The Best Wireless Microphones for Under $100

A review of some top wireless mics under $100

Wireless microphones for under $100 may seem like a rarity, but surprisingly enough there are quite a few solid options in this price-point even though this category can get very, very expensive if you look around the market. Typically most wireless mics with this budget-range will only include wireless handheld mics and a few wireless lavalier microphones, so most picks below will cover those bases for you. We’ve seen these used in quite a few different environments and applications, such as karaoke, speeches, live music and more.

The Best Wireless Microphones Under $100

Behringer ULM300USB

The best wireless microphone under $100

The ULM300-USB kicks off our list well, and this one is a cardioid dynamic wireless USB microphone with a built-in transmitter and an auto pairing USB receiver. We have it first because it’s the only of it’s kind in this price-point right now, the others needing an actual receiver unit and not being compatible with a computer unless you use some other gear. This one has a super easy module which is essentially a USB stick. On the mic itself, It has volume control buttons, an on and off switch, and mute function. This microphone’s wireless broadcast range is 200 feet, it uses a license-free 2.4 GHz frequency band which doesn’t allow any cellphone towers or TV stations to interfere and can be used anywhere in the world.

It has an extended battery life of 24 hours and is suitable for broadcasters, vocalists, podcasters or announcers. The Behringer ULM300USB has a high-quality capsule with a very good sound reproduction. We see it hover around $100 or so but the price fluctuates quite a bit around the net, so double check a few sources before buying. But if you can gather up a few extra bucks this is a great option as the best wireless microphone under $100.

GTD Audio U-35H

If you need a pair of handhelds, here's a good pick

This wireless mic (comes with two handheld units) uses SMT advanced technology, short for Surface Mounted Technology, which ensures its reliability and quality. This microphone has a two-channel receiver, volume controls on each channel and an LCD display that shows RF and AF levels, as well as channel frequency.

Its wireless broadcast range is 300 feet, works at carrier frequency of UHF 520 – 580 MHz, it has sensitivity of 107 dbm, an impedance of 600 Ohms and a frequency response of 45 Hz to 18 kHz. Its battery life is 9 hours. Ultimately, the GTD Audio U-35H is a professional, high quality and reliable UHF wireless microphone under $100 with a lot of user reviews to back it up.

Fifine Wireless Microphone System

A wireless lav package under $100

The Fifine Wireless Microphone System comes with a clip-on mic and lavalier mic, a receiver, an adapter for camera and an adapter for smartphone. It is a cardioid condenser UHF microphone ensuring noise reduction, it is powerful, battery powered which lasts for four hours, lightweight and the transmitter has an LCD that shows battery life and current frequency channel.

Regarding more specs, the Fifine Wireless Microphone most notably has a broadcast range between 45 and 60 feet, frequency response of 50 Hz – 16 kHz and has 20 frequency channels that can be used to find the best suited channel when experiencing interference. It works at a carrier frequency range of UHF 565 and 584 MHz and is ideal for presentations or vlogs. Its inborn high sensitivity ensures clarity.

Fifine UHF Handheld

Another solid under $100 wireless microphone with two handhelds

The Fifine UHF is a dual channel dynamic cardioid wireless microphone good for karaoke, public speaking or at home. It comes with two microphones, one wireless receiver, three audio cables for connection flexibility, an additional input for extra wireless microphone (can be purchased separately) and a power cord.

This microphone has independent volume controls, adjustable echo effect feature, a strong and reliable signal with consistent performance and operates at a range of 80 feet. Its carrier frequency range is between UHF520 and 578 MHz, frequency response is between 50Hz and 18kHz and sensitivity is -50.60 ±1dB. Look into the Fifine UHF Handheld for another option as the best wireless microphone for under $100 if you need two handhelds and the previous picks weren’t grabbing your attention.

Pyle Channel Microphone System-VHF

Pyle's highly rated wireless mics under $100

Pyle Channel is another super reliable wireless microphone for less than $100. This is a dual channel professional performance quality dynamic microphone VHF system which comes with dual independent channel receiver ensuring low distortion, two lavalier microphones and two headset microphones with two bodypack transmitters, individual volume controls.

The receiver and the microphone each have a power on and off switch and the receiver has dual independent antenna. This wireless microphone has a clear sound and stable signal with a frequency range of 174 Hz to 216 MHz. It has a sensitivity of 95dB and a high signal to noise ratio performance. The Pyle Channel Mic is just very reliable and flexible, by a brand very known in the lower-budget microphone game.

GTD Audio V-28H

Our last pick here

The last recommendation as the best wireless microphone under $100 here is the GTD Audio V-28H. This is a two channel VHF microphone system with SMT technology ensuring quality and reliability. It includes two handheld microphones with a two-channel receiver, each channel has its individual volume control; it also comes with a power adapter. It operates at a range of 300 feet and at a carrier frequency of VHF 210 – 270 MHz.

It has a battery life of 9 hours, its sensitivity is 107 dBm, an impedance of 600 Ohms and a frequency response of 45Hz to 18kHz. Its ideal for broadcast, performance, karaoke, etc. GTD dominates low-cost wireless solutions.

Concluding the Best Wireless Mic Under $100

Wireless microphones are very convenient to use because they don’t have cables or wires. They work on UHF or VHF signals and use battery to work. They work like regular microphones that have cables but have the potential of having problems like maintaining the frequency signal and keeping it stable and some systems need the transmitter to be in close proximity or in sight of the receiver.

So, it is hard to find the best wireless microphones, yet alone under $100 but these options we’ve gathered are quite reliable if you’re limited with some cash to spend. In this article, we have gathered some of the best wireless microphones and all that for under $100 that we hope helped your search. Let us know in the comments if we missed any models you’ve used before and recommend.

The Best Dynamic Microphone for Vocals

Here's a small guide on the best dynamic microphones for vocals

What would the music industry be without dynamic microphones? This type of mic is simply needed in any type of recording or performance environment, and we know many musicians and performers alike who have multiple sets of quite a few of these mics in this article. We’ve surveyed quite a lot of different pathways when it comes to a microphone for vocals, but today we wanted to strictly focus on one of our favorites — dynamic microphones.

The Best Dynamic Microphone for Vocals

Shure KSM8

One of our favorite vocal dynamic mics ever

During your search for the best dynamic microphone for vocals or honestly just for a microphone that can do it all, this mic should definitely make your shortlist. The KSM8 dualdyne cardioid dynamic vocal microphone features two diaphragms made from ultra-thin materials. One is active and the other passive. Reverse airflow technology eliminates breathy sounds in a recording. Excellent proximity effect control allows for an increased distance between performer and microphone.

With neutral mid- and high-frequency reproduction from the enhanced proximity effect controls ensures a natural sound few other dynamic vocal microphones offer. In terms of build, the KSM8 was made for the demanding nature of performances as its hardened carbon steel grille provides protection against water damage, dents, or wind. Handling noises are eliminated by the Shure Pumping Pneumatic Shock Mount features. The Shure KSM8’s neodymium magnet is suspended in aerospace SoftMag material, increasing its magnetic field for excellent output levels. Just an overall amazing dynamic mic for vocals here.

Sennheiser MD 421-II

Arguably the best dynamic microphone for vocals

What makes the Sennheiser MD 421-II a contender in the category of the best vocal dynamic microphone is that it is a modern, improved take on the world-famous MD 421, which has been on the market for more than 30 years and acclaimed by thousands. With those credentials, it is little wonder that many artists insist on this microphone for performances both in and out of the studio. This sturdy dynamic vocal microphone has a five-position bass roll-off switch, making it ideal for instrumentals and vocals alike.

It is especially effective for group vocals and radio broadcasting. Most importantly, this one reproduces crystal clear sounds and prevents feedback from ruining a performance. Weighing just 385g, Sennheiser’s MD 421-II is compact and easy to transport. If you’re a numbers person, the microphone has a frequency response of 30-17,000 Hz, and both its nominal and minimum terminating impedance measure 200 ohms.

Telefunken M80

A hidden gym in the vocal dynamic mic game

The Telefunken M80 supercardioid dynamic handheld vocal microphone is ideal for live performances. Its thin membrane allows the mic to capture every note in your performance in the minutest of detail. The balanced response that the streamlined capsule design is only one aspect that makes the M80 an option for users looking for the best vocal dynamic microphone on the market. The M80 offers a level of consistency only a few other microphones can, meaning that it reproduces sound accurately, regardless of which mixing board it is plugged into.

With a custom-made wound transformer, the Telefunken M80 automatically matches any impedance, meaning you will never need to worry about inconsistent sound if you want to automate it. The microphone frequency is 50 Hz to 18,000 kHz, making it ideal for recording instruments, vocals, and multiple voices at once.

AKG D5

One of the best ever

Whether the user needs a microphone for a lead singer or backing vocalists, the D5 offers versatility and is a veritable workhorse that delivers on the user’s expectations. This professional dynamic supercardioid vocal microphone has a bandwidth of 70-20,000 Hz, and electrical impedance of 600 ohms.

When used for a live performance, we won’t fear mechanical noises will interrupt the music as the microphone’s dual shock mount eliminates most risk of this occurring. Instead, the audience can hear a super clear sound reproduction without any feedback or background noise ruining it. The AKG D5 is regarded by many as the best dynamic microphone for vocals, with outstanding ratings and selling in the mid-level price range. We can’t count how many times this has been raved about, especially in the dynamic microphone for vocals talk.

Sennheiser E835

Another legendary dynamic microphone for vocals

Here’s another legend. With a Sennheiser e835 in their hand, a lead artist can rest assured that they are holding what many users rate as the best vocal dynamic microphone, which clearly reproduces sound regardless of where they are. The e835 is perfect for home recording, semi-pro studios, and live performances.

Because it features minimal proximity effect capability, the sound’s consistency remains clear even if the singer moves a bit farther away from the mic during a performance. Its rugged construction makes the e835 a worthy part of a live performer’s equipment as it can withstand the rigors concerts and tours present. The e835 is lightweight and delivers a frequency response of 40-16,000 Hz with a minimum terminating impedance of 1,000 ohms. Lastly, the Sennheiser e835 comes with a clip and travel pouch to boot.

Shure SM7B

This microphone is great for literally any application

Users have found this effective for instrument recording, but especially for vocal recordings such as singing and podcasting. Look at any photo of a podcast setup and you’re most likely going to see this backwards mounted mic in the setup. This alone should reassure the user that this could well be the best dynamic microphone for vocals and a worthy investment. The SM7B’s wide-range frequency response means that sound clarity and authenticity are retained regardless of background noise that causes unnecessary distortion.

With air suspension shock isolation and a pop-filter, mechanical sounds and breaths are eliminated in both singing and speaking. Advanced electromagnetic shielding means that humming from equipment will never interfere with the quality of a recording again. The Shure SM7B has received rave reviews online with tons of stars based on its sound quality, ease of use, durability, connectivity, and other features.

The Best Dynamic Microphones Under $500

A new budget-friendly guide here on the best dynamic mics under $500

We’re glad you’re today, because a dynamic microphone for under $500 is bringing us immense power in both our recording and/or performance game. Dynamic mics are a special type of microphone — they’re known for their power and flexibility, and can capture just about anything you throw in front of them. Having at least a few dynamic mics in your toolbox is a staple-point for many musicians and broadcasters alike.

The Best Dynamic Microphones for Under $500

Electro-Voice RE20

The best dynamic microphone under $500

The RE20 is easily one of our favorite picks to rank as the best dynamic microphone under $500 on the market. It’s reputation can speak for itself if you search for it on any retail site — for most importantly it’s quality but durability and flexibility, too. This broadcast studio voice-over microphone has been used by professionals for years, thanks to the fact that it is smooth across a wide range of frequencies and can handle a high SPL.

With a bass tilt down switch, correcting the spectrum balance of a recording has never been easier. This feature facilitates long reach situations, giving great effect for acoustic and electric bass, and even kick drums. Its versatility makes the Electro-Voice RE 20 the perfect mic for broadcast or studio purposes. By singing or speaking right near the grille screen, performers won’t worry about ‘p-pops’ or sibilance. There is also a reduced transfer of external vibration sources. Lastly, it also includes several features a dynamic mic user needs, including a stand mount and carry case as its included accessories. Overall just a tank of a dynamic microphone here.

Sennheiser MD 421-II

A great dynamic mic under 500 by Sennheiser

If the RE-20 didn’t stand out to you and you are looking for another the best dynamic mic for $500 or less, or perhaps really all time, the Sennheiser MD 421 II should definitely feature on your shortlist. Sennheiser’s MD 421 has been an industry favorite for multiple decades, and its latest model has even more features that will delight users. Guitar and drum recording is a breeze with this mic as it has a large-diaphragm dynamic element that can process high-pressure sound levels, and vocals are also beautiful here with this one.

The five-position bass roll-off switch makes this microphone ideal for just about any instrument and vocal performances or broadcasts alike in case you want to cut off that low-end pre-mixing. With clear feedback rejection to enhance the quality of any recording, the Sennheiser MD 421 II offers warm, clear sound reproduction. Your purchase also includes a free microphone clamp for a 3/8’’ thread in the box. You might want to add the case to your shopping cart when buying the MD 421 II to keep your mic safe during travel as it doesn’t come with one.

Beyerdynamic M 88 TG

Beyer's ranking in our guide here

This dynamic is ideal for any vocals, bass drum, bass amp, and studio recordings. The quick as lightning transient response allows the M 88 TG to reproduce the kick drum’s complex sound pattern, provided an external pop shield is used.

The microphone’s frequency response spans between 30 – 20,000 Hz, and its dynamic transducer makes it a perfect accessory for any recording artist. Several podcasters find the Beyerdynamic M 88 TG offers them the outstanding sound quality that sets them apart from the competition with professional-sounding recordings. It’s widely regarded as ahead of its time, making it a sure-fire nominee for the best dynamic microphone under $500.

Shure KSM8

A legendary dynamic mic under 500 bucks

The KSM8 dualdyne cardioid handheld dynamic vocal microphone comes in sleek-looking finish and has dual dynamic diaphragms and reverse airflow that all but eliminate any proximity effect from vocal performance. This is what you’re paying for — extra security in regards to rejection of ambient noise for a better overall recording or performing signal. The KSM8 has a frequency response of 40 Hz – 16 kHz, giving the user wide-ranging usage options.

Weighing just 0.75 lbs., the Shure KSM8 is easy to handle and transport. The design is durable and rugged, meaning that it takes a lot to damage this piece of hardware. The internal windscreen and the mic’s capsule design reduce explosive pops during use, making it ideal for vocal performances while also offering impressive performance when used with instruments. With five-star ratings from pretty much anyone who uses this thing, this dynamic microphone is just legendary.

Telefunken M80

Many would say this is the best of all these dynamic microphones

Coming from a brand that many equate with sound excellence, the Telefunken M80 is no exception, making it the best dynamic microphone under $500 for thousands of users, amateurs, and professionals alike. Its super cardioid polar pattern and frequency range of 40 Hz to 18 kHz make the M80 a versatile, high-performance product that deserves a spot in any studio. Accessories included are a storage pouch and mic clip, although the 10-meter cable is sold separately.

Its durable design makes the Telefunken M80 perfect for the rigors of touring. The built-in Elektroakustik T80 transformer, together with the mic’s capsule assembly, offers results that users are raving about. A very warm and clear sound here. Great for really any thing you put in front if it — vocals, drums, guitar amps, etc. Additionally, the head and capsule assembly ensure the reduction of proximity effect and the appearance of upper mid-range feedback all but eliminated.

Shure SM57B

The last pick as the best dynamic microphone under 500 dollars

With close to thousands reviews and a near-perfect five-star rating, it is easy to see why many people see the Shure SM57B as the best dynamic mic for $500 or less to cap off our guide strong. This one is just classic. This microphone is designed to capture high-quality, smooth vocals that listeners will enjoy as it preserves the authenticity of the recording. Your purchase includes a detachable windscreen and a switch cover plate.

With its air suspension shock isolation and a pop filter, mechanical noise and breathiness will no longer be a problem. We’ve seen this used in way too many podcast setups. Getting more advanced with it’s build, the electromagnetic shielding ensures that hum from computer monitors and studio equipment never interferes with your recording. The microphone is durably constructed so that its cartridge is well-protected from any external forces. The Shure SM57B features a dynamic cartridge with a wide frequency response for crisp and clean sound reproduction to finish our guide with a classic.

The Best Condenser Microphones Under $500

Some picks for you when it comes to the best condenser mics under $500

Condenser microphones are the bread and butter of recording not only vocals but many instruments in the world for musicians of all types. We’ve continued our journey through reviewing more mics than we can count now, and as we pin-point some specific price-specific guides, we came across a common question: what’s the best condenser microphone under $500? We have a great budget-range here to give you some nice power and flexibility when it comes to recording and even streaming vocals and instruments.

The Power of Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones are commonly found in studios, but with the ever-rising trend of streaming and pocasting, they’re found in many different environments now. They have a louder output but are much more sensitive to loud sounds as opposed to other types of microphones, such as dynamic mics. They capture a large frequency range and have a good transient response; the ability to reproduce the speed of an instrument or voice.

Normally, professional condenser microphones are very expensive, as we do have guides on condenser microphones under $200 or condenser mics under $100 that are a lot more budget-friendly. Today however, $500 hits a mark where we get into some pretty professional models. Let’s jump right in.

The Best Condenser Microphones for Under $500

AKG C214

Our favorite pick as the best condenser microphone under $500

People call this condenser, “A true legend and the microphone of choice for many professional producers”. This condenser microphone under $500 tends to be very flexible and has a reputation for it’s quality and longevity. Vocals sound very smooth and warm for both gender voices, and it’s also great for capturing some strings or keys in case you need to.

Aside from sound quality, this one has some high-end features in terms of numbers. It has a 1” diaphragm, vintage look and most of all, has a top-class performance. The AKG C214 has a very complex system that helps reduce mechanical noise. Its frequency response ranges between 20 Hz – 20 kHz and its polar pattern is cardioid which is standard for any mic in here. This condenser mic also has a switchable 20 dB attenuation pad and low-cut filter that can be used in sound fields as high as 156 dB SPL. Just an extremely solid and reliable condenser microphone under $500 to start our list off.

Avantone Pro CV-12

A beautiful tube condenser microphone for $500 or less

This condenser microphone is designed to capture vocals and instruments with enhanced detail, low noise and low distortion and with the warmth and character of the 50’s and 60’s. Tube microphones are a bit of a different spin — they have an actual ‘tube’ in the internal skeleton that processes audio, giving it a different feel and “sound”, albeit subjective to the ear that’s listening.

The Avantone Pro CV-12 is a multi-pattern large-diaphragm tube mic. A rotary switch on the external power supply provides nine selectable pickup patterns: Omni, Cardioid, Figure-8 and Six intermediate patterns — great for those who will be using this aside from just recording tracks, or perhaps want to podcast and stream with multiple people. It also has a low frequency roll off, an 80 Hz HPF filter for minimizing low frequency noise and a pad attenuation switch of -10 dB for minimizing distortion. A beautiful condenser microphone under $500 if you want that old-school tube feel and sound to your recordings.

Lauten LA-220

Another solid condenser mic under 500 dollars

Another high-quality condenser mic with very good features under $500 is the Lauten LA-220. This professional and versatile microphone has a huge bass response that can be used for up-close vocals and acoustic instruments.

The Lauten LA-220 has a 1-inch pressure gradient true-condenser capsule with cardioid polar pattern and ultra-low noise JFET amplifier. It has a pair of switchable 120 Hz highpass and 12 kHz lowpass filters which is useful to tame any harsh high-end voice as well as rumbling bass from the room and a transformer balanced output.

Shure SM81

We wanted to include one of our favorite small condenser microphones as well

The Sure SM81 is a high-quality unidirectional condenser microphone used for broadcasting, studio recording and sound reinforcement. This condenser mic has a wide frequency response, low noise characteristics and high output clipping level, low RF susceptibility, flat response curve for accurate sound reproduction and a cardioid polar pattern with maximum rejection.

Its uniform cardioid pickup pattern offers a very good isolation with minimum off-axis coloration and its ultra-smooth response curve ensures accurate sonic reproduction of the sound in front of it. It can be used in wide range of temperatures and humidity conditions. We stuck this one in here because it’s a small-diaphragm condenser microphone, meaning it’s size actually helps with better sound-pressure level and capturing the higher frequencies a lot brighter than normal large-diaphragm.

Warm Audio WA-14

Warm Audio's super popular condenser

Another favorite pick of ours to be the best condenser microphone for just under $500 is the Warm Audio WA-14. This large diaphragm, versatile condenser microphone has three selectable polar patterns including omnidirectional, cardioid and figure 8. It has two switches in the front, one of those allow you to switch between polar patterns and the other one is a pre-attenuation switch for lowering the input level. This mic has a clean smooth sound that doesn’t sound too bright or hyped.

The Warm Audio WA-14 is engineered with LK-12-B-60V Lens Kondensator all-brass CK 12 style capsule with its smooth and rich high-end sound. It has custom CineMag USA transformer, its frequency range is between 20 Hz – 20 kHz and the self-noise is 115 dB. An all-around solid mic here that’s proven itself for many years.

Aston Origin

This condenser mic under 500 is powerful

The Origin is very popular among mic snobs, and it is a high-performance, large diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern. This mic delivers a natural and detailed sound across a wide variety of sources; hence it is versatile. There are two switches on the mic: a 10 dB pad to prevent distortion and an 80 Hz low-cut filter to cut out that mud.

The Aston Origin captures treble detail without even a trace of harshness. It has shock-resistant, wave-form mesh head with built-in pop filter. The last pick as the best condenser microphone under $500, but certainly not the least!

The Best Dynamic Microphones for Under $50

Our list of the best dynamic mic for 50 dollars or less

Today we have one of our favorite mics in the spotlight at a very affordable price (the lowest you can go here). Dynamic microphones are usually used on instruments with a lot of low-mid energy. They are best for recording vocals. They are also used for podcasting, singing, recording multiple people in the same room, voice-overs and live performances.

Microphones come in different shapes and sizes with different price ranges. People might question whether a cheap dynamic microphone is worth the money or not. In reality, you should know that a very cheap ones are not too much better than a toy or a gimmick. One should be honest with oneself about what a dynamic microphone under $50 can and cannot do. If you do want to take a slight step up, you can read our guide on dynamic microphones under $100. Otherwise, we still are getting quite a lot of power and flexibility here with this list today.

One good case for the usage of dynamic microphones under $50 is the fact that these are especially good for those who are just getting into music recording or performing and don’t want to spend a lot of money just to shape their skills. Even within the $50 budget, you will be surprised by the quality that some of these microphones have. Many also buy a lot of these in bulk for different types of environments or applications, like recording large bands or choirs, for schools, venues, etc.

Yes, they have limitations like some have a simple diaphragm capsule setting, but there is nothing wrong with this setup. These kinds of limitations will not stop the microphone from performing like the ones with a price in the higher range in regards to efficiency.

The Best Dynamic Microphones for $50 or Less

Shure PGA48

The best dynamic microphone under $50

Up first, we have one of our favorite budget-friendly dynamic microphones under $50 in the entire market. The Shure PGA48 is a professional quality microphone with a highly durable design and construction. It has a good sound and is used for spoken word and karaoke performance. The Shure PGA48 has a cardioid polar pattern that picks up audio from the source while rejecting unwanted noise. It has a tailored microphone cartridge design for clarity in the standard frequency range of speech.

It has an on and off switch for discrete control of microphone operation, it has swivel adapter, stand adapter for mounting to a microphone stand, a zipper pouch and it comes with XLR or QTR cable for flexibility in gear choice. Just some great efficiency and overall power here for a really cheap price.

Sennheiser XS 1

Sennheiser's quality dynamic microphone under 50 dollars

The Sennheiser XS 1 has a rich, full professional live sound quality with a slight emphasis on the top end to help vocals cut through a loud mix. It is used for solo vocal performances, choir making and speech. The Sennheiser XS 1 has a handy silent mute switch that can be used to mute the microphone without distracting pops or clicks.

It can also be locked to the on position to prevent accidental muting. Its cardioid pick-up pattern provides additional isolation from unwanted sound and great feedback rejection. The capsule of the Sennheiser XS 1 is shock-mounted to minimize handling noise and it’s reputation definitely brings it into the dynamic mic under $50 consideration.

Shure SM48

Another beautiful $50 or less dynamic mic

The Shure SM48 is a cardioid dynamic vocal microphone, very good for performance. Its cardioid pickup pattern helps keep outside sound sources out and fight off annoying feedback. This dynamic microphone is best if used for lead vocals, backup vocals and spoken words.

It has a frequency response for vocals with brightened mid-range and bass roll off, cardioid pickup pattern that rejects off axis sound, has good gain before feedback, built in pop filter that reduces explosive breath sounds and wind noise and shock-mounted cartridge for ruggedness and reduced handling noise. Look in to the Shure SM48 for yet another beautiful pick in this guide.

Behringer XM1800S

A super cheap dynamic microphone

This dynamic microphone comes in a set of three high quality vocal and instrument dynamic microphones. The Behringer XM1800S has high signal output that makes your voice cut through, an ultra-low distortion for super clean sound.

Like most other dynamic mics, we also have an off-axis rejection eliminating feedback problems, presence lift in critical mid-range that gives the user maximum voice projection, and integrated pop filters. The rugged construction copes with the user’s toughest live assignments, and it also comes with a microphone stand adapter and an on and off switch. Yet another pick as the best dynamic microphone under $50 here by Behringer.

Samson R21

The R21 tops off our list of the best dynamic microphones under $50

Like the Behringer XM1800S, the Samson R21 comes in a set of three high quality, low impedance dynamic microphones for vocals. This dynamic microphone is good for live performance, recording and for touring musicians thanks to its rugged road proof design.

It has a warm natural sound, a tight cardioid pickup pattern for maximum gain before feedback, dual stage heavy duty windscreen, gold plated XLR connectors assuring positive connectivity, high output dynamic element and heavy gauge mesh and an anti-dent ring that protects from the rigors of heavy use. It withstands high sound pressure levels in case you want to record or perform some louder instruments as well, like drums.

The Best Condenser Microphone Under $100

A review on the top condenser microphones for an under $100 budget

For under $100, condenser microphones in this range are going to give us some extreme affordability yet decent quality if you’re looking to record some vocals, stream, podcast, and more. Thankfully this is probably the most popular type of microphone in the world, so there was a decent bunch we were able to collect for you to compare while you shop. Let’s get into the best condenser microphones for an under $100 budget.

Our Condenser Mics Under $100 Picks

  1. Audio-Technica AT2020
  2. AKG P120
  3. sE Electronics X1 A
  4. Rode NT-USB Mini
  5. Samson C01
  6. Behringer C-1

Finding the Right Under $100 Condenser Microphone

It won’t be too big of a task when it comes to comparing and contrasting here with this budget. It’s gotten us down to the nitty-gritty of condenser mics, and your decision will come down to a few factors. This is probably the lowest we’ll ever go for a mic guide, although our condenser mics under $200 may interest you if you like taking a bigger step up. Other than budget, there are a few ‘types’ of condenser mics we want you to keep in mind.

Large-diaphragm condenser microphones are the most common, and these are the typical image you may associate with microphones. Most in our list consist of this. There are however some USB microphones under $100 there that may interest you (considering they’re still technically condenser mics due to their internal build and sensitivity for recording). Lastly, small-diaphragm condensers do exist but are more rare and geared towards those recording instruments in the studio.

Lastly, we always like to at least bring up the fact that you may need some more gear when buying a condenser microphone. Note that they don’t just work all by themselves. They need phantom power in order to get going and can’t just hook up straight into your computer. Be wary if you didn’t plan on this. You can perhaps buy a microphone package that includes some more equipment you may need to save money, otherwise you’ll need to buy at least a cheaper audio interface or microphone preamp to make these power up.

Some do come with a less fancy phantom power source in the box, but not many. You can buy an easier option with just a straight up phantom power box, but you won’t get certain controls, like headphone monitoring, gain, and other tweaking abilities many prefer. Oh and before we forget, USB microphones don’t need phantom power, so perhaps that will attract you to that route.

The Best Condenser Microphone Under $100

Audio-Technica AT2020

The best condenser microphone under $100

Up first as the best condenser microphone under $100, we have this one ourselves at-hand in our studio right now. It’s such a powerful and clear mic at the price it wasn’t really a hard decision to put it first. We’re big Audio-Technica fans in general but when it comes to balance of sensitivity, quality, and affordability, you can’t beat the AT2020. Regarding specs with this condenser, we have a low-mass diaphragm for a solid frequency and transient response. It can handle some pretty high sound pressure level and the overall construction is quite rugged and stable.

The cardioid polar pattern is standard for condensers of this kind, reducing pickup from the rear and sides and focusing on what’s in front of it. Lastly, it has a pivoting threaded stand mount for attaching to your mic stand and shock mount, but keep in mind none of those come in the package. Phantom power doesn’t either, so factor that in your budget. Otherwise, the Audio-Technica AT2020 is our favorite pick as the best condenser microphone under $100 in the market right now. Note they also have the AT2020-USB but that’s a bit more expensive.

AKG P120

The second best condenser microphone under $100

Here’s a very popular condenser microphone you’ll see listed quite high in retail stores due to it’s popularity. The P120 is known for it’s for it’s super clear audio quality and overall stability. We’ve heard a lot of podcasters use this one as well as home recording studios. Very clean and punchy sound.

It’s a medium-diaphragm condenser microphone with the standard cardioid polar pattern, a standard 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, 20 dB pad for extra gain, and a bass roll-off if you want to cut some lows while you’re recording or streaming. The diaphragm isn’t necessarily as “big” as large-diaphragm’s but it won’t be too big of a concern since it’s still a viable option for vocals and speech. If it lands in the middle of being large or small, it’s going to balance both lows and highs quite well. The AKG P120 is another great option as the best under $100 condenser microphone. There are some bundles out there that include extra gear with this mic so look into those.

sE Electronics X1 A

A very solid condenser microphone under $100

The X1 A is a great condenser microphone under $100 with a large diaphragm, cardioid pickup pattern, a 100 Hz highpass filter and a little -20 dB pad for some dynamic range extension on top of it. It sounds great and accurate in mixes, and the balanced frequency response brings forth an even distribution for recordings (although we always recommend cutting some of that low-end for vocals).

Just another very stable condenser mic under $100 here in case the other large-diaphragm options we recommended weren’t sticking out to you. It’s a durable mic with a great reputation. Great for higher Sound Pressure Level since the sE Electronics X1 A can handle about 150 dB (we’ve seen it uses on guitar cabinets, drums, etc.).

Rode NT-USB Mini

A great condenser mic under $100 if you need USB

Next we’ll get into a nice USB condenser mic for under $100 by one of our favorite brands in Rode. They have their original Rode NT-USB that came into the market a few years ago and caught our eyes, and since then has made it’s place in the (very competitive now) USB mic game. We were excited they announced the Mini version since the main USB mic is well above our price-tag here.

This condenser has a typical cardioid polar pattern but also includes an integrated pop filter, magnetic base, and a USB cable in the box. Just plug-n-play this one with your computer and you’re good to go, with no need for an interface – another big plus if you’re going to be strict on that $100 or less range. With on-board headphone monitoring and great recording quality at 24-bit / 48 kHz, you’ll be good to go with the Rode NT-USB Mini right out of the box.

Samson C01

A super cheap condenser mic by Samson

Next up as we near the end of our guide, we have Samson’s C01 that’s been around for a while with user reviews to back up it’s effectiveness despite the pretty cheap price. A lot of user reviews around the net praise it for being used as overheads for miking drums, quintets, vocals in bedrooms, and more. Versatility is a big theme for the C01 and it has a warm and clean sound when recording.

Regarding specs, we have a flat frequency response, an LED indicator for phantom power indication, a gold plated XLR connector, large 19mm diaphragm and of course, our beloved cardioid pickup pattern. The Samson C01 is praised by most who grab one of these and is definitely a choice as the best condenser microphone under $100.

Behringer C-1

The last condenser microphone for an under $100 budget we'll recommend

Coming in last here we have one of the cheapest condensers we’ll be able to recommend as it’s seen around the net for nearly half of our intended budget price here today. It’s a medium-diaphragm condenser microphone with a transformerless FET input and cardioid pickup pattern, but most importantly it comes with it’s own phantom power source, swivel stand mount and carrying case.

A huge bang for your buck here especially when it comes to not needing to buy some external power. A good mic for studio recordings (most vocals but it can take some instruments as well, especially acoustic guitar or even piano). You can also use this live if you want. Overall the Behringer C-1 is just a great package here for under $100.

The Best Dynamic Microphone for $100 or Less

Some of our favorite picks as the best dynamic microphones for $100 or less

Dynamic microphones are so versatile, flexible and powerful that we couldn’t imagine having a live performance or even studio without a few of these laying around at our fingertips. Nothing beats their ability to be used, used and used again, especially when it comes to live performance or even recording instruments. We’re in the midst of writing some guides that focus on specific microphone types within certain budgets, so today we’re going to find you some cheap yet powerful dynamic microphones under just $100.

  1. Audix i5
  2. Shure SM57
  3. Sennheiser e 835
  4. sE Electronics V7
  5. AKG D5
  6. Shure SM58

What is a Dynamic Microphone?

Before we get into some picks, let’s overview just for a few paragraphs when it comes to the world of dynamic microphones. Dynamic microphones are very rugged in construction and go well with being on the road, are perfect for focusing on projecting only what’s directly in front of it (it’s called off-axis rejection for being able to rid all other noise, such as the crowd or the band you’re with), and having a great frequency response to cover a broad range of the spectrum. Dynamic mics also have the ability to handle high ‘Sound Pressure Level’, such as loud vocals, drums (especially snares), and guitar amps (the ‘louder’ the instrument, the higher the SPL). They can also work well in recording applications for instruments.

The differences between dynamic and condenser microphones are pretty clear — and to make it easier for us to understand, dynamic mics are best for live vocals and instruments due to their abilities we previously explained. Condenser mics on the other hand are best for recording vocals and some instruments because of it’s extreme sensitivity to picking up what’s around it (sometimes when we record it can pickup the birds outside of our window!). Think softer uses, such as acoustic guitar or vocals.

The Best Dynamic Microphones for Under $100

Audix i5

The best dynamic microphone under $100

The i5 has a great reputation around the net and all types of 5/5 star ratings for a good reason. It was definitely hard picking a number one dynamic under $100. This one is many musicians go-to dynamic microphone for live instruments, but works well with vocals too. It’s just a very safe bet that you can’t wrong with.

We’ve seen it used with guitar amps, drums (a lot prefer this for their snares in particular, but we’ve seen this recording hi hats and kicks in the studio as well), and even horns, flutes, etc. This is definitely the best dynamic microphone under $100 if you’ll be in that area.

It handles high SPL like most dynamic mics, has a nice color to the feel and sound, and perfect pattern to get rid of the off-axis noise and reject that feedback. If you dig into the reviews on what people really say in general about dynamic mics (especially in this price-range), you’ll be hearing many comparisons of this Audix i5 vs. the Shure SM57 (that we list next). That’s all going to depend on some more subjective terms such as your preference for sound when it comes to recording. Otherwise, if you want an easy pick, you won’t go wrong here.

Shure SM57

The other best dynamic microphone for under $100

Here’s another one of the most popular dynamic microphones out there, with a reputation that isn’t going anywhere for quite some time. We know many musicians, mixers, engineers, you name it who have at least a few of these in their toolbox. Well-known for it’s effectiveness in performing drums, guitars and vocals, as well as recording guitars, pianos, you name it honestly. This thing is extremely versatile. It’s called the ‘industry standard’ for a reason.

Here’s some of the down low we’ve heard and experienced ourselves when it comes to the SM57 vs. i5 debate (these are just a few points, in the end, they’re both amazing dynamic mics):

  • Both are very effective at a wide array of instruments, especially louder, harsh instruments (most preferably live, although recording can work if you’re in a low-budget home studio)
  • The SM57 has been known to go well for top-ends in drums, especially snares since it does well at capturing the body
  • SM57 has been said to go well with tweed amps since it can add some subtle harmonic distortion on high-ends
  • The i5 is good for upper-mid ranges (keeps it clean)
  • i5 can work as a good kick microphone if you don’t have a proper one yet
  • If we really had to learn you towards a direction, we’d say the i5 for instruments and SM57 for vocals

All in all, since our budget is for dynamic microphones under $100, buying both an i5 and a Shure SM57 might be a good idea although we understand that’s doubling our intended budget. Why not have options? We really can’t pick the best dynamic microphone for under $100 especially when it comes to this very subjective debate, but these two are definitely the ‘this or that’ of this category.

Sennheiser e 835

The best dynamic microphone under $100 if you need a vocal mic

Let’s talk strictly vocals! If these SM57 vs. i5 debate gave you a headache like us when it comes to the best dynamic microphone under $100, let’s go in some more clear-cut picks that may give you a better feel for what you need. The e 835 has been around for quite some time as well and is very well known for it’s ability to project voices of all different styles with a clean and precise feel. We know many musicians and performers who buy a bunch of these just to have.

Like all dynamic mics it has a great ability for feedback rejection and low handling noise. This one also has a very rugged construction if you’ll be taking it on the road and want some stability when it comes to the actual make of your dynamic. If we had to absolutely recommend a dynamic microphone under $100 for vocals that isn’t the SM57 however, the Sennheiser e 835 would be our pick. It’s tough, sounds great when it comes to vocals, is simple and effective.

sE Electronics V7

Another great dynamic microphone under $100

Here’s a great dynamic microphone under $100 worth noting that’s highly rated based on it’s value and neutral response when it comes to any type of voice you’re looking to capture. It also has some great handling noise, warm and crisp sound, feedback and noise rejection, etc — everything you want in a dynamic mic.

Many claim this one over any of the Shure’s people recommend is way better when it comes to any type of voice projection especially because of it’s ability to cut through mixes with much EQ. The off-axis rejection is also known to be more superior than a lot of other dynamic mics.

This is going to be personal preference honestly and will be like comparing Coke to Pepsi, but you’d be surprised at how detailed these debates get. We recommend the sE Electronics V7 for those wanting to steer away the more popular picks and grab a mic that really focuses on being clean and crisp that can take away that little annoying ambiance, not only just for singing but for spoken word, comedy, and other types of speech applications.

AKG D5

AKG's best dynamic mic under 100 dollars

As we near the end of this guide, we’re realizing just how many dynamic mics in this price range are just straight up famous. The D5 is a favorite among many due to it’s great SPL at handling up to 147dB, and a variable-thickness diaphragm paired up with a rugged construction to stand as a long-term investment.

This dynamic mic as well as a very crisp sound and although that is a subjective term, really backs up a lot of the reviews claiming this can handle all types of voices and instruments. Most who do praise the D5 is important are those who perform vocals especially when it comes to picking up nuances of all of your words (sometimes people want to actually hear those lyrics). It also boasts a nice mid range and a full bass pickup without getting very ‘boomy’. The AKG D5 is just another great option as the best dynamic microphone for $100 or less.

Shure SM58

The last pick as the best dynamic mic under $100

Last but not least, we have Shure’s other famous ‘SM’ model, and we’re not sure if we’d feel right at least mentioning this at the bottom of the guide. We want to at least give you this last option if you’ve made it this far. This particular mic is probably the most famous ever to be honest, and if we weren’t such microphone snobs probably would have mentioned it first in here just due to it’s popularity. We digress however and it’s popular for one reason.

It’s versatility. This can be used for any and everything. We’ve used this on stage for vocals, instruments, and have recorded instruments with this in our studio (as well as vocals, although it’s not recommend honestly, we still prefer you use a condenser microphone). We’ve also seen this used for speeches (literally the president has used to it), comedy shows, ceremonies in church, podcasts, you name it honestly. The Shure SM58 is just a staple point in anything when it comes to sound, and is our last pick as the best dynamic microphone for an under $100 budget.

The Best Condenser Microphones for Under $200

Condenser mics under $200 is a decent price-range

Condenser microphones under $200 will give us a decent starting point for finding a balance between budget and quality. These types of mics tend to get a lot higher in price if you look into the higher-end category, but we were able to sift through the rubble for you to give you some options. We tried to find a variation in our picks to give you a few different roads to take when it comes to this particular topic.

  1. Audio-Technica AT2020
  2. AKG P420
  3. Avantone Pro CK-6
  4. Rode M2
  5. Samson CO01
  6. Samson G-Track Pro

What is a Condenser Microphone?

To brush up a little before we get into our condenser mics under $200 picks, a condenser microphone is the staple-point of a recording studio. They’re the go-to solution for not only vocals but many instruments as well, mainly due to their sensitivity and ability to capture very minuscule details of what you’re trying to record. These are also great solutions for other applications, such as streaming, gaming and podcasting.

A little side note to keep in mind, especially when getting your budget ready, is the fact that these will need an external power source to use them. You can use audio interfaces (most popular), mic preamps, or smaller phantom power solutions (these are the cheapest). This is of course if you’re using the traditional XLR connectivity. Nowadays USB microphones are becoming more and more popular solutions as condenser mics, but if you look into XLR vs. USB mics you’ll notice you have a little less flexibility with USB because there isn’t a middle-man for power than give you more options at tweaking your sound. The plus side to the USB condenser route is that you don’t need external power and it does so itself. We recommend one USB mic below but the others are the traditional hookup.

The Best Condenser Microphones for Under $200 Budgets

Audio-Technica AT2020

Our pick as the best condenser mic under $200

Up first to recommend is a microphone we use pretty consistently in our home studio. It’s simply reliable and we feel has great audio quality for the price. A super trustworthy brand here and this particular model also ranks up top due to it’s lengthy high-rated reviews after being available for many years now.

This is a low-mass diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern (most condensers are this, which is ideal for vocal recording in studios since it rejects the sides and rear and keeps what’s in front the focus). A pretty high SPL in case you want to record some louder instruments and tend to belt out when you sing. It’s threaded stand mount pivots and attaches easily to your stand for a snug fit in your studio. Reliable, proven by other musicians and great audio quality — the Audio-Technica AT2020 is one of the best condenser microphones for under $200 in the market and will be for a long time.

AKG P420

Another option as the best condenser microphone under 200 dollars

AKG is another one of our favorite microphone brands out there and this particular large-diaphragm condenser microphone under $200 is usually seen with at least 4 out of 5 stars for good reason.

You’re getting a choice for three pickup patterns in case you’re using this for other applications as opposed to just recording vocals. The AKG P420 has a nice and even flat response with a great frequency response, and you’re also getting a little bass roll-off if you need to cut your lows (we do this every single vocal track), as well as a 20 dB pad for extra thickness.

Avantone Pro CK-6

A more classic sounding condenser mic under $200

When we think Avantone, we think classic, vintage, and warm. This particular condenser mic under 200 bucks brings us a large capsule cardioid FET condenser build, which is a bit different than the others. Many argue the FET internal organs give it a warmer and different sound than others. This is of course subjective but as experienced ears can attest to the slight difference.

You have the option to use their highpass filter and 10 dB pad as well. These can never hurt, but what you’ll be going this route for is the different build — the circuitry brings forth sonic characteristics some just can’t ignore. Grab this if you want to focus on the actual sound of your recordings — the user reviews of the Avantone Pro CK-6 don’t lie, either.

Rode M2

A great live performance condenser mic under 200 dollars

Halfway through our guide, if you’ve made it this far we’ll assume you’re looking for something a bit different as compared to our three previous picks. The M2 is a nice one by probably our favorite mic brand ever. It’s a supercardioid condenser with a nice frequency response, but is designated towards live performances as opposed to studios or other streaming applications.

It has a super flat response even without any EQ work done. Works well with guitars as well. A few other nifty features you’ll get alongside this is a locking on/off switch, a stand mount as well as zipper pouch included in the package for travel. The best condenser microphone under $200 here with the Rode M2 if you need a live solution.

Samson C01

A very cheap condenser mic here to take a look at

Here’s a super cheap model in case you wanted to focus on affordability. Usually seen for half of our aim here at under $200, the C01 is effective despite the cheaper price-tag.

You have your typical cardioid pickup pattern for studio use, and the diaphragm is a big 19mm with a nice mesh grill and gold-plated XLR connector. A flat frequency response here and surprisingly clear sound despite being so cheap. The Samson C01 a great for one for those just starting out or who need a quick and simple solution for a condenser mic addition to their repertoire.

Samson G-Track Pro

The best USB condenser mic under $200

Let’s end the guide with a condenser microphone that has USB connectivity, with one of our favorite USB mics out right now. It’s quickly becoming a go-to recommendation for us due to one main factor — sound quality. Not a lot of USB mics in this price-range give us 24-bit audio resolution so this one stands out (at least for one).

You also have an instrument input in case you want to record something aside from your voice. It has a nifty desktop stand to fit snug in your existing setup, and some headphone monitoring capabilities to track your levels. We love this USB mic and although typically we always want to recommend XLR connected condensers for serious users, this will go a long way in case you’re into that USB port. The Samson G-Track Pro is definitely the best condenser microphone under $200 if this is what direction you need.

What is the Difference Between XLR and USB Microphones?

What’s the difference between USB and XLR microphones? You’ve probably heard of an XLR connected microphone, typically when it comes to condenser microphones (at least with today’s comparison). Yet again, with the ever-rising technology of USB microphones, we’ve seen this question come up more often so we’ve decided to write a guide for you all. So, what’s the difference? To be able to understand the difference between these microphones, we have to know a little information about each connectivity type.

What is the difference between USB and XLR microphones?

We would not consider these different microphones types. Ultimately, the ‘type’ of microphone (for example dynamic or condenser) can be either USB or XLR connected.

Before we get technical, here’s our straight away answer to save you some time: USB microphones are for convenience, applications that are less reliant on actual audio quality and the need for flexibility with recordings, as well as budget. They’re cheaper and more suitable for uses such as gaming, streaming, online calls, and more.

For home studio applications such as recording music in vocals and instruments, we still recommend going the XLR route so you can have more flexibility with recording control and quality. Using an audio interface and mic preamp goes a long way when it comes to getting serious with tweaking your audio tracks — gain, feel, EQ cuts, you name it. If you can afford it, even XLR mics for streaming or other popular uses will never hurt. It’s just more expensive.

What are XLR Microphones?

X stands for X Connector, L stands for Locking Connector, R stands for Rubber boot. XLR cables capture an analog signal using three-pronged male and female connectors. These microphones carry balanced audio, which is essential for getting a clean sound. Most pro-audio recording gear is designed for XLR microphones.

So, these microphones are compatible with most recording gear. XLR microphones need to be plugged into an audio interface or microphone preamp to be able to use them. If you need to upgrade the sound quality of your microphone, you have the to upgrade the interface and get to keep your microphone. These microphones are used by recording and radio studios, as well as live performers. XLR microphones are also useful when there are more than one performer recording at the same time.

What is a USB microphone?

Popular USB microphones you may have seen around the market

These are really starting to grow on us, especially when it comes to studio applications (home studios preferably), especially with applications such as USB mics for vocals. These microphones are the easiest way to make high quality recordings on a computer without having to rely on external gear — just plug and play and you’re good to go.

USB microphones have the similar capsules and condenser elements as XLR microphones (mostly), but with the ability to plug directly into the USB port on a computer eliminating the need to buy additional audio equipment to record your audio files. That is why USB microphones are cost-effective. These microphones are designed for digital output, are portable and can be used on a variety of equipment like PCs, tablets, phones and laptops.

Unfortunately, the USB microphone is not upgradeable. In other words, if you want to upgrade the quality of your microphone, you have to replace it with another microphone or just go the XLR route for some more flexibility when it comes to a middle-man with interfaces or preamps.

Difference between XLR and USB

Now that we know the definitions of an XLR microphone and a USB microphone, let’s explore the difference between those two.

It all essentially comes down to the parts of a microphone. Very simply said, the difference between an XLR microphone and a USB microphone is in the connections. The internal organs of each are different. An XLR microphone, having three prongs in its connection, needs to be connected to a mixing board; without which it won’t work. While a USB microphone can be connected directly to your computer without needing any kind of audio interface.

How to choose the right microphone?

With that being said, we can get more in-depth if you’re still reading. Let’s get a bit more detailed here — every single audio setup needs the following three main devices: A microphone, a preamp and an audio to digital converter, also known as A-to-D converter.

A microphone sends practically an inaudible signal which is very, very quiet and is called the mic level signal. That is why it needs a preamp which takes those very quiet electrical signal levels and amplifies them into an audible level strong enough for further processing or sending to a power amplifier and a loudspeaker. The signal is strong enough that we can hear and it is called the line level signal. This signal is then transferred into a digital signal by an analog to digital converter. The A-to-D converter is a system that converts an analog signal, such as sound picked up by a microphone into a digital signal.

If you have an XLR microphone, you need to connect it into an interface or a mixer that has a preamp built into it, then right after it sends it out through a USB out, it converts it into a digital signal. In case of a USB microphone, all three of those main devices; the mic, the preamp and the A-to-D converter are built into the microphone. Therefore, all you need to do is to connect it to a computer through a USB cable. This is convenient, but also less flexible. Think of it like a pre-built computer with all of the parts chosen, as opposed to XLR mics where you can customize the layers to recording.

There are factors that you might think about when deciding which microphone is the right for you. Some of these important factors are:

Cost:

USB microphones are relatively cheaper than XLR microphones because when using the latter, you need to also buy an interface, preamp or a more simple form of phantom power (some do come with this).

Sound:

Usually, XLR microphones have a better sound quality than USB microphones. But it also depends on the application you use it for. If you are just using it for putting audio music on YouTube, for example, you probably will not notice the difference. But if you are going to use lots of different instruments and vocalists with all sorts of dynamic ranges, then you will definitely notice that XLR microphones have a better sound quality.

Usability:

It is recommendable that you try both types of microphone because some people might find out that the XLR works out good with their voice, and yet others, might find out that the USB microphones works out for them.

A USB microphone is usually used by those who want to utilize it as a hobby, not a profession, as well as beginners. That is because it has a low cost, you do not have to have a technical knowledge, it is easier to set up and a lot cheaper than an XLR microphone.

On the other hand, professionals who are considering more of a professional set up, use an XLR microphone because these are connected using mixers.

Lifespan:

Most USB microphones come with a short warranty, whereas XLR microphones come with extended or lifetime warranty which is an indication that they last longer (really just depends on the brand).

Pros and Cons of USB and XLR Mics

USB Microphone Pros

  • Portability: Since a USB microphone are powered by a computer, eliminating the need for a phantom power source, it cuts down on the amount of gear you have to carry when you are recording. Therefore, a USB microphone is transportable.
  • Simplicity: It is easier to set up because it is simply used by plugging it directly to a computer.
  • Affordability: Another pro is that it is a lot cheaper, affordable than an XLR microphone, that is because it doesn’t need any digital audio interface (DAI) to be connected to a computer.

USB Microphone Cons

  • One at a time: On the other hand, a USB microphone lacks some of the qualities of an XLR microphone. One of the drawbacks is that it is challenging to record multiple USB microphones at once because your computer will have trouble judging/deciding which microphone is which and will not record the audio correctly.
  • Latency: Some USB microphones have latency problems. There is a delay between the time the sound enters the microphone and the time it exits through your headphones, but that’s becoming less of a problem as time goes on.
  • Reduced sound quality: Many USB microphones are designed for podcasting or streaming applications, resulting in a considerably less professional sounding recording. It’s more expensive to pack in higher-tech in the bodies as opposed to XLR.
  • Control: Since a USB microphone is directly connected to a computer through a USB cable, it leaves no choice for control. You don’t have the options of an interface to have control over the produced sound.
  • Choice: Another pro would be choice. Since USB microphones are relatively new, there are fewer options, but we’re starting to see the market flood with new models every year.

XLR Microphones Pros

  • Adaptability: XLR microphones are significantly more adaptable to many different functions. Since this type of microphone is connected to an interface, it offers a lot more customization.
  • Flexibility: One can easily swap microphones, interfaces, cables and stands to customize the setup to fit your needs. It is better for multiple microphones.
  • Sound quality: Simply said, XLR microphones have cleaner sound quality than USB microphones.
  • Durability: These microphones have more power; they are built with durability in mind, therefore, they are likely to withstand the tests of time.

XLR Microphone Cons

  • Costly: An XLR microphone will end up costing more because it needs a phantom power source.
  • Inconvenience: It is an inconvenience to travelers to carry XLR microphones because they have to carry all of the equipment that have to be connected to it.

In Conclusion, Which Microphone Should You Buy?

Condenser microphones have more power and better quality than USB (usually)

The strength of having a USB microphone is in its simplicity, plug and go, all in one ease of use. The strength of an XLR microphone is its potential sound quality.

When you’re creating your home studio, it is essential that you choose the right microphone. Buying the correct microphone is really a personal conclusion; it depends on what you’re looking for in a microphone.

So which microphone is the best for you? The XLR? Or the USB?

Although we explained earlier and may sound redundant, here’s the final word. If you are going to use the microphone for home recording, or you are going to use it as a hobby, whether you are going to transport it, or you travel often and want to carry it wherever you go, USB microphones are your best bet. On the other hand, if you’re a radio broadcaster, streamer or even podcaster — someone who needs to record multiple people at the same time like more than one speaker at the same time, a musician performing on stage, or want to record in a studio, XLR microphones are recommendable for you.

USB microphones may appear to be an attractive choice for beginners’ home studio. Some USB microphones are made with cheap parts which will yield poor quality sound. So when buying a microphone, bear in mind that if you want your recordings to have a high quality sound, you have to choose quality equipment.

If you’re trying to build a professional stream, your goal should be a set up with an XLR microphone because it has more options, more sound quality and more control like compression, EQ, all the changes you can do with an analog audio.

Make the right decision with the visions you have.

The Best USB Microphone for Under $200

A collection of the best USB mics for an under 200 dollar budget

USB microphones are one of our favorite types of mics to write about, so we’re continuing our series of budget-friendly guides on this subject with a nice and balanced price-tag here today — $200 or less. Most USB microphones that are labeled as ‘higher-end’ fall within this category, so you’re in good hands for today. We did see in our USB mics under $100 or even under $50 guides give us some decent options, but today we have a nice collection that brings in some better quality models for you to check out.

Which USB Mic Under $200 to Buy?

As with any of our USB microphones guides, let’s talk about your intended use, although the beauty of USB mics in general is the fact that they’re so versatile and span across many categories of recording (or streaming). However, there are a few guidelines we suggest. If you’re actually using these USB mics to record vocals in a music studio, we recommend being very strict about the audio resolution.

We do not recommend going any lower than 16-bit / 48 kHz. This can even go lower for many of you who are streaming, doing YouTube videos, or perhaps even gaming; however, those uses aren’t as strict when it comes to the actual nitty-gritty numbers. Some people out there will say that they don’t hear the difference between 16-bit vs. 24-bit — we’d say we are in the middle when it comes to broadcasting, streaming, online meetings, etc — uses that don’t completely rely on actually recording. Recording however, especially vocals or instruments for music, try to hit 24-bit if you can. We’d say the kHz isn’t as relevant as the bit. Either way, all the models below are feasible in our opinion.

Aside from recording resolution, a lot of these USB mics are the same when it comes to size and a few other standout features. Some side notes to keep in mind: on-board monitoring (such as volume or gain control, headphone outputs), built-in tripods, mute buttons (you never know when you need to just cut the mic out for a bit if you need a break — depends on what you’re doing), and more. We’ll mention each USB mic under $200’s standout features below.

The Best USB Microphones Under $200

Rode NT-USB

The best USB microphone under $200

Up first, the NT-USB is continuing to make a name for itself as USB mic technology evolves each year. Coming out a few years ago, it first caught our eye of course due to that Rode name in the title but also mainly due to the overall audio quality we’re getting out of this thing. It comes with a pop shield, tripod stand for desks, storage pouch, ring mount and the USB cable (20′). There’s a headphone jack directly on the mic itself for some monitoring (zero-latency), and you can also adjust the direct mix control between the source output and mic input.

Recording quality here comes in at 16-bit / 48 kHz. Compatible with Windows and Mac, as well as iPads. You can also look into their Rode NT-USB Mini if you wanted to save some cash and can sacrifice a few features. Otherwise, the Rode NT-USB is one of the best USB microphones for an under $200 budget right now.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

A-T's runner up pick as the best $200 USB mic

Next up is a USB microphone for under $200 dollars that we’ve recommended more times than we count, whether it’s in USB mic guides or even general microphone purposes such as recording in the studios. This is the USB version of their reputable AT-2020 (that we actually own ourselves), and it brings us some great quality regardless of use. It includes a built-in high quality A/D converter with some resolution hitting 16-bit / 44.1/48 kHz, a built-in headphone jack with volume control on the mic, ‘mix control’ for blending mic signals with your audio that’s pre-recorded, a nice frequency response to cover the spectrum of voices and most instruments.

It includes the tripod desk stand with folding legs as well. Doesn’t include a pop shield like the NT-USB previously listed but we’d say that’s only a plus for vocal recording (you can buy one separately). The Audio-Technica AT-2020USB+ is another solid option. If you’re torn between this or our previous pick, we’d get whatever is priced cheaper at the moment.

Samson G-Track Pro

The G-Track Pro by Samson

It’s starting to get a little redundant if you’re still reading, we know. However, like we said before, a lot of these USB mics have the same features.

The G-Track Pro however brings us some of the better specs number-wise. We have most highlighted here 24-bit / 96 kHz resolution, combined with the essentials of USB mics with on-board controls. What we really love about the G-Track Pro is it’s friendliness for musicians. It can act as an audio interface as it also includes an instrument in. So you can record let’s say a guitar and a vocalist all at the same time, all with 24-bit resolution. This is definitely the best USB microphone for under $200 if you’re a musician.

Blue Yeti

It's hard to imagine a USB microphone without one Blue appearance

Even though we’re getting sick of writing about the Blue Yeti, we won’t let that stop us from continuing to keep them included in our USB mic guides since they’re so effective and essentially paved the way for USB microphones to be taken seriously. You get the essentials with this one — gain control, mute button and a headphone output with zero latency. Plug and play for Mac and PC, a built-in desktop stand but what’s more impressive is the tri-capsule choices. You can choose between omnidirectional, stereo or cardioid, although most uses we recommend the latter. Still a plus for some of you depending on your application.

Audio resolution here is 16-bit / 48 kHz. You can also look into the Blue Yeti Pro for even better audio quality — 24-bit / 192 kHz, as well as a few extra features that may catch your eye. However, it’s a lot more expensive (about $100 more). The Blue Yeti is just famous now, and of course is a valid pick as the best USB microphone for $200 or less.

Mackie EM-USB

Mackie's latest creation in the $200 or less USB microphone world

Let’s talk about a newer USB microphone we recently reviewed with the Mackie EM-USB. They typically aren’t really known for the mics but nowadays everybody is getting their feet wet in the USB gold rush; and quite frankly we were impressed with what they had to offer here. gain, headphone volume and mute controls, tripod mount, mic clip, USB cable included. What does differentiate this from others is software bundle included. If there are a few mics in here that attract your eye because of that, it will be important to assess which is best and what USB microphone under $200 can save you the most money. It comes with a download for Pro Tools | First, some Waveform software, and something called ‘The Musician’s Collection’ plugin (a bunch of FX VST if you need any).

Great for streaming, gaming or really anything honestly since it’s up to par with the others in this guide. If you’re down this far and the first few picks didn’t cut it for you, the software bundle may catch your eye with the Mackie EM-USB.

M-Audio Uber Mic

The last pick as the best USB microphone for under $200

Let’s chat about a super new USB microphone by a decent brand out there in the mic world. This one is like the Yeti with a three-capsule condenser element, with 4 selectable polar patterns to held with those who use USB mics for different applications. There’s a headphone jack, USB/direct mixing control and of course, mute button like the others. A different little feature here you may like is the LCD display that shows you the selected control level. If that’s a must or a plus is your call. It’s compatible with iOS (need the iPad camera connection kit sold separately).

Nothing too crazy out of the ordinary here with the M-Audio Uber Mic but it’s at least the last option we’ll give you all for the best USB microphone under $200.