Deciding which condenser microphone to purchase in order to record your own vocals is always a tricky job. You need to know your available budget and manage to take the right decision according to the mic’s specifications and its functionality level.
You need to make sure that it is the appropriate microphone according to your intentions and the use of the microphone, and you should test it before you purchase so that you know that it has the right sound to support your voice frequencies.
The price range of $100 to $200 is a nice starting investment point for all amateurs and beginner artists. There are many excellent microphones available at these prices ranges, which will deliver amazing sound quality even for professional song recordings.
Our best advice is always start small especially when you have a limited budget. For artists that want to record their vocals and acquire great quality, our list of suggested microphones consists of some extremely powerful models that will meet their expectations.
If you have bigger budgets that you can invest, it is better to save your money and buy other equipment necessary to improve your recording quality, such as audio interfaces, studio monitors, consoles or even soundproof your room to ensure that you create a nice recording environment with less noise and dull sound results.
Keep in mind that there are also bundles available for most microphones in our suggestion list. This will help you acquire all the necessary items for your recordings in affordable prices, instead of buying these items separately and spending even more money.
What to take into consideration when it comes to mics for vocals
You need to take into serious consideration the price range when you are about to purchase a condenser microphone for your vocal recordings. Always search within your budget limitations and try to exceed the money you have available for purchases.
Keep in mind that there are always more expensive microphones with better sound quality and increased functionality levels, but you can always upgrade your equipment later. Save up money for the rest of your equipment, and focus on buying a mic with a decent price to start recording as a beginner.
Your microphone needs to be completely functional from every perspective in order to operate it the right way in the studio environment. Watch out for microphones with great sensitivity. Although this can be a good thing, if you do not have a fully soundproofed studio they can capture noises and unwanted sounds and decrease the overall sound quality.
Sound quality is a key factor when it comes to recording vocals. Test and read all your microphones specifications before you purchase it. Make sure that it is going to support your vocal frequency range.
For example, if you need to record female singers, you should search for a microphone with brighter sound, that enhances the mid-high and higher frequencies, to avoid getting a dull or flat sound result from the singer.
It is always a great addition when microphones comes with some extra features. Search hard in order to find bundles for the microphone you are about to purchase. Bundles usually include a shockmount, pop filter, case and XLR cables. Sometimes there is also a stand or tripod included.
Best condenser microphones for vocals
1 – Audio-Technica AT2035
The Audio Technica AT2035 has a fixed cardioid pattern and it is originally designed to avoid most of the background noise. Its capsule diameter is 0.8 inches and it comes with a well-designed plastic shockmount, as well as an elastic suspension.
It has two switches. One 10db pad switch and an 80Hz high-pass filter switch. The microphone operates in phantom power and you can connect it with your console with an XLR cable.
The AT2035 has a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz and its sensitivity levels are at -33db. Furthermore, the mic has a subtle presence boost at the higher ends around 12kHz, although its overall sound could be characterized as neutral.
By switching the pad on, you can add 10db to the sound level, although it is already pretty high at 148db SPL. It has amazingly low noise levels at 12db EIN, and it weighs around 400g. It measures 170mm and its diameter at the widest point is 52mm long.
The mic has a satin black finish with silver details, and the two switches that control the pad and the low-cut filter are placed on the main body of the microphone. It comes in a simple but strong cardboard box along with the shockmount, a pouch and stand adaptor.
Overall, the AT2035 has a great technical performance and has a generally flat sound, especially in the lower frequencies, making the sound result pretty neutral, which means that there is also a lot less noise captured during the recording.
The two switches that control the pad and the low-cut filter are nice additions to the overall design and give more options to the user. The shockmount tends to be very practical and does a great job. To sum up, it is a great condenser microphone for vocals and in a very affordable price.
2 – AKG P220
One of the main advantages of the AKG P220, is its ability to capture sound in great detail. AKG is the brand that manufactured the C414 which has become a classic microphone for almost every type of use, so you can trust the company to keep delivering quality microphones like this one.
The price of the mic is extremely affordable considering its specifications. There are countless applications for the P220, as it is perfectly suitable for vocals recordings, acoustic guitars, percussion, and almost every string instrument recorder in a studio environment.
It is the high sound quality and the outstanding value for its money that make the Perception 220 the perfect choice for every artist, music producer or sound engineer. If you are a beginner, the microphone will deliver amazing results for your home recordings.
The microphone has many features and there are many accessories included in the package that will make your life easier and save you a lot of money. The sound of the microphone is warm and clear and it meets all the high quality standards of AKG, a trusting company with many years of experience in the field of sound equipment manufacturing.
The P220 has a 1-inch large-diaphragm condenser transducer. This improves the overall sound quality of the microphone in both the studio environment and live stages.
A switch, which controls the bass-cut filter, and a second switch, which controls the pre-attenuation, are placed on the main body of the microphone. These additions make this microphone perfect for recording loud sound sources.
Its strong and stable design makes the P220 the appropriate choice for live performances and external places. Furthermore, the mic comes with a shockmount and a metal carrying case.
3 – sE Electronics X1
The sE Electronics company, has started giving attention to the convenience of the user, and combine their products in order to offer them in more affordable prices as bundles.
In this bundle, they combine the X1 microphone the Project Studio Reflexion Filter. The intention of this bundle is to provide a complete vocal recording package to the customers of the company, in very affordable price ranges. You can also find those products separately, but it highly suggested that you purchase them as a bundle to save up your money.
X1 is a true-capacitor microphone which is hand-built. It is a large-diaphragm mic with a fixed-cardioid capsule. The particular model includes a 10db pad and low-cut frequency switch, that give more options and better control to the user.
It is finished with matt-black paint and has a steel grille. In the package, a standmount is also included, although many users prefer to use shockmounts as they offer higher levels of stability. If you are one of those, sE Electronics has a great solution for you, the shockmount designed for the 4400A model.
In order to operate the microphone, 48V phantom power is required. You can connect the microphone to external devices with an XLR cable, which in one of the most common ways to plug microphones into audio interfaces or consoles.
The X1 has a very strong and bright sound that stands out instead of being neutral or flat. Fortunately, it does not sound harsh especially in the higher frequencies and the overall result is pretty natural and smooth, with little peaks.
The mic is well suited for both vocal and instrument recordings, and its strong sound gives a special depth to string instruments such as acoustic or classic guitars. The sound comes out very clean despite the strong characteristics of the mic, which is convenient for many low-sounding instruments and voices.
4 – Rode NT
The Rode NT-USB is one of the microphones that focuses on delivering great sound quality for vocal recordings. It is especially suitable for beginner or amateur artists that want to record their songs in their own home studios, as it is a very affordable microphone solution, which provides excellent results.
Although it is a bit more expensive than the rest of similar microphones, the tripod that is included in the package and the microphone’s exceptional capabilities are worth the purchase.
The Rode NT-USB mic is the average microphone for personal computer or laptop use from every single perspective. It has a great and very appealing to the eye design, on-board mix controls and both a pop filter and a zip case are included in the package.
It has decent recording abilities and delivers nice sound quality results, although if you want to make official recording in order to distribute your songs, it would be advised to look for a higher quality option. If you are a podcaster or you want to create audio for videos, this is the perfect microphone for you.
The mic has a cardioid condenser that is great at capturing the sound of acoustic instruments and mainly vocals. The fact that it comes with a pop filter in the package, makes it available for vocalists to deliver cleaner vocals, both in the low and the high frequencies, without causing any substantial distortion.
The NT-USB does not come with an XLR port, which makes it impossible to connect it with most audio interfaces, soundboards or consoles. On the other hand, it does have a headphone jack in order to have better control over what you record through the microphone.
As an addition, the mic comes with a desk tripod, but if you need to stabilize the microphone on the floor and use it as a studio microphone, you need to purchase a separate microphone stand, as it does not come with the package.
5 – Shure MV88
The MV88 is the perfect solution when it comes to smart devices. Every user can plug it easily to his tablet or smartphone using the lightning connector. The mic rotation is one the main advantages of this particular model, so it is extremely easy to record audio from any direction in the surrounding environment.
The mic is great at capturing small details and sounds. This happens because it is a condenser microphone, and like all the similar mics of the same price range, the MV88 has enhanced sensitivity levels.
What is more, the microphone has a wide number of applications, although it would not be suggested as the greatest option for a professional studio environment. It is better used for podcasts or when recording audio for videos.
The greatest advantage of the MV88 is its very small and amazingly portable size. It is convenient for every remote use, especially when it comes to recordings in external places. You can safely carry it with you, as it has a strong design and although it seems small and fragile, it is actually pretty solid.
To sum up, this microphone is exceptional considering the price point and its capabilities. It is well designed and engineered, and a great purchase when it comes to recording your podcasts or voiceovers for your videos.