Top 3 Best Condenser Microphones Under $200:
On this condenser microphone you get a mini mixing panel right on the body of it -- you get two gain knobs and a headphone jack. This allows you to control the live monitoring feature to your liking. And the audio quality you’ll hear in your headphones is so clear and perfect for recording vocals.
With a built-in headphone jack, headphone output volume control, and live monitoring controls, the AT2020USB+ sets itself apart from other microphones, specifically when it comes to USB mics. And the audio you’ll get from it is top-notch -- this is a great choice for any level engineer, but especially for beginners.
The microphone is great for the podcaster, journalist, your band rehearsal, or filming on your iPhone or iPad. But oversight in the design department hurts its overall score -- no access to the headphone jack and useless with a phone case.
Quality without compromise
Compared to other microphones, regardless of the price, the three we recommend above stand their ground in terms of the quality they offer.
They all have a cardioid (heart-shaped) pickup pattern, and the Motiv MV88 even has the option of using cardioid or a bidirectional recording pattern. Each have a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, allowing you to record freely without worrying about certain frequencies getting left out of the recording.
The overall sound each of these microphones delivers is top-notch, and even though they’re so affordable, they don’t compromise on the quality. It would be no surprise to see any of them in a professional recording studio.
These microphones all have special features that not a lot of other mics have, especially cheaper mics. For example, the Motiv MV88 plugs into any Lightning-equipped mobile device (like an iPad), meaning you can record on-the-go, whether you’re on tour or just away from your studio. It’s easily good enough to allow you to record anything from band rehearsal to an interview to vocals.
And the NT-USB and AT2020USB+ each have mixing controls right on their faces, so you can balance the input levels with the output volume of your already recorded audio. This means the microphone is not just a microphone — it’s also a mini mixing board. Who says you need an audio interface to record good audio?
Plus, both the NT-USB and AT2020USB+ come with extra stuff, like a tripod stand for recording at your desk. The former comes with a pop filter, helping to cut down on plosives (hard “B,” “T,” and “P” sounds that can cause peaking or harsh sounds). And the latter comes with a pivoting mount for your mic stand.
Basically, they both come with everything you need to start recording the minute you open the box.
Some professional engineers will buy a microphone that costs anywhere from $500 all the way up to thousands of dollars — just for one mic! Can you imagine having that kind of budget?
Yes, that would be really nice to have that kind of cash to throw around, but most of don’t. And if you’re reading this article, your budget is most likely $200 or less. That’s what’s so great about the three microphones we’re recommending — you can get pro-level audio quality at a miniscule fraction of the price some pros pay.
If, after shopping around for other mics, you decide to grab one of these, you may have a little cash leftover from that $200 budget to buy more gear for your recording space. How can you beat that?
If you’re a DIY musician with peanut-butter-and-jelly-for-lunch budget, the microphones for under $200 are your jam. You get audio quality comparative to the professionals in fancy studios, but you’ll have spent just a portion of what the pros spend.
I’ll be honest — these microphones aren’t perfect. You’ll have to choose the one specifically for your needs. But once you find that perfect match, we’re confident you’ll be glad with your decision.