Normally, when the word cheap is used people think bad quality. These days you can get well-made materials for a low price. You always want to shop around before making any major purchase. I am going to help you to decide on your purchase by showing you some of the best cheap studio microphones.
Type or Recording
Before choosing a microphone you need to know what you will be using it for. Depending on if you are recording music, doing a voice over, or just natural sound these different tasks require different types of microphones
You may also need to know what type of recording gear you will be using. Certain microphones may work better with certain systems. Accessory equipment will be discussed in a later post.
Types of Microphones
Choosing the right microphone can be confusing with experts talking about pickup patterns of microphones. Pickup patterns vary with different microphones. There are some mics that can switch between as many as five pickup patterns.
No need to worry about all that now.
At the end of the day all you need to think about are two types of microphones: Condenser and Dynamic.
Either can give you the results you want. The differences between the two are quite small. There are though, physical differences that may make one a more appropriate option.
Large diaphragms are usually found on condenser mics, but there are also ones with small diaphragms.
The diaphragm converts the acoustical energy or sound waves, into electrical energy or the audio signal.
Both large and small diaphragms in condenser mics are typically larger than the ones in dynamic microphones. Because of this, condenser mics are more sensitive and produce tighter details. The flip side is they have a lower sound pressure level(SPL) rating.
But don’t worry. In order to harm a condenser microphone from pure volume, you’d have to be incredibly loud.
Two main features of dynamic microphones are that they can withstand louder sound sources and they are nearly indestructible. They are better than condenser mics for use during live performances at bars and stadiums.
Dynamics can take the occasional dropping and a bit more shaking since they don’t have tubes.
So depending on what or where you are recording will determine the type of microphone you use.
Condenser and Dynamic Uses
Condenser microphones are typically used for vocals, acoustic guitars, pianos, violins, flutes, and most other stringed or wind instruments.
Dynamic microphones are typically used for extra loud vocals, electric guitars and bass, drums, most percussion instruments, and radio DJs.
Best Cheap Studio Microphones
Now that you have some theory on microphones, I will present to you the best cheap studio microphones I have found during my research. These are all good microphones that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to purchase.
* MXL 990. This mic falls into the cheap category even though it may be more costly than the others. But with this condenser microphone you get a shock mount, mic stand adapter, and the microphone carrying case.
This is truly an entry level microphone. There are cheaper ones that look more impressive but don’t have the quality diaphragm and electronics that this one does. Those mics were made to be sold. This one was made to be used.
*RODE NT1-A. This is the most expensive microphone on the list but it is still considered cheap. It’s a condenser mic that is great for vocals and stringed instruments. You can get great sound without running the microphone through an expensive preamp.
The A stands for Anniversary and the anniversary package includes a pop filter, shock mount, and an instructional DVD with mixing and recording tips specific to this mic.
*Shure SM57 and SM58. These two microphones are considered workhorses of the industry. They are dynamic mics that give you good results with cheaper home studio gear, but even better results when surrounded by expensive preamps, equalizers, and compressors.
They are good for miking vocals, guitars, and drums. This makes them great microphones for live concerts.
These two mics are rugged, transparent, and as good as you allow them to be.
*Audio-Technica AT2035. This microphone has no real “wow” factor to report. It just gives back every detail it hears. It’s a condenser microphone that’s good for loud vocalist or ones who like to sing close to the microphone. The mic’s unusually high SPL rating makes it good for miking up amps for electric instruments.
Features for this mic include a 10db attenuation pad switch for more volume leeway and a switchable 80Hz high pass filter for live events. The bundle comes with a pop filter and XLR cable.
*Blue Microphones Spark. This is a condenser microphone that has a great studio sound. It has a built in phantom-power amp and a high pass filter button like the AT2035.
The microphone can be used on almost any source, especially higher frequency sources like vocals, hand claps, pianos, and acoustic guitars. It shines on just about anything you put in front of it.
Get Your Go To Mic at an Affordable Price
There are lots of cheap microphones on the market. The ones I have listed here are the best cheap studio microphones I have found. They give you superior sound without costing you big bucks. Some cheaper ones look more impressive but won’t give you the sound you want. Your audience needs to hear, not see and impressive microphone.
Whatever you’re recording needs are one of these microphones should be perfect for you. If it’s music, voice over, podcasts, or just natural sound these microphones will do the job and not break your bank account. You can then use the extra cash for other audio gear and accessories.