WE LOOK AT 11 OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICROPHONES UNDER £100 THAT ACTUALLY SOUND GOOD, AND DON'T SUCK!

Finding the best cheap condenser microphones for your studio, that don’t suck the life out of your tone and won’t die on you after the first use can be an arduous job, especially when you want them under £200.

But it doesn't have to be! We get it. You want a high-quality microphone, that sounds good, is reliable and that can be used in a variety of situations. And you want it under £200.

Well, we’ve got you covered, as fortunately there are a variety of different options available to you that won’t break the bank.

As part of our cheap instruments that don’t suck series, we’ve put together a list of the best cheap condenser mics in the hope of crowing a winner for best budget condenser mic for those on a strict budget.

And remember – when we say "cheap" we just mean "budget-friendly". These cheap condenser mics offer incredible sound quality for demos and home recording can be used on the road due to rugged construction and added to your studio without a massive financial investment.

We’ll start with the best condenser microphones under £100 below and work our way up to the best under £200.

1. RODE M3 CONDENSER MICROPHONE

First up we have the Rode M3 Condenser Microphone, which is one of the best budget condenser microphones available today.

At under £70, it's easily affordable and won’t blow the bank.

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICROPHONES?

Well, we love the Rode M3 as it delivers sonic performance akin to microphones at least twice the price.

Straight out of the box you have a maximum SPL of 142dB and a -10dB and -20dB level attenuator (pad) which is accessible via the battery compartment.

These features make it a great option for guitars and vocals – you can even record snare drums easily. A switchable high pass filter also gets rid of any of that unwanted low rumble whilst recording guitars of a softer nature like acoustic guitars.

So, it’s an incredible all-rounder. You can also power it via a 9V battery or P48 phantom power – so you’re always ready to record.

The internal capsule shock mount keeps the capsule safe and reduces any unwanted noise from creeping in whilst the 10-year extended warranty provides peace of mind.  

Pictured: Rode M3 Condenser Microphone

2. TOURTECH CM-100 PENCIL CONDENSER MICROPHONES (PAIR)

The TOURTECH CM-100 Pencil Condenser Microphones (Pair) is an incredibly budget-friendly option for those who need to record in stereo.

This is a perfect option for recording drums, guitars AND vocals (yes you can use a pencil mic for vocals) as the -15dB pad switch allows you to adjust your microphones for a variety of scenarios.

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICROPHONES?

The sleek, compact design makes them easily added to any live or studio situation and allows you to place the mics in areas which are tight for space.

A maximum SPL of 120dB makes them a perfect option for a variety of uses and the hard-wearing zinc alloy construction means you can transport them without worrying about damaging the inner workings – perfect for touring bands and sound engineers.

With this package, you get two XLR cables and a 360-degree mic clip, too!

CAN YOU USE A PENCIL MICROPHONE FOR RECORDING VOCALS?

We often get asked – can you use a pencil microphone for recording vocals. The answer is always a resounding "Yes".

Although pencil mics are designed for acoustic instruments, especially drums, they make great vocal microphones that offer an exceptionally clean vocal take.

You may not like this as they certainly don’t hide anything and deliver an accurate (some might say brutally accurate) sound. You might like this of course. So, feel free to experiment.

Pictured: Tourtech CM-100 Pencil Condenser Mics (Pair)

3. SE ELECTRONICS X1A CONDENSER MICROPHONE

Time and time again, the sE Electronics X1A Condenser Microphone makes it into our best-of lists.

This industry-standard, entry-level condenser microphone proves that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a professional level sound.

It’s easily one of the best budget condenser mics under £100.

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICROPHONES?

With a max SPL of 150, or 130 when using the -20 pad, you have plenty of options whether you want to record guitars, vocals or drums.

You can even record amplified guitars with this thing! You also get amazing, studio-quality functionality thanks to the 100Hz low-cut switch, which helps to eliminate low-frequency rumble or footfall noise.

This nifty feature also compensates for that dreaded excessive bass with close-mic techniques (proximity effect).

A rock-solid design also makes it a particularly hard-wearing touring partner.

Pictured: SE Electronics XIA Condenser Microphone

4. RODE NT-USB MINI MICROPHONE

The Rode NT-USB Mini Microphone is perfect for those who have never owned a condenser mic before and just need a solid option for recording guitars and vocals or creating podcasts directly via USB.

This provides pro-level sound at budget-friendly prices.

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICROPHONES?

Aside from the price, we love the Rode NT-USB Mini Microphone for several reasons including the fact you get a high-quality condenser capsule with RF shielding as well as a built in pop shield.

Furthermore, you have a pickup pattern that reduces background noises. This means you can record any audio source you need, whether you’re podcasting, recording an acoustic session or recording vocals.

Thanks to the max SPL of 121dB you’re ready for smaller guitar cabs, acoustic instruments and vocals and capture all the subtle nuances of the instrument beautifully.

The smooth frequency response, low self-noise and high sensitivity make this a perfect home studio partner and ideal budget USB condenser mic for beginners.

Pictured: RODE NT USB Mini Microphone

5. Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package

The Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package is a studio-quality condenser mic that comes as part of a recording package.

This is ideal for those who need to record studio-quality vocals. Whether you're podcasting, singing or recording amp cabs or acoustic guitars - you're covered either way.  

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICROPHONES?

You're getting one of the best cheap condenser microphones along with a host of accessories that will improve your vocal recordings. 

The Rode NT1-A is one of the quietest microphones available as you have a self-noise level of 5dB, which means your vocal takes are crisp and clean. 

You can capture high-level audio signals thanks to the Max SPL of 137dB. The 20Hz - 20kHz frequency range means everything from spoken word, to singing to guitar cabs and even acoustic guitars are captured beautifully with all the subtle nuances intact.

You also get a studio-quality pop filter, XLR cable and microphone cradle, so you're ready to record straight out of the box. 

One of the best cheap condenser microphones that professionals will love.

Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package
Pictured: Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package

6. RODE M5 CONDENSER MICROPHONES (MATCHED PAIR)

The Rode M5 Condenser Microphones (Matched Pair) is ideal for acoustic instrument and choir recording and provides a maximum of 140dB SPL, so you're completely covered for the recording of all loud instruments.

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICROPHONES?

As mentioned, this is one of the best condenser microphones for acoustic instruments as it has 1dB sensitivity difference between these two microphones.

This, in combination with the frequency range of 20Hz - 20kHz and ultra-low noise, means you get incredible detail without any of the unwanted background interference.

Another key feature is the JFET impedance converter with bipolar output buffer. This adds life and soul to your recordings that really allows your instrument to shine without colouring the sound.

This is ideal for acoustic singer-songwriters and church musicians who need to record choirs.

Pictured: Matched Pair of Rode M5 Condenser Microphones

7. MARANTZ MPM-1000U USB CONDENSER MICROPHONE

If you’re looking for a condenser mic specifically for podcasting, then the Marantz MPM-1000U USB Condenser Microphone is a perfect choice.

Whether you’re looking for something to record podcasts or vlogs, voiceovers or even record instruments in your home studio.

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICROPHONES?

This is one of the best budget condenser microphones as it features USB connectivity - offering ease of use.

You have an excellent frequency range which will deliver clarity and nuance in your recording.

Home recording enthusiasts will appreciate the fact you get USB connectivity as its easy to run straight into your PC, Mac or Android device, so you’re good to go straight out of the box. We’re now in the realms of best condenser mics under £200.

Pictured: Marantz MPM-1000U USB Condenser Mic

8. SHURE SM86 CONDENSER VOCAL MICROPHONE

Next up we have a chameleon style microphone (we just made that phrase up) in the Shure SM86 Condenser Vocal Microphone.

This is a condenser microphone that you can use live on stage adding a little more detail and brighter tone than the likes of the SM58.

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICROPHONES?

The Shure SM86 is a condenser microphone that can stand up to the rigours of the road, just like your dynamic microphones.

However, this offers a more detailed sound which makes it ideal for the touring singer-songwriters out there.

The cardioid polar pattern ensures any unwanted background noise is reduced whilst the built-in three-point shock mount minimizes handling noise – ideal for gigs and those who like to hold the mic when singing.

If you want to tour with a condenser, record live vocals, acoustic guitars and live sessions, this is an awesome option and a budget condenser microphone that doesn’t suck.

Pictured: Shure SM86 Condenser Microphone

9. SENNHEISER E614 CONDENSER MICROPHONE

The Sennheiser E614 Condenser Microphone is made for professionals, yet priced at an intermediate level.

It’s easily one of the best condenser mics under £200 as you get an impressive frequency response, high SPL and a particularly compact size making it easy to transport.

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICS?

The e614 mic was designed with percussion in mind, but thanks to the 139 dB/SPL, 40 - 20000 Hz frequency response and medium sensitivity of 3 mV/Pa = - 50dB it lends itself particularly well to recording wind instruments, flute, saxophone and mic’d up guitar cabs.

However, you can still record vocals in high quality. It’s a great all-rounder that helps reduce bleed from other instruments on stage and reduces any unwanted noise when recording at home.

Highly recommended for those with limited space and one of the best cheap condensers mics that doesn’t’ suck.

Pictured: Sennheiser E614 Condenser Mic

10. SE ELECTRONICS X1 S CONDENSER MICROPHONE PACK

The sE Electronics X1 S provides the sound and functionality of a high-end studio microphone at the fraction of the cost.

The sE Electronics X1 S Condenser Microphone Pack, however, provides a heck of a lot of features for way under £200.

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICS?

In this package you get a 3-meter XLR cable and sE’s Isolation Pack, which is a high-performance quick-release shock mount with an integrated adjustable pop filter saving you a lot of money should you buy them separately.

The hand-crafted and individually-tuned 1" gold-sputtered capsule in partnership with the best-in-class SPL ensures you get superb quality recordings at all times whether you’re recording vocals, spoken word or instruments.

The -10 dB and -20 dB pad switches provide extended dynamic range should you want to record mic’d up cabinets, fortissimo brass instruments and even the heaviest of drummers.

Pictured: sE Electronics X1 S Condenser Vocal Pack

11. ASTON ORIGIN CARDIOID CONDENSER MICROPHONE

 Last but not least we have one of the best condenser microphones available today.

The Aston Origin Cardioid Condenser Microphone is the new industry standard condenser microphone providing exceptional quality sound, control and versatility.

It’s also nigh-on indestructible!

WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP CONDENSER MICS?

At under £200, it’s not going to break the bank. But you’ll be so glad you made the extra investment with this mic. We could go on about how Noel Gallagher uses it or the fact that it’s won a myriad of awards, but it’s the sound that you’ll love.

The Aston Origin features a 1-inch gold evaporated capsule which was hand-selected and then paired with high-end transformerless circuitry. There are no shortcuts here. We love it because you get a direct, smooth and intimate sound which is perfectly suited to acoustic guitars and vocals.

The built-in pop filter and waveform spring head not only stop plosive noises from damaging your sound but also protect the capsule. Direct to stand mounting make it ideal for those with a limited setup – you don’t NEED a cradle or pop shield!

A maximum SPL of 127dB plus -10 pad makes it a great all-rounder and the 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response ensures you’ll hear everything you need to when you’re recording.

This may be a "cheap" condenser microphone, but that’s only in terms of price. This thing is designed by professionals, for professionals, at a price we can all get involved with.

Pictured: Aston Original Cardioid Condenser Mic

Shop a full range of budget condenser microphones and studio-grade condenser mics over at PMT Online or call in to your local PMT store to speak to our experts about your studio microphone needs.

Updated: 2020-07-03