If you wanted to, you could easily spend over $1,000 on a top microphone and the accompanying equipment.
Of course, not everybody has that kind of money to spend on a new mic, and if you are starting out, it won’t be necessary.
Whatever you are getting into, whether it’s music, podcasting, or another interest, you don’t want to go all out on your purchase before you know for sure you’ll stick to what you are doing.
Luckily, there are plenty of microphones for beginners and people on a budget, and you can even find a high-quality mic for under $100.
These microphones may be inexpensive, but they are still excellent quality, and many of them come from some highly-reputable brands.
Best XLR Condenser Microphone for Under $100 – Audio Technica AT2020
The AT2020 from Audio Technica is an excellent microphone from a reputable brand, and at $99, it’s just below the $100 mark.
This microphone has a smaller diaphragm that allows it to handle higher SPLs.
Thanks to its 16mm, black electret capsule, it’s especially great with female vocals, acoustic guitars, and other similar sounds.
Overall, it’s a fairly versatile microphone that a lot of people use, so there are a ton of reviews out there to read.
It’s got a headphone out feature so that you can listen in on the recording, but it does produce somewhat of a brighter sound that some people don’t like.
- Handles loud sound sources well
- Solid build quality, very reliable
- Easy to use and operate
- Satisfying Analog sound
- Great price
- Some don’t like the brighter sound
- May not be ideal for lower frequencies
Best USB Condenser Microphone for Under $100 – Samson Meteor
If you don’t feel like messing with the XLR connector, you can choose a USB microphone, and the Samson Meteor is one of the best that you can buy.
The Samson Meteor is an all-purpose microphone that allows you to effortlessly record vocals, podcasts, and instruments, among other things.
Unlike the Audio-Technica, the Samson microphone has a larger diaphragm so that it can handle a wide range of frequencies and nuances.
You’ll find a headphone output for listening to the recording, and you can count on zero latency.
The Meteor stands on a tripod with legs that fold up, so in addition to being high quality, it’s also highly portable.
If you are recording on the go, you will find it extremely convenient, especially since all you do is plug in the USB. Less than $100, it’s incredibly affordable.
- The USB connection is super convenient
- Great for voice overs and podcasts
- Portable and easy to work with
- Very affordable
- Some say it captures background noise
- They’re reports of poor build quality
Other Great Selections Under 100
If you aren’t sure about the two microphones listed above, there are plenty of great options for under $100. Whether you specifically want a USB microphone or an XLR microphone, there are several options in both categories.
Some other excellent USB microphones include:
The Fifine K669 microphone is particularly inexpensive, coming in under$50, and it still maintains a relatively high rating.
As you can see, the Samson brand has a few different microphones for under $100, and each is offering a different experience.
Blue’s Snowball microphone is another solid choice from an excellent brand.
On the other hand, some different XLR microphones include:
- MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Mic
- Behringer B-1 Studi0 Condenser
- Audio-Technica AT2010 Mic
- Nady PCM-200 Microphone
On average, XLR microphones will be more expensive, and with the exception of the MXL 770, all of these are at least $90.
Keep in mind that with XLR microphones, you may have to purchase additional equipment to connect them to your computer, and if that’s the case, you will end up spending over $100.
What Makes a Condenser Microphone Good?
Dynamic microphones are more commonly used on stages, whereas condenser microphones are more appropriate for the studio.
The most notable benefit is that condenser mics can reproduce a wide range of frequencies.
Condenser microphones provide a better transient response, or in other words, they are better at recording sharp sounds from cymbals, snare drums, and acoustic guitars, among other things.
Physically, the diaphragm tends to be lighter, which is what makes it more efficient, and the nature of condenser mics means they can be smaller in design.
What Features Are You Looking For in a Condenser Mic?
When you are looking for a condenser mic, there are a few different features you want to pay attention to.
- Mics Diaphragm Size:
The size of the mic’s diaphragm plays a role in its overall performance. Large diaphragms generally have better noise performance, whereas smaller diaphragms tend to offer a better transient response and extended high-frequency response. Large diaphragm mics tend to capture more of the details, though.
- Sound Pressure Handling:
If you know about your sound pressure level (SPL), which is measured in decibels, you’ll have a better idea of what condenser mic to pick. Smaller diaphragms generally handle higher SPLs, while large diaphragms can reproduce more details. However, they can’t handle extremely loud sources and may even become damaged.
- Microphones Polar Pattern:
The polar pattern of a microphone is its sensitivity to sound relative to the direction. In other words, how well does the mic pick up sounds of different directions? Mics can be Omnidirectional, Cardioid, or Super Cardioid.
- Noise Reduction:
How well can the microphone block out background noise and subtle details, such as vibrations?
USB VS XLR
Condenser microphones may also connect via USB or via XLR.
The former is far more convenient and much easier to set up, but they may not have the best sound quality.
They get power from your computer or device, so you want to make sure your computer can provide an adequate amount of power.
XLR mics use an XLR connection, which produces better sound, but requires additional equipment such as a power amp or an audio interface.
Best Home Studio Recording Microphones 2021 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
With a variety of professional recording studio microphones available learn the different types from vocal microphone to instrumental mics, large diaphragm, condenser microphones, dynamic and polar patterns all ready to produce your sound. Check out our Microphone Buyer’s Guide to help you get started recording in your studio.