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10 Best Vocal Microphones Under $200 and $500 in 2019

Best Vocal Microphones Under $200 and $500
You want to start your singing career and want to buy or upgrade to a better vocal microphone?! Yes, we do understand the pain you must have had to go through before reaching this piece of content.

On the online commercial stores, you see an assortment of different types of mics. You don’t understand which one to go for and which one will best suit your budget and needs.

Well, on your first journey to buy the best microphone for recording your vocals, we don’t want to leave you alone! We are going to enlist 10 best vocal microphones under $200 and $500, to satisfy the needs of beginners.

I will try to tell you just what you need to know instead of throwing technical jargon at your face. But that doesn’t mean I will not entertain our geeky readers, for them I will provide references which they can read for their knowledge!

WE UNDERSTAND YOUR PROBLEM

In this article, we are going to enlist and review some of the cheap and affordable vocal microphones under $200 and $500. The reason for putting this price constraint is that most of the beginners can’t afford an expensive vocal mic. Many of the expensive ones are in the range of $3000+. And after seeing tons of cheap microphones, everyone gets stuck as to which one to choose from the ocean of different mics?

A buyer’s guide is given at the end to ensure that you make an informed decision before buying the vocal microphone. You might want to check that out first by clicking the link below:

Saving you from the hassle of reading the whole article, here is a comparison table enlisting some of the key features of the vocal mics we have reviewed.

 

NAME FREQUENCY RESPONSE POLAR PATTERN MAX SPL PRICE
Best Vocal Mics Under $200
RODE NT1A
•20Hz - 20kHz •Cardioid •137dB View Price
Audio Technica AT-2020
•20Hz - 20kHz •Cardioid •144dB View Price
Blue Spark SL
•20Hz - 20kHz •Cardioid •136dB View Price
AKG Perception 120
•20Hz - 20kHz •Cardioid •130dB upto 150dB with pad View Price
Audio Technica AE6100
•60Hz - 15kHz •Hyper-Cardioid •NA View Price
Best Vocal Mics Under $500
BLUE Bluebird SL
•20Hz - 20kHz •Cardioid •138dB View Price
Aston Microphones Origin
•20Hz - 20kHz •Cardioid •127dB View Price
Shure SM7B
• 50Hz - 20kHz •Cardioid •180dB View Price
Royer Labs R-10
•30Hz - 15kHz •Bi-directional •>135dB @ 50Hz, 160dB @ 1kHz View Price
Rode NTK
•20Hz - 20kHz •Cardioid •158dB View Price

5 Best Vocal Mics Under $200

In this section, I am going to enlist some of the top-notch vocal mics under $200. These microphones are just what a beginner vocalist need for his/her studio. If you are short on budget, worry not these microphones are rather cheap in price but not in terms of quality. They provide exceptional quality at par with their bigger and expensive brothers.

Note: Some microphones listed might be $20-$30 more than the said limit.

Without further adieu, let’s check each microphone in detail…

1- RODE NT1A Review

Rode NT1A Best Vocal Mic under 200

Overview

Rode NT1A tops this list of low-budget vocal mics.

I am going to tell you why.

It is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that is super-quiet having a self-noise of 5dB. It can also be used for backing vocals along with the lead vocals.

It adds an extra flavor to the backing vocals. A shock mount with a pop-filter also comes with the microphone. Rode NT1A proves to be the best choice for recording rock either at home or in a professional studio. It is also one of the best asmr microphone, used by many prominent ASMR artists to record ASMR videos.

Rode NT1A may lack some other features common in its other counterparts, but it fills that void with its exceptional quality. It definitely gives brands like Neuman a run for their money.

Key Features

  • Includes shock mount with Pop filter
  • Has a bright and warm sound, just enough for recording vocals perfectly
  • It has a wider dynamic range
  • High SPL (137dB) at par with some of the most expensive mics

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Self-Noise: Only 5dB

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Maximum SPL: 137dB

Design: 1” capsule with a large gold-plated diaphragm

Power Requirement: 24V or 48V

Pros and Cons of Rode NT1A:

Pros
  • Can also be used to record acoustic guitar, piano, and other instruments
  • Exceptionally quiet and smooth
  • Great build quality
  • The frequency response is flat
Cons
  • Prone to sibilance Issues
  • May sound a bit harsh to some people

 

 

2- Audio Technica AT-2020 Review – Best Vocal Mic Under $100

Audio Technica AT2020 Cardioid Vocal Mic under 200 dollars

Overview

Audio Technica AT-2020 is really one of the versatile microphones. You can record R&B, Rock and even Hip Hop using this mic. The quality it gives is exceptional and it is unbeaten considering this price point. As far as aesthetics are concerned, the mic is beautifully built, the solid metal mesh around the inner electronics gives it a really chunky look.

AT-2020 is a cardioid condenser microphone, the vocals are clean and direct. The mic does really well in this department. The only downside of this mic is the noise ratio of 20dB which is a little higher as compared to other mics.

 Note: It is not a USB microphone as some people think it is. It’s an XLR mic. 
In short, it is one of the best vocal mics under $100 with tremendous durability made for the “Mic Drop”. 😀

Key Features

  • The sound is pretty well isolated because of the cardioid polar pattern.
  • Specially designed low-mass diaphragm provides flatter frequency response and exceptional transient response.
  • The mic is pretty versatile, thanks to its high-SPL handling and wider dynamic range

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Self-Noise: 20dB

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Maximum SPL: 144dB

Design: Black low-mass diaphragm

Power Requirement: 48V DC

Pros and Cons of Audio Technica AT-2020:

Pros
  • Warmer and precise sound
  • Versatile Microphone
  • Best bang for the buck
  • Exceptional build quality
Cons
  • Not a plug and play solution (requires additional gear to set it up)
  • Better for male singers having a deep voice
  • The design is okayish

 

 

3- Blue Spark SL Review

Blue Spark SL Studio Condenser microphone

Overview

Blue Spark SL is really a cool looking large diaphragm condenser microphone. With its red paint-job and overall sturdy look, It boasts some pretty useful features too.

Blue Spark SL uses a JFET and Class-A circuitry which ensures less distortion and a clearer sound. With its cardioid pattern, the mic does a great job capturing vocals. In the beginning, you might have to work around to find the perfect position for the microphone but after that, your work is done!

The mic offers great sound and is said to be an “all-rounder” by Blue. The manual includes some useful information regarding the recording of other instruments.

Let’s have a look at its special features now…

Key Features

  • Has a gold-plated large diaphragm
  • Class-A circuitry to ensure crystal clear signal transfer
  • JFET keeps the capsule’s backplate evenly charged
  • Comes with 20’ XLR cable and pop filter

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Self-Noise: 16.4dB

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Maximum SPL: 136dB

Design: Black low-mass diaphragm

Power Requirement: 48V DC

Pros and Cons of Blue Spark SL

Pros
  • Can be positioned to record other instruments
  • Handbook which includes positioning tips to record various instruments
  • Toggle switch to activate low-cut filter (100hZ, 12dB per octave)
  • The sound is crisp and bassy
Cons
  • Way too harsh for electric guitar
  • Has sibilance issues

 

 

You May Want To Check

 

4- AKG Perception 120 Review

AKG P120 Condenser Microphone for recording vocals

Overview

Looking for a microphone that does really well on any instrument you throw at it?

Well, AKG P120 provides just that.

P120 has a cardioid pattern and has the unique ability to change its SPL. Yes, you read it right.

The mic has a special “Switchable attenuation pad” using which you can change its Max SPL from 130dB to go up to 150dB. This makes this mic to stand out among other counterparts under the same price tag.

The mic is often compared with Audio Technica AT2020, both the mics have same self-noise, same price-tag but I think AT-2020 has a cleaner sound and P120 has more low-end on the other hand. You can read more about their difference here.

Let’s have a look at its special features now…

Key Features

  • Has a 0.66-inch diameter capsule
  • Switchable attenuation pad that makes the max SPL go up to 150dB
  • Switchable bass-cut filter to eliminate rumbling

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Self-Noise: 19dB

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Maximum SPL: 130dB upto 150dB with pad

Design: Black low-mass diaphragm

Power Requirement: 48V DC phantom power

Pros and Cons of AKG Perception 120

Pros
  • Works really well to record drums
  • Solid construction
  • Switchable SPL
  • Good for beginners
Cons
  • Some users have experienced hissing 

 

 

5- Audio Technica AE6100 ReviewBest Vocal Mic for Live Performance

Audio Technica AE6100 Dynamic Mic for vocals

Overview

AT AE6100 is yet another best vocal microphone for live performances. It outperforms many of its other counterparts in terms of clarity and response.

AE6100 is a hypercardioid dynamic microphone, capable of delivering high-output fast transients. The polar pattern is designed for a superb on-axis response. The microphone comes with pop protection, additionally, it has a hard steel outer grill for protection. AE6100 features anti-shock engineering for low handling noise. AE6100 has a more balanced, clearer, and more pressurized sound as compared to Shure SM-58.

 Overall, it is a good vocal microphone, featuring fast transients and excellent response, just under $200! 

Key Features

  • Hyper-Cardioid
  • Anti-shock Engineering
  • Quiet-Flex stand for silent mic positioning

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Hyper-Cardioid

Self-Noise: NA

Frequency Response: 60Hz – 15kHz

Maximum SPL: NA

Design: Hardened-steel outer grille with steel mesh

Power Requirement: NA

Pros and Cons of Audio-Technica AE6100

Pros
  • Multi-angle response
  • Outstanding pop protection
  • Anti-shock engineering for low handling noise
  • Superior feedback rejection
Cons
  • Harsh for electric guitar but doesn’t matter if you want to use it just for recording voice

 

 

5 Best Vocal Mics Under $500

If you think it is time for you to upgrade your home studio, well why not start with the microphone.

A microphone plays a vital role in a studio. The next important component after studio monitors is good microphones.

Whether you want to record your vocals, piano or even your guitar, a microphone is an essential component to retain the quality.

In this section, we have compiled a list of 5 best performing microphones for recording your vocals that too under $500.

Without further adieu, let’s see each product in detail…

1- BLUE Bluebird SL

Blue Bluebird SL Best vocal mic under 500

Overview

Bluebird SL is a large-diaphragm cardioid pattern microphone with exceptional upper clarity and smooth mids and lows.

This microphone by Blue is specifically aimed at providing small home-studios with microphones having quality at par with some of the expensive microphones out there in the market. Its transformer-less design makes sure that the signal does not get colored with other noise. It performs wonderful recording vocals. Apart from that Bluebird SL is capable to record acoustic guitars as well.

In short, Bluebird SL is a pretty versatile microphone, capable of recording multiple instruments along with vocals. Its signal-to-noise ratio is also low, making it good to record drums also.

Key Features

  • Smooth mids and clearer highs
  • Gold-sputtered Mylar Large-diaphragm cardioid capsule
  • ~20dB pad for tuning

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Self-Noise: 82.3dB

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Maximum SPL: 138dB

Design:

Power Requirement: +48V DC Phantom Power

Pros and Cons of Bluebird SL

Pros
  • Highs are clear and crisp
  • Tunable
  • Versatile microphone – capable of recording any instrument you throw at it without any hassle
Cons
  • May sound a bit shrill and sibilant after some use

 

 

2- Aston Microphones Origin – Best Budget Vocal Microphone

Aston Origin Best Budget Vocal Microphone

Overview

Aston has come a long way since its first microphone launch named “Origin”. Although the company was new to the business, with Origin unique looking design and versatility, they are able to make their mark.

Origin has got it all what needs to be in a close-to-perfect microphone. Aston boasts this microphone as a versatile one, but I think it is perfect for vocals only. Although, you can throw any instrument you want at it and it will certainly not disappoint you.

Because of its wave-styled outer shield, you won’t need a pop filter under normal uses. It also acts as a protection for the capsule and to remove unwanted coloring to your vocals.

Aston Origin features a cardioid condenser microphone, with 1” gold evaporated capsule. It is made with transformer-less circuitry which also supports to eliminate unwanted noise due to the circuits. The Origin delivers smooth and clear sound, which makes it one of the best to record vocals that too under $500!

Key Features

  • Wave-Form Mesh Head – Designed to deliver protection
  • Built-in Pop Filter – (Works great, Although you may need extra pop-filter if you are not satisfied)
  • Includes 10dB pad and a high-pass filter

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Self-Noise: 76dB

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Maximum SPL: 127dB

Design: Wave-like mesh outer with gold evaporated 1” capsule inside

Power Requirement: +48V DC Phantom Power

Pros and Cons of Aston Origin

Pros
  • Splendid for recording vocals
  • Bright sound
  • Built-in pop filter
  • Elegant design
Cons
  • No USB mount, which shouldn’t be a big problem for many users

 

 

3- Shure SM7B – Best All-Purpose Vocal Microphone

Shure SM7B All Purpose Microphone

Overview

If you are just entering the music industry, then it is not possible that you have not heard of Shure SM7B.

Sure, this is quite an old microphone but surely this is one of the best all-purpose microphones by Shure. The greatest musician, Michael Jackson, is also said to have used SM7B.

Let’s have a short overview of the technology behind SM7B…

Shure SM7B has a cardioid polar pattern and it is symmetrical about the axis. The flat frequency response of 50Hz-20kHz is enough to handle anything you throw at it; rock or plain vocals.

The mic is exceptionally balanced, you will have close to none distortion or coloring. Shure SM7B delivers such clarity and response that you will find only in the high-end expensive vocal microphones.

It contains an internal “air suspension” to remove the noise produced from the mechanical components. SM7B comes with a pop filter to further eliminate plosive breath sounds or air noise. You can use this mic to record vocals, acoustic guitar, drums or even use it for the podcast, it will never disappoint you!

In short, this is a masterpiece by Shure. Tested by greatest musicians, SM7B has surely stood the test of time!

Key Features

  • Flat and wide-range frequency response
  • The pop filter removes unwanted breath sounds quite effectively
  • Internal Shock Mount to offer more absorption

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Self-Noise: NA

Frequency Response: 50Hz – 20kHz

Maximum SPL: staggering 180dB

Power Requirement: Does not require phantom power

Pros and Cons of Shure SM7B:

Pros
  • Natural, crystal clear sound
  • Rich lows
  • No need for shock mount or pop filters
  • Cheaper than Neuman but performs at par with them
Cons
  • Ambient noise
  • May need additional equipment like preamps (dbx processors)

 

 

4- Royer R-10 – Best Vocal Ribbon Microphone

Royer Labs R-10 Best ribbon mic for recording voice

Overview

From the esteemed Royer Labs, comes the Royer R-10 Ribbon Microphone. After the great success of R-121, Royer launched R-10 with high hopes. We are not going to compare these two microphones, you can find it on the internet.

However, let me tell you that there are things at which R-10 is better at and then there are things where R-121 takes the lead. The reason for mentioning R-10 here is because it performs quite well for recording voice, hence it has made its way into this list.

Well, let’s have a brief overview of the product…

It is a passive mono ribbon microphone specifically designed for use in studios. It is capable of handling the Sound Pressure Levels of up to 160dB at 1kHz. It is a bi-directional microphone having strong rejection along the dead areas.

The R-10 must be placed around 1.3 times the distance used with omnidirectional microphones. It does not discriminate or boosts against the highs on or off axis, thus you can use it to record several instruments and vocalists at a time. It will not favor the performer placed at the center of the group. The mic manual says it can perform on Phantom Power.

You may need to tweak out the EQ settings a bit to get a proper response out of R-10.

 All in all this one of the great microphones not just for recording vocals, but to record electric guitars and to record brass instruments. 

Key Features

  • No internal active electronics that produce distortion
  • 3-layer windscreen system protection
  • Shock Mounted Ribbon Transducer to provide protection to ribbon inside
  • Tremendous phase linearity

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Bi-directional

Self-Noise: NA

Frequency Response: 30Hz – 15kHz

Maximum SPL: >135dB @ 50Hz, 160dB @ 1kHz

Design: 2.5 micron aluminum ribbon

Power Requirement: NA

Pros and Cons of Royer R-10 Ribbon:

Pros
  • Captures brass and strings effectively
  • Can be used to record with multiple vocalists
  • Affordable yet outstanding as compared to other ribbon mics
Cons
  • Doesn’t capture bottom-end effectively

 

 

5- Rode NTK Review

Rode NTK Vocal Microphone

The last one on our list of best vocal microphones under $500 is Rode NTK. Although it is not exactly under $500, it is worth to pay the extra $20-$30 for this vocal microphone.

Let me tell you why…

Overview

Rode NTK is a condenser microphone having a cardioid polar pattern. It is perfect for most of the single instrument recording, as told by many experts and users. This microphone provides exceptional warmth, weight, dynamic range and stupendous detail in the studio.

Many users say that NTK works better on female vocals than on male vocals but it still maintains clarity and details of a male voice. The low-ends produced are really impressive and clearer.

You can also use Rode NTK for recording other instruments like guitar, drums etc, it works pretty well but not too great. Rode NTK is surely not a multi-purpose microphone, sure you can use it for a small project to record other instruments, but if you are planning to go big, you will have to buy a separate mic for that purpose. NTK handles the high SPL well enough up to 158dB. NTK is also said to produce some sibilance issues on certain vocals and frequencies.

In short, If you are just looking for a good vocal microphone then I think Rode NTK should be your go-to choice. It is primarily designed to record vocals. But if you want a multi-purpose vocal mic then you better check out the Shure SM7B, also reviewed above.

Key Features

  • High level of RF rejection
  • Graded 6922 twin triode valve
  • Swappable tube

Technical Specifications

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Self-Noise: 12dB

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Maximum SPL: 158dB

Design: Large 1” capsule with a gold plated diaphragm

Power Requirement: 100-120V / 200-240V AC 50/60Hz dedicated PS

Pros and Cons of Rode NTK:

Pros
  • Great for female vocals
  • Smooth  and rich lows
  • Great build quality
  • Clean and crystal sound 
Cons
  • Sibilance issues on some voices
  • Takes time to warm up (around half an hour)
  • Mids and Highs may be a bit harsh

 

 

What to Look For Before Choosing The Best Vocal Microphone – Buyer’s Guide

In this section inform you about the aspects you need to keep in mind before buying a vocal mic. You need to put as much effort as you can learning the below-mentioned characteristics because an error in this procedure can prove to be a make or break situation between you and your first hit!

Thus, I would advise you to collect as much information as you can to make an informed decision before buying the mic.

Let’s have a look at each characteristic in detail…

1- Type of Microphone

Microphones are usually divided into two broad categories:

i- Condenser Microphones

ii- Dynamic Microphones

I will try to tell you the short difference between the two and tell you which one should you look for in a good voice recording microphone.

Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphones

  • The main difference between these two types of mics is that Dynamic Mics don’t need a separate power source to power them up. Condenser Mics require “Phantom Power” or separate batteries to work. Usually, they come up with this stuff and you need not to buy a separate power source.
  • Dynamic Mics are more useful for broadcasting and FM type of stuff because they pick more voice when you are speaking at the front of it. Condenser Mics tend to pick the voice even from all around the axis.

Shure Blog has made a reall good apple-to-apple comparison picture between dynamic and condenser microphones which you can see it on their blog as well.

difference between condenser and dynamic vocal microphone

 

Do watch this video if you want to see yourself the differences I have explained.

 

In short, I would like to say that Condenser Mics are more useful for recording vocals in a controlled environment. They cancel out the unnecessary voice and provide a really smooth audio experience. My vote goes for Condenser Microphones!

2- Polar Pattern

Polar Pattern aka Directionality is the pattern around the mic in which it clearly receives and processes the voice. There are usually two categories named Omni-directional (which can pick voice from multiple directions) and Uni-Directional (from one direction only).

The most renowned and widely used Polar Pattern is “Cardioid”. It is basically a type of uni-directional microphone. As the name suggests, Cardioid voice picking pattern is of a heart shape. It picks maximum voice from the front of the mic, almost nothing from the rear and a little lesser from the sides than the omnidirectional microphone.

You should always look for “Cardioid” polar pattern in a vocal microphone.

3- Frequency Response

Usually, most of the microphones have a frequency response in the range 20Hz – 20kHz, this is exactly just what the humans are capable to hear. But that doesn’t matter. These two things are not quite well correlated.

Let me explain…

The frequency response chart is the sure way of knowing what the microphone is capable of. By looking at this graph, you can directly tell which mic is useful for what purpose.

  1. A microphone with a flat frequency curve is good for recording acoustics group and orchestras.
  2. A microphone with shaped frequency curve having increased sensitivity in upper mid-range is good for recording vocals.

Learning to read a frequency response chart is really essential. Using this knowledge you can choose for yourself which mic will be best and for what purpose.

4- Max SPL

SPL stands for Sound Pressure Level.

Maximum SPL means the loudest sound a condenser mic can work without distortion.

It is a good way of knowing how much louder can you speak in a microphone without distorting the output. It is also beneficial to know this as this helps in positioning the mic correctly among other instruments.

5- Price

While most of the vocal mics are in the range of thousands of dollars (e.g Neumann U 87 priced at $3000+). But there do exist some of the affordable vocal mics too. That is why I have made two categories of the best vocal mics under $200 and $500 for those who are short on budget but still want to record their voice. These cheap badass microphones can even outperform some of the most expensive microphones out there.

Thus, you also need to take price into consideration before buying a new microphone.

6- When to Use Which Mic?

It is of much greater importance that you should know which type of mic is useful for what purpose. Lots of the mic specialize in recording only a particular instrument. For example, bass mics capture the low-frequency sounds better and hence used for bass-enhancement.

Thus, you need to make sure that the mic you are buying is more of a general purpose one so you don’t have to spend money on buying different types of mic if you are just a beginner.

For vocal mics, I would suggest you to go for large-diaphragm condenser microphone as they do pretty well in catching the high-notes and even the low-frequencies.

Conclusion:

That’s all folks, before wrapping things up I would advise you that:

Before going to buy a specific type of vocal mic always look for its SPL, the polar pattern, and its type. By knowing these essential features only then you will be able to buy the vocal mic that suits your needs. I covered best vocal mics under $200 and under $500 for those who want a cheap and affordable option. But I still ensure you that these microphones give tough time to their expensive counterparts!

If you happen to buy a mic from our list, don’t forget to leave a comment and give us your valuable feedback.

About the author

Justin Parker

Justin Parker is a 26-year old blogger. He is a Software Engineer who loves Blogging. He likes to test out different products and to write reviews on it to help others in choosing the best product from the market!

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