10 BEST Cheap Microphones For Musicians Recording on a Budget 2020
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Choosing a recording mic for your studio is no easy feat. There are simply far too many choices out there. What’s worse, some of the best microphones can really be expensive. And they’re all not that good!
I decided to compile this list sort of as a middle ground containing the best of both worlds. This article will talk about 10 of the best cheap microphones that sound surprisingly good for their price.
Check out their best uses, features, as well as their pros and cons to help you choose the right microphone for you.
Top 3 Best Budget Microphones
If you are here for a short read, let us start with the top three microphones on this list. You have probably heard of some of the mics on here as they are fairly popular and for good reason! Not only are they inexpensive, but they also break records when it comes to audio quality.
Compare BEST Cheap Microphones For Musicians Recording on a Budget
✔ Bright midrange and bass roll-off specifically tailored for vocals
✔Delivers a warm, wide dynamic range
✔High SPL capabilities
✔Pressure gradient condenser microphone
✔Cardioid polar pattern
✔Contoured frequency response
✔Professional-quality reproduction (great for instruments)
✔Requires phantom power to work
✔Wireframe headset for a secure fit
✔Designed for professional studio applications and live performances
✔Cardioid polar pattern reduces ambient noise
✔Omni-directional polar pattern
✔CommShield Technology rejects interference
✔USB Studio condenser mic
✔19mm diaphragm for pristine audio quality
✔Cardioid pickup pattern
✔Gold-plated XLR connectors
BEST Cheap Microphones For Musicians Recording on a Budget
1. Shure SM58
This microphone is considered the go-to mic for vocalists. While many professional singers have tried other newer mics out in the market, many still found themselves going back to this. This mic was created with vocalists in mind, providing them with an incredible, high-quality midrange pickup and noise cancellation features.
It is versatile, perfect for studio recording and live gigs, and is fairly easy to operate.
One of the best selling points of this mic, aside from the superb audio quality and affordable price, is that it is built like a tank.
Users say they have done things to their SM58, whether intended or not, but the mic still survived! There have been cases of mics toppling out of the van while on the way to their gig, getting dented and battered, the mic still worked just as well as the first time they used it.
Famous singers, such as Bono, have also been known to use this microphone both for recording and live shows. If you want a reliable, great quality mic for a fairly affordable price, the Shure SM58 will do you wonders for years to come.
- Bright midrange and bass roll-off specifically tailored for vocals
- Built-in wind and pop filter
- Frequency response from 50Hz to 15kHz
- Pneumatic shock-mount system
- Uniform cardioid pickup pattern
- Extremely durable
- Easy to use
- Versatile (great for both live and studio recording)
- Fantastic audio quality
- Bright midrange (good for vocals)
- Internal shock mount for reduced handling noise
- High volume capacity avoids audio distortion
- Noise cancellation
- May need an external pop filter when recording in the studio
2. Rode NT1-A
If you are looking for a microphone that is specifically built for home studios and recording sessions then this one is the best mic for the job.
This mic is quiet, but upon speaking into it, you will be amazed by the amazing vocal pickup and projection. The quietness of this mic provides incredible dynamic range and fidelity.
This mic comes with a pouch for safe-keeping and a decent pop filter for you to attach to a stand. With this mic, you do need a stand as it has an all-metal build. This makes the mic extremely durable, but it also makes it a bit heavy.
The setup for home studios is fairly simple and straight to the point. However, it is important to note that this mic does need a phantom power source to function.
- Delivers a warm, wide dynamic range
- High SPL capabilities
- Self-noise of 5dBA which makes it extremely quiet
- Made specifically with vocals and recording sessions in mind
- Includes studio-grade pop filter and shock mount
- 20’ Mic cable and a dust cover is also included in the package
- The all-metal build makes this mic extremely durable
- Huge frequency response
- Quiet with great dynamic range
- Clear and outstanding quality vocal pickup
- Amazing fidelity
- Great versatility and depth
- Built for home recording
- Easy to set up and is user friendly
- A bit heavy
- Needs a phantom power source
3. MXL 770
This mic has amazing features for its low price. The sound quality alone is worth the amount of money that you will be spending on this microphone.
The set up for this mic is as simple as it gets which makes it perfect even for total beginners. Built with musicians in mind, the mic has an outstanding range, versatility, and sensitivity. It is also fairly small and compact so it is easy to move around.
This microphone comes with a shock mount but no pop filter, so when you buy it, make sure to get a good pop filter with it to mitigate any noise or popping sounds. It is also good to know that this mic needs a phantom power source to work so you will need to make sure that you have one before purchasing.
- Pressure gradient condenser microphone
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Low-frequency roll-off
- Low noise FET preamp with a balanced, transformerless output
- Patented design
- Small and compact for easy handling
- Outstanding range
- Easy to use even for beginners
- Incredible audio quality
- Great for single and multiple voice recording
- Case and shock mount is included
- Sensitive and versatile
- Some background noise so it needs a good pop filter
- A phantom power source is required to power this mic
With this, our top three list has concluded. However, do not leave just yet. If you remain unconvinced with our top three, we are not done with this list just yet. There are more mics for you to choose from in the next sections.
Cheap Recording Microphones Under $100
If you are looking for super affordable microphones then this section will be expanding on that. I will provide you with a shortlist of microphones under $100 while still maintaining great sound quality for recording vocals. Let us keep going.
4. Audio-Technica AT2020
Audio-Technica is known to produce quality mics for an affordable price, and the AT2020 is just another trophy on their shelf of fantastic products.
This mic is sensitive and silent, built specifically for recording in your home studio. It is extremely easy to use and ideal for beginners. The mic has a wide frequency range and can easily handle high SPLs which is incredible for its price.
People who have used this mic do report some background noise, but according to them, it is nothing that cannot be fixed with a good pop filter and some decent quality wires.
- Condenser microp[hone
- Cardioid pattern
- Side address
- 16mm low-mass diaphragm
- 20Hz-20kHz frequency response
- 144dB SPL handling
- Rugged body
- Pivoting, threaded stand mount
- Lightweight and easy to move around
- Made with home studio recording in mind
- Fantastic audio quality
- Easy to use and perfect for beginners
- Can handle high SPLs (a quality seen on premium microphones)
- Dynamic response
- Affordable and versatile
- Some background noise
- No HPF bass-roll switch
5. Shure SM57
With the infamous SM58 from Shure, expectations are high for their microphones. The SM57, while not as impressive as the SM58, still has incredible specs and features at a much lower price.
Similar to the SM58, the SM57 also has a cardioid pickup pattern. Despite the price, it has a fairly high SPL pick up, which prevents distortion at high sound levels. Unlike most mics, the SM57 is extremely simple and easy to use. It is a genuine plug and play that does not require a phantom power source to function.
The durability of the SM57 rivals the SM58. This mic is proven to withstand the test of time as well as heavy use and rough handling.
- Contoured frequency response
- Professional-quality reproduction (great for instruments)
- Uniform cardioid pickup pattern
- Made to withstand heavy and rough handling
- Frequency response from 40Hz to 15kHz
- No phantom power required
- Great, industry-standard microphone
- Die-cast steel construction for high durability
- Off-axis noise reduction features
- Simple and easy to use, perfect for beginners
- Affordable with an amazing sound quality
- Compact and versatile
- Limited functions
- Lacks internal preamp
6. MXL 990
If you want a vintage-looking mic for your studio set up then this mic has the perfect look for you. Not only does it have great sound quality but it is also fairly affordable and easy to use and install.
The MXL 990 is made with singers and vocalists in mind. That is why this mic has a balanced output and is perfect for midrange.
Unfortunately, the mic is not very good at handling high SPLs and can only handle up to 133dB of sound before audio distortion can be heard. Still, it is great for home studio use.
- MXL sonic characteristics
- FET preamp with balanced output
- 20mm gold-sputtered, 6-micron diaphragm
- 30Hz-20kHz frequency response
- Vintage look and champagne finish
- Includes custom shock mount, mic stand adapter and case
- Nice vintage style and finish
- Sound quality is great for its price
- Versatile and dynamic
- Specifically made for vocals
- Average noise figures
- Some hissing sounds
- Can’t handle extremely high SPLs
Best Budget Microphones Under $200
If you are looking to spoil yourself a little with feature-rich high-quality microphones at affordable prices, then this section is for you. These microphones are a step expensive for the microphones listed above but their features more than make up for the price.
7. Audio-Technica AT2035
Another great mic from Audio-Technica, the AT2035 is another incredibly versatile mic. Albeit this mic was built with recording studios in mind, with its cardioid polar pattern, you can still use it for live performances, without worrying too much about ambient noise.
Just like lots of recording microphones, the AT2035 needs a phantom power source to function. However, if you plan to set up a studio, you should probably get a phantom power source, anyway. Despite this, the sound quality of the mic is solid. It is musical, crisp, clear, and natural-sounding.
Upon purchasing the AT2035, it comes with several hardware pieces such as a custom shock mount, a headset, a boom arm, and a pop filter. However, many users have complained about how the boom arm is a bit too loose for their liking.
- Designed for professional studio applications and live performances
- Cardioid polar pattern reduces ambient noise
- Large diaphragm for smooth, natural sound and low noise
- High SPL handling
- Wide dynamic range
- Includes custom shock mount for superior isolation
- Switchable 80Hz high pass filter and a 10dB pad
- Microphone quality is superb
- Comes with some hardware
- Fairly simple setup
- No interference
- Durable build
- Clear and crisp audio quality
- Voice comes out musical and natural sounding
- Fairly priced
- Average noise figures
- Requires a phantom power source
- Constraints about the boom arm
8. Behringer C-1
This mic from Behringer is a user-favorite when it comes to versatility. The mic is lightweight and comes with a case for easy movement and safe travel. The mic can be used for both live shows and recording in a home studio.
For its price, the Behringer C-1 microphone has an incredible, natural-sounding audio quality and vocal output. The build is extremely durable and meant for prolonged and heavy use. It needs a phantom power source to function which is not necessarily a con but seems to be something plenty of beginners tend to get caught off guard.
- High resolution and flat frequency response
- Cardioid pickup pattern
- Feedback rejection
- Low-noise transformerless FET input circuitry
- LED indicates phantom power operation
- Gold-plated 3-pin XLR output connector
- Rugged construction with die-cast body
- Easy to use
- Incredible audio quality for its price
- Versatile; perfect for studio recordings or live shows
- Die-cast body makes the mic extremely durable
- Lightweight and comes with a case for safe and easy transport
- Natural-sounding vocal output
- Short scope
- Not a lot of gain
- Phantom power source is a requirement
9. Samson C01U
If you are not looking to set up a studio just yet but still want a decent mic to use for recording songs, then the Samson C01U is the most ideal mic for you.
It does not need a lot of setups, does not need a phantom power source, and is simple to operate. The die-cast metal build makes the mic durable for heavy use. All you need to do is plug the USB cable it comes with into your computer and you are ready to go.
This mic comes with downloadable software for its configuration and is compatible with most recording software as well. Upon purchase, the C01U comes with a tripod stand and a nylon pouch for safekeeping.
It is known to produce some noise but not too much to hinder a good recording. Another easy fix for this is getting a pop filter.
- USB Studio condenser mic
- 19mm diaphragm for pristine audio quality
- Headphone output to avoid latency
- Supercardioid pickup pattern
- Flat frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz
- Die-cast metal construction
- Peak LED indicator
- Does not need any preamp or audio interface
- Easy to install and use, perfect for operating from a laptop
- Downloadable software to help with hardware management
- Includes tripod stand mount, USB cable, and nylon pouch
- Compatible with most recording software and applications
- Conveniently USB powered
- Headphone jack to prevent latency
- Some noise but shouldn’t be a problem in normal studio applications. Can be easily fixed by getting and installing a pop filter
- No controls on the hardware and can only be adjusted via software
10. Samson C02
Price: (Sold in pairs) $169.31
Do not let the lithe and slim appearance of this microphone fool you. The Samson C02 is a strong, affordable condenser mic that is perfect for studio recordings.
Another successful product from Samson, the C02 boasts a well-balanced sound quality that captures natural-sounding audio. The setup for this mic is fairly easy and the build is durable.
Upon purchase, this microphone comes with a case and shock mount mic clips for convenient mounting and easy and safe transport.
Unfortunately, this mic is not that great if you plan on using it for live shows. It does not have a very high SPL and can only reach up to 134dB before some sound distortion is heard. Users have also reported some noise from this unit, but it isn’t too much and is something a pop filter can easily solve.
- Cardioid pickup pattern
- Gold-plated XLR connectors
- Carry case and shock mount mic clips included
- Sold as a stereo pair
- Dynamic range of 112 dB
- Frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz
- Affordable considering the mic is a condenser and is sold in pairs
- Well-balanced sound quality, good for both vocals and instruments
- Created with studio recording in mind
- Natural-sounding audio output
- Easy setup
- Thin, lightweight design
- Includes case and shock mount clips
- Durable build
- SPL is not very high. The mic can only reach up to 134dB before sound distortion can be heard
- Some noise but can be easily mitigated by a pop filter
That concludes our top ten list of some of the best affordable microphones for singing. These mics are all carefully curated for both their price and their sound quality. I hope I was able to give you some insight into choosing your next microphone. Good luck!
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