What Microphones Are Best for Outdoor Concerts?

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In the realm of live performances, audio gear, particularly the choice of microphones, is a paramount consideration. With an outdoor concert, the stakes are even higher due to the unique challenges presented by open environments. From uncontrolled noise to weather elements, your audio gear must be up to the task.

Understanding Outdoor Audio Challenges

Before delving into specific microphone recommendations, it’s important to comprehend the unique challenges that outdoor concerts present. Unlike indoor venues, where you can somewhat control acoustics and limit environmental noise, outdoor venues are fraught with unpredictable variables. These include wind noise, traffic noise, environmental echoes, and weather conditions.

The Importance of the Right Microphone

Selecting the right microphone is crucial for overcoming these challenges. High-quality microphones designed for outdoor use typically feature rugged construction, superior wind noise reduction, and advanced pattern configuration. These features can greatly reduce ambient noise pickup and ensure the artist’s voice or instrument cuts through the mix cleanly.

Dynamic Microphones: Your Outdoor Companion

Dynamic microphones are generally the go-to choice for outdoor concerts. They are durable, resistant to moisture (a bonus in unpredictable weather), and excellent at handling high sound pressure levels, making them ideal for loud concerts.

Shure SM58

An industry standard for live vocals, the Shure SM58 boasts a robust build, a cardioid pickup pattern to isolate the main sound source and minimize background noise, and a built-in spherical filter to mitigate wind and breath noise. Its brightened midrange and bass roll-off contribute to its well-loved signature sound.

Sennheiser e935

This dynamic microphone is another excellent choice for outdoor concerts. It features a cardioid pick-up pattern, excellent feedback rejection, and a sturdy metal housing. Its balanced frequency range and slight presence boost make vocals stand out in the mix even in noisy environments.

Shotgun Microphones: For Specific Outdoor Applications

For situations where sound needs to be picked up from a distance, like orchestral or choral outdoor performances, shotgun microphones can be ideal audio gear. They feature a highly directional pickup pattern, making them perfect for focusing on a specific sound source.

Sennheiser MKH 416

A staple in the film and broadcasting industries, this shotgun microphone is suitable for outdoor concerts due to its superb directivity and low self-noise. Its RF condenser design makes it highly resistant to humidity and inclement weather, a frequent concern in outdoor settings.

Audio-Technica AT897

This is a shorter shotgun microphone offering a narrow acceptance angle and excellent sound rejection from the sides and rear. It performs well in adverse weather conditions and provides natural-sounding audio, making it a viable choice for outdoor concerts.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing audio gear for an outdoor concert is a significant investment, and the right microphone can make or break the concert. Consider factors such as the size of your venue, the number of performers, the type of music, and the expected weather conditions when making your choice. With the right mic in your toolkit, you can ensure a memorable concert experience, captivating your audience with unrivaled audio clarity and quality.In some cases, it’s better to get microphones (and other gear) from an audio/visual service. Companies like Kaleidoscope Productions in Denver provide industry-approved gear and they have experience with several outdoor events. Rather than spend money and time trying to get the right gear, leave it to the experts.

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