Best Condenser Mic Under 100
(Updated for 2019)
Written By James Quinn
Are you looking for a great condenser microphone under 100?
- Are you looking for a condenser microphone but you are on a budget?
- Are you looking to replace a condenser microphone that you have had for ages but it has run its course?
- Or perhaps you are looking for the perfect gift for someone who is setting up a new home studio.
There are various reasons why people need condenser microphones. They are used for several purposes, due to their versatility and range.
A good condenser microphone can record vocals or instruments flawlessly. Most producers of music or vocals are pretty fond of the condenser microphone.
This means that condenser microphones are a common feature in studios.
In a Hurry? Our Top Pick Is.....
The MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Are you in a bit of a time and budget crunch and need to find a condenser microphone? The factors that will govern what type of condenser microphone you get, include but are not limited to, what you want to record.
It may seem like a redundant question, but these specifics are important. It will help you a great deal if you know the type of recording you want to do. The different types of condenser microphones that are out om the market, cater to different needs.
Vocals and guitar amps, for example, are recorded differently. You will need to also understand the characteristics of the microphone you are considering so that you know if it will do the job.
At the end of the day, you know your need, do not let anyone dictate to you which one to pick. Your studio will tell you, if you listen closely enough, what it really needs.
Let us take a look at some of our favourite picks, which include the Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone - check price here.
You will find that it provides great value for money. The casing is well-built. You cannot go wrong when looking for a durable product.
These Are Our 5 Best Condenser Mic Under 100
#1. OUR OVERALL TOP PICK
1. MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
The MXL Mic 770 is a multi-purpose microphone. It is designed to pick up the best sound from the direction in which it is pointed. There are two sides to the microphone, which makes the pointing bit a little more interesting. It performs its best when interference is somewhat contained.
This is to say you have put it in an environment that is somewhat barrier or soundproofed. You will still get good results outside of the said environment. It is a case of the more you give it to work with, the better the output that you will get from it as well. This stands to reason.
It is marketed as being excellent for capturing sounds from vocals, piano, stringed instruments and percussion. Having had the pleasure of trying it out, we can safely say that you will not be disappointed with its performance.
It has a balanced bass response with high-end clarity. In simple terms, you will find that the MXL Mics 770 has no problem capturing bass. It produces a clear output even when the sound is loud and punchy.
The low-frequency roll-off means that you will get minimum interference. There is also a low noise FET preamp that is balanced. Your input will largely match the output that you get. This is courtesy of the transformerless output feature.
There is a frequency range of 30Hz - 20KHz and a sensitivity of 15mV/Pa. The output impedance is 150 Ohms. You will require and 48 Volt phantom power source to use this mic. Most mixers will have this feature. You can also get hold of an external one. There are 4 versions of this mic that you can choose from. Each one comes with a well-insulated carrying case.
- It is a sturdy, well-built mic.
- It features a shock mount.
- Comes with a protective carrying case.
- Largely eliminates background noise.
- It is quite affordable.
- The shock mount could be of better quality.
- The longevity is questionable.
2. Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
Where versatility is concerned, there are very few microphones that could match the Audio-Technica AT2020 within this price range. This is the brand behind the very first mic that I ever owned. A common theme between mine and this one is affordability.
Audio-Technica has continued to make mics that are consumer-friendly. The first thing that you will note from this is that has a very lovely finish. It is one of those mics that we can all see fitting right into our home studios. Fortunately, the price is not much of a deterrent. It is a perfect cocktail of performance and price.
The AT2020 makes use of side address technology to isolate the sound from the source. This delivers clearer recordings that are largely devoid of interference. There is also a low noise level of just 20dB to add to this theme of low interference.
Frequency response is extended and has a superior transient response. This is an incredibly versatile microphone that makes use of its wide dynamic range to the absolute fullest. This makes it a great addition to your home studio or instances where you have a limited budget to work with. Having a versatile microphone will mean that you would not need to get another one.
The stand included makes the mic placement easier. This is mainly down to the pivot threaded stand mount. All in all, you get the mic, a stand mount, and the protective pouch. The frequency range is 20 - 20000Hz. There is a sensitivity of -37dB at 1Pa. The impedance rate is 100 Ohms. You will need a 48V phantom power source for this mic. It uses an XLR cable. You may also need to get yourself a pop filter. The mic is sold on its own or as a part of a “podcasting pack.”
- The sound quality was impressive.
- It easy to mount.
- It is capable of capturing loud sound without distortion.
- It is very durable.
- Provides great value for money.
- It picks up more than you’d want in open environments.
- Does not do as well for low sounds.
3. Fifine K669B
As far as budget-friendly microphones go, this is up there with the very best. Some would argue that it is the best. The quality that it delivers for the price that it comes at is quite bewildering.
It is a USB microphone that comes with a fairly lengthy USB cable that is just under 6ft long. The quirky part of getting this set is that you will require USB drivers that are provided. They are available for Mac and Windows devices.
Instead of going with a cheap construction for the mic body, Fifine has delivered a sturdy structure. It feels sturdy in your palm and has the look to match that.
There is a volume control toggle on the microphone. If you find that you require a louder output, this is one way that you can control it. Clarity of the recordings is not in doubt. You will get good quality recordings that are also clear.
The other great thing about USB microphones is that they do not need to be phantom powered. This might mean having to spend less to get the mic going. On the other hand, there is somewhat less punch in the sound that is recorded with the USB powered mics in comparison to what you get out of a phantom-powered one.
With the power factored in, you could probably say that this microphone is best suited for recording vocals. If you are looking for something to use when doing voice-overs or chatting, this might just be the one. It has a cardioid dynamic pattern of recording.
This ensures that it picks up sound from the direction in which it is pointed. There is less interference as a result. Background noises are still picked up, but they are overshadowed by the more prominent source.
Although it is marketed as being capable of recording instruments we found that it does not do as good a job at this. The loud the instrument was the more distorted it got. As a vocal mic, we give it a thumbs up.
- Delivers great sound at an industry low price.
- The mic feels well-built and sturdy.
- It is a lightweight microphone.
- It looks just as professional as any of the top brand ones.
- Background noise is kept to a minimum.
- There is a stand included.
- It does not do well with loud sounds.
- Sensitivity could be better.
4. Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone
The Snowball iCE is one of those iconic looking microphones that we have all either own or wanted to own. I fall on the latter. It came at a time when I had just invested in a sound mixer.
Getting a USB microphone would have been a disservice to my investment. Fast forward to now, and I got to test it. The one thing that it does better than the one we looked at above is that they did away with the need for drivers.
This is a genuine plug-and-play device. This makes it an easy microphone to take from one environment to another. You’ll no longer have the burden of needing to get take a mixer or software with you. This mic can, therefore, be used on more computers and perhaps even lent out to friends.
Although it is marketed as such, in my opinion, It is by no means a professional microphone. However, what you get is a condenser mic that will capture vocals and instruments to produce a great output. It is a cardioid condenser mic. The best quality output will be resultant from recording from a good proximity to the source.
This also means that there is less interference from other sources. The USB cable that is on the device is 6 ft long. There is a desktop mic stand included.
You can purchase it in either black or white.
- The mic capture crystal clear vocal recordings.
- It does reasonably well with instruments.
- There are no drivers required to run it.
- It is USB powered, so no phantom power is necessary.
- It is very easy to set it up.
- Incredible quality for the price range.
- It picks up background noises if they are close to the source.
- Power cables come in odd colours.
5. Behringer C-2 Studio Condenser Microphones
Perhaps one mic is not quite enough for. What if we told you that you could get two very good microphones for about the same amount if not cheaper than the others.
You would probably be doubtful. Rightfully so. Enter the Behringer C2. This is a pair of condenser mics that are designed to deliver full stereo recordings both in a studio and for live performances. The first thing that you will notice is that the mics’ body is wholly made out of a sturdy metal die-cast body.
Any doubts that the price would have given you about how strong these could possibly be are eradicated.
You do not necessarily have to use the two mics at the same time. They can be used individually or as a pair depending on what you are recording. Each mic has a cardioid pickup pattern that does a great job of isolating and capturing sound from the source. Most of the background noise is eliminated.
What you get is a clear sound that is as loud as you would like it to be. They have a low-mass diaphragm that delivers an ultra-wide frequency response range.
There is an option to turn on the low-frequency roll-off and input attenuation. Low-frequency distortions are also gotten rid of, courtesy of low-noise transformerless FET.
To connect this mic to other audio equipment you can use the common XLR cable. In this case, you will also need to provide 48 Volt phantom power for the mic. Using a mixer will provide this for you. Each mic comes with its own custom stand adapter.
You also get a windscreen, a stereo mounting bar and a very strong carrying case. There is not much else that is required to get you started. Once the phantom power and the XLR cable are in place, you are good to go.
- The price that these are sold for is mindblowing.
- You get a pair of mics instead of one.
- They do a great job with both vocal and instruments.
- Great pickup and gain before you get feedback.
- They come with a lovely carrying case.
- They have a stereo bar to mount both mics.
- Behringer offers great customer service.
- Cannot be used straight out of the box.
- Mic sensitivity is difficult to control.
What To Consider When Buying A Condenser Microphone
Microphones are categorized into two main types. dynamic microphones and condenser microphones. Both microphones have a different output. Condenser microphones have a wide frequency range and they are great at reproducing sound at its exact speed. They are sensitive to loud sounds however, they are generally louder themselves. When it comes to budgets (which is what we are talking about here) condenser mics are normally more expensive than dynamic mics. When you are on a budget, you will need to scout for one that gives you great quality. It is therefore vital to know what you are looking for in a good condenser microphone so that you can get the best one under 100.
To power a condenser microphone, you will need a 48-volt phantom power which can easily be supplied by external power supplies or even mixing boards. The switch needs to read, P48 or 48V on the channel strip.
It is very rare to see a condenser microphone in a live stage setup. Most are used in studios, where the sound is controlled. This is largely due to the fact that condenser microphones are sensitive to loud sounds. If you were to set up for a live performance on a stage, with a condenser microphone, you would probably find that a lot of the outside unnecessary noises find their way into your recording. They are great as drum overhead microphones if it is alive stage setup. Some also use them to capture orchestral sounds. They come in handy in these cases because of their diverse polar patterns and frequencies.
Condenser microphones come in two types. Large-diaphragm microphones and small diaphragm microphones. The large-diaphragm microphones are the common and most obvious choice for studio recordings. Whether you are recording vocals or instruments, the microphone you choose to go with can make all the difference.
Small diaphragm microphones are best when you are looking for wide frequencies and sold response. They are the preferred choice when it comes to a concert recording, as they do a great job of recording strings and instruments.
Large-diaphragm microphones are perfect when you are looking for a deeper sound. It warms up the sound of whatever it is recording. Meanwhile, small diaphragm microphones, do a fantastic job of reproducing the sound evenly, including bass.
If you are looking to use a condenser microphone for vocals, then you will want to also make sure that you have a pop filter(this will add to your total cost). The reason for this is because condenser mics are super sensitive to sound, so it will pick up even the slightest mouth sound or breath. This can then cause distortion. The Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone is a good condenser microphone under 100. It will give you natural sound and it is fairly priced, so you know you can use it in your home studio, without breaking the bank. Because it is a cardio condenser, you will find that it limits a great deal of background noise. Now that is a win!
Best Condenser Mic Under 100 - Buyer Guide
You are looking for a condenser microphone for under 100? Some things are easier said than done whilst others are not as difficult as they seem. This is a case of the latter. The key thing to remember when you are shopping on a budget is that you have to be focused. It is important that you know exactly what you are looking for in a condenser microphone. When they first came onto the scene, condenser microphones were always the most expensive and were not the mic to get if you were on a budget. This is because of all the intricate details that go into the design and manufacture of this beauty. Today, however, there are condenser microphones that you can find under 100, that will deliver quality sound for you.
Why do you need it?
The first thing to ask yourself, is, why do you need it? There are different reasons why condenser microphones are bought and used. And one of them is to record. Now, once again, recordings differ. You may be looking to record a live band playing in the studio, or you may want to record a musician singing. You may also want to record someone speaking or doing a voice-over for an advert. The reason you want to use the microphone will determine the quality you need in the microphone.
If you are setting up a new home studio, for example, that may be the reason why you need to get a microphone and other equipment on a budget. It, therefore, goes without saying that you do not want to be replacing it after a couple of uses. Look for microphones that are durable and will push you through. The physical build of your new condenser microphone should be able to weather a couple of storms in your studio.
Yes, it may be on a budget, but you still want a quality piece of equipment. Therefore, look out for the product's warranty. What is it that you will need to be aware of so that you maintain the warranty and still qualify. For example, what is covered under the warranty, what type of damage to the mic will warrant the manufacturer giving you a replacement?
Range and frequency
Check on the frequencies that the microphone can record. If you are looking to record sounds with high frequencies then the condenser microphones should be your go-to.
How does a condenser microphone work?
A typical condenser microphone has two diaphragms placed inside the capsule. Thes diaphragms hold a fixed charge between them, which is charged by phantom power. When th sound wave hits the diaphragm, it changes the distance between them as well as the capacitance. This then changes the voltage level and gives you an electrical output. This output on its own is not powerful enough, so it enlists the help of a microphone preamp. This signal is now powerful enough to be processed by other devices in the studio like a mixer.
How well do budget condenser microphones fair against high-end condensers?
Like any other piece of equipment, the high-end versions work better, but this does not mean that you can not get a good microphone on a budget. Soma of the options we have listed may actually shock you. They are great quality and look great too (even though it is not about the looks, this is a bonus for those who like to see things in a certain way). Some brands are well known for the quality they produce. Don't shy away from them just because you are on a budget. Some of the best brands in the world make the most affordable condenser microphones. You just need to take the time to look for it and you will find the right fit.
Design and polar patterns
Condenser microphones are designed differently in terms of the way they look, but what you need to be more concerned about, is the polar patterns. The sensitivity of the microphone to sound. This is what makes the condenser microphone such a big deal in recording in the studio.
Can a budget microphone deal with noise?
Most budget condensers can effectively deal with background noise and feedback. It may not be able to block out all background noise, but what it does is pretty sufficient and will get you decent sound.
Recording with a condenser microphone under 100
One of the most common uses of a condenser microphone is using it to capture instruments' sound. When doing this, it is important that you know the maximum SPL levels, especially if you are capturing sound at a high volume.
Condenser microphones are definitely a must-have piece of equipment in any modern-day studio. They are usually the first microphone any producer looks to get in their arsenal, and with good reason too. If you want to record good quality sound and sound like the pro you are, then you have to be well equipped. They are your best bet in capturing well defined and accurate sound. So you know your audience will be thrilled by the product. Just because it is a budget condenser does not mean it has to be substandard. Making your decision on your new condenser under 100 is not much easier we hope. Happy shopping!