If you are reading this article then it means you are either a singer or looking forward to starting a podcast or youtube channel. You would have even visited various online stores looking for best condenser mic under 200 USD and would have been bombarded with different types of mics such that you don’t understand which one to go for or which one will suit your needs.
In this article, I am going to review some of the cheapest and most affordable condenser and vocal microphones under $200. There are a lot of expensive ones but since a lot of you are starting for the first time going with the cheapest microphones is the best option.
Don’t Feel Like Reading? Our favorite all-around pick is the Audio- Technica AT2035 Vocal Condenser Mic which offers high SPL and includes other useful accessories. While Rode NT-USB is compatible with various devices such as Windows, Mac, and iPad devices and provides high proximity effect and durability.
Audio Technica is a popular microphone brand that offers budget microphones and Audio Technica AT2035 is an example of it. With 10 inches in length, 4 inches wide and 10 inches of height it weighs only 3 pounds. It also has a 10 ft. XLR cable that enables you to have a connection to the mixer or required interface.
Since it is highly sensitive it has a very low noise to sound ratio which makes it the best choice for the studio recording of vocals and melody instruments.
The best advantage of using Audio Technica 2035 is that you can record high volume musical instruments such as drums without actually damaging the diaphragm. It can easily handle 158 dB SPL.
Because of its Cardioid pattern it records audio from the front side of the mic and doesn’t pick up any noise from the sides and rear. But it’s not perfect for group recordings like chorus and harmony etc. It works best in a semi-soundproof room.
It has an 80Hz high-pass filter that can easily cutoff bass from the audio which is very helpful when recording melody instruments or female vocals which reduces even “hum” sound.
Because of its huge diaphragm size, it reduces the unwanted noise and increases the signal input sensitivity because of which you can get a smooth and natural sound.
AT2035 is highly durable because it has a custom shock mount that provides safety. Though you should use it with a lot of care because even if you drop by mistake it might break some of its internal parts.Get It On Amazon
Rode NT-USB is another best studio-quality mic under $200 which is compatible with almost all the devices such as Windows, Mac, and iPad. It has a 3.5mm stereo headphone which provides zero-latency monitoring and also gains knobs on the side of the mic.
It is well equipped with a pop shield, tripod desk stand, and ring mount which provides additional support to the microphone.
Rode NT-USB is the best microphone for singers and vocal recorders.
The SPL is 110dB so you can easily use this mic with high SPL sound sources like drums etc. The Pressure Gradient capsule also helps to handle high SPL sound sources.
It has a Cardioid polar pattern which means it can record audio from the front side of the mic and doesn’t record from the sides and rear.
It has a frequency response from 20Hz to 20KHz which is best for almost all types of audio applications. Although it doesn’t have any bass cut and pad switches it is the best microphone for woodwind instruments.
Because of a huge diaphragm, it provides a good sensitivity which is useful for louder instruments but not for quite instruments.
Rode NT USB has the best proximity effect which will enhance the vocals of the person recording his voice.
It is a durable microphone that you can set up outside of your studio without any hassle.Get It On Amazon
AKG Perception 420 is one of the most selling microphones in under $200 range.
AKG P420 is highly sensitive compared to other condenser microphones and also the diaphragm is double sensitive compared to other microphone’s diaphragm. With this, you can easily record fairly quiet instruments.
P420 has three different types of polar patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and Figure of Eight with which you can record all the different types of instruments and vocals easily. Since it has three different types of polar patterns it is suitable for recording room sounds or wide sound sources, such as choirs.
The diaphragm size is 1″ which means it is highly sensitive. As well as it works well with all 3 polar patterns. Due to the big diaphragm size, you can record almost all types of vocals and instruments with this condenser mic.
Since it has a big diaphragm and is highly sensitive it creates more proximity effect so that the speaker is comfortable when using the mic but it is not so effective when you use a bass filter.
It is durable enough to protect the mic from any minor damage but still, you need to take care when using the mic so that it can last long for several years. You will get an aluminum carry case with a shock mount.
The frequency range is from 20Hz to 20KHz which includes -20dB pad and a bass-cut filter with which you can easily trim -12dB at 300Hz something which adds versatility to the mic.
The attenuation pad allows you to use the mic where a very high SPL is needed and also to record tricky instruments such as brass.Get It On Amazon
Blue Yeti is one of the most popular and best microphones under $200 because it is cheap and versatile. It is compatible with Windows and Apple devices and it is easy plug-and-play because it doesn’t require any external power sources.
Blue Yeti is only 3.51 pounds heavy and 4.9 inches in length, 4.7 inches wide and 11 inches in height.
Blue Yeti is my favorite condenser microphone for podcasting. It is one of the best selling microphones on Amazon and really performs well on desktop recordings.
It a USB powered microphone so you can use it without an audio interface. It’s a very great mic for podcasters and Youtu creators.
It has a sensitivity of 4.5mV/Pa which is very less compared to other microphones. But it has a 100dB of signal to noise ration which makes it a noise-free mic as well as 120 dB of SPL level which is very useful when recording SPL devices.
It has 4 different polar patterns: stereo, cardioid, bidirectional, and omnidirectional which make it suitable for use in multiple applications such as chorus and harmony.
Although the manufacturers claim that this mic has a frequency between 15Hz to 22kHz but in normal condition, it captures the frequency between 20Hz to 20kHz.
The size of the diaphragm is not so big which means it is not so sensitive like other microphones. Blue Yeti can also be used as a podcast microphone and also for video creation.
It has a well-designed proximity effect which will help singers to create a warmer vocal.
Blue Yeti is highly durable compared to other condenser mics. It contains a table stand and capsule design which make it durable. The USB powered cable ensures no voltage fluctuations happen which will prevent the internal components from damaging. You can buy a Blue Yeti Mic case here.Get It On Amazon
Audio Technica AT2020 is the best condenser microphone for home recording studios and a perfect fit for vocalists, instrumentalists. It is also best for podcasts, gaming, and more.
It only has a cardioid polar pattern which is best for transient responses and doesn’t pick up any noise from the sides and rear.
It can record the best sound under the sampling rate of 44.1/ 48 kHz thanks to its A/D converter.
AT 2020 has a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz. The signal to noise ratio of 75 dB kHz/Pa. If you buy a separate pop-up filter it will ensure further clarity while recording.
Thanks to its low-mass diaphragm it is custom-engineered for extended frequency response and superior transient response.
It comes with a pivot and a threaded mount that can attach easily into the mic stand. It is highly durable and can last up to a long time.Pros:
It has a very high SPL.
Because of small-diaphragm, it provides a transient response.
Single polar pattern. Get It On Amazon
Shure’s most popular and most sold microphone is the SM58 model. However Shure decided not to stop just so early and decided to build another microphone, a condenser microphone named SM86 which also has some qualities of a dynamic mic.
The difference between SM58 and SM86 is the improvement in functionality and durability. You can use it to perform on the stage, something which condenser mics are not built for. This is possible because it uses a built-in-pop filter and shock mount.
The microphone has a cardioid polar pattern which you can use for live performances without having to worry about any feedback problem. The cardioid pattern is also an ideal pattern to capture vocals and melody instruments.
The diaphragm size is not big enough that can capture the wide range of frequencies due to which it has a frequency response of 50Hz to 18KHz which is a bit disappointing because it can’t catch wide frequencies.
Shure SM86 has a signal to noise ratio of 71dB which can easily reduce to unwanted noise easily. It has -50 dBV/Pa of sensitivity which will catch all the details of the sound source.
It has a very high proximity effect. When a singer comes close to 6mm the bass is boosted by 6dB to 10dB which is perfect for any singer who wants to produce a warmer sound.
Shure SM86 is highly durable compared to other microphones because of its dynamic finishing. Even if you drop accidentally there won’t be much harm to the microphone.Get It On Amazon
When it comes to finding a condenser microphone that is more durable than P220 then there is hardly any microphone that is better than P220 available in the market. It offers a high-quality solution at a very less price that makes it one of the best condenser mic under 200 USD. Due to its rugged design, it is very durable and you don’t have to worry about damaging your microphone in case you drop it by mistake.
Like most other microphones it also has only 1 polar pattern, Cardioid pattern. Hence you can use it only for solo recordings and not for multiple instruments.
It has a frequency response of 20Hz- 20KHz. But it is found that at around 50Hz there is a slight boost. You can cut it down by applying a low cut filter. You can use it for multiple applications such as a drum without using a low cut filter.
It is the best condenser microphone for vocals, pianos and woodwind items because of it’s big diaphragm size. It can also record high SPL instruments because of its low-frequency cut.
P220 is very durable because it is made of a rugged all-metal body and robust design. But like any other condenser microphones if you drop it by mistake it might damage the diaphragm and other fragile components.
The signal to noise ratio is 78dB which means up to 78 dB there will be no noise. It can handle up to 155 dB SPL which will help you to record drums and other loud instruments as well as loud vocals and eliminates all rumble and footfall noise.Get It On Amazon
With 34.9 mV/Pa it is the most sensitive microphone in this list of the best vocal microphone under $200. It has a dynamic range of 119.6 dB with which you can record lower frequencies as well as the high SPL sounds.
It has a maximum SPL of 136 dB which helps to capture high SPL instruments without hassle. It has a signal to noise ratio of 73 dB.
Blue Spark has only one polar pattern i.e. cardioid pattern which works well perfect in most of the cases.
Like every other microphone, it has a frequency response between 20Hz to 20KHz which gets boosted at 40Hz and 9KHz. However, you can cut the bass using a low-frequency cutoff switch.
Blue Spark-SL is responsive from 20Hz to the 20kHz frequency range. You can see in the graph that it has a slight boost at 40Hz and 9kHz. However, you can cut off the bass with the low-frequency cutoff switch.
For loud sound sources, like drums and guitar cabinets, a -20dB highpass switch provides distortion-free recordings.
It also has a shock mount to isolate the mic from HVAC noise and footsteps, as well as a wood box for storage and transit.
Because of the large diaphragm, it creates a high proximity effect so that a singer can use it to create their voice warmer.
It has some issues regarding durability. You could easily break the diaphragm even if you accidentally drop it. So handle it carefully.Get It On Amazon
Shure MV88 is best for iPad, iPhone or any Android device. All you have to do is connect the lightning connector (no cable needed) to your device and start recording. All you have to do is download the app called ShurePlus Motiv app from the app store.
Using the app you can adjust the stereo width, control DSP modes and much more.
Since it is only 1.44 oz heavy and 1.4 x 1 x 2.6 inches in dimension it can easily fit inside your pocket and you can take it anywhere with you.
Coming to its specifications it has a very sensitive diaphragm that provides -37 dB/Pa of sensitivity with which you can easily record quiet instruments using the mic. It has a 120 dB of SPL that will help you to record high-pressure audio.
It has 3 polar patterns Mono, Bidirectional and Mid-size which are best for any type of application.
It can capture the frequency response between 20Hz to 20KHz. The diaphragm size is not that big but it has a nice sensitivity. This makes it the best condenser microphone for field recording as it can capture low volume sources.
Since it is built for field recording you can’t expect a proximity effect with this mic
Though it is lightweight the material used isn’t cheaply made and if you take proper care of it you’ll be using this mic for many more years.Get It On Amazon
Audio-Technica offers a wide variety of condenser microphones and AT PRO 37 is one of the best condenser microphones under $200.
AT PRO 37 is an overhead mic and is designed to record any instruments.
It is 9.6 ounces heavy and 9.8 x 5.1 x 2.9 inches in dimension.
It has a frequency response of 30Hz to 15KHz and an SPL of 141dB. This allows it to record high bass instruments.
It has a small diaphragm that you can use for studio recording and/or live performances.
AT PRO 37 has only one polar pattern, Cardioid polar pattern which doesn’t allow any noise to come from the side and rear.
If you are thinking to record vocals then this mic is not the best fit for it rather it is best for recording instruments such as drums.Get It On Amazon
A complete buyer’s guide on how to choose the best condenser microphone under 200 USD.
1.) Polar Pattern
The Polar Pattern is also known as the Directionality is the pattern around the mic through which it receives and processes the voice. It can be divided into two parts Omni-directional (can pick voice from multiple directions) and Uni-directional (from one direction only).
The best and widely used Polar Pattern is “Cardioid”, it is an uni-directional microphone. It picks voice in the pattern of a heart shape. It can pick the maximum voice from the front side of the mic and nothing from the rear and very less from the sides of the microphone.
2.) Frequency Response
Since humans can hear from 20Hz – 20KHz also called the audible range most of the microphones are in the audible range. Just by looking at the graph you can tell which mic is useful for what-
- Microphones with a flat frequency curve are good for recording the acoustics group and for orchestras.
- Microphones with shaped frequency curves are good for recording vocals.
You can refer to the graph below. If you can read a frequency response chart you can choose for yourself the best vocal condenser mic.
3.) Max SPL
SPL means Sound Pressure Level. Maximum SPL means the loudest sound a condenser mic can work without experiencing distortion.
With this, you can guess how much louder you can speak in a microphone without the output getting distorted. If you are using a lot of musical instruments at the same time SPL will help you to position your mic appropriately among other instruments.
Durability can be divided into 2 parts material and mechanical toughness. If you drop the mic even by mistake then the diaphragm could be damaged. There are also some stage performance mics that are more strong than a studio condenser mic.
5.) Diaphragm size
The diaphragm is a very important part of a microphone. The size of the diaphragm is directly related to the sensitiveness of a condenser mic.
The bigger the size of the diaphragm the more sound it will capture and hence it will be more sensitive to the sound source, on the other hand, a small diaphragm cannot capture enough sound and will be less sensitive.
6.) Sensitivity vs Noise
The quality of a condenser mic depends upon the sensitivity of the diaphragm. The more sensitive your mic is the more background noise the mic will capture.
Accessories are the most important part when buying a condenser microphone. If you are looking to use it for podcasting or streaming then you need to make sure that you are using high-pressure sound wave filter and the surface on which your mic will be sitting.
Well, $200 worth of microphone has every necessary accessory in it.
8.) Size and Weight
It is one of the important aspects of buying any electronic products. You would obviously prefer to buy a low weight microphone instead of a heavyweight microphone.
When it comes to dimensions you need not rely on big or small instead you should select one which will suit your setup.
9.) When to use which mic
There are 4 different types of microphones:
- Dynamic Microphones – These microphones handle high SPL very well hence it is used along with drum kits and guitar cabs.
- Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones – It is mainly used for studio recording. These microphones are very sensitive than dynamic ones and hence outputs louder signals. Because if sonically pleasing qualities they help create a larger than life sound.
- Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphones – They have the best transient response and consistent pickup patterns which makes them a great choice for realistic stereo techniques and acoustic instruments.
- Ribbons Microphones – They’re perfect for when you need to tame excessive high-end sources like guitar amps, drum overheads or brass.
At the end of the day getting your music out there and making people fall in love with your music is what matters. There is no point in overspending on the condenser microphones that you will never use.
If you have finally decided to buy a microphone then always look at the SPL, polar pattern and its type. Just make sure you do your research and you will have the best condenser mic under 200 USD.
If you buy a mic from our list, do drop a comment and give us your valuable feedback.