Dynamic microphones are so versatile, flexible and powerful that we couldn’t imagine having a live performance or even studio without a few of these laying around at our fingertips. Nothing beats their ability to be used, used and used again, especially when it comes to live performance or even recording instruments. We’re writing some guides that focus on specific microphone types within certain budgets, so today we’re going to find you some cheap yet powerful dynamic microphones under just $100.
What is a Dynamic Microphone?
Before we get into some picks, let’s overview just for a few paragraphs when it comes to the world of dynamic microphones. Dynamic microphones are very rugged in construction and go well with being on the road, are perfect for focusing on projecting only what’s directly in front of it (it’s called off-axis rejection for being able to rid all other noise, such as the crowd or the band you’re with), and having a great frequency response to cover a broad range of the spectrum. Dynamic mics also have the ability to handle high ‘Sound Pressure Level’, such as loud vocals, drums (especially snares), and guitar amps (the ‘louder’ the instrument, the higher the SPL). They can also work well in recording applications for instruments.
The differences between dynamic and condenser microphones are pretty clear — and to make it easier for us to understand, dynamic mics are best for live vocals and instruments due to their abilities we previously explained. Condenser mics on the other hand are best for recording vocals and some instruments because of it’s extreme sensitivity to picking up what’s around it (sometimes when we record it can pickup the birds outside of our window!). Think softer uses, such as acoustic guitar or vocals.
The Best Dynamic Microphones for Under $100
The i5 has a great reputation around the net and all types of 5/5 star ratings for a good reason. It was definitely hard picking a number one dynamic under $100. This one is many musicians go-to dynamic microphone for live instruments, but works well with vocals too. It’s just a very safe bet that you can’t wrong with.
We’ve seen it used with guitar amps, drums (a lot prefer this for their snares in particular, but we’ve seen this recording hi hats and kicks in the studio as well), and even horns, flutes, etc. This is definitely the best dynamic microphone under $100 if you’ll be in that area.
It handles high SPL like most dynamic mics, has a nice color to the feel and sound, and perfect pattern to get rid of the off-axis noise and reject that feedback. If you dig into the reviews on what people really say in general about dynamic mics (especially in this price-range), you’ll be hearing many comparisons of this Audix i5 vs. the Shure SM57 (that we list next). That’s all going to depend on some more subjective terms such as your preference for sound when it comes to recording. Otherwise, if you want an easy pick, you won’t go wrong here.
Here’s another one of the most popular dynamic microphones out there, with a reputation that isn’t going anywhere for quite some time. We know many musicians, mixers, engineers, you name it who have at least a few of these in their toolbox. Well-known for it’s effectiveness in performing drums, guitars and vocals, as well as recording guitars, pianos, you name it honestly. This thing is extremely versatile. It’s called the ‘industry standard’ for a reason.
Here’s some of the down low we’ve heard and experienced ourselves when it comes to the SM57 vs. i5 debate (these are just a few points, in the end, they’re both amazing dynamic mics):
- Both are very effective at a wide array of instruments, especially louder, harsh instruments (most preferably live, although recording can work if you’re in a low-budget home studio)
- The SM57 has been known to go well for top-ends in drums, especially snares since it does well at capturing the body
- SM57 has been said to go well with tweed amps since it can add some subtle harmonic distortion on high-ends
- The i5 is good for upper-mid ranges (keeps it clean)
- i5 can work as a good kick microphone if you don’t have a proper one yet
- If we really had to learn you towards a direction, we’d say the i5 for instruments and SM57 for vocals
All in all, since our budget is for dynamic microphones under $100, buying both an i5 and a Shure SM57 might be a good idea although we understand that’s doubling our intended budget. Why not have options? We really can’t pick the best dynamic microphone for under $100 especially when it comes to this very subjective debate, but these two are definitely the ‘this or that’ of this category.
Sennheiser e 835
Let’s talk strictly vocals! If these SM57 vs. i5 debate gave you a headache like us when it comes to the best dynamic microphone under $100, let’s go in some more clear-cut picks that may give you a better feel for what you need. The e 835 has been around for quite some time as well and is very well known for it’s ability to project voices of all different styles with a clean and precise feel. We know many musicians and performers who buy a bunch of these just to have.
Like all dynamic mics it has a great ability for feedback rejection and low handling noise. This one also has a very rugged construction if you’ll be taking it on the road and want some stability when it comes to the actual make of your dynamic. If we had to absolutely recommend a dynamic microphone under $100 for vocals that isn’t the SM57 however, the Sennheiser e 835 would be our pick. It’s tough, sounds great when it comes to vocals, is simple and effective.
sE Electronics V7
Here’s a great dynamic microphone under $100 worth noting that’s highly rated based on it’s value and neutral response when it comes to any type of voice you’re looking to capture. It also has some great handling noise, warm and crisp sound, feedback and noise rejection, etc — everything you want in a dynamic mic.
Many claim this one over any of the Shure’s people recommend is way better when it comes to any type of voice projection especially because of it’s ability to cut through mixes with much EQ. The off-axis rejection is also known to be more superior than a lot of other dynamic mics.
This is going to be personal preference honestly and will be like comparing Coke to Pepsi, but you’d be surprised at how detailed these debates get. We recommend the sE Electronics V7 for those wanting to steer away the more popular picks and grab a mic that really focuses on being clean and crisp that can take away that little annoying ambiance, not only just for singing but for spoken word, comedy, and other types of speech applications.
As we near the end of this guide, we’re realizing just how many dynamic mics in this price range are just straight up famous. The D5 is a favorite among many due to it’s great SPL at handling up to 147dB, and a variable-thickness diaphragm paired up with a rugged construction to stand as a long-term investment.
This dynamic mic as well as a very crisp sound and although that is a subjective term, really backs up a lot of the reviews claiming this can handle all types of voices and instruments. Most who do praise the D5 is important are those who perform vocals especially when it comes to picking up nuances of all of your words (sometimes people want to actually hear those lyrics). It also boasts a nice mid range and a full bass pickup without getting very ‘boomy’. The AKG D5 is just another great option as the best dynamic microphone for $100 or less.
Last but not least, we have Shure’s other famous ‘SM’ model, and we’re not sure if we’d feel right at least mentioning this at the bottom of the guide. We want to at least give you this last option if you’ve made it this far. This particular mic is probably the most famous ever to be honest, and if we weren’t such microphone snobs probably would have mentioned it first in here just due to it’s popularity. We digress however and it’s popular for one reason.
It’s versatility. This can be used for any and everything. We’ve used this on stage for vocals, instruments, and have recorded instruments with this in our studio (as well as vocals, although it’s not recommend honestly, we still prefer you use a condenser microphone). We’ve also seen this used for speeches (literally the president has used to it), comedy shows, ceremonies in church, podcasts, you name it honestly. The Shure SM58 is just a staple point in anything when it comes to sound, and is our last pick as the best dynamic microphone for an under $100 budget.