If you think $50 is way too low of a price for a decent microphone, you’re both correct and very wrong. You’re correct in that you won’t find the best microphones in this category. The less you pay for a mic, the more chance that mic will have glaring blemishes. But you’re incorrect in that, if you do some digging around, you can find some good mics.
But, not to worry, we’ve done the digging for you and have hand-picked the best three microphones under $50
3 Best Condenser Microphones Under $50:
The Marantz Professional MPM-1000 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone with phantom power. So it’s prepared to record smashing vocals, acoustic guitar, or to isolate an instrument among the cacophony of noise with its cardioid (heart-shaped) recording pattern. Plus, it comes with a shock mount, tripod, and XLR cable, so you’ll be all set with this package.
The Nady CM-88 is a unidirectional condenser microphone design specifically for cymbals of all type, but you can also use it to record a snare, acoustic guitar, and even vocals. It records using a tight cardioid (heart-shaped) pattern and has an extended frequency response of 50Hz - 18kHz for audio as smooth as its looks.
The award winning name of Behringer offers the C-1, a large-diaphragm condenser microphone, great for amateur recordings in a quiet home studio. Its cardioid pickup pattern helps reduce background noise and feedback. Plus, the small, bullet-like design and included travel case makes it easy to record off-site or on the go.
The elephant in the room (it’s the price)
When a recording engineer sees “under $50,” the first thing they do is keep scrolling. They think there’s nothing worth looking at in that price range. But you have to wonder, why would companies keep making microphones for that cheap if they were garbage and had no demand?
Well, they wouldn’t.
So let’s talk about the elephant in the room -- the price: yes, it’s cheap for a microphone. Usually, people look for a good mic in the “over $200” category. But despite the price tag, you can find a decent mic after a little detective work (or just by reading this review).
So don’t underestimate this underdog category. We make broad, sweeping statements about a whole sub-group because we haven’t met any individual microphones from that sub-group. Discrimination without information is worse than just discrimination.
Do you know the term “a one-trick pony”? If you call someone that, it means they can really only do one thing well. Like, say, Tom Cruise, who plays the same exact character in every movie.
Well, mics for under $50 are some-trick ponies -- they’re built in a way that makes them good at one or two things, but are not as versatile as other mics, like SM58s for example (which would fall in the price range of $100+).
For example, the top recommended mic for under $50, the Marantz Professional MPM-1000, is a good mic, but only for certain things. It shines the brightest when you use it to record vocals (singing or talking), acoustic guitar, or to isolate an instrument and help it stand out from other instruments and noise.
This is how most of the mics in this sub-group perform.
Fit for newbies
Although you might initially think the low price point is a con, it can actually be a big pro for some people: beginners.
If you’re new to recording and are still learning, grabbing a mic for this cheap can be a very good decision. You save money, you keep things simple, and you still get good quality audio recordings. For example, the Nady CM-88 is typically on the cheaper end of the under $50 range, and that’s good news for a newbie engineer with a tight budget.
But like I said in the previous section, a lot of these mics are some-trick ponies -- such is the case the the CM-88. It’s built mainly for recording drums as an overhead mic, for any type of cymbal, or even for a snare drum. It can record a loud instruments well -- that’s its best trick. But, if you’re new to recording drums and don’t have a ton of money, this mic would be one very good option to consider.
Just because someone is an underdog, it doesn’t mean they always suck. This is also true for microphones under $50. Yes, that’s very cheap. But if you need to record a specific instrument and you’re on a budget, you can find a mic that fits your needs for a price that fits your bank account.
You do have to be careful in your choice so you make sure you get the best mic available. But that’s why we wrote you this review -- to make it easier on you.