When looking for the best busking microphone, one needs to bear in mind the kind of busking success you would give to the crowds on the street side. I normally sing and play a guitar. My nephew is a keyboard player. I even saw buskers play drums! I’ve seen plenty of buskers use a regular boom microphone. The downside of a cheap singing microphone mounted on a boom stand is the extra weight your toting into your street corner.
My choice to sing and play a guitar (or any stringed instrument for that matter) would be a wired microphone with headset. This configuration would encourage me to switch around with my guitar and for extreme portability, it would also lighten the price. When choosing a headset microphone for busking there are many things to bear in mind. A dynamic headset mic is wired, but needs no wireless or phantom power configuration. Of course, weirdness can hinder the ability to move around to a degree, but it can also offer a lot of flexibility.
If you pick a wireless headset you can add cost, difficulty of configuration and size. Such a system would include a separate receiver and a power source to tap into the busking amp! If you want a wired condenser headset microphone, you may need to check that your busking amp provides phantom power or has a phantom power supply or preamp powered by a lightweight battery. For these reasons, I assume that a wired, versatile headset microphone or a condenser headset microphone with a phantom power source powered by a lightweight battery is the perfect microphone to be able to busk hands free when singing. Find the Shure WH20XLR, the Apex 370, the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx and the Shure SM35-XLR and choose the best for busking purpose.
Last update on 2023-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Full Detailed Review Of Best Microphone For Busking
Shure WH20XLR Dynamic Headset Microphone
The Shure WH20XLR is an inexpensive option for a wired microphone with a versatile headset. Shure is the go-to-brand for professional audio microphones and has been around for more than 80 years. The microphone uses an elastic band to ensure a safe and yet comfortable fit. It is also lightweight and has a microphone boom that can drop for fast storage and portability. The microphone itself utilizes a tight pattern of cardioid pick-up to minimize background noise. It is also intended to have a normal and smooth frequency response for singing output that beats most handheld microphones in its price range.
Shure has supplied a wind screen and a belt clip to fill out the kit, which would further expand its versatility in hands-free outdoor environments. With my opinion, the Shure WH20XLR has been made for busking! I guess that’s probably one of the best microphones for singing headphones. Also make sure you pick up a pair of Shure RK318WS Black Foam Windscreens because the WH20XLR doesn’t have a windscreen. A windscreen is a must when busking outdoors.
Apex 370 Dynamic Headset Microphone
The cheapest choice in the lineup is the Apex 370 dynamic headset microphone. You can get a wired dynamic headset mic with an XLR link for roughly 40 bucks! This might also be the option for those buskers on a limited budget or for someone who is trying to test the waters, not yet willing to spend well over $75 on a better headset. Being a dynamic microphone, the Apex 370 needs no phantom control, although as some critics have noted, the performance of the microphone could be on the less powerful side of the spectrum. The mic does include a flexible goose neck and adjustable headband but for storage it does not collapse.
This headset microphone also comes with a foam windscreen and 15-foot cable, making this package ready to roll out of the box for your busking performance! To reduce feedback, the Apex 370 uses a unidirectional polar pattern and can also handle high SPL rates. Another analysis noted that the microphone’s fit and finish is flimsy, although it should be more anticipated to be on the low end of the price scale.
Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx Dynamic Headset Mic
The wired dynamic headset microphone Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx uses a polar hypercardioid design to enhance voice isolation, reducing unwelcome feedback and background noise. The microphone itself is mounted on a rotating boom, and can descend either from the right or from the bottom. Several of the reviews compare it to the Shure SM58 which is an extreme compliment to me. One analysis also notes that the SM58 clones used in the club where he normally plays are cooler than the ones before.
If this headset mic can deliver SM58-like vocal reproduction for approximately the same amount of money as an SM58, then hands-free busking is well worth it! I will note that there is no windscreen in the AT PRO 8HEX. I would certainly suggest a windscreen to reduce all pop and wind noise that is sure to be present when on the street busking! For such a windscreen the Tetra-Teknica XFFZ5P-BLK will be an outstanding option.
Shure SM35-XLR Condenser Headset Microphone
The last headset microphone in my collection is the headset microphone with the Shure SM35-XLR condenser. The big difference in the list between this headset mic and the others is that this is a wired headset microphone with condenser. A headphone mic offers better benefit and more intelligibility with a condenser. I would suggest this kind of wired headphone microphone if your voice isn’t very effective and you usually need more output improvements on your microphone. The downside to this configuration is phantom power requirement.
Most busking amps don’t produce phantom power. If your busking amp does not provide this, a phantom power supply will be needed. I recommend the phantom Mackie M48 power supply. It is compact (about the size of a direct box), and can be powered by a normal battery of 9 volts.
Headset Microphone Extras
There are some things that you can ensure you have before you purchase a microphone headset. A supplementary microphone cord would be required in most cases. Usually, a belt clip would be attached to the XLR input supplied with the headset microphone. From your belt clip to the busking amp, mixing board or phantom power source, you would require a micro cable (if necessary). If you buy a phantom power supply, you’ll need an extra microphone cord from the phantom power supply to the busking amp or mixing board.
Another thing to note anytime you want to use a microphone headset is that it’s always “on.” If you cough, sniff or speak to someone, you’ll be heard. To avoid these instances it is possible to purchase a microphone switch to turn off the microphone when necessary. These switches may also be momentary switches on the foot. Know, if you buy one of these switches, you can need another short microphone cord for setup.
I selected the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx after close examination of the headset microphones above. It is a dynamic microphone headset, which does not require phantom power. It is also a microphone with hyper-cardioids that offers greater intelligibility and less background noise. Most comments were favorable for this microphone, with feedback contrasting its sound to none other than the Shure SM58. That said, I think the AT Pro 8HEx is the very best microphone for busking!