Among all microphone types, condenser models provide the widest frequency response, lowest noise and distortion levels, and the most accurate overall sound. For these and other reasons, they’re the preferred choice for vocalists and solo instruments. And they work well for recording large ensembles, such as orchestras or choirs, as well as amplifier speaker cabinets.
But which of the Best Condenser Mics Under $200 is perfect for you?
That really depends on your application, budget, and personal taste. There are hundreds of excellent condenser mics to choose from and a bewildering list of technical specs. We’re here to help you make that choice!
We have composed for you reviews of the top 10 best vocal condenser mics under $200 in 2022. Read through and choose the best for yourself.
|AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone, Black||Check on Amazon|
10. XLR Condenser Microphone with 34mm Large Diaphragm, MAONO Professional Cardioid Studio Mic for Recording, Podcasting, Streaming, Voice Over, Vocals, Music, YouTube (PM500)
It adopts the fully new audio circuit to capture rich, complete-bodied sound from sources directly in front of it. Also, it has cardioid pick-up pattern that lowers background noise. This mic is made of steel for long lasting durability and maximum strength. In addition, 48-volt phantom power offers power to the mic and transfers sound signal to the external sound card. Moreover, you can adjust the mic angle utilizing a locking knob.
9. Audio-Technica AT2035 Cardioid Condenser Microphone, Perfect for Studio, Podcasting & Streaming, XLR Output, Includes Custom Shock Mount
It features enhanced performance to offer excellent sound for podcast, instruments, vocals, studio recording, and many more. Its kit includes a sound card, shock mount, cardioid condenser mic, power cord, pop filter, windproof bubble cap, and mic adjustable suspension scissor boom. Furthermore, it has cardioid pick-up pattern which selects sound directly in front of the microphone while reducing background sound.
8. Behringer C-1 Professional Large-Diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone
This is a professional, huge-diaphragm condenser mic for amazing audio quality. It is perfect as a support or main mic for live applications and studio. The cardioid pick-up pattern ensures remarkable feedback rejection and sound source separation. It also has pressure-gradient transducer that has shock-mounted capsule. Moreover, the silent, transformer less FET input removes low-frequency distortion.
7. LyxPro SDPC-2 Stereo Pair of Pencil Condenser Stick Microphones
This Pro-Grade Pencil Condenser Microphones Suit woodwind, acoustic and overhead instruments. It accurately captures even the slightest audio nuances for high quality recording. As well, it comes with three capsules such as super cardioid, cardioid and Omni. It also has 30Hz-18 kHz response frequency and -38dB ± 3dB sensitivity thus a great support or main mic for live applications and studio. Additionally, it comes with two windscreens, two smooth-tilt mic clips and aluminum carrying case.
6. Marantz Professional MPM-2000U | Studio Condenser USB Microphone
This Studio-quality USB condenser mic is designed for digital audio studio recording. It features premium quality 48 kHz A-D converter while quick transient response make it perfect for recording percussion, instruments and vocals. This mic is great for recording premium quality audio directly to your laptop or computer’s digital audio workstation. Also, it offers the convenience of recording directly to your computer via a single USB connection.
5. Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone
It features a custom condenser capsule that provides crystal clear audio for FaceTime, messages and Skype. As well, it adds narration to movies, creates podcasts and records vocals. It also adds clear audio to recordings such as for You Tube. Moreover, this mic is very simple to use and operate. Additionally, it is made of high quality materials for long lasting durability and can withstand the demand of daily use.
4. Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
This microphone is great for home or project studio application with noise level of 20 dB SPL. It features wide dynamic and the high SPL handling range offer amazing versatility. The custom engineered low-mass diaphragm offers powerful transient response and extended frequency response. Moreover, the cardioid polar pattern lowers pick-up of sounds from the rear and side, thus enhancing isolation of desired sound sources.
3. AKG Pro Audio P220 Vocal Condenser Microphone, Black
It has 5.9ft USB cable for laptop and computer Pc that connects directly via USB port for podcast, computer syncing or music recording. As well, it is made of high quality strong metal for long lasting durability and maximum strength. It has an additional volume knob hence is more sensitive with a louder output, your voice will be heard well when voice recording, skyping, or gaming. Furthermore, its cardioid polar pattern captures your voice clearly, producing crisp sound thus ideal for streamers or gamers.
2. Blue Yeti USB Microphone
It has three condenser capsules thus can record any situation. As well, it features multiple pattern selection such as stereo, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and cardioid. The mic also has mute button, gain control and zero-latency output. It is great for conference calls, field recordings, interviews, voiceovers, podcasting, musical instruments, and vocals. Furthermore, it is compatible with Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.
1. MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
This Multi-purpose condenser mic is perfect for percussion, stringed instruments, pianos, and vocals. It has balanced bass response that has high end clarity. Also, it features low noise FET preamp that has balanced, transform less output for a variety of dynamic range and patented design. It is great for newbie musicians and seasoned pros who demand a high quality condenser microphone.
The above are the top 10 best vocal condenser microphones under $200 in 2022, which are suitable for a wide range of applications in both professional and home studios. They have amazing features and suit all the needs for newbie musicians and seasoned pros. We recommend that you choose and purchase any of the above vocal condenser mics and enjoy amazing recording experience.
What is a Condenser Microphone?
It is a microphone that contains a sealed “capsule” that acts like a capacitor, also called a condenser. It has plates that are parallel and very close together, which can conduct electricity. The stationary backplate is heavier and made of brass or another metal.
The other plate is called the “diaphragm,” it is very thin, so it can move closer to or further from the backplate in response to air pressure changes. The best diaphragms are made of Mylar or aluminum foil that’s “sputtered” (coated with vaporized gold).
An electrical charge is applied between the diaphragm and the backplate. As the diaphragm moves in reaction to sound waves, it changes the capacitance. A preamplifier converts the capacitance to a varying voltage.
Responsive and sensitive…
Condenser microphones are known for having an exceptionally wide frequency response, typically from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. They’re also very sensitive to air pressure variations, which makes them the ideal choice for vocals and instruments. They’re also very quiet because they don’t contain any electromagnetic coils that pick up hum.
All condenser models require a source of power. This can be from an external power supply or battery, or they can be “phantom powered” through the audio cable from a specially-equipped mixing console or audio interface.
But they also have their weaknesses…
Good condenser microphones are quite sturdy, but they’re generally still more fragile than dynamic mics. For this reason, they’re not the usual choice for onstage situations where they could be accidentally kicked or dropped or exposed to extremely high sound levels.
Also, condenser mics tend to be more expensive, with the very best models costing thousands of dollars. Fortunately, many manufacturers have devised innovations to bring the cost of high-quality condenser mics within the reach of podcasters and small studios.
Let’s move on by looking more closely at some of the features to consider when choosing a condenser mic.
Large or Small Diaphragm?
Small condenser microphone diaphragms are about 0.5 – 0.7 inches (12 – 18 mm) in diameter. A smaller diaphragm has a lower mass, so it can capture faster transients and has the best high-frequency response. However, it’s also less sensitive, so it has a lower signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio.
Small diaphragm mics usually have a pencil shape and are “top-addressed,” meaning they’re most sensitive to sound on the top. They can be handheld or mounted on a stand, and are typically used for piano, acoustic guitar, strings, drums, or cymbals. In matched pairs, they’re ideal for overhead or room miking of drums, orchestras, or choirs.
Large Diaphragm Condensers…
Mics with large diaphragms (up to 1 inch) are physically larger and heavier, and they’re almost always “side-address.” Because of their weight, they must be suspended in a shock mount on a sturdy mic stand or in a desktop stand.
The higher diaphragm mass gives them a lower resonant frequency that can add some bass boost but reduce high frequency and transient response slightly. On the other hand, they produce a stronger signal, making them more sensitive and quieter. They’re the preferred choice for vocalists and solo instruments.
Analog vs. Digital Mics
Some microphones include internal analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) to provide a digital signal via a USB interface. Digital mics are the easiest to use with computers. They’re usually plug-and-play devices with no driver software required. And they draw power from the USB connector, so no other power source is needed.
They often include a zero-latency headphone monitor output with a volume control.
Which is better?
Soundwise, digitizing the signal close to the mic can reduce noise. And a separate mic preamp isn’t needed, so digital mics are often the best choice for applications such as podcasting.
However, a computer sees a digital microphone as an audio interface, so it’s harder to set up multiple mics. And the internal A/D converter may not be as accurate as those found in professional audio gear.
Microphones are more sensitive to sounds received from certain directions than others. How a mic responds to sounds all around it is called its “polar pattern.” Specification sheets provided with the microphone often provide a graph that illustrates this.
The most common microphone polar pattern is the “cardioid” because the graph resembles a heart shape. Cardioid mics are more sensitive to sounds picked up at the front than at the sides, and even less from the back. Small-diaphragm mics are usually cardioid.
Some large-diaphragm mics have two capsules that work together to provide additional pickup patterns. These include the supercardioid, which provides stronger rejection of sounds coming from the sides, and omnidirectional. Some condenser mics include a switch to select different patterns.
A microphone’s frequency response is the range of frequencies it can pick up. It’s expressed in hertz (Hz) or kilohertz (kHz), with the maximum variation from the average sensitivity. For example: 20 Hz – 20 kHz +/- 3 dB. Some mic manufacturers provide only the overall frequency range. A frequency response graph offers a clearer picture of a mic’s performance.
Condenser microphones are capable of a very wide frequency response, approximately 20 Hz – 20 kHz. Unless specifically mentioned, all mics reviewed offer this full-range response. And some have dips or peaks within that range that give them a unique sonic character.
Maximum Sound Pressure Level
Maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL) is measured in dB. It’s the loudest sound a microphone can handle without distortion. Condenser mics generally have maximum SPL values of 120 – 150 dB.
Microphone sensitivity is the output measured against a standard sound pressure level (SPL). It’s generally specified in decibels compared to a 1 volt output. The number is always negative, so the closer to zero, the more sensitive the mic is.
Microphones with higher sensitivity can pick up quieter sounds. This is useful in some situations but not in others.
Signal and Noise
There are two standards for microphone noise measurement. The first is “self-noise.” This is the amount of hiss and other random sound that the microphone’s internal circuit puts out. It’s the ultimate limit to the quietest sound that can be recorded.
It is measured in decibels, adjusted to account for the ear’s varying sensitivity to different frequencies (“A” rating). Condenser mics typically have very low self-noise, around 16 – 24 dBA, so you can capture the softest nuances of a sound.
The other common noise specification is the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio. This is the ratio of a 94 dB SPL to the self-noise level. S/N is not the same thing as dynamic range, which is always higher.
Other details to consider before purchasing a condenser microphone include the…
Some microphones include switches that change how they work. One switch, called an attenuator or pad, reduces the mic’s sensitivity, usually by 10 dB, so you can record a higher-SPL sound source.
Another common option is a high pass filter. It reduces the bass response to get less of the “tubby” sound that occurs when a source is too close.
Digital mics often include an onboard headphone amp for zero-latency monitoring, with a volume control.
What else is in the Box?
Most condenser microphones include accessories that you’d otherwise pay for separately. Most important is a cable with an XLR or USB connector. Also needed is some kind of case or pouch for safe transport and storage. Also, large-diaphragm microphones should always be used with a high-quality shock mount to prevent physical damage, and these are often provided with the mic.
Other important accessories that might be included are a mic stand swivel mount, a pop filter, and a windscreen. We’ve reviewed one complete kit that includes all these items and more.