Condenser microphones are more sensitive than dynamic ones. This means that they are a better choice – unless you are planning to scream into a mic on stage. Check out the best condenser mics chosen by us and listed below!
If you need hardware just for voice calls or voice recordings, you can totally save some cash and go for an item under $100.
Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone
This Blue Microphone model called Snowball is an excellent mic that can record sound in amazingly good quality. The microphone is plug & play USB, meaning that you don’t need any drivers or additional software in order to start using it – all you need is a USB cable and a device that has the capacity for USB connection. It can be Windows or Mac – whatever you prefer to use.
The microphone is ridiculously cheap for the quality it produces. Less than 50 bucks for such a powerful technology that helps to create podcasts, record interviews, make video calls, and a lot more is more than reasonable! Some technical characteristics are frequency response: 40 –18 kHz; sample/word rate: 44.1 kHz/16 bit; compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. The thing has a Skype certification, so great quality of video conferences is guaranteed!
- price under $50;
- crystal clear sound;
- plug & play – no drivers required.
- some background noise.
This golden super cool-looking vintage model is called MXL V67G and it is definitely one of the top models on this list. The frequency response of 30Hz – 20kHz is different from the one the mic above has. A solid-state preamp balanced transformer works properly. Just like the model above, MXL V67G works through a USB cable. This is convenient, however, some would say that USB is not great at transmitting sound. Whatever the case is, Class A FET circuitry certainly provides good vocals recording quality. Thanks to the low price and USB connectivity, MXL V67G is a popular choice.
- good for vocals;
- excellent design;
- affordable price;
- convenient USB.
- USB connectivity has limitations.
Audio-Technica AT2020 is a good model produced by another famous brand. For starters, you can yell into it as it can handle 144 dB SPL. It is the right choice for podcasters or those who are just starting out in the industry. The mic delivers sound quality good enough for a home studio. The package includes a pop filter, which is great – you won’t need to care about background noises.
- awesome SPL;
- affordable price;
- famous brand.
- comes without a desktop base.
We are not done with MXL yet. A generous discount made this MXL 770 fit a $100 budget. The mic has a 20-mm golden diaphragm, which makes it a nice bargain. Among other things, you get a switchable bass cut and -10dB pad. FET preamp with balanced output is yours too. The 770 has the frequency response of 30Hz-20kHz through 6 dB/octave @ 150Hz high pass filter. It records a nice balanced sound and works great both with vocals and instruments. As long as the SPL is under 137dB. If you are looking for a reliable mic and want some change from your 100 bucks, this is your option.
- comes with shock mount and rugged carrying case;
- good sound quality;
- excellent price.
- picks up some background noise.
Behringer is another strong player on this market, and it has this B-1 fighter within the entry-level category. Behringer B-1 has achieved both fame and high user rating. This perceivably large diaphragm microphone features a 1″ golden dual-diaphragm (which they call professional, of course). The 1.0″ capsule’s transparency and fidelity make many users rave about the sound quality. Home studio owners though naturally compare the B-1 to premium mics. The common cardioid pickup pattern is one of the reasons for outstanding sound source separation and feedback rejection.
When you don’t need lots of low frequencies, you can use a low-frequency roll-off switch, plus -10 dB input attenuation for improved high SPL handling. The package arrives at your place quite full as there are such details as heavy-duty suspension mount, windscreen, and aluminum transport case inside. Gold-plated 3-pin XLR output connector cannot spoil the sound that the mic is able to produce. So, basically, the rugged construction with satin nickel-plated brass body invites you to record some real heavy metal.
- crystal clear;
- excellent price;
- excellent package;
- gain in many environments.
It is hard to stop describing MXL microphones as the company offers lots of great models, some of which even come with good cases – for example, MXL 990. The good specifications like the maximum SPL of 130dB and 15MV/pa sensitivity can’t make the mic a wrong choice. Nothing new about the frequency response here. The 3/4″ gold-sputtered diaphragm delivers the gold we need in home studios recordings. In fact, MXL 990 is a great microphone for vocals. However, you do need to know that it has a narrowly focused area right in front of the mic where 990 picks up sound best.
- great for vocals;
- good package with a case inside;
- high max SPL.
- pop filter helps a lot.
The capsule’s 19mm diaphragm design definitely makes it good enough for vocals and acoustic instruments. You can scream into this microphone as well as it delivers the high SPL handling capability of almost 140dB, and with the heavy gauge mesh grill, you can make it work even with a drum. We remind you that these are still the mics fitting the under $100 budget. With swivel stand mount included, this mic’s package pretty much fits into “studio” category.
- high SPL;
- gold plated XLR connector;
- LED 48V Phantom Power indicator.
- Some hum.
Lots of people make good cash on voice-over work. A nice home studio is a dream for lots of folks. If you belong to one of those categories of people (or, maybe, both of them), you might be ready to pay up to $200 for a microphone.
Blue Spark Blackout
Blue Spark microphone is a really cool device used by true professionals – podcasters, musicians, game streamers, you name it! The microphone is appreciated for a really good quality of sound recording. It has a cardioid polar pattern. The frequency response is 20Hz – 20kHz, which is nice. The dynamic range is 119.6 dB. You can see other technical features on Amazon. For now, it is worth saying that every single detail of this device is thoroughly thought through. It is worth the money it costs, so if you aim for pro quality, take a closer look at this model.
- high fidelity;
- -20db switch;
- solid quality.
- doesn’t include amp or ghost power source, so you’ll need to buy one.
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
The Blue Yeti surprises with a tri-capsule array. Three condenser capsules can record things that one capsule will miss. This triple design also makes possible switching between cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo pattern options. To make it clear, the bidirectional mode allows recording sounds from both front and rear sides.
Other cool things, such as gain control, mute button, and zero-latency headphone output are situated on the mic’s body. This piece of hardware’s description sounds complicated, but it is actually plug n’ play and compatible with Mac and PC. Sensitivity is not just good here – it should be under control (of gain control). The mute button takes care of your listeners’ sensitivity. Once you installed a headphone into the 3.5-millimeter jack, you can listen to what you are recording in real-time. The stylish design born from a mix of retro and semi-retro robots also draws attention. In general, this is one of the most popular choices, so you should definitely check it out – even if you’re not going to buy it.
- tri-capsule array;
- multiple pattern selection;
- perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings.
- despite being a USB microphone, it depends on drivers.
With a regular cardioid polar pattern, Audio-Technica AT2035 reduces noises from the sides and from behind. A large diaphragm delivers smooth, natural sound with a low level of noise. Switchable 80Hz high-pass filter and 10dB pad help the AT2035 handle high sound pressure levels. The mic comes with a shock mount, pop filter and cleaning cloth.
- perfect for podcasting;
- feels better than Yeti for some users.
- requires 48V power;
- boring design. Like, really boring.
It is based on the extremely popular C03 studio condenser microphone. Samson Co3U has a switchable SuperCardioid, Omni and figure-8 pickup patterns. This is possible due to a dual 19mm capsule design. Golden XLR connectors are also what is great for sound quality. This hardware records vocal just great. It doesn’t work as well with acoustic instruments though. But, unlike the C01 model, this one is definitely suitable for creating music. Good gain power is at your service.
- great for vocals;
- switchable patterns;
- comes with a desktop mic stand, mic clip, USB cable and carry pouch;
- LED phantom power indicator.
- some self-noise;
- a bit of background noise.
Behringer B-2 PRO
As the Behringer B-1 model above, B-2 deserves a spot on this list. Professional 1” golden dual-diaphragm is what makes them similar. But in B-2, you can choose between cardioid, omnidirectional or figure-eight pickup patterns. Another difference is a pressure-gradient transducer. Moreover, here you can switch low-frequency roll-off and input attenuation. In a nutshell, B-2 is a huge step forward compared to the B-1 model.
- dual-diaphragm capsule;
- cardioid, omnidirectional or figure-eight pattern;
- switchable attenuation;
- the max. SPL (1% THD @ 1 kHz): from cardioid 138 dB to omnidirectional 149 dB.
- doesn’t differ much from the B-1 model while at the same time has a higher price.
Avantone CK-6 (with the most passionate design)
Well, if you are recording a female singer, this flaming hot mic will make her record the most sensual vocals ever. I mean, you can actually see the warm vapor of breath settle down on it when the lips are close.
The figures (if you are interested) are also available. Cardioid 10 dB pad & 80 Hz low-frequency roll-off switches are here. 32mm gold-sputter thin Mylar capsule is here. Max SPL is high at 136 dB which means you can get that female singer screaming and it will capture it.
- transformerless circuitry;
- metal shock mount.
If you use this hardware, you can legitimately call your set-up a “studio”.
Rode NT1A Anniversary
A golden diaphragm is the first feature of the Rode NT1A Anniversary you should know about. Self Noise of only 5 dB (A) impresses people as well. The NT1A operates like a true condenser which is definitely a step forward. Maximum SPL of 137dB would allow you to successfully scream into it. The sensitivity figure is complicated for this thing: -31.9dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (25.00mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz, but you get it, the mic’s sensitive. And as the pic shows, you get a lot more than a mic: a studio grade pop shield, a shock mount, a premium 20-feet microphone cable, dust cover, and an instructional DVD full of recording tips.
- high sensitivity;
- low self-noise;
- price $250;
- more than a mic in the package.
- none really.
Aston Origin Studio
Now and again, we revolt against the flood of Chinese products. Aston Origin Studio is designed and built in the UK. Maybe that’s the reason they made a built-in pop filter (it works, though). It utilizes one inch (1 inch) gold evaporated capsule. The capsule is connected to circuitry without any transformers. Pad Switch of -10dB and low-cut filter at 80Hz add more good words about hardware. A new non-linear voltage/current source rectification provides controlled amplification and smooth audio.
- excellent sound;
- reasonable price;
- drop dead design;
- no transformers.
- comes without XLR cable.