Here are my 5 Top Picks For Microphones On A Budget
When it comes to microphones there are many to choose from. But if you are a tight budget you can still get some pretty good quality mics.
(1) YETI – THE WORLD’S #1 USB MICROPHONE
This is my favorite mic of all the rest listed below and it’s the one that I use in my own stuido.
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Who needs a learning curve? Yeti was designed with a convenient, no-hassle workflow in mind. Set up in seconds with the included desktop stand or connect directly to a mic stand. Adjust microphone gain, pick up pattern, headphone volume, or mute/unmute with easy-to-reach controls. And record in comfort with Yeti’s side-address operation—just speak, sing or play into the Yeti on the same side as the Blue logo to capture pro sound.
- The ultimate professional USB microphone
- Tri-capsule array—three condenser capsules can record almost any situation
- Multiple pattern selection—cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo
- Gain control, mute button,zero-latency headphone output
- Unique positionable design
- Perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, gaming, field recordings, conference calls and more
- Plug ‘n play—Mac and PC compatible
MICROPHONE AND PERFORMANCE
- Power Required/Consumption: 5V 150mA
- Sample Rate: 48 kHz
- Bit Rate: 16-bit
- Capsules: 3 Blue-proprietary 14mm condenser capsules
- Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Max SPL: 120dB (THD: 0.5% 1kHz)
- Dimensions (extended in stand): 4.72″ (12cm) x 4.92″(12.5cm) x 11.61″(29.5cm)
- Weight (microphone): 1.2 lbs (.55 kg)
- Weight (stand): 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Power Output (RMS): 130 mW
- THD: 0.009%
- Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 22 kHz
- Signal to Noise: 100dB
(2) MXL 4000 – Multi-Pattern FET Studio Condenser Microphone
A versatile vintage-sounding mic with clarity and tons of character.
The MXL 4000 Multi-Pattern is a condenser microphone designed around a Class-A discrete FET mic amp specially chosen to match its large diaphragm capsule. The capsule itself has been sized and tuned to provide a silky and airy top end with a full, warm midrange reminiscent of vintage microphones. Hand selected internal components create a sound that enhances both vocal and instrument performances.
Using the polar patterns
To take advantage of the versatility of the MXL 4000’s polar patterns, here are some miking tricks of the pros.
Figure-8 mics pick up sound equally well from front and rear. So, if you’re looking for a rich vocal sound with the added ambience of room tone to add depth and spaciousness, use the figure-8 pattern and have your vocalist sing into one side while the other picks up the reflections of the room. Only do this if you have a good-sounding room. You can also use the figure-8 pattern for isolation from other instruments. For example, if you’re miking drums and want to give the hi-hat it’s own track, position the MXL 4000 so that the side of the figure-8, where rejection is greatest, is pointing towards the snare while the front or rear of the mix faces the hat. Do the same if you’re recording a singer-guitarist who’s playing an acoustic while singing. You need two figure-8 mics for this one. Position the vocal mic so that the side is facing the guitar, and the guitar mic so that the side of the figure-8 points towards the singer’s mouth. Now both singer and guitar are isolated. Again, make sure you do this in a room that sounds good, because the back side of the mic will be picking up the room.
In many cases, the least used, but best-sounding of all the polar patterns. Omni has very little off-axis coloration, which means that sounds entering the sides of the mic sound just as good as sounds entering the front. If you have a great-sounding room, by all means, try omni before anything else. Omni gives your recordings the impression of being in the room with the sound. It also works very well as the “mid” mic in Mid-Side stereo recording.
This is the most used pattern. It’s basically point and shoot, but keep in mind that you can use it’s rear-rejection to your advantage, or by turning the mic slightly away from the source, you can use it’s off-axis response to tame sharp transients. Aside from straight-ahead recording, most people us the cardioid pattern is the “mid” mic in Mid-Side stereo recording.
Requires phantom power.
- Warm-sounding, low-noise, classic recording studio mic sound
- Large, 6-micron gold-sputtered capsule
- Steel head and woven-brass mesh grill
- Heavy duty metallic blue finished enclosure
- Vintage transformerless design
- Attractive mahogany colored storage case
- Specially designed MXL 60 shock mount included
- Custom foam windscreen
(3) Shure SM57 Instrument/Vocal Mic
A reliable workhorse onstage and in the studio.
The Shure SM57 is one of the most popular professional instrument microphones of all time. The dynamic SM57 mic performs reliably delivering natural sound night after night. Its durable, bulletproof design stands up to road travel and abuse. Perfectly at home in the studio too. The Shure SM57 boasts wide frequency response (40Hz-15kHz) and a tight cardioid polar pattern that are ideal for close-in speaker miking.
- Natural sounding
- Durable bulletproof design
- Used widely in studios as well as on stage
- Frequency response: 40Hz-15kHz
MXL 990 USB Powered Condenser Microphone
Record direct to your computer; no mixer or preamp required.
MXL 990 USB powered microphone opens up a new era of high quality recording direct to your portable or desktop computer. No mixers, preamps, or special studio gear required. Just plug the MXL 990 mic into your computer, set your preferences, and enjoy instant professional quality recordings. The MXL 990 USB has changed the way project studio recordings are being created. The 990 USB is a condenser microphone utilizing a 6 micron, 20mm gold-sputtered diaphragm, and has a high quality FET preamp. The MXL 990 USB mic uses the latest enhanced digital conversion techniques and is Mac and PC compatible.
Includes USB cable, tripod stand, case, and stand adapter.
Note: Downloadable drivers for Windows XP and Mac OSX are available from MXL at www.mxlmics.com
- USB powered – connects directly to a computer
- Windows and Macintosh compatible
- 20mm Gold-sputtered, 6-micron diaphragm
- FET preamp with balanced output
- 16-bit, 44.1kHz or 48kHz
- Legendary MXL sonic characteristics
- Includes USB cable and mic stand adapter, tripod stand, and case
(4) Blue Snowball USB Microphone
The world’s first professional USB mic offers plug and play, accurate, versatile input for your computer.
The Blue Snowball is an easy-to-use USB condenser microphone that captures unheard-of detail whether you’re recording a band in a professional studio or an acoustic guitar in your living room. The Snowball mic is ideal for podcasting as well. Plug-and-play your Snowball microphone with your PC or Mac with no added software. The Snowball mic’s 3-pattern switch allows you to choose from cardioid, cardioid with -10dB pad, and omnidirectional. The dual-capsule design allows the Blue Snowball to handle anything you can throw at it, from soft vocals to loud garage bands. (No refrigeration necessary!)
- Condenser mic with USB connectivity
- Unique 3-pattern switch (cardioid, cardioid with -10dB pad, and omni)
- Dual-capsule design
(5) Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Mic
Superior portable USB mic for music, podcasting and more.
Go Mic is perfect for recording music, podcasts or field recording, but its range of functionality extends beyond typical USB microphones. Ideal for voice recognition software, iChat, web casting and even Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Go Mic is an excellent solution for recording on the go.
Because of its compact design, the Go Mic can clip right onto your laptop or sit unobtrusively on your desk. Plug and play operation also means it’s completely compatible with a Mac OS or Windows, with no drivers required.
High-quality components and meticulous engineering ensure the Go Mic offers remarkably clear, professional audio reproduction. Thanks to its switchable cardioid and omni polar patterns, you can pick whichever pattern is more appropriate for your specific situation. Use the tightly focused cardioid pickup pattern when recording a podcast, acoustic guitar or vocals. Or use the omnidirectional pattern to capture the entire room, whether you’re jamming with your band, webcasting with a group or conducting an online meeting with multiple members in a single location. Plus, with a frequency response of 20Hz – 18kHz and a resolution of 16-bit/44.1kHz, you can be sure you’re getting professional audio specs in a compact, multi-purpose design.
As the podcasting trend continues to grow, standards for audio quality and ease of use grow with it. Go Mic surpasses expectations for both needs with CD quality audio and the ability to record directly into your preferred software program. No matter whether you’re a PC or Mac loyalist, Go Mic has you covered. And if you don’t already have a recording program on your computer, Go Mic comes with Music Creator software, so you get everything you need to elevate the quality of your podcasts in one box. Go Mic can help you wow your listeners and set yourself apart in a crowded podcasting community.
If you’re a frequent online communicator, Go Mic provides an easy, inexpensive solution to enhance the quality of your communication. Whether your preferred method of interaction is Skype, iChat or VoIP, Go Mic can introduce a level of clarity you didn’t think was available. On the road for work? Make sure you can hear about your family’s day like they’re right there in the room with you. Online meeting with potential clients? Ensure every crucial word of your proposal is articulated with the in-person enthusiasm you’re looking for. With Go Mic, you can make any online interaction clearer and more personal.
For multimedia users, Go Mic brings impeccable quality to your voiceover work. If you’re adding narration to a video, Go Mic can ensure your words create the impact you’re looking for. There’s no reason to lose the power of your voiceover due to poor audio quality. Make sure your audio sounds as good as your video looks with Go Mic. A wise man once said, “50% of good video is good audio.”
If you’re a singer/songwriter recording vocals and acoustic guitar, or you are in a band looking to capture the room sound of a jam right on your computer, Go Mic will make sure you don’t miss a note. Use the cardioid mode to capture vocals or close-mic an instrument. Or get the sound of a full band by flipping to omnidirectional mode, ensuring sound is recorded from all directions of the room. Whatever the application, Go Mic can help you take your music to the next level.
Go Mic is perfect for anyone who wants to make great recordings on a computer.
- Portable USB condenser microphone
- Plug and Play Mac and PC compatible, no drivers required
- Custom compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk
- Perfect for recording music, podcasting and field recording
- Ideal for voice recognition software, iChat, VoIP and web casting
- Transducer Type: condenser, pressure gradient with USB digital output
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 18kHz
- Polar Pattern: cardioid or omni
- Resolution: 16-bit/44.1kHz
- 1/8-inch headphone output
- Includes USB cable, cable clip, mic stand adapter and zipper carrying pouch
- Includes Cakewalk Music Creator recording software
These are all great mics, but just remember when buying a condenser mic check to see if it requires phantom power to operate; most USB mics that plug into your computer supply their own if they are condenser.
But the first mic on the list does require phantom power. I have a model one step down from this one, but I use a Line 6 UX2 which has phantom power built in to power the mic.
So just make sure you check on that before getting a mic and find out you can’t use it because you don’t have phantom power to power the mic.
Hope this list helps you.