There have been several articles on this website related to microphones. If you want information about microphones in general as well as more specific information about condenser microphones, you should read What is a Condenser Microphone and Do You Really Need One?. If you want to read about my choices for inexpensive condenser microphones, check out Cheap Condenser Microphones for Less than $100. If you’re looking for vocal microphones that cost a bit more (but not too much more), look at Best Vocal Recording Mic. In this article, however, the goal is to show you a bunch of options that qualify as cheap recording microphones that can be used for a variety of purposes without spending much money at all. They’re not going to be of the highest quality, but they will get the job done for you without breaking your bank account.
Your go-to brand of inexpensive but quality recording microphones is the Blue Microphones brand. Started in 1995 by people who had many years of experience in working with and repairing classic Golden Age microphones, they produce high-quality mics that bridge the analog/digital divide. Here are three to consider:
Cheap Recording USB Microphones For your Computer
Blue Microphones Snowball USB iCE Condenser Microphone. This handy little unit packs a lot of quality considering it currently retails on Amazon for just $44.99. Of the 206 customer reviews, 129 are at the 5-star level and another 45 are at the 4-start level. There are also many versions of the snowball microphone in a variety of colors and slightly different price points, but all still very reasonable. This is a plug-n-play mic with its USB cord that is compatible with both PC and Mac computers without needing to install any additional drivers. It even comes with an adjustable desktop tripod. Overall frequency range is 40Hz-18,000Hz.
Blue Microphones Snowflake USB Microphone. When you need something that’s portable and yet of surprisingly good quality, the Snowflake is a great option. Retailing on Amazon for just $40.99, it’s another plug-n-play that’s PC and Mac compatible with no drivers needed. Of the 206 customer reviews, 96 are at the 5-star level and 40 are at the 4-star level. The recording capsule flips down for ease of portability. The frequency range is 35Hz-20,000Hz.
Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone. This one is the most expensive one I’ll list for Blue’s USB mics, but it may well be worth pinching a few extra pennies to get this one. It retails on Amazon right now for $98.99. It has over 1,400 customer reviews, and more than 1,200 of them are at the 4 or 5-star level. This is a microphone that’s developing a very solid set of devoted users. It has a 20Hz-20,000Hz frequency range and like the other Blue mics listed above is a plug-n-play with both PC and Mac computers. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more versatile, high-quality USB mic better than the Yeti.
Moving away from the USB microphones into regular units that produce high quality at affordable prices, you’ve got a surprising number of options, including the following:
Cheap Recording (Condenser) Microphones
M-Audio Nova Condenser Microphone. Currently retailing for $79, this is a great condenser mic that can serve a wide variety of recording needs. There are only five customer reviews at present, but 3 of those are 5 stars, 1 is 4 stars and the other is only 1 star, but the customer obviously received a bad unit (that does happen occasionally with any product when you think about it). The frequency range on this mic is 20Hz-18,000Hz with a sensitivity of -36dBV and impedance rating of 200 ohms. Those are pretty solid specs at this price point.
AKG PERCEPTION 120 Professional Studio Microphone. This is a condenser microphone that’s built to be a bit studier than average, meaning it might actually qualify as road-worthy, but you’d still want to be careful with it. It’s currently retailing on Amazon for $76.37 and of its 37 customer reviews, 22 have 5 stars and 11 have 4 stars, so it does work well for people. With a frequency range of 20Hz-20,000Hz and an overall sensitivity of -33dBV and impedance rating of less than 200 ohms, you’re getting some pretty solid quality and performance ratings at a great price.
When it comes to getting great quality sound on the cheap, the microphones I’ve listed here and in the Cheap Condenser Microphones for Less than $100 article are your best bets. There are other brands that offer even less expensive microphones, but at some point you will find out the hard way that quality can also become unacceptably low. All the microphones I’ve chosen for these articles offer surprisingly good quality and very affordable prices. Equipped with this information, you can feel confident about the microphone you select for all your audio needs.