Stereo recordings can easily be made at home!
If that seems unbelievable to you, you just have to scroll down...
Once you have read this article you will know which mics to get for the best stereo recordings!
Plus, we have also covered stereo-in-one mics, to save space and money!
But when do you actually need stereo mics?
Stereo recordings are a great way to record a single instrument in an interesting acoustic environment: this way you can pick up the unique reverb of the room to make your musical track special.
Of course, stereo setups are also useful with two or more instruments, as well as choirs, as they let you pick up a wide soundstage with multiple performers.
Finally, stereo mics can be used to record soundscapes and allow you to capture many acoustic environments and their sound elements.
Now let’s take a look at nine pairs and three single mics for top-notch stereo recordings.
The 12 Best Stereo Mics of 2020 include:
Let’s begin with a high-quality stereo pair: the Josephson C42 are small-diaphragm condenser microphones that feature a cardioid polar pattern…
They deliver exceptional sound quality that is exceptionally crisp and clear.
One of their greatest advantages is their versatility: they can be used to record almost any instrument, whether it is acoustic or amplified, loud or quiet, big or small…
Plus, these are microphones that will last for years: they are made with exceptionally good materials, offering robust build quality.
Their protective case that is included in the package adds even more to durability, while it also allows you to carry them around.
Note that their price is not low, but it is quite reasonable for what they offer.
The only objection one might have about the Josephson C42 is that the captured sound might seem a little on the bright side for some people, as they tend to put emphasis on the highs.
All in all, if you are looking for an all-around pair of stereo mics, you might want to take a look at a couple of Josephson C42.
Do you like mics that both look and sound good?
Then you’ll probably love a pair of SE RN17 mics for stereo recordings!
This pair of stereo mics provide you with amazingly balanced sound performance. The recording keeps a natural quality that makes you feel like you are exactly in front of the instrument that you hear!
Plus, you can use the RN17 practically for everything: from vocal performances to drum overheads and from brass instruments to string ensembles, it will record with accuracy and clarity.
Do you need something more?
Well, you’ll be happy to know that you can change the cardioid capsule: if you buy additional different capsules, you can turn this mic into an omnidirectional one!
Plus, its build quality is robust, so it will last for years to come.
So, what about the looks?
The SE RN17 comes with a distinctive design and matte black finish that complements its sleek and modern look.
Sadly, this mic is quite pricey.
In short, the SE RN17 is highly recommended as a stereo pair as long as you can afford it.
For those of you who love popular old mics, I would advise you to take a look at the AKG C451 B.
This mic is a redesign of the discontinued AKG C451-C, which was a popular condenser microphone decades ago.
The new AKG C451 B comes with the same high-quality, cardioid capsule as the old one.
It offers amazing sound quality with exceptional clarity and detail.
One great thing is the fact that this stereo pair won’t “color” your recordings, as it comes with relatively flat frequency response.
Do you sometimes wish that you could easily protect your mics from sources that are too loud?
These mics come with an attenuation pad that offers three options: -10 dB, -20 dB, and off.
Plus, there is a three-position dial for a high-pass filter, too!
On the downside, one would expect an interchangeable capsule design at this price point, but unfortunately, this is not the case with the AKG C451 B.
How could we make a list of the best mics without at least one Neumann model?
The well-reputed company has created a pair of mics that have become almost a standard in many studio applications.
The KM184 is essentially a compact, small-diaphragm condenser mic that is well-known for its warm sound performance.
Just like the previous mic we reviewed, this one is based on a previous popular model, the Neumann KM84.
It is quite a versatile mic that can be used in many applications, and many users have praised the stereo pair’s performance on drums and acoustic guitars.
The pair ships with a beautiful wooden box, as well as windscreens and stand joints for the mics.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a Neumann model, the KM184 falls on the expensive side. Although the sound quality justifies the price, we would expect a high-pass filter or an attenuation pad in this price range, but unfortunately there isn’t
All in all, the Neumann KM184s are a safe choice for a pair of small-diaphragm microphones that can be carried around with ease.
Are you fed up with all these high-priced stereo sets?
I know how that feels… Not everyone who wants to buy a pair of mics for stereo recordings can spend a small fortune on them.
Luckily, there are budget-friendly stereo sets, and the proof for that is the Shure SM137!
Just like the other mics we have seen until now, the Shure SM137 is a single microphone that can be bought in pairs for stereo recordings. It comes with a cardioid polar pattern that allows it to record just what you place in front of it.
One great thing about this mic is the flat frequency response. That means that you record the sound exactly as it is, without any alteration.
As you can guess, more high-priced models can give you even more sonic detail, but the sound performance is OK for the price
Shure has been well-known for producing sturdy and durable products, and that is also the case with the SM137.
It also features a -15 attenuation pad to protect it from loud sources.
Each of the mics ships with a tripod mount, a soft case, and a windscreen.
All in all, the Shure SM137 is great for anyone on a low budget.
Do you love ribbon mics and want to make stereo recordings with them?
Then you should absolutely check the Royer SF-12!
This is a high-quality mic that includes two ribbon microphones in a single body.
That allows you to easily place it wherever you want to capture both the instrument and the acoustic environment around it. The stereo imaging it creates is very realistic and detailed.
It also comes with technology that lets you easily separate the left from the right signal for editing.
Moreover, you can record in mono, using one side of the microphone.
The SF-12 is a passive microphone, but if you want exactly the same microphone but active, you can get the SF-24!
The main drawback of both mics is their price: they are really expensive, and sometimes not affordable even for professionals in the audio field.
On the whole, both the Royer SF-12 and the Royer SF-24 are a great option for a ribbon mic stereo set and they provide you with great audio quality, but they are very pricey.
The second product from Shure here is a little more expensive than the previous one, but it still comes at a reasonable price.
The Shure SM81 is a condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern, that you can buy in pairs to create a stereo set.
Its linear frequency response lets you record acoustic instruments such as guitars, pianos, and cymbals without worrying about the mics coloring the sound.
But why is this important?
When a stereo set records with a linear response, you get natural-sounding recordings and you have more room for editing them later on.
The SM81 is made of steel, continuing the tradition of robust Shure products.
It also features an attenuation dial, that lets you record at -10 dB, protecting the mic from potentially dangerous loud sound sources.
Moreover, it comes with a selectable high-pass filter with three options: flat, 6 or 18 dB/octave roll-off.
Its price point is reasonable, but it is true that there are also equally good (even better mics) at this price.
Now let’s take a look at another budget-friendly option….
The Studio Projects C4 MKII is a pair of condenser microphones that come at a very competitive price.
Do you want to know their best feature right away?
Well, they come with an interchangeable capsule system that allows you to change their polar pattern according to your needs! You can choose between a hyper-cardioid, a cardioid, and a ball capsule.
Moreover, they come with an attenuation pad that lets you record sound at either -10 dB or -20 dB.
But that’s not all!
They also feature a high-pass filter at either 75 or 150 Hz!
The package includes two mic clips and two windscreens.
On the downside, please note that these mics are quite fragile and you need to change the capsules with great care. The same applies to carrying them, as they don’t ship with a carrying case.
In short, if you need an affordable set of microphones that allows you to change their polar patterns, the Studio Projects C4 MKII is an optimal choice!
Rode is a well-known company for its inexpensive and high-quality products, and the NT5 is no exception to this rule.
The NT5 is actually a matched pair of two small-diaphragm, condenser microphones with a cardioid polar pattern.
They deliver crisp and crystal clear sound for every occasion, and they have been widely used for choirs, as well as overheads for drum sets.
The cardioid capsule is removable, and you can even purchase an omnidirectional capsule for bigger versatility.
The materials that have been used for this microphone ensure sturdy build quality. That enhances durability, along with Rode’s 10-year warranty that is available if you register your product.
Are you still not convinced?
Then you have to check the price! The Rode NT5 is actually a very budget-friendly stereo pair!
The only downside is that these mics don’t come with any built-in high-pass filter, so you will need audio software to do that.
Here comes a single mic that allows you to create stereo recordings easily.
It is basically a condenser microphone, so it requires 48 Volts of power supply, but it can also work on a 9-Volt battery.
The Rode NT4 comes with identical capsules compared to the NT5 we just reviewed, but it is much handier as it is actually a single stereo microphone.
That is also the reason for the higher price compared to a pair of NT5 mics.
Besides that, it is a microphone with a robust build quality that will last for years.
It ships with a plastic case, along with two specialty cable adapters: one that ends in 2 separate XLR cables, or a stereo mini-jack to use with a camera.
These cables also allow you to easily split the left and right signals, making it easier to edit the sound after recording.
Now, let’s move to another great option for a single stereo mic
The Audio-Technica AT2022 comes with electret condenser technology that doesn’t require phantom power to work.
The mic is battery-powered and comes in a compact size that adds to portability.
Do you want to know what the best thing about this mic is?
Well, it comes with very useful features for field recording.
The first one is its ability to record in two different angles: either 90 or 120 degrees, depending on what you want to include in your recording.
The second one is the onboard high-pass filter that allows you to easily get rid of low-end unwanted noise such as windy sounds.
The package includes a stand clamp, an AA battery, fuzzy windscreen, and a small cable with a 3.5 mm stereo plug.
Sadly, the unbalanced connection of this mic can make it a bit tricky to separate the left and right signals.
All in all, the Audio-Technica AT2022 is a highly recommended mic for stereo field recordings, thanks to its swiveling angles and portable design.
Last but not least, the Blue Yeti might sound like a monster, but it is actually a budget-friendly stereo mic!
It can record in stereo mode, but that’s not all…
It is versatile, as you can switch between different polar patterns such as bidirectional, omnidirectional, and cardioid.
Another great thing about this mic is the fact that it comes with USB connectivity, along with wide compatibility with different operating systems. That makes it really easy to set up and start recording.
Do you also love it when mics come with a clever design?
Then you will adore the incorporated tripod that this mic features! You just unfold its legs, and you can place it on your desk in no time!
As I said before, this mic comes at a low price, and consequently, its sound quality is not as detailed and accurate compared to more high-end models. But it is still good for simple tasks.
Well, as you have probably realized, there are so many great options for stereo microphones out there!
Now it’s your turn to choose!
Pick the mics that are closer to your budget and needs, and choose one of them!
It’s time to make some stereo recordings!