Today, we’ll be looking at some of the best condenser microphones under $100 for musicians on a budget. With so many places to look, it can be difficult to discern between the good and the bad, but we hope that our list can help shine a light on all the confusion.
1. MXL 990
The best condenser on a budget
For a little under $100, there are very few mics as good as the MXL 990. Being one of MXL’s entry-level mics, the 990 is surprisingly crisp. With a frequency response of 30 Hz – 20 kHz, the MXL 990 makes a great choice for recording vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, and even violins and cellos.
The microphone has a slight high end boost, helping to provide presence and clarity to recordings. It’s also exceptional at eliminating background noise, which is a huge plus for mics in this price range.
Overall, the MXL 990’s versatility, clarity, and sensitivity will make it an incredibly valuable tool to have in anybody’s arsenal – beginners and pros alike.
2. Audio-Technica AT2020
The most versatile mic under $100
The AT2020 is an exceptional microphone for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has a fairly wide frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz. Secondly, it has a ridiculously high SPL at 144 dB, making it capable of handling loud sound sources with a large dynamic range.
While most condenser mics work best for vocals, acoustic guitars, or violins – this microphone can work equally well on guitar and bass cabinets, or even as drum overheads. It’s versatility and performance quality make it one of the best options to consider when looking for a budget condenser microphone.
3. Tascam TM-80
The best all-rounder under $50
The Tascam TM-80 is one of those microphones that make you question how manufacturers can get away with selling worse products at higher price points. This mic performs surprisingly well, and is just about as good as the AT2020 – albeit half the price.
It has a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz, and a max SPL of 136 dB. While it is fairly inexpensive, its performance would make most think otherwise. Overall, the TM-80 is one of the best all-around condensers you can find.
4. MXL 770
The best condenser for sizzle
This is the little sibling of the MXL 990, and while there are key differences between the two mics, both are equally viable options to consider.
The 770 is about a half a pound lighter, and has a slightly smaller diaphragm, and both have the same frequency response of 30 Hz – 20 kHz. However, the more noteworthy difference is in sound.
The MXL 990 has a relatively flat response with a slight boost towards the high end, the MXL 770 is about the same except the high end boost is more exaggerated. This means that while the 990 has a “silky” quality, the 770 is more brash, and sizzly. They’re both great mics, but your taste will have the final say.
5. MXL V67G
The best choice for voice-overs
At just under $100, the MXL V67G is an amazing microphone that outperforms its low price. With a max SPL of 130 dB, and a frequency response of 30 Hz – 20 kHz, the V67G is a surprisingly capable mic.
It’s an exceedingly popular choice for rappers, voice-over artists, and singers alike. This large-diaphragm condenser has a warm and smooth sound that will add richness and depth to any recording.
6. Audio-Technica AT2010
The best mic for live performance (at just over $100)
The AT2010 is a close cousin to the AT2020, and while there isn’t so much difference in sound, there is one key difference – the AT2010 is designed to be handheld. This makes the AT2010 a fantastic choice for live performances and interviews, while the AT2020 has more of a place in the studio.
It’s far better at handling plosives than the AT2020 as well, a feature often found on mics for live situations such as the classic Shure SM58. Overall, if you’re looking for a good cheap condenser to take on the road, the AT2010 is your best option.
7. Samson C01
The most durable
Running just below $100, the Samson C01 is a well-performing, durable microphone that would make a great option for almost anybody. Its body and grille are made entirely of metal, giving this budget mic a whole lot of longevity.
It’s a surprisingly sensitive microphone and allows for a lot of headroom when recording. People with experience can vouch for the crisp sound of the C01, which makes up for its slightly narrow frequency response of 20 Hz – 18 kHz.
8. Behringer B-1
The best condenser for guitar
While Behringer hasn’t had the best reputation in the music industry, they’ve done a great job at bringing some of the most sought-after technology to be affordable to the masses (with some slight modifications).
It’s a great alternative to the AT2020, with a 20 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response and a -10 dB roll-off switch. This microphone is an excellent choice for many things, but it excels at recording guitars.
9. Behringer C-1
The best cheap condenser microphone
Here’s another Behringer microphone that we like, the C-1. While it may have the smallest response of all the mics listed at 40 Hz – 20 kHz, it’s insanely cheap at $45.
Is it the best sounding mic? Not exactly, but for musicians on a tight budget this is a few steps above most else you can find on the market for the price. This is easily the best cheap condenser available in 2021.
Well, we hope you came out of this list a little more informed, and perhaps that much closer to choosing what microphone is best for you. Ultimately, finding the microphone you feel will best suit your needs is all that matters. Good luck and happy recording!