For under $100, condenser microphones in this range are going to give us some extreme affordability yet decent quality if you’re looking to record some vocals, stream, podcast, and more. Thankfully this is probably the most popular type of microphone in the world, so there was a decent bunch we were able to collect for you to compare while you shop. Let’s get into the best condenser microphones for an under $100 budget.
Our Condenser Mics Under $100 Picks
Finding the Right Under $100 Condenser Microphone
It won’t be too big of a task when it comes to comparing and contrasting here with this budget. It’s gotten us down to the nitty-gritty of condenser mics, and your decision will come down to a few factors. This is probably the lowest we’ll ever go for a mic guide, although our condenser mics under $200 may interest you if you like taking a bigger step up. Other than budget, there are a few ‘types’ of condenser mics we want you to keep in mind.
Large-diaphragm condenser microphones are the most common, and these are the typical image you may associate with microphones. Most in our list consist of this. There are however some USB microphones under $100 there that may interest you (considering they’re still technically condenser mics due to their internal build and sensitivity for recording). Lastly, small-diaphragm condensers do exist but are more rare and geared towards those recording instruments in the studio.
Lastly, we always like to at least bring up the fact that you may need some more gear when buying a condenser microphone. Note that they don’t just work all by themselves. They need phantom power in order to get going and can’t just hook up straight into your computer. Be wary if you didn’t plan on this. You can perhaps buy a microphone package that includes some more equipment you may need to save money, otherwise you’ll need to buy at least a cheaper audio interface or microphone preamp to make these power up.
Some do come with a less fancy phantom power source in the box, but not many. You can buy an easier option with just a straight up phantom power box, but you won’t get certain controls, like headphone monitoring, gain, and other tweaking abilities many prefer. Oh and before we forget, USB microphones don’t need phantom power, so perhaps that will attract you to that route.
The Best Condenser Microphone Under $100
Up first as the best condenser microphone under $100, we have this one ourselves at-hand in our studio right now. It’s such a powerful and clear mic at the price it wasn’t really a hard decision to put it first. We’re big Audio-Technica fans in general but when it comes to balance of sensitivity, quality, and affordability, you can’t beat the AT2020. Regarding specs with this condenser, we have a low-mass diaphragm for a solid frequency and transient response. It can handle some pretty high sound pressure level and the overall construction is quite rugged and stable.
The cardioid polar pattern is standard for condensers of this kind, reducing pickup from the rear and sides and focusing on what’s in front of it. Lastly, it has a pivoting threaded stand mount for attaching to your mic stand and shock mount, but keep in mind none of those come in the package. Phantom power doesn’t either, so factor that in your budget. Otherwise, the Audio-Technica AT2020 is our favorite pick as the best condenser microphone under $100 in the market right now. Note they also have the AT2020-USB but that’s a bit more expensive.
Here’s a very popular condenser microphone you’ll see listed quite high in retail stores due to it’s popularity. The P120 is known for it’s for it’s super clear audio quality and overall stability. We’ve heard a lot of podcasters use this one as well as home recording studios. Very clean and punchy sound.
It’s a medium-diaphragm condenser microphone with the standard cardioid polar pattern, a standard 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, 20 dB pad for extra gain, and a bass roll-off if you want to cut some lows while you’re recording or streaming. The diaphragm isn’t necessarily as “big” as large-diaphragm’s but it won’t be too big of a concern since it’s still a viable option for vocals and speech. If it lands in the middle of being large or small, it’s going to balance both lows and highs quite well. The AKG P120 is another great option as the best under $100 condenser microphone. There are some bundles out there that include extra gear with this mic so look into those.
sE Electronics X1 A
The X1 A is a great condenser microphone under $100 with a large diaphragm, cardioid pickup pattern, a 100 Hz highpass filter and a little -20 dB pad for some dynamic range extension on top of it. It sounds great and accurate in mixes, and the balanced frequency response brings forth an even distribution for recordings (although we always recommend cutting some of that low-end for vocals).
Just another very stable condenser mic under $100 here in case the other large-diaphragm options we recommended weren’t sticking out to you. It’s a durable mic with a great reputation. Great for higher Sound Pressure Level since the sE Electronics X1 A can handle about 150 dB (we’ve seen it uses on guitar cabinets, drums, etc.).
Rode NT-USB Mini
Next we’ll get into a nice USB condenser mic for under $100 by one of our favorite brands in Rode. They have their original Rode NT-USB that came into the market a few years ago and caught our eyes, and since then has made it’s place in the (very competitive now) USB mic game. We were excited they announced the Mini version since the main USB mic is well above our price-tag here.
This condenser has a typical cardioid polar pattern but also includes an integrated pop filter, magnetic base, and a USB cable in the box. Just plug-n-play this one with your computer and you’re good to go, with no need for an interface – another big plus if you’re going to be strict on that $100 or less range. With on-board headphone monitoring and great recording quality at 24-bit / 48 kHz, you’ll be good to go with the Rode NT-USB Mini right out of the box.
Next up as we near the end of our guide, we have Samson’s C01 that’s been around for a while with user reviews to back up it’s effectiveness despite the pretty cheap price. A lot of user reviews around the net praise it for being used as overheads for miking drums, quintets, vocals in bedrooms, and more. Versatility is a big theme for the C01 and it has a warm and clean sound when recording.
Regarding specs, we have a flat frequency response, an LED indicator for phantom power indication, a gold plated XLR connector, large 19mm diaphragm and of course, our beloved cardioid pickup pattern. The Samson C01 is praised by most who grab one of these and is definitely a choice as the best condenser microphone under $100!
Coming in last here we have one of the cheapest condensers we’ll be able to recommend as it’s seen around the net for nearly half of our intended budget price here today. It’s a medium-diaphragm condenser microphone with a transformerless FET input and cardioid pickup pattern, but most importantly it comes with it’s own phantom power source, swivel stand mount and carrying case.
A huge bang for your buck here especially when it comes to not needing to buy some external power. A good mic for studio recordings (most vocals but it can take some instruments as well, especially acoustic guitar or even piano). You can also use this live if you want. Overall the Behringer C-1 is just a great package here for under $100.