When you are about to purchase a high quality microphone for your home studio or your professional recording studio, you need to search a lot in order to find the one that is worth every single dollar of its purchase.
In the price range of $400 to $500, you can find microphones for all purposes, that can record vocals and acoustic instruments equally well. You need to make sure that the microphone you have chosen is 100% functional, and has all the necessary details you want to capture the appropriate audio.
In order to properly use such microphones, we assume that you already have or that you are going to build a well-soundproofed studio. This is an extremely important step, because microphones of such quality tend to capture every single detail in the acoustics of the room, such as air or even breaths.
Although this may sound like a fascinating feature for your microphone, and it is, you need to keep in mind that if you record vocals or instruments in a semi-soundproofed space, the mic will possibly receive unwanted sounds and noises that will cause muddiness to your final result.
Make sure that you save up some money and look for a complete bundle, because they come in very affordable prices and they include completely necessary items for your recordings. If you already own similar items such as shockmounts and stands or a pop filter, you should look for the mic as a single item.
What to take into consideration regarding mics under $500
The quality of the microphone you are about to purchase is the most important factor that will determine whether or not this particular mic is appropriate for you. You need to make sure that you read all the specifications of the microphone carefully and find out if the mic is the right one for the job you intent to use it for, such as recording vocals or instruments etc.
The price point of around $500 ensures that you are going to purchase a high quality microphone no matter what. Most of the microphones at these price ranges tend to deliver extremely satisfying sound results. Look for the bundle of the microphone in order to save up some money and invest them into other equipment for your studio.
Although the price of the microphone Is already considered high for some people, make it a case and invest some of your money into soundproofing your recording studio. The affordable prices of the microphones that we suggest you below will allow you to do so, in order to achieve better recording sound.
Most of the microphones comes with additional items as bundles. In the bundle packages, you can usually find a shockmount, a pop shield, XLR cables, the microphone itself and a carrying case. Make sure that you take advantage of these features and grab them instead of the mic as a single item, because it is certain that you are going to need them.
The function levels of the microphone you purchase are of high importance. Always check and double-ckeck the products that you are about to buy to ensure that they work properly. Check the connectivity between them and the rest of your equipment to avoid such problems later. The most usual connection way for condenser microphones at this point, is via XLR cables.
Best condenser microphones under $500
1 – Shure SM7B
The SM7B is a microphone for almost every occasion as it has countless different applications with which it can work great. The sound of the microphone could be characterized as full and smooth, providing great depth length at the lower frequencies.
Two switches can be found at the back side of the mic. The first one is a low-cut switch and the second is a treble boost. If you keep the switch at the back set flat, you get a pretty flat and neutral sound, whereas when you switch on the treble boost, a nice aggressive presence is added to the overall sound.
The microphone is very often used for vocal sessions, this is why you can see it in many radio stations. Although its price is a bit high for most podcasters, there are a few well known own that prefer this particular microphone for the warmth and stability that it provides for their voice.
The SM7B is a microphone suitable for every type of recording, such as rap vocals, female singers, string instruments and voiceovers. When recording drums, it gives a special strength both to the snares and kicks, and it adds a very nice high presence to the hi hats.
The microphone is also great when it comes to recording sessions in less suitable environments, such as external places, large spaces or even rooms that are not properly soundproofed. It maintains the sound and eliminates unwanted noises, especially the ones that use lower frequencies.
It comes in a very affordable price, although it is a bit higher than the rest mics with similar specifications. It is one of the most popular microphones available because of its capability to fit for all purposes and occasions, without limiting the user to either vocals or instrument-only sessions.
2 – AKG Pro Audio C214
The C214 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone that is offered to the potential buyer in a very appealing price, especially when you think about all its amazing specifications.
The mic’s polar pattern is cardioid and the frequency range is between 20 and 20kHz. The microphone comes with a three-pin XLR input and cable, and phantom power is required in order to operate it as we are talking about a condenser microphone.
The AKG C214 can completely upgrade and improve every user’s sound quality when it comes to recording. The microphone has a low-cut filter switch that is a nice addition, and it is place in the main body of the microphone so that you can easily access it.
Furthermore, the microphone comes with a wind screen, a beautiful carrying case and a suspension mount, all necessary items that will help the microphone function better. The structure of the mic is pretty solid, and it gives the impressions of a strong microphone with an elegant design.
The weight and strength of the microphone will help it last as time goes by, although it seems that it can handle small scratches or minor drops from small heights.
The C214 delivers great sound results when it comes to vocals and string instruments. In the occasion that you use it with a decent pre-amplifier, the sound quality becomes even better and the lower ends tend to be enhanced, and provide a warm and stable sound.
You can use the microphone both in the studio and on live stages. It has a solid structure and can handle rougher recording environments, and this makes it a great option to invest your money when it comes to purchasing a microphone for multiple purposes, with high sound quality standards and in such an affordable price.
3 – Aston Microphones Spirit
One of the main characteristics of the Aston Microphones Spirit is the stainless steel casing, which makes this particular microphone stand out from the rest.
There are three switches added to the Aston Microphones Spirit. A cardioid, a figure-8 and a omnidirectional. Along with these three switches there was added a 10db pad and a low-cut filter switch, that help the user obtain a certain control over the sound that the microphone delivers.
The Spirit has a solid design and a very strong build, that give the impression that it can handle rough recording environments such as external places or any sudden drops. It is not a particularly heavy microphone, but it seems stable and strong enough.
In case of recording sessions with sound and noise reflections, there is a standmount socket available and you can engage the low-cut filter switch to eliminate any unwanted low frequency sounds. A nice shockmount would be recommended for even better results.
The Spirit provides really good mid frequencies and you can hear an additional presence to the mid-high and higher ones. This can be very effective when recording acoustic instruments that have no particular strong sound, as the presence in the mid-high frequencies will help them become brighter and a bit stronger.
The microphone makes it easy for the user to position it properly in front of the sound source. It works best with vocals and acoustic instruments such as acoustic guitars, and it can become very suitable for room recording when you switch on the polar patterns and the low-cut filter. Furthermore, the figure-8 pattern makes the recording clearer when all instruments are played roughly from the same position.
The Spirit has a more upfront condenser sound, which could potentially make this microphone work great if partnered up with another similar microphone. In order to get the most out of this microphone, make sure that you purchase it along with the shockmount, and use it in a properly soundproofed studio environment.
4 – Rode NT2A
The NT2A is a microphone option mainly for home studio owners that want to improve the sound quality of their recordings. It is excellent both for vocal and for instrument recording sessions. In the package, there is included a deluxe shockmount along with a pop filter, an XLR cable, a pouch and tutorial DVD for beginners.
A phantom power pre-amplifier is required in order to operate the microphone. The mic has three patterns: a cardioid, a figure-8 and an omnidirectional. It has a high-pass filter, which can be turned at flat, 40Hz or 80Hz. In addition to this, the mic has a pad switch for louder sound sources.
This makes the microphones flexible when it comes to recording different sound sources, ideal for beginner users that need an all-purpose microphone for multiple occasions. It has a full frequency range between 20Hz and 20kHz, and the overall sound could be characterized as neutral with a small presence boost.
The neutral sound, makes the Rode NT2A eligible for many applications, such as recording vocal, acoustic guitar, pianos and other string instruments. In the package, there are included a shockmount and a pop shield, which seem to have a very solid and strong structure.
In order to use the microphone, you need a separate pre-amplifier with phantom power. This is a disadvantage for amateur users or beginners that have limited budgets, although the equipment are well worth their money because of the high quality results they are going to deliver.
All in all, the NT2A studio solution pack is an excellent value for money package. The overall sound quality is great, and it will satisfy even the most requiring customers. It is a flexible microphone, which makes it possible to use it in almost every recording occasion without any problems, such as muddiness or noise issues.
5 – Lewitt LCT-450
The LCT-450 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone, which has a cardioid polar pattern. This makes it available for the mic to effectively reject rear sound, with a dynamic range or 135db and only 8 decibels of self-noise.
The microphone is suitable both for professional recording studios and for live performances. The overall sound of the microphone is neutral but not flat, and has a certain level of originality due to its high-standard transient response. The thin low-mass 1-inch diaphragm is responsible for the great quality of the transient response.
The microphone has two switches, which control the pre-attenuation and the low-cut filter. These two switches help to eliminate all unwanted low-frequency noises and sounds, such as air. This makes the microphone the perfect option for everyone that is looking for a mic with great performance and high sound standards.
The LCT-450 has everything a professional recording studio is looking for and can manage the most requiring recording sessions easily. Its large diaphragm condenser sound makes it one of the best options at the price of point of a less than $500, with excellent sound quality results, and a great on-stage feeling when it comes to live performances.