Condenser microphones under $200 will give us a decent starting point for finding a balance between budget and quality. These types of mics tend to get a lot higher in price if you look into the higher-end category, but we were able to sift through the rubble for you to give you some options. We tried to find a variation in our picks to give you a few different roads to take when it comes to this particular topic.
What is a Condenser Microphone?
To brush up a little before we get into our condenser mics under $200 picks, a condenser microphone is the staple-point of a recording studio. They’re the go-to solution for not only vocals but many instruments as well, mainly due to their sensitivity and ability to capture very minuscule details of what you’re trying to record. These are also great solutions for other applications, such as streaming, gaming and podcasting.
A little side note to keep in mind, especially when getting your budget ready, is the fact that these will need an external power source to use them. You can use audio interfaces (most popular), mic preamps, or smaller phantom power solutions (these are the cheapest). This is of course if you’re using the traditional XLR connectivity. If you do have a strict budget and need to buy a condenser mic under $100 and save the other $100 for extra gear, read that article instead.
Nowadays USB microphones are becoming more and more popular solutions as condenser mics, but if you look into XLR vs. USB mics you’ll notice you have a little less flexibility with USB because there isn’t a middle-man for power than give you more options at tweaking your sound. The plus side to the USB condenser route is that you don’t need external power and it does so itself. We recommend one USB mic below but the others are the traditional hookup.
The Best Condenser Microphones for Under $200 Budgets
Up first to recommend is a microphone we use pretty consistently in our home studio. It’s simply reliable and we feel has great audio quality for the price. A super trustworthy brand here and this particular model also ranks up top due to it’s lengthy high-rated reviews after being available for many years now.
This is a low-mass diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern (most condensers are this, which is ideal for vocal recording in studios since it rejects the sides and rear and keeps what’s in front the focus). A pretty high SPL in case you want to record some louder instruments and tend to belt out when you sing. It’s threaded stand mount pivots and attaches easily to your stand for a snug fit in your studio. Reliable, proven by other musicians and great audio quality — the Audio-Technica AT2020 is one of the best condenser microphones for under $200 in the market and will be for a long time.
AKG is another one of our favorite microphone brands out there and this particular large-diaphragm condenser microphone under $200 is usually seen with at least 4 out of 5 stars for good reason.
You’re getting a choice for three pickup patterns in case you’re using this for other applications as opposed to just recording vocals. The AKG P420 has a nice and even flat response with a great frequency response, and you’re also getting a little bass roll-off if you need to cut your lows (we do this every single vocal track), as well as a 20 dB pad for extra thickness.
When we think Avantone, we think classic, vintage, and warm. This particular condenser mic under 200 bucks brings us a large capsule cardioid FET condenser build, which is a bit different than the others. Many argue the FET internal organs give it a warmer and different sound than others. This is of course subjective but as experienced ears can attest to the slight difference.
You have the option to use their highpass filter and 10 dB pad as well. These can never hurt, but what you’ll be going this route for is the different build — the circuitry brings forth sonic characteristics some just can’t ignore. Grab this if you want to focus on the actual sound of your recordings — the user reviews of the Avantone Pro CK-6 don’t lie, either.
Halfway through our guide, if you’ve made it this far we’ll assume you’re looking for something a bit different as compared to our three previous picks. The M2 is a nice one by probably our favorite mic brand ever. It’s a supercardioid condenser with a nice frequency response, but is designated towards live performances as opposed to studios or other streaming applications.
It has a super flat response even without any EQ work done. Works well with guitars as well. A few other nifty features you’ll get alongside this is a locking on/off switch, a stand mount as well as zipper pouch included in the package for travel. The best condenser microphone under $200 here with the Rode M2 if you need a live solution.
Here’s a super cheap model in case you wanted to focus on affordability. Usually seen for half of our aim here at under $200, the C01 is effective despite the cheaper price-tag.
You have your typical cardioid pickup pattern for studio use, and the diaphragm is a big 19mm with a nice mesh grill and gold-plated XLR connector. A flat frequency response here and surprisingly clear sound despite being so cheap. The Samson C01 a great for one for those just starting out or who need a quick and simple solution for a condenser mic addition to their repertoire.
Let’s end the guide with a condenser microphone that has USB connectivity, with one of our favorite USB mics out right now. It’s quickly becoming a go-to recommendation for us due to one main factor — sound quality. Not a lot of USB mics in this price-range give us 24-bit audio resolution so this one stands out (at least for one).
You also have an instrument input in case you want to record something aside from your voice. It has a nifty desktop stand to fit snug in your existing setup, and some headphone monitoring capabilities to track your levels. We love this USB mic and although typically we always want to recommend XLR connected condensers for serious users, this will go a long way in case you’re into that USB port. The Samson G-Track Pro is definitely the best condenser microphone under $200 if this is what direction you need.