The Most Expensive Microphones: Factors, Brands, And Models

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Discover the factors that impact microphone prices and explore the top brands, vintage models, limited editions, high-end studio options, and specialty custom-made microphones available on the market. Whether you’re a professional or an enthusiast, find the perfect microphone for your needs.

Factors that Affect Microphone Price

When it comes to purchasing a microphone, there are several factors that can influence its price. Understanding these factors can help you make an informed decision and choose the right microphone for your needs. In this section, we will explore the key factors that affect microphone price: brand reputation, build quality, technology and features, and the rarity or limited edition models.

Brand Reputation

One of the primary factors that can impact the price of a microphone is the brand reputation. Established and well-known brands tend to have a higher price tag compared to lesser-known brands. This is because reputable brands have built a strong reputation over the years by consistently delivering high-quality products.

When you invest in a microphone from a reputable brand, you can expect superior craftsmanship, excellent performance, and reliable customer support. These brands often have a long history of producing top-notch microphones and have gained the trust and loyalty of professionals in the industry. However, it’s worth noting that brand reputation alone doesn’t guarantee the best microphone for your specific needs.

Build Quality

The build quality of a microphone plays a crucial role in determining its price. Microphones that are built using premium materials and undergo meticulous manufacturing processes tend to be more expensive. These high-quality materials and craftsmanship ensure durability, longevity, and optimal performance.

Microphones with robust build quality are designed to withstand the rigors of studio or live performances. They are built to last, even under demanding conditions, and offer consistent sound reproduction. Additionally, microphones with superior build quality often include features like shock mounts or internal pop filters to minimize unwanted vibrations or plosive sounds.

Technology and Features

The technology and features incorporated into a microphone can greatly influence its price. Advancements in microphone technology have led to the development of innovative features that enhance sound quality and offer greater versatility.

For example, some microphones may include advanced polar pattern options, such as cardioid, omnidirectional, or figure-eight, allowing you to adjust the microphone’s sensitivity to different sound sources. Others may have built-in filters or pads to adjust the frequency response or attenuate high sound pressure levels.

Additionally, microphones with digital connectivity options, such as USB or Bluetooth, provide convenience and ease of use for recording directly into computers or mobile devices. These technological advancements and features contribute to the overall cost of the microphone.

Rarity or Limited Edition Models

Rarity or limited edition models can significantly drive up the price of a microphone. These are often special versions or re-issues of iconic microphones that have gained legendary status in the audio industry. Limited production quantities, unique aesthetics, or exclusive design elements make these microphones highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

These limited edition models often come with a premium price tag due to their scarcity and the added value they offer. Owning a rare or limited edition microphone not only provides you with a high-quality recording tool but also a piece of audio history.

(Table: Factors that Affect Microphone Price)

Factors Impact on Price
Brand Reputation Higher price for reputable brands
Build Quality Premium materials and craftsmanship
Technology and Features Innovative features and advanced technology
Rarity or Limited Edition Scarcity and added value for collectors

Remember, the price of a microphone is not always indicative of its performance or suitability for your specific requirements. It’s essential to carefully evaluate the features, specifications, and sound characteristics of different microphones to find the one that meets your recording needs and budget.

Most Expensive Microphone Brands

When it comes to high-quality microphones, there are a few brands that stand out above the rest. These brands have built a reputation for producing top-notch audio equipment that is used by professionals in the industry. In this section, we will take a closer look at some of the most expensive microphone brands available today.


Neumann is a legendary brand in the world of microphones. For over 90 years, Neumann has been known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. Their microphones are considered some of the best in the industry and are often used in professional recording studios and broadcast facilities.

One of the most famous models from Neumann is the U87. This microphone is highly regarded for its warm and smooth sound, making it a favorite among recording engineers and vocalists. The U87 is known for its versatility and can be used for a wide range of applications, including vocals, instruments, and broadcasting.


Telefunken is another brand that is synonymous with high-quality microphones. Founded in Germany in 1903, Telefunken has a long history of producing top-of-the-line audio equipment. Their microphones are known for their exceptional build quality and vintage-inspired designs.

One of Telefunken’s most sought-after microphones is the U47. This microphone has become a legend in the recording industry and is highly coveted by professionals and collectors alike. The U47 is known for its warm and rich sound, making it a popular choice for capturing vocals and instruments.


Sony is a brand that needs no introduction. Known for their innovative technology and high-quality products, Sony has made a name for themselves in various industries, including audio equipment. Their microphones are no exception.

One of Sony’s flagship microphones is the C-800G. This microphone is often referred to as a “studio standard” due to its exceptional sound quality and versatility. The C-800G is widely used in recording studios and is particularly well-suited for capturing vocals with incredible detail and clarity.


Sennheiser is a brand that has been synonymous with quality audio equipment for decades. Known for their commitment to innovation and cutting-edge technology, Sennheiser microphones are highly regarded in the professional audio community.

One of Sennheiser’s most popular microphones is the MKH 8000 Series. This series includes several models that are designed for different recording applications. Whether you need a microphone for vocals, instruments, or broadcasting, the MKH 8000 Series has you covered. These microphones are known for their exceptional sound quality and reliability.

Vintage Microphones with High Price Tags

Neumann U47

The Neumann U47 is one of the most sought-after vintage microphones in the industry, known for its exceptional sound quality and iconic design. It was first introduced in the late 1940s and quickly became a staple in recording studios around the world. The U47 features a large diaphragm condenser capsule and a dual-triode vacuum tube, which contribute to its warm and smooth sound.

One of the factors that make the Neumann U47 highly valuable is its rarity. Only a limited number of U47s were produced, and finding one in good condition can be a challenge. Additionally, the craftsmanship and build quality of the U47 are exceptional, with its solid metal body and precision-engineered components.

The sound of the Neumann U47 is often described as rich, detailed, and full-bodied. It has a natural and transparent character that brings out the best in vocals and instruments. Many legendary artists and producers have relied on the U47 to capture their performances, including Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson.


The AKG C12 is another vintage microphone that commands a high price tag. It was first introduced in the 1950s and quickly gained a reputation for its pristine audio quality and versatility. The C12 features a large diaphragm condenser capsule and a unique nine-pattern switch, allowing for precise control over the pickup pattern.

The AKG C12 is highly regarded for its smooth and detailed sound. It has a slightly brighter character compared to the U47, making it particularly well-suited for capturing vocals and acoustic instruments. The C12 also has a distinctive presence boost, which adds clarity and definition to recordings.

Like the U47, the AKG C12 is a rare find in today’s market. Its limited production numbers and the fact that it was discontinued make it a highly sought-after microphone among collectors and audio enthusiasts. The build quality of the C12 is exceptional, with its rugged metal body and high-quality components ensuring longevity and reliability.


The RCA 44-BX is a classic ribbon microphone that has become synonymous with vintage sound. It was first introduced in the 1930s and quickly became a favorite among broadcasters and recording engineers. The 44-BX features a large ribbon element that is suspended between two powerful magnets, allowing it to capture sound with exceptional accuracy and detail.

The sound of the RCA 44-BX is often described as warm, smooth, and vintage. It has a unique ability to add a sense of nostalgia and character to recordings, making it a favorite for capturing vocals, brass instruments, and drums. The 44-BX has a figure-eight polar pattern, which means it captures sound equally from the front and back, but rejects sound from the sides.

Due to its age and limited production, finding a working RCA 44-BX can be quite challenging. However, its unique sound and historical significance make it a highly sought-after microphone among vintage enthusiasts and collectors. The RCA 44-BX is also known for its robust build quality, with its heavy metal body and sturdy construction ensuring durability over the years.

Telefunken U47

The Telefunken U47 is often considered a direct competitor to the Neumann U47, as both microphones were introduced around the same time and offer similar sound characteristics. The U47 from Telefunken features a large diaphragm condenser capsule and a dual-triode vacuum tube, just like its Neumann counterpart.

The sound of the Telefunken U47 is often described as warm, smooth, and vintage, with a slightly different tonal character compared to the Neumann U47. It has a rich low-end, smooth midrange, and detailed high frequencies, making it ideal for capturing vocals, guitars, and drums. The U47 has a selectable polar pattern, allowing for versatile recording options.

The Telefunken U47 is highly regarded for its build quality and craftsmanship. It was built to withstand the test of time, with its solid metal body and high-quality components ensuring longevity and reliability. Like other vintage microphones, the Telefunken U47 is a rare find in today’s market, and finding one in good condition can be a challenge.

Limited Edition Microphones

Limited edition microphones are highly sought after by audio enthusiasts and professionals alike. These special models are often released to commemorate significant milestones or to celebrate the legacy of iconic microphone brands. In this section, we will explore three exceptional limited edition microphones: the Neumann U47 FET Reissue, the Sony C-800G Anniversary Edition, and the Telefunken ELA M 251E Diamond Edition.

Neumann U47 FET Reissue

The Neumann U47 FET Reissue is a tribute to the legendary U47 tube microphone, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest microphones ever created. The original U47 was known for its warm and rich sound, making it a favorite among recording engineers for capturing vocals and instruments with exceptional detail and clarity.

The U47 FET Reissue replicates the iconic design and sound of its predecessor but with modern advancements. It features a solid-state design, replacing the original tube circuitry with a field-effect transistor (FET) amplifier. This modification ensures stability and reliability while preserving the distinctive character of the U47.

Neumann meticulously handcrafts each U47 FET Reissue, employing the same techniques and attention to detail as the original U47. This limited edition microphone comes in a luxurious wooden case and includes a certificate of authenticity, further enhancing its exclusivity and value.

Sony C-800G Anniversary Edition

The Sony C-800G Anniversary Edition commemorates the legacy of the C-800G, a microphone highly regarded in the music industry for its exceptional performance in capturing vocals. Sony has been a prominent player in the audio industry for decades, and the C-800G is a testament to their commitment to excellence.

The C-800G Anniversary Edition retains the distinctive design and sonic characteristics of the original microphone while incorporating advancements in technology. It features a large-diaphragm condenser capsule with a dual diaphragm, allowing for precise sound reproduction and minimizing unwanted noise.

Sony has spared no expense in crafting this limited edition microphone. The body is adorned with intricate gold accents, giving it an air of elegance and sophistication. Each microphone is individually serialized, further emphasizing its exclusivity.

Telefunken ELA M 251E Diamond Edition

The Telefunken ELA M 251E Diamond Edition pays homage to the legendary ELA M 251, a microphone renowned for its exceptional clarity and warmth. The original ELA M 251 was highly sought after in the 1960s and 1970s and has since become a coveted collector’s item.

The ELA M 251E Diamond Edition is a modern reinterpretation of this iconic microphone. Telefunken has incorporated the original CK12 capsule, which is known for its pristine audio capture and detailed sonic reproduction. This limited edition version also features a diamond-studded grille, adding a touch of luxury and opulence.

Telefunken’s commitment to quality is evident in every aspect of the ELA M 251E Diamond Edition. From the meticulously handcrafted body to the precision electronics, no detail is overlooked. Each microphone is packaged in a specially designed flight case, ensuring its protection during transportation and storage.

High-End Studio Microphones

When it comes to high-end studio microphones, there are a few standout models that have gained a reputation for their exceptional audio quality and versatility. In this section, we will explore four such microphones: the Neumann U87, Sennheiser MKH 8000 Series, AKG C414 XLII, and Audio-Technica AT5040. Each of these microphones offers unique features and characteristics that make them popular among professional audio engineers and musicians.

Neumann U87

One of the most iconic and widely used studio microphones is the Neumann U87. Known for its warm and smooth sound, the U87 is a go-to choice for recording vocals, instruments, and even broadcasting. Its versatility lies in its three polar patterns – cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8 – which allow for precise control over the microphone’s pickup pattern.

With its solid build quality and attention to detail, the U87 has become a staple in recording studios around the world. Its frequency response is incredibly accurate, capturing every nuance and detail of the sound source. Whether it’s capturing the subtle harmonics of a singer’s voice or the intricate tonal variations of a piano, the U87 delivers exceptional results.

Sennheiser MKH 8000 Series

The Sennheiser MKH 8000 Series is another high-end microphone range that has earned its place in professional studios. This series includes various models, such as the MKH 8020, MKH 8040, and MKH 8050, each with its own specific characteristics and applications. These microphones are known for their exceptional transient response and accuracy, making them ideal for capturing highly detailed and dynamic sound sources.

The MKH 8000 Series microphones feature interchangeable capsules, allowing users to adapt the microphone’s pickup pattern to suit different recording scenarios. This versatility makes them a favorite among recording engineers who work with a wide range of instruments and vocals. Whether it’s a delicate acoustic guitar or a powerful opera singer, the MKH 8000 Series delivers exceptional clarity and realism.


The AKG C414 XLII is a legendary studio microphone that has been in production for decades. Its reputation for versatility and high-quality sound has made it a top choice for recording engineers and producers worldwide. The C414 XLII features a nine-position polar pattern selector, allowing users to choose the perfect pickup pattern for any recording situation.

This microphone excels at capturing vocals, acoustic instruments, and even loud amplifiers. Its extended frequency response ensures accurate reproduction of the entire audio spectrum, from the deepest lows to the highest highs. With its robust construction and advanced features, the AKG C414 XLII is a reliable and versatile tool for any studio.

Audio-Technica AT5040

The Audio-Technica AT5040 is a microphone that embodies the pursuit of sonic perfection. Designed with a unique rectangular diaphragm, the AT5040 offers exceptional transient response and a wide dynamic range. This microphone is specifically crafted to capture the finest details of a sound source, making it a favorite among demanding recording professionals.

The AT5040’s transformer-coupled output ensures optimal performance and low self-noise, allowing for pristine recordings even in the most critical applications. Its precision-machined housing and advanced internal shock mounting system further enhance its performance by minimizing unwanted vibrations and handling noise.

Specialty and Custom-Made Microphones

When it comes to specialty and custom-made microphones, there are a few brands that stand out in the industry. These microphones are designed with specific purposes in mind, whether it’s for recording vocals, instruments, or capturing sound in unique environments. In this section, we will explore four exceptional microphones that have gained recognition for their exceptional performance and craftsmanship.

Brauner VM1S

The Brauner VM1S is a microphone that is highly regarded for its exceptional sound quality and versatility. This microphone is handmade in Germany and is known for its warm and transparent sound reproduction. It features a large-diaphragm condenser design, which allows for capturing even the finest details of a sound source.

With its wide frequency response and low self-noise, the Brauner VM1S is a popular choice among recording studios and professional musicians. Whether you are recording vocals, acoustic instruments, or even orchestras, this microphone delivers outstanding results. Its unique design and craftsmanship make it a valuable addition to any professional recording setup.

Earthworks SR40V

The Earthworks SR40V is a microphone that is specifically designed for vocal recordings. This microphone offers exceptional clarity and detail, making it a favorite among singers and recording engineers. It features a small-diaphragm condenser design, which allows for capturing the nuances of the human voice with incredible accuracy.

The SR40V is known for its extended frequency response, which ensures that every vocal nuance is captured faithfully. It also boasts a high SPL handling capability, making it suitable for capturing powerful and dynamic performances. Whether you are a professional singer or a recording engineer looking for the perfect vocal microphone, the Earthworks SR40V is an excellent choice.

Soundelux U99

The Soundelux U99 is a microphone that is highly regarded for its vintage-inspired sound and craftsmanship. This microphone is hand-built in the United States and is designed to emulate the classic microphones of the past. It features a large-diaphragm condenser design, which offers a warm and rich sound reproduction.

The U99 is known for its versatility and ability to capture a wide range of sound sources. Whether you are recording vocals, acoustic instruments, or even drums, this microphone delivers exceptional results. Its unique design and attention to detail make it a favorite among recording enthusiasts who appreciate the vintage sound.

Townsend Labs Sphere L22

The Townsend Labs Sphere L22 is a microphone that revolutionizes the concept of microphone modeling. This microphone combines a large-diaphragm condenser design with advanced software processing to provide an unprecedented level of control and flexibility. It allows you to change the polar pattern, proximity effect, and even microphone model after the recording has been made.

With the Sphere L22, you can capture the sound of legendary microphones from the past, including classics like the Neumann U47 and the Telefunken ELA M 251E. This microphone is a game-changer for recording engineers and producers who want the ability to experiment with different microphone sounds in post-production.

In conclusion, specialty and custom-made microphones offer unique solutions for recording professionals and enthusiasts. Whether you are looking for a microphone with exceptional sound quality, vintage-inspired tones, or groundbreaking technology, there are options available to suit your needs. The Brauner VM1S, Earthworks SR40V, Soundelux U99, and Townsend Labs Sphere L22 are just a few examples of the exceptional microphones that are pushing the boundaries of audio recording.

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