Getting started in the home recording business is both exciting and tedious. The best part is that you’ll have a chance to take your production career to another level. The stressful part, on the other hand, is that you’re clueless about the type of recording gear you’ll require. Now, if you’re new in the world of home studio recording, then one of the gadgets you’ll definitely need to think of is the best condenser mic under 100.
Of course, getting started in home music recording means that you’ll have a tight budget and you’ll be quite shy to splash big money to get expensive production gadgets. Taking the condenser mic as an example, these recording gadgets come in all sorts of shapes and sizes to meet different recording applications. Without the right answer, finding the absolute best microphone will be absolutely difficult.
Best Condenser Mic Under $100: Editor’s Top Picks
What Is a Condenser Microphone?
Now that we’ve discussed a lot about condenser microphones, how much do you really know about them? In most cases, microphones come in two major variations which are the condenser mics and their close cousins, the dynamic microphones. Dynamic microphones are considered to be traditional and quite primitive in terms of their design.
Since their design allows them to withstand very high sound pressure levels, these microphones are usually ideal for recording loud sounds in music concerts and live performances in stadiums. But, when it comes to studio recording, dynamic microphones may fail to suit this strategy since the weight of their diaphragms may struggle to pick low frequencies and produce an accurate representation of such sounds.
In this regard, a condenser microphone automatically becomes the perfect option when it comes to audio recording as you can’t afford to shout the way you would if you were in a live concert. While dynamic mics have very heavy diaphragms, condenser mics have very thin diaphragms that allow them to capture quieter sounds (with low input fidelity) with a high degree of accuracy.
But how do they do that? Well, it’s pretty simple. First, condenser mics have diaphragms made of very thin metal usually gold-sputtered mylar. Besides this metallic plate, there’s another piece of metal called a backplate.
So, for the mic to offer a detailed sensitivity and fidelity response, an electric current is passed through the two metal plates allowing the microphone to capture low-frequency sound waves. Since electricity must be present for these microphones to work, you need to find a reliable source of power that can either be via USB cable, XLR cable, or batteries.
Top 12 Best Condenser Mic Under $100 Reviews:
Thankfully, with experts such as we, finding a high-quality microphone at an affordable price range will be quite easy than you initially thought. In today’s guide, we’re going to discuss 13 best-selling mics that will suit most budget customers getting started in the music recording and production platform.
1. Blue Yeti Blackout + Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Bundle
Taking pole position in our list today, we have the Blue Yeti Blackout USB Microphone. The reason why this mic has made it at the top is how Blue has managed to team up with Ubisoft to table this Yeti microphone as part of a package containing Assasin’s Creed Odyssey Bundle. So, with this microphone, you’ll not only use it in the music sector but also as part of your gaming gadgets when playing the epic Assasin’s Creed game.
Also, by looking at it, one can easily tell that this microphone is a high-quality bundle. With the gain control and the mute button at your disposal, this mic will allow you to record any sound quite easily without worrying about any voice distortions.
YouTubers, Podcasters, and musicians alike have not been left out here. That’s because this microphone has three condenser capsules that will allow you to record and stream any content. Designed with a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, a sampling rate of 48kHz, and a signal to noise response of 100dB, this microphone is the ultimate best for twitch streaming, voiceovers, podcasting, music recording, and Skype calling among other uses.
- It’s compatible with most computers.
- Comes with a stand for easy desktop use.
- Doesn’t require any software to connect.
- The headphones’ input jack plus mute and volume buttons are available.
- Perfect for gaming, streaming, recording, and Skype call.
- Sound quality playback is a little bit digitized.
- Sometimes the game code comes when it’s already expired.
2. Audio-Technica Condenser USB Microphone
Coming second in this list, we have the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser Microphone. Now, if you happen to take a closer look at this microphone, you’ll realize that there’s a lot to love about it. First, Audio-Technica has managed to strike the golden balance between affordability and performance. Second, they’ve put versatility at the front row by designing a microphone that suits every occasion.
So, with those two factors, the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser Microphone is a perfect entry-level racehorse that suits almost any category. Its design, which comprises of a custom-engineered diaphragm and a metal housing, makes it one of the best microphones in the market.
About its performance, this microphone has a superb frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz and a decent audio quality of 16 bits with a sampling rate of 44.1/48 kHz. It has a headphone jack and a variety of controls such as mix control and volume control to help you capture the best signal. Its easy USB tethering makes this mic quite universal as it’s able to work with almost any iOS and Windows software versions ranging from Mac OS X, Windows 2000, XP, Vista to Windows 7.
- Entirely made from metal.
- Wide dynamic range makes it quite versatile.
- Comes with a pivoting threaded stand.
- Compatible with most Mac OS and Windows versions.
- Delivers superior clarity when recording music.
- Its low-mass diaphragm offers excellent transient response.
- The stand is quite tricky to adjust.
- It occupies a lot of your desktop space.
3. MAONO USB Microphone with Studio Headphone Set
Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate YouTuber, gamer, podcaster, producer, or a home studio recorder, the MAONO USB Microphone is one of the best budget condenser mics that will give you practically everything you’ll need to accomplish your music recording endeavors. The reason why this mic has appeared so early in our list is the fact that it doesn’t come alone.
The package actually comes with an assortment of other recording accessories such as wired headphones, a table mounting stand, a pop filter, and a foam mic windscreen among other essentials. Apart from the rich package, the MAONO USB Microphone has not failed to impress. Designed with a professional sound chipset, this mic is capable of achieving a high-resolution sampling rate of 192 kHz/24bit with a decent frequency response of 30Hz-16 kHz.
Like it’s not enough, MAONO has added a 16mm electric condenser transducer and a magnet ring to give you a decent bass response while picking crystal clear audio with reduced interference. Its USB 2.0 data port is another major selling point that allows this microphone to work with major PC and Mac OS software versions without any interference. With a sensitivity rating of -38dB+/-3dB, this condenser mic is ready to accomplish any type of recording tasks with great enthusiasm.
- Perfect noise reduction capability.
- Has a high sampling rate of 192kHz/24bit.
- Doesn’t require any software to connect to a computer.
- High sensitivity allows it to capture low voices.
- Comes with a dedicated mounting clamp and headphones.
- Sometimes the mic comes with the wrong USB cable.
4. miniDSP USB Measurement Calibrated Microphone
Quality condenser microphones are becoming easy to find in recent times. The miniDSP UMIK-1 Calibrated Microphone is among the top-selling mics that have debuted with a loud thud. From being super affordable to housing some of the best features in the acoustic world, this microphone is perhaps one of the most reliable mics that will suit customers working on a tight budget.
One of the greatest features of this mic is its slender body. Despite having a thin diaphragm, this microphone has surprised most recording enthusiasts with its low noise and great accuracy making it the best choice for recording, gaming, YouTubing, Podcasting, and Skype communication.
Like it’s not all, this mic is compatible with a wide range of acoustic software such as Smaart, REW, and Dirac Live among others. Its excellent frequency response of 20 Hz – 20kHz +/-1dB cannot be ignored either as it allows this mic to work with both vocals and instruments when recording. Packed alongside a dedicated USB cable, a mini tripod, and a windscreen, the miniDSP UMIK-1 is an entry-level mic that will never put your home recording endeavor to shame.
- Compatible with a wide range of acoustic software.
- Has a high-frequency response.
- It’s easy to download the calibration files.
- Doesn’t require any software to pair with your PC.
- Comes with a tripod stand for easy desktop use.
- The USB cable is quite short.
5. Razer Seiren X USB Streaming Microphone
Razer is probably one of the last brands one would think of when looking for a condenser microphone. That’s because this brand specifically deals with gaming peripherals such as gaming keyboards, mice, and PC headphones. In recent times, however, this gaming giant has diverted from its ordinary gaming endeavors to focus more on high-definition audio with the results being the Razer Seiren XUSB Streaming Microphone.
As their latest offering, this condenser mic has immense irresistible qualities that have made it among the best in the market. For beginners, this mic has a sleek and non-obstructive design that provides the perfect contact between you and the audience when performing. Its built-in shock mount works tremendously well in cushioning any vibrations when recording.
Its frequency response is on the higher side while the built-in background voice reduction feature ensures that any distracting noises are reduced to zero when performing. By pairing this microphone with the rest of the Razer Seiren X gaming peripherals, gamers, streamers, and music producers alike will enjoy super accurate results with a bit more precision.
- Shock mount technology reduces any vibrations in case it’s knocked over.
- Sleek design reduces any interference when recording.
- Zero-latency monitoring reduces any echo effects when streaming.
- The anodized aluminum chassis gives this mic a superior look.
- USB connectivity makes it compatible with a variety of devices.
- Sometimes, it picks unwanted sounds.
- The noise reduction function needs some minor improvements.
6. MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Perhaps one of the reasons why the MXL Mics 770 has dominated the audio market is becauseMXLMics is a well-respected brand with years of an incredible experience. You see, the audio recording market is limited and every brand, whether old or a newcomer, is determined to deliver something unique. However, for the case of MXL Mics, this brand has done the opposite where they’ve laid tremendous focus on consistency rather than provide customers with irregular mics with new flashy features.
Although it’s a smaller division of a huge brand, Marshall Electronics, this microphone has proved to be a reliable piece of music peripheral for both seasoned professionals and newbie musicians. First, it has a small diaphragm that lets you keep perfect eye contact with the audience.
The bass-roll off switch and the FET preamp switch are two features that have really advanced this mic to the very top. That’s because the two work together to clarify muddy sounds while offering an immaculately balanced output to suit a wider dynamic range. It also boasts of an impressive frequency range of 30Hz-20kHz and an excellent sensitivity of 15mV/Pa making it a perfect mic for not only vocals but also for use with a wide range of acoustic peripherals.
- It has a great frequency response of 30Hz-20kHz.
- It has a bass roll-off switch for superior sound clarity.
- Available in Black, Sky Blue, and Vintage White color options.
- Works well with both vocals and acoustic instruments.
- The package includes a storage case.
- It captures unwanted sounds such as wind sound.
- The shock mount feature needs some improvements.
7. TONOR USB Cardioid Computer Mic Kit
Although the TONOR USB Condenser Microphone is a relatively unknown brand, its perfect combination of performance and cool appearance have left most heads turning and eyes wide open. Their decision to design the large 24mm diaphragm with a cool champagne finish has been impressive as it not only captures both low and wide sound frequencies but it also does it with a bit of style and elegance.
Its impressive frequency response of 20Hz-20KHz, a sampling rate of 192kHz/24Bit, and an expandable dynamic range are some of the features that have made this condenser microphone to excel in the streaming, gaming, podcasting, and recording categories.
The TONOR USB Condenser Microphone has an easy plug and play option that allows you to work with any PC, Mac, or PS4 consoles. Other than that, this condenser mic doesn’t come alone. That’s because TENOR has included a rubberized anti-shock mount, a desk clamp, and a double-layered screen on the package to make things more authentic when recording.
- It has a large stylish diaphragm.
- Rubberized shock mount prevents any mechanical vibrations.
- Has a very high-frequency response.
- Perfect for all types of gaming, recording, and voice over activities.
- Can be plugged and used on any computer.
- Some echoes are visible.
8. Marantz Pro Studio Recording Condenser Microphone
A quality condenser microphone is not easy to find at a moment’s notice. However, some brands have managed to deliver authentic microphones with considerable differences one of which is the Marantz Pro MPM1000. At the heart of this mic rests an 18mm pure aluminum plated diaphragm.
Although it looks sleek, this condenser capsule is responsible for this mic’s high-frequency response that ranges from 20Hz to 20 kHz. It’s also responsible for this mic’s high sensitivity of 38dB ± 2dB and fast transient response that combine to give you a pristine studio-quality recording right at the comfort of your home studio.
Other than its immaculate features, the Marantz Pro MPM1000 doesn’t come alone. This condenser microphone comes with some backup accessories that include a windscreen, a shock mount, a tripod stand, and an XLR cable. With such a deal, you won’t have to spend any more money buying extra accessories when pairing this mic with the rest of your recording peripherals.
- Shock mount accessory guarantees super crisp sound without any distortion.
- Has a high sensitivity of 38dB ± 2dB.
- Comes with a windscreen for a more reinforced audio quality.
- It’s versatile enough to be used for gaming, podcasting, and recording.
- The XLR cable is long enough.
- It captures a few background noises.
- The XLR cable doesn’t fit tightly.
9. Samson C01U Pro USB Studio Condenser Microphone
The Samson C01U Pro USB Condenser Microphone is one of the highest-rated mics in the audio market today. What’s intriguing about this microphone is that there’s nothing high speed about it and the design looks as generic as the rest of the midfield mics. However, performance has always come first in this no-nonsense brand something that has made this microphone to outshine most of its closest rivals.
One feature that has been at the heart of its impressive performance is the 19mm large diaphragm. With its hyper-cardioid polar pattern and internal shock mounted advantage, this mic will capture every bit of sound you throw at it with ultimate clarity with just a few spills from the surround sounds. It also offers an excellent frequency response of 20Hz-18kHz and an audio resolution of 48kHz giving you nothing less than high-definition recordings when streaming, podcasting, producing, or gaming.
About compatibility, the Samson C01U Pro isn’t too picky or fuzzy. With its USB connectivity, this mic can be paired directly to any computer without worrying about it misbehaving. It also comes with a 1/8” headphone output that offers zero-latency monitoring to make it easier for you to listen to yourself when recording.
- Designed with a full metal body.
- Has a decent frequency response of 20Hz-18 kHz.
- Super cardioid pickup pattern delivers crisp sound with less distortion.
- There’s a headphone output for easy monitoring when self-recording.
- A shock-mounted diaphragm prevents any unwanted vibrations.
- The mic’s handle can break if mishandled.
- Sometimes it can make static sounds.
10. Zoom iQ7 Stereo Microphone for iPhone/iPad
The Zoom iQ7 is one of the tiniest condenser microphones in the recent audio market. Although it looks tiny and quite binary, this microphone is loaded with smart features one of which is its great compatibility with all iOS devices. With a weight of just 4.8 ounces, this mic is pocket friendly and can be carried to any location of your choice to capture music audio, voiceovers, and other recordings of your choice.
At the heart of this mic, there are two independent microphone elements one of which is directional and the other bidirectional. Since they can be tilted left to right, adjusting these tiny mics to 90°allows them to focus on individual sound while a 120° tilt gives them a wider frequency response of the surrounding ambiance.
In addition to impressive performance, the Zoom iQ7 is compatible with a wide range of iOS apps such as Voice Memos, GarageBand, iMovies, and Instagram among others. By downloading the Zoom app on your device, you can enjoy a variety of smart effects such as reverb, a six-band equalizer, and high-quality audio recording in AAC and WAV formats.
- The AAC and WAV recording formats provide clearer sounds.
- The M-S audio recording capability is quite excellent.
- It’s compatible with a wide range of iOS audio apps.
- Extremely lightweight for easy carrying.
- Can be tilted to focus on individual sound or surrounding ambiance.
- The quality of sound is not excellent.
11. Rode NT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality Microphone
To say that Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone lies in the budget segment would be an understatement. Although it’s an affordable offering, this microphone has a lot of exclusive features most of which are present in a variety of high-profile mics. Among them is the large diaphragm that has a decent frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz that allows it to handle a wide range of musical performances.
It’s also fitted with a zero-latency 3.5mm headphone jack that lets you pair the mic with your earphones for a better listening experience when recording. The 20 ft. USB cable is something else Rode pride as it’s long enough to prevent any restrictions when working around this mic.
Just like it’s the norm with most other mics, the USB connectivity allows this mic to be paired with any Windows or Mac OS computer not forgetting most iOS devices. When it comes to packaging, the Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone doesn’t come alone. It comes with a tripod stand, a pouch, and a stand mount with a 3/8” thread for easy mounting on your desktop.
- It has a long 20 ft. USB cable.
- Has a wide frequency range.
- The SM6 Shock Mount cancels all external noises with enthusiasm.
- The sound captured is crystal clear.
- It has a pop shield and a stand included.
- Unfortunately, some parts are made of plastic.
12. FIFINE Studio Condenser USB Microphone
The last mic that has bulldozed its way on this list of the best USB condenser mic under 100 is the FIFINE T669 Studio Condenser Microphone Kit. While most microphones in this price range come with the mic alone, the FIFINE T669 packs an exclusive list of peripherals that include a scissor arm stand, a double pop filter, a desktop shock mount, a USB cable, a tripod stand, and a microphone.
When it comes to performance, this microphone takes advantage of its large diaphragm to take care of both low and high-frequency sounds ranging from 20Hz-20kHz. It also delivers studio-quality crystal clear audios when recording, podcasting, YouTubing, and gaming making it a reliable mic for both intermediate and professional needs.
The FIFINE T669 doesn’t stop there. Its cardioid polar pattern combines perfectly with the pop filter and the adjustable studio scissor arm stand to capture crisp high-quality sounds while resting on your desktop. The USB cable is another exclusive bonus that allows you to connect this mic to any computer without requiring any special software.
- Can be used with any computer of your choice.
- Has an independent volume knob.
- The large diaphragm has an excellent signal-to-noise ratio.
- The arm stand is easy to adjust.
- Offers a 2-year limited warranty.
- The quality of sound is quite distorted.
Things to Consider When Buying a Condenser Microphone
Following the advancement in technology, the need for high-quality condenser microphones has continued to fluctuate. The reason for this is due to the high-quality construction of these microphones that allow them to handle mammoth tasks in gaming, YouTubing, Podcasting, recording, and audio voiceover platforms.
Now, knowing what you need is easy. But, when it comes to perusing through the different features and requirements, things get a little bit tricky. Due to this reason, this guide has offered to discuss a variety of factors that you’ll need to be keen on when choosing your favorite condenser mic. Please read on.
Now, when I mention the type of condenser mic, what I’ll be focusing on is the size of the diaphragm. You see, condenser microphones usually come in two major types which are those with large diaphragms and those with small diaphragms.
Large diaphragms on their side are best used for vocals because they have a better frequency response. They also give you warmer sounds with less self-noise making them the best for capturing those lower notes.
On the other hand, small diaphragm microphones are usually thin and cylindrical. They too have a consistent frequency response and a more improved transient response due to their tiny diaphragms. They’re usually affordable and work wonderfully when linked with a good sound source.
Finally, microphones with small diaphragms are considered to be more honest. Since they can handle loud volumes pretty well, they’re the best to use alongside acoustic instruments such as drums, guitars, and wind instruments.
Another factor you’ll need to consider when choosing a condenser mic is the concept of its frequency response. Moving back to physics, the frequency response is a scientific way of analyzing the pitch of a note. Sound frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) where 1Hz represents the number of sound waves that pass through a medium in one second.
With this in mind, you must check your microphone’s frequency response graph to determine whether it’s best to use for your situation. Most professional microphones strive to capture sounds at different frequencies ranging from 20Hz to 20 kHz.
While most mics will strive to deliver crisp, accurate, and studio-quality sounds, some will pick and miss a bit of low or a bit of high. Due to this reason, it’s very important to keep a closer eye on the frequency response to ensure that you get the best condenser mic under 100 that will meet all your recording needs.
This is our next factor that demands critical consideration when choosing a mic. A particular condenser mic might win your heart with its outstanding features and great looks. But when it comes to its pick up patterns, you start to notice that its directionality isn’t matching your recording needs.
Now, microphones come in two major types of polar patterns that are the cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns. Mics with a cardioid pick up patterns means that they can only pick up sounds coming directly in front of them while rejecting sounds coming from behind. These types of mics are considered the best, especially among beginners, because they have great noise reduction capability especially if you’re recording in an environment with immense sound reflections.
On the other hand, omnidirectional microphones are designed to pick sounds both from the front and from the back. These mics are great for recording a group of singers or percussionists. Since they do allow some noises to seep through, they’re best recommended for professional recorders and producers with great recording rooms/studios.
USB vs Non-USB:
This is another factor you need to be really keen on when choosing a condenser microphone. In most cases, USB cables draw power from your device to keep the microphone working. Now, a normal condenser microphone will require around 48V to operate. Since a USB cable can only output around 5V, there will either be insufficient power to operate your mic or your device will be drained too quickly in an attempt to power the mic.
In this regard, it’s wise to do your calculation beforehand to determine whether you’ll go with a USB cable or an XLR cable. The best thing about an XLR cable is that it draws its power from a preamp, a mixing console, or an audio interface. While this solves much of your devices’ power issues, you need to ensure that you have a preamp or an audio interface ready before buying a microphone with an XLR cable.
Impedance is usually a measure of a microphone’s receptiveness to AC current and audio signals. Measured in Ohms (Ω), this measurement is very critical because it shows you how well a microphone can retain its audio clarity when used with longer cables, usually 16 ft. in length. When shopping for a mic, always look for those models with a low impedance of around 600Ω and below.
Proximity Effect Sensitivity:
Some factors such as this are considered to be silent but very influential when choosing a microphone. When doing a professional voice over, podcasting, or just singing, you might notice that some performers will tend to drift away from the mic. If your microphone lacks a proximity effect sensitivity, then there will be notable inconsistencies in the quality of sound delivered.
Therefore, to prevent such inconsistencies, you need to ensure the specific condenser mic you’re getting has this feature to ensure that there’s even results in the quality of sound delivered regardless of whether the performers are 3” or 15” away from the mic.
The last factor you have to check on is the availability of a shock mount. The best thing about this factor is that most microphones come with a shock mount already included in the package. Although that’s a huge advantage, it’s always recommended that you buy an extra aftermarket universal shock mount with more advanced features.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What’s the Difference Between Condenser and Dynamic Microphones?
Although they’re considered closer cousins, both of these mics have a very different working mechanism. Dynamic mics on their side work in a similar fashion as audio speakers. Their diaphragms are made of either plastic or polyester film. A metal coil is attached to the diaphragm then suspended between two magnets. So, when this mic detects some sound, the diaphragm vibrates causing the metal coil to move up and down between the magnets creating an AC current that mimics the sound being produced.
On the other hand, a condenser microphone shares a similar working principle as a capacitor. The diaphragm is placed close to a metal plate. When the two are charged with static current, the diaphragm, usually made of thin metal, starts to vibrate producing an electric current that mimics the sound being produced.
Q2: How Far Should I Be From a Condenser Microphone?
Whether it’s singing, podcasting, or voice-over recording, maintaining proper distance or proximity from your microphone is usually very important. In most cases, vocals are considered to be high-frequency sounds that are normally directional. This means that the further away you are from the microphone, or maybe if you happen to turn your head away from the mic, the more the microphone
will struggle to capture your voice. This results in a dull sound being produced.
Therefore, to maintain proper sound consistency, you should position your condenser mic about 6-14-inches away from your mouth. On the other hand, coming too close to the mic’s diaphragm isn’t recommended either. Since these mics are too sensitive, there will be a lot of boominess and distortion in your voice. In this case, you can use a pop filter for assistance.
Q3: What is Phantom Power?
In simple terms, phantom power is the amount of DC voltage that’s needed to power your condenser microphone. In most cases, this DC voltage ranges from +48V, and its mostly derived from your audio interface or preamp.
Q4: Are Condenser Mics Good for Vocals, Drums, and Acoustic Guitars?
If you’re looking to capture a decent range of frequencies, a condenser mic with a large diaphragm is the best to consider in the case of vocals. On the other hand, if you’re using an acoustic guitar alongside other music instruments, a small diaphragm condenser is the best to consider.
This segment of the best condenser mic under 100 is quite interesting for several reasons. The list has pretty awesome, well-stocked, and quite versatile mics that prove to be efficient despite being in the entry-level market. They have a lot of dynamics and heart thumbing features that make them the best for both intermediate and professional home studio setups.
While the low price is usually synonymous with low quality, you shouldn’t allow the price to scare you as the most respected brands in microphone technology are also considering producing high-quality microphones at affordable prices.
As I conclude, I would like to recommend you to peruse through our list of the best condenser mics to know which mics will work well in your specific situation. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide section which you can follow when making an informed choice.