The best condenser microphones are found in the studio. Truth is, just about any professional recording studio has a condenser microphone in its premises. While other artists and musicians still go for dynamic mics, it is best to believe for most of the successful ones, they are currently using their condenser microphones to record their hits and chart-topping songs.
The Neumann U87, for example, is arguably the most popular condenser microphone of today (and in the past years). Jay Z, Kanye West, Calvin Harris, Zayn of One Direction, Morrissey, Ed Sheeran and Drake are only of the few famous names that use the U87. So whatever type of music, from rock to pop to hiphop and more, a condenser microphone is ideal and the hits of the names mentioned above are proof of this theory. The Neumann U87, however, is a microphone that will cost you somewhere around $3,200. It is readily available for purchase, not even rare; however, its price doesn’t make it a realistic choice for the general population, especially the struggling musician. Worry not as this post will cover at least ten best condenser microphones that are the best within various price rangesand for sure, there’s one that would be ideal for you.
- 0.1 What are the Best Condenser Microphones?
- 0.2 There are two types of the best condenser microphones:
- 1 Top 10 Best Condenser Microphones in 2017 – Chart
- 2 MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- 3 Audio-Technica AT2035 Large Diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone Bundle with Shock Mount
- 4 MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone
- 5 Blue Microphones Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, Cardioid
- 6 CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone
- 7 Neewer NW-700 Condenser Microphone Kit with Arm Stand, Mount and Accessories
- 8 Excelvan Condenser Sound Recording Microphone and Shock Mount
- 9 MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shockmount
- 10 Excelvan BM-800 Condenser Microphone Cardioid Pro Audio Studio Vocal Recording Mic with Shock Mount
- 11 Professional Condenser Sound Microphone With Stand for PC Laptop Skype Recording Black
What are the Best Condenser Microphones?
Most if not all condenser microphones require an external source of power, unlike dynamic microphones. A condenser microphone being ideal in a studio setup is still an ongoing argument. Believe it or not, until today, many professionals and individuals who call themselves critics even debate on what’s better – condenser or dynamic microphones. Just by looking at the best condenser microphones, you can already tell if it’s a condenser or dynamic microphone. If you’ve been watching music videos and live studio recordings lately, the mic you see, usually the ones with a pop shield or pop filter right in front of it, is a condenser microphone.
Condenser microphones have greater transient and frequency response. This means that it is able to reproduce the sound of the voice or an instrument more quickly than a dynamic microphone. One can also expect louder output from a condenser microphone; however, one issue that’s common with this type of microphone is that it doesn’t do well in reducing background noise; hence, the need for a pop filter and a very quiet studio when recording. This is also the same reason why condenser mics are not ideal for live performances.
There are two types of the best condenser microphones:
- LDM or Large Diaphragm Microphone – This is the more ideal choice if you’re aiming for a deeper sound when recording. It is good for both vocals and instrument recordings.
- SDM or Small Diaphragm Microphone – This microphone has the best transient response and a wider frequency response. It does well in reproducing fast sounds, usually instruments. If you are recording a concert or live performance, an SDM is ideal.
Ideal Features and Characteristics of the Best Condenser Microphone
- Sound Quality
Just like all best condenser microphones, whether dynamic or condenser, you have to make sure that it is able to produce impressive audio quality because if not, then what’s the point of putting your money on that mic? Take a look at the frequency response and even customer feedback when it comes to audio quality. Most sellers will of course say all the good things about a mic only for you to discover that it isn’t as impressive in sound as you thought it would be. For this part, it’s best to take a peek on reviews and customer feedback.
- Cardioid or Unidirectional
Unlike dynamic microphones that do well in reducing background noise, condenser microphones are known to do quite poorly in this department. For that reason, it is best to find the best condenser microphones which has the cardioid polar pick-up pattern feature. This will help in isolation from the main sound source, noise handling and reduction of background noise. Unless your purpose is to record live performances of orchestras and full bands, then you must also look for the unidirectional feature. Omnidirectional picks up sound from all sides of the mic. Unidirectional picks up the sound that is directly in front of the microphone. This will be a great feature to cancel room noise as well if you intend to use this in the studio or for podcasting, broadcasting, etc.
- Compatibility and Power Source
This is very important because you need power to make your condenser microphone work. A mic can be compatible with Mac or Windows PC’s only or both. You need to connect this microphone, with our without drivers needed, to your computer or a laptop (laptops must be plugged to a main power source). If you will be plugging the mic into an amplifier or a mixer, you need at least a phantom power source or adapter so that you can get better sound quality. Without enough power, the sound quality from your condenser microphone will be less powerful.
Unlike dynamic microphones that you can easily plug in even to a karaoke machine, a condenser microphone needs some accessories. While some packages only include the mic itself so you’ll need to purchase add-ons, there are also others that are already complete and ready to set up. The Neewer NW-700, for example, comes with an arm stand, a table mounting clamp, shock mount, pop filter, wind foam cap and an XLR cable – pretty much all you need, minus the phantom power. The pop filter is very important. Though some mics may claim that they already have a built-in pop filter, usually those are dynamic mics, you definitely need one for the best condenser microphones because as most users would say, you can truly hear the tiniest details of the s, t, b, p, sh, etc. sounds which isn’t very ideal especially for song recordings.
Top 10 Best Condenser Microphones in 2017 – Chart
Just a fraction of the price of other condenser microphones, the MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is one of the highest rated and impressive condenser microphones both amateurs and professionals can enjoy. It is worthy to mention that this is an attractive looking microphone. Black and 20mm gold-sputtered, this MXL 770 is best for recording vocals and instruments – there’s nothing really you can ask more from this microphone. It has a 6-micron feature and low distortion diaphragm and for a more balanced output, it also features a FET preamp. It has switchable bass cut and -10dB pad. MXL, being a very reputable brand when it comes to microphones, you can best expect that they didn’t cut around the edges for this mic as it still has all the legendary characteristics the brand offers.
A cardioid microphone which does pretty well in background noise cancelling, the MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is best used with or without a pop filter. As long as you’re in a quiet studio when recording, you should be great. In fact, many users of these best condenser microphones also use this for podcasting, streaming and more because it has the capability to produce broadcast-quality sound.
Durable and will withstand endless hours of continuous use, the MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone already comes with a shock mount. Should you need to store it at one point or if you will be moving from one recording studio to another, you will love that it also has a rugged carrying case included in the package. An average of 4.7 out of 5 stars rating from almost 300 customers can’t be wrong. The MXL 770 is your best bet when you’re looking for a decently priced and powerful condenser microphone.
Almost perfectly rated with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars from over a hundred customers, the Audio-Technica AT2035 Large Diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone Bundle with Shock Mount is a very competitive contender on this top list of best condenser microphones. If it wasn’t for the higher price for this microphone, it can easily take away the top spot from the MXL 770. It is important to mention though that the Audio-Technica AT2035 has a “larger” package that the MXL 770 which most likely explains why it is more expensive. Aside from the actual pleasant-looking microphone, it also comes with a pop filter, a 10-foot XLR cable and a microfiber cleaning cloth – these are basically all the things you need to set up your condenser microphone in the studio and you won’t have to spend anything more.
The Audio-Technica AT2035 has a cardioid polar pattern that picks up the sound from all sides of the microphone. This improves isolation yet it does quite well in cancelling background noise, also thanks to its large diaphragm effectively produces a smoother and more natural sound. There are many users of the Audio-Technica AT2035 who have compared this microphone to other more expensive models and they seem to agree that it is comparable or even better at some point. For its price, it is reasonable for both amateurs and professionals who record frequently. If you’re willing to spend a bit more for your mic, the Audio-Technica AT2035 is a great choice.
Latest customer reviews and prices of Audio-Technica AT2035 Large Diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone
Another rather affordable MXL made it to this list. The MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone is a microphone that will definitely give your studio that splash of color. It features a green handle and gold grill. The mic will do more than just catch your attention aesthetically as it is very powerful and does very well in the sound quality and performance department. The MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone has a large 32mm pressure gradient condenser capsule. Like the MXL 770, it is gold-sputtered too and has a 6-micron density diaphragm. Furthermore, it features a solid state preamp balanced transformer output. Its cardioid polar pattern doesn’t only do well in sound isolation but background noise cancelling as well.
The MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone is comparable to the MXL 770 when it comes to features; however, it has an edge when it comes to looks. It gives you that retro, vintage feel which is perfect especially if your take videos of your recording. The package already comes with a hard mount mic stand adapter.
Its average rating stands at an impressive 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 250 customers and reviews from amateurs and professional musicians are all praises on the MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone. They say that the sound quality is truly professional and any studio, no matter what music genre is usually being recorded, will find the MXL V67G one of the best condenser microphones.
A list of top condenser microphones wouldn’t be complete without one from Blue Microphones. Tagged as a #1 Best Seller with very high ratings from over a thousand customers (average of 4.4 out of 5 stars), you would already know that the Blue Microphones Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, Cardioid is something special. Just by looking at it, you already know that this microphone is unique. Just like what its name says, “snowball”, this white microphone (also available in black) pretty much looks like a ball that sits on its included desktop stand which looks like a tripod. It also comes with a USB cable along with the package which allows you to connect this to your Mac or Windows PC without any drivers needed.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a microphone that comes close to the Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone. This mic, after all, is highly praised by its users not because of its looks but because of the features and power it offers. This custom condenser capsule allows you to record super clear vocals for music, you can use it for podcasting or gaming, voice-overs and even on communication apps such as Skype or Facetime. It can produce professional quality audio at 16bit, 4.1 kHz and its cardioid pick-up pattern does well in cancelling background noise.
If you’re looking for a rather interesting looking microphone matched with an equally attractive price tag and impressive quality features, the Blue Microphones Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone will be an ideal choice.
Another impressive microphone, the CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone is your ideal mic when you want to achieve warm and rich recordings. This large condenser microphone features a cardioid pick-up pattern which allows main sound source isolation and effective reduction of background noise. From speech to recording songs and even instruments, you will appreciate smoothness and high quality, thanks to its extended frequency response. Distortion from sources of loud sound is minimized through its 10dB overload-protection switch and further background noise is reduced via the bass-reduction switch. Compatible with both Mac and Windows computers, this plug-and-play microphone will give you a very easy and convenient recording or broadcasting time.
A best-seller as well, through the years, the CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone managed to maintain its fandom as users continue to choose this over other newer models of microphones. Customers are in fact very satisfied with this mic which has now gained an average of 4.3 out of 6 stars from ratings coming from over 1,300 customers. Very comparable to other microphones that are more expensive, if you’re on a budget but you don’t want to sacrifice audio quality, the CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone is worth taking a look at. You are definitely getting a lot of powerful features, plus it is very durable too; with the CAD U37, you are getting every penny’s worth with your purchase.
If you think you’re not getting much from such an affordable microphone, you will be pleasantly surprised with this Neewer. It is worth mentioning that this microphone kit doesn’t only include the NW-700, a professional studio broadcasting and recording microphone, its affordable package also comes with a number of accessories – pretty much everything you need for your home recording studio! It comes with an adjustable suspension scissor arm stand, a table mounting clamp, a metal shock mount, a pop filter, a ball-type anti-wind foam cap and a 3.5mm male to female XLR cable. It is very important to mention though that the NeewerNW-700 Condenser Microphone Kit is only compatible with Windows computers and laptops and will not work with a mac. This cannot be used on mobile phones and tablets as well because just like all the best condenser microphones, the NW-700 needs enough power to work.
When it comes to sound quality, you will be impressed with the Neewer NW-700 Condenser Microphone Kit. Despite being an affordable microphone, it manages to produce professional-level sound quality of recordings. It has cardioid pickup pattern too which minimizes background noise, isolates sound from the main source and its wide dynamic range, high sensitive output, low noise and extended frequency response all contribute to its great performance. It’s just a bonus that this microphone is made of durable metal too so you can best expect that the NW-700 will last in your studio for many years to come.
The Excelvan Condenser Sound Recording Microphone and Shock Mount is a very affordable condenser mic and is ideal not only for amateurs but even for professionals on a budget. Available in an attractive blue color, this microphone has more to it than just its good looks. First and most important of all, it does well in producing amazing sound quality – perfect for recording voice and instruments, radio broadcasting, voice overs, podcasting and a whole lot more. Its cardioid unidirectional pickup pattern does so well in reducing background noise and preventing feedback and its shock mount allows reduction of handling noise. It has a tailored frequency response so that vocals are very clear to the tiniest detail and for high signal-to-noise ratio, it is built with neodymium magnet.
Very durable as it is made with sturdy metal – the handle is made with zinc alloy and it has a steel net head, this microphone is expected to last in your studio for many years to come. Thankfully, the affordable package already includes all the accessories you will need to set up the mic such as the microphone itself, a shock mount, power cord and anti-wind foam cap.
Again, it is worth mentioning that most, if not all the best condenser microphones, require enough power to make it work. You can plug this into your computer and it will work. Plug it into your laptop but make sure your laptop is plugged into a power source. You can also plug this into your amplifier or mixer but then you may need a phantom power source which is sold separately. With that being said, it is still fair to say that the Excelvan Condenser Sound Recording Microphone and Shock Mount is a great purchase and you are definitely getting a bargain out of a very impressive mic!
A rather classy looking microphone that’s fit for your home or professional recording studio, this mic is more than just a pretty device. It boasts of impressive performance that’s comparable to condenser microphones many times its price.
The MXL 990 is a vintage-looking microphone with champagne finish. It has a 3/4″ gold-sputtered diaphragm and its30Hz-20kHz frequency response, 130dB maximum SPL and sensitivity of 15MV/pa does quite well in producing amazing recordings. Reviewed highly once again by hundreds of customers, this microphone that already comes with a shock mount is actually very good in noise cancellation and sound isolation. Though the shock mount is already included in the package, it is highly recommended to purchase a pop filter separately. Just like most condenser mics, you might find the excessive b, p, sh, t sounds quite annoying on your recordings. It is ideal for recording vocals and instruments. You can even use it for radio broadcasting, podcasts and more without any issues. Some users even say that the sound quality when recording instruments is far better than other condenser mics in the similar price range.
The body is very durable too. Considering its price, you probably won’t expect much but many customers have been using the MXL 990 for years and it is still going strong. If you’re looking for a microphone that you can depend on and worth every single penny you spend for it, sound, performance and build quality-wise, the MXL 990 is definitely the best choice for you.
The Excelvan BM-800 Condenser Microphone is a “cute” microphone, for lack of a better term. This pink microphone has an attractive price tag too. It will be quite difficult to find the best condenser microphones that can compare with this. As a matter of fact, many of the very satisfied customers who already purchased the Excelvan BM-800 Condenser Microphone say that at its ridiculously low price, its sound quality is already comparable to those of much more expensive condenser mics. You always have to remember though, condenser mics are not dynamic mics so it needs as much power to work and to produce impressive quality.
With that being said, the Excelvan BM-800 Condenser Microphone is impressive not only because of its looks but because of its quality features. This unidirectional microphone does well in cancelling background noise. It can produce impressive sound quality thanks to its wide frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. Its 3.5mm output interface makes it easily compatible with many audio sources and devices. Noise handling is impressive too thanks to its shock mount feature.
The Excelvan BM-800 Condenser Microphone’s package is already complete and this is a pleasant surprise considering its price tag. It comes with the microphone, a shock mount, power cord and an anti-wind foam cap. The microphone itself is very durable too and with proper handling, you can expect this to be in your studio for years. The handle is made with durable zinc allow material and it comes with a steel net head.
Latest customer reviews and prices of Excelvan BM-800 Condenser Microphone Cardioid Pro Audio Studio Vocal Recording Mic
It would be difficult to argue about the Professional Condenser Sound Microphone being the best microphone when it comes to giving the bang for your buck. Sold by SOONHUA, this might not come from a famous microphone brand but it has the features you need from a condenser microphone at an affordable price. One of the most affordable condenser microphones you’ll ever find, it goes down to the price level of a dynamic mic.
This is quite a good-looking microphone with a tri-pod stand. No drivers or installers needed, just plug in the 3.5mm stereo plug to your PC. Of course, you probably can’t expect professional sound quality that would be good enough for song or instrument recordings if you plan to come out with an album but if you’re just going to record for YouTube purposes, use it for podcasting, gaming or chatting over Skype, then the Professional Condenser Sound Microphone would be ideal. Frequency response is impressive enough at 50Hz to 16kHz and noise cancellation is good as well.
The Professional Condenser Sound Microphone is highly rated by hundreds of customers for a reason – they know what to expect. If you want a microphone that works, does good in voice overs or personal recordings and chatting, then you will definitely find these best condenser microphones way beyond your money’s worth.