When you start building your own home studio mainly for vocals recording sessions, it is absolutely necessary that you find a microphone that can satisfy your needs and meet your requirements considering the sound quality.
There are many affordable options in the market, and we have gathered some of the best microphones suitable for home recordings. The price range is between $50 and $250, and their specifications verify that they are microphones that fit the needs of every home studio.
Whether you are a beginner artist that is just starting out and want to record your demos, or an independent artist that wants to record his vocals over his music in order to distribute his official song to his audience, you have to make sure that you purchase the right microphone for the occasion.
Home studios sometimes tends to be poorly equipped, so you should make sure that you have all the necessary equipment that are essential in order to operate the microphone you are about to purchase correctly.
For instance, you should expand your budget’s limits and acquire an audio interface or a small mixing console. Both these hardware machines have phantom power, which is necessary in order to operate a condenser microphone.
On the other hand, if you do not own an audio interface and you do not have the ability to purchase one right now, you should focus on USB condenser microphones, that use the USB port as their power supplier and do not need other external devices to work properly.
Before purchasing a mic for your home recordings, consider these:
The price of the microphone is the first thing you need to consider when you are on a budget. Most beginners, when they start equipping their home studios they do not have the ability to purchase expensive microphones with the highest quality standards.
This is the reason why we have gathered some of the most affordable microphone solutions, which guarantee the delivery of absolutely exceptional sound quality, within very logical price ranges.
The quality of the microphone depends on the amount of money you are willing to spend. That means that more money you invest into buying a microphone, the higher the quality of the mic.
That being said, you need to focus on microphones that have decent quality considering every type of recording, such as vocal and instrument recordings, in order to be able to operate your studio with the use of only one microphone.
The features of the microphone are another very important matter when it comes to purchasing a microphone. Buying microphone bundles, can help you equip your studio much faster with all the necessary items you may need, and in very affordable prices that would be much higher if you were to purchase each item separately.
The functionality of the microphone is a key factor. You should read about the specifications of the microphone you are about to purchase, and buy the one that is more suitable for the kind of vocals you are about to record in your home studio. For instance, if you record mainly male vocalists, you should focus on a microphone with better low ends, to enhance the depth and stability of those vocals.
Best condenser mic for home recording
1 – Samson G-Track
The Samson G-Track is considered to be one of the microphones that are capable of recording both vocals for songs and for podcasts. The sound quality it provides is decent, and it comes with most of the features most people are looking to find in a bundle.
The mic’s on board control tend to be a little confusing. On the positive side, you can control the mix and the gain very easily with simple moves, and you can experiment in order to find out which is the appropriate sound for your vocals.
The Samson G-Track has great capabilities when it comes to enhancing your vocals, whether you use it to record your songs or your podcasts. You can adjust the mix and the gain and add special characteristics to your voice without confusing processes.
The frequency range of the microphone is between 20Hz and 16kHz. You can see that the high frequency range is lower than what most other similar microphones offer, which is a minor disadvantage.
The overall sound quality of the microphone is decent, and it is extremely satisfying for beginners and those that want to record demo versions of their songs, without many requirements concerning high standard sound quality.
The Samson G-Track uses a supercardioid condenser, which tends to capture a lot of ambient and room noise along with good quality vocal and instrument sounds. In the package, there is included a short desk stand and a mount which are nice additions along with the microphone.
The microphone is a nice choice for beginner musicians and artists. It gives you the ability to record both electric and acoustic instruments with decent quality, and it does a better job record vocals. Apart from its on board switches and controls, which are confusing, the overall sound quality of the microphone is great.
2 – Studio Projects B1
The B1 is a large diaphragm, cardioid condenser microphone, with a very elegant design and amazingly low self-noise. The microphone will improve any home studio’s recording experience and has many applications that make it capable of performing extremely well in any occasion.
It comes in a very affordable, which is why it has become one the most famous condenser microphones. It delivers excellent sound quality with its 1 inch large diaphragm which sits in a pressure gradient transducer capsule.
The Studio Projects B1 works great with vocals and instruments equally, which makes the microphone extremely valuable. It offers a characteristic natural and slightly enhanced high end, which is perfect in order to avoid muddiness and flat sound.
It has very thick low ends that help to give the impression of depth, especially when it comes to male vocals that have many lower frequencies. The SP B1 does not have a very wide sweet spot, this is why you have to position it carefully in front of the sound source, in order to get the best recording results possible.
It is easier to use when you are mainly working with vocalists because you can give specific instructions when it comes to positioning. In the case of room recording, or multiple instruments it gets a bit more difficult, as you cannot place it in front of a particular sound source, and the sound may get a little muddy due to the room space.
In order to get maximum sound quality results out of the Studio Projects B1, you can connect it to a decent pre-amplifier, with a flat or dark type of sound. Make sure that you add a nice de-esser to the vocals you are about to record, because the B1 tends to add more than enough character and brightness, especially on female vocals.
3 – AKG C3000
The AKG C3000 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone. A pre-amplifier with phantom power is required in order to operate the mic the right way. It is suitable for studio use, whether you have a home or a professional studio, but it is not completely fit for external recordings.
The microphone has a cardioid pickup pattern, which is a minor disadvantage if you compare it with similar microphones that have multiple pickup patterns. This can be however justified by its very low price when you compare it to the competition.
The AKG C3000 is a very suitable microphone for most home studio, as it works extremely well with vocals, even in rooms that are not fully soundproofed. Many people tend to use this particular microphone to record pianos, acoustic guitars and other string instruments, and claim that it delivers amazing results.
You are advised to use the microphone with not so bright instruments, because it tends to add a certain kind of character on its own, and can also be used as a room microphone as it can work well with spacing and does not capture so man unwanted sounds and noises such as air. It can also be used be paired with other mics for stereo recordings.
Using a decent pre-amplifier to enhance the sound of the microphone is advised, in order to boost the sound and receive higher quality signal from the sound source. It is a great microphone for home studios, and for sound engineers that do not expect too many things from a single mic.
The AKG C3000 is a fascinating, large diaphragm, condenser microphone that performs really well when it comes to vocal recordings, and enhances the nature of the sound, without keeping it dull or flat in any way.
4 – Shure PGA27-LC
The Shure PGA27-LC is a microphone designed to work in every single home studio occasion. That means that it works amazingly well both with vocals and instruments, and it delivers excellent sound quality results, even in the most requiring recordings.
The microphone has a very affordable price, and has a very beautiful design, like the rest of the performance microphones from the Shure PG series.
The PGA27-LC, uses a center-terminated, large diaphragm, true condenser capsule which externally biased, along with a 6-micron, 27mm diaphragm. The outside diameter of the capsule is around 35mm. Although the company claims a flat or neutral response for the microphone, users state that there is a subtle but significant presence boost around 6kHz and 12kHz.
The Shure PGA27-LC is very suitable for louder sound sources, due to its self-noise, which is much better than the rest of the similar microphones. As a result, the recording tend to be cleaner this way, and the microphone delivers a maximum quality of sound.
Except the louder sound sources, the microphone is suitable for almost every other sound source due to its onboard -20db pad which raises the microphone’s SPL to 154db. In the package, there is also included a metal mount stand adapter and a storage pouch. Furthermore, there are other optional items included such as the A32WS windscreen and the A27SM elastic shockmount.
Overall, the PGA27-LC, is a great microphone, which is suitable for every home studio and works properly under any circumstances with no reported issues. It delivers great value for its money, and it is an excellent option for beginners and professionals.
5 – MXL 990
The MXL 990 comes as a straight up condenser microphone and XY stereo. For both of these configurations, there are also USB versions. The microphone is designed and engineered in an amazing way, and it provides a very strong and stable feeling to the owner.
There is a FET pre-amplifier featured in the electronics of the microphone and a transformerless design, both of which can be found in vintage sound equipment of the past decades. The microphone has very little self-noise and its dynamic range is significantly expanded.
The MXL 990 has a lot smaller housing than most of the large diaphragm condenser microphones available in the market. The mic is extremely quiet, and this makes it deliver high quality clean sound when recording vocals or instruments.
The overall sound of the microphone could be characterized as subtle, but you can listen to some presence in the mid and mid-high frequencies, that is enough to enhance the brightness of the microphone, especially when it comes to vocals and quieter acoustic instruments.
In order to achieve even higher sound quality, you can plug the MXL 990 into a tube pre-amplifier and combine their sounds. This way, I can provide an amazing depth to the vocals, especially heavies ones that have nice lower frequencies. It can also boost the presence of the vocals, and add a little character to the higher frequencies to make the vocals stand out.
The MXL 990 delivers excellent performance, is suitable for most home studios, no matter the level of soundproofing, although a well-soundproofed room adds a lot to the sound, and makes it much cleaner. The very affordable price, makes it one of the most popular choices among condenser microphones, even for individuals with limited available budgets.