Professional studios need the best microphones they can get in order to satisfy their customers’ requirements. The price range of $1000 to $1200, is a great one to start looking for some high sound quality condenser microphones that will deliver amazing sound during the recordings.
Sound engineers, have to look among some of the best companies that manufacture such microphones, such as the Neumann, Shure, Avantone, Lewitt and Electro Voice. These are all extremely experienced companies that can easily that they engineer first-class products.
The individual interested in buying a microphone at this price range should really save up some money, or invest some of the money that he earns with his current equipment. It is essential that you know your budget limitations, and if the prices seem a little too much for you, you should avoid these microphone and look for more affordable solutions that deliver great sound results as well.
Maximum sound quality is almost guaranteed from the suggestions of our list. We have gather some of the most fascinating condenser microphones available in the market. Our advice is to search about their specifications as soon as possible, if you are a professional audio engineer that is looking to upgrade his studio equipment and improve the overall sound of his recordings.
We recommend that you own a well-soundproofed room or studio before you purchase one of the microphones at this price point, because they tend to be extremely powerful and can capture every single sound detail during the recording, such as air, breath, external sounds or even heartbeats.
Considerations before buying a condenser microphone
The quality of the microphone you are about to purchase, is the most important thing you should consider. There are differences between microphones considering the quality, most of the times minor ones.
For instance, some microphones tend to focus on the lower frequencies and add a certain type of depth in the vocals. On the other hand, there are types of mics that focus on enhancing the presence of the voice, which means they boost the mid-high frequencies and add character to the voice.
The functionality of the microphone you buy need to be exceptional in order to deliver the best results possible. Make sure that it has all the right cables and ports, so that you can avoid connectivity issues with the rest of your equipment, such as pre-amplifiers, audio interfaces and mixing consoles.
You should always take a close look to your microphone’s features. Most microphones come with many additional items that you are going to find absolutely necessary during your recording sessions. Such items are shockmounts, pop filters, microphone stands, wind caps and carrying cases.
The price point of $1000 guarantees that almost every microphone you are about to purchase was designed to meet all your requirements, even the most demanding ones, in order to deliver more than satisfactory results and high quality sound recordings focus on every single detail of the vocals or instruments that are going to be used.
Which is the best condenser microphone
Best Pick - AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII
- Sonic character of the famous AKG C12 delivers astounding sound quality for lead vocals and solo instruments
- Nine selectable polar patterns for the perfect setting for every application
- Three attenuation levels (-6/-12/-18dB) for close-up recording or high-output sources of up to 158dB SPL
- Three switchable different bass-cut filters to reduce wind noise, stage vibration or proximity effect
- Overload warning with audio peak hold LED to detect shortest audio peaks
This model was designed and engineered in Austria and particularly in Vienna. It holds all the high quality standards of the AKG as expected and the designs of the microphone itself, the shockmount and the carrying case are all simple, effective and extremely elegant.
The microphone tends to give a sort of brightness and cleaner results when it comes to recording vocals. It also makes enhances the mid-low and low ends, making the voice sound fatter and along with the subtle presence that was mentioned before.
One common characteristic of the mic among users, is its duller and darker tone when it comes to the mid-high frequencies. This makes the sound of the microphone more natural, although sometimes you may need to add some boost in the mid-high frequencies in order to enrich the overall sound, but this fact also depends on the voice of the individual that you record.
The uses of the AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII are endless. You can record both vocals and instruments successfully, even percussions and drum sounds. There is no noise applied to all these configuration changes. This means that you can easily avoid thumps or clicks in the microphone’s output signal and you can acquire a cleaner sound as a result.
What is more, the switches are electronic and they are silent and extremely slow, by dropping the polarization voltage of the capsule gradually to prevent any additional noise or blurriness.
Generally, the sound of the C414 XLII is pretty neutral but not flat, and has a tone with a smooth balance across the spectrum. Its sound can be described as very detailed, mainly at the top ends, without being crispy or particularly strong. The low ends have the depth and stability required to make its sound solid and well balances across all frequencies.
What if you need a condenser microphone for under $500
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.
The best condenser microphone under $500
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.
How to build a home studio with condenser microphones under $300
Building your own studio may sound like fun, but it is not an easy task. It requires lots of patience, time investment and technical knowledge in order to set up the equipment properly and know how to operate them.
One of the main things required to build your studio, is money investment, which for most people, especially beginners in the music industry, is one of the most challenging task they need to follow through.
You need to be able to save up decent amounts of money, make the calculations for all the necessary equipment and adjust your budget according to what you really need to purchase when you start, and what you can buy later.
Microphones are included in the necessary things you should purchase when you start equipping your studio. You need them in order to record your own vocals or other vocalists, or any instruments such as acoustic guitars or the piano.
The perfect price range for beginners that want to build a quality semi-professional or professional studio is around $300. At this price point, there are excellent mics available in the market, which deliver great sound quality results and will help you create high-standard recordings.
One thing that would assist such microphones even more, is build a nice listening and recording environment. Assuming that you want to invest that amount of money into your microphone, you should also be able to soundproof appropriately your recording room with foam panels and isolation pads for your studio monitors in order to avoid sound reflections and noises.
So what is the best condenser microphone under $300
This particular model, is claimed by the Rode Company to be one of the quietest 1-inch cardioid condenser microphones in the world. This happens because of the extremely functional electronics inside the microphone that manage to maintain the self-noise levels to 4.5dbA.
The NT1 has no pad or low-cut switches. It is projected as one of the most strong and stable microphones for professional studios, with a very clean design and a dark grey finish.
The body of the microphone is made of aluminum and is nickel-plated in order to enhance the resistance against corrosion. In order to eliminate scratches or unwanted marks that may occurs during time, the mic is coated in a ceramic layer that makes it resistant over time.
Using the NT1, it is very easy to understand which side of the mic you need to aim towards the sound source because of the small gold inlay that was placed on the mic’s body. In addition to this, there was added another layer of protection with the black outer mesh basket.
In the package, there is included a pop shield and the SMR shockmount. This particular shockmount has a double-Lyre suspension system, which adds extra protection to the microphone. The second Lyre, is used to keep each Lyre in the correct position in order to prevent any kind of vibration.
The NT1 is an excellent large diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone, which delivers amazing results to the buyer. If your available budget is around $300 and less you should seriously consider purchasing this amazing product in order to record vocals or string instruments.
Condenser microphone under $200 for beginners
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.
The perfect condenser microphone under $200
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.
How to find a condenser microphone under $100 when on a tight budget
Building a home studio may be one of the things that music producers and artists will very happily do in order to record their music, but it does not always come cheap. You need to invest into studio equipment and soundproof materials to build a nice listening and recording environment.
One of the first things that you need to purchase is the microphone. Starting out, you do not have to buy the most expensive mic in the market, quite the opposite. You need to find an affordable one that will be suitable for your type of work, whether it is recording an instrument, song vocals, podcasts etc.
You should start small and purchase a cheap microphone for vocals in order to test your abilities and find out whether this is something you like or not. It wouldn’t be advised to invest large amounts of money into something that may last for only a few months.
This is why you need to focus on a very affordable solution and invest the minimum amount of money for your first microphone, around $100 and less, which is a very decent price for a condenser mic.
Later, when you decide that you want to commit into recording, you can upgrade your equipment and buy a more expensive microphone for better sound results. The general rule here as with every type of sound equipment, is that with a larger available budget you can purchase a mic of a much better quality.
Which condenser microphone under $100 we suggest
The MXL 770 is a small diaphragm condenser microphone, and it usually comes as a bundle with a shockmount and a carrying case, a tripod that has a fixed-length boom in order to secure the position of the microphone, a pop shield to avoid noises and an XLR cable to plug in the mic with mixing consoles when recording.
The frequency range of the microphone is 30Hz to 20kHz. The noise level is 20dbA and the signal-to-noise ratio is 74dbA, whereas the maximum SPL is 137db and the sensitivity level of the microphone is 15 Xv/Pa.
The overall sound of the microphone is bright with smoothly harsh edges, along with some warmth in the lower ends. It is a small diaphragm mic that can be used for multiple purposes, such as song vocals, both male and female, podcasts, interviews and audio for videos.
Furthermore, the MXL 770 has a FET preamplifier with a transformerless output, which makes sure that large amounts of noise can be avoided, and it provides a high output gain level. One of the main advantages of the microphone, is the ability to perform well both with vocals and instruments, mostly string ones such as acoustic guitars.
The cardioid polar pattern of the microphone is responsible for the reduction of the off-side audio. In addition to this, it decreases large amounts of the unwanted feedback and the fact that the mic has a flat frequency response, makes it suitable for distinct vocals.
The MXL 770 is one of the best options considering affordable condenser microphones. It is most suitable for home recording studios and has an excellent performance regarding home made recording sessions with limited soundproofing.
Its appearance is very professional looking and it is a slightly heavy and stable mic, with excellent portability, which makes it perfect for every type of musician, artist or sound engineer due to its great low-end response and clear sound.
The rest of the competition regarding condenser microphones
The Neumann TLM102 is one of the most affordable microphones that the Neumann Company has manufactured, considering vocal condenser microphones. It is a large diaphragm, transformerless capacitor mic and has fixed cardioid polar pattern. The particular microphone is one of the smallest mics of Neumann, especially if you compare it with other models of the same company such as the U87. Its weight is 260g, its length measures 116mm and it has a diameter of 52mm. The TLM102 comes in a cardboard box with a very simple design, and it is available in black and nickel finishes. The package also includes a standmount. The price of the microphone is really worth the money investment into this great microphone, considering its high sound quality standards. It is certain that we are talking about an excellent microphone, which is perfect for vocal recording sessions with a neutral sound and a slight mid-high frequency presence.
The Shure KSM42 is a fixed cardioid side-address condenser microphone. It has a dark bronze metallic color and it was designed especially for vocal recording sessions, although it has the ability to easily record instruments in great detail as well. The microphone comes with a hard case, a pouch, and open-case ShureLock rubber suspension mount and a magnetically mounted Popper Stopper, which has a magnet made of solid materials and is capable of holding the filter to the body of the microphone. This way, the strength of the magnet ensures that the stopper stays in position, and it eliminates the extra features of other dedicated mounting items. The microphone itself has a very stable and strong structure, with many additional new designs and features.
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.
The Lewitt 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 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.
The Rode M5 was engineered, designed and manufactured in Australia. The microphone has a 0.5-inch capsule with a fixed cardioid capsule. It is an extremely low noise microphone and has a very wide frequency response. In order to record acoustic instruments, or vocals that require room spacing, small diaphragm microphones are usually the best choice. Such recording usually need stereo pairs in order to capture sound from all angles equally. This is why the M5 is usually sold in matched pairs. To achieve better recording results, Rode makes sure that there is no more than 1db sensitivity variations between the paired mics. The M5 has a great neutral sound when it comes to such high frequencies, and delivers a smooth sound that avoids disturbing the listening experience. Especially when the room is well soundproofed, the sound tends to be heard pretty clean and well positioned according to where it was initially recorded.
The Audio-Technica AT2050 is microphone suitable for beginners that are just starting to equip their studios. It fits both amateur and professional studio engineers that want to record vocalists and acoustic instruments. The microphone works better in a well-soundproofed environment and it is an all-purpose microphone in a very affordable price of less than $300. The microphones provides a very accurate representation of what both the mic and the user are hearing, especially in comparison to other similar microphones that only stick to looking professionally designed instead of helping the user determine the right sound levels. The AT2050 provides an overall even frequency curve, adding a subtle presence in the mid-high frequencies, making the sound result excellent especially for beginners. Although it lacks some of the gain that other microphones such as the TLM have, it still manages to deliver lean and warm sound.
The AKG P120 is very similar to the P420 in many ways, with the main difference in appearance being the blue-tinted grille. The base of the Perception 120 is a cardioid pattern with a capsule that has diameter of 0.66 inches. Although there is a lot of competition in these price ranges, AKG offers a great option for individuals on a very limited budget that want to achieve decent results. This particular microphone’s appearance makes it stand out from the rest of the similar mics, and the engineering level of the AKG guarantees a high quality product. Regarding its studio performance, the P120 deserves nice credits in relativity to its price and it is definitely a microphone that it is worth the purchase.
The Samson C03U is one of the perfect examples considering affordable condenser microphones with great quality results. It is suitable for podcasts and online interviews, and requires the minimum money investment. This microphone comes with a stand, which has a very stable heavy base, along with a shock-resistant cage that increases the stability levels of the microphone to the maximum. One of the big advantages of this particular model, is the sound quality, which is much higher than the similar microphones of the same price range. A USB port is used in order to provide power for the C03U. This makes the microphone conveniently portable and ideal for remote recording sessions with a laptop or at external places.
This microphone has the ability to capture every single sound. It has a very solid carrying case and the shockmount that is included in the package is a great help when it comes to decreasing any unwanted sounds of the environment. On the other hand, the sensitivity of the microphone considering the capturing of the sound causes some limited noise to the recordings, as it captures audio from the slightest sounds that may occur in the room that the recording takes place. The MXL 2006 usually does not come with an XLR cable and you have to purchase this item separately, a fact that increases the initial investment, although overall it is a microphone that it is worth its money and definitely provides great quality results.
The Floureon BM-800 is one of the greatest cheap solutions when it comes to condenser microphones. It has a broad variety of applications and great levels of functionality. The biggest advantage of the mic of course is its minimum price and the decent sound quality results it provides for the user. One main characteristic of this microphone is the fact that it can capture great audio detail from every single sound in the room that the recording takes place. Furthermore, it suitable for catching room space noise or environment sounds due to its high levels of sensitivity. The BM-800 is designed and built extremely well. It has well-protected diaphragm and internal components and has a very stable and strong design that it will help the microphone hold its great shape and functionality over time.
As you see, finding the best condenser microphone is not an easy task. It depends on the specific intentions of the user and the sound quality you are looking for.
Prices range a lot, and you should make the appropriate purchase of a microphone according to your budget. Although it is sure that condenser microphones of higher prices will deliver excellent sound results when recording your vocals or instruments, there are also high quality solution for those on a limited budget.
The choice is yours.