Not all people have the ability to invest large amounts of money into buying a super high quality microphone for their recordings. This applies mostly for musicians or sound engineers that are just starting their careers or for amateurs that want to equip their home studio.
Fortunately, these days you do not need to have a fortune in order to purchase a decent microphone to start recording. There are many excellent and affordable mics available in the market, and all you have to do is make the right research in order to find them.
We have collected some of the best cheap microphones in the market and we have compiled all their characteristics to give you an idea about what microphone you should be looking for, whether you need it to record your songs, vocals or even your podcasts.
You are going to need a minimum amount of money, between $100 and $200. If that amount of money still sounds too expensive for you, you have to know that they are great prices when it comes to microphones, although you can find even cheaper ones.
Most of them are single mics. If you want, you can find them as bundles too for a bit higher price but we think that it is worth the money. In the bundles there are usually included a shockmount, pop filter cables and a case, although there are a lot different versions of bundles with music software, guides, tutorials etc.
What to consider regarding affordable microphones
Quality is always the most important thing to look when it comes to sound equipment. You need to be sure that the microphone you are about to purchase is the right one for the job you are going to use it.
For instance, you should know if you are going to need it for home recordings or professional studio recordings, whether you are going to work in a fully soundproof or a semi soundproof studio or whether you are going to record mostly vocals or instruments.
Try to find the microphone that suits you best according to you budget. Do not exceed your limitations so that you can have the overall control over your purchase, but keep in mind to invest as much as possible so that you can get a quality mic that will provide the appropriate results.
Make sure that you always move within an affordable price range, because most of the times you are going to need also an audio interface, studio monitors and other equipment that require decent amounts of money.
Functionality is one of the most important characteristics for condenser microphones. You need to make sure that the microphone you have chosen is applicable to the devices you are about to use it.
Always check about USB or XLR ports both on the microphone and on your other equipment to be certain that you will avoid having connectivity problems between them.
Microphones usually come as bundles too with many extra features. They have carrying cases, shockmounts, cables that are necessary in order to use them properly, pop filter for cleaner recordings and many more.
Make sure that you search about those features before you decide on your purchase, because the prices of the bundles are usually a bargain, and they will help you save some money.
Best condenser mic for the money
1 – IK Multimedia iRig
The iRig Digital Condenser Microphone is one of the smallest microphone that IK Multimedia has ever built. It is a large diaphragm condenser mic and it comes in two different colors and models, natty silver and mood black, both available in the market.
The iRig can connect to every common used device, such as phones, tablets, computers and laptops. The micro USB port, which is placed at the base of the microphone, makes the connection possible. The same port is responsible for the power and the audio signals and when you purchase the mic, you also get three different cable for three different connectivity options: micro USB, USB and Lightning.
What is more, when you purchase the microphone you are supplied with a desktop tripod stand and a carrying bag as additional features. An extra code is included in the package, which makes it available for you to operate the Mic Room, which is IK’s modeling application, and download apps from IK’s online stores.
Furthermore, a minijack headphone output, makes it possible for the user to monitor activity through the built-in audio interface. The input gain is control by two knobs, which also control the headphone output levels. There is also a convenient LED fixed on the mic that makes the visual feedback of the input signal very clear and understandable.
The iRig Digital Condenser Microphone is an excellent choice considering the low price and its capabilities, and can receive and capture vocal sounds in great detail no matter the frequency range. In addition to this, it provides great sound quality for string instruments, making them sound stable and dynamic.
The built-in pre-amplifier of the microphone produces very little noise, which is one of the very impressive characteristics of the mic. The microphone is going to be very suitable for every independent or beginner artist that is going to do home recordings, with an excellent general performance and ability to be portable for those that move to often or work in multiple workplaces.
2 – Studio Projects B1
B1 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone that is extremely quiet. It has an average sensitivity level that most other similar condenser mics tend to have with a broad and subtle overall sound. It has a standard density that is better used with male vocal, which means better low mid and mid frequencies.
Its presence level of mid high frequencies are pretty subtle and discreet, which makes it a bit less suitable for female vocals, although this can be very easily corrected if you enhance the mid high frequencies with an equalizer.
This particular type of sound can be very helpful when it comes to vocals that were recorded very close to the microphone, as they tend to have more boosted mid low and low ends. This is a phenomenon that compressors also cause to the vocals and give the impression of stability and extra low boost.
A very useful advantage of the B1 is the ability to record extremely well the sound of the acoustic guitar. The mic adds a certain enhancement to the mid low frequencies of the guitar, which makes it sound even deeper and natural than usual. Most similar mics tend to record better the mid high frequencies and add presence to the sound of the acoustic guitar.
Furthermore, an extremely fascinating characteristic of the Studio Projects B1 Vocal Condenser Microphone, is that it makes the sound flatter, and makes the rougher notes and sounds smoother making the recording more natural to the listener’s ears, without any substantial quality loss.
The overall sound and performance of the B1 is more than enough for every home recording activity, especially when it comes to vocals, both male and female, and string instruments. What you could to improve the performance of the microphone, is to make sure that you soundproof the room the right way and position the mic correctly in front of the source of the sound.
3 – Blue Yeti
Blue Yeti is one of the best USB microphones when it comes to home recordings. It uses the broadly known tri-capsule technology, which very easily produces clear and bright excellent recordings of studio quality within a very logical price range.
The microphone itself offers fascinating flexibility and a wide range of different uses, such as recordings both male and female vocals with excellent results, most types of instruments, especially with the assistance of a well-soundproofed recording environment so that you can improve the acoustics.
You can also use the Blue Yeti USB Microphone for podcasts, interviews or audio for any type of video with extreme ease, even in situations that would sometimes require multiple different types of microphones to capture a better perspective of the sound.
This is what makes this microphone the best logical option for every artist, music producer or sound engineer: you can use it to record sounds at any place any time, and it will provide the high quality studio results you need each time effortlessly.
In order to control every aspect of your recordings, the Blue Yeti offers the ability to control the headphone volume, to select the patterns, mute or add gain instantly using the studio controls provided on the mic.
There are many ways that you can use these features. For instance, you can pause a recording at any time using the mute button, or you can adjust the levels when recording very loud sound sources with the gain level button, in order to avoid distortion or noise.
The Blue Yeti microphone offer the ability to adjust the headphones’ volume levels with control, which is placed at the front part of the mic. In order to use the microphone, simply plug it into the USB port of your personal computer or laptop and your operating system will automatically recognize the device. If not, there are also drivers included in the package to make it even easier.
4 – sE Electronics sE X1
This particular microphone is one of the most affordable option in the list considering its features. It comes with an onboard USB converter, which makes it possible to plug the mic into a computer without using an audio interface whatsoever.
The sE Electronics sE X1 USB manages to level up the game of USB microphones, with its full 24-bit resolution and the maximum sample rate of 192kHz, while other similar microphones only maintain a conversion of 18-bit and sample rates within the limit of 48kHz.
Along with the microphone, there are also included a stand-mount clip and the USB cable in the package. The mic also comes as a bundle, with the addition of a sE shockmount and a pop filter, which you are going to need if you want to improve your over recording experience.
The mic’s capsule, is large diaphragm, centre-terminated, cardioid one with a diameter of 1.08 inches. The signal is fed in the microphone’s FET pre-amplifier. There are also two switches on the mic, one 10db pad and one LF-cut. A 48V phantom power is not need in order to use the microphone, as the power comes from the USB that is connected to the USB port of the computer.
Instead of an XLR port, the sE Electronics sE X1 USB has a standard USB port and not a small one, which makes it even more convenient and stable considering the connectivity level. The microphone can be used with most of the devices available in the market such as tablets or phones and there is no need to install any drivers.
This particular microphone is suitable for every type of use, whether you intend to use it for podcasts, interviews or your own home recordings. It has an excellent audio performance and one of its best advantages is the convenience of the USB connectivity. The affordable price is another great addition to this high quality microphone, that is going to help you do your job extremely easily.
5 – Rode NT
This microphone, the Rode NT-USB usually comes with a tripod and a pop shield. The microphone has a very classic style and gives the impression of a very solid device. Its mounting is very well engineered and allows the mic to be turned in every direction within the 180 degree arc.
With the mic, you can also get a pop filter that can be placed very close to the front part of the capsule’s grille, which makes it possible to be attached in an amazing way between the base of the microphone and the mounting ring.
Instead of an XLR connection, the Rode NT-USB uses a USB connection as its name firmly states, and it also has a minijack headphone output, which is placed on the side of the microphone’s main body. There are also two knobs below that part. The first one is used to control the output volume of the headphones and the second to adjust the volume balance of the source and the computer output.
There are no drivers needed in order to install the microphone as it gets installed automatically by your operating system. The Rode NT-USB USB is a quiet microphone and the amplifier of the headphones provides loud and bright sound.
The quality of the vocal is high and the microphone focuses on providing nice low-end warmth along with amazing high-end boost, without any presence of noise. It has a decent pop filter, which enhances the user experience and improves the overall sound quality.
This large diaphragm condenser microphone is very easy to use and provides decent quality of sound for your recordings. This is not just a mic for podcasts, interviews or demos. It is certain that it can be used for official recordings with amazing results for its value of the money, especially when compared to other similar microphones.