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Once you start looking at condenser microphones closer to the $100 mark rather than $50, that’s when you start to see some pretty decent mics, especially for those who want pro-level audio quality but have a common DIYer’s budget (i.e. not a lot).
If that sounds like you, this group of microphones is your jam.
Top 3 Best Condenser Microphones Under $100:
This is different from most condenser microphones because it has a small-diaphragm, which often provides clearer sound quality than large-diaphragm mics. And the 20 dB roll-off switch on its body helps you get even crisper audio by cutting out unwanted lower frequencies, thus highlighting the frequencies of your beautiful voice.
The AT2020 comes from a good family of mics, and it carries the Audio-Technica name well. This large-diaphragm gives you a large sound. It’s very versatile, so you can use it to record vocals, acoustic guitar, or even drums. And with a 10 dB roll-off switch, you can cut out lower frequencies, giving you a much crisper sound.
The Blue Snowball is great for beginners. You can use this to record vocals (or acoustic guitar) and know you’ll get good quality audio. You can choose between three different recording patterns cardioid, omni, and cardioid with a -10dB pad.
One thing’s for sure…
If we can be sure about one thing — just one thing — with these condenser mics, it’s that they record good quality audio. And that’s the most important thing, isn’t it?
For an example of high quality, take the AKG Perception 170. It’s built with a small-diaphragm, which allows for a few benefits or large-diaphragm mics. It can more accurately follow the sound waves of your instrument or voice. It has an extended frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz (all frequencies audible to the human ear), opening the possibilities to what you can include in your recording and giving you overall better sound.
To be sure your mic sounds good is the main thing when it comes to building a decent recording space.
Give yourself the option of having options
It’s always nice to have options. When you’re stuck with just one type of feature, it can be annoying. Good news — these mics have you covered with options.
The Audio-Technica AT2020 and the AKG Perception 170 both have roll off switches (10 dB on the former and 20 dB on the latter). This means when you activate this rolloff switch, it will roll off certain frequencies below the given dB. With this feature, you can record close to the mic or mic up instruments with high pressure levels, like horns or drums, and not worry.
Likewise, the Blue Snowball allows you to change the pickup pattern. This is a very cool feature that not a lot of microphones offer, especially in this price range. The Snowball allows you to choose between cardioid (heart-shaped), omni (from all directions), and cardioid with that aforementioned -10 dB pad to activate roll off.
You’ll give yourself the option of having options with one of these microphones.
Cheap yet not cheap
A professional engineer might look at the title, see the words “under $100,” and scoff.
I only buy microphones of the utmost quality, this engineer may think. And quality comes at a price.
Okay, there’s truth to that statement. But sheesh, Mr. Engineer, open your mind a little. Even though these mics are less than $100, many of them record pro-level audio. You could swap some of them out with one of the best microphones in the world, one of those fancy $1,000 mic and you probably wouldn’t even know the difference.
The price tag may be cheap to some people, but the quality is not cheap — no matter whom you ask. For example, the P170 is usually on the cheaper end of the “under $100” category, and it’s our most recommended condenser mic.
If the ceiling of your budget is around $100, this is the category you should be hanging out in. Adding a condenser microphone to your recording setup is a must — they’ll give you a crisp, “real studio” sound for a margin of the price and 10 times the feeling of reward. Depending on the mic you get, you’ll also get options that not every mic offers.
The key is to find the right microphone for your needs. Hopefully, we’ve helped you on that path.