic250 Ω-58±3dB20Hz-20kHzCardioidLow
BONAOK Bluetooth Wireless Karaoke Microphone$50Dynamic (with speaker)4 Ω-80 dB100Hz-10kHzUnidirectionalInternal Battery
Samson Meteorite USB Condenser Microphone$60Condenser200 Ω-33 dB40Hz-18kHzHyper CardioidUSB


  • Price is an approximate range based on online retailers and can vary.
  • Sensitivity is listed in dB (decibels). Lower dB numbers indicate higher sensitivity.
  • Frequency response represents the range of sound frequencies the microphone can capture effectively.

The 8 Best Old-School Microphones

Pyle Classic Retro Dynamic Vocal Microphone

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Pyle classic retro dynamic vocal microphone channels 50s style with chrome finish and classic design. So, how does it work? This microphone has a cardioid polar pattern, which means it takes up sounds directly in front of it, eliminating unwanted background noise.

It uses a dynamic moving coil element, making it ideal for live use as it can handle high sound pressure without distortion. 

At a budget-friendly price, the Pyle competes with other less expensive products like the Audio-Technica ATR1100. However, the Pyle does not have the ATR1100’s headphone jack for direct control. It’s a strong contender for an old-school microphone prop with wire.

Additionally, the sound quality may not satisfy audiophiles, with some users reporting a somewhat flat response compared to high-end mics like the Shure SM58.

Customers have rated its sound quality, appearance, and value as good. Its quality performance and weight as average in online retail stores.


• Classic look and feel 

• Cardioid system reduces background noise 

• Active element handles loud voices better 

• affordable


• No headphone monitoring 

• The sound should be relatively flat

Overall, the Pyle Classic Retro Microphone is a perfect choice for karaoke nights, informal gigs, or promising musicians on a tight budget. If you prioritize sound accuracy and the features available to professional recording professionals, then the more expensive options may be a good fit.

Monoprice Memphis Blue Classic Microphone

image 117

This is an old-school microphone with a cord. This Microphone combines vintage aesthetics with modern performance. Sporting a super-cardioid polar pattern, it excels at rejecting unwanted noise from sides and backgrounds. Thus, making it ideal for focused voice in live settings or home studios. 

The high-quality movable coil element ensures the sound is clearer and can handle loud music without being overwhelming. 

Compared to the closest competitor, the Shure SM58, the Memphis Blue’s frequency response is a bit wider, capable of picking up more information but the Shure SM58 remains the industry standard, known for both legendary power and sound quality.

Customers have rated its sound quality, appearance, quality, and value as good. Its performance and weight as average in online retail stores.


• Retro design with a super-cardioid pattern for excellent noise rejection 

• Wide frequency response captures vocal content 

• Handle high volumes effectively 

• Affordable


  • May not provide the same level of durability as the Shure SM58 

Overall, the Monoprice Memphis Blue Classic is a compelling product for musicians looking for a stylish and efficient microphone. Its super-cardioid design and wide frequency response make it a well-rounded performer, especially for podcasting, streaming, and live gigs. While it may not be as unbreakable as the Shure SM58, the Memphis Blue offers excellent value for budget-conscious musicians and performers. 

Shure SM58-LC Microphone

image 118

The Shure SM58-LC microphone does not require any introduction. It is an authentic industry standard, having decorated numerous theaters and studios for decades. 

This cardioid dynamic microphone excels at capturing clear, focused voice thanks to its optimized frequency response with a midrange boost for space. 

The built-in pop filter minimizes plosives (those who disliked “p” and “b” pops) down, and the round grille provides extra protection. This can also be used as an old school microphone with stand.

The SM58-LC’s most legendary quality has to be its nearly unbreakable build. Its all-metal construction and air shock mount can handle bumps, drops, and even fun mic swings with ease. This strongness is popular with touring musicians who demand reliable performances night after night. 

While some budget mics boast a wider frequency response, the tried and also the true sound signature of the SM58-LC remains desirable due to its ability to cut through mixes without sacrificing warmth. However, its high price could be a deterrent for budget-friendly buyers.

The old-school microphone toys are greatly inspired by this time-tested mic.

Customers have rated its sound quality, appearance, quality, performance, resolution, weight, and response as good in online retail stores. 


  • Legendary durability-made for years of use 
  • Cardioid pattern stops background noise
  • Frequency response designed for clear tones
  • Pop filter installed
  • Proven sound quality cuts through the mix


  • Highest price compared to some budget mics

Overall, the Shure SM58-LC is an investment for singers and musicians who value reliability, sound quality, and the iconic Shure heritage. It is a microphone that is likely to serve you faithfully for years to come, making it a worthwhile choice for professional musicians and serious amateur singers alike.

Carol Classic Retro Dynamic Vocal Microphone

image 119

This microphone offers an appealing blend of 1950s looks and contemporary functionality. This distracting mic features a super-cardioid polar pattern, effectively reducing unwanted noise from off-axis sources.

Ideal for live performances, its dynamic design allows it to handle high sound pressures without distortion, making it a friend of powerful vocalists. This can also work as an old-school microphone prop.

Compared to other budget-friendly models like the Audio-Technica ATR1100, the Carroll possesses a classic design and super cardioid pattern for excellent noise rejection. But, the ATR1100 offers a headphone jack for direct monitoring, a feature not available on the Carroll. 

Additionally, some users say that Carol’s sound characteristic is slightly brighter than warmer microphones such as the Shure SM58.

Customers have rated its sound quality, appearance, quality, and performance as good in online retail stores.


  • Classic design adds a touch of vintage look
  • Super cardioid pattern for excellent noise rejection
  • Dynamic element works best at loud sounds
  • Affordability


  • Headphone monitoring is not available for direct sound checks
  • The sound may be a bit warm for some people who like it

Overall, the Carol Classic Retro Microphone is a solid choice for singers and performers who prioritize style and affordability. Its super-cardioid design makes it perfect for voice isolation on stage or in a home studio. However, if you need features like headphone tracking or more fine sounds, other budget mics may be a better fit.

MXL 990 Microphone

image 120

The MXL 990 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a unique technology compared to previously discussed dynamic microphones. 

Condenser microphones are more versatile and catch a broader spectrum of sounds, making them suitable for vocals, traditional instruments, and studio recording.

The MXL 990 has a cardioid polar pattern that concentrates on sound from the front while reducing background noise. It provides some high-frequency amplification and can add shine to the tone. This may be desirable for some singers but may require EQ adjustments in postproduction.

While the MXL 990 is praised for its brilliant sound balance and affordable pricing, it is necessary to mention its restrictions. 

Condenser microphones require phantom power, so you’ll need an audio interface or mixer to deliver it.
Furthermore, their sensitivity makes them less ideal for extremely loud sounds like drums or guitar cabinets than a dynamic mic.

If you’re a home recordist or singer looking for a step up from dynamic mics, the MXL 990 offers excellent value. However, a dynamic microphone may be more appropriate for live music or recording louder instruments.

Customers have rated its sound quality, appearance, quality, versatility, case, shock mount, clarity, and value as good in online retail stores.


  • Large diaphragm condenser system for long-range sound recording
  • Cardioid system reduces background noise
  • Warm and balanced sound (with some high-frequency amplification)
  • Affordability


  • Phantom power required (not included)
  • Highly sensitive that’s why not ideal for very loud sound sources
  • May not last as long as some dynamic mics for live use

FIFINE Dynamic Microphone

image 121

The Fifine is a dynamic microphone that offers dual connectivity via XLR and USB-C, making it a handy choice for a variety of recording formats. This cardioid microphone excels at rejecting unwanted background noise, ideal for podcasting, streaming, and home studio recording. 

The Fifine has a built-in shock mount to reduce vibration and a metal frame for durability. It also has a mute button with a status indicator light (USB mode only) and a 3.5mm jack for headphone management (USB mode only too). This combination makes it more feature-rich compared to some similarly priced competitors. 

Sound-wise, the Fifine delivers clear, crisp audio with an emphasis on midranges and presence. It is ideally suited for spoken word applications such as podcasts and voiceovers. However, some users find it a bit bright for music compared to a hot mic. 

Compared to the Shure SM58-LC, a legendary XLR mic, the K688 offers USB connectivity and a lower price. However, the SM58 boasts more durability and a proven track record of handling tight arena environments.

Customers have rated its quality, appearance, mic quality, performance, RGB lighting, and value as good. Its sound quality is average in online retail stores.


  • XLR and USB-C connectivity for versatility
  • Cardioid system reduces background noise
  • Built-in shock mount and metal construction for durability
  • Mute button and headphone view (USB mode only)
  • Affordability


  • For some singers, the signature sound may be a little brighter
  • Not as durable as some XLR mics designed for loud stage use

Overall, the Fifine is a solid choice for producers on a budget looking for a versatile microphone for voice recording, podcasts, and instruments. Its dual connectors and feature set make it a great all-rounder, especially for home studio streamers. If ultimate durability for live shows is your priority then an XLR mic might be a better fit.

BONAOK Bluetooth Wireless Karaoke Microphone

image 122

The BONAOK Bluetooth Wireless Karaoke Microphone prioritizes convenience and fun over more realistic sound. This portable mic and speaker combination allows you to sing along wirelessly from your phone or tablet. It has three different tones (echo, normal, professional) to add some emotion to your performance.

Compared to traditional wireless karaoke microphones, the BONAOK offers unparalleled portability and wireless freedom. Thus, becomes the top choice as old-school microphone wireless option. 

It’s also a great choice for family gatherings, parties, or casual musical events. So, also works best as an old-school microphone for singing. 

However, professional sound quality should not be expected. Reviews say the speakers sound a bit flat, and the microphone itself will pick up some background noise.

Another consideration is efficiency. The BONAOK lacks features typically found in high-end karaoke machines, such as song search or music display. You will need to use your phone or tablet to handle those parts.

Customers have rated its quality, appearance, ease of setup, performance, Bluetooth connectivity, and value as good. Its sound quality is average in online retail stores.


  • Portable and wireless for convenient karaoke fun
  • Built-in speakers eliminate the need for separate speakers
  • Three vocal cords to add emotion to your music
  • Affordability


  • Sound quality may not satisfy audiophiles as speakers may sound flat
  • The microphone will pick up some background noise
  • Lack of features such as music search or music display (requires phone/tablet)

Overall, the BONAOK microphone is affordable for casual karaoke enthusiasts. Its portability and ease of use make it perfect for a casual sing-along or sit-down party. However, if you want older sounds or advanced features, a more professional karaoke system may be a better investment.

Samson Meteorite USB Condenser Microphone

image 123

The Samson Meteorite Microphone is designed for growing musicians, podcasters, and YouTubers who want a simple and cost-effective recording option. This little condenser microphone has a heart-shaped polar pattern. The mic concentrates on the front sound and eliminates background noise. 

The Meteor connects directly to your computer via a USB cable, eliminating the need for an additional audio interface. So, it is also called an old-school microphone for PC. It has a thickness of 14 mm. This makes it ideal for voice, acoustic instruments, and voiceovers.

However, there are some considerations. Condenser microphones, as discussed earlier, need phantom power, which most computers can supply via a USB connection. Additionally, condenser mics are more sensitive than dynamic mics and can pick up background noise if not used in a processed sound environment.

Compared to a similar option like the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB+, the Meteorite offers a slightly lower price and portable design. However, the AT2020 has a solid construction and wide frequency response.

Customers have rated its sound quality, ease of use, quality, performance, portability, and value as good. Its durability is average in online retail stores.


  • Convenient USB connection for direct recording
  • The cardioid system reduces background noise
  • Large capsule for clear and crisp audio
  • Affordability
  • Compact and portable design


  • Required phantom power (usually supplied via USB)
  • More sensitive than dynamic mics
  • Less durable in terms of manufacturing compared to some condenser mics

Overall, the Samson Meteorite Microphone is a solid choice for creators on a budget looking for a step up in sound quality. Its ease of use, clear sound, and compact design make it perfect for home studios, podcasters, and high-end voice recorders. If recording professionals require a stronger build or wider frequency response, then higher-end compact mics may be a better fit.

Bonus Information: The HollyLand Microphones

Here comes the promised bonus, especially for people seeking audio solutions in hands-free mode.

HollyLand specializes in wireless lavalier mics, which are great for vloggers, content makers, and videographers seeking hands-free audio solutions. Their microphones are known for being:

  • Compact and Lightweight: Easy to clip on clothing without feeling bulky.
  • High-Quality Audio: Offer clear and crisp sound recording with features like noise cancellation in some models.
  • Wireless: Eliminate cable clutter and allow for freedom of movement while recording.
  • Easy to Use: Often simple to use with good battery life, making them convenient for various situations.

Here’s a quick breakdown of two of their popular models:

  • HollyLand Lark M1: Affordable, lightweight, offers good noise cancellation and long battery life.
hollyland lark m1 compact lavalier microphone

Hollyland Lark M1

Wireless Lavalier Microphone with High-Quality Audio.

Learn More
  • HollyLand Lark 150: Offers a longer transmission range and a wider compatibility range with different devices.
lark 150 box 1

Hollyland Lark 150

Compact Wireless Microphone System with Wide Compatibility.

Learn More

Overall, HollyLand microphones are a solid option for creators seeking a user-friendly and budget-conscious Wireless Lavalier microphone solution. They might not be the top choice for professional studios, but they excel in portability, convenience, and good audio quality for everyday content creation.

Factors To Choose This Kind of Microphone

Choosing a microphone goes beyond just aesthetics (although those retro mics are undeniably cool). This collection offers several key specifications to consider when selecting the right mic for your needs:


  • Polar Pattern: This determines the direction(s) the microphone picks up sound.
    1. Cardioid mics (most in the collection) focus on sound in front, good for rejecting background noise.
    2. Super-cardioid offers even more focused pickup.
    3. Omnidirectional mics (like BONAOK) pick up sound from all around, ideal for capturing a group or ambient noise.
  • Max SPL (Sound Pressure Level): This indicates how loud sounds the microphone can handle without distortion. Higher SPLs are better for capturing loud vocals or instruments.
  • Frequency Response: This shows the range of sound frequencies a microphone can capture effectively. A wider range might be better for instruments, while vocals can often be handled well within a narrower range.

Use Case and Features:

  • Type (Dynamic vs. Condenser): Dynamic mics are generally more durable and handle loud sound better, making them good for live use. Condenser mics offer wider frequency response and higher sensitivity for studio recording or detailed sound capture.
  • Power Requirements: Condenser mics typically need phantom power (usually supplied by mixers or audio interfaces) while dynamic mics are more versatile. USB mics like the Samson Meteorite connect directly to computers.

Connectivity: XLR mics require an audio interface or mixer, while USB mics connect directly to computers. Although wireless microphones allow for greater mobility, their range, and sound quality may be restricted.

  • Other Specs: Built-in features like headphone monitoring (Fifine) or shock mounts (Shure SM58-LC) can enhance usability.


This collection includes microphones ranging in price from $30 to more than $100. While there is a link between price and quality, the ideal microphone for you is determined by your personal requirements and recording space.

By considering these factors and referring to the information in the table you can narrow down your microphone options and find the best fit for recording your voice or audio with the quality and features you need. 


There is an excessive array of options in the world of microphones, from the vintage charm of retro mics to the technical skills of modern condensers and wireless solutions. And, the perfect microphone for you depends on your specific needs and budget.

For aspiring singers and budget-minded vocalists: Consider Pyle Classic, Carol Classic, or Monoprice Memphis Blue. These dynamic mics offer excellent value with a classic look and sound suitable for live performance or home recording.

For podcasters, YouTubers, and content creators: The Samson Meteorite USB Condenser Microphone provides an easy-to-use and affordable way to access high-quality audio recordings. For those who need XLR connectivity, the Fifine offers a versatile option with headphone monitoring and mute functionality.

For stage performers who prioritize durability and legendary sound: The Shure SM58-LC is an industry-standard, known for its ability to handle high acoustic pressures and complex construction.

For casual karaoke fun: For easy karaoke fun: The BONAOK Bluetooth wireless microphone offers a simple and portable solution, perfect for live parties or simple sing-alongs.

For on-the-go content creators: HollyLand wireless lavalier microphones (the bonus option) prioritize simplicity and clear audio capture, making them ideal for vloggers and videographers.

Remember, the most expensive mic isn’t always the best fit. Consider recording space, preferences, and budget to find a microphone that will help you record clearly and confidently. Then go let the world hear you (or at least your neighbors).


John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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