9 Best microphones for recording vocals under $500

Quality of a record always contributes to the success of a song. It doesn’t matter how good are you at singing – we can learn from statistics on YouTube that the winners are always those who have better recording microphones. Using a microphone even of an average quality makes a huge difference than when you are singing without any equipment.

However, it’s not so easy to find the right one. During the process, you can face many questions like, which budget you have to afford a mic, what is the compatibility and what is your ultimate objective. It is essential to note here that if you have a regular computer at home, you shouldn’t look for a microphone with overwhelming characteristics and make your choice to the ones that will work with the gear that you already own.

There are two types of microphones for vocal recording – condenser and dynamic microphones. Condenser microphones are most commonly found in studios. They can capture a larger frequency range and thus transmit a better diversity of sounds.

Dynamic microphones are more resistant to external factors. They are good to take with you on stage and you can see that many singers do. They have good sound quality as well. Dynamic microphones don’t require their own power supply like condenser microphones. But the sound quality can be slightly worse.

In general, there are different options represented on the market today taking into consideration all the needs of singers. They prove that not all the microphones for the vocal recordings should be expensive. There are pretty decent options for all the budget which will be totally enough for beginners and advanced singers.

MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Judging both by the technical characteristics and by consumers’ reviews, this microphone is a perfect solution for those who would like to turn their house into a mini recording studio being on the budget. It’s a multi-purpose condenser microphone, which is excellent for vocals, pianos, stringed instruments, and percussion.

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When you are recording, the sound will be soft and coherent, because of the balanced bass technology along with high-end and clarity.

This mic also includes a low-frequency roll-off to reduce unwanted rumble while singing. Low noise FET preamp comes with a balanced, transformerless output, that allows you to get the high-quality records as a result.

The price for this microphone is more than affordable comparing it to those mics which are required for professional studios. However, it is recommended to acquire this item together with other pieces, as a filter mask shield and suspension boom scissor for better convenience and quality.

Thousands of users around the world have already acknowledged this item for its truly good quality. The MXL 770 even uses a high standard FET preamp with balanced output for a wide dynamic range. A great option if you want a microphone which would last for many years of functioning.

The mic connects to your PC via USB. It is able to capture the sounds of such instruments like guitar or piano, along with your vocals, so you can play and sing at the same time. By the way, for this microphone, you may also need an audio cable and audio recorder.

To connect this mic with your computer (or other recording devices) you need to: plug your mic cable into input 1 and press input 1; provide phantom power to the mic by entering the menu options, scrolling to and selecting “Input” and then scrolling to and selecting “Phantom Power”; then enable both left and right channels by going back to the menu options and selecting “Input” and scroll to and select “Mono Mix” and turn it on.

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USB Microphone, Fifine Metal Condenser Recording Microphone for Laptop MAC or Windows 

If you are a beginning singer on a budget but you desperately want to start to practice your skills immidiately then this is a great affordable option for you. This microphone is extremely easy in usage and its price is even lower than $30 which makes it a great bargain.

This is a 5.9-Foot USB Cable microphone that can be connected with your PC or laptop no matter which operating system you have – Windows or iOS. You can record your own music, singing or podcasts. However, the mic is not compatible with phones so if you are looking for a mic for your phone, you should check out other options.

vocalmic2It has a solid sturdy metal construction design that is resistant to various kinds of potential damages and it also comes together with a tripod so you don’t need to buy any extra pieces to fully use this mic. Moreover, the tripod is convenient to make live streams on YouTube.

You will also find here an additional volume knob which itself has a louder output. It is also more sensitive, so whenever you’re recording, your voice will be heard enough even if you’re whispering. Thus, this mic can be utilized for various purposes: gaming, skyping or voice recording.

Since this mic is USB, it doesn’t require 48v Phantom power supply, you can just plug it in and start working. It works well with Cortana, Discord, voice chat and voice recognition.

You will enjoy the smooth and crisp sound without any external noises. It is great not only for vocalists but also for gamers who make live streams since no sound but your voice will reach the microphone. Recording microphone for YouTube videos work with any recording software or communication platform, so you don’t have to download special drivers or tools.

The mic has a cardioid pick up pattern and this feature is extremely good for vocal recording. There is a volume control right on it so you can regulate the volume of your voice while recording. It can be attached to a mic arm mount. And even though the sensitivity can be lower than you need sometimes – it still works great for its price coming together with filter and the stand so it’s also an excellent way to save money.

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Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone

vocalmic3Another great and cheap microphone to record your vocals which gained huge popularity among people of Amazon. It is a condenser type of a microphone, with a frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz, open circuit sensitivity –37 dB (14.1 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa and dynamic range 124 dB, 1 kHz at Max SPL.

It will provide you with a high-quality recording, bringing the luxury sound. It includes side-address studio condenser microphone technology which makes it so powerful and perfect for various projects.

Due to high-SPL handling and wide dynamic range, the mic has unmatched versatility. A custom-engineered low-mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response. Cardioid polar pattern built in the mic picks up the sounds from the sides and rear, which improves the isolation of your voice when you are recording.

You can always attach a threaded stand mount securely to any place in the studio or in the room which is comfortable for you. The microphone comes with a stand mount for 5/8″-27 threaded stands, 5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 threaded adapter and a soft protective pouch.

Custom engineered low mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response what gives you the precisely recorded vocals without imperfections and sharp sounds. The mic also comes with an output connector of an Integral 3 pin XLRM type.

The mic is made to be a long-lasting asset despite its low price. This is a new type of affordable side-address studio condenser. It is important to mention that this particular microphone is not a USB one, like the previous we observed, so connecting it to the PC might take some effort.

The sound reproduction is more than decent in a controlled environment. This mic is also pretty sturdy so even if you drop it a couple of times it won’t break. Another cool fact here, that ordering by this manufacturer, you will get great customer service.

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Condenser Recording Microphone 3.5mm Plug and Play PC by LOOYUAN

Well, this is probably going to be the most budget option in our list, since to find something cheaper and working decently is almost an impossible task. This is a 3.5mm Plug and Play microphone that you can easily connect to your laptop or PC and start recording immediately.

You will need no additional converters. However, if your headphone jack is not 3.5mm it is recommended to add a converter into 3.5mm, then this microphone can be used to your device. It is designed for radio studios, dubbing, podcasting, recording, gaming, MSN, Skype and conference chatting, and, of course, recording vocals. Beginners will probably find this tool useful and good to start with.

The pickup mode also works great with reducing the background noises and letting your voice sound clear and smooth. When you are standing in front of the mic recording then no problems should occur. You will experience a good recording quality with no voice distortion, so you will sound as close to reality as possible.

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The microphone comes with a professional dual-layer acoustic filter preventing the recording from popping sounds, thus improving the recording quality. The distance between the mic and the filter is adjustable.

What is more, the product has a foldable and adjustable tripod. Not speaking of ultra-compact design, which provides the best portability. You can fix the microphone on the desk with the mini flexible head which is 180 degrees rotatable. It is easy to take this mic to various locations to film or with you on various trips.

Just notice that for Apple Macbook, you may need a USB sound card adapter in order to make the mic function. In case you want to output voice via headphones, you will need a Headset Mic Y Splitter Cable Adapter.

In general, the quality of the sound that you can expect from such a cheap mic is much better. Another great bonus that the instructions come both in Japanese and in English. But once again, pay attention if you are willing to connect it to the smartphone – then you will need several adaptors and probable drivers in order to make it function. And summarizing all the points again – decent voice recording quality for those who are looking for a cheap price.

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AKG Pro Audio C214 Professional Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Moving on, we have a powerful yet not so expensive microphone by AKG Pro Audio for recording vocals. To start with, unlike the previous cheaper options, this one was constructed specifically for vocal recording. It will give you a chance for a detailed recording of lead vocals and solo instruments so you could get a professionally-recorded track.

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It’s a more expensive prototype – C141 – is found in most professional recording studios around the world and has proven itself as an extremely powerful recorder. serving many famous singers. The audio frequency of this microphone is 20 to 20000 Hz, sensitivity is 20 mV/Pa, equivalent noise level is 13 dB-A and the bass-cut filter is 160 Hz.

You will be surprised, how outstanding the range of this mic is. What is more, the item has an ultralow noise for close-up recording of high-output sources of up to 156dB SPL.

Switchable 20dB attenuator and the bass-cut filter is perfect for the close-up recording and reduction of proximity effect to reduce risks of unwanted sounds. Mechanical noise and vibration from the stage are also able to be reduced by the integrated suspension.

The design looks elegant and eye-catching, with its all-metal die-cast body with shock- and scratch-resistant finish.

Like many other professional microphones, this one better to buy together with a microphone pop filter with flexible gooseneck and tripod microphone boom stand. In this case, be ready to spend more than the original price of the microphone, but it’s a long-term investment.

In other words, it is a cost-effective alternative to the high-end C414 family. Just like C414, this one offers a supreme one-inch capsule on an integrated suspension which effectively reduces the noise. The product brings the class-leading performance close to that of the famous C414 B-XLS. The item is also packed with carrying case, windscreen, and spider-type shock mount.

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Shure SM57-X2U Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

As an alternative to the mics we have already observed in this article, now it’s time to take a look at a microphone of a dynamic kind. The products by this company are widely known in the music world and have proven to be the synonym of quality and reliability.

This particular item is a USB microphone which gives you the possibility to simply plug it into your computer and start a recording session. Now the legendary SM57 cardioid dynamic instrument microphone is available with the X2u USB Signal Adapter.

Along with that comes the built-in headphone monitoring with zero latency which makes it super easy to control the balance of the mic and playback audio. It is useful in the sense that you are not going to get the different-volume record in the end.

vocalmic6The quality of recording made with a microphone like this sometimes can be overcome the CD quality. Just remember that if you are planning to use it on your Mac computer you will need an adaptor and a driver update.

Tailored frequency response delivers are put in the dynamic microphone cartridge, which then brings clear reproduction of amplified and acoustic instruments. Don’t worry about the background noise – the uniform cardioid polar pattern isolates the sound source.

The handling noise is minimized by the internal pneumatic shock mount. You will find this mic pleasingly versatile for consistent performance under rugged use and abuse on stage or in the studio along with its legendary construction which brings the inspiring feeling.

The frequency response is 40 to 15,000 Hz, the polar pattern is unidirectional (cardioid), rotationally symmetrical about microphone axis, uniform with frequency. Sensitivity is -56.0 dBV/Pa. The headphone output is 3.5 mm which makes it easy to work with this mic and other devices at the same time.

This dynamic microphone is useful in the sense that you can always take it with you to the stage. That’s what dynamic microphones actually are. What is more, there are a lot of fakes produced under the name of the company so you always need to make sure you are buying your product from a trusted retailer.

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Rode NT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone

This is a high-quality studio microphone to record your vocals which can be connected to your computer since it has a USB connectivity type. The fact that it is versatile makes it a perfect mic for recording any type of vocals with the usage of all the mainstream recording applications. 3.5mm headphone jack which is built in the body of the microphone gives you a chance to monitor microphone input, which gives you extra confidence while singing and recording.

Vocalmic7The item comes together with the pop-filter, which fits onto the base of the mic thus making an ideal distance from the microphone to eliminate plosives during singing or speech. As an addition to this item, you can also buy a stand mount with 3/8″ thread, desktop tripod stand, and a pouch for storage.

Using this item you will also discover that it has a decent direct mix control between mic input and source output. The mic is compatible with both Windows and Mac operational systems. Using RØDE Rec or Garage Band you can even connect it to your iPad.

The frequency range of this microphone is 20Hz – 20kHz. Polar Pattern: Cardioid. Maximum SPL is 110dB SPL. It has a great sensibility and lets you hear things that you can’t hear yourself. Even from the far distances, it is still able to record quiet sounds.

Because of this, the quality of a recording is highly accurate but you need to be sure that the room is completely quiet during the process. The mic can pick up even the sounds of drinking water on the other side of the room. One of the best features of it – is its compatibility with iPad which gives you an opportunity to record something even on the road.

A feature that some users can find disappointing – is that the mic is quite heavy for a USB type. According to the reviews of buyers, the best feature of it is its durability, but the sound quality is approved as well.

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Blue Microphones Yeti PRO XLR & USB

This is one of the most popular and used brands of microphones. The world’s most famous artists use it in their recording sessions and now you have the chance to get the experience of usage yourself. The microphone is highly versatile which gives it extra points.

The proprietary capsule design delivers rich, detailed sound, while the premium A-D converter enables high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz audio recording direct to your computer.

vocalmic8Yes, it is a USB microphone that you can plug into your computer and start recording right away. It doesn’t damage the quality and you will feel like in a really professional studio. Reveal the whole potential of your music projects and make no sound left out.

It is the only mic that features a dual XLR breakout cable so you can connect to mixers, high-end preamps, and other professional studio gear. Develop your vocal skills and monitor your progress.

The stereo mode of the mic is better for recording acoustic instruments, such as guitar, piano, percussions, or singers duo and multiple instruments at the same time. great for making the YouTube covers.

In omnidirectional mode, you are able to record the sound at 360 degrees around the microphone leaving no sound unheard. It is extremely beneficial for vocal groups, bands, and background vocals. Plus, there are two other modes – cardioid mode and bidirectional mode. The first is great for recording podcasts, the latter is convenient to make recording from different positions.

The two-layered mesh of the Blucoil Audio 6″ diameter Pop Filter blocks plosive sounds and protects your mic from dust. The Blucoil Audio 10′ Balanced XLR Cable is made with high-quality 3-Pin zinc-alloy connector, rugged metal connector casting, and oxygen-free cables made of copper. The 24AWG wire cable gauge comes with the cable and it is 98% braided shield for EMI and RFI which isolates any disturbing noises.

It is compatible both with Windows and iOS. Another cool feature is when you plug your headphones into this mic you don’t hear any latency in your recording as it happens sometimes with other mics. The product is acquired by thousands of singers and has no negative reviews. Maybe a good reason to try it out.

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Blue Microphones Yeti Studio All-In-One Professional Recording System for Vocals

If you are a singer who makes home recordings (or a fan of bloggers) you have probably heard of this microphone. Even a famous blogger Michelle Phan used to mention this item in one of her videos. It is a portable versatile microphone that allows you to record vocals of high precision.

This is also a USB microphone so you can connect it to your computer as well as to other recording gear. This is a professional system made especially for vocalists to obtain clear and beautiful vocals. All the recordings of stunning quality are made with ease and no hassle.

vocalmic9What is more, the mic comes with custom recording software from PreSonus and advanced studio vocal effects from iZotope that gives you a chance also to polish your vocals up to the perfection. It doesn’t distract your attention from recordings, thus giving you more productivity and space to work on your techniques and creativity and not on the technical aspects of a mic.

Professional tools and intuitive workflows will also contribute to your fast and productive recording. It can record both vocals and musical instruments. It includes a unique 3 arrows array that allows you to record with 4 different patterns, directional for vocals and voice-overs, bidirectional for interviews, omnidirectional for the whole band, and stereo for separate left and right audio.

What is more, this package includes not only the mic itself but also a set of recording software that will complete your recording sessions and let you get the best result possible. Studio One and Izotope Nectar Elements will help you to edit your vocals in the way you like so you can be creative with your songs and make any type of project you like.

FAQ for buyers of vocal recording microphones

Which microphone should I choose: condenser or dynamic one? 

It depends on your purpose and personal tastes. For vocalists with live performances, it is more profitable to buy a dynamic microphone, while for those, who are going to use it for home/studio recordings the best choice is condenser mic.

What are the knobs on the mic are for? 

They can serve various purposes (you can always get more info from the instructions that usually come with the mic if you are buying from the official seller). But in most cases, they are either controlling the volume or muting the mic completely.

Do I need additional drivers on my computer for the microphone? Is there a link in the description of a mic? 

In most cases – yes you do. The link is not always there so you will probably have to do research on which drivers exactly you may need on your own.

How do I connect the microphone with my computer/ recording device/ other gear? 

With a USB microphone, it is enough to just plug the mic in and change the settings in your configurations. But with more or less professional mics you might need to follow instructions, maybe change the sound card. In case you want to connect the microphone with devices, other than computer and recording gear, you need to check compatibility first.

Do I need a mixamp/preamp/mixer/audio interface to use this microphone on a PC or is it optional?

When you are using a microphone of a higher quality you will need to use it. For microphones which are more simple, usually, you don’t have to.

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