11 Best Cheap Condenser Microphones Under £200

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We look at 11 of the best cheap condenser microphones under £100 that actually sound good, and don't suck!

best cheap condenser microphones

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

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, its 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.

 

2. TOURTECH CM-100 Pencil Condenser Microphones (Pair)

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.

3. sE Electronics X1A Condenser Microphone

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.

4. Marantz MPM-1000 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Marantz MPM-1000 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

The Marantz MPM-1000 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is perfect for those who have never owned a condenser mic before and just need a solid option for recording guitars and vocals.

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 Marantz MPM-1000 Cardioid Condenser Microphone for several reasons including the fact you get a windscreen, shock mount, tripod stand and XLR cable included. This means you can record any audio source you need, whether you’re podcasting, recording an acoustic session live guitar. Thanks to the max SPL of 136dB you’re ready for brass instruments, able to record guitar cabs, drums 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 condenser mic for beginners.

5. Stagg SUM40 USB Condenser Microphone

Stagg SUM40 USB Condenser Microphone

If you’re looking for a portable USB microphone that you can use to record podcasts, voiceovers and vlogs with, then the Stagg SUM40 USB Condenser Microphone is your new best friend.

Why is this one of the best cheap condenser microphones?

If you’ve got a limited setup and you don’t want to have to buy a mixer, then this microphone is great. The 3.5mm headphone jack allows you to monitor directly on the mic and the USB slot you allows you to connect straight into your PC or Mac OS X.

Be careful though, the max SPL of 75dB means it’s only really used for podcasting and maybe an acoustic guitar, so don’t go placing it in front of an electric guitar cabinet!

However, the 50 Hz to 18 kHz frequency response and - 53 dB +/- 3 dB sensitivity ensures all your spoken word and voice-over work will sound great.

 

6. AKG C 1000 S MK IV Condenser Microphone

AKG C 1000 S MK IV Condenser Microphone

The AKG C 1000 S MK IV Condenser Microphone is one of the most versatile condenser mics on the market today. For way under £100, you can capture almost any sound source (besides a jet engine) and enjoy studio quality recordings at all times.

Why is this one of the best cheap condenser microphones?

We love this budget condenser mic as it can be powered by two standard AA batteries for up to 120 hours, meaning you can use it on stage without the need for phantom power. This ensures you’re getting an immersive, highly accurate representation of your sound.

The bass-cut switch and a switchable -10 dB pad allows you to make the changes between guitar cabs, vocals and acoustic instruments easily. Furthermore, the polar pattern can quickly be switched from cardioid to hyper-cardioid, so you’ve got two microphones in one. If those features weren’t enough for you, then you’ll love the fact there are three different switchable frequency settings which can add more clarity to speech and instrument sounds.

This is an incredibly cheap condenser microphone for those on a budget, but who need to use their microphone for a myriad of uses.

7. Shure Motiv MV5 Digital Condenser Podcasting Microphone

Shure Motiv MV5 Digital Condenser Podcasting Microphone

If you’re looking for a condenser mic specifically for podcasting, then the Shure Motiv MV5 Digital Condenser Podcasting 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 3 different present recording modes. You have Voice, Instrument and Flat which when selected will automatically adjust settings for gain, dynamics and equalisation, effectively bringing out the best in any sound source.

Home recording enthusiasts will appreciate the fact you get a Micro-B-to-USB cable for connection to a PC, Mac or Android device, or you can choose the version with Micro-B-to-LTG cable for connection to Apple mobile devices - so you’re good to go straight out of the box.

There’s a 3.5mm headphone output for real-time audio monitoring, so you don’t need a mixer, you can mount it onto 6.3mm camera tripod for vlogging and thanks to the free, dedicated iOS app; ShurePlus – Motiv for recording, editing and sharing you can create and share content within minutes.

This is your best option if you want to record for vlogs, IGTV or podcasts.

We’re now in the realms of best condenser mics under £200.

8. Shure SM86 Condenser Vocal Microphone

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.

9. Sennheiser E614 Condenser Microphone

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.

10. sE Electronics X1 S Condenser Microphone Pack

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.

 

11. Aston Origin Cardioid Condenser Microphone

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 near-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.

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.

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