Best Headset Microphones for Singing (2020) – Detailed Guide

Updated on by Gavin Whitner | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

Headset microphones are a neat solution for musicians, dancers, and actors who also need to perform singing duties. They leave your hands free and let you move without restriction around the stage and without having to worry about your position.

8 Ideal Headset Microphones for Singers

If you are looking for a quality headset microphone, take a look at my favorite picks.

The PGA31 from Shure is one of my favorite budget-class headset microphones. It offers fantastic quality to price ratio, a great solution for musicians who play at small to mid-sized venues. The PGA31 is a wireless set and it’s compatible with the majority of Shure’s body packs.

Thanks to the highly flexible wireframe construction, this mic is very comfortable to use. The gooseneck design lets you adjust the microphone position for maximum source isolation, while the windscreen filters out plosives.

Shure’s PGA31 has a quality condenser microphone which relies on the body pack for power. It delivers crystal clear vocals, being equally good for singers and speakers. The microphone is a bit on the robust side for a wireframe headset, which makes it somewhat unsuitable for situations where stealth is paramount.

The microphone is a unidirectional cardioid unit with an impressive frequency response for its price point. It is great at blocking out unwanted noise and has a clean delivery even at high volumes.

  • Very affordable
  • Unidirectional cardioid microphone excels at blocking out unwanted noise
  • Flexible gooseneck design
  • Somewhat poor construction quality
  • Not the best fit if you need a stealthy headset

The SM35 competes in the intermediate category and is one of Shure’s best headset mics for singing in my opinion. That being said, the SM35 is among the bigger and more robust wireframe sets, which tilts it towards users who don’t need super stealthy mics. It’s available wired (SM35-XLR) or wireless (SM35-TQG), the latter of which is compatible with Shure body packs.

Despite its size, the frame is flexible and comfortable to wear. It comes with a quality gooseneck which allows you to position the mic however you want.

The SM35 has a condenser microphone with unidirectional cardioid pattern. The tight polar pattern profile allows it to capture your voice with crystal clarity, while blocking outside noise with ease. This makes the SM35 a great companion for big and loud stages. The microphone is a bit large and comes with a clip-on windscreen.

This is a high-quality headset mic and a true workhorse. It is made for musicians who value performance and reliability above anything else. On the other hand, it might not be the best headset mic for performers looking for more discreet headsets.

  • High-quality condenser microphone
  • Professional-level performance
  • Great at blocking out ambient noise
  • A bit on the heavy side
  • Some users might find it too big

The intermediate class is the most heavily contested section of the headset microphone market, and the C520 is AKG’s premier candidate in this class. It is a lightweight wireless set, which makes it suitable for dancer/singers, instrumentalists, as well as actors. The 4-pin mini XLR connector makes it compatible with Shure body packs.

Construction-wise, this headset mic has a sturdy and lightweight wire frame. Once positioned, it stays in place without being too tight or uncomfortable. The gooseneck mic extension is fully adjustable and keeps the mic in place with ease. Another cool feature of this amazing set is that you can attach the microphone on both the left and the right side.

The stellar transducer element microphone is, in my opinion, one of the strongest points of this great set. The unidirectional cardioid polar pattern is extremely effective at filtering out unwanted noise. The transducer features a shock mount to minimize body noise.

The C520 is great for both small pub gigs and concert halls.

  • Comes with a lightweight and sturdy frame
  • Microphone can be mounted on both sides of the frame
  • One of the best transducer elements in its class
  • Might be too expensive for those on a tight budget
  • Not a good solution if you need a stealthy headset

The Countryman E6 microphone has a unique design. A thin ear clip will fix a tiny electret condenser near your mouth, while the boom will hold the mic always very close to the mouth and provide perfect noise cancelation. Thanks to its special construction, the Countryman E6 will be able to produce an impeccable sound.

This microphone is omnidirectional, but it won’t pick up wind or breath sounds. You can use isolation such as the windscreen, but it will work well regardless. Once the mic isolates your voice, it will have no trouble keeping the rest of the noise away.

The mic blends in with the environment. Once you put it on, it will be nearly invisible on your ear regardless of your skin tone. It is tiny and lightweight, and will ensure you are comfortable during your performance.

This microphone’s steel construction is durable and extremely hard to damage. The boom is flexible and adjustable, but will always maintain its form.

  • Lightweight and tiny
  • Good audio quality
  • Extremely durable
  • Requires additional accessories for isolation and protection
  • The cable it comes with might be a bit fragile

The Shure SM31FH is a perfect microphone for beginners. It connects to a BLX wireless system easily and produces a high-quality sound.

The signal is very reliable and there is an existing system to prevent any breaks. The QuickScan option will look for the best possible open frequency to connect to if there’s any interference with the existing one.

Durability is one of the key traits of the Shure SM31FH. The whole mic is made of hydrophobic and moisture-prevention materials, which will make it resistant to sweat, humidity, and corrosion. This is why Shure SM31FH is popular among fitness instructors and small stage performers.

With this microphone, you can expect a wireless range of about 300 feet, which is the size of a football field. The options may be limited if you want to adjust the fit and all sound optimization must be performed manually, but if you want an affordable mic, this one should do the trick.

  • Great wireless range
  • Moisture-resistant material
  • QuickScan option to adjust the frequency
  • Great for a smaller budget
  • Requires manual sound optimization
  • The fit might be a bit tight for some

The Sennheiser EW D1 is a high-quality handheld wireless microphone. It is one of the more expensive microphones, but it has a lot of interesting traits.

Once you put it on, you only need to start singing, and the microphone will adjust itself to the surrounding. It will scan the environment and your voice and customize itself to the best frequency. If it detects any overlapping frequencies or interference, it will move on to the next best channel.

The new wireless technology makes the signal extremely reliable. You won’t have to worry about signal loss and connection failure.

You will hear clear audio with low-level latency. The digital sound is processed using the popular aptX Live codec.

The design is sturdy, and the metal construction is stable and durable. You can pay up for a 3-year or 4-year protection plan and you will have a reliable, top-quality mic for years to come.

  • High-quality sound
  • Auto-adjustable
  • Strong and stable wireless technology
  • In the higher price range
  • Short battery life

Pyle-Pro’s PMHMS20 is one of the most affordable headset microphones on the market. It is a viable option for musicians who operate on a tight budget. The PMHMS20 is sold as a wired set with standard XLR connector, but it also has a 4-pin XLR connector for wireless connection. If you decide to go wireless with this one, note that it is compatible with Shure’s body packs.

The PMHMS20 rocks a super-light metal frame with high adjustability. The gooseneck microphone extension is also very flexible and allows you to position the mic to your liking. The frame comes in a flesh-toned beige color and can easily blend with various skin types. Thanks to its discrete design, the PMHMS20 is great for occasions where stealth is a priority.

The microphone on this model is an omni-directional electret condenser unit rated at 130dB SPL. Due to the omni-directional polar pattern, this mic is not the best solution for settings with high levels of background noise. The frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz, and the output impedance is 2000Ω.

  • Stealthy design
  • Great connectivity
  • Compatible with Shure body packs
  • Super-affordable
  • Lacks sturdiness
  • Omni-directional microphone might not be a good solution for loud stages

The MIC-J 071S is an inexpensive headset from JK Global. It is a wireless set, made for use with Sennheiser’s Evolution line of body packs. Compatible models include SK D1, EWD1, G3, G2, X2, and Line 6.

The first thing you’ll notice about the MIC-J 071S is the thin wire frame, with a wire diameter of just 1.2mm. This gives it a super low profile while the beige color makes it virtually indistinguishable from skin. The gooseneck extension is fully adjustable and holds the mic firmly in place.

This headset mic comes with a minute transducer element of 1.5mm diameter and -47dB (+/- 2dB) sensitivity. The polar pattern is omni-directional, which means the microphone will pick up sound equally from all directions. This might be a problem if you’re on a loud stage or close to a monitor speaker. The microphone’s rated frequency range is 20Hz-20kHz, which is pretty standard fare for a headset mic.

The sound quality is more than decent for the price, though the MIC-J 071S can’t compete with the more expensive professional-level equipment. That said, your safest bet would be to use it for quieter settings and gigs. This is also a good option for actors playing in musicals.

  • Affordable
  • Super lightweight
  • Stealthy design
  • Lacks sturdiness
  • Omni-directional microphone is unsuitable for louder settings

Buying Guide for Headset Mics

Selecting the right headset microphone might be tricky, as there are numerous things to consider. Some of them include the directionality of the microphone, connection type, construction quality, comfort, and more. Let’s take a look at what separates the best singing headsets from the rest.

Directionality of the Microphone

Headset microphones, like all other types of microphones, can be unidirectional (also called cardioid), bidirectional, and omni-directional.

Unidirectional models only pick up sound from the front. They are the most popular type with performing musicians and actors, as they offer the best protection from background noise.

Bidirectional microphones are rarely found on headsets, with the market being mostly split between cardioid and omni-directional models. These microphones pick up sound from the front and the back, but not the other directions.

Omni-directional units, however, pick up sound from all directions. Due to the poor filtration of ambient noise, they are not all that popular with actors and musicians.

Wireless vs Wired

When it comes to connectivity, like their conventional counterparts, headset microphones come in two major variants – wired and wireless. There is also a percentage of hybrid models which work with both connection types.

Wireless models usually have a short output cord which goes into the body pack. The most popular brands of body packs are Shure and Sennheiser, and wireless headsets are usually compatible with at least one of them.

Wired headset sets, also known as direct, feature longer output cords and are intended to be plugged directly into a mixer. Wired headsets grant the users less mobility than their wireless counterparts.

Construction

The construction is another thing to consider when choosing the right headset microphone.

The robust and heavy models will generally have a longer life and be more resilient to wear and tear. They will most likely be outfitted with larger microphones and windscreens. They are recommended for settings where stealth is not that important. On the flipside, some users might find them too heavy for prolonged use.

The super-light models are made to fit in seamlessly. They are often finished in beige to mimic natural skin complexion, and they have very small microphones. While great for TV performances and other settings where stealth is a must, super-light headsets often lack sturdiness.

There are quality microphones on both sides and the choice is up to you, which should depend on your preferences and needs.

Wrap Up

Headset microphones are a great solution if you need to move around the stage or play an instrument while you’re singing. If you’re on the hunt for your next (or first) headset mic, be sure to check out some of these.

Gavin Whitner

About Gavin Whitner

A guitar player, songwriter, composer, and also the lead editor of MusicOomph, Gavin is one of the four musician friends behind this site. Outside of music, he's an avid sports fan and hardly misses anything from football (soccer) to F1.

14 thoughts on “Best Headset Microphones for Singing (2020) – Detailed Guide”

  1. I’ve got a Subzero szw-40 which has been great for a few gigs. However I can’t seem to stop a constant hum. I’ve tried every channel, changed the batteries, tried the receiver box in a different circuit but totally stumped! I even bought a mini-xlr converter and tried a normal xlr cable into the mixer, but that didn’t work, as it obviously needs the power pack.

    Any suggestions? I don’t really want to have to buy a new mic when this one has been working but seems to be impossible to get it to work at home for a streaming show! (I’m playing drums so can’t use a normal mic)

    Reply
  2. Hi Gavin…..
    I’ve been using a wired headset for 15 years. The Crown CM311A.
    This is apparently still the top dog condenser head worn.

    I’d like to go completely wireless….

    For the past 15 years I’ve been wired. I made myself a 3 ch snake to leave my body that provides 2 sends and 1 return (instrument, Vox, IEM’s)

    I’m seriously thinking of going totally wireless…… Crown makes a wireless version of the CM311A. Would you recommend anything else?

    And what’s the best wireless systems to use for instrument (bass guitar)
    And IEM’s (currently rocking JH Audio Roxanne’s)

    Thank you for your opinion in advance.

    Reply
    • Hi Thomas, the wireless version of the Crown should work fine. For your bass, you can go with something like the Shure PGXD14. I also like the Shure SE215 Wireless IEMs.

      Reply
  3. Hi Gavin

    Thanks for sharing. Can I seek your advice pls? I’m looking for a headset mic for my daughter, she loves to sing and record herself on the laptop and sometimes on the phone with some music apps. The normal headphones plug won’t go into my android phone.
    I’m bit confused with the gaming sets that’s available in stores which has a similar function but was told its not suitable.

    Reply
    • Hi Patricia,

      The ones in this article are mainly wireless headsets meant for live performers.

      Unless she’d specifically want a headset mic, you can get a high-quality clip-on mic that has a 3.5mm jack, so that she could connect it directly to an Android smartphone and start recording. A good option would be the Rode Smartlav+,

      Reply
  4. Hi Gavin,
    I’m teaching yoga online and need a wireless lavalier mic which I can pair with a set of wireless earbuds to allow me to move around whilst I teach and also listen to my students. Currently using Kimafun wireless mic with a splitter to wired headphones, meaning I’m tethered to my camera. Do you have any suggestions, please? Using Android phone.

    Reply
    • Off the top of my head, Apple AirPods. They’re compatible with Android as well. Serves both of your purposes, they’re compact, and allows to not carry two different devices.

      Reply
  5. Hi there – I’m on the look out for a headset that will pick up the ambient sound maybe even just as well as the vocal – air sounds and all – can you recommend the best omni in that regard (or maybe the worst? hah!)? the Pyle-pro looks like it might work well for this?

    many thanks

    Reply
  6. I recently bought Sennheiser EW D1-ME3 because of the issues with the UHF frequencies being taken by previous one. I have thoroughly enjoyed this mic system. Currently, I am the singer in a rock band in my area and I have had no issues at all with this system. I would not hesitate to buy it again if I needed it.

    Reply
  7. Hi there

    Thanks for this page. It’s very helpful.

    When I finally buy a headset mic for onstage (small venue) vocals, this will be my first. I hope they’re gentle.

    What I haven’t found yet is any site talking about using a headset mic and in-ear monitors. It seems they both want to secure themselves on top of the ear. Is this a problem or is this common?

    Any thoughts will be great appreciated.

    Regards,

    Kevin

    Reply

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